Last Updated:April 24 @ 08:26 pm

Judge: Hobby Lobby has no constitutional right to the free exercise of religion

By Tim Talley

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A federal judge Monday rejected Hobby Lobby Stores Inc.'s request to block part of the federal health care overhaul that requires the arts and craft supply company to provide insurance coverage for the morning-after and week-after birth control pills.

In a 28-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton denied a request by Hobby Lobby to prevent the government from enforcing portions of the health care law mandating insurance coverage for contraceptives the company's Christian owners consider objectionable.

The Oklahoma City-based company and a sister company, Mardel Inc., sued the government in September, claiming the mandate violates the owners' religious beliefs. The owners contend the morning-after and week-after birth control pills are tantamount to abortion because they can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in a woman's womb. They also object to providing coverage for certain kinds of intrauterine devices.

At a hearing earlier this month, a government lawyer said the drugs do not cause abortions and that the U.S. has a compelling interest in mandating insurance coverage for them.

In his ruling denying Hobby Lobby's request for an injunction, Heaton said that while churches and other religious organizations have been granted constitutional protection from the birth-control provisions, "Hobby Lobby and Mardel are not religious organizations."

"Plaintiffs have not cited, and the court has not found, any case concluding that secular, for-profit corporations such as Hobby Lobby and Mardel have a constitutional right to the free exercise of religion," the ruling said.

Heaton wrote that "the court is not unsympathetic" to the problems cited by Hobby Lobby and their owners, the Green family. He said the health care law's expansion of employer obligations "results in concerns and issues not previously confronted by companies or their owners."

"The question of whether the Greens can establish a free exercise constitutional violation by reason of restrictions or requirements imposed on general business corporations they own or control involves largely uncharted waters," Heaton wrote.

Hobby Lobby's attorney said the companies' owners will appeal.

"Every American, including family business owners like the Greens, should be free to live and do business according to their religious beliefs," Kyle Duncan, general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, said in a statement.

The morning-after pill works by preventing ovulation or fertilization. In medical terms, pregnancy begins when a fertilized egg attaches itself to the wall of the uterus. If taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, it can reduce a woman's chances of pregnancy by as much as 89 percent.

Critics of contraception say it is the equivalent of an abortion pill because it can prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus. The lawsuit also alleges that certain kinds of intrauterine devices can destroy an embryo by preventing it from implanting in a woman's uterus.

Hobby Lobby is the largest business to file a lawsuit against the mandate.

Hobby Lobby calls itself a "biblically founded business" and is closed on Sundays. Founded in 1972, the company now operates more than 500 stores in 41 states and employs more than 13,000 full-time employees who are eligible for health insurance coverage. The company, which is self-insured, has said it will face a daily $1.3 million fine beginning Jan. 1 if it ignores the law.

"It is by God's grace and provision that Hobby Lobby has endured," said David Green, founder and CEO. "Therefore we seek to honor God by operating the company in a manner consistent with biblical principles."

The Green family has said it has no moral objection to the use of other contraceptives and will continue covering them for its employees.

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62 Comments

  1. Jota_Comment by Jota_
    November 20, 2012 @ 12:51 pm

    This is a very dangerous path the government is upon.

    The cost of contraceptives and the morning after pill are insignificant compared to the cost of an individual forgoing their convictions.

    Without moral resolve the will to continue is diminished and eventually extinguished

    Governments exist by the will of the people and to break the people’s will is to rule over nothing

    Then who is going to pay for it?

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    Rating: 4.7/5 (99 votes cast)
    • jordan48Comment by jordan48
      November 20, 2012 @ 7:27 pm

      Has anyone bothered to ask yourself…WHY the government (Obamanation) is requiring everyone to pay for other peoples birth control needs and abortion procedures? We were not there when the two participants to the act conceived the child! WHY then must we all share the financial burden for such unwanted remedies?

