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Two reasons why Obama thinks religious freedom does not apply to business

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
January 3rd, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

According to Obama, there are two reasons why freedom of religion, promised in the First Amendment, does not apply to you as an employer. Federal prosecutors are presenting the sub-stellar arguments against Hobby Lobby, a chain of arts and craft stores. Hobby Lobby is the first to face the wrath of the administration for fighting back against its unconstitutional mandates requiring religious employers to pay for employee contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortifacients.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Hobby Lobby is a chain of arts and crafts stores run by David and Barbara Green, an evangelical Christian couple. They run their stores by following Biblical moral principles. Specifically, they pay their employees at least $13 per hour, well above minimum wage, and they provide free healthcare to them.

However, because healthcare does not include aborting and destroying life, their employee health plan omits abortion-inducing drugs. Conversely, as evangelical Christians, they do not find  contraception and sterilization immoral, and their employee plan does permit those activities.

In the main, their healthcare plan meets or exceeds the requirements of the Obama administration on every front, with the exception that it does not pay for the termination of life.

For Obama, this is unacceptable and as of Tuesday, Hobby Lobby is subject to fines of $1.3 million per day.

In the case of Hobby Lobby vs. Kathleen Sebelius, the administration is making two arguments.

First, the administration says that a secular, for-profit corporation is not entitled to freedom of religion.

The following excerpt comes from CNS News.

"Hobby Lobby is a for-profit, secular employer, and a secular entity by definition does not exercise religion," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Stuart Delery in a filing submitted in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.

"Because Hobby Lobby is a secular employer, it is not entitled to the protections of the Free Exercise Clause or RFRA [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act]," Delery told the court on behalf of the administration. "This is because, although the First Amendment freedoms of speech and association are 'right[s] enjoyed by religious and secular groups alike,' the Free Exercise Clause 'gives special solicitude to the rights of religious organizations.'"

Such an interpretation of the First Amendment could also affect employers such as Catholic Online.

The second pillar of the administration's argument is that the law is generally applicable, which means it applies across the nation to all employers. Such laws may violate the individual's conscience, but the government may enforce them. The reason is that the law does not target a specific religious group, but applies equally to all employers, no matter their background or belief.

The Greens asked for a preliminary injunction, however this was denied by Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor.  Now the business has to choose between bowing to Obama or accruing fines of $1.3 million per day for non-compliance.

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, in representing the Greens, said they will continue their appeal before the Tenth Circuit. However, the price for Hobby Lobby, should they lose could be the death of the business in the face of crushing fines.

In a modern sense, the Greens are truly Daniels in Darius's court. The king has condemned them, and us by extension, to the Lion's Den. If the case is lost, then it will be to a power greater than ourselves to save our freedom, and our nation.

RELATED: Catholic business wins minor victory against Obama mandate

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