On Friday the cause of religious liberty was advanced when a federal court stopped enforcement of the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate against Tyndale House Publishers, the world’s largest privately held Christian publisher of Bibles.

But yesterday freedom faced another setback when a federal court rejected Hobby Lobby Stores Inc.’s request to be issued a similar injunction against the conscience-violating mandate:

In his ruling denying Hobby Lobby’s request for an injunction, Heaton said that while churches and other religious organizations have been granted constitutional protection from the birth-control provisions, “Hobby Lobby and Mardel are not religious organizations.”

“Plaintiffs have not cited, and the court has not found, any case concluding that secular, for-profit corporations such as Hobby Lobby and Mardel have a constitutional right to the free exercise of religion,” the ruling said.

Heaton wrote that “the court is not unsympathetic” to the problems cited by Hobby Lobby and their owners, the Green family. He said the health care law’s expansion of employer obligations “results in concerns and issues not previously confronted by companies or their owners.”

“The question of whether the Greens can establish a free exercise constitutional violation by reason of restrictions or requirements imposed on general business corporations they own or control involves largely uncharted waters,” Heaton wrote.

Indeed, we are in uncharted waters when a government mandate is automatically assumed to trump our most basic freedoms.

The Becket Fund, which represents Hobby Lobby in the case and the appeals, has more here.