Religious freedom a personal choice

Supreme Court ruling could lead to slippery slope of executive preferences

By Ken Esten Cooke— The possibility that is being considered in front of the Supreme Court — that corporations may impose religious choices on their employees — should give everyone pause.

A ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby executives’ claim that providing employees with contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act violates the company’s religious liberty would be wrong.

The religious convictions of Hobby Lobby executives are not in dispute.

But the question posed by some of the justices of “How does a corporation exercise religion?” would lead to further litigation on potentially many issues.

As stated in a Tuesday Dallas Morning News editorial, religious freedom is a personal freedom, not an employer choice.

Imagine a company denying vaccinations on religious grounds, or claiming religious objections to laws banning sexual discrimination, child labor, minimum wage or family leave.

It’s a slippery slope.

The Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision was one of its worst. It essentially declared that “money is speech,” and opened the floodgates for dark money to pour into campaigns from unspecified donors.

That was followed by political organizations masquerading as “social welfare” organizations so that they could funnel money to political candidates without disclosing donors.

The wrong ruling in the current Supreme Court case would essentially validate the dogma that “corporations are people.”

But it would be a mistake if the Supreme Court extended religious freedom to businesses. One not need approve of contraception that could be seen as taking a life to see that a Supreme Court decision would open up a host of new problems.

No one, from a conservative to a liberal, would want their employer’s religious beliefs imposed on their personal insurance coverage.

A firm run by executives with deep religious convictions is not the same as a church or religious nonprofit organization.

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