Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Catholic Salute to the Hobby Lobby Guy--David Green

David Green
Photo Credit: Hobby Lobby
The NY Times op ed writers spill a lot of ink attacking the Catholic Church for its position on moral issues, including the Church's opposition to Obamacare's health-care mandate.  But the Catholics aren't the only target of the Times attacks.  Bill Keller, former executive editor of the Times, recently wrote a Times op ed essay entitled "The Conscience of a Corporation," in which he criticized David Green, owner of Hobby Lobby, because Green objects to paying for his employees' contraceptives under Obamacare's health-care mandate. 

Green, an evangelical Christian, opposes abortion on religious grounds, and he believes that the morning-after pill, one form of contraceptive, amounts to "chemical abortion" (Keller, 2013, p. A17). Green seeks an exemption from the health-care mandate on constitutional grounds and is in litigation with the federal government over this issue.  So far, he has not been successful in the courts.

David Green's witness on the health-care mandate demonstrates that Catholics are not alone in their faith-based opposition to abortion. Millions of Protestants--mostly evangelical Protestants--are allies in this fight. In fact, the most militant members of the pro-life movement are generally Protestants, not Catholics.

Catholics and Protestants who are fighting the health-care mandate in court are engaged in a battle to preserve religious freedom in the United States. Indeed one Protestant pastor who was quoted in Keller's op ed essay called this battle "the civil rights movement of this decade."

Mr. Keller ridiculed this view in his op ed essay, suggesting that people who take this position help explain "why the fastest-growing religious affiliation in America is 'none'".   And Keller is right to point out that the percentage of church-affiliated Americans is shrinking.

Mr. Keller may believe that most American Christians will eventually acquiesce to President Obama's postmodern agenda, either  by compromising their faith or ceasing to be Christian. And indeed, the mainline Protestant denominations are largely falling in line, led as always by the Episcopalians.

But some number of Christians will remain true to their faith, no mater what the cost--Christians such as David Green. At least a few Christians will not compromise with the new morality. They will not go quietly into the postmodern night.

As for Catholics, we will wait for the saints--saints who will defend the Catholic faith no matter what the cost. And we are grateful to our Protestant allies--good Christians like David Green, the Hobby Lobby guy who is in federal court fighting to defend his constitutional right to free exercise of religion.


Bill Keller. The Conscience of a Corporation. New York Times, February 11, 2013, p. A17.

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