Crucial cases: Pray for justices to support freedom of conscience Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler   
Thursday, Mar. 27, 2014 -- 12:00 AM

This week the United State Supreme Court will be taking up some crucial cases involving freedom of conscience of employers in our country.

As Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, points out in his guest column in this week's Catholic Herald, the court’s justices will be considering whether employers must provide health insurance for drugs and services they find morally objectionable under the Affordable Care Act.

For-profit and religious employers

There are two types of cases: one whether for-profit businesses may be included under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the other if non-profit and religious entities must follow the provisions of the Affordable Care Act by being morally complicit with the terms of the act.

The Obama Administration has allowed for exemptions for purely religious organizations, but even then, as Father Pavone points out, it is much like a “shell game.” If the religious organization refuses to cover the objectionable drugs and services, the employees may still obtain them directly from the insurance company.

Employers of all kinds — for-profit and non-profit, including religious organizations — should have the freedom to choose the kinds of benefits their employees receive. Employees who work for these employers know what benefits they get and can decide whether or not to work for the employers. Nobody to my knowledge is forced to work for anyone in this country.

Protecting conscience rights

On March 24, two more businesses entered the fray. Two car dealerships in Minnesota — Hastings Automotive, Inc. and Hastings Chrysler Center — and their owner, Doug Erickson, were given a temporary exemption from the contraceptive mandate until the Supreme Court issues its ruling. Erickson joins the list of other business owners who do not want to violate their consciences in the operation of their businesses.

Jeremy Dys, senior counsel for the Liberty Institute representing Erickson, said, “We hope the Supreme Court of the United States will agree that every American should be free to live and work according to their beliefs and without fear of punishment by their government.”

Let us pray that the justices of the Supreme Court will protect the conscience rights of all employers in their decisions in these cases.