A coalition of religious leaders, including Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Protestant and Native American people, have teamed up with a group of nuns who refuse to obey Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate.
“It’s easy to support religious freedom for the majority,” Ossama Bahloul, Imam of The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro in Tennessee, said in a statement. “But the test of America’s commitment to religious diversity and freedom comes when we show we’ll defend minorities and those with whom we do not fully agree.”
The coalition of religious leaders and 207 members of Congress filed friend-of-the-court briefs to the Supreme Court Monday in favor of The Little Sisters of the Poor. This group of nuns sued the government because of Obamacare’s mandate that employers provide health insurance that covers contraception. They face millions of dollars in fines if they lose.
Hobby Lobby won a Supreme Court case in 2014 that allowed businesses to opt-out of providing certain contraceptives for religious reasons. The Obama administration hoped to appease religious groups by having them sign an exemption form that allowed a third-party to provide contraceptives. But the groups still took issue with this and sued, saying they would still be complicit in providing the coverage. Now the case is before the Supreme Court.
The nuns, along with a collection of Catholic priests, universities and archdioceses, argue that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) protects them from having to violate their consciences by providing contraception. RFRA law states that there must be a compelling government interest for violating religious beliefs, and that it must be done in the least restrictive way possible.
“We stand with the Little Sisters because America’s proudest moments have come when the many have joined to defend the rights of the few, and we know too well the real cost when our government ignores its promises and puts expediency above principle,” Pastor Robert Soto of the Lipan Apache Tribe in Texas said in a statement.
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