11 Questions for Christian Companies in Light of the Hobby Lobby Decision
By now you’ve probably heard about the Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case. The Christian owners of the Hobby Lobby chain of retail stores filed suit, seeking an exemption from paying for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act that covers contraceptive methods it deems in opposition to the Christian beliefs of the owners. The Supreme Court sided with Hobby Lobby, saying in the majority 5–4 opinion that it doubted “the Congress that enacted [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] -- or, for that matter, ACA -- would have believed it a tolerable result to put family-run businesses to the choice of violating their sincerely held religious beliefs or making all of their employees lose their existing healthcare plans.” Because family-run businesses.
Now there’s all kinds of debate about whether the SCOTUS decision infringes on a woman’s right to make medical choices in consultation with her doctor, absent the interference of her employer. There’s also debate about the extent to which this opens up a religious can of worms, allowing for arguments for exemption from a broad swath of laws based on personal religious conviction. All important stuff.
But what caught my attention was a piece on a conservative religious site, arguing that liberal opposition to the Supreme Court ruling was a baseless set of “ridiculous lies liberals are spreading about the Hobby Lobby victory.” In particular, I was struck by the writer’s claim that:
“The justices did not launch an attack on women. Women can still buy birth control, Plan B or whatever abortifacient they want with a doctor’s prescription. There’s just no reason a Christian company should be forced to pay for it.”
It’s kind of small, tucked in there at the end … the assertion of something called a “Christian company.” The author argues that Christian companies, like Hobby Lobby, should be allowed to express their religious convictions by avoiding paying for insurance that contradicts those convictions.
But, simpleminded as I am, I just kept tripping over those two words: Christian company. That sounds an awful lot like Citizens United on ecclesiastical steroids.