Nathan J. Diament, executive director for public policy of the Orthodox Union, one of the nation’s oldest Orthodox Jewish organizations, explained his group’s support for Hobby Lobby in a Jan. 27 piece in Tablet Magazine.
“We take this stance because we, particularly as a religious minority in the United States, must stand in solidarity with people of all faiths in demanding the broadest protections for rights of conscience in the face of government (and socio-cultural) coercion to the contrary,” he said.
He explained that while the Orthodox Union does not have theological and moral objections to contraception and related products, it does have serious concerns over religious liberty.
In the Hobby Lobby case, Diament said, “forcing business owners to subsidize activity that violates their religious beliefs is unnecessary,” because the government could find far less restrictive ways to “ensure women’s access to contraceptives” than by requiring the involvement of objecting employers.
“All people of faith should understand and actively support the right of religious (and other forms of conscientious) dissent from the popular and majority view,” he asserted, adding that while “Catholic objections to women’s use of contraceptives may be broadly unpopular” today in America, other religious practices, such as circumcision, may fall out of favor in the future.
To refuse to ensure religious exemptions, Diament said, “is to relegate religious belief and action to second class status among our civil rights – something Jews, and all people of faith and conscience, must resist.”