A Woman's Perspective On The Times We Live In


March 26, 2014

Hobby Lobby In The Lion's Den

     Whether you are a Christian or not, everyone is anxiously watching the Government (via Kathleen Sebelius) v. Hobby Lobby case that is before the Supreme Court.  It's really interesting to read all the views of the news sites on the proceedings and contrast it with the "culture" websites, and you wonder if these people are living in parallel, yet contradictive, universes.
     For instance, Breitbart.com says it is all about Choice .. the choice to embrace our First Amendment Constitutional rights, which say in part, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; ...".  And that's where the main conflict arises.
     There are those on one side who say that the owners of a company -- in this case Hobby Lobby -- should, according to the Constitution, have the right to determine how to run their business.  At issue for CEO David Green is the Department of Health and Human Services mandate requiring almost all large employers that offer insurance to include coverage for several forms of birth control that can cause abortion by destroying early-stage human embryos.  That's where the First Amendment comes in.  If a government mandate is at odds with the owner's religious faith or beliefs, they should not be forced to comply.  That would be prohibiting them the free exercise of their faith's commandments.
      But the opposition says that right is given to individuals, not corporations.  For the writers at Salon.com, it is not David Green and his family who have to pay for the health care coverage; it's their privately-held corporation.  For Salon, the question is whether the company itself can have sincerely held religious beliefs, and — if the court is willing to recognize "corporate religion" — how can the contraception mandate place an “undue burden” on the beliefs of a corporation?
     But Paul Clement—arguing for the plaintiffs—noted that another federal law at the center of this case—the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)—was explicitly enacted to protect “any exercise” of a person’s religion. Federal law generally includes corporations in its definition of “person.”
     Then there are those who look at the case from a different angle.  They feel that employees of such a company as Hobby Lobby should not be discriminated against, and prohibited from receiving benefits of the government provision, simply because of their employers religious beliefs.  It is likely that the argument for this position will be stated from the viewpoint of this student and pro-choice activist:  "I’m really just hoping that the justices see that access to birth control and reproductive health care is a fundamental human right.  Bosses shouldn’t be able to make a decision based on their personal beliefs to dictate what people have access to."
     May I suggest otherwise?  No one is stopping this young woman from taking any form of birth control she desires.  She is free to conduct her reproductive health care anyway she likes.  All she has to do is pay for it.  I simply do not understand how she can arrive at the conclusion that someone who pays her a salary has to give her the benefits she wants.  By definition, a benefit is a bonus; a perk; part of her salary package; and determined by the one who pays her salary!
     Perhaps this young woman, and those on this side of the argument, should read the following from the Employment Benefit Research Institute:  The U.S. employee benefit system is a partnership among businesses, individuals, and the government. Most employment-based benefits, such as pensions and health insurance, are provided voluntarily by businesses. The government supports these voluntary employment-based benefits by granting them favorable tax treatment. Certain other benefits, including Social Security, unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation, and family and medical leave, are mandatory. The government also supports individual financial security programs through individual retirement accounts, favor- able taxation of life insurance contracts, and tax-free death benefits.
     Actually, maybe Kathleen Sebilius should read it!  But these arguments really go to the heart of this most important case.  And while The Washington Examiner is reporting that the Supreme Court Justices appear divided on this case, I wouldn't count on any of the early reports.  Remember how we got blind-sided the first time on the Affordable Care Act?  Remember how Justice John Roberts delivered a decision that came out of left field?  So when you hear that Chief Justice Roberts seems to indicate that he feels Hobby Lobby has a sincere belief that some of the birth control methods in the mandate are tantamount to abortion, don't think he is signaling his agreement.  Or when it is reported that Justice Scalia has expressed his opinion that the mandates will be a significant financial burden to Hobby Lobby -- don't be fooled.
    And when you hear that Justice Elena Kagan suggested the business can decide not to provide health care coverage for its employees if they pay a $2,000 per-employee penalty -- a scenario she said would save the companies money. Then, if the companies wanted to ensure their employees had health care, they could raise their salaries so employees can buy private coverage.... well, I don't know what to tell you to think of that ridiculous motion!  She's obviously never owned a company or balanced a budget!
    In the end, I don't have much hope that this case will be decided in favor of the Constitution.  After all, don't we see and feel the winds of change?  While it is true that in 2010, the Justices granted corporations the same free speech rights as individuals; and Hobby Lobby is certainly praying that this case will follow suit and we will see a favorable vote for the free exercise of religion, we have slid a long ways from adhering to the Constitution in the last three-odd years.
     Do not be deceived.  If Hobby Lobby loses this case, then the highest Court in our Land is asking us to sacrifice our sacred beliefs for the sake of the State and to bow down to an earthly government.  If we are forced to renounce our faith in favor of someone's mistaken belief that birth control is a "human right", then I fear for our future.
      And before you quote Romans 13 to me, be very sure you understand the big picture, and how we are to respond to ruling authorities.  We are to submit to earthly authorities in regard to earthly matters.  But when that authority demands that we commit an act that is against our God's mandates, then we are to follow our Divine Authority.
     Did Daniel stop praying to His God when ordered by Darius?  It got him thrown into the lion's den, but he remained faithful.  Did Peter or Paul stop preaching about Jesus when the authorities ordered them to?  It cost them many beatings and nights in jail.  Just as these faithful believers answered to a Higher Authority, so do the owners of Hobby Lobby.  If this Christian company offers 16 of the mandated 20 birth control methods, but feels that the morning-after pill and certain intrauterine devices  are designed to destroy a life, then our Constitution and God's sovereignty give them the right to hold fast to their faith.
     Now, the question is whether or not the Justices will follow God's laws or man's law.

Acts 5:29   But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: "We ought to obey God rather than men."

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