Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Hobby Lobby and Religious Freedom

Jan 2, 2013

January 5 is Hobby Lobby Day. If you have no clue what that means, you probably did not know about the Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day of last year either. If that is the case, let me fill you in. Both are American chain stores, and both have been subject to nasty harassment by the radical left and forces of political correctness.

The latter is a fast food restaurant chain which is owned by an unashamed Christian. He takes his faith seriously, so the stores are not open on Sundays, and he believes God’s Word when it says marriage is only between a man and a woman.

For that the militant homosexual lobby blew a gasket, and declared an all-out war against Chick-fil-A. As a counter-measure an Appreciation Day was held in August, and they broke all records with so many faithful supporters who sent a very loud message to the gaystapo that they are sick and tired of their bullying and jackboot tactics. The day was a rousing success, and we are now in great need of another one.

Hobby Lobby is a craft store chain with 500-plus stores throughout the US. The CEO is also a committed Christian, and because of his adherence to Biblical absolutes, he is refusing to bow down to the diabolical Obamacare mandate, which includes forcing businesses to promote abortion or abortifacient services.

For this the anti-Christian Obama administration has also declared war, vowing to trample the rights of any business which for conscience sake refuses to go along with this dastardly agenda. So it is war once again, and in an effort to show support for the brave and principled stance of Hobby Lobby, all Americans are urged to do mega-business with the stores on January 5.

Even though I am not into crafts too much, if I were in America I certainly would roll up and support these courageous folks who are defying the increasingly hostile BHO administration. I hope they too break all their sales records, and send a clear message to the bully Obama.

David Green, CEO of Hobby Lobby, explains his situation: “We’re Christians, and we run our business on Christian principles. I’ve always said that the first two goals of our business are 1) to run our business in harmony with God’s laws, and 2) to focus on people more than money. And that’s what we’ve tried to do. We close early so our employees can see their families at night. We keep our stores closed on Sundays, one of the week’s biggest shopping days, so that our workers and their families can enjoy a day of rest. We believe that it is by God’s grace that Hobby Lobby has endured, and he has blessed us and our employees. We’ve not only added jobs in a weak economy, we’ve also raised wages for the past four years in a row. Our full-time employees start at 80% above minimum wage.

“But now, our government threatens to change all of that. A new government health care mandate says that our family business must provide what I believe are abortion-causing drugs as part of our health insurance. Being Christians, we don’t pay for drugs that might cause abortions. Which means that we don’t cover emergency contraception, the morning-after pill or the week-after pill. We believe doing so might end a life after the moment of conception, something that is contrary to our most important beliefs. It goes against the biblical principles on which we have run this company since day one. If we refuse to comply, we could face $1.3 million per day in government fines.

“Our government threatens to fine job creators in a bad economy. Our government threatens to fine a company that’s raised wages four years running. Our government threatens to fine a family for running its business according to its beliefs. It’s not right.”

He concludes: “My family has lived the American dream. We want to continue growing our company and providing great jobs for thousands of employees, but the government is going to make that much more difficult. The government is forcing us to choose between following our faith and following the law. I say that’s a choice no American and no American business should have to make. The government cannot force you to follow laws that go against your fundamental religious belief. They have exempted thousands of companies but will not except Christian organizations including the Catholic church.”

In my book Green is a hero who deserves all the support he can get. That is why I am happy to join in solidarity with my brother, even though I am on the other side of the globe. And many others have also expressed their strong support for this champion.

Terence Jeffrey for example says this: “The Greens, who are Evangelical Christians, do not suspend their religious beliefs while running their businesses. Instead, they strive to run them fully in accordance with their Christian beliefs. They are unanimous in stating that they have always ‘sought to run Hobby Lobby in harmony with God’s laws and in a manner which brings glory to God.’ They do not have two sets of morals—one for when they are at church or at home and another for when they are working on their businesses. They have only one set of morals—that they strive to follow at work or any other activity.”

As expected, the secular left activists absolutely hate Green and his stores, and are waging their own war of lies and deception against them. Kimberly Morin deals with many of these:

“LIE: Hobby Lobby is forcing their religious beliefs onto their employees.
FACT: Hobby Lobby is not forcing their beliefs onto anyone. They are simply against Obama forcing them to go against their own beliefs and the beliefs their corporation is run on.
LIE: Hobby Lobby is denying women basic access to health care.
FACT: The ‘Plan B’ pill is not basic health care. It is a pill that some women choose to use after having unprotected sex or if they believe they may have gotten pregnant (after choosing to have sex) and do not want to have a baby. Leftists believe that women are too weak minded, ignorant and dependent on men that they are incapable of going to the pharmacy to purchase the Plan B pill for their own selves all on their own (they can even buy it online).”

