Hobby Lobby Ruling 'Victory for Religious Freedom'

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WASHINGTON -- In a victory for Hobby Lobby, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that profit-seeking businesses such as the arts and crafts chain can hold religious views under federal law.

The Oklahoma-based company is owned by the Green family, who are devout Christians. They said Obamacare's mandate requiring they provide insurance coverage for all forms of birth control violates their religious rights.

The court agreed.

"RFRA applies to regulations that govern the activities of closely held for profit corporations like Conestoga and Hobby Lobby" and the "HHS contraceptive mandate substantially burdens the exercise of religion," Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the majority.
 
"The government has failed to show that the contraceptive mandate is the least restrictive means of furthering that interest," Alito said.  

Opponents of Monday's Supreme Court ruling say the decision violates women's rights. Alison Howard, with Concerned Women for America, addressed that issue and more on CBN News Today, July 1. 

Reaction to the high court's ruling ranged from spontaneous celebration among religious and pro-family groups in Washington to strong criticism from pro-choice women's groups.

Hobby Lobby co-founder Barbara Green described her family as "overjoyed" by the decision. She called it "a victory, not just for our family business, but for all who seek to live out their faith. We are grateful to God and to those who have supported us on this difficult journey."

Kristina Arriaga is executive director of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the legal group representing the Hobby Lobby owners.

She told CBN News if Hobby Lobby had lost, federal fines would have crushed them, adding that the Green family wasn't asking much of the government.

"They have a terrific health care plan and all they objected to was four out of 20 FDA-mandated drugs," Arriaga said of the owners.  "And the government said 'fine.  You don't have to provide them and we'll fine you $1.6 million a day.'  The fines would have been crushing."   

Beyond the contraception mandate, this case has huge implications for the country.  For instance, this is the first time the Court has ruled that a corporation - just like individuals - has a right to religious freedom.

How big a blow is Monday's Supreme Court ruling to the Obama administration? CBN News' David Brody addressed that question and more below:

Triune Health Group co-owner Mary Anne Yep told CBN News she and her husband are their business, started by faith.

"Our 10 children prayed about it," Yep said.  "We were praying every night.  The corporation was us.  We cannot separate who we were."

That's why the Yeps are also suing over the Obamacare contraception mandate. 

Mrs. Yep said she resents the charge that those who oppose the mandate are anti-woman, pointing out that her business recently won the title "Best Place to Work for Women" in the Chicago area.

David French, with the American Center for Law and Justice, offers his analysis of the Supreme Court ruling below:

 

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/PaulStrandCBN.