Religious Freedom Applies to Businesses: Opposing View

Religious Freedom Applies to Businesses: Opposing View

[USA Today]

Hobby Lobby Stores' co-founders, David and Barbara Green. Hobby Lobby is among dozens of companies challenging the health law’s contraception mandate. (Photo: AP)
Hobby Lobby Stores’ co-founders, David and Barbara Green. Hobby Lobby is among dozens of companies challenging the health law’s contraception mandate. (Photo: AP)

Can you make money and be religious? The Obama administration and a few courts have said no — at least in the context of forcing business owners to violate their religion by purchasing abortion-inducing drugs for their employees. Thankfully, most courts have rejected this view, leaving individuals and their businesses free to go to work without checking their conscience at the door.

The question is not about corporations. We know corporations can exercise religion because houses of worship and other religious organizations are corporations. The Supreme Court has repeatedly protected religious liberty for corporations. The question is really about money, and whether the government can force groups that earn money to single-mindedly pursue profits, without regard for any other value.

We regularly encounter businesses making decisions of conscience. Chipotle recently decided not to sponsor a Boy Scout event because the company disagreed with the Scouts’ policy on openly gay scoutmasters. It was “the right thing to do,” Chipotle said.

Starbucks has ethical standards for the coffee beans it buys. Vegan stores refuse to sell animal products because they believe doing so is immoral. Some businesses refuse to invest in sweatshops or pornography companies or polluters.

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