Ken Starr, president and chancellor of Baylor University, wrote a column featured in both The National Review Online and the Baylor Lariat which overestimates the power of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in respect to for-profit corporations.
It will not be demanding to demonstrate to at least five justices “that HHS has a profound governmental interest in requiring Hobby Lobby (and its owners, five members of the Green family In Oklahoma City) to provide all 20 contraceptive methods ordained by the FDA”.
While Judge Starr believes the “daunting task” of strict scrutiny will aid in the downfall of the government lawyers, the reality is such a feat is more often than not made in respect to laws that burden religious liberty, with 60 percent of such laws surviving strict scrutiny review.
Furthermore, there is no indication that congress intended the statute to cover for-profit companies and their owners.
Claiming so would contend a paramount misrepresentation of the RFRA.
Mandating Hobby Lobby to offer all 20 Contraceptive methods is not a “substantial burden” on their religious beliefs, however authentic they may be.
This is because companies are removed from the employee’s decision to use the contraception or not. Use of the medically valid options are left up to the employee completely, meaning the owners are not substantially affected.
Judge Starr also wrote the DOJ is arguing the definition of “persons” under RFRA. The DOJ is arguing that non-profit organizations are not persons capable of the exercise of free religion.
I don’t believe the federal government doesn’t care about Hobby Lobby’s objects, as Judge Starr has stated, but is keeping the rights of the employees in mind.
Ignoring the fact that Hobby Lobby is trying to label particular methods of birth control as “abortifacients” despite scientific evidence refuting this claim, superimposing employer’s beliefs onto employees isn’t what the RFRA was designed to do.