Megachurch Pastor Wants Corporations to Have More Religious Freedom
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today in a 5-4 vote that for-profit corporations that are "closely held" by religious owners do not have to provide contraception coverage for their employees under Obamacare.
Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, which are family-owned corporations ("closely held"), claimed that Obamacare violated the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act that protects churches and other religious non-profit organizations, RawStory.com notes.
The Obama administration claimed that for-profit companies do not have the same religious rights as individual people and were not covered by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, but five Justices ruled that they do in a limited circumstance.
In their case, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties both claimed that the so-called "morning after pill" could cause abortions, which is contrary to scientific research. RH Reality Check reported in March that false unscientific claims might not matter because the case was based on religious freedom, not science.
"Closely held" for-profit companies now have the green light to deny female employees contraception, but Pastor Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church in Dallas said the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling did not go far enough.
Pastor Jeffress told Fox News that the U.S. Supreme Court could have made a broader ruling that recognized corporations' rights to freedom of religion, according to The Christian Post.
"It's just a few words later in the First Amendment that it also talks about the free exercise of religion," Pastor Jeffress claimed. "Those rights are not limited to individuals. They apply to anyone and everyone. So, it could've been broader, but we'll take a win today and we're happy about it."
However, Jonathan Merritt wrote today in ReligionNews.com that Christians who support "corporate personhood" are contradicting Christian theology:
Conservative evangelicals’ politics often lead them to accept “corporate personhood,” a belief increasingly prominent in capitalistic societies stating that corporations should be granted the same rights as individual human beings. The concept of a “Christian business” springs from this belief. But the term runs into conflict with the group’s theological commitments.
In order to understand the term “Christian,” we must first ask what the word means. Conservative evangelicals’ view of salvation is understood purely in individual terms. Only a person can become a Christian and only by repenting of their sins and believing on Christ. Can an organization or corporation be “born again?” The answer is no.
Sources: ReligionNews.com, The Christian Post, RH Reality Check, RawStory.com