Right this minute there are big issues issues at stake in our Nation.
If you've read this blog for awhile you know I haven't waded in the murky waters of politics. I do so only because vital issues are getting lost in all the blather.
That's you and me, my friend. We are the keepers of our Constitution.
Are we paying attention?
One major issue relates to the often-referenced First Amendment
Amendment I was ratified December 15, 1791. Here's what it says:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise therof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
From the beginning word spread all over the world about America's Constitution and the rights it guarantees. That's why America shone like a beacon of freedom to my great-grandparents who wanted to worship God according to their understanding of what the Bible teaches and without government interference. In America they could live by faith without fear.
That's always been true. Until now.
Enter the new health care law, which mandates what employers must cover
Take Tyndale House Publishers and Hobby Lobby as examples. Since a Christian couple founded Tyndale House 50 years ago this firm has only published Bibles and Christian books. Their son, Mark D. Taylor, is the current president. Tyndale's 260 employees currently are covered by their employee health plan. Taylor, a Protestant, has no moral objection to contraceptives per se. However, as a Christian he believes it's against what the Bible teaches to provide Plan B (the morning-after pill), Ella (the week-after pill) and intrauterine devices to covered employees.
Our Government says he must. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has ruled that health insurance plans must provide such contraceptives free of charge. Tyndale House is a for-profit entity. Therefore, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says this Company does not qualify as a "religious organization" and therefore, is not eligible for an exemption.
(Tayor notes that even exemptions granted to nonprofit entities such as the Roman Catholic Church will expire after one year.)
Fines for failure to comply will cost Tyndale as much as $100 per day, per employee. That equals $26,000 per day. $780,000 per month. $9.36 million per year.
Tyndale management's only "crime" is wanting to freely exercise their faith without Government interference. They believe the federal government is telling them they must either violate their own conscience or pay fines that will put them out of business.
It doesn't stop there
Hobby Lobby was founded 40 years ago by a family working out of their garage on a $600 bank loan. The children, now adults, are involved in the business, which now has stores in more than 500 locations in 41 states. They believe it is by God's grace that Hobby Lobby has endured and aim to honor God and to treat their employees well with above-average pay and many benefits. They provide an employee health plan, but consider Plan B, Ella and intrauterine devices to be abortifacients.
Hobby Lobby gives half its pre-tax earnings directly to a portfolio of evangelical ministries. It has given away and distributed over 1.4 billion copies of Gospel literature mostly in Asia and Africa. It sponsors the YouVersion Bible app for mobile phones, which has been downloaded more than 50 million times. Yet this is a secular, for-profit company.
These business owners, too, believe requirements of Obamacare go against the Biblical principles on which their company was founded. Hobby Lobby's non-compliance fines could total $1.3 million per day.
So Hobby Lobby reluctantly sued the Government in Oklahoma City Federal courts. Their lawyer cited their "deeply held religious beliefs" as individuals and business owners who seek an injunction to block enforcement of the new health care law.
In a piece dated October 24, 2012, The Washington Post, reported the U.S. government was urging the federal judge hearing the case to deny the request to block enforcement of the new health care law.
The dilemma for employers is obvious. They either go against their faith and keep employee health plans in place or follow their conscience and go out of business.
They either obey their understanding of what God says or what the Government says.
Look behind the smoke screen and the endless blather on TV
Numerous interviews and articles trumpet the same endless discussions about "women's reproductive rights," "contraceptive freedom," "bigots who want to ban birth control," etc.
This is not the issue.
For the record, I am not against contraception. Opinions vary about the morning-after (up to three days after) pill and the week-after pill, which induce a woman's uterus to slough off an implanted fertilized egg. Those of us who believe life begins at the moment of conception view these meds as abortifacients. Intrauterine devices are devices placed in the uterus by a physician that in various ways interfere with a fertilized egg being implanted on the wall of the uterus.
It seems to me there are three questions:
- In cases such as Tyndale House and Hobby Lobby, is our Government "prohibiting the free exercise" of the owners' religion as they understand it?
- As individuals of faith, what do we hold to be true?
- If provisions of this tax-supported new health care plan violate our personal religious views, will we vote for candidates who back it?
- Will we speak well of business owners who abide by faith? Will we support them with our words and give them our business?
Some words to think about
"The LORD gave me this message: 'I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb.'" --Jeremiah 1: 4 (NLT)
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, and I know that full well. --Psalm 139:13-14 (NIV)
But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD. --Joshua 24:15b (NIV)
My reader friends, let's be sure to thoughtfully, prayerfully exercise our rights as American citizens and VOTE!
Praying along with you,