Why Christian Companies’ Corporate Conscience Should be Clear

English: Hobby Lobby store in Stow, Ohio

Hobby Lobby store in Stow, Ohio (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: This is NOT a post about:

  1. when life begins
  2. whether contraception causes abortion
  3. whether Roe vs. Wade should be overturned
  4. Pro-choice vs. Pro-life

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So there is a lot of hubbub out there right now about Hobby Lobby and their suit against the Federal Government over Obamacare.  Their basic concern, and the concern of many Christian business owners is that Obamacare is causing them “to violate their deeply held religious beliefs under threat of heavy fines, penalties and lawsuits” by requiring them to provide insurance that covers abortions, contraception and the morning after pill. They contend that it violates their conscience to provide such coverage because they morally oppose the use of such medications and procedures. It is my contention, however, that Hobby Lobby — and companies like them — can and should comply with the new law without any hesitation. It is also my contention that they can rest easy knowing that God does not lay (what they consider to be) the sins of others at their feet.

Requiring Christian-owned businesses to provide health insurance which covers contraception is not, honestly, that big of a deal, simply because it effectively changes nothing. Companies such as Hobby Lobby already pay people money that some of those people then use to pay for contraceptives/abortion themselves. Should Hobby Lobby be allowed to fire all those people? Of course not. Hobby Lobby is no more or less responsible for the use of said contraceptives either way. Once the money leaves their hands in the form of a paycheck or insurance premium the use of the money is no longer their responsibility. Some companies argue that under Obama care, they know that their money will be used to pay for abortions. Here are the facts.

#1. Every state must offer at least one plan that does not cover abortion so that there is an option for individuals who do not want this coverage.

#2 You will not have to pay for other people’s abortions unless you have opted to have this coverage for yourself.

In her article from earlier this year, Laura Bassett summed it up this way:

In fact, the policy does not require anyone who does not want abortion coverage to pay for it. Under the law, states have to offer at least one health plan on their insurance exchanges that doesn’t cover abortion services at all. If a state decides it does want to have health plans that cover abortion services on its exchange, and if a woman chooses one of those plans, then she has to pay a separate fee of at least $1 to a separate account for that coverage in order to make sure no federal dollars are used to support abortion services.

For people who opt into a health plan that covers abortion, the Affordable Care Act requires that health plans “provide a notice to enrollees” at the time of enrollment that their plan includes the surcharge, but those plans are not allowed to advertise the specific surcharge.

In short, the employees are given their choice of plans at least one of which will not include abortion coverage.

Now I realize that if even one woman they employ chooses that coverage and then has an abortion, some of their money will go to paying for it. But think of it this way; if I hire you to clean out my garage and then you use that money for an abortion, it is exactly the same. The health care law requires employers to provide an insurance option that covers abortion and contraception. It does not require employers to pass out morning after pills or write checks to abortion clinics. The employee is still making the choice, not the employer.

Listen, I am not pro-abortion. I think it should be as rare as possible. But to argue that I am then morally responsible for your choices off the clock simply because I provide you a paycheck or help pay for your insurance is insane. I guarantee you Hobby Lobby has paid people who have used their money to sin in all kinds of ways. I do not hold them responsible for that. They cannot, nor should they be able to, tell people how they can or cannot spend their paychecks. Unless of course they are breaking the law.

A well-meaning friend said to me today that it is a free country and the people don’t have to work there. They can just go somewhere else where that coverage is offered. Really? So now people have to know all about the owners of a company before they take a job? They need to find someone they agree with on all moral and spiritual accounts before they can work somewhere? That is like expecting an employer to know everything about a person before hiring them. This is a free country, we embrace freedom of religion when it comes to personal practice. What we do not allow is one person’s freedom of religion to trump the rights of others. If you want to do business in the United States, there are all kinds of things you may consider sinful that you cannot use to discriminate against someone when considering them for a job. For example we don’t allow companies to ask if people have already had an abortion, whether they are living with their boyfriend/girlfriend or are gay. I guarantee you that people who already work for Hobby Lobby are and have done all these things. People in fact spend their paychecks from Hobby Lobby in support of those choices.

Sadly, I think most people are just more comfortable with people who sin in the same ways they do or just keep it to themselves.

