“I didn’t know I was a slave until I found out I couldn’t do the things I wanted” – Frederick Douglass
I’ve never ventured inside a Hobby Lobby – and the Lord willing I never will. Hobby Lobby is a Christian-owned arts & crafts store, and while I wish my brothers and sisters all the best, arts and crafts aren’t my thing.
Hobby Lobby made the news recently in a dust-up with the Obama administration. The administration has declared that Hobby Lobby must follow the HHS mandate forcing businesses to provide women with abortion causing drugs. Hobby Lobby objects, citing freedom of religion (and therefore freedom to not violate conscience in the workplace). The Obama administration’s response: check your religion at the door. They hold that once you start a business in the secular world – which is to say “anywhere in the world” – then you must abide by the secular codes of business which includes the HHS mandate.
The Obama administration is pressing ahead, Christians across the country are shocked, and I’m standing back and asking “what took you so long?”
First, I’d like to point out that this new “development” is really just an extension of the prevailing view of the authority of the federal government, and of the people themselves over their neighbors (in a democracy). Better than two years ago I wrote “What’s Your Slave Percentage?” The idea went something like this: if the government (which is “the people” in a democracy) takes your production (via taxation) to give it to fellow citizens, then you are in some proportion a slave to those fellow citizens. You may not be 100% slave, because they “allow” you to keep some of your production – but you are a part-slave nonetheless.
To this idea, proponents of the current welfare state will make two logical arguments in opposition. The first is that “it’s all for the greater good” – which means they view enslavement of the population by the population as acceptable as long as someone can make a credible argument that we’re all better off because of it. (This, by the way, is the very logic Congress uses to justify all manner of nonsense – it’s a logical argument, but one that clearly violates simple concepts of freedom.) The second logical argument is a technicality. Nobody “forced” you to go to work today. Thus, when you “chose” to go to work on your own, you abrogated any defense against enslavement and are now subject to the unrestrained rule of the majority in how you conduct your business.
It is this second argument that extends clearly into the HHS mandate of the Obama crowd. Once you “choose” to get up in the morning and go to work, even though nobody had a gun to your head, you give away all of your freedoms and become a servant of the masses, conducting business only in a way that meets their approval. If they say that a portion of your production must be given to them to pay for their wants and needs, so be it – nobody forced you to go to work. If they say that you must violate your religious conscience and pay for murder, so be it – nobody forced you to go to work. Check your convictions at the door. Once you stepped into the workforce you became a slave.
(Side note: the article also points out that the Obama administration has taken to calling it “freedom of worship” rather than “freedom of religion” – implying that all it really means is the freedom to gather together and play whatever type of music you want.)
Court battles will rage and we hope Hobby Lobby prevails. But in the end, the new mandate is simply a logical extension of the tacit “people are slaves” argument that prevails in our thinking today. (Just as Justice Roberts was technically correct in noting that the Obamacare mandate for purchasing insurance is no different than a tax. We agree that it is no different than a tax, pointing out that the federal government ought not have the ability to tax for any purpose, but that taxation and spending should be limited to the responsibilities of Congress delineated in the Constitution.)
At this point I’d like to switch gears just a bit and send out a heart-felt “thank you” … well, almost. This nation self-identifies as “christian” to the tune of about 70% or 80% depending on which survey you read. When asked, 70%-80% of Americans will say (not using this exact language, of course) “I am a follower of Christ.” Nobody ever wins an election in this country if 70% of the population opposes them. So clearly some of those followers of Christ voted for Barack Obama.
And I would like to say “thank you” to them. Thank you to the many Catholics who voted for a president and an administration what demands Catholics violate conscience and clear teaching of the church to provide abortions. Thank you to the many African American Christians who voted in droves to support a president that threatens a Christian business with $1.3 million in fines per day unless they violate conscience and pay for the murder of the pre-born. After all guys, it is not Barack Obama who is doing this – for he could do nothing without the support of the voters. This policy is laid directly at your feet. Slavery and murder. Shameful.
And now, pray it with me. “Our Father, in heaven, Your Name is holy. Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us …” Now stop right there. Did you catch that? Because it’s important. We must forgive those who have sinned against us. Those who have violated us, oppressed us, enslaved us – those who have used force (which is to say the government) to take away our freedoms and force us to participate in evil. Those who claim to be our brothers and sisters, and yet oppress us without mercy. We must forgive them, in the same way that we wish for God to forgive us of our sins. We hope, we hope, we hope that they stop sinning against us, just as God wants Christ to be formed in us (and He never sinned). But for now, we forgive, and we pray for our slave masters.