Amicus Curiae of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (Burwell v. Hobby Lobby) (2014)

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops filed an amicus brief in support of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga. The brief strongly argues that the Constitution does not permit the courts/government to be the ultimate arbiters of matters of faith:

“[T]he Conference is deeply troubled by the manner in which the Government has invited courts to improperly and erroneously delve into matters of religious doctrine during the course of litigation surrounding the Mandate. Indeed, the test repeatedly championed by the Government would transform the Religious Freedom Restoration Act’s substantial burden analysis into an exercise in amateur moral theology. The Constitution, however, does not permit federal courts or government officials to be the ultimate arbiters of matters of faith. As the authorities ultimately responsible for the accurate proclamation of Catholic doctrine within their respective dioceses, the bishops who constitute the membership of the Conference thus have a unique interest in ensuring the proper application of the substantial burden test.”

“Religion is not confined to the four walls of a church or to the private life of a believer. Rather, Christians in particular believe that they are commanded by Scripture to ‘do everything for the glory of God.’ 1 Cor. 10:31 (NABRE) [New American Bible Revised Edition]. ‘Only when their faith permeates every aspect of their lives do Christians become truly open to the transforming power of the Gospel.’ (Pope Benedict XVI, Address to the Bishops of the United States.) Thus ‘[a]ny tendency to treat religion as a private matter must be resisted.’ Or as Pope Francis has recently observed, ‘religion [cannot] be relegated to the inner sanctum of personal life, without influence on societal and national life.’ Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium [book by Pope Francis].”

“In other words, for Catholics—as well as for many other believers—faith is not something to be checked at the door of their businesses or ignored when determining how to conduct their corporation’s affairs. To the contrary, their faith plays an indispensable role in all aspects of their lives.”

See Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.