Hobby Lobby: The Day After
Life & Liberty
We spent the majority of our show yesterday focused on Sibelius v Hobby Lobby, the US Supreme Court ruling finally announced. Justice Alito who wrote the majority opinion said it was “limited,” Justice Ginsberg who wrote the dissent called it “sweeping,” but either way one thing is sure: the judgment has created a firestorm of commentary, opinion, and emotion over and through all varieties of media. So, for Hobby Lobby: the Day After, here are a few things to keep in mind:
*First, as much as media types — whether they be uninformed and/or irresponsible — try to brand this ruling as being about the denial of contraception, this ruling was about 2 things, and only 2 things: Abortion, and Religious Freedom. Did you know that Hobby Lobby, the plaintiff in the case, has always (and will continue to) provide 16 out of 20 FDA-approved contraceptives listed in the Health and Human Services mandate to its employees? Hobby Lobby ALWAYS has paid for these contraceptives; they will continue to do so. This case was not about contraceptive access. The only 4 drugs Hobby Lobby declined to pay for are those that induce abortion; abortifacient drugs were the root of the case, NOT contraceptive access as a whole.
*Second, this was a case decided on law and legal argument, not the convoluted, half-informed opinions you’re reading today on Facebook. I am perpetually amazed at the amount of simply incorrect information that flies like the wind around social media platforms. Understand that there were attorneys on both sides of this case arguing with facts and reason before the US Supreme Court, and they made substantive arguments. Read them — right now — by going online to the original documents, and please — skip the puff pieces penned by people who’ve only read what other people say. Truly, what I’ve seen in the last 24 hours is social media at its absolute worst; amateur ideologues with a platform to opine, using nothing but sources of dubious merit — then scattering their half-baked theories all over the internet.
*Third, everybody overreacts. Remember the day the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Affordable Care Act? Social media exploded! For liberals, it was justice — done well, and done for good. Conservatives, though, were in clinical depression, despairing for the future of America. And after yesterday’s ruling? Everybody’s switched places: now liberals are clanging the death knell and conservatives are doing a happy dance. Let’s not, regardless of our political bent, get caught up in the political pendulum swing. God’s got this. America’s future is in His hands, and He’s promised to judge every nation according to His perfect knowledge & understanding. It doesn’t mean these issues don’t mean something — it’s just that they don’t mean EVERYTHING.
*And finally, I said at the start that this ruling was about 2 things, and only 2 things: Abortion, and Religious Freedom. And I’ve been thinking that, if you’re going to champion two causes in 2014 America, then these are two pretty good places to start. Research shows us that the generation under the age of 25 is more anti-abortion that the generation before them; the movement to respect life has been consistently gaining ground for the last two decades, and the fact that the abortion issue AGAIN made it to the floor of the US Supreme Court in Sibelius v. Hobby Lobby proves that the hearts of Americans continue to fight against this most basic of all injustices. “Defend the weak and the fatherless,” says Psalm 82. “Uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy.”
As for Religious Freedom, we have no better reminder of the absolute necessity of this foundational human right, than the story of Miriam Ibrahim we’ve been watching over the last few months. Miriam is 27-years old, and was imprisoned in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan until just last week. She was held there along with her 20-month old son, even forced to give birth in shackles to her infant daughter, and why? Because Miriam refused to recant her belief in Jesus before a Sharia court, and was given a death sentence. After a worldwide outpouring of protest, and due to the efforts of untold, unnamed advocates from many nations & organizations, Miriam was finally released and though unable to yet leave Sudan, she was being safely held in the US Embassy at last report. This imprisonment, friends, is what happens when a country devalues religious freedom, and despots and ideologues implant their one-way-only approach to civic life, with a military to back them up. Remember that millions suffer the world over today: in China, in Nigeria, in North Korea, in Iran, in Iraq — they suffer only for the sake of their faith. They show us by their beatings, by their imprisonments, by their deaths how VITAL is the cause of religious freedom, worldwide, in 2014.
So let this Sibelius v Hobby Lobby ruling be instructive — even maybe inspirational, in that it reminds all of us two issues — Life, and Religious Liberty — that, to our own peril, we forget.