It was a busy morning at the Supreme Court. The high court handed down a decision in an important case dealing with religiously affiliated hospitals and employee pensions. We’ll have some analysis of that case later. For now, let’s take a look at a case that justices decided not to hear – Sterling v. United States.
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) was born of good intentions: to protect the fundamental American value of religious freedom.
In the two decades since, however, many have misconstrued and exploited the law in ways that would result in harm to others. We can’t stand by and watch the corruption of the noble concept of freedom of religion and belief. RFRA should be restored to its original purpose so that the law, once again, can be a shield to protect religious freedom and not a sword to harm others.
Some early reactions to the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case suggested that the ruling is too narrow to cause much real harm. But given that the high court just said corporations are people with religious freedom rights, and those rights are more important than women’s health, it seems the decision is a likely Pandora’s Box.
Mississippi is the latest state to send “religious freedom” legislation to the governor’s desk, prompting fresh controversy over what critics believe is a license to discriminate against LGBT people.
Do for-profit corporations exercise religion? What constitutes a religious enterprise? What did Congress intend when it passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in 1993?
These and many other questions were batted about this morning as the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the pivotal combined case of Sebelius vs. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties vs. Sebelius.
I was fortunate to sit in the press gallery during the argument, and it seemed skepticism abounded on both sides.