(CNSNews.com) – In a legal argument formally presented in federal court in the case of Hobby Lobby v. Kathleen Sebelius, the Obama administration is claiming that the First Amendment—which expressly denies the government the authority to prohibit the “free exercise” of religion—nonetheless allows it to force Christians to directly violate their religious beliefs even on a matter that involves the life and death of innocent human beings.
Because federal judges—including Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor—have refused to grant an injunction protecting the owners of Hobby Lobby from being forced to act against their Christian faith, those owners will be subject to federal fines of up to $1.3 million per day starting Tuesday for refusing to include abortion-inducing drugs in their employee health plan.
The Obama administration is making a two-fold argument for why it can force Christians to act against their faith in complying with the regulation it has issued under the Obamacare law that requires virtually all health care plans to cover, without co-pay, sterilizations, contraceptives, and abortion-inducing drugs.
The first argument the administration makes against the owners of Hobby Lobby is that Americans lose their First Amendment right to freely exercise their religion when they form a corporation and engage in commerce. A person’s Christianity, the administration argues, cannot be carried out through activities he engages in through an incorporated business.
“Hobby Lobby is a for-profit, secular employer, and a secular entity by definition does not exercise religion,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Stuart Delery in a filing submitted in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.
“Because Hobby Lobby is a secular employer, it is not entitled to the protections of the Free Exercise Clause or RFRA [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act],” Delery told the court on behalf of the administration. “This is because, although the First Amendment freedoms of speech and association are ‘right[s] enjoyed by religious and secular groups alike,’ the Free Exercise Clause ‘gives special solicitude to the rights of religious organizations.’”