We have witnessed an ominous trend in the United States. Classical, faithful Christians who uphold the unbroken teaching of the Church and the scriptures concerning the dignity of every human life and the truth concerning marriage as solely between one man and one woman and formative of family, are being squeezed out of commerce.
WASHINGTON,DC (Catholic Online) - On Tuesday, March 25, 2014, at the United States Supreme Court, one of the most important cases concerning the Fundamental Right to Religious Liberty will be argued. The case is styled Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Kathleen Sebelius.
The excellent Lawyers from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty represent Hobby Lobby. Hobby Lobby is a for profit business dedicated to Christian principles in the operation of its business.
We have witnessed an ominous trend in the United States.
Classical, faithful Christians who uphold the unbroken teaching of the Church and the scriptures concerning the dignity of every human life and the truth concerning marriage as solely between one man and one woman and formative of family, are being squeezed out of commerce.
This is not the first time in our two thousand year history as a Christian people that we have faced the reality of having to avoid some aspects of commerce because of the corruption of the cultures in which we live.
It is not our first time facing the hostility of worldly Caesars demanding that we bend the knee to their claims. It is simply that few thought it would happen in the United States of America with its robust protection of religious freedom embedded in its founding documents.
We need to expose and oppose this abuse of power by defending all of the Rights protected by the US Constitution, including the free exercise of religion, the right to free speech, free association and the right to participate in commerce.
However, we also need to be aware that morally coherent Christians, who live a unity of life and believe that their faith informs every aspect of their life, are at the beginning of a period of growing persecution. We must pray, band together and act.
The hostility being faced by Hobby Lobby is an affront to all of us. It calls all faithful Christians, Catholic, Protestant or Orthodox, to solidarity. They filed a lawsuit back in September of 2012 which can be read in its entirety here.
You can find an excellent update on the many cases challenging the HHS Mandate which seeks to compel Christian employers to (directly or indirectly) provide Chemical abortifacients, sterilization and contraceptives here.
This attempt by the Obama Administration to compel compliance with this unjust edit violates the Constitution and the fundamental right to Religious freedom. It is a blatant violation of the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights to the US Constitution.
Many of my readers know that I spent much of a thirty three year legal career as a Constitutional Lawyer. I continue to join with others who are engaged in this critical work on important cases.
I do so through Common Good Foundation and its legal defense fund. Common Good Foundation and Common Good Alliance joined in an Amicus Curiae or Friend of the Court Brief in this important case.
So did Catholic Online.
Here are the descriptions of the three organizations from that Amicus brief:
Common Good Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization. Common Good Alliance is a 501(c)(4) organization. Founded by Keith A. Fournier, a Catholic apologist and constitutional lawyer, both organizations are informed by classical Christian social teaching and committed to building a culture of life, family, and freedom, while affirming classical Christian teaching, including that concerning religious freedom.
Common Good Foundation and Common Good Alliance each have a Legal Defense Fund that provides legal advocacy and support in cases concerning the organizations' missions. To perform their missions, Common Good Foundation and Common Good Alliance rely upon a robust interpretation of the religious liberty protected by the Free Exercise Clause and RFRA. Common Good Foundation and Common Good Alliance are concerned that a decision rejecting the plaintiffs' claims in this case would unduly restrict the protection RFRA provides for religious liberty.
Catholic Online is a business that serves Catholics and all people of good will by providing content over its integrated media network. Catholic Online operates its business in fidelity with the Catholic Church's teachings and is thus committed to building a culture of life, family, freedom, and solidarity. Catholic Online affirms classical Christian teaching, including that concerning religious freedom.
Catholic Online's business mission depends upon a proper interpretation of the religious liberty protected by the Free Exercise Clause and RFRA. Catholic Online is concerned that a decision rejecting the plaintiffs' claims in this case would unduly restrict the protection RFRA provides for religious liberty.
Here is the question which was briefed:
The individual plaintiffs in these actions, the Hahns and the Greens, seek to operate their closely-held, family-run businesses consistently with their Christian faith. These plaintiffs, based on that faith, believe that abortion is morally wrong and contrary to their faith and also that to facilitate abortion by providing their employees with health insurance that covers abortifacient drugs and devices is morally wrong and contrary to their faith.
The HHS mandate at issue in these cases subjects the Hahns' and the Greens' businesses to millions of dollars in penalties if the Hahns and the Greens do not direct their businesses to provide employees with health insurance that covers abortifacients. In effect, the mandate commands the Hahns and the Greens to do what their faith tells them is a sin or subject their businesses to substantial financial penalties.
The question before this Court is the following: Does the HHS mandate impose a "substantial burden" on the Hahns' and the Greens' exercise of religion as that term is used in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb-1(a) and in First Amendment jurisprudence.
We ask every reader of Catholic Online to pray that the United States Supreme Court upholds the fundamental Right to Religious Freedom. We will keep you up to date on this vital case.
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