Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

7/2/2014 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The Obama Administration failed. Religious Liberty prevailed.

On Monday, June 30, 2014, the United States Supreme Court issued its long awaited decision in what is now called the Hobby Lobby Case. Closely held corporations cannot be required to provide abortion inducing contraception coverage under the HHS Mandate to the Affordable Care Act - a.k.a Obama-Care. Religious Liberty, a fundamental human right, which was recognized in the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights - and which provides the constitutional backdrop for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) - still lives in the United States of America! The Obama Administration failed. Religious Liberty prevailed.

The Hobby Lobby case was really about whether the federal government can persecute Christians engaged in commerce because they live their faith in a morally coherent manner and refuse to participate in the taking of human lives. The U.S. Supreme Court answered the question - No! The supporters of Religious Liberty prevailed.

The Hobby Lobby case was really about whether the federal government can persecute Christians engaged in commerce because they live their faith in a morally coherent manner and refuse to participate in the taking of human lives. The U.S. Supreme Court answered the question - No! The supporters of Religious Liberty prevailed.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/2/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Hobby Lobby, Conestaga Wood, religious liberty, US Supreme Court, Obamacare, Affordable Care Act, Religious Freedom, Religious Liberty, David and Barbara Green, human rights, Deacon Keith Fournier


WASHINGTON,DC (Catholic Online) - On Monday, June 30, 2014, the United States Supreme Court issued its long awaited decision in what is now called the Hobby Lobby Case. Closely held corporations cannot be required to provide abortion inducing contraception coverage under the HHS Mandate to the Affordable Care Act - a.k.a Obama-Care.

Religious Liberty, a fundamental human right, which was recognized in the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights - and which provides the constitutional backdrop for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) - still lives in the United States of America!

The Obama Administration failed. Religious Liberty prevailed.

As is always the case with high profile Supreme Court cases, the speculation began minutes after the opinion was issued as to its meaning and reach. The best indicator for my readers is to examine the dissent by Justice Ginsburg. She knows this is a MAJOR religious liberty case.

As the lengthy opinion becomes the material for the talking heads and the pundit class, make no mistake. This is a HUGE victory for Religious Liberty in the United States of America.

There is no question; the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court were attuned not only to the magnitude of the legal issues presented but, contrary to what many claim, the public policy implications of their ruling.

With the erosion of the Separation of Powers Doctrine, the protections offered by the governing structure, so unique to the American polity, have been eviscerated.

With the loss of the once strong internal moral compass, rooted in a belief in the Natural Moral Law, to guide her, the United States of America, which was once seen as a City on the Hill, increasingly resembles an empire in decline.

And, she is being steered by a federal administration which seems committed to remaking a noble experiment in ordered liberty into something quite different, a top down secularist regime with increasingly little tolerance for faithful Christians - and many others -  who insist upon the existence of objective moral truths which should govern our life together.

The Hobby Lobby case was brought under a Federal Act; the Religious Freedom Restoration Act  (RFRA) The law was passed in 1993 and has frequently been used whenever a legal issue concerning the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights is at issue. 

Two corporations refused to provide abortion inducing contraceptives and devices under their health care plan. They did so based upon their sincerely held religious convictions. The owners had the courage to stand up against the Obama Administration. 

The Federal Government, through the HHS mandate through which the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) sought to compel them to do so or face extreme penalties.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act presumes the primacy of the Free Exercise of Religion as a fundamental Constitutional Right. The First amendment begins with these words, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

For the government to prevail in this case, they had to show that the complained of burden upon free exercise was necessary because there is what is called a compelling government interest which must be protected.

Next, the Government had to show that the burden on the Free Exercise of Religion which would allegedly result was the least restrictive means of accomplishing that protection.

Finally, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) requires the application of a standard of review by the Court in reviewing this case. It is the highest standard of judicial review, called strict scrutiny.

The Obama Administration failed. Religious Liberty prevailed.

The majority of the United States Supreme Court held that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) requires the Federal Government to provide closely-held corporate objectors the same accommodation it provides nonprofit corporations and religious organizations.

In other words, the way that an association, business, ministry, or organization is legally structured DOES NOT necessarily affect the protections given to the entity under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The Obama Administration failed. Religious Liberty prevailed.

The opponents of the owners of the companies claimed that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act did not apply to for profit corporations and they should not have what is called legal standing to assert these claims under the Federal Law.

They used that claim in the hope that they could cut the case off before it was given serious consideration by the Court. If the Court were to have denied standing, or the very right to sue, it would have been over. The opponents of religious liberty failed.

The Obama Administration failed. Religious Liberty prevailed.

