June 30, 2014
Statement on Burwell v. Hobby Lobby
June 30, 2014 - The Diocese of Worcester applauds the decision this morning from the Supreme Court of the United States in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. In the court’s decision, Justice Samuel Alito wrote “Under the standard that [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act] prescribes, the HHS contraceptive mandate is unlawful.” The mandate substantially burdened the exercise of religion by the owner of a private, for-profit business without being the least restrictive means of furthering public health.
As Pope Francis recently said, religious freedom “is the freedom to live according to ethical principles, both privately and publicly.” It is not limited to worship within a building but includes the right to live one’s faith in society. The Green Family of Hobby Lobby and the Hahn Family of Conestoga Wood Specialties were recognized by the community for leading their companies with high ethical standards including providing exemplary benefits for their employees including excellent healthcare benefits. They did so while respecting their conscience by not providing coverage for drugs or methods which could induce an abortion.
The United States was founded by people who were seeking a place to exercise their religious beliefs without penalty, and this freedom has been protected without establishing one particular faith over another. We are grateful for today’s ruling by the Supreme Court and look forward to building a culture that fully respects religious freedom.