Here is the bottom line: The owners of Hobby Lobby should comply and then go to bed with a clear conscience. The individual using the contraceptives or getting the abortion or living with their boyfriend or doing drugs with the money you pay them was doing it yesterday and will do it again tomorrow. Obamacare does nothing to change that or make you pay for more of that (in fact it may be that less of an employer’s money goes to abortion since the insurance will pay a portion rather than 100% of it coming from that person’s paycheck). A company has no control (nor should they) over the private acts of an individual – and that is a good thing. God does not hold us responsible for the sins of others.

Consider this? What if the owners were Jehovah’s Witnesses (which don’t believe in getting blood transfusions) and they decide to remove the coverage for blood transfusions from their insurance policies. Would you be okay with that? What if they were Christian Science? They do not believe in much medical intervention at all. Should they be required to provide insurance for their employees? You see, when taken to its logical conclusion, it falls apart. The only truly fair way to handle this is to let each individual choose for themselves and Christians should be okay with that. After all Romans 12:10-12 says:

Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written,

“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall confess to God.”

So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

My point is that by providing the mandated insurance options ,Hobby Lobby does not need to feel their conscience is being violated. They are not controlling whether or not these people have these procedures either way. The individuals involved are controlling their own behavior. The owner’s consciences should remain clear. Their money (in the form of people’s paychecks) is already being spent donating to pro choice causes, Democrat candidates and Planned Parenthood, not to being spent on drugs, alcohol, abortion, porn and any number of other things they may not agree with. It is the nature of commerce in a free society.

Another friend asserted today that we should afford rights to people as long as they didn’t contradict the Bible. Wow! Here is the problem. Turning the Bible into American Law is a BAD idea. Even if you are a very conservative Christian this should make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. Exactly whose version of the Bible do we follow? The Southern Baptist Convention’s? Brian McLaren’s? Pat Robertson’s? Mark Driscoll’s? Heavens to Betsy! Let’s think this through!

I am a follower of Jesus and I want my country to afford and protect my right  to worship as I see fit. I DO NOT want to live in a theocracy until Jesus is the one leading it, even if my personal beliefs were respected. Even if you, my lovelies, got to write up the laws based on your understanding of who God is and what he wants, eventually someone else rises to power and next thing you know all the women are not allowed to go to school and are forced to wear burqas. Afghanistan springs to mind. The beauty of the United States is that the same Constitution that guarantees my Muslim neighbor, my atheist neighbor, my Israeli neighbor, my gay neighbor and my Mormon neighbor their rights to believe and practice ensures my right to do the same. As soon as I begin removing or denying their rights it is only a matter of time before mine are next.

If you do follow Jesus as I do, we can look to him for how best to handle this situation. In Matthew 22:15-22 it says:

Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away.

During this period of history the Jews were occupied by the Romans. There were many Jews who thought the Messiah would come in and overthrow the government. By all accounts the Roman Empire was not known for being kind and benevolent. In fact, quite the opposite. They were most likely spending the money that the Jews paid them in tribute to perpetuate all kinds of things the Jewish people disagreed with. Did Jesus blame them for the sins of the Romans since the money they provided was used for things they didn’t allow? Did he say, “Refuse to pay Caesar what he requires? In fact, sue him. Our money shouldn’t be used for such things!”? No, actually, he didn’t. Did he ever say anything to the political leaders of the Roman Empire about how they spent the money? Nope. Not a word in the scriptures about that. Jesus reserved his words about money and how to spend it for the people who claimed to follow God. And here, where he could have said stop paying the tribute and use that money for something else, he instead says, “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.”

We can also look at the scriptures and see that God never forces us or manipulates us or bans us from making poor choices.  (For the record I don’t see birth control as a poor choice, and I think any situation where an abortion is chosen or necessary is tragic, but there are many for which any abortion or contraception is seen as sin). He also never forces us to choose him and he doesn’t strike dead those who don’t. The rain falls on the just and the unjust. God’s mercies are new everyday.

I think we can draw from these passages that Jesus is more concerned with the hearts of the owners of Hobby Lobby who say they follow him than he is about the money they essentially pay as a tax to provide healthcare.

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The Speech & The Blogger Who Loved It


They tell me in order to have a successful blog I need to focus on a particular genre or theme, i.e. mommy blog, politics, feminism, current events, religion, entertainment.

