As faith leaders, some of us are lamenting instead of celebrating the Supreme Court decision for Hobby Lobby’s religious freedom. And this is just the start. The Notre Dame case is expected to be up first in the fall US Supreme Court session.
Health care, and health care decisions that are self-directed, are a human right. We know this, believe this and feel this. It was stated in 1948 in Article 25 of the Declaration of Universal Human Rights.
The human rights of any person supersede the religious convictions of any other individual citizen, a religious institution or commercial business. The right to health care, including reproductive health care and self-management of fertility, is essential to our life in the United States.
Every person has the right to one’s own religious beliefs. But to participate in a nation that respects all its citizens means that personal religious viewpoints cannot be imposed on others or limit others’ health care options as Hobby Lobby certainly does.
We believe that the basis on which this Supreme Court decision was made has opened the door to turning back virtually every human right and civil right advancement that has been made in our lifetimes. These are advancements that have been courageously forged by those who have come before. We grieve this loss.
There will always be someone who is willing to claim a religious objection over every human right. Many sectarian religious beliefs do not value equality under the law. Slavery? (Yes, some ministers argued for it.) Women voting and participating in public life? (Yes, in some churches women are subordinate.) Racial equality? (Believe it or not, some segregationists attend church every Sunday.) And people regularly invoke the name of God as they threaten the safety and lives of reproductive health care providers. To grant such civic power on the sincerity of religious belief is dangerous to individuals and to our democracy.
God is easily invoked in matters of public faith. Perhaps too easily. As people of various faiths, we must be willing to exercise our faith in the larger context of human experience.
Human rights are more important than the religious convictions of other individuals, a house of worship or a business. Although not legal experts, as clergy we think that the Supreme Court decision for Hobby Lobby was a step down the wrong path for our nation.
Thank you to Rev. Dr. R. Scott Colglazier for giving IRCRC permission to adapt his blog post.
For additional information on the topic, please visit:
Notre Dame case: http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/the-next-hobby-lobby
Dr. R. Scott Colglazier: http://www.fccla.org/about.html