Her entire column is well worth reading. Finally, Reid Guy says this: “This story amazes me for a couple reasons. First, the idea that we still have companies and individuals that will not sacrifice their ideals and beliefs for a single dollar is awesome. The owners of Hobby Lobby say they will choose to lose an unprecedented amount of money, instead of going against their values. When our society puts so much emphasis on the value of a dollar, this company is willing to potentially lose it all.

“The second and most important issue that I have with this story, is the fact, that Barack Obama, Congress, and the courts, can just ignore our freedom of religion that is granted to us through the United States Constitution. The first line of the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights reads, ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.’

“This tells me that those that govern our land will go to any extent to completely ignore any freedoms that we have. There are many pro-abortionists that are celebrating the mandate and the recent rulings against Hobby Lobby, but this ignorance of the law is just as important to them also. If a government can strip away a sacred right as our freedom of religion, they can eventually strip away their rights of freedom of speech or the press. What if the government forced them to participate in activities that they stand against? If Hobby Lobby loses, we all lose.”

Exactly right. Religious freedom and freedom of conscience are far too valuable to just sit by as they are inexorably chewed up by Big Government. This is an immensely important battle, and I urge every single American reading this to visit Hobby Lobby on January 5 and spend up big time. The Greens deserve all the help and support we can give them.

And please keep them in your prayers. This is a real David versus Goliath battle, and I for one hope that many of these Davids will stand up and be counted, and land telling blows on the derelict and increasingly dangerous Obama administration.

[1435 words]

14 Responses to Hobby Lobby and Religious Freedom

  • That comment from Reid Guy is especially worth considering – given that the freedom of exercise of religion is tied within the First Amendment to the freedom of the press (and actually comes before it), you would think the media would have the smarts to back Hobby Lobby.

    Not likely …and they won’t back Hobby Lobby either!

    Mark Rabich

  • Thanks Mark

    Yes freedom is all of a piece, and when it gets attacked in one place it will surely be attacked in all places eventually. But with the MSM acting as Obama’s lapdogs, we will get no help from them. That is why we must do all we can to help Hobby Lobby and stand up for freedom.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • I am appalled by this virtual, indeed actual, persecution of Chick-fil-A and Hobby Lobby. Imagine if they tried to do the same to Muslim enterprises (or have they?). I am also mystified. What have fast food and craft got to do with drugs? Are all McDonalds and Kentucky Fried outlets (where young people often serve) dispensing these medications? If not why not? Why have thousands of companies been exempted and on what grounds? What role does the un-exempted Catholic Church play in dispensing these drugs? If the non-exemption of Hobby Lobby is as sinisterly selective as it surely seems, then it’s yet another frightening step beyond the era in which America could meaningfully be called a Christian country.

    Rowan Forster.

  • First time I’ve like – even loved – the phrase, “The Greens…” Bless them and I pray that they get the support they need.

