Religious pluralism and the issues of church and state

 

Tuesday February 25, 2014 7:00 pm

The Celebration of Abraham and the DUMC Church and Society Committee

Issues of Church and State

Davis United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall

Prof Alan Brownstein

Alan E. Brownstein, Professor of Law, Boochever and Bird Chair for the Study and Teaching of Freedom and Equality at King Law School, UC Davis will lead a discussion on the Issues of Church and State facing our multi-faith society. Professor Brownstein will focus his remarks on cases currently before the United States Supreme Court, one of which—the Hobby Lobby—could affect the outcome of 46 other legal challenges to the new federal health care mandate requiring contraceptive services.

The Green family, the Christian owners of Hobby Lobby–a large craft-store chain headquartered in Oklahoma–contends that their company is protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) from providing contraceptives to employees. Claiming that the RFRA protects them, the Greens were among the first for-profit employers to file a legal challenge to the Health and Human Services (HHS)’ contraception mandate in 2012. Last year, after Hobby Lobby won a favorable decision from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, the Justice Department requested that the justices review the lower court’s ruling

The Justice Department’s brief argues that RFRA was never intended by Congress to protect profit-making corporate entities engaged in commercial activity. Government lawyers further assert that the federal law “imposes no personal obligations on the Greens; it instead regulates only the corporations they own and the group health plan the corporations sponsor. …RFRA does not entitle them to any exemption for the corporations based on their individual religious belief.”

 

 

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