Saturday, December 29, 2012

Hobby Lobby And The America We Are Becoming

I know that most people are ambivalent to the Hobby Lobby case that has made headlines lately.  I don't see political commentary or much headline news on the story.

I don't see a lot of anger being expressed either in popular media or the blogosphere.  Most people I suppose think of it as a story far from them.  After all, what does a large successful American corporation suing the federal government over a mandate to provide an abortion pill have to do with them?.  I suppose most people think it's not about them.  Maybe they see it as political or legal maneuvering from big time lawyers.

They should think again.   They should be worried.  VERY worried.

First of all, what we have seen play out in the courts these past few weeks has everything to do with you because it has to do with your personal and religious freedom.  Hobby Lobby is not some impersonal corporate conglomerate.  It is a family owned business.  And as a good friend and pastor to many in this family I know them up close and personal.  These are not corporate tycoons.  These are not people who fly corporate jets and flaunt their wealth.  They are by all appearances an average American family with traditional American values.  They are about the least materialistic family you would ever meet.  They give most of their money away, pay their taxes, love their family, serve their church. They are patriotic, humble and outstanding role models and servants to their community.  They quietly support a multitude of charitable causes around the world.  

The Hobby Lobby success story is one of those feel good rags to riches stories of hard work, strong values and American enterprise that makes us proud to be Americans.  Their story is our story.  It is a story that says that anyone in this country can be successful if they work hard and do things the right way.  It is one of those stories that informs the American consciousness.  Hobby Lobby is us.  The Green family is a beautiful example of what it means to be American.

And that is why what is being done to them by the United States Government is so disgusting, frustrating and egregious.

The Federal courts have now ruled that Hobby Lobby and subsequently the Green family will not be provided relief from the federal mandate written into the Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare) that could potentially fine the company 1.3 million dollars A DAY for non compliance.  The company is refusing to provide a pill they believe causes abortions within their private health care.  The company pays for their employees health care and has always met the healthcare needs of their female employees (including contraception) and did so long before Obamacare came along.

The reason this has everything to do with you and you should be worried is because this morning you woke up in an America whose government says it doesn't care about your sense of religious freedom if you happen to be a successful business owner.  The inconceivable punishment put on this company makes it frustrating.  But what makes it egregious and disgusting to me is that it is a direct violation to our long established and even sacred rights as citizens (read the first amendment).  In these initial rulings the government has made the unbelievable case that because Hobby Lobby is a "secular" business they are not under the same protections.

David Green put it like this:
“Our family is now being forced to choose between following the laws of the land that we love or maintaining the religious beliefs that have made our business successful and supported our family and thousands of our employees and their families,  We simply cannot abandon our religious beliefs to comply with this mandate.”
These first few court battles are not the end of the story.  Hobby Lobby will now begin the process of fighting it out in lower courts and may one day get a full hearing in the Supreme Court.  It will be an expensive, exhausting and senseless battle that should never have to be fought by such wonderful people.   The Greens are fighting it out in the courts for the freedom that is precious to all of us.  It is the freedom that is not just guaranteed in our first amendment, it is a freedom of consciousness that has been given us by our creator.  And that is why it has everything to do with you.