Should corporations be able to refuse government mandates based on asserted religious beliefs?

Supporters of employer-paid birth control rally in front of the Supreme Court before the decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores was announced June 30, 2014 in Washington, DC. The high court ruled 5-4 that requiring family-owned corporations to pay for insurance coverage for contraception under the Affordable Care Act violated a federal law protecting religious freedom. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
“For the first time, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a for-profit corporation can refuse to comply with a general government mandate because doing so would violate the corporation’s asserted religious beliefs,” writes NPR’s Nina Totenberg.

By a 5-4 vote, the court struck an important part of President Obama’s health care law — the requirement that all insurance plans cover birth control — because it conflicted with a corporation owners’ religious beliefs.

The challenge to the birth control coverage mandate was brought by the Hobby Lobby corporation, a chain of 500 arts and crafts stores that employs 16,000 people. Its owners object to two forms of birth control — IUDs and morning-after pills — because they consider those to be an early form of abortion.

Monday’s decision would apply to all forms of contraception, and potentially to other medical procedures and government regulations.

Today’s Question: Should corporations be able to refuse government mandates based on asserted religious beliefs?