United States Supreme Court

The thing that bothers me most about the Supreme Court decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. is not that the Court concluded that some private for-profit companies have some religious freedoms. While I think that argument is deeply flawed, I can at least understand how someone could reach that conclusion.

What is most disturbing about this decision is that the Supreme Court basically ruled that this religious freedom for corporations happens to only apply to an insurance mandate a majority of Supreme Court justices also seem not to like. From the Court’s Syllabus:

This decision concerns only the contraceptive mandate and should not be understood to hold that all insurance-coverage mandate e.g., for vaccinations or blood transfusions, must necessarily fall if they conflict with an employer’s religious beliefs. Nor does it provide a shield for employers who might cloak illegal discrimination as a religious practice.

And the Court’s Opinion:

In any event, our decision in these cases is concerned solely with the contraceptive mandate. Our decision should not be understood to hold that an insurance-coverage mandate must necessarily fall if it conflicts with an employer’s religious beliefs. Other coverage requirements, such as immunizations, may be supported by different interests (for example, the need to combat the spread of infectious diseases) and may involve different arguments about the least restrictive means of providing them.

Either there is religious freedom in this matter, or there is not. If there is, it should apply to all insurance mandates in conflict with religious beliefs no matter how strange those beliefs may seem.