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HICKS: Stand with Hobby Lobby for religious liberty
I bought a picture frame on Saturday.
It’s just a simple, black, 5-by-7-inch frame with a plain white mat, suitable for the black and white photo my daughter took on Christmas Eve of our dog, Scotty, sitting at the feet of my dad (a supposed dog opponent).
If I’d taken the time to hunt in the storage closet upstairs, I probably could have found a similar frame, or certainly one that would have sufficed for a picture of the dog.
But the point was, I went out to buy the frame. On Saturday. At Hobby Lobby.
If you rely on the mainstream media, you probably don’t know that last Saturday was organized as a day of support for the Green family, owners of the national craft chain Hobby Lobby. “Standing with Hobby Lobby” had nearly 70,000 “attendees,” and hundreds of thousands more were invited by virtue of Facebook users promoting the event.
The point? To rally around a Christian family whose religious liberty is being infringed.
The Greens are engaged in a legal battle with our federal government over the mandate issued by the Department of Health and Human Services that requires them to provide free abortifacient drugs (or “morning-after” pills) in its health insurance coverage.
As outspoken Christians, the Greens are famous for incorporating their religious beliefs into their business practices. For example, they limit their hours of operation to 66 per week and are closed on Sundays — a decision that costs them tens of millions in profit every year — so that their employees can spend time with their families.
Everything the Greens do with respect to operating Hobby Lobby reflects their religious beliefs, from the overtly Christian mission statement that guides its corporate identity, to the manner in which they treat employees and customers, to the merchandise they carry in their stores.
It only makes sense, then, that founder David Green would provide health insurance to his employees in a way that similarly reflects his deeply held religious beliefs. The Greens are Christian, but not Catholic. They don’t object to contraception and willingly provide birth control as part of their health insurance package.
But they are ardently pro-life. The idea of “morning after” or “week after” drugs meant to trigger a medical abortion of a fertilized egg violates their belief in the sanctity of life from the moment of conception. They can’t, in good conscience, facilitate the killing of innocent, unborn babies simply because the federal government tells them they must. In the case of Hobby Lobby, the mandates call for fines of up to $1.3 million per day if the company violates the regulations.
Hobby Lobby is not the only entity fighting the mandates in court. Several employers, including Catholic and Christian colleges, health care providers and media corporations, as well as America’s Catholic bishops, also have filed suits in federal courts across the country. While the Obama administration (and the media and the left) would have us all think this is just a “Catholic” problem, it clearly goes far beyond the Catholic Church.
The mainstream media hasn’t widely reported that most of these cases are being decided in favor of the plaintiffs and against HHS — some resoundingly so. It’s likely that the variety of opinions will land the mandate in the U.S. Supreme Court, which has a fondness for our Constitutional right to religious freedom. (For information on specific cases, go to the Becket Fund website at becketfund.org.)
What is at stake here is nothing short of reaffirming what it means to be free in the United States of America.
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