Sunday, December 30, 2012

Rights, Responsibilities, Culture-Makers, Hobby Lobby

I sometimes wonder whether we American Christians spend far too much of our time and energy talking about our rights.

In the worse cases this becomes whining about or demanding something be done about our rights... as if seizing our own rights were the essence of what it means to follow a crucified Lord.  It is not.

Look at the life of the Apostle Paul, for example, in the book of Acts.  He clearly thought much more in terms of his responsibility (as a Christian, as salt and light, as an ambassador, as a witness, as a servant/slave of Jesus, as a father/mother to the church, as a disciple-maker, as a cross-bearer, as a repenter and believer, as a sacrifice and sacrificer, as a worshipper in spirit and truth, as a herald of the gospel, as a lover of his neighbor, as a law-obeyer, as a diligent worker in his God-given calling, as a vital part of Christ's mission and community, etc.) than of his rights.    

What if the American church adopted more of that perspective?  Perhaps we would once again become culture-makers... which is far better than defensively complaining about what the culture is doing or not doing for us.

Thinking in terms of your responsibilities will always be more fruitful than thinking in terms of your rights... no matter what the question is.

However, looking at the Apostle Paul's example in the book of Acts, we do find that there are times to mention our rights.  There are times to insist on our rights.  Paul did this from time to time with regard to his rights as a Roman citizen.

At this moment in the story of America, I believe Hobby Lobby has encountered one of those moments.  What should we do about this as Christians?  What should we do about this as Americans?

Read the article below by Denny Burk...

Does anyone care what happens to Hobby Lobby?

I am astonished that more Americans aren’t in an uproar about what is happening to Hobby Lobby right now. As many of you know, Hobby Lobby filed a lawsuit earlier this year to try and get relief from Obamacare’s abortion mandate. The case is still pending appeal, but the Supreme Court just rejected their request for an emergency injunction. Inresponse, the Christian owners of Hobby Lobby have said they have no intention to pay for the abortion-inducing drugs required by Obamacare. That means that beginning on January 1, the United States government will fine Hobby Lobby $1.3 million dollars per day until Hobby Lobby complies.
This is the most egregious violation of religious liberty that I have ever seen. The United States Government is forcing these Christian business owners to pay for abortion inducing drugs in their employees’ insurance plans. It doesn’t matter that the law violates their religious liberty to conduct business in a way that is consistent with their conscience. Obamacare mandates that these Christians comply or face fines that will put them out of business.
When the controversy over the abortion mandate erupted earlier this year, the American public by and large got the impression that this was about conservatives who wanted to ban contraception. Nothing could be further from the truth. No one wants to outlaw contraception. This controversy is about the fact that the government is forcing pro-life business owners to pay for chemical abortions. If the federal government can force citizens to purchase items that they believe to be immoral, where will this end?
If this story is a bore to you right now, try to imagine for a moment what it would be like to be in Hobby Lobby’s position. You don’t have to agree with Hobby Lobby’s opposition to abortion to do this. Would you have a problem if the federal government required you to purchase goods or services that you believe to be immoral and against your most deeply held beliefs? That is precisely what is happening to Hobby Lobby right now. If this stands, what will keep this from happening to you?
The first line of the Bill of Rights says this: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Obamacare prohibits the free exercise of the owners of Hobby Lobby. Who’s next?

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