WASHINGTON — Interfaith Alliance president Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy called today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp v. Sebelius a “grave error” and raised serious concerns about its impact on our understanding of religious freedom. Interfaith Alliance has been a longtime advocate for religious freedom and joined with other religious groups in filing a friend of the court brief asking the court to rule against the owners of for-profit private corporations that want to deny their employees access to birth control:
“The Supreme Court made a grave error today. The balance between religious freedom and other compelling interests has always been tenuous, but we may very well remember today’s decision as the moment that balance was radically recalibrated. Not only has the Court, for the first time in history, expanded the definition of religious freedom to include for-profit corporate entities, it has determined that the free exercise of those employers outweighs that of their employees. The First Amendment is at its best when it is used to protect the rights of minorities from the whims of the powerful. Today’s decision, which gives the powerful the right to force their religious beliefs on those around them, is a far cry from the best traditions of religious freedom.”
“There are many questions that have been left unanswered in this decision that will further imperil our historic understanding of religious freedom. Chief among them is the Court determining that all corporations are covered under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which indicates that this decision could eventually move beyond closely held corporations. Additionally, the Court may have only ruled on the contraception mandate today, but there is no reason to believe the implications of this decision will be limited to that issue.”
“I find strength in knowing that we have lost at the Court before and that religious freedom has not been so easily shaken. We will find a way, through legal action and through legislation, to repair the damage that was done to our democracy today.”
Interfaith Alliance is a network of people of diverse faiths and beliefs from across the country working together to build a resilient democracy and fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights not just for some, but for all. We mobilize powerful coalitions to challenge Christian nationalism and religious extremism, while fostering a better understanding of the healthy boundaries between religion and government. We advocate at all levels of government for an equitable and just America where the freedoms of belief and religious practice are protected, and where all persons are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.