HAF Disappointed with Supreme Court Ruling on Contraception Mandate
D.C. (June 30, 2014) -- Leaders
of the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) spoke out today against the Supreme
Court's decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. In its 5-4 ruling, the
Supreme Court stated that closely held corporations could not be required to
provide contraception coverage to their employees. The mandate for
contraception coverage required employers to give employees access to insurance
plans that cover contraceptives. Hobby Lobby was one of several for-profit
corporations that filed suit against the contraception mandate, arguing that it
violated the religious beliefs of the company's owners.
"The Supreme Court's decision not only reduces access
to affordable contraception for millions of Americans, it opens the door for
employers to further impose their religious beliefs on their employees."
said Harsh Voruganti, Esq., Associate Director of Public Policy at HAF.
"Religious freedom does not entail the right to a blanket exemption
from laws one may disagree with."
The decision divided the Supreme Court and sparked a
vigorous dissent by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Justice Ginsburg noted
in her dissent that the decision's logic could be extended to allow exemptions
from anti-discrimination laws, and similar federal statutes.
"All Americans deserve the right to practice their
religion freely and independent of government intrusion," noted Suhag
Shukla, Esq., HAF's Executive Director. "However, we share Justice
Ginsburg's concern that today's decision will embolden employers to circumvent
anti-discrimination laws under the cover of religious freedom."
HAF participated as amicus (friend of the court) in the Hobby Lobby case along with a group of other secular and religious non-profit organizations. The brief emphasized the need for the Supreme Court to protect the religious rights of employees against employer imposed beliefs.
Religious Liberty Affirmed
Bill Donohue comments on the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling
today in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores:
Today's victory is welcomed by true advocates of the First Amendment. However, because of the unremitting hostility this administration has shown to religious liberty, especially in its lust for abortion rights, Congress needs to pass the Health Care Rights of Conscience Act.
Today's ruling has important implications. It recognizes, for the first time, that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) applies to "closely held" businesses, or corporations owned by a few people. This law prohibits the federal government from any action that substantially burdens the exercise of religion, unless that action is the least restrictive way of serving a compelling government interest.
Practically speaking, the ruling will have a limited effect on private sector employers. The vast majority of Americans work for companies that already provide for most forms of contraceptive coverage, including abortifacients. Nonetheless, this decision will further disable ObamaCare: Over 100 million are already exempt, and now we can add "Hobby Lobby" type businesses to the list. Not for nothing does Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg fear that this ruling may cause "havoc" to ObamaCare. Hope she's right.
Politically speaking, the ruling will have a dramatic effect: it sends an unmistakable message to the Obama administration that it cannot continue to run roughshod over the religious liberty rights of Americans.
Critics of Hobby Lobby have been trotting out horror stories about what will happen if their side loses. Nonsense. RFRA was passed 21 years ago, and no horror stories have been recorded. Scare tactics don't work.
Next up are the Catholic non-profits. We'll win on that one, too, only by a much bigger margin.
Too Many Catholics On The Bench?
July 1, 2014
Bill Donohue notes the reaction of bigots to the Hobby Lobby
"Once again an all-Catholic, all-male, all-ultra-conservative majority of five has voted en bloc to eviscerate fundamental rights," said Annie Laurie Gaylor of the atheist Freedom From Religion Foundation. Yup. Catholics always conspire to do things "en bloc" (save for Sonia).
"Court's Catholic Justices Attack Women's Rights" is the headline of Margery Eagan's Boston Herald article (it's those Catholics again). The American Humanist Association issued a statement with a picture of a rosary next to birth control pills. Cute.
In the Huffington Post, Ryan Grim noted that "these men [the five judges who voted for religious liberty] are Christians." He also said, "The Supreme Court ruled Monday that Christian business owners are special." I guess the ruling does not apply to Mormons.
Also in the Huffington Post, Ronald A. Lindsay, a militant atheist, asks, "Is it appropriate to have six Catholic justices on the Supreme Court?" His hero is JFK, who famously threw his religion overboard to win votes. "Unfortunately," he writes, "a majority of the Supreme Court may now be resurrecting concerns about the compatibility between being a Catholic and being a good citizen...." He's not resurrecting the old canard—the Justices are.
Philip F. Cardarella, writing in the Kansas City Star, says that when JFK ran, the question was, "How could someone who owed his religious obedience to the Pope in Rome and the doctrines of the Catholic Church truly be trusted?" Now, he opines, "Five men on the Supreme Court—all Catholics—may well just have proven him [JFK] wrong." Got it.
Catholics are 25 percent of the population and comprise two-thirds of the high court. Jews are 1.8 percent of the population and comprise one-third of the high court. Note: only the former is a problem.