Quite the contentious issue. And one worthy I think of the discussion. The key point, well stated I might add by Rev John Jenkins, Notre Dame’s president ,
If one presidential administration can override our religious purpose and use religious organizations to advance policies that undercut our values, then surely another administration will do the same for another very different set of policies, each time invoking some concept of popular will or the public good, with the result these religious organizations become mere tools for the exercise of government power, morally subservient to the state, and not free from its infringements.
But there is one problem I see with the logic, the religious institutions operate in a dual capacity within the society. One, obviously, is the practice of their religion, but the other, unfortunately, is the employment and welfare of people who do not participate or believe in the religion. If these institutions had as an employment requirement, adoption of its beliefs and teachings, I’d think they stand on a higher ground. But they do not.
Just as the religious institutions cannot use their particular beliefs to hide and protect criminals, or to avoid taxes, they must meet the standards of the greater society within which they operate. I’d love to hear the thinking prior to filing these lawsuits that weighed the risk and reward so the filing. Losing this one for either side, will have long lasting impacts on the exemptions of religion versus various government directions.
Muhammad Ali, had the test case, in the Supreme Court, regarding individual religious beliefs and government’s ability to override them. So now I guess, its now time to get the institutional interpretation–To what degree is employment the practice of religion, that seems to be the central question.