Friday, July 4, 2014

Staff Stuff - 7/2/14 Hobby Lobby

I think Monday’s Supreme Court ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby might be one of the most important court rulings in decades, and I think that most people will never even realize it.

So what was really at stake with that case? Reality and what we saw on television and read on Facebook are two different things. Supporters of the mandate that Hobby Lobby took a stand against would have you and I believe that this was all an issue of 1) a woman’s right to control her own body and 2) Christians trying to control those rights and force their own beliefs on others. Neither is true.
The truth is, this supreme court ruling was actually to decide whether you lose your constitutional rights to freedom of religion once you start your own business. But you would never know that just by watching national television news. What grabs rating is accusing Christians trying to mandate women’s rights.
Still not convinced? We were told that this was about a woman’s right to use contraceptives. Women had the same constitutional rights to acquire and use contraception regardless of whether Hobby Lobby had won or lost. The difference was whether or not business owners had to spend millions of dollars and violate their own religious convictions to pay for these women to do so.
Down deep this isn’t about Christianity, although that is what they wanted you to believe. It’s about one of the biggest rights this country has. One of the rights that was a defining reason for the founding of these United States. The right to believe and practice the religious beliefs of your choosing, or the right to choose not to believe or practice anything at all.
This mandate dictated morals. Under the original Affordable Care Act regulations, business owners had to provide their employees with insurance that covered birth control measures, including the morning after pill. This pill has been highly debated since it was introduced, often being called ‘the abortion pill’ by its opponents.
Hobby Lobby’s owner was a man who felt this way. Many people argue that this belief is wrong, saying that conception can take up to several days, but the issue here is that Mr. Green has the right to believe what he believes. He believes that taking the morning after pill is little different than having an abortion, and his religious beliefs tell him that having an abortion is wrong. He has the right to believe that way, just as other people have the right to disagree with him. He cannot force his beliefs on his employees, but this measure would have forced his employees’ beliefs (or the government’s beliefs) on him.
Does the federal government have the right to dictate that what you believe is right or wrong? Can they tell you that you have to violate your own morals just because they say so?
Monday’s ruling by the Supreme Court clearly says that no, the federal government cannot dictate your religious beliefs. All Americans should be glad to see that.
We hear so much these days about how there is supposed to be a separation of church and state, but in this case, it was the federal government that was trying to dictate religious morality. If Hobby Lobby had lost, what was next? That ruling would have opened the door for the government to exercise control over all kinds of religious beliefs.
Recently our government attempted to deport a German family that moved to the US to escape religious persecution, but a last minute court ruling allowed them to stay. That family was ‘wanted’ in Germany for home schooling their children. This family believed that some of the issues the Germany educational system taught children were immoral and offensive, so they decided that they would not send their kids to German schools. The German government wanted to take the family’s children away and thrown the parents in jail.
If Hobby Lobby had lost it’s case, that could have happened here next. Whether you are Christian, atheist, Muslim or some other religion, the government would have clearly had the right to make you violate your own convictions.

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