Supplementing Coverage of the Hobby Lobby Case

Be careful with what you read in the mainstream media about the Hobby Lobby case before the Supreme Court. You can bet that they’ll give short shrift to the religious issues involved. Luckily, sites like GetReligion help to lengthen the shrift. Here they provide some much-needed clarification to the folks a the NY Times:

The Times story will lead most readers to assume that this is a conflict with two levels — for-profit groups (status unknown) vs. non-profit religious organizations (already protected). The reality in the HHS mandate is more complex than that, drawing a line between religious groups that are protected by a freedom of “worship” and those that no longer enjoy a full protection in the name of religious liberty.

Jesus was urging his disciples to serve people — even if they were of another faith.

What does that have to do with the HHS rules? Journalists really need to check thewording of the mandate. Religious non-profit employers seeking the exemption from the mandate must have the “inculcation of religious values” as their goal, they must primarily employ persons who share their “religious tenets” and primarily serve persons who share those same tenets.

What is the definition of “primarily”? What is the percentage required of those served?

In other words, if the Little Sisters of the Poor continue to serve needy non-Catholics as freely as they serve needy Catholics, then they may not be “religious enough” to be protected from the HHS requirements. The sisters need to start counting Catholic heads and non-Catholic heads, in case government officials decide to argue that their religious ministry is not religious enough to be considered protected worship.

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