Jacob Sullum on Hobby Lobby and the God-Given Right to Break the Law



In 1878 the Supreme Court unanimously rejected a Mormon's First Amendment challenge to the federal ban on bigamy. Since marrying more than one wife is a crime, the Court reasoned, allowing it for religious reasons would be akin to allowing human sacrifice by someone who sincerely believes his deity demands it.

The Court had a point, says Jacob Sullum, but only if you accept the analogy between polygamy and murder. Likewise, Sullum says, critics of this week's Supreme Court decision concerning religious objections to Obamacare's birth control mandate have a point, but only if you accept their argument that declining to pay for something is the same as "blocking access" to it.