All Eyes on the Supreme Court: HHS Mandate & Religious Freedom

 

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Today, March 25, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the oral arguments for both the Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius cases. Religious freedom is at the heart of the issue and we have a responsibility as Christians and Americans to closely pay attention.

Let’s quickly revisit the crux of these cases. The Obama administration is attempting to make Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties comply with the HHS mandate, forcing them to provide birth control and abortion-causing drugs to employees. The Christian families behind Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood refuse, however, to violate their deeply held religious convictions to comply. Now, the Supreme Court is getting involved to hear the oral arguments.

Much is at stake for these hearings, most notably, the ability for Christians to live out their faith without having to go against their conscience. Recently, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops got involved and filed amicus curiae brief to support both Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood. The USCCB press release stated they oppose:

“any rule that would require faithful Catholics and other religiously motivated business owners to choose between providing coverage for products and speech that violate their religious beliefs, and exposing their businesses to devastating penalties.”

There are currently 93 lawsuits filed by more than 300 plaintiffs challenging the HHS mandate across the country. These lawsuits, along with the U.S. bishops’ statement, serve as alarmingly bright red flags.  This is a unique time in the Church right now.  We must be living in the present moment and have a peaked sense of awareness about what’s at stake here: the freedom to live out our faith. I urge you to monitor the Supreme Court hearings.

I don’t want to incur a feeling of fear. We as Christians know Truth and should always have a resounding sense of peace. In fact, the approach I believe to be the most appropriate is the one taken by CatholicVote.org. Prior to today’s hearing, this group launched a National Prayer Campaign for Religious Freedom. As the Supreme Court hearings on the HHS mandate commence, let us also take up a prayerful spirit. Let us pray the Supreme Court judges are blessed with a heavenly wisdom during this time.

As today also marks the Annunciation of the Lord, let us hold onto the hope that these hearings will result in a just announcement and that we can imitate Mary’s fiat.

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