The right of conscience is at the center of a case that will come before the Supreme Court on March 25. The health care mandate of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) requires companies to provide health insurance with contraceptive care—even if the practice goes against deeply held beliefs of company owners. The case is Sebelius [of the Health and Human Services] v. Hobby Lobby Stores. Steve Green is the president of Hobby Lobby, and an article in Religious News describes his faith.
Steve Green is a Southern Baptist, grandson and nephew of Pentecostal pastors, a Sunday school teacher for decades and leader of a business that has declared its Christian principles from opening day. Hobby Lobby stores are all closed Sundays “to allow employees time for family & worship,” the front door signs say. To read more of the article about Steve Green click here.
The battle over right of conscience has been brewing for a while. In April of 2011, I attended a conference in Michigan. Doctors, a hospital administrator, priests, a member of the Heritage Foundation, nurses and ethicists were present. A focus of this conference was the right of conscience as the new health care law was being unveiled.
Based on my faith and the Bible, I view life as precious, a gift of God. When I was a recent graduate of nursing school I worked for a large city hospital. When this hospital began offering abortions (saline inductions) shortly after Roe v. Wade was decided, I wrote a letter that was kept in my file. As a matter of conscience I could not participate in abortions. The right of conscience is a fundamental right guaranteed by our constitution.
In January of 2012 I attended Speak Out Illinois. Catholics, Orthodox, Lutherans and Jews attended this event. All were concerned about the health care mandate attached to the Affordable Care Act. The requirement that Catholic institutions provide birth control pills, the morning after pill, and sterilization had sent shock waves through this group. Our founding fathers valued freedom of religion. These quotes convey the importance of right of conscience.
Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.
George Washington (1732 – 1799)
It behoves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others; or their case may, by change of circumstances, become his own.
Thomas Jefferson, Letters to Benjamin Rush, April 21, 1803
No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against enterprises of the civil authority.
As the Supreme Court hears oral arguments will you join me in praying for the Green family, for right of conscience and religious freedom?
Update: Women Speak for Themselves has a press release. Here is a portion:
In the United States, women practice religion more often then men, and women oppose the Mandate in greater numbers than men. Women business-owners and charitable service-providers are among the leading plaintiffs in lawsuits challenging the Mandate.