This blog post by Ethical Humanist Society of the Triangle (EHST) President Chris Kaman was originally published on the EHST website on July 1, 2014.
The Supreme Court ruling on Hobby Lobby is being hailed by the political right as a victory for religious freedom, and by the political left as a slippery slope down on the way to religious tyranny. Americans United for Separation of Church and State filed an amicus brief supporting the Obama administration against Hobby Lobby, as well as the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF). While they both agreed in their conclusions, they differed in their argument. The FFRF argued that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) of 1993 is unconstitutional, therefore provisions from it should not be used to justify religious exemptions to the Affordable Care Act’s provisions. Americans United focused on the fact that we live in a pluralistic society where secular corporations are not entitled to the rights of individuals under the RFRA. Additional information about the RFRA can be found here. The American Humanist Association signed on to an amicus brief supporting the government’s position requiring compliance by Hobby Lobby; this brief was also signed by the Center for Inquiry, American Atheists, the Military Association for Atheists and Freethinkers, and the Insititute for Science and Human Values.
EHST has long supported the principle of separation of church and state, as has its national organization, the American Ethical Union. We invite readers to weigh in on this issue. I think all sides in this case agree that this issue is resolved for Hobby Lobby, but the future of “religious freedom” in America is far from over.