      After all, the US Government, under Obamanation, and by his explicit will, pays into Planned Parenthood each year approximately $463,000,000.00 of our tax dollars (Four Hundred and Sixty Three Million tax payer dollars) each year! That being said, realize that Planned Parenthood requires payment from their victims for each abortion procedure they perform!

      As for the “technicality” of a Corporation not being entitled to the protections afforded us under the U S Constitution, is ludicrous! A corporation is made up of people, and historically, high court decisions declare that a corporation may be considered to be a person! Perhaps this judge should re-read the US Constitution again! “The government shall not pass any laws which infringe upon the religious liberties of the people”! (abridged) As a Constitutional scholar, who, if I don’t mind saying is far more educated on this subject then our LIAR-IN-CHIEF (Satans diciple)! Allow me to say that the U S Constitution DOES NOT EMPOWER any administration or State to enact laws which restrict, abridge, or removes the right to excercise ones religious convictions. We understand that these dumbed down educated idiots are more concerned with the enforcement of the plethera of laws on the books (which no man can obey them all), but they do not seek justice, nor do they adhere to the mandate of the American people! They are ion need of being judged themselves as opposed to judging others!

      Sadly, however, our present tyrannical and deceptive leader, OBAMANATION, has no intentions of upholding any of our rights or liberties while he radically twists this nation into a Marxist-Socialist State! SO…WHO IS GOING TO STOP HIM? No one has the back bone to stand up against this man of great deceptions! As long as we have our homes, cars, foods, bank accounts, and jobs, we will sit back and grumble, but take no overt action to kick this godless creature and his ObamaBots out of office. IMPEACH OBAMANATION NOW…WHY WAIT?

      Many of you who lived during the Vietnam conflict demonstrated in the streets and cried aloud to end the War, but now you sit idly by and watch as this man of deception takes away your wealth, robbs you of your property, your liberties, your freedoms, and those of your children as well. In the early ’70′s, YOU WOULD HAVE IMPEACHED HIM. In my grandparents day, THEY WOULD HAVE been more shall we say “hands on” (along with Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Nancy Sebillius,Janet,Napolitano, David Axlerod, Hillary Clinton, Bill “the Liar” Clinton, etc. I do not advocate violence against any man unless we are at war…but, are we not at a war to retain our rights or lose them?

      Please don’t tell me that we live in a more enlightened age…thats hog slop! The technology of our society has become more sophisticated, indeed, but the nature of man has NEVER changed! We have certainly obtained more knowlege, but somehow, failed to obtain wisdom in which to apply this knowlege! Obamanation advocates lawlessness, perhaps we should advocate lawlessness and tear away the venere of “Political Correctness and tolerance” for that which is clearly and undeniably evil!

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    • haplyssComment by haplyss
      November 20, 2012 @ 10:28 pm

      This socialistic communism has gone far enough. We must rid this country of the ungodly and criminals against our Constitution, our Freedom. We need to get rid of Barack Obama, his cohorts in government, and this satan of a judge.

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      Rating: 4.6/5 (37 votes cast)
  2. suzy2Comment by suzy2
    November 20, 2012 @ 1:43 pm

    This President is full of BS. PEOPLE TO DO COMPLY WITH THIS PRESIDENT. HE IS NOT AN AMERICAN BUT A MEMBER OF THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD AND AN EMENY. REPUBLICANS ARE TOO COWARD TO STAND UP TO THE CRIMINALS! F YOU OBAMA

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    Rating: 4.4/5 (81 votes cast)
    • cdrcodyComment by cdrcody
      November 20, 2012 @ 2:04 pm

      “REPUBLICANS ARE TOO COWARD TO STAND UP TO THE CRIMINALS!”

      Agreed. Why do you think they lost the election? And they will continue to do so as long as they stay the way they are. Think about the definition of insanity and look at Republican campaigning processes.

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      Rating: 4.3/5 (67 votes cast)
    • cyd29Comment by cyd29
      November 20, 2012 @ 10:04 pm

      I wonder if there is something we can do to help Hobby Lobby. Is there someone we can write to. This is unbelievable that any Christian business is forced to do something they are morally against. Same for ourselves.

