Billy Graham is easily recognized as one of the most respected and devout Americans who has ever lived. Last week, in both the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, the evangelist who has been heralded for many decades on both sides of the political aisle, took out full-page newspaper ads that contained the 100-word plea:
"The legacy we leave behind for our children, grandchildren and this great nation is crucial. As I approach my 94th birthday, I realize this election could be my last. I believe it is vitally important that we cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel.
"I urge you to vote for those who protect the sanctity of life and support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman. Vote for biblical values this November 6, and pray with me that America will remain one nation under God."
You will note that Dr. Graham endorsed no one – other than the God he has loyally served – but as our country’s election is now just over two weeks away, you should know that there are currently 30 lawsuits that have now been filed by various groups after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services mandated that any American company employing over 50 people must “pay for and sponsor coverage of abortifacients, sterilization, contraception and education of the same for (the employees) children.”
Further, employers who do not comply with the mandate face fines of $100 per employee per day. Now, imagine you are a Catholic, a religion that doesn’t believe in abortion or contraceptives. Such a law would cost a large employer like the University of Notre Dame or other Catholic-led organizations literally thousands of dollars every day. As an American, I don’t think that is fair.
Right now 26 states, as well as the District of Columbia, allow minors over the age of 12 to consent to contraceptive services. Oregon even allows 15-year-olds to consent to sterilization. You talk about a problem of Church versus State, my goodness gracious!
Want another view? David Green and his family own the Hobby Lobby, a national chain of respected arts and crafts stores. Green, who also takes out full-page ads in newspapers at Christmas and Easter to glorify the God he serves, is among those who have no choice but to sue our own government. Not long ago he issued a statement all Americans should read:
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“When my family and I started our company 40 years ago, we were working out of a garage on a $600 bank loan, assembling miniature picture frames. Our first retail store wasn’t much bigger than most people’s living rooms, but we had faith that we would succeed if we lived and worked according to God’s Word. From there, Hobby Lobby has become one of the nation’s largest arts and crafts retailers, with more than 500 locations in 41 states. Our children grew up into fine business leaders, and today we run Hobby Lobby together, as a family.
“We’re Christians, and we run our business on Christian principles. I’ve always said that the first two goals of our business are (1) to run our business in harmony with God’s laws, and (2) to focus on people more than money. And that’s what we’ve tried to do. We close early so our employees can see their families at night. We keep our stores closed on Sundays, one of the week’s biggest shopping days, so that our workers and their families can enjoy a day of rest.
“We believe that it is by God’s grace that Hobby Lobby has endured, and He has blessed us and our employees. We’ve not only added jobs in a weak economy, we’ve raised wages for the past four years in a row. Our full-time employees start at 80 percent above minimum wage.
“But now, our government threatens to change all of that. A new government healthcare mandate says that our family business must provide what I believe are abortion-causing drugs as part of our health insurance. Being Christians, we don’t pay for drugs that might cause abortions. Which means that we don’t cover emergency contraception, the morning-after pill or the week-after pill.
“We believe doing so might end a life after the moment of conception, something that is contrary to our most important beliefs. It goes against the biblical principles on which we have run this company since day one. If we refuse to comply, we could face $1.3 million per day in government fines.
“Our government threatens to fine job creators in a bad economy. Our government threatens to fine a company that’s raised wages four years running. Our government threatens to fine a family for running its business according to its beliefs. It’s not right.
“I know people will say we ought to follow the rules; that it’s the same for everybody. But that’s not true. The government has exempted thousands of companies from this mandate, for reasons of convenience or cost. But it won’t exempt them for reasons of religious belief. So, Hobby Lobby—and my family—are forced to make a choice.
“With great reluctance, we filed a lawsuit, represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, asking a federal court to stop this mandate before it hurts our business. We don’t like to go running into court, but we no longer have a choice. We believe people are more important than the bottom line and that honoring God is more important than turning a profit.
“My family has lived the American dream. We want to continue growing our company and providing great jobs for thousands of employees, but the government is going to make that much more difficult. The government is forcing us to choose between following our faith and following the law. I say that’s a choice no American—and no American business—should have to make.”
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Regardless how you may feel about this issue, and no matter who you decide will best serve our needs on the national, state and local level, my personal plea is that every eligible voter will take part in this fall’s election. Early voting has already begun and Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6. Your vote really matters.