Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The HHS Mandate and Christian Outrage

I'm sure that I'm a small minority on my opinion of the HHS Mandate as a conservative Christian. If you don't know, the HHS Mandate will be effective beginning in January 2013 and will require companies with a certain number of full time employees to provide comprehensive health care to all full time employees. Sounds good, right? The Christian outrage part comes in because the comprehensive health care must include birth control and abortion inducing drugs. Many companies have filed to have these requirements waived on religious grounds and some have succeeded while others have not. I feel compelled to address this because there are some very untrue ideas floating around...the one I am most concerned with is the idea that Muslims are all exempt while Christians are required to comply with the law. This has already come up dozens of times, and it is discussed here. The gist of the article is that no one religious group is specifically exempt and the only ones likely to be exempt are the Anabaptists (Mennonites, Hutterites, Amish, etc.) because they have a history of declining social security and other benefits the government provides to its citizens.

This specific article and its comments encouraged me to write this post. Hobby Lobby had requested an exemption from the Mandate under the grounds of religious beliefs and his request was denied. I understand that the man who runs Hobby Lobby is pro-life and is willing to provide comprehensive coverage, including birth control, but not aborticants. I see where he's coming from, really I do. I don't agree with abortion outside of very limited (read: maternal death or a fetus that is already deceased) but, in my opinion, it is not the right of one man, acting on behalf of a nationwide company, to refuse health care benefits that its employees may or may not utilize. He will be faced with fines of approximately $1.3 million PER DAY until Hobby Lobby either offers the coverage or closes its doors. While I applaud his stand, I believe that holding out on this law until the doors close and thousands are out of work is not the best solution.

I think the best solution would be for him to offer the comprehensive coverage, but also offer education on the dangers and reality of aborticants, alternatives to termination, and offer assistance to pregnant women who wish to carry their babies to term. After all, he could probably do that for all of his stores for a year for a day or two of the prospective fines. Personally, I feel like this would benefit more people than protesting the mandate until he is bankrupted. He would have more impact by educating employees than by going bankrupt and sending his employees into a) welfare orb) a less moral employer.

God gives us, as his people, free will. Who are we as a government, or a business, or an individual to try to deny others the same option. People are in situations that no one else could understand and we don't know their relationship with the Lord. Its entirely possible that after long prayer and thought, an abortion was the best option and was accepted by God. We don't know either way and we can't go making decisions for others or for God. You don't put words in God's mouth.

I personally would never get an abortion unless the fetus was already deceased, but everyone is different. I HAVE been in a situation where I was nowhere near ready to have a child. I was terrified. I had just started college when I found out I was expecting my first child. My heart sank and, at the same time, it sang. I deliberated, considered adoption, considered keeping the baby...and (even though I find it hard to admit now, I even considered abortion. And even though I decided to have and keep my son, the Lord and Father I love filled me with peace and the knowledge that He would love me regardless  of my decision.

All I can do is pray for those in need, spread the message of the Lord, and do my best to educate others about my experiences and the alternatives to abortion. I am with God that more people will come to truly believe through truth, love, and free will. We as a people shouldn't brovide one, but ALL of those.

Anyway, its late and I broke my toe today, so please excuse my frazzled rambling.

Blessings and best wishes for a happy Thanksgiving!

P.S. I would love to hear your thoughts, good or bad, so leave me a note if you'd like!


  1. I normally dont make comments on blogs but felt compelled to say something here. I will put this as simply as I can. I pray that the man who runs Hobby Lobby and makes these decisions, continues to stand by his faith. Yes it will be tragic and most definitley sad for any of Hobby Lobby's employees to lose their job due to closure but here is the VERY BOTTOM LINE....Is these employees jobs going to get them to heaven? Following and obeying Gods specific commands is what we are called to do as Christians. Anything less is worldly and will get you nowhere in regards to where you spend eternity. There are obviously many things wrong with the world today, but compromising against Gods word (in my opinion)is wrong. Many people of the bible had to stand firm and go against the grain to remain faithful to their religion. Yes, in those days it many times meant death, but we as Christians are to remain faithful AT ALL COSTS and we will be rewarded by spending eternity with our Lord and Savior. The bible tells us, in the end times we will come against many who condem us and try to persuade us. We are to stand firm and true to Gods word. No one human can get you to heven and to be disobedient to God for the sake of a job and money will surely have negative consequenses. I pray for God to intervene and take control of this situation and allow Hobby Lobby to remain open for business without having to compromise their faith but if not I believe (once again MY opinion), that it would be best to shut the doors than to fold to the government!

    1. One of the few biblical passages that approaches the status of the fetus is Exodus 21:22-25, which reads:

      "When men strive together, and hurt a woman with child, so that there is miscarriage, and yet no harm follows, the one who hurt her shall be fined according as the woman's husband shall lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe."
      -exodus 21: 22-25

      This is the only verse in the bible that refers to a generalized fetus and not one that was specifically chosen and set aside by God as a prophet. In this verse we can see that if the fetus dies, the punishment is only a fine, but if the woman dies/is injured its an eye for an eye or death for death. In this, we can see that the life of a fetus is not accorded the same rights of born humans.

