The owners of Hobby Lobby face $1.3 million in daily fines after they decided to obey God rather than the federal government – refusing to comply with Obamacare’s contraception mandate.
The act of defiance came one day after Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor denied Hobby Lobby’s emergency request to block enforcement of the mandate, but said the company may continue its appeal in lower courts.
The company is owned by the Green family, devout, evangelical Christians. They believe “it is by God’s grace and provision that Hobby Lobby has endured” and they seek to honor God by operating their company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles.”
The family believes the Obamacare mandate to provide the morning-after and week-after pills is a violation of their religious convictions.
“To remain true to their faith, it is not their intention as a company, to pay for abortion-inducing drugs,” Becket Fund attorney Kyle Duncan wrote in a statement.
Duncan said the company would continue to provide health insurance for its employees while they fight the government in court.
But on Jan. 1, Hobby Lobby will face a $1.3 million daily fine if they don’t comply with Obamacare.
“The Green family respects the religious convictions of all Americans, including those who do not agree with them,” the Becket Fund said in a statement. “All they are asking is for the government to give them the same respect by not forcing them to violate their religious beliefs.”
There are now 42 separate lawsuits changing the mandate, the Becket Fund said.
Conservatives praised Hobby Lobby for standing by their convictions.
“God bless this company,” columnist Michelle Malkin told Fox News. “It’s incumbent upon every conservative who believes in freedom of religion and freedom of conscience to support those businesses that are standing up and taking the slings and arrows of this discriminatory administration.”
“This is the most egregious violation of religious liberty that I have ever seen,” wrote columnist Denny Burk. “The first line of the Bill of Rights says this: ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.’ Obamacare prohibits the free exercise of the owners of Hobby Lobby. Who’s next?”
Conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham said President Obama “must step in to stop this madness.”
“It turns out as many feared, the president’s religious exemption to the contraception mandate is so narrow as to be meaningless,” she said on Fox News. “Unless you employ and serve only those of your same religious faith you don’t receive an exemption. So under that standard, Jesus himself would not qualify. This is unconscionable and unconstitutional.”
Abortion supporters hailed Sotomayor’s ruling.
“I hope the government earmarks every cent of that fee money for Planned Parenthood, just to spite these ass****,” wrote one reader on the Jezebel website.
“Anyway, I’m all for Hobby Lobby (and all other organizations that think birth control is totes gross) ignoring the law,” wrote Erin Gloria Ryan in a column titled, “Whore Pill-Hating Hobby Lobby Will Have to Pay a Buttload of Fines for Ignoring Obamacare.”
The website Think Progress said Hobby Lobby is ignoring two points.
“First, that Plan B is not an abortion-inducing drug, as Hobby Lobby claims, and second, that the company may well end up paying more to avoid covering contraception than they would simply providing access,” the website reported. “It also takes a twisted view on the ‘Freedom of Religion’ argument; the company is actually forcing its owner’s religious beliefs on all employees, no matter their personal religious views.”
Ingraham pointed out that in a previous case Sotomayor ruled in favor of a Muslim inmate who was denied Ramadan meals. She held that the meal was subjectively important to the inmate’s practice of Islam.
Malkin called it a selective double standard.
“Religious liberty for some, none for others,” she said.
With reporting from Associated Press