‘True friends of freedom’ will support Hobby Lobby’s challenge

August 13, 2013

“It is one thing to believe in the abstract idea of religious liberty,” OCPA distinguished fellow Andrew Spiropoulos writes in the Oklahoma Gazette (“Hobby Lobby deserves protection”). “It is quite another to protect the particular practices of those who adhere to a faith you dislike. Too many of us say we are friends of freedom, but believe in freedom only for our friends.

True friends of freedom understand why the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit recently ruled in favor of the Green family, owners of the Oklahoma City-based Hobby Lobby and Mardel stores, in their legal challenge to the contraception mandates of President Obama’s health care plan. … Some argue the owners of a for-profit enterprise are not protected by RFRA [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act]. All who take religious liberty seriously see why this argument is wrong. How can you be committed to a religious way of life if it does not shape how you pursue your vocation? Anyone who is familiar with their enterprises knows that if there is anyone who genuinely seeks to practice their faith through their business, it’s the Greens.

But isn’t the guarantee of universal health coverage, particularly as it concerns women’s health, a compelling reason to make the Greens obey the law? It might be if all businesses were forced to comply, but they’re not. The law exempts scores of businesses, including small firms and those with grandfathered insurance plans. You can’t exempt these people and then argue you need to stick it to the rare businesses that explicitly operate on religious principles. As RFRA teaches us, people of faith should be the first we exempt from burdensome laws, not the last.

I encourage you to read the entire column here.