It has been fascinating to hear the diverse responses to the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision last week. To hear the reaction of some in the media and politics, you’d think the court had pulled the plug on the rights of America’s women to use contraception.
In fact, the court took a small but valuable step in the direction of protecting religious liberty in the United States. In this narrow ruling, the court said a privately held, family run company that emphasizes Christian values has the right not to be forced to pay for drugs that can cause abortions. That’s it.
Did the court rip away the right of contraception? No. In fact, Hobby Lobby pays for at least 16 different forms of contraceptives for its employees. It simply doesn’t want to pay for four other drugs that can be used to destroy existing life. While that may play into the war-on-women rhetoric of many media and political operatives, it seems a carefully drawn and important distinction to those for whom the right to life is a sacred trust, rather than a political weapon.
This is far from the end of the battle for religious liberty in America, and future fights likely will be much more significant and difficult. For now, though, the court has agreed religious liberty extends beyond the four walls of the church—and that is an affirmation worth celebrating.