Within the next several days, the U.S. Supreme Court will issue its decision regarding whether the government can require Hobby Lobby to provide abortion-inducing contraceptives in its health plan, notwithstanding Hobby Lobby’s religious objection to abortion. In determining whether the law can be applied to Hobby Lobby, the Supreme Court must decide whether religious exercise rights should be applied broadly or narrowly.
The Supreme Court’s decision will likely have important implications for nonprofit religious organizations. Most directly, the decision may determine whether such organizations can claim a religious exemption from the contraceptive coverage mandate. More generally, the decision may determine the scope of other important religious exemptions.
Many religious organizations have a vital interest in preserving their rights to:
employ fellow believers as they deem necessary;
carry out their ministry activities in accordance with their beliefs (e.g., with respect to marriage and sexual conduct); and
qualify for religious tax exemptions.