The battle with Obamacare will again reach the Supreme Court as the issue of religious liberty will be put to the test.
Last week, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a lawsuit filed by Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., a family-owned craft store company. It is challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare’s abortion coverage mandate. Founder David Green started out small working out of his garage in Oklahoma in 1970. Hobby Lobby now runs nearly 600 stores across the country, employs 13,000 people and topped $2 billion in sales in 2009.
They say their Christian faith is at the heart of how they do business. The company donates more than 10 percent of its income every year to charity. All stores are closed on Sundays. It’s the company’s dedication to biblical principles that led Hobby Lobby in April to raise full-time employees’ starting minimum wage to $14 an hour. Many of Hobby Lobby’s employees are single moms working two jobs. Green doesn’t need federal mandates to tell him how to treat and retain good employees. While countless businesses have been forced to drop health insurance for their shrinking workforces Hobby Lobby opened an onsite comprehensive health care and wellness clinic in 2010 with no co-pays. Hobby Lobby employees are covered under the company’s self-insured health plan. Hobby Lobby sued over Obamacare’s “preventive services” mandate, which forces the Christian-owned-and-operated business to provide, without co-pay, abortion-inducing drugs including the “morning after pill” and “week after pill” in their health insurance plan.
The suit says Washington cannot force families to abandon their faith just to earn a living. This summer, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals exempted Hobby Lobby from the abortion mandate and allowed the business to avoid those crippling fines while pursuing its case. The Supreme Court will decide whether the new healthcare law violates constitutional principles.
Every employee is aware of the founders’ history, devout work ethic and faith. No one is forced to work at Hobby Lobby. If workers want birth control, they can pay for it themselves, says the suit.
I am coming to believe that Washington just doesn’t get it and unfortunately, may not ever get it. In reviewing the past few days remembering the life of President Kennedy some 50 years later, his famous quote on the day he was sworn in. “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
Our national government has taken a lot of the incentives away from Americans among other things. While it is good to have Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other entitlements, those should go to only those who need a ‘hand up, not a hand out.’ As the Supreme Court ponders this case, I hope they consider the principles which this country was based upon and not take away a more precious and intimate relationship. Let people keep more of their money and watch them respond when local needs are challenging.
By Bob Simmons