Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (2013)
The Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment has, for a long time, meant that the government is required to make accommodations for religious beliefs. In Sherbert v. Verner (1963), the Court upheld the right of plaintiff Adell Sherbert, a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church who worked in a textile mill, to claim unemployment benefits when she refused to take a job requiring her to work on the Sabbath. In Wisconsin v. Yoder (1972), the Court held that a state’s interest in educating children past 8th grade was outweighed by the parents’ free exercise of their religion.
But what if government requires a family-owned corporation to fund insurance for medical services that violate that family’s religious beliefs? This question proved controversial for the Supreme Court in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (2013) and continues to be debated in the public square. Find out more about the Free Exercise Clause and religious liberty in this week’s eLesson from Religious Liberty: An American Experiment on Voices of History. Remember to sign up for a free Voices of History account to view the complete lesson.