Hobby Lobby and the great purge...

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit widows and orphans in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. - James 1:27

One of the best teachers of constitutional law never donned a judge’s robe or earned a lawyer’s license to practice law. Joe Sobran studied English literature at a Midwestern college. His specialty was Shakespeare. And he kept his eye on the post-modern ball: liberalism’s relentless purging of Christianity from American law and life. C.S. Lewis said the State is forever telling the Christian to keep his religion to himself as It makes sure he’s never alone. Sobran catalogued the many ways the State keeps us company.

One of those ways, Sobran said, is by expanding liberalism’s pet rights to absurd and grotesque lengths, all the while contracting traditional liberties to the vanishing point. Two recent cases are on point.  

In the first case, a federal judge declared a prisoner has a constitutional right to mutilate himself through a sex reassignment surgery. If you wonder how a prisoner who’s been incarcerated for over twenty years would get the money to pay for it, don’t worry. Massachusetts taxpayers are obligated under the United States Constitution to foot the bill. The prisoner, so says the judge, sincerely believes he is a woman “cruelly trapped” in a man’s body. So Massachusetts’s refusal to pay for a sex change is cruel and unusual punishment. This, we're told, violates the Eighth Amendment. To secure the blessings of liberty, the federal judge says Massachusetts may be on the hook for $800,000 in attorneys fees. (The aggrieved prisoner was convicted in 1990 of strangling his wife, by the way.)

Someone once said taxes are the price of maintaining civilization.

Take the second case. Christians who own and operate Hobby Lobby fear God and don’t want to pay for their employees’ abortifacient drugs under a nationalized healthcare mandate. They employ over 13,500 people and out of Christian charity provide them health insurance. (Hobby Lobby also closes its doors on the Lord’s Day.) Do they have a First Amendment right to refuse to pay for their employees’ chemical abortions? Well, not exactly. Nationalized health care is a neutral and generally applicable law. And Hobby Lobby is a “secular, for-profit corporation.” Secular, for-profit corporations can’t worship, can they? Because the owners are only “indirectly” affected by Hobby Lobby’s being forced to pay for murder, the owners’ free exercise rights aren’t “substantially burdened.”

To continue operating their business and avoid becoming an accessory to homicide, the owners of Hobby Lobby do have options. They can (1) terminate 99.6% of the company’s 13,500-employee workforce, or (2) incur a $1.3 million dollar fine every day.

Today’s rulers are very imaginative and adept at finding rights to do revolting things that would have made prior generations revolt. Where there’s a perverse will, there’s a devious way. But when it comes to upholding the rights those prior generations actually secured in the organic law, our rulers’ powers of verbal ingenuity and finesse suddenly fail them. The light dims. They must tiptoe ever so cautiously. Quietly. Shhhh.

Yes, let’s pray that Hobby Lobby will prevail on appeal. But what’s the next oppression we’ll acquiesce to? Is there anything left to horrify us? That is, horrify us into action?

Comments

"That is, horrify us into action?"

And what constitutes "action?" One might suppose you were suggesting political action. Political advocacy, agitation, and the like. And, perhaps, you were.  Or not.

Either way, it appears to me that any options for action are quickly being reduced to civil disobedience. Or, absent actually violating the law of the land, then to take actions which amount -- virtually -- to a kind of political, economic, and social suicide.

Take the two options you mentioned for Hobby Lobby, for example. Hobby Lobby could attempt what a great many other companies are actually implementing, though for reasons that are purely economic, viz. to reduce the hours of all their employees to less than 30 hours a week (or, perhaps, it's to 30 hours a week max; I've read conflicting reports on what a "full time employee" is under Obamacare). Whatever the threshhold, if an employer is below it, he is not obligated to provide health care coverage for any employee (that is, until the law is changed to close off this strategy).

In today's economy (and the one of next year even more so), a 29/hour week job would be easy to fill.  Hobby Lobby would increase its workforce by 34 percent, say, and reduce everyone's hours below the threshhold.

Now, how do you suppose the press would report that? Other employers who are taking this tack would not face the tar-and-feathers treatment Hobby Lobby would face, I'm sure, because they took such action for religious reasons.

Or, Hobby Lobby could simply sell their business; get out of business; wash their hands of doing business in an economy run to the likings of baby-murderers.  This might preserve some value for the private owners and conserve jobs. But even these measures by Hobby Lobby or other Christian-owned businesses would not change the political situation.  

I'm not sure how, if at all, the political situation can be changed after this recent election. And, with the political trajectory that has been given another four years to run, even the options for Hobby Lobby I've suggested above will likely be reduced for Christian with every passing election cycle.

I've been warning my own parishioners to be alert for the introduction of hate-crime legislation to be prosecuted against those who declare that homosexuality is a sin, that it is contrary to nature, and similar such talk. Perhaps, maayyyybe, if enough Christian pastors were willing to go to prison by deliberately transgressing such laws, it could make a difference.  Would there be enough pastors in prison to make a political impact? How many are "enough?"

When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith in the earth?

On the topic of what to do with a Christian business if the state forces it to do something against the will of God, I am reminded of the situation of Match.com, which got sued and was forced to create a website for same sex match seekers, and it complied with this demand. I don't know if I have the details at all correct on this, but between Hobby Lobby and Match.com, you have two responses. The former might change its business model (moving workers to part time) so that it doesn't have to comply, while the other complied with the state/antichrist in order to keep its original business going as before. There are many more situations that are more local than this: if you are a landlord and don't want to rent to a same sex couple, or you are a baker that doesn't want to make a cake for a same sex couple (this happened nearby recently), then would you shut down your business or comply?

I think I did get some details wrong. eHamony was the website in question, and I am not sure if is Christian or not, but it was sued in California to create a same sex website, and it complied.

What to do?

Disobedience to a lawless government: ignore, fight, network, use privacy against them, etc.: and use exact and undeniably applicable quotes, observant of the contexts for the precise meaning intended, by the Supreme Court justices, from their decisions at court and from before being on that court, in statements; make a stink at their lawlessness, that you are demanding only that they respect the law as officials and servants--not masters--and use the rhetoric of the liberals against them (since many times they stole it, for the associations of words and phrases they've co-opted, from us), and do so locally to the point of putting local officials in fear of their jobs so that we might start getting the states to "resist the advance of evil" rather than collude: before the Oklahoma city bombing, for instance, they were planning to withhold taxes from D.C. when the latter acted imperiously and made demands against their interests...but more than that, we need to be out there more: the institutions that are now the pillars of liberalism, too many, are often institutions that were once in the hands of...Christians: they did not uphold discipline or fell into dead orthodoxy (reminds me of the "reformed vs. puritan" folks) that would not resist or put principles above their context such that heretics, for excellence, were allowed to take over the institutions: Yale's billions were and remain the proper endowment for the training of orthodox ministers but serves to bolster unfaithfulness now, for instance.

We have to stop making nice--in public and in private--with duplicitous and evil men whose intent is to harm and oppress those with real liberty in the name of justice falsely so-called.

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