The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), representing 40 denominations with more than 45,000 congregations, filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court today on behalf of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood in their case against the administration’s mandate to cover contraception in company-offered health insurance plans even when doing so violates the religious beliefs of the owners.
“This case is important, historic and precedent setting,” said Leith Anderson, NAE President. “The ruling will have vast implications on what the government can mandate business owners to do. The government does not have the right to violate the religious beliefs of any of its citizens, including business owners.”
Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood are for-profit closely held corporations operated in accord with the biblical beliefs of the families that own the businesses. These businesses do not object to contraception generally, but do object to so-called “morning after” drugs that may act as abortifacients.
Some claim that it is unlawful to exempt religious businesses in a manner that shifts the cost of contraception to their employees. In the brief, the NAE rebuts this claim arguing that such a shift does not violate the Establishment Clause, nor is avoiding such a shift a compelling interest of the government.
Carl Esbeck, NAE Legal Counsel and author of the brief, said, “A little common sense is called for, because the very nature of a regulatory exemption is ‘that government does not establish a religion by leaving it alone.'”
Over widespread objections to the contraception mandate, the administration finalized rules that exempt only churches, provide other religious nonprofits with unsatisfactory accommodations, and offer no protection to business owners who seek to apply their faith to their businesses.
“Business owners in America should be able to run their businesses according to their religious faith and values,” Anderson said.