News Item

Panel discussion on religious freedom and liberty in wake of Hobby Lobby decision

Sep 30, 2014

Wednesday, Oct. 1, 7 p.m. in Hilary's

Bellarmine University's Ethics and Social Justice Center will host a panel discussion to discuss different perspectives on "Religious Freedom, Individual Liberty and the Contraception Mandate" on Wednesday, October 1, at 7 p.m. in Hilary's.

The panel will include Bellarmine professors Dr. Steven Berg (philosophy), Dr. Hoon Choi (theology), Dr. Kathryn West (English/women's studies) and Dr. Lee Remington Williams (political science). The moderator will be Dr. Joseph Flipper (Theology). They will share perspectives on the meaning of freedom in light of our common political and religious ideals, in the context of the recent Supreme Court Hobby Lobby ruling.

The event is free and open to the public. Hilary's is located on the middle floor of Horrigan Hall, behind the Cafe Ogle food court. [campus map]

The Supreme Court's ruling in "Burwell v. Hobby Lobby" allows closely held for-profit corporations an exemption from a law if their owners object on religious grounds. The ruling is based on 1993's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
One implication of the Hobby Lobby decision is the recognition that for-profit corporations possess religious freedom that can trump the liberties afforded to individuals under the Affordable Care Act, which requires that employers include coverage for contraception as part of their insurance benefits. That mandate is now the subject of numerous lawsuits by nonprofit, church-affiliated organizations as well as for-profit corporations. These lawsuits argue that forcing organizations to pay for contraception is a violation of basic religious freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops argues that religious freedom implies not just the freedom of individual conscience but also the exercise of freedom as a group.

The Ethics and Social Justice Center at Bellarmine University represents a collaborative effort between various departments, programs, organizations and interested individuals to enhance our understanding of ethical issues in everyday life. The center seeks to provide curricular and co-curricular instruction, activities, and resources that explore areas of moral values and social responsibility.

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