    Maureen Tully

  • The accusation that Hobby Lobby is forcing their religious beliefs onto their employees, must be exposed for its hypocrisy and deception. It is Obama who is imposing Marxism on the American people. In any war, the first thing to do is to identify the enemy. The American people must have it spelt out to them what his ideology is that falls on them daily like black atomic dust.
    I have tried a rough stab it here and if anyone else can direct us to better one I would be very appreciative.
    Obamarxism, reduces our existence to impersonal energy. In the natural order we are nothing special: we are merely bio/socio/economical systems of chemicals, which have evolved out of nothing over an unimaginable time scale. All of life operates within a sealed box within which only the laws of chance and mathematical probability operate. Ontological distinctions, like male and female disappear; moral boundaries that we have lived with suddenly seem to be totally artificial, created by our male ancestors to control society (taboos).
    Without any absolute moral point of reference, like a ship without compass or captain, society drifts and changes its attitudes and values according to the political climate, to the zeitgeist. The individual doesn’t care where society is headed, just so long as everything is running smoothly and everyone has the feel- good factor. Truth and morality become relative. A judgement, decision or policy is no longer true, good or bad, but instead “progressive”, “modern”, “21st century”, “tolerant”, “diverse,” “inclusive” and “non- discriminatory.” Everything becomes a matter of individual and shifting perception. The only moral compass is a constantly changing political correctness- the average consensus at any particular moment. What might be shocking and completely unacceptable behaviour can almost overnight become respectable and what was previously considered to be decent and responsible behaviour can become criminalised.
    But if there is no ultimate, rational basis for belief in an absolute truth or beauty that exists over and above our understanding then the logical conclusion is that life is purposeless. Everything is essentially absurd. The atomisation, disconnection and alienation people feel in an increasingly dehumanised society is reflected in the nihilism we see increasingly in the youth today, and escape into anything that can dull the pain of an empty existence. People are no longer controlled from above from God through the Holy Spirit. They are no longer able to hear the voice of conscience but are controlled from below, from blind instinct and terrible passions. Human nature has a way of accommodating and becoming comfortable over a period of time with a state of hell. Addictions to drugs, violence, pornography, sexual perversions, madness and the occult are leading to rising suicide rates, which are only exacerbated by the economic downturn alone.
    Such travellers are led to believe that they lead autonomous lives, that their lives are their own and that they are absolutely free, little realising that they are dominated by Obarmaxism that descends on them like atomic dust. Society gradually sleep walks into becoming hardened, desensitised to cruelty, barbarism and evil, until what was considered abnormal or deviant becomes the acceptable norm, as happened in Nazi Germany, Russia, China, Cambodia and now- even Britain and the USA. No doubt Germans today still cannot believe that they as a nation descended to such barbarism, just over fifty years ago.
    We stand on the threshold of a similar period to that of 1938. We are faced not with bombs and bullets but the clunking fist of political correctness. The writing is on the wall. It is more than likely that at the end of 2013, we will no longer recognise our own country. Two thousand years of history will be wiped out. The philosopher Will Durant, said that it had required centuries for our civilisation to go from barbarism to civilisation, but “the journey from civilisation to barbarism needs but a day.”
    His words were echoed in British Parliament in 2007 at the end of the debate on Gay Adoption by Gerald Howarth MP when he said “Tony Blair has given us 20 months to adapt 2,000 years of Christian teaching. It’s unacceptable.” Homosexual, Ben Summerskill, chief executive of Stonewall dismissed Christian morality by saying, “We felt six or twelve months would be a reasonable period for agencies to retrain their( adoption) staff but if it takes eighteen months to reverse a thousand years of prejudice, we can probably live with that.”

    David Skinner, UK

  • Pathetic!!! We’re quickly seeing the collapse of the western world!! This is God’s justice on an unrepentant, stiff-necked people who always resist the Holy Ghost. God have mercy on us and renew Your church once more!! May we have more Greens and Cathy’s rise up in our day and resist this tyrannical government and the evil empire that is taking over my beloved civilisation.
    Joel Enis

  • It is tragic that activities and drugs which violate the ancient Hippocratic Oath, an oath to which all physicians are sworn, are now extolled by governments as part of what are called somewhat euphemistically “women’s reproductive health measures”.

    John Wigg

  • “If we refuse to comply we could face $1.3 million per day in Government fines”. This would be confiscation of private wealth of people who suddenly find themselves in contravention of new laws which are at odds with Christian belief. A ruse to extract money from tax payers by a Government over its head in national debt. Expect more of the same.
    Rachel Smith, UK

  • Justice is so uneven in the unconstitutional Obama administration. Muslims easily opt out and are exempt from Obamacare’s dictates while Christian conscientious objectors are rejected and punished.

    Likely, this is because the faux Christians (Pelosi, Romney, Biden, et al) and some once Christian institutions (Notre Dame, The Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, UCC, etc.) have caved and/or supported the pansexual activist agenda despite the evidence in Scripture, statistics and science.

    Sibyl SMith

  • First time I’ve ever read “The Greens deserve all the help and support we can give them” on your website Bill!! (Possible re-phrase needed!!)

    Mark Wilkinson

  • Thanks Mark

    Yes I never thought I would write those words – but context of course is everything!

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • “..leftists lie and create false hysteria because they despise facts and logic.” I couldn’t have put it better myself. (And Newsweek magazine declared Obama its “Man of the Year.” Appalling. Simply appalling.)

    Mick Koster.

  • With his support for abortion, Mr. Obama testifies that the ‘born gay’ argument is a lie. If there were the remotest possibility that people can be born ‘gay’, the homosexual movement would demand full protection for the unborn.
    Michael Watts

  • Awesome comment Michael! 🙂

    Mario Del Giudice

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