Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Like my co-editor, Haskell Murray, I am participating in an on line symposium on Hobby Lobby over at the Conglomerate. My piece focuses on the boundaries set (or left open) by the opinion and raises this new issue:
The Court framed the case as an “important question of religion and moral philosophy, namely, the circumstances under which it is immoral for a person to perform an act that is innocent in itself but hat has the effect of enabling or facilitating the commission of an import act by another.” The corporate plaintiff didn’t have to violate its beliefs (that feels like an absurd statement), but taking an action that permitted a third party employee to possibly violate the beliefs of the corporation was a sufficient burden. This is also ignores that the contraceptives at issue could be used for medical reasons unrelated to lifestyle choices. Here is where I struggle the most with the reasoning of the Majority. Employers pay employees subject to minimum wage laws. Employers have no guarantee that the employees will use the compensation in a manner consistent with the employer’s religious views. Why is it different when the compensation comes in the form of employer-provided health benefits, which is a form of compensation?