WASHINGTON (BP, TAB) — An “exhilarating victory for religious freedom” took place June 30 when the United States Supreme Court struck down a key mandate of the Affordable Care Act, ruling for the first time “closely held” companies may exercise their religious opinions and conscientiously object to providing abortion-inducing contraceptives to employees through their health insurance plans. Writing for the majority in Burwell (Sebelius) v. Hobby Lobby, Justice Samuel Alito claimed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) provides individually or family-owned businesses, such as Hobby Lobby, with protections against government mandates that violate religious conscience. “Our responsibility is to enforce the RFRA as written, and under the standard the RFRA prescribes, the HHS contraceptive mandate is unlawful,” Alito wrote. Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said the ruling was a victory due in large part to the fact Hobby Lobby owners David and Barbara Green, along with their children, had “refused to render to Caesar that which did not belong to him. As a Baptist, I am encouraged that our ancestors’ struggle for the First Amendment has been vindicated. This is as close as a Southern Baptist gets to dancing in the streets with joy.”
Look for a full coverage of the decision in an upcoming issue of The Alabama Baptist.