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The Boston Globe

Opinion

opinion | Dwight G. Duncan

Our legal heritage favors religious freedom

Do corporations have religious liberty?

The Supreme Court will decide whether family businesses like Hobby Lobby can assert religious freedom. Hobby Lobby’s owners, the Green family, are devout Christians who have no objection to paying for 16 out of 20 contraceptives mandated by the Affordable Care Act. However, they cannot pay for the remaining four contraceptives because these, as the government itself concedes, may act to terminate life. The Green family, represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, cannot, in good conscience, participate in the payment or distribution of these four drugs which they consider to be potential abortifacients.

The argument has been made that since corporations don’t go to heaven or hell, family businesses should not be able to freely exercise religion. This argument is flawed in many ways. It also ignores our own legal history, which is replete with examples where corporate charters have indeed been legal vehicles for the practice of religion.

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