The president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, together with the chairman of the conference’s Committee for Religious Liberty, released a statement earlier today in response to the US Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby religious freedom case.
The joint statement from Archbishop Joseph Kurtz and Archbishop William Lori praised the Supreme Court for “[recognizing] that Americans can continue to follow their faith when they run a family business.” They also pointed out that the ruling has no clear implications for religious freedom cases challenging the Obama administration’s “accommodation” for religious employers, such as the lawsuit filed by the Little Sisters of the Poor.
Earlier this year the USCCB filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in support of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, both family-run businesses whose owners object to providing employees with insurance plans covering contraceptives that can act as abortifacients. In the brief, the USCCB voiced its objections to “any rule that would require faithful Catholics and other religiously motivated business owners to choose between providing coverage for products and speech that violate their religious beliefs, and exposing their businesses to devastating penalties.”
Today’s statement from Archbishops Kurtz and Lori reads:
We welcome the Supreme Court’s decision to recognize that Americans can continue to follow their faith when they run a family business. In this case, justice has prevailed, with the Court respecting the rights of the Green and Hahn families to continue to abide by their faith in how they seek their livelihood, without facing devastating fines. Now is the time to redouble our efforts to build a culture that fully respects religious freedom.
The Court clearly did not decide whether the so-called ‘accommodation’ violates RFRA when applied to our charities, hospitals and schools, so many of which have challenged it as a burden on their religious exercise. We continue to hope that these great ministries of service, like the Little Sisters of the Poor and so many others, will prevail in their cases as well.