The Instigator
Con (against)
0 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
7 Points

Do you agree with the Hobby Lobby ruling?

Do you like this debate?NoYes-2
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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/23/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 917 times Debate No: 80020
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (18)
Votes (2)




Con means I disagree, and pro means my opponant agrees. My opponent will make the opening argument. Good luck!



Whereas the resolution is not clearly stated in the header, I will assume the following resolution for PRO:

SCOTUS was incorrect (procedurally) or otherwise unjust in their ruling in the case Burwell v. Hobby Lobby.

Whereas PRO is the one affirming a claim, the obligation for proof (BOP) lies with PRO.


The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) was established, in accordance with the United States Constitution Article III, as the ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all federal courts and over state court cases involving federal law. [1]

In 1993, the US Congress passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), requiring strict scrutiny when a neutral law of general applicability "substantially burden[s] a person"s[c] exercise of religion". The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the RFRA as applied to federal statutes in Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita in 2006.[2][3]

In 2010 Congress passed the Affordable Health Care Act (ACA), which relied on the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to specify which kinds of preventive care for women should be covered in certain employer-based health plans. The HRSA decided that all twenty contraceptives approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should be covered. [2]

In September 2012, Hobby Lobby filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma against enforcement of the contraception rule based on the RFRA and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. The district court denied Hobby Lobby's request for a preliminary injunction. In March 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit granted a hearing of the case. In June, the appeals court ruled that Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. is a person who has religious freedom. The court ordered the government to stop enforcement of the contraception rule on Hobby Lobby and sent the case back to the district court, which granted preliminary injunction in July. In September, the government appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. [2]


My resolution will mirror the judgement of SCOTUS, thereby proving my resolution true will likewise proof that the SCOTUS ruling was procedurally correct and just. I will ask the judges to please keep in mind that I am under no obligation to prove my resolution true to succeed in this debate. Where PRO has full burden of proof, his resolution has MUST pass in order for PRO to take this debate.

Premise 1 (P1): Hobby Lobby is a Corporation closely held by the Green Family.
P2: The Green Family is religious and they have organized their businesses with express religious principles in mind.
P3: In pursuance with the Green Family"s religious beliefs, the Green Family objects to providing coverage for four of the twenty FDA-approved contraceptive methods.
C1: The RFRA applies to Hobby Lobby.
P4: The contraceptive mandate does not constitute the least restrictive means of serving a government interest.
C2: The contraceptive mandate violates the RFRA and therefore is unlawful.

P1 > P2 > P3>>C1
C1 > P4 >> C2

Though Hobby Lobby has expanded over the years, it has remained in exclusive control of the Green Family. The patriarch Green serves as the CEO of Hobby Lobby, and his three children serve as the president, vice president, and vice CEO.

Hobby Lobby's statement of purpose commits the Greens to "[h]onoring the Lord in all [they] do by operating the company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles." In addition to this, each family member has signed a pledge to run the businesses in accordance with the family's religious beliefs and to use the family assets to support Christian ministries. [4]

The Greens believe, in pursuance of Christian theology, that life begins at conception and that it would violate their religion to facilitate access to contraceptive drugs or devices that operate after the point of contraception. They believe that they would be facilitating harm against human beings if the Hobby Lobby health plan provided coverage for the four FDA-approved contraceptive methods that prevent uterine implantation of a fertilized egg. [4]

RFRA applies to "a person's" exercise of religion. [3]

Under the Dictionary Act, "the wor[d] `person' ... include[s] corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals." [5]

RFRA itself does not define the term "person", but we know from the Dictionary Act that the legal definition of "person" often refers to artificial entities, so we have no reason to believe that RFRA meant to use a more restrictive definition for "persons". Furthermore, in Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita the SCOTUS held that that a nonprofit corporation can be a "person" within the meaning of RFRA.

Since we know from P1 that Hobby Lobby is a corporation and we now know that RFRA applies to corporations, we can conclude that RFRA applies to Hobby Lobby. Furthermore, we know from P2 that Hobby Lobby is religious by the definition set forth in RFRA, which states that the "term "religious exercise" includes any exercise of religion, whether or not compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief." Also, we know from P3 that the religious exercise of Hobby Lobby meets the definition for being "substantially burdened by government". [3]

We can therefore conclude that RFRA can be applied in protection of Hobby Lobby.

As mandated by RFRA, "the government may substantially burden a person"s exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest." [6]

We know that the contraceptive mandate is not the least restrictive means of furthering the governmental interest because it is conceivable that the government could provide access to these four types of contraceptives through a separate government program. However, that point aside, we know that the mandate itself has already demonstrated that it has at its disposal an approach that is less restrictive than requiring employers to fund contraceptive methods that violate their religious beliefs. Them mandate has already established an accommodation for nonprofit organizations with religious objections.


We see from C1 that RFRA is applicable in the case of Hobby Lobby. We know from P4 that the contraceptive mandate violates section one of the RFRA. Therefore, the contraceptive mandate is unlawful.

I look forward to reading PRO"s arguments. Thanks.

Debate Round No. 1


What troubles me is employers being allowed to force religion on people. Employers do not have the right to do this. My body, my right. If I want to use contraception, I have that right. Who will adopt all of these unwanted children? Contraception is much cheaper than child birth or abortion.


"Employer's Do Not Have a Right to [Force Religion on People]"
"My Body, My Right. If I Want to Use Contraception, I Have That Right."

CON has provided these arguments without any base or source of evidence. According to Hitchen's razor, "what can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence." Therefore, we can throw these arguments away ... at least until CON provides a base for them.

Specifically, the common premise between the two arguments is what requires evidence. Both arguments require that being provided contraception is an innate right. This argument amounts to nothing more than ipse dixit proposition.

Besides the fact that the access to contraceptives is not a right, CON has not presented evidence showing that access to contraceptives has actually been restrained by the ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. Everyone has access to at least a few forms of contraception, such as: withdrawl, calendar based methods, and abstinence. Furthermore, Hobby Lobby continues to, and continues to be mandated to, provide access to the other 16 FDA-approve contraceptive measures (which include the methods that most American's use [8]. CON's argument begs the question: how much access does CON believe is required by this unfounded "right". As much as I am interested in CON's answer to this inquiry, it is a rather meaningless request since it matters-not. This is because, ultimately, the ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby does not actually limit access to contraceptives. Instead, SCOTUS ruled that there are less restrictive means to uphold the mandate; namely, for access to be granted through an exclusive government program.

Debate Round No. 2


No evidence? This is my body. I have the right to my body. You have failed to prove the alleged right of one person to force religion on another person.


"Rights are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people, according to some legal system, social convention, or ethical theory." [9]

I have asked CON to provide a source for, what CON is calling, "a right to my body"? Is it derived from a legal or ethical code? A proposition for such a right, without any evidence that it exists, is nothing more than ipse dixit ... "because he says so".

Such a right isn't even logical. "I have a right to my body" does not or should not force another individual to provide a service. CON writes "If I want to use contraception, I have that right" but instead means, "If I want to use contraception, I have the right to force you to share in the financial burden of providing the contraception of my choice to me." How far reaching is this "right to an individuals body"? Should companies be providing for other bodily obligations, like food, water, exercise, bathing products, etc?

The fact that CON has not provided a source for this proposed "right" is particularly damaging to CON's argument. Since Burwell v. Hobby Lobby is a legal case, it would seem that to disagree with the SCOTUS ruling would require a legal argument. However, CON has not provided a legal document that grants "my body, my right" or any similar notions. Furthermore, CON has ignored my arguments from ROUND 2, which show that

1) Some contraceptives are available, regardless of employer (withdrawal, the calendar method, abstinence, etc)
2) Hobby Lobby freely, and in accordance with the ruling, provides all but four of the 20 FDA-approved contraceptives
3) The SCOTUS ruling doesn't actually limit the ACA from providing access to contraceptives, rather it dictates that the current means is unlawful

Even if CON's right to contraceptives was considered, if Hobby Lobby still provides access to many forms of contraceptives, how would this right be violated?

Debate Round No. 3


Religious people do not have the right to force religion on people.


So far we have only heard argumentum ad nauseam from CON. CON has not addressed my arguments or my rebuttal. CON has not fulfilled the BOP for the resolution. Please vote PRO.
Debate Round No. 4


So far, you have failed to address what I am saying. Yes or no: Is freedom of religion the right to force religion on people? I say no.


I can address that assertion. First, let's clarify what you mean by "forcing" religion on others.

Hobby Lobby is certainly not forcing anyone to convert to their religion. They aren't forcing anyone from using the four contraceptives that they are opposed to. In this case, the government was forcing Hobby Lobby to provide contraceptives that go directly against their religious beliefs. This is not a trivial religious belief. The Green family believes that life begins at conception. It is believed that these four contraceptives prevent implantation rather than conception. The fact that they are even called contraceptives (contra [against] (con)ception), is a travesty in-and-of itself but ultimately outside of this debate. Therefore, according this the Green family's belief, these four contraceptives are actually abortifacients. Stating that this amounts to forcing your religious beliefs on someone else is manipulative and self contradictory. Hobby Lobby's religious beliefs affect others to the same extent that the non-religious beliefs of others affect Hobby Lobby. This case outlined a mutual disagreement. However, CON's statement is especially manipulative considering that the status quo did not force corporations to provide access to these four contraceptives. The government broke the status quo when it passed the federal statute that is the Affordable Health Care Act. Therefore, CON is stating that because the ACA violates the religious freedoms of Hobby Lobby (granted in this case, by the RFRA), that Hobby Lobby is forcing it's religious beliefs on others. This type of argument is a backwards reasoning fallacy.

Thanks for the interesting debate, LiberalProLifer.

Please vote PRO.
Debate Round No. 5
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by DATXDUDE 1 year ago
Oh. You're a troll. My bad.
Posted by DATXDUDE 1 year ago
You're either a troll or you're incredibly ignorant. PUT FORTH AN ARGUMENT! Otherwise, your opinion is invalid.
Posted by LiberalProlifer 1 year ago
If you cunbtinue to be abusive, I will block you.
Posted by DATXDUDE 1 year ago
HAHAHAHAHA! This is hilarious! You offer no actual arguments to prove my statement wrong, and then you accuse ME of being abusive when I call you out on it. This is hilarious XD. Oh I'm so scared, you reported me. Whatever shall I do? Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic.
Posted by ZenoCitium 1 year ago
Please replace where I've stated "PRO" with "CON" in my first round argument. My mistake.
Posted by LiberalProlifer 1 year ago
No need for intruductions, just jump right in. :)
Posted by ZenoCitium 1 year ago

Please specify if the first round is for acceptance only or if I should begin by posting my arguments.

Posted by LiberalProlifer 1 year ago
Fact:This is a debate site. Stay respectful or I will block you.
Posted by TBSmothers 1 year ago
@LiberalProlifer you do know that this is a debate website right? If so you have no reason to go around reporting people for giving their opinion, even if it is blunt.
Posted by LiberalProlifer 1 year ago
Fact: I have the right to my body, and I will no allow you to be abusisive on my post. Reported.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by U.n 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:02 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro cited sources; Con did not.
Vote Placed by lannan13 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Con dropped several of Pro's arguments, thus arguments to him. Not only was he the only one to use sources he also incorperated these said sources well into his argument. Thus I give Pro the debate.