Let’s back up — just exactly what is a religion anyway?

Microphones were set up in front of the Supreme Court Monday in advance of the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby ruling.

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Microphones were set up in front of the Supreme Court Monday in advance of the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby ruling.

The recent Hobby Lobby decision (“Justices limit birth control coverage rule,” Page A1, July 1), based on a legal protection of religious beliefs, has brought forward a question I’ve had for a long time. Legally, what is the definition of a religion?

If, in the Hobby Lobby case, the five judges who upheld for the company used a protection argument based on the plaintiff’s stated beliefs based on their religion, then the judges must have been relying on a legal definition of what constitutes a religion. But where does this definition exist? It isn’t in the First Amendment.


Are there particular deities that must be involved in order for this legal protection to be applied? Some people say the Bible states that homosexuality is a heinous sin. If those people are business owners, do they have a protected right not to hire homosexuals?

Bringing religion as an excuse, an exemption, into the realm of legal decision-making is giving extra rights to some people simply because they say they believe a particular type of supreme being exists, while denying the same rights to some who disagree with those particular beliefs.

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Justice is supposed to be blind, but in these situations it appears as if justice is peeking out from under the blindfold.

David Mack


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