Wednesday, April 2, 2014
John Brockman Crane
Why Hobby Lobby Matters to You


Most men aren’t arts-and-craft guys, myself included. But I may have to reconsider.

The implementation of Obamacare is becoming the new battlefield pitting American citizens against our government. A public poll last November found that 59 percent of likely voters “oppose requiring insurance plans to cover FDA approved contraceptives, including those drugs that can destroy a human embryo and sterilization.”
For the David Green family, owners of the retail arts and crafts giant Hobby Lobby, the contraceptive mandate in Obamacare has forced their hand. Under this growing federal leviathan, employers are required to provide birth control—including what many religious people consider to be morally-abhorrent abortifacients—to all of their employees.
The Green family has found themselves having to stand up for what they believe. Last week, they brought their case before U.S. Supreme Court.
Previously, the 10th Circuit Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby. Their majority opinion stated that “A religious individual may enter the for-profit realm intending to demonstrate to the marketplace that a corporation can succeed financially while adhering to religious values.”
At issue in the Supreme Court case, Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., however, is whether a for-profit business, like an individual, is protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which ensures that the government “shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion.”
The pundits on both sides of this case are rendering their expert opinions from every legal angle. And court watchers are eagerly anticipating the Court’s decision later this year.
The fundamental question for citizens like the Green family is, do business owners shed their constitutional rights to First Amendment protections at the company door?
This case is just the latest example of a very unsettling movement afoot regarding the undermining of our First Amendment. And that should be of genuine concern to those people who cherish the ability to practice their religious faith as they see fit, or to be able to speak and act freely on matters of conscience.
This is not merely a theoretical concern. Business leaders like the Greens are essentially forced into a Hobsonian choice: Do they pay what could amount to an unconscionable $1.3 million a day in fines? Or, do they violate their conscience and most fundamental religious convictions?
The various Obamacare mandates have gotten the attention of those who are paying attention. Unfortunately, however, too many people are oblivious to the grave implications of this situation. Far fewer still are willing to act.
Silent self-preservation leads to the atrophying of our collective conscience. And with the atrophying of our conscience comes the corresponding loss of our liberties.
We need more people of principle like the owners of Hobby Lobby. These courageous arts-and-crafters have determined to stand up against the usurpation of power by our federal government. Are we willing to stand with them? If not, who will?
Regardless of whether you agree with someone else’s religious convictions or not, their fundamental right to hold those beliefs should demand a constant vigilance from all of us, regardless of our religious—or non-religious—affiliation. In fact, the erosion of bedrock First Amendment principles will create a crack in our national foundation that, if left unchecked, will be the cause our own undoing.
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