      And Psalms 139: 13-16

      "For Thou didst form my inward parts; thou didst weave me together in my mother's womb. I praise thee, for thou art fearful and wonderful. Wonderful are thy works! Thou knowest me right well; my frame was not hidden from thee, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth. Thy eyes beheld my unformed substance; in thy book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them."his verse specifically refers to Jeremiah, but also note he mentions that God knows all the days of his life. This obviously equates to all people, but just because God know when/how our days are numbered doesn't mean that he condemns abortion. It simply means God knows how every living thing will live and die, whether it be by abortion, illness, or old ge.

    2. My personal morals make me believe that abortion is not the answer and I will try to get that truth out to as many people as possible. But there is a biblical precedent for abortion. See Numbers 5. An adulterous woman must be taken to drink of the bitter herbs and if her belly should swell, she becomes an outcast.

      It has been agreed for decades that the defining word for the life in man is "nephesh" which is essentially the key characteristic of man with the most important defining characteristic is breathing. Until Adam breathed, he was simply dust and clay. The same word nephesh is used over 700 times through the bible. From this we can determine that the reigning belief of the time was that until a child is breathing the air, it is not a living being afforded the same rights as fully formed and birthed individuals. And the Jewish Mishnah states that if a woman is in hard travail, the child must be cut out of her womb and removed member by member but if part of the child is already born, it may not be touched because one life cannot override another. It is important, I feel, to note that abortion in and of itself is not actually condemned, rather that there is biblical precedent and evidence that fetuses are of a lesser status than those who have already be born. Another example is in Leviticus when Moses has to value his people to bring forth an offering. No one had value until he or she was over a month old. Thankfully the days of offerings are long past!

      Again, this is just my take on the meaning I can glean from the Bible and articles on the subject. God has never spoken to me on the subject, so all I can do is give my opinion where there is precedent, but stay silent where God stays silent. I know I must love my neighbor whether she has 15 children or 15 abortions. I will minister to her, serve the poor, and be a servant to The Lord.

      One question I'd love an answer on though...people say it is wrong to compromise on the values of The Lord. We take this to mean we must not allow others the opportunity to sin. If that is the case, does that mean God is in the wrong for allowing us to sin? I don't believe so. I believe you can't legalize morality, only give people Gods Truth as best we are able.

  2. I hope he stands on hos faith in the Word. He is not denying his employees the right to abortion... he is just choosing against becoming an agent of that choice... I wi.'t by an alcoholic a fifth of whiskey either. It is a privately held company and as such should be legally accorded the right to issue its own rules. The fact that our government is using coercion against this private citizen to compel him to go against his beliefs is a sign of the further decline of this once great nation. Everyone 's free will is accepted these days... except those who choose yo consistently follow Christ and attempt the peacefully live out their faith.

    How to the employees of Hobby Lobby feel about his stance and the real possibility that their jobs will be lost due to the governments insistence on this point?

    1. I think that by declining the coverage, he is in effect denying the ability to have an abortion to those who can't afford it. Those same people are the ones who would be on welfare if they carry it to term. If I were a Hobby Lobby employee, I would probably be upset that I could lose my job when he could agree to offer the coverage and avoid the whole situation entirely. The people who desperately want an abortion would have it anyway, but the majority wouldn't use the coverage even if it were offered in the plan. As a person with the same beliefs, I applaud his stand as an individual. But as a company, he represents, caters to, and employs individuals with different beliefs. His business isn't a Christian business in and of itself so it shouldn't be entitled to the same exemptions that churches, Christian book stores, and other religious entities are provided. Again, this is just my opinion, and I sincerely thank you for taking the time to share yours!

  3. "In effect" and "if I was... I would" aren't strong enough to defeat the Constitution. The man has a right to take a stand, the employees have a right to seek employment with another employer who does not have an issue with the government mandate. This is not a faith issue. It is a Constitutional one... sadly you, and the government, cannot comprehend the freedom granted to us by that document. The seperation of church and state was written in to protect individuals from being punished by a government that wanted to enforce their own belief system. His business IS a Christian business because he is the private owner and a Christian. The erosion of our rights is at the hands of individuals who reject the idea that free will applies to everyone, including the man who takes a Christian stand with his own business, his own livelihood. I'll proudly shop there until he shuts his doors at the point of the federal government's gun (they are shutting him down, make no mistake)... then I'll look for him in the Gulch. Good luck to you and yours as Atlas continues to shrug. My prayers are for more men like this owner to grow and stand firm in love and peace but always with the Lord... in spite of government oppression.

  4. This Court rejects the proposition that requiring indirect financial support of a practice, from which plaintiff himself abstains according to his religious principles, constitutes a substantial burden on plaintiff's religious exercise," Jackson wrote in the decision. She noted that "plaintiffs remain free to exercise their religion, by not using contraceptives and by discouraging employees from using contraceptives."


    1. And according to Smith v. Employment Division. The government has every right to enforce the healthcare mandate. The only potentially unconstitutional part is that a religious exemption is offered. No specific religion is targeted by the mandate. Therefore, it is NOT a constitutional violation.

      I understand people feeling it is a moral violation, but not a constitutional one. There is precedence and those cases have already decided it isn't constitutionally violating anyone.

      And, you know, in spite of my opinion, God loves me anyway. And I don't think I'm oppressing anyone by stating that everyone should have to provide the same health care to their employees regardless of their religious beliefs. They aren't forcing him to take it, advocate it, or even minister to others about how absolutely awful it is. Just to offer it.