Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Can Christians Operate Their Businesses on Biblical Principles?

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This question will come before the United States Supreme Court on March 25.

Before we look at the details, most of us will need to pause as we consider how America has gotten to this point, given our heritage.

No question, our Founders would be shocked. This was not their original intent. Their written and spoken words make that abundantly clear.

John Adams, American Founder and second President of the United States said, "Statesman, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand."

A generation later, Daniel Webster, honored to this day as one of the greatest statesman ever to serve in the U.S. Senate said, "Let us not forget the religious character of our origin. Our fathers were brought here by their high veneration for the Christian religion. They journeyed by its light and labored by its hope. They sought to incorporate its principles with the elements of their society, and to diffuse its influence through all their institutions, civil, political, or literary."

He also said, "If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering and to prosper; but if we and our posterity neglect its instruction and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury us in profound obscurity."

Now, some 8 generations later, people of faith have conceded so much liberty and religious freedom to the secular progressive movement that we find ourselves asking the U.S. Supreme to rule on whether a Christian can operate their business on biblical principles.

Will the next evolutionary cycle require the Supreme Court to rule on whether churches can teach certain biblical principles on marriage and family? Or will "sudden catastrophe bury all our glory in profound obscurity?"

This is what is presently before the Supreme Court. And some personal thoughts.

The businesses are Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialities.

Beckett Fund represents Hobby Lobby and Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) represents Conestoga.

Hobby Lobby has been in the news a great deal this past year--Conestoga not so much. Conestoga is owned by the Hahn family who are Mennonite Christians. Both companies are owned by pro-life Christians who live according to their biblical faith and seek to run their businesses according to Christian, biblical principles.

ADF filed its opening brief this past Friday. The brief charges the administration with putting forth an argument that is "inconsistent with the reality of religious activity" in the lives of everyday Americans---including the Hahn family.

The brief states, "There is no separating the Hahn's faith from their business or its actions---The members of the Hahn family...practice their faith in everything they do, including the running of their business...The [Obamacare] mandate...forces them to chose between violating their religious convictions and incurring ruinous fines and lawsuits."

ADF senior counsel David Cortman says, "Unjust laws are not valid laws...and the government shouldn't be allowed to punish Americans for exercising their constitutionally protected freedoms."

Indeed. They shouldn't. But can they?

He says this administration "has no business whatsoever forcing citizens to choose between making a living and living free."

Do business owners give up their fundamental freedoms when they get a business license?

We have seen bake shops put out of business by homosexual activists because the shop owner's conscience would not allow them to contribute to a homosexual "wedding." We have seen photographers severely fined because they could not, because of conscience, be involved in homosexual "weddings."

Now this.

Mark Rienzi, senior counsel for the Becket Fund, wrote an op ed column for USA Today last summer.

He said :

"Can you make money and be religious? The Obama administration and a few courts have said no — at least in the context of forcing business owners to violate their religion by purchasing abortion-inducing drugs for their employees. Thankfully, most courts have rejected this view, leaving individuals and their businesses free to go to work without checking their conscience at the door."

"The question is not about corporations. We know corporations can exercise religion because houses of worship and other religious organizations are corporations. The Supreme Court has repeatedly protected religious liberty for corporations. The question is really about money, and whether the government can force groups that earn money to single-mindedly pursue profits, without regard for any other value."

Businesses often make decisions of conscience.

Remember this past year when a number of large businesses were threatening the Boy Scouts that if they did not change their policy and allow openly homosexual leaders they would withdraw their financial support?

The Boy Scouts caved. We wrote a lot about it at the time.

Why did no one question the fact that these corporations were acting on their moral conscience?

Is freedom of conscience only extended to those who support a secular progressive agenda?

While I strongly disagree with their beliefs, I agree that they have the right to act on their conscience, even though it is likely shaped by political correctness and secularism rather than by a moral compass--especially a biblical one.

But why should owners and businesses whose conscience is shaped by biblical Truth be treated differently?

Equality? Fairness?

Diversity? Tolerance?

Once the government successfully mandates what people can and cannot believe, where could it lead?

Can you imagine the outcry if government were to mandate...

  • Homosexual activists to be silent about same-sex "marriage" while promoting heterosexual marriage in the public school classroom.
  • Planned Parenthood affiliates to donate money to Crises Pregnancy Centers.
  • Atheists to regularly give a tithe to a Christian church or organization.
  • Occupy Wall Street protesters to get a job.

Secular progressives are mocking the claim that these business owners have any rights to refuse to fund abortion drugs or even contraception.

In fact, the New York Times ran a column last November that claims that these religious owners are trying to "impose their beliefs on their employees."

My thoughts.

Our constitutional right to religious freedom is not just about the ability to choose which church we will attend or even to pray as we want inside the walls of that church or in the privacy of our own home without government interference.

Government has no right to tell individuals that they must fund practices that violate their conscience or faith.

I'm willing to fight for that. I know many of you are as well. Thank you for standing with us in this fight for freedom.

Christians and our biblical faith have become "fair game" for discrimination and even bullying.

An old Truth for a new day.

Zechariah 8:13: "And you have been a by-word of cursing among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so I will save you, and you shall be a blessing. Fear not, but let your hands be strong."

Be Strong. Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful. Be Pro-Active. Be Blessed.