*sigh*

If that is the case my lovelies, I guess this blog will never be wildly successful.

Side notes: 1) If you had told me last December when I started this thing that I would have over 30,000 page views by the end of November I would have been shocked and I might have laughed in your face so for me numbers wise, totally winning.  2) Writing this blog has been the catalyst for so much amazingness in my life, that for me, on a strictly personal level it is a huge, wild, cacophony of success.

Now that my tee up is out of the way, I am here to tell you this blog is NEVER going to have a single focus and if that is what is necessary for “blog success” in terms of rankings and book deals and whatever, I am totally okay with that. I for one am just thrilled to be here, on the interwebs talking to you fine people and sharing my thoughts such as they are in all their glory and messiness and
in-processness (I am in a making up words mood this morning. You have been warned. I think it is the lack of sleep. Or maybe it is my giddiness afterglow from the speech).

Ahhhh, there we are! The speech! That is what I am writing about today. Not so much the election itself (as that is all over but the shouting) as the deliciousness that was Obama’s acceptance speech. Here we go…

OBAMA:

That’s why we do this. That’s what politics can be. That’s why elections matter. It’s not small, it’s big. It’s important. Democracy in a nation of 300 million can be noisy and messy and complicated. We have our own opinions. Each of us has deeply held beliefs. And when we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy.

That won’t change after tonight, and it shouldn’t. These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty. We can never forget that as we speak people in distant nations are risking their lives right now just for a chance to argue about the issues that matter, the chance to cast their ballots like we did today.

ME:  A friend of mine posted today that “a nation divided against itself cannot stand.” My response to him/her was this quote from the President’s speech along with these words. “Nations are pretty much always divided against themselves. Part of what makes America great is the way in which we treat those whom we disagree with.” We are passionate, we debate and yes (as we have seen recently) we argue. But we do so without threat of imprisonment or retaliation from the opposition. We disagree long and loud and on Facebook and we don’t think twice about it. Do you even realize how amazing that is. Think about that the next time you read a political rant and stop and be thankful, especially if you are a woman. As you know, even though we hold up half the sky, there are still far too many places where our voices are muted, discounted or silenced altogether.

OBAMA:

We believe in a generous America, in a compassionate America, in a tolerant America, open to the dreams of an immigrant’s daughter who studies in our schools and pledges to our flag. To the young boy on the south side of Chicago who sees a life beyond the nearest street corner. To the furniture worker’s child in North Carolina who wants to become a doctor or a scientist, an engineer or an entrepreneur, a diplomat or even a president — that’s the future we hope for. That’s the vision we share. That’s where we need to go — forward. That’s where we need to go.

ME: Please tell me you believe in a generous and compassionate America. I do and whether you agree with the President’s policies or not, please stop saying he doesn’t want the same things you do for these children. He is not a monster. He is a father and a husband and an American and a human being.

OBAMA:

But that doesn’t mean your work is done. The role of citizen in our democracy does not end with your vote. America’s never been about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us together through the hard and frustrating, but necessary work of self-government. That’s the principle we were founded on.

ME: I love that! It isn’t about what can be done for us but what can be done by us when we work together! Government of the people, by the people and for the people. As the three musketeers said, “all for one and one for all.” There is a song called Brother’s Keeper by the late great Rich Mullins that says in part:

My friends ain’t the way I wish they were
They are just the way they are
And I will be my brother’s keeper
Not the one who judges him
I won’t despise him for his weakness
I won’t regard him for his strength
I won’t take away his freedom
I will help him learn to stand
And I will ~ I will be my brother’s keeper.

OBAMA:

This country has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military in history, but that’s not what makes us strong. Our university, our culture are all the envy of the world, but that’s not what keeps the world coming to our shores.

What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on earth. The belief that our destiny is shared; that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations. The freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for come with responsibilities as well as rights. And among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism. That’s what makes America great.

ME: I wholeheartedly agree. What is amazing about us isn’t just that we are the most diverse nation in the history of the world but it is the fact that in spite of that diversity, in spite of all that divides us we understand that we share one dream. A dream of freedom and equality and justice for ALL regardless of their differences. We in the United States realize that in order for me to have lasting freedom, I must also defend your freedom to worship differently, choose differently and live differently than I do.
At our house we watch Once Upon A Time, and on that show Rumpelstiltskin is fond of saying, “Remember deary, magic comes with a price!” I would change that to say, “Remember lovelies, freedom comes with a price!” The price is being our brother and our sister’s keeper through love, charity, duty and patriotism.

