In less than two weeks, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in cases challenging an Obamacare mandate that is trampling on religious freedom. The Hahn family and the Green family will be at the Court on March 25 asking for respect of their religious liberty and the freedom to continue offering their employees generous health plans.
Let’s meet these families and what they’re fighting for.
“Government Has Gone Too Far”
A Christian Mennonite family, the Hahns have run Conestoga Wood Specialties near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, for nearly 50 years. A second-generation family business, Conestoga employs almost 1,000 individuals to produce quality wood products.
The Hahns have always run their family business in accordance with their faith, including offering an employee health plan that aligns with their values. Under the mandate, however, Conestoga Wood could face fines of up to $95,000 per day for sticking to their deeply held beliefs and not complying with the mandate.
Speaking of their fight for religious freedom at the Supreme Court, Conestoga president Anthony Hahn explains the magnitude of their case: “It’s not really only for Conestoga; we’re taking a stand for other businesses as well. This is a religious liberty issue that is concerning to us. We feel that the government has gone too far in too many instances.”
The outcome of the Hahns’ fight for religious freedom is of great importance for all Americans. As Matt Bowman, senior legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the Hahns, explains:
The question in this case is whether all Americans will have religious freedom and will be able to live and do business according to their faith, or whether the federal government can pick and choose what faith is, who are the faithful, and where and when they can exercise that faith.
Freedom to Work According to Faith
“We believe that the principles that are taught scripturally are what we should operate our lives by, so that naturally flows over into the business,” explains Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby, an arts-and-crafts retailer.
Headquartered in Oklahoma City, Hobby Lobby has grown from one 300-square-foot garage to over 500 stores in 41 states employing more than 16,000 individuals.
The Greens’ faith is integral to how they operate their family business. Hobby Lobby stores close on Sundays and are open only 66 hours a week so that their employees can spend more time with their families. The family’s faith influences not only the way they care for employees but their investment in communities through partnerships with numerous Christian ministries.
Yet under the Obamacare mandate, the government is forcing families like the Greens to violate those beliefs by funding coverage of potentially life-ending drugs and devices or face crippling fines—up to $1.3 million per day in the case of Hobby Lobby. Even if the business is forced to drop employee health care coverage to avoid the mandate, it would still face a fine of $2,000 per employee per year.
Lori Windham, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing the Greens, notes:
What’s at stake here is whether you’re able to keep your religious freedom when you open a family business, whether you can continue to live out your faith in the way that you live every aspect of your life.
All Americans, including family businesses, should have the freedom to live and work according to their convictions.