Multiply Justice

Should Hobby Lobby refuse to pay abortion mandate fines?

Denny Burk writes:

David Green, founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby craft stores

David Green, founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby craft stores

Doug Wilson comments about Hobby Lobby’s confrontation with the federal government over Obamacare’s abortion mandate. As many of you know, Hobby Lobby’s refusal to comply will cost them over $1 million dollars per day in federal fines, beginning yesterday. Wilson writes:

Three things should be said about this showdown. First, high praise to the Greens who have refused to comply. Second, they should refuse to pay the fines, regardless of what happens in court. And third, about a hundred thousand people need to surround their house, facing out, if the ghouls from the government say they are going to do something about it. One comment made online (HT: Mark Tapson) is, I believe, an accurate statement of where we are right now. “Right now the resistance is a saturated solution, waiting to crystallize around an incident.” I do not know if this will be it, but I hope and pray that it is something very much like it.

Anyone want to join me in surrounding the house if it comes down to it? Read the rest by clicking here. [Hobby Lobby comment begins in para.9]

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One thought on “Should Hobby Lobby refuse to pay abortion mandate fines?

  1. A friend I greatly respect, and whose friendship I value, tells me, in a loving tone, that the phrase “abortion mandate” in the headline of this post is “unnecessarily incendiary” and “lacks thoughtful discourse.” My friend says, “Does anyone believe that the HHS is commanding people to get abortions against their will? Because that’s the impression created. It comes across as pandering to create an emotional response rather than clear communication of the news or opinion to be found in the piece. … I see health insurance coverage as part of the compensation package provided by an employer to an employee. The employer should not be able to use his or her religious beliefs to place restrictions on what the employee does with other portions of his or her compensation. Health insurance provided as part of compensation packages should not deny access to legal health services.”

    I replied that I see four problems with that perspective:

    First, the language of the First Amendment is clear: No law may be passed that prohibits the free exercise of religion. The problem is not that a business owner is using his religion to deny benefits to employees; it’s that government is telling a citizen he is not allowed to live out his religious convictions in the way he conducts his business. That is unconstitutional on its face. If the days of conscientious objection on grounds of religious conviction are over, we must repeal the First Amendment. That ought to deeply concern a whole host of activists whose faith might compel them to stand as conscientious objectors to a depraved government policy. Consider what might have been in store if the Democratic Party had successfully elected a Klan advocate like Strom Thurmond or Robert Byrd to the presidency.

    Second, you are attributing to me a position I did not assert. It’s not that the government is forcing anyone to get an abortion against her will, but that the government is commanding a citizen to pay for abortions against his will. One of the great moral whitewashes of the past century has been categorizing abortion as “contraception” and “health services.” It is neither. Abortion kills a genetically unique human life. Under certain extreme circumstances, abortion might be the lesser of two evils, but it is always evil. The drugs David Green is being ordered to pay for cause chemically induced abortion. He has a right to conscientiously object on religious grounds. Calling it an “abortion mandate” isn’t incendiary; it’s descriptive. If I was trying to be incendiary, I would have called it something like “federally mandated baby murder.”

    Third, I do not accept the idea that an employer’s decision to provide employee health insurance is denying access to legal health services if it does not offer a particular benefit in the policy. If what you say is true, then every insurance plan provided to employees ought to cover all legal health services.

    Fourth, if I understand correctly, Hobby Lobby already provides its employees insurance that covers contraception. If I am not mistaken, Mr. Green’s objection is not to paying for contraception, but to being forced to pay for abortifacient drugs.

    I was writing a headline for an opinion piece, not a news article. If you want to convince me the headline is inappropriate, you’ll have to explain to me how abortifacient drugs do not induce abortion. I want to have a big tent on the justice site. I will work on an issue with people when I disagree with them on other issues, but abortion is not “health services” or “contraception.” I will not knowingly adopt the language of a lie to keep from offending people who insist on believing the lie. I love people (you, for example), but I also love the truth. I am not loving others if I help them maintain their self-deception. I don’t know if you will understand that or accept it. I am sorry if you take offense — and I would not for the life of me want to offend you — but the HHS order is not a “contraception mandate.” Until someone provides me with a better term for describing it, I will call it what I believe it is.

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