It’s no surprise that the “Hobby Lobby” case is in the news. The valid headlines this week are that this religious-liberty case is on the doorstep of the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Hobby Lobby craft-store chain is owned by the evangelical Christian Green family of Oklahoma, and the family is seeking an exemption from the Health and Human Services mandate requiring employer payments for contraceptives — including those that induce abortions. Hobby Lobby is a national chain, and the Green family’s stance is well known.
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration set the stage Thursday for another Supreme Court showdown on the president’s healthcare law, this time to decide whether for-profit companies can be forced to provide full contraceptive coverage for their employees despite religious objections from their owners.
The administration’s lawyers asked the justices to take up the issue this fall to decide whether these corporations can claim a religious exemption to this part of the healthcare law.
U.S. Solicitor Gen. Donald Verrilli Jr. called the issue one of “exceptional importance” that needs to be resolved soon.
While the Greens may appreciate the move to get a quick decision from the Supreme Court, we have to wonder just why this is suddenly an issue of “exceptional importance” to the administration.
We also wonder what a reader coming to this story for the first time might make of the “religious objections” alluded to in the piece. That’s because allusion is all that happens here: we’re not told, in the story, anything about what the Green family believes, or why. There’s a mention of the abortifacient drug issue, but it’s almost too, well, casual.
Large employers are required to provide health coverage, and the law says this insurance must pay for standard contraceptives, including the “morning after” pill.
But some employers object on religious grounds. They went to court, arguing that they cannot be compelled by the government to subsidize birth control or abortions.
As it has doubtless been mentioned here numerous times, a wide range of differences exist among Christians of differing stripes (i.e., faith communities) over what is and isn’t acceptable in terms of birth control.