NRB and many of its members were among those who lauded the United States Supreme Court’s ruling last week that upheld religious freedom for Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties in their “David-and-Goliath” struggle for freedom against the Executive Branch.
“We rejoice with Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties today,” expressed Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, President & CEO of NRB. “This is a significant victory honoring Americans’ First Amendment freedom to live their faith in everyday life.”
Craig Parshall, Sr. Vice President & General Counsel for NRB, added, “The Supreme Court has restored an important feature of religious liberty for Americans – the right of owners of closely-held corporate businesses to exercise their faith in the practical business decisions that they make, a point that NRB and numerous others urged in friend of the court briefs.”
Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties had sought relief from a federal mandate that all new health plans cover contraception, sterilization, and certain abortion-inducing drugs. As private businesses, they did not fall under the narrow religious exemption carved out by the Obama Administration. Had the Supreme Court not ruled in their favor, they would have been required to include such coverage when their health plans renewed or potentially face crippling federal fines for their refusal to comply.
“I hope the Administration and others who would use the heavy hand of government to squelch freedom will take notice,” declared Dr. Johnson. “Christian business owners like the Greens and the Hahns should not be forced to violate their religious beliefs by providing for abortion.”
More comments on the ruling by members of NRB:
David Cortman, Senior Counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom
“Americans don’t surrender their freedom by opening a family business. In its decision today, the Supreme Court affirmed that all Americans, including family business owners, must be free to live and work according to their beliefs without fear of government punishment. In a free and diverse society, we respect the freedom to live out our convictions. For the Hahns and the Greens, that means not being forced to participate in distributing potentially life-terminating drugs and devices.”
Jim Daly, President of Focus on the Family
“This is a great day for religious freedom.
“The Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties cases is a much-anticipated and wonderful affirmation as the court process proceeds. It shows that religious freedom continues to be the lifeblood of a country founded on the inalienable rights afforded to us by our Creator.
“We rejoice with the Green and Hahn families who are now free to continue serving the public, their loyal employees, and their God without having to compromise their faith. These families’ stand for freedom benefits the many faith-based businesses faced with the same awful choice of deciding between their faith and livelihood. It also vindicates a higher principle, showing that government must tread carefully when it seeks to impose policies contrary to our most cherished rights.
“Religious groups and business owners should not have to violate their faith in order to follow the law. It’s not the role of government to define what we believe or what our faith includes. Fundamentally these cases were not about abortion or contraception: they were about whether government can require faith-based groups to violate deeply held beliefs.”
Bradley Mattes, Executive Director of Life Issues Institute
“Today’s ruling upholds the system of checks and balances our founding fathers intended. Our religious rights were threatened by our own government, but in this case the justice system prevailed in protecting our freedoms. This is also as a victory for life, as the protection of the unborn was both recognized and respected.”
Tony Perkins, President of Family Research Council
“The Supreme Court has delivered one of the most significant victories for religious freedom in our generation. We are thankful the Supreme Court agreed that the government went too far by mandating that family business owners must violate their consciences under threat of crippling fines.
“All Americans can be thankful that the Court reaffirmed that freedom of conscience is a long-held American tradition and that the government cannot impose a law on American men and women that forces them to violate their beliefs in order to hold a job, own a business, or purchase health insurance.
“The unfair HHS mandate gave family businesses two non-choices: either violate your deeply held moral beliefs and comply by paying for drugs and services to which you object, or pay crippling fines of up to $100 per day, per employee, for non-compliance. This mandate threatened the jobs, livelihood and healthcare of millions of Americans and forced those who stood up for their conscience, like Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood, to either comply or be punished.
“Thankfully, the threat the HHS mandate imposed on Americans has been deemed unlawful today as a violation of core religious freedom rights. While we celebrate this landmark decision, it is our hope that lower courts will follow the Supreme Court’s lead and protect non-profits like Little Sisters of the Poor, Priests for Life, and Wheaton College from the unfair HHS Mandate.”
Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ
“This is a landmark decision protecting religious freedom and freedom of conscience. The court clearly recognized that closely-held corporations enjoy religious liberty rights just as they enjoy rights to free speech. American citizens do not lose their religious freedom when they form a corporation and try to live out their religious values in the conduct of their business. Moreover, the court — by holding that closely-held corporations cannot be forced to directly subsidize abortion pills — dealt a severe blow to the Obama Administration’s ongoing assault on religious liberty and represents a significant setback to the abortion industry.”
Dr. John Sorensen, President of Evangelism Explosion
“Religious liberty here in the United States directly affects our ability to share the Gospel! It’s easy to imagine a time when our freedom to share the whole truth of Christ is less than we enjoy today. We’ve seen the eroding of such right in other countries and continue to pray for this great nation. This fight on Hobby Lobby’s part is a big win for all religious movement here in the United States. And through us to the world.”
Tim Wildmon, President of American Family Association
“Hobby Lobby took a bold step for all Christian-owned businesses in America and emerged victorious. From the start, this case was about whether the government could blatantly ignore the constitutionally-protected right to the free exercise of religion and force people of faith to violate their deeply held religious convictions. The government requirement that businesses provide contraception coverage never had a constitutional leg to stand on, and yet the government continued to claim power it doesn’t have and to target people of faith. Today’s decision confirms what’s been true all along: business owners do not need to check their faith at their company doors.
“We applaud the Supreme Court justices who thoughtfully considered this case and ruled on the side of freedom, as well as the attorneys who spent so much time and displayed so much passion defending religious liberty. Finally, we thank the Green family who so heroically fought for their constitutionally protected rights and the rights of others.”
Published: July 10, 2014