You might have heard about the Supreme Court case involving Hobby Lobby, hailed by religious groups as a major win. The case said companies are allowed to get out of paying for contraception for their employees. You might not have heard that you, as a taxpayer, now pay for those employees’ contraception instead.
This country was founded on the principle that the government should stay out of religious exercise. But that doesn’t mean the government can’t govern. The Supreme Court recognized the limits of the “Free Exercise” clause in 1990 when a member of the Native American Church wanted an exemption from a law prohibiting peyote use. The Court ruled against him, saying an indirect burden on religion is fine when lawmakers want to accomplish a different goal. It’s possible that his non-“mainstream” practice had something to do with the result.
Since that ruling, the government made a law to do what the Free Exercise clause couldn’t. It’s the law the Court used to side with employers in the Hobby Lobby case.
However, some would argue that avoiding burdening religion as the Court did in Hobby Lobby could be a preference for a certain religion. That’s not Trump’s view. He declared recently his intent to secure Christian views on contraception will be free from government burden.
See the legal landscape relating to the Contraception Mandate in our report this week. We are piloting a Quiz segment in this week’s post – hope it helps you follow the report!