President Obama today begins a potentially lethal economic pressure against a chain of hobby supply stores run by a Christian family, insisting the owners of Hobby Lobby are not free to exercise religious conscience because their business is a corporation.
The federal government is imposing a $1.3 million daily fine to destroy the Green family’s business or otherwise coerce them into violating their sincerely held religious convictions about the life of the unborn. The U.S. is demanding that the company include abortion inducing drugs in its employee health plan.
Beverly Blackwell has just emerged from Hobby Lobby with her mother, Connie Nixon. “The situation *** is that they have decided not to follow through with the Obama insurance plan because of their Christian beliefs,” Mrs.
Blackwell says. “They are closed on Sundays and follow through with their beliefs, just like Chick-fil-A. I think they are trying to follow through with their Christian values — the principles their store is based upon.”
Another customer of an artsy-crafty sort who frequents Hobby Lobby in Hixson is Sherry Actkinson, who creates pictures in wool using latchwork. She says she is not aware of the company’s Christian outlook, but she says she’s glad to learn Hobby Lobby is closed on the Lord’s Day. “I am a Christian, as well, so I am glad to hear about it.”
Three teenage girls bustle out of the story this busy day. One of them is Amy Malo, whose mother Karen is in the prayers of many home educating families on account of her stage 4 cancer. With Amy, 16, is Mikayla Long, 17, who breaks the news about threats to Hobby Lobby to Amy and another friend, Eilish Flannery, 16.
“The new health care mandate states that all companies *** have to offer their employees contraception coverage and abortion coverage, and as far as I know,” Mikayla says. “Hobby Lobby is a Christian owned and run company and they are refusing to do so, and that is leaving them in trouble with the government and the government can shut them down due to the health care mandate.”
“Catholic belief is against contraception and abortion,” says the student at Notre Dame High School, “and so I go along with that.” She says separation of church and state forbids the state from attempting to pinch “religious practices or moral beliefs.”
Feds deny free exercise of religion
The Obama administration argues that the Christian convictions of David and Barbara Green and their children cannot stand to block the abortion rule because they engage in commerce as part of a corporation. “Hobby Lobby is a for-profit, secular employer, and a secular entity by definition does not exercise religion,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Stuart Delery said in a filing submitted in the U.S. District Court in Oklahoma. “Because Hobby Lobby is a secular employer it is not entitled to the protections of the Free Exercise Claus or RFRA [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act]. *** This is because, although the First Amendment freedoms of speech and association are 'right[s] enjoyed by religious and secular groups alike,’ the Free Exercise Clause ‘gives special solicitude to the rights of religious organizations.’”
The second argument put forth by Mr. Obama is that a law that oppresses Christians is permissible if the law is written neutrally and is generally applicable.
The Greens are evangelical Christians who have always “sought to run Hobby Lobby in harmony with God’s laws and in a manner which brings glory to God.” The company runs 500 stores in 41 states. The Green family, through the store and a Christian book chain, employ 13,000 souls. Hobby Lobby pays full-time workers F$13 per hour or more, well above the federal minimum wage.
The war against principled sector of the national economy will have grievous effects, and will put a downward force upon business to avoid centralization and size to avoid federal controls.
— David Tulis writes for Nooganomics.com, which covers local economy and free markets in Chattanooga and beyond.
Source: Terence P. Jeffrey, “Obama Administration: We Can and Will Force Christians to Act Against Their Faith,” CNSnews.com