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      Rating: 4.6/5 (25 votes cast)
  3. pistol packing mamaComment by txgoatlady
    November 20, 2012 @ 1:58 pm

    The sheeple don’t seem to realize that the amount of money stays the same, regardless of what is provided for free. That means that to pay for “free contraception,” insurance companies will study the HHS rules to see what HAS to be covered and what does not. In order to pay for the “free birth control” other procedures will no longer be covered or will have lower levels of reimbursement. These procedures may actually be medically necessary, unlike birth control. These horny women can give up their weekly latte or get on a cheaper cell phone plan to pay for their pills. They need to learn to prioritize expenses. That is what adults who pay their own bills do.

    Hobby Lobby and other companies will eventually figure out that it is cheaper to pay the fines than it is to provide coverage they find objectionable. With unemployment at its current levels, they shouldn’t have much trouble getting applicants even without the perks.

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    Rating: 4.7/5 (71 votes cast)
    • trackfodderComment by trackfodder
      November 20, 2012 @ 2:31 pm

      The solution is simple. Just hire pug-ugly women with very little chance of getting pregnant..

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      Rating: 3.3/5 (36 votes cast)
    • extyrequeenComment by extyrequeen
      November 20, 2012 @ 2:37 pm

      we haven’t seen anything yet…just wait until this govt. starts to seeze everyone’s 401k’s and then all of our freedom
      from now on in and there will nothing that we can do to stop
      it….the courts will rule against the people and the country
      will be DONE….THIS WILL HAPPEN….

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      Rating: 4.5/5 (62 votes cast)
    • capricorn1Comment by capricorn1
      November 21, 2012 @ 7:47 am

      THE TREE OF FREEDOM IS VERY CLOSE TO BEING NOURISHED WITH THE BLOOD OF TYRANTS AND PATRIOTS.

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      Rating: 4.8/5 (18 votes cast)
  4. rdv44Comment by rdv44
    November 20, 2012 @ 2:16 pm

    Just a point of clarification…. Hobby Lobby is Self-funded which means the insurance companies only process the claims for HL. Health plans are providing administrative services only. However, many of the new ACA/HHS new rules also apply to self-funded benefits, and the so-called compromize for religious organization pushes the cost of paying for contraceptives to the insurance companies. Again, doesn’t work for the Catholic Church or any other receiving religious waiver since vast majority are self-funded as well. Clearly the Federal Government is over-stepping and trampling our religious freedoms. Question is what will we do about it?

    Also, if HL doesn’t have the Constitutional right to excercise free religion, the Government should too be limited in its Constitional powers to collect taxes from said organizations which hold no rights. The Constitution was written to limit government powers to ensure it does not step on the rrights of the people. Today our government throws the Constitution aside and our judicial system looks the other way. It’
    s a travisty!

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    Rating: 4.7/5 (81 votes cast)
  5. shellyComment by shelly
    November 20, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

    Satan is surely smiling, as he perceives one more victory. The U.S. was made possible as a refuge from oppressive kingdoms and governments, and now We are fast becoming Them. God help us as this blessed nation continues to cast Him aside and lose our blessings.

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  6. thomasjeffersonComment by thomasjefferson
    November 20, 2012 @ 2:36 pm

    Again, Federal telling States how they can worship. They have no right.

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    Rating: 4.7/5 (61 votes cast)
    • bna42Comment by bna42
      November 20, 2012 @ 5:22 pm

      “Every American, including family business owners like the Greens, should be free to live and do business according to their religious beliefs”.

      This right is guaranteed under the First Amendment, and these companies should just refuse to pay the fines mandated by Obama. He has no right to destroy religious freedom in this country. Our rights do not originate with government, but they are unalienable and are endowed by the Creator.

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      Rating: 4.8/5 (39 votes cast)
  7. jimnjoyComment by jimnjoy
    November 20, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

    Probably the most important reason why Obama should not have been elected…the appointment of more liberal judges…thousands of them. God help us.

