Obama and lawyers differ on religious liberty stance

Published: Wednesday, June 5 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

President Barack Obama walks across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, June 6, 2013, before boarding the Marine One helicopter.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AP

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Are President Obama and his lawyers are the same page when it comes to religious liberty? A lawyer for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty doesn't think so. The Becket Fund represents Hobby Lobby in one of dozens of lawsuits brought against the government over the contraception mandate. All the plaintiffs argue that forcing them to provide contraceptive coverage in their employee health insurance plans violates their religious beliefs and their legal rights to practice their faith.

Attorney Mark Rienzi writes that government attorneys argue that private businesses have no religious liberty rights because a commercial enterprises main purpose is to make money. But the nation's chief executive recently urged graduates at Morehouse College to look beyond profits, echoing sentiments Obama expressed at last year's National Prayer Breakfast, where he proclaimed that values exercised by business and others are part of the "moral glue that has held our nation together."

"The President is right and his lawyers are wrong," writes Rienzi. "Businesses act on principles beyond the pursuit of profit every day. Vegan markets refuse to sell animal products because they are ethically opposed to hurting animals. Some employers have long provided benefits to same-sex partners based on the moral view that doing so is right and just. Some investment funds refuse to invest in fossil-fuel companies because they view them as destructive. Businesses following moral, ethical, philosophical, and environmental principles are all around us."

"Similarly, some businesses operate according to religious principles."

Read more about Obama and Religious Liberty on The Becket Fund.

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