OBAMA:

I’ve seen it on the shores of New Jersey and New York, where leaders from every party and level of government have swept aside their differences to help a community rebuild from the wreckage of a terrible storm. And I saw just the other day, in Mentor, Ohio, where a father told the story of his 8-year-old daughter, whose long battle with leukemia nearly cost their family everything had it not been for health care reform passing just a few months before the insurance company was about to stop paying for her care.

I had an opportunity to not just talk to the father, but meet this incredible daughter of his. And when he spoke to the crowd listening to that father’s story, every parent in that room had tears in their eyes, because we knew that little girl could be our own. And I know that every American wants her future to be just as bright. That’s who we are. That’s the country I’m so proud to lead as your president.

ME: If we can’t agree that this girl should be able to receive care without her family losing everything they have then I am shocked and saddened.

OBAMA:

And tonight, despite all the hardship we’ve been through, despite all the frustrations of Washington, I’ve never been more hopeful about our future. I have never been more hopeful about America. And I ask you to sustain that hope. I’m not talking about blind optimism, the kind of hope that just ignores the enormity of the tasks ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. I’m not talking about the wishful idealism that allows us to just sit on the sidelines or shirk from a fight.

I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.

ME: Yes.Yes.Yes. And for me, hope has a name and His name is Jesus. He taught us to pray that God’s will would be done on earth as it is in heaven and he invited us to be a part of bringing his Kingdom; Not by becoming a theocracy, or through military power, but by loving our neighbors!

OBAMA:

America, I believe we can build on the progress we’ve made and continue to fight for new jobs and new opportunity and new security for the middle class. I believe we can keep the promise of our founders, the idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you’re willing to try.

I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.

ME: It is either liberty and justice for all or it is liberty and justice for none. We should reject the lines that divide us and reject those who would through fear and hate try to convince you that it is us vs them, men vs women, rich vs poor, gay vs straight, black vs white. Reject the scripts that tell you that you are somehow superior to your neighbor. You are not. You are, just as your neighbor i,s an image bearer of God, and he or she is just as valuable,and just as loved.

OBAMA:

I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.And together with your help and God’s grace we will continue our journey forward and remind the world just why it is that we live in the greatest nation on Earth.

Thank you, America. God bless you. God bless these United States.

ME: I believe that. I believe we are more than the sum of our individual ambitions. I believe that when crisis hits and our country is attacked. I believe it when the storms hit and I see people (even Governors and Presidents) drop everything to help their neighbors. I believe it when I host a dinner party and all my friends come (black and white and Hispanic and Asian and Native American, young and old, rich and poor, able and disabled, gay and straight) and bring food for the food bank and have a totally out of control gift exchange. We wish each other happy holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and safe and prosperous new years all around. I believe it every day in the kindness of strangers who don’t stop first to ask my party affiliation before the lend a helping hand. Don’t get me wrong. It bothers me that my kids had to talk most of the other kids at their Christian school off the ledge yesterday because they were freaked out by the election results. It bothers me when people call George W. Bush evil. Please lovelies, these are just men. We elect them to do a job. They each try to do it to the best of their ability in accordance with their values, beliefs and consciences to make the country they love a better one. Do they make mistakes? Do you? Can you imagine having that job? “Sir, we need to know what you want to do. The seals are waiting sir, should they go in or stand down? Sir? We need to know right now!”  Oh my gosh, I don’t even like to make the call on where to have dinner when I am put under pressure. Grace please. Prayers please. Peace, please.

On a related issue, can we please stop saying President Obama isn’t a Christian. He is one. He professes Christ. He believes in the tenets of the faith. God sees hearts, I do not and neither do you. It says God will judge. Neither you nor I will be making those calls (thank God). For now perhaps we who call ourselves followers of Jesus should pray for him and trust that he knows we cannot accomplish any of the things he set out in his speech without God’s grace.

Me: So, God bless you my lovelies and God bless these United States.

Oh, by the way, they also tell me I have to keep it short. Anyone who knows me knows there is probably not much hope of that.
michelle krabill

http://www.mlkcreative.com