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    • pwpmmpComment by pwpmmp
      November 20, 2012 @ 4:36 pm

      I couldn’t agree with you more, jimnjoy. My biggest fear is that the judicial branch will now be lost to us forever. Even in my very conservative state of Kansas, not one judge on the ballot this year was anything but a Democrat.

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      Rating: 4.8/5 (25 votes cast)
  8. popstComment by popst
    November 20, 2012 @ 2:48 pm

    Watch out for another Hostess closing up the shop.

    Once again, thank you Justice Roberts. You really screwed things up

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    Rating: 4.6/5 (54 votes cast)
  9. powertothepeopleComment by powertothepeople
    November 20, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

    This trampling of our rights started decades ago and is exponentially gaining speed under the emperor.

    I agree that on a constitutional basis the fed’s have over stepped with the help of Justice Roberts. What a shame….a Republican appointed justice siding with Obozo. Obozo will not stop until Christianity is a dirty word in this nation and his true calling the Muslim faith flies it’s flag over the WH and Capital.

    I think they will be cautious concerning a money grab on the 401k plans….they prefer slow sneaky tactics. They also have to be somewhat worried about so many Americans baring arms….something else Obozo and Hillary detest!

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    • thereverendComment by thereverend
      November 20, 2012 @ 7:07 pm

      powertothepeople,

      Obama is already licking his chops to steal everyone’s retirement plans (401K’s, etc.) in the name of “fairness” because everyone doesn’t have one – nevermind that they haven’t bothered to EARN it.

      Read this article, and be afraid, be very afraid:

      http://www.nationalseniorscouncil.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=89%3Aobama-begins-push-for-new-national-retirement-system&catid=34%3Asocial-security&Itemid=62

      Obama feels empowered by his re-election, and the Republicans are without a backbone to challenge him. They all make me SICK! For the first time in my life I’m seriously thinking about buying a gun and lots of ammo.

      And I will be looking for every reason I can to shop at Hobby Lobby…my wife shops there, and I’m going to encourage her to do so even more, and we’re going to let the employees know why when we’re there!

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      Rating: 4.6/5 (22 votes cast)
  10. gospeldj7Comment by gospeldj7
    November 20, 2012 @ 2:54 pm

    The person filling in for a President in the White House is a
    Marxist Communist Muslim, should never have been there, absolutely should never have been re-elected!
    When will our elected reps get a petition of impeachment and remove this extremly ineligible, unqualified, not American Citizen from the Office of President!

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    • justperhaps45Comment by justperhaps45
      November 20, 2012 @ 3:21 pm

      He was elected by Christains who did not vote. If the good leave the field, who wins?

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      Rating: 4.7/5 (30 votes cast)
  11. tjb13Comment by tjb13
    November 20, 2012 @ 2:55 pm

    Used to be the ‘man’ carried a condom or two in his wallet. So man up and do the right thing. By that I mean don’t do the thing or take responsibility if you do and a child is born.

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  12. DudleyComment by Dudley
    November 20, 2012 @ 3:18 pm

    The government is getting bigger, meaner, and more out of control every day. Welcome to the new normal.

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  13. cwms2005Comment by cwms2005
    November 20, 2012 @ 3:25 pm

    While we’re at it judge, lets just throw out all the Constitutional ammendments/protections we have.
    I think the one I like the most is for judges to have security at the courthouse and home. Let’s get rid of those protections first.

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  14. anne01Comment by anne01
    November 20, 2012 @ 3:27 pm

    WHO the hell is this U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton?

    I’m pretty sure that the 1st Amend. DOES GUARANTEE that…

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF;…”

    One has to wonder if this judge actually went to law school.

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    • lokiswifeComment by lokiswife
      November 20, 2012 @ 4:21 pm

      Can someone here in the posters find an address, email address and phone number for idiot judge Heaton? We, the people, need to start harassing judges who haven’t read the Constitution and rule by their own beliefs. Let’s take a clue from the liberals and raise a ruckus with these people who want to overturn what our forefathers set up for us! Why should the liberals be the only ones doing that?

