Busting a Few Myths About the Hobby Lobby Ruling

As a result of yesterday’s landmark Supreme Court ruling involving Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood, a lot of incorrect information has emerged across the Internet. We want to take a moment to bust a few common myths we see recurring about the ruling and its implications.

  1. Myth #1: The ruling struck down the HHS contraceptive mandate. Believe it or not, the HHS mandate still stands; it just doesn’t apply to certain family-owned businesses. Yesterday’s ruling found that family-owned businesses whose owners have well-established, deeply-held religious convictions guiding their practices cannot be forced to pay for contraceptives, abortifacients, sterilizations, or other services they find objectionable. Other for-profit companies still have to abide by it.
  2. Myth #2: The ruling means Hobby Lobby and other companies won’t offer health insurance to their employees. Yesterday’s ruling has nothing to do with the availability of health insurance. According to our research, Hobby Lobby offered health insurance to its employees before Obamacare went into effect. Hobby Lobby plans to continue offering health insurance to its employees today. The issue has never been whether or not Hobby Lobby would offer insurance to employees; the issue has always been whether or not the federal government can require those insurance plans include procedures and services Hobby Lobby’s owners find morally objectionable.
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Bishop Taylor on Living According to the Dictates of Conscience

In light of yesterday’s landmark Supreme Court ruling in the Hobby Lobby case, here is a video from a couple of years ago of Bishop Anthony Taylor of the Catholic Diocese of Little Rock discussing religious liberty and the Department of Health and Human Services’ contraceptive mandate.

“The issue is whether the government should force us to pay for these immoral practices and thereby make us participants in actions that violate our religious beliefs.”

-Bishop Taylor

Watch the video below.

Obamacare, Nebuchadnezzar, and Religious Liberty

What does the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego have to do with the Obamacare mandate that forces religious employers to pay for contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients? John Stonestreet with the Chuck Colson Center makes the connection.


[audio:http://www.breakpoint.org/images/content/breakpoint/audio/point/2014/TPT504092014.mp3|titles=John Stonestreet – A Choice from Justice Nebuchadnezzar]

“A freedom that comes with a tax or punishment isn’t freedom at all,” Stonestreet says. “Inalienable rights aren’t bought.”

When the government tries to tax or penalize someone for exercising a fundamental right, the government is encroaching on liberty. In the case of religious employers who find contraception, sterilization, and abortion morally objectionable, the government is issuing a clear ultimatum: Either compromise your deeply-held religious convictions, or pay a stiff fine.

To put it another way, employers are free to operate their businesses according to their moral convictions if they’re willing to pay the government. In the case of Hobby Lobby–one of the companies suing over the contraception mandate–this “conscience tax” would amount to millions of dollars per year.

Courts have ruled private corporations enjoy constitutional liberties such as free speech and freedom of the press. Why shouldn’t they also have religious liberty? And why should religious business owners be taxed for obeying their convictions?

There simply is no sensible way to justify it.