Republican members of Congress stand with Hobby Lobby for religious freedom
WASHINGTON, D.C., March 27, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The lawsuit brought by the owners of Conestoga Wood and Hobby Lobby has become a lightning rod for activists, pundits, and others who support religious liberty and/or life for the unborn. This week, it also garnered a great deal of support from over 20 members of Congress.
In a statement, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-VA, said, “Our nation’s laws have long-protected the rights of people to freely exercise their religious beliefs and recognized their convictions as valuable and nonnegotiable,” but that “the Obamacare mandate ... signifies a growing willingness for federal bureaucrats and President Obama to blatantly disregard the consciences of people of faith.”
Goodlatte is an original co-sponsor of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which is a law that the chairman says “clearly provides free exercise protection in that the 'government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion.'”
In a press conference on Tuesday, eight representatives, led by Diane Black of Tennessee, stood with the owners of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood. Black said “the HHS mandate puts jobs, livelihood, and health care” for many Americans at risk, while Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri tied the religious freedom fight of today to the reason the Pilgrims came to North America in the first place: religious liberty.
In a statement on Monday, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio bluntly stated that “the government should not impose an arbitrary religious litmus test to determine who is and isn’t able to fully participate in American life,” while House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-VA, criticized the Obama administration for putting “undue stress on charities, hospitals, family-run businesses and religious institutions.”
Longtime pro-life advocate Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey said that in his 2009 Notre Dame speech, President Obama promised conscious protection in the Affordable Care Act. According to Smith, that makes the mandate's violations of “protection of conscience ... another highly visible broken promise of Obamacare.”
Support for religious freedom was not found solely in the House. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-TX, spoke at Tuesday's rally outside of the Supreme Court, while Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said President Obama should explain to Pope Benedict in their meeting today why the president is violating religious freedom. Sen. Mike Lee, R-UT, predicted the mandate would see a 6-3 or a 7-2 decision.