1 Year After Hobby Lobby, 5 Ways Religion Has Been Used to Discriminate

A year ago today, the Supreme Court ruled that Hobby Lobby didn’t have to include birth control in its employees’ health insurance because of religious objections. Employees from Hobby Lobby and other corporations left without coverage have been paying for their employer’s religious beliefs — literally — ever since.

A year later, here is a look at some other ways religious belief has been invoked to harm other people.

1. Adoption Denied

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law a bill that would allow taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to deny loving homes to vulnerable children.

Adoption Denied

2. Baby Refused Medical Care

In Michigan, a pediatrician said that she would not help a baby because the baby had two moms. Unfortunately, Michigan does not have a statewide law protecting against this type of discrimination.

Baby Refused Medical Care

3. Pregnant Woman Refused Treatment

Tamesha Means was rushed to a Catholic hospital in Michigan after her water broke at only 18 weeks of pregnancy. Based on Catholic religious directives, the hospital refused to terminate the pregnancy and sent her home twice even though Tamesha was in excruciating pain. There was virtually no chance that her pregnancy was viable, and continuing it posed significant risks to her health.

Pregnant Woman Refused Treatment

4. Child Labor Laws Ignored

A judge ruled that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act prevented investigators from requiring the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to answer questions about the use of children as workers at a pecan ranch in Utah.

Child Labor Laws Ignored

5. Same-Sex Couples Refused Service

A Colorado bakery refused to make a cake for David Mullins and Charlie Craig’s wedding reception in violation of longstanding state law, based on the owner’s religious beliefs. The oral argument on appeal will take place in early July.

Same-Sex Couples Refused Service

For more on using religion to discriminate, go to https://www.aclu.org/issues/religious-liberty/using-religion-discriminate

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I am both a Christian and a supporter of the ACLU. The ACLU is not attacking Christianity it is trying to ensure that all citizens have equal rights based on the constitution. The ACLU has defended religious groups as well. I am also from Michigan where many of these examples come from. First people need to understand that it is separation of church and state for a reason and that when that is violated there is an issue. Yes a private business owner should have the right to refuse services for any reason; however, they do not have the right to violate an individual's freedom. In the case of the law that allows adoption agencies to deny service those same agencies take State and federal funding. That means they take tax payer dollars from same sexed couples and them deny them service- that is a violation of rights. If they were any agency completely funded by donations and those seeking services then I would have no issue with them opting to choose who the serve but they accept funding from same sex couples through tax dollars and then deny services? As for a Hobby Lobby regardless of religious beliefs organizations need to follow labor laws including benefits practices. Allowing individuals to choose if they want to take birth control or not is where the option should come. Birth control is not just used to prevent pregnancy it is often used for hormone regulation to treat specific conditions. Finally a doctor or a hospital not giving the proper care to someone in need is a problem and God will judge that decision as well. What happened to the oath of do no harm?

Karl Childers

Freedom 'of' religion doesn't mean freedom 'from' religion. However, the most frightening form of religion is state sanctioned religion. Government officials at any level have no right to impose their religious beliefs on me. Keep fighting ACLU!

james vallejos

You people are what makes the world sicker than what it is. Christians in the past were hidious monsters, and you don't see that returning? Fuck you. I'm a real Christian, you're a hate monger.


So, when are you holier-than-thous going to go after those muslim bakers in Detroit who, on television, refused to bake a cake for a supposed gay marriage? You took particular pride in bashing the pizza shop owner and ruining his/her business, but NOT ONE WORD from you hypocrites when it came to the muslim bakers.

Can you explain why my tax dollars should continue funding your "organization?"

C Cooper

I am just as afraid of white Christians as I am of radical

Your wording is...

Hobby Lobby didn't refuse birth control in general. They refused ONE form of birth control, which was the method they believe is used for abortions. They consider terminating a pregnancy (even in the beginning few days of a possible pregnancy) to be against the religion which their company was founded on. They didn't refuse other kinds of birth control. You worded that part of your article deceptively to make it sound like they were allowed to flat out refuse any kind of birth control in their health insurance, which isn't true. That makes it hard to trust the rest of your article.


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