That argument was also behind many in the media who attempted to cast this serious constitutional case within an anti-corporate narrative. The absurdity of the claim was that nonprofit organizations are corporations as well.

The only difference is the Internal Revenue Service recognizes that their corporate mission is such that they should not be taxed on their profits in their operations as long as they are directed toward their nonprofit mission. 

Even though the attorneys for the two Christian companies properly asserted that the case should be analyzed under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), this is a major constitutional case. The Free Exercise Clause of the Bill of Rights is always implicated in RFRA cases.

I mention that to make another important point.

When the Bill of Rights was enacted there was no Internal Revenue Service. Some of the legal distinctions of our current approach to commerce, such as the structure of corporate law which distinguishes between a corporation being considered nonprofit or for profit, simply did not exist.

The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution stood for the existence of a Fundamental Right to Religious Freedom for all men and women.

It protected them, in living their entire life - including engaging in commerce, and pursuing liberty and happiness - and from being compelled to surrender their deeply held moral and religious beliefs outside of the walls of their chosen church or place of worship by the federal government. 

The real issue before the U.S. Supreme Court in the Hobby Lobby was whether the federal government could compel these corporations to provide abortion inducing contraceptives under the ruse of providing health care to women.

The Obama Administration failed. Religious Liberty prevailed.

The willful killing of human embryonic persons through inserted devices or ingested chemicals is embryocidal. It most certainly is not health care.

Businesses run by those who respect the dignity of all human life from conception to natural death - and all in between - should not be compelled to participate in such an immoral act by a Federal Administration under the ruse of a heath care plan.

That is what was before the U.S. Supreme Court in the Hobby Lobby case and the US Supreme Court, in a majority opinion, agreed.

The Obama Administration failed. Religious Liberty prevailed.

The family who owns Hobby Lobby, David and Barbara Green, are practicing evangelical Christians committed to protecting all human life. They refused to provide the chemical poison or the instruments which can kill in the name of "health care". 

They properly asserted that medical science confirms what their faith and conscience had affirmed, human life begins at conception. The contraceptive devices and abortion inducing forms of contraception they refused to provide under their employee health care plan can kill embryonic human persons. Their courage should be a witness to all of us.

That is why Hobby Lobby is a CRUCIAL Pro-Life Case as well as a Religious Liberty case.

Because the owners are Christians, they cannot and will not be complicit in the taking of human life, at any age or stage of life. It is always and everywhere immoral to take innocent human life.

As a Catholic Christian, I have stood in complete solidarity with them and written numerous times asking fellow Catholics and other Christians to do the same. The Catholic Church is crystal clear on this matter. In fact, in 2008 her teaching magisterium offered clear words reaffirming the dignity of the embryonic human person.

The previous year, in a direct response to a specific question on the matter, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith gave explicit instructions Here is one: "What Respect is due to the human embryo, taking into account his nature and identity?" Here is the answer given by the Magisterium: "The human being must be respected - as a person - from the very first instant of his (her) existence."

Not only is respecting and protecting human embryonic life a matter of a deeply held religious conviction,  Catholic Christians go further.

We insist that this prohibition is binding on all men and women through the Natural Moral Law which can be known through the exercise of reason. That is because the other Right at issue, in addition to the Right to Religious Freedom, is the fundamental Right to Life of the Human Embryonic person. That Right is denied whenever they are intentionally killed.

Pope Emeritus Benedict told the United Nations in 2008: 

"Human rights, in particular the right to life of every human being "are based on the natural law inscribed on human hearts and present in different cultures and civilizations. Removing human rights from this context would mean restricting their range and yielding to a relativistic conception, according to which the meaning and interpretation of rights could vary and their universality would be denied in the name of different cultural, political, social and even religious outlooks. This great variety of viewpoints must not be allowed to obscure the fact that not only rights are universal, but so too is the human person, the subject of those rights".

In the 2008 Instruction the Catholic Church also noted that this position of defending the Right to Life of the embryonic human person is a part of her constant and consistent Social Doctrine and concern for all of the poor:
 
"Just as a century ago it was the working classes which were oppressed in their fundamental rights, and the Church courageously came to their defense by proclaiming the sacrosanct rights of the worker as person, so now, when another category of persons is being oppressed in the fundamental right to life, the Church feels in duty bound to speak out with the same courage on behalf of those who have no voice.

Hers is always the evangelical cry in defense of the world's poor, those who are threatened and despised and whose human rights are violated.
In virtue of the Church's doctrinal and pastoral mission, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has felt obliged to reiterate both the dignity and the fundamental and inalienable rights of every human being, including those in the initial stages of their existence, and to state explicitly the need for protection and respect which this dignity requires of everyone."

