NRB this week proclaimed its solidarity with Hobby Lobby in the Christian craft store’s David-and-Goliath struggle against the Executive Branch currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, President & CEO of NRB, declared, “We stand with Hobby Lobby, and against Obamacare, for the sanctity of human life and the First Amendment freedom to live out that conviction. Christian business owners like the Greens should not be forced by the government to violate their religious beliefs by providing for abortion.”
Hobby Lobby is seeking relief from a federal mandate that all new health plans cover contraception, sterilization, and certain abortion-inducing drugs. As a private business, Hobby Lobby does not fall under the narrow religious exemption carved out by the Obama Administration, so it would be required to include such coverage when its health plan renews or potentially face crippling federal fines of $1.3 million per day for its refusal to comply.
Notably, in a September 2012 USA Today Op-Ed, David Green, Hobby Lobby Founder and CEO, frankly observed, “My family has lived the American dream. We want to continue growing our company and providing great jobs for thousands of employees, but the government is going to make that much more difficult. The government is forcing us to choose between following our faith and following the law. I say that's a choice no American — and no American business — should have to make.”
In an Amicus Curiae (“Friend of the Court”) brief, NRB’s Office of General Counsel, led by NRB Senior Vice President & General Counsel Craig Parshall, presented to the Supreme Court an argument for appropriate “breathing room” for religious freedom rights fundamental to the American Republic. NRB’s filing stated, “[I]t is an arbitrary and artificial distinction that would grant religious rights to individuals in a church corporation, but deny those same rights to religious individuals who completely control their closely-held, for-profit enterprises.”
Hobby Lobby, which is being represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, will make its case directly to the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court on March 25.
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: January 30, 2014