Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Supreme Court Ruling: Burwell v. Hobby Lobby

Last week Monday, June 30, the United States Supreme Court announced its landmark decision in the case Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. In a 5-4 ruling, the high court held that closely held, for-profit corporations cannot be forced to comply with the contraception-coverage mandate in the 2010 health-care reform law. Hobby Lobby and other companies had religious objections to being forced to pay for some or all of the contraceptives for its employees.

Doing a Google search of "Hobby Lobby decision" produced some heated commentary in the results. Here's a sample of what turned up:

"A Supreme Feud over Birth Control: Four Blunt Points"

"Federal Judge Blasts Hobby Lobby Decision"

"No, the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby Decision Is Not Based upon a Scientific Mistake"

"Activists Hand Out Condoms at Hobby Lobby to Protest Supreme Court Decision -- Their Profession Might Surprise You"

"Supreme Court Now Playing Cute PR Games with Hobby Lobby Decision"

The timing of the decision -- the Monday before Independence Day -- brings up once again the question about the "wall of separation" concept that governs many Americans' understanding of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

This topic of the relationship between church and state is explored in the Men's NetWork video Bible study, The Intersection of Church & State. It discusses the historical thinking behind the First Amendment and explores some of the benefits of cooperation between church and state.

Especially relevant to the Hobby Lobby case is this comment from Tad Armstrong, J.D., in the third session of the video. "We're somehow led to believe the Supreme Court is unfriendly to religion and unfriendly to Christianity in particular. And you have to read these wonderful Supreme Court decisions that support religion and support Christianity, and then we need to praise those and stand up for them."

With the Independence Day weekend right behind us, it's a good time to revisit this video Bible study to again contemplate our rights, privileges and responsibilities as American citizens. You can find it here at The Intersection of Church & State.

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