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    • MorganComment by Morgan
      November 23, 2012 @ 11:52 am

      This is as close as I could come
      http://www.okwd.uscourts.gov/chambers/heaton.htm

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  15. way2coolComment by way2cool
    November 20, 2012 @ 3:56 pm

    I really know nothing about this ‘judge’ but I believe he made a very grave error in his ruling – actually, it really doesn’t make sense.

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  16. bizzybuzzerComment by bizzybuzzer
    November 20, 2012 @ 4:08 pm

    First Amendment of the Constitution absolutely disallows such a bill or law but the government pimps want paid.
    Obama has agreed to negotiate with the Republicans. He couldn’t get them to believe that abortions were not going to be covered so he wants the pill to kill it. But just in case it doesn’t work abortions will be paid for. See, he is a very reasonable president. Who else wants to negotiate?
    Hobby Lobby will learn to donate more money to the campaign.

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  17. brierebearComment by brierebear
    November 20, 2012 @ 4:10 pm

    One prays in a house of worship … one does not go to a hospital or a business to pray. The fact this is self-funded, the fact the owners may be Christians, is irrelevant … it is a business.

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    • mishap00Comment by mishap00
      November 20, 2012 @ 5:05 pm

      So basically in your opinion you are only allowed to exercise your freedom of religion at church?

      Every other place you must conform to the current government’s morals, standards of behavior, and beliefs?

      Is that what you are saying, because it certainly sounds like it.

      Personally I believe that people should not be forced and/or mandated to fund things that conflict with their conscience and beliefs. No matter if I share those beliefs or not.

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    • katatkmsComment by katatkms
      November 20, 2012 @ 7:18 pm

      @ brierbear you said “One prays in a house of worship … one does not go to a hospital or a business to pray. The fact this is self-funded, the fact the owners may be Christians, is irrelevant … it is a business.”

      Excuse me – I go to my job at a Doctor’s office and have been know to pray in front of my Co-workers, I talk with my patients about my God without fear of mentioning His name. My patients also ask that I keep a loved one in pray daily. If you are truly a Christian then you must stand up for Jesus. It should not matter whether it is a business, hospital, a public park, sidewalk etc, etc. We as Christians have just as much right to pray anywhere in private or public as you people have a right to worship and practice your material gods. Just remember, whether you believe in my God is irrelevant. All knees will bow and all tongues will confess. Christians may have to suffer here on earth for just a short time, but all sinners that refuse God’s forgiveness and does not believe in His Son, Jesus Christ will have eternity of suffering beyond anything you will or can imagine.

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  18. mrsgunnut10Comment by mrsgunnut10
    November 20, 2012 @ 4:19 pm

    I have said it before and I will say it again and again. These so called Federal Judges are over stepping their Judicial responsibilities and are using their “Personal Opinions” to make and establish Laws of their own making. Somewhere down the line, “WE THE PEOPLE” are going to have to say , Enough is Enough. These Judge’s know that the First Amendment does not mean that individuals cannot just say ” I don’t believe in that or I don’t like that” and the Judges must rule that everybody else has to obide by that persons feelings. Why can’t these Federal Judges just tell these people – Don’t look, don’t do that, or if you don’t like it, that’s tough. People, other than all of the complainer’s have rights also and shouldn’t have to comply with the complainer’s feelings. Come on Judges use your Brains for once and quit trying to make all of the Complainer’s feel good. Oh Yeah – There is also ” Recall Laws” on the books that says “WE THE PEOPLE ” can get you off the Bench. Thank you for your time. TSgt., USAF Retired.

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    • shellyComment by shelly
      November 20, 2012 @ 10:07 pm

      Unfortunately, We The People can’t recall a Supreme Court justice, and that’s where the buck stops. They are appointed for life (except for dire circumstances). Local judges can be recalled (thank goodness). Supreme Court cannot, and they are the ones that can do the most damage, because they rule over the entire country. So even if we get rid of elected judges, there’s still the Supreme Court that can overrule anything We The People try to do. Combined with a liberal president and liberal Congress (the House is close), that makes all three branches of government a Socialist/Marxist utopia – with the non-elected Supreme Court declaring it “good”.

