Today, Jan lead a discussion about the Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby decision. The owners of the Hobby Lobby corporate parent were upset that the Affordable Care Act would force employers to provide the same level of health care to all its employees even if that care conflicts with the corporation's religious belief. Jan brought to our attention a few U.S. Supreme court decisions that lead us to this place where corporations can even claim to have religious beliefs.
1963-Serbert v. Vernor the court decided that if a person has a sincere religious belief, then the government cannot interfere with that belief unless the government can prove that it has a compelling government interest to do so. And even then, it must interfere in the least burdensome way.
1993- President Clinton signs the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) requiring the government to have a compelling interest as a test for the balance or religious liberty and government interests.
1997 the Supreme Court says RFRA does not apply to the states.
2013 Supreme Court declines RFRA in a same sex wedding case between Arizona and New Mexico.
2010 Supreme Court decides that corporations have the right of free speech just like human citizens do.
2014 Supreme Court decides the Hobby Lobby case decides that RFRA applies to religious convictions over health care that must be provided by employers. The Court also decided that closely held corporations can claim to have the same religious views of their owners.
The result is that the Supreme Court has decided that some small corporations can have religious "beliefs" and that a person's right to health care can be limited by the religious beliefs of their employers. It will deny women who do not hold their employers' beliefs access to contraceptive coverage. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg herself asked the following question: "would the exemption…extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah's Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations[?]…Not much help there for the lower courts bound by today's decision."
Here is a link to the interview of Justice Ginsburg: