Yael T. Abouhalkah

JE Dunn’s hypocrisy on ‘religious freedom’

When it comes to religious freedom, the owners of JE Dunn Construction in Kansas City can be rather picky.


The Star reported Sunday

, Dunn has gone to court to make sure it doesn’t have to provide insurance coverage for birth control methods that induce an abortion.

Let’s get Chairman Steve Dunn on the record about that: “JE Dunn has a long history of supporting religious organizations and has established policies that are consistent with the Dunn family’s Catholic heritage, such as excluding insurance coverage for drugs that act as abortifacients.... JE Dunn filed an amicus brief in support of Hobby Lobby to help the court understand the effect of the abortifacients mandate on family-owned, for-profit businesses that seek to exercise their religious principles and values.”

So there you have it:

The Dunn company falls back on “religious freedom” for why it does not want to comply with the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that many different forms of birth control should be part of a company’s health care package — even if this makes the Dunn company look rather backward in its treatment of women’s medical rights.

But wait.

As The Star article points out, the Catholic faith that the Dunn has such a history of following also opposes nuclear weapons and even supports nuclear disarmament.


The Dunns got a ton of money for being the general contractor on the National Nuclear Security Administration’s new $450 million building in south Kansas City, a plant that makes parts for nuclear weapons.

In other words, making the almighty dollar trumped “religious freedom” in this case.

Here was Steve Dunn’s excuse for that: “JE Dunn has a long history of working with the federal government, including building military facilities. However, electing to work with the government in that regard is different than complying with a mandate to provide abortifacients.”

Yes, it is, and here’s one way:

In working for the federal government, the Dunns make money but don’t follow their religious beliefs.

In complying with a federal government law on health care, the Dunns have to spend a little money but don’t offend “their religious principles and values.”

It’s a hypocritical stance, but it probably plays well in certain circles.