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  19. conservativepatriotComment by conservativepatriot
    November 20, 2012 @ 5:25 pm

    Do these “judges” actually go to school? My copy of the Constitution says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” Nowhere in that statement is a qualification that this only applies to religious institutions. It applies to all of us, and all of our businesses. Of course the issue itself is stupid. Pregnancy is not a disease that we need insurance to guard against. Contraception is not expensive; condoms are available everywhere very cheap. For those really in financial distress, many organizations hand them out free. Of course, one would think that the employees covered are receiving income so should be able to pay for their contraception. Wake up, people. This is simply obama and the left’s war against religion, and ultimately against all our rights. They do not believe that we have freedom given by God; they believe everything comes from the State. These people need to go!

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    • clarkentComment by clarkent
      November 20, 2012 @ 7:21 pm

      It seems like every Federal judge agrees with Obama no matter what.

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    • cdrcodyComment by cdrcody
      November 22, 2012 @ 1:27 am

      You have to read that again. It says “Congress shall make no law ….”
      These guys are not Congress, they are federal judges, and as a result they are not bound by the Constitution. That’s why they feel they can do whatever they want. We have to get rid of these guys and put in people with common sense. Oops, can’t do that either, “common sense” is what re-elected obama.

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  20. bigjohn555Comment by bigjohn555
    November 20, 2012 @ 5:27 pm

    Does this mean that Muslim owned businesses can also be forced to do business in such a manner that violates their religion?
    I’d bet the DOJ would jump into that argument.

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  21. gm1919Comment by gm1919
    November 20, 2012 @ 6:01 pm

    This is just proof that Obama has passed Obamacare to instill a socialist state. Now that they can mandate health care, they can mandate anything including eliminating our 1st amenment rights. I say that there will be a revolution by the masses if this administration continues to trample on our constitutional right. It is why we have a 2nd amendment. The populace has a right to be armed just for this very reason. Obama is no different than King George was. He is taking away our liberties.

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  22. aylaComment by ayla
    November 20, 2012 @ 6:15 pm

    almost looks like they are trying to feed us christans to the lions

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  23. bacon801Comment by bacon801
    November 20, 2012 @ 6:33 pm

    Well, fer cryin’ out loud! The government should also put an end to their damn closed on Sunday BS, they should also be forced to serve whiskey, beer & wine…

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  24. chefrobertComment by chefrobert
    November 20, 2012 @ 6:34 pm

    This business and all others which have people that produce, STRIKE, CLOSE SHOP, then let the Petty Bureaucrats try to get along with Obama and his Socialist crew to get the Country going again. I say all coal and gas fired power companies pull the plug and along with any producer quit. Shut the Government and all it’s out of control Agencies down. Have the Fiscal Cliff and let it fall and then when all the Criminals like Reid and his crew try to put it back together again. We need a great Depression to start over again. I quit business when I could no longer afford the government and pay wages to people that did not produce but expected their pay. So I say again Strike and shut the place down and fire all the Petty Bureaucrats.

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  25. wildhd74Comment by wildhd74
    November 20, 2012 @ 7:29 pm

    Here’s an idea, let’s boycott the government. Let’s stand with the Green family. Us christians have been quiet long enough.

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    Rating: 4.7/5 (14 votes cast)
    • aylaComment by ayla
      November 20, 2012 @ 11:10 pm

      I bet if the store was of the islamic faith there would not be a problem the goverment would help them instead of trying to close certain business that are owened by christans.

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    • cfhardersonComment by cfharderson
      November 21, 2012 @ 7:54 am

      I don’t know for a fact but I would suspect that Muslim business owners would have the same problem with this contraceptive requirement as any other repressive religion.

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      Rating: 4.0/5 (3 votes cast)

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