Morality in America
When studying the founding of the United States, you can’t help but encounter the faith of the nation’s forefathers. Time and again they recognized God’s hand in the shaping of America. You will find Him repeatedly mentioned in their words and documents. And you will find Him having an active, vibrant role in the country’s early history.
Today, God continues His work in America – but it’s in a nation that has clearly lost its moral compass. Every week, “Morality in America” will address the myriad of moral concerns facing the United States and undermining its Godly heritage:
- Sanctity of life – abortion and euthanasia.
- Sanctity of marriage – same-sex marriage and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues.
- Sanctity of the family – divorce, spousal and child abuse, out-of-wedlock pregnancies and absentee fathers.
- Judicial activism (Supreme and lower court decisions).
- Revisionist education in the public schools.
- The perceived rise of Socialism and one-world government trends.
- Attacks and media bias against Christianity.
- And much more…
After you read, remember to intercede in prayer for America – that this nation will return to the Christian standards that once defined it.
Communion In The Conference Room
Do corporations have religious freedoms?
By Louie Christensen
You can’t pick and choose which type of freedoms you want to defend. You must defend all of them, or none of them. That’s not a philosophy, or a constitution, but rather the definition of the word “freedom.” Unfortunately, it isn’t an easy definition to put into law or practice in a melting pot culture like that found in the United States. Whose liberty should be defended? The strong majority or the endangered minority? The paradox of freedom may be an unsolvable question, but it’s an ongoing problem. Now, it seems that the most unlikely organization will step into the ring to stand up for their freedom.
Two weeks ago the U.S. Supreme Court decided to hear a lawsuit against President Obama’s health care law filed by Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. The national arts and crafts business objects to providing employees with certain contraceptives mandated by The Affordable Care Act.
Hobby Lobby’s founder David Green claims that the government cannot force him to provide his thousands of employees with insurance covering contraceptives such as morning-after pills.
Opposing Hobby Lobby’s filing, Louise Melling, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement, “Everyone has a right to their religious beliefs, but religious freedom does not include the right to impose your beliefs on others.” Here one sees the paradox…does David Green’s religious freedom carry more importance than the lifestyle freedom of his employees?
Is Hobby Lobby waging a war on birth control? No, not exactly. Some social conservatives consider the morning-after pill – which flushes a fertilized egg out of a woman’s uterus – to be a form of abortion. So David Green’s battle isn’t one against birth control, but rather against abortion. Hobby Lobby has the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act seemingly protecting them from the government forcing them to do anything against their religious beliefs. Or does it?
This Supreme Course case won’t come down to deciding what is or isn’t considered abortion, nor will it come down to an individual’s religious freedom. Why? Because legally neither have any say in this case. The matter will come down to one question: “Do corporations have religious rights?”
Hobby Lobby is a corporation (Hobby Lobby Stores Inc.), which means it is a separate legal entity from David Green. In the eyes of the law, Hobby Lobby is about as Christian as Victoria Secret or Abercrombie & Fitch. While Mitt Romney famously declared, “Corporations are people” during his Iowa State fair visit in 2011…at the moment that is not the case.
While the media will most likely play this out as a “Christians vs. Women” story, or a “Conservatives against Obama” plot the implications of the Supreme Court’s decision could drastically affect how corporations conduct business. How will American businesses look if corporation owners can or cannot decide the religious views of their company? Could a Pacifist form a corporation and refuse to pay federal taxes since some of the money will fund war? His refusal to pay taxes based on a belief system would be – theoretically – as legally valid as Hobby Lobby’s.
As of now, both the 3rd and 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals have ruled that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the law Hobby Lobby is hoping stands behind them, does not apply to for-profit companies. “We simply cannot understand how a for-profit, secular corporation – apart from its owners – can exercise religion,” 3rd U.S. Circuit Judge Robert Cowen wrote for the majority.
But in Hobby Lobby’s case, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of David Green stating that, “We see no reason the Supreme Court would recognize a corporation’s political expression, but not its religious expression.” This declaration is in reference to an earlier court ruling, which allowed corporations to choose which political campaigns it can support.
The complexity of this case makes it potentially one of the most formidable rulings the Supreme Court has seen in recent years. There appears to be no clear answer in the law, and the decision will likely come down to a close vote.
Whether the Court rules in favor of Hobby Lobby or not, their decision will affect the way business is conducted in the United States. This week pray for the Supreme Court’s decision, and for all those affected by their ruling. Pray for Christian-owned businesses, that they will be allowed to express their beliefs through their businesses and that they will do so in a way that honors Christ.
Louie Christensen is a Senior at the University of Arizona. In addition to a passion for writing, he also assists with a new church just a few blocks from campus in Tucson, Arizona.
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