I add that quote for the express purpose of reaching out to any ill informed, poorly catechized, morally inconsistent, self proclaimed Catholics in political office and public service reading this article. Also, to Catholics in the propagandized media culture who choose to deny the truth as taught by their own Church. No Catholic should have publicly defended the Obama Administration position on this Supreme Court case.

The Obama Administration failed. Religious Liberty prevailed.

The Hobby Lobby case was really about whether the federal government can persecute Christians engaged in commerce because they live their faith in a morally coherent manner and refuse to participate in the taking of human lives.

The U.S. Supreme Court answered the question - No!

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for August 2016
Universal:
Sports: That sports may be an opportunity for friendly encounters between peoples and may contribute to peace in the world.
Evangelization: Living the Gospel: That Christians may live the Gospel, giving witness to faith, honesty, and love of neighbor.



Comments


More U.S.

St Augustine on a Personal Relationship with Jesus Watch

Image of St Augustine

By Deacon Keith Fournier

But we too can encounter Christ in reading Sacred Scripture, in prayer, in the liturgical life of the Church. We can touch Christ's Heart and feel him touching ours. Only in this personal relationship with Christ, only in this encounter with the Risen One do we ... continue reading


Five-year-old invents 'Kindness Day' Watch

Image of Five-year-old boy treats officers to a lunch from Subway.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Five-year-old William Evertz Jr. saved up his allowance for several months in hopes of purchasing a Power Wheels police car but realized his money would better benefit others. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - On Wednesday, the Winslow Police Department in ... continue reading


Two nuns found murdered in Mississippi home Watch

Image of Police have found two nuns slain in a Mississippi home.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Two Catholic nuns have been found dead in their home after they didn't show up for their work. The pair worked as nurse practitioners out of state. Police are investigating the deaths of two Catholic nuns after they missed work. The pair were found together in a ... continue reading


1 city, 2 days, 52 OD's Watch

Image of Opioids in the United States have appeared in the form of elephant tranquilizers.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Heroin laced with carfentanil, the most potent commercial opioid known to be 10,000 times stronger than morphine, is being dealt on streets across the United States. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to CNN, carfentanil significantly slows breathing and is ... continue reading


The shocking NEW reason why young people are leaving church Watch

Image of The youth are leaving the church, but why?

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

It's a surprising find, but it's also true. Americans are giving up on God. A Pew survey reveals that half of the people who have quit going to church no longer believe in God. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Nearly a quarter of the nation no longer attends ... continue reading


Massachusetts nun loses rosary to lesbian couple Watch

Image of Lesbian muggers rob nun of her rosary beads.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A Sister at the Daughters of Mary of Nazareth convent was mugged by a lesbian couple, who left with the nun's rosary. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the <a ... continue reading


'Right Before I Die': Photographer reveals heartbreaking truth on taboo topic Watch

Image of One photographer captured people's dreams as they drew closer to death (Shutterstock).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Photographer Andrew George decided to interview and photograph people close to death for a project titled "Right Before I Die." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - George's project earned an exhibit at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles and he explained the ... continue reading


Deacon Keith Fournier: Jesus Walks with Us on the Dusty Road of Life Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We can learn a vital lesson from this account in the Gospel of Luke; one which can radically reorient our entire life. Jesus is always with us. He accompanies us on the Way of our daily life because He IS the Way. (John 14:6) But, we need our eyes to be opened. ... continue reading


Marian procession to commemorate birthday of Los Angeles Watch

Image of Los Angeles will hold a Marian procession and a votive Mass for the city's 235th anniversary.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The city of Los Angeles will get a Marian procession to mark its 235th anniversary on August 27. The city is named after Our Lady. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - The city of Los Angeles has a very long name. Officially, the city is known as, "The Town of Our ... continue reading


Government finally admits truth about Area 51 Watch

Image of A truck transports a mysterious, covered object to Area 51 under tight security.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Daily Mail has posted pictures of the mysterious fleet of planes that flies workers into Area 51. Area 51 is the secret Air Force facility that is rumored to house alien technology. The existence of the base was only recently acknowledged. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Sirach 3:17-18, 20, 28-29
17 My child, be gentle in carrying out your business, and you will be ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 68:4-5, 6-7, 10-11
4 Sing to God, play music to his name, build a road for the Rider of the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 14:1, 7-14
1 Now it happened that on a Sabbath day he had gone to share a meal in ... Read More

Reading 2, Hebrews 12:18-19, 22-24
18 What you have come to is nothing known to the senses: not a blazing ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 28th, 2016 Image

St. Augustine of Hippo
August 28: St. Augustine of Hippo is the patron of brewers ... Read More