Archive for the tag “Affordable Care Act”

Hobby Lobby appeal update: Court unanimously agrees

david green hobbyBrianna Bailey reports for newsok.com:

A federal appeals court in Denver sided with Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. on Thursday in its legal battle against part of the Affordable Care Act. …

In a statement, Hobby Lobby founder and CEO David Green said he and his family believe that life begins with conception and paying for their employees to have insurance coverage for emergency contraceptives such as the morning-after pill would force them to violate their religious beliefs.

“We believe that business owners should not have to be forced to choose between following their faith and following the law,” he said in the statement. “We will continue to fight for our religious freedom, and we appreciate the prayers of support we have received.”

In a 168-page ruling issued Thursday, the federal appeals court sent the case back to a lower court for further review.

The panel of eight appellate court judges who heard arguments in May ruled unanimously that Hobby Lobby and its affiliated Christian bookstore chain Mardel have the right to sue over the Affordable Care Act.

“A religious individual may enter the for-profit realm intending to demonstrate to the marketplace that a corporation can succeed financially while adhering to religious values,” the judges said in the ruling.

Read the full text of the article by clicking here.
Learn more from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

‘Do you think God wants us to obey HHS rather than him?’

Mark Kelly writes at kainos:

The authorities had Peter and John because they were teaching, on the authority of Jesus, that there is a resurrection of the dead. The Sadducees didn’t like it, because they had rejected the truth taught by both Jesus and their own Scripture. They threw the two in jail overnight and the next morning commanded them to never again speak or teach about Jesus.

But Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him?” So the Council then threatened them again and let them go because they didn’t know how to punish them without starting a riot. (Acts 4:1-21) The next time the authorities arrested Peter and John, they had them flogged.

Today, Christians are being threatened by authorities (not with flogging, thankfully) for following the teachings of the Scripture, rather than submitting to the opinions of the government. The federal government’s Health and Human Services bureaucracy has ordered all businesses, hospitals, universities, and other organizations to pay for employee insurance that covers drugs which prevent pregnancy by causing a chemical abortion. So far, more than 110 plaintiffs have gone to court, seeking relief from the order because abortion violates their religious convictions. Government lawyers say religious people have no freedom of religion rights once they step into the “secular” public square.

The very first words in the Bill of Rights are “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” If those words have any meaning at all, the HHS contraception mandate, and the related parts of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) are unconstitutional.

One danger of liberalism is that it tells a person to believe their own opinions over the truth of Scripture. Selfish people want to believe an unborn child is merely a lump of tissue because the truth is inconvenient for sexual promiscuity. We have a President and Congress that believe their own opinions about abortion, in spite of the scientific evidence that shows those opinions to be false, in spite of the clear teaching of Scripture about the sanctity of human life.

We know the country’s courts do not respect the truth of Scripture. In the weeks ahead, we will learn whether they value liberal opinion about abortion over the plain language of the US Constitution, the supposed authority for governing this country.

If opinion is the greater source of authority, the great majority of Americans — as much as 75% in some polls — believe abortion should not be allowed except in cases of rape or incest. Most Americans believe abortion is morally wrong and oppose abortion on demand. Most Americans support 24-hour waiting periods, parental consent for minors, and notification of husbands. Most Americans are repulsed by late-term abortions and reject using public funds to pay for any abortion.

Majority public opinion doesn’t matter to liberal elected officials, because liberalism tells them to trust their own enlightened opinions over the ignorance of the uneducated masses. In the weeks ahead, we will learn whether rank and file Americans truly hold the convictions about abortion that they say they hold. We also will learn whether American Christians have the courage to take a public stand for the religious freedom rights guaranteed by the Constitution and actively oppose the unjust HHS contraception mandate.

When the authorities tell Christians and other conscientious people of faith to shut up about their convictions and do what they are told, we will find out who is willing to resist. We will learn who takes Scripture seriously as God’s word — and who takes Jesus seriously when he says that if we deny him before men, he will deny us before the Father.

The authorities backed down from Peter and John because they didn’t know how to punish them without starting a riot. People were passionate about what they had seen God do and would not sit quietly by while the authorities punished people who were simply obeying the truth. What are you passionate about?

You can get involved by learning more from the ERLC or the Manhattan Declaration websitesigning a petition, donating to a religious liberty organization like The Becket Fund, and contacting the White HouseHealth and Human Services, and your Congressman.

Three thoughts about justice on election eve

Multiply Justice is trying to carve out some common ground where followers of Jesus can focus on shared values about God’s kingdom coming “on earth as it is in heaven.” We want to see Christians working in harmony to live out God’s will for “the least of these,” the poor and oppressed so desperately in need of hearing good news and experiencing abundant life.

In a nasty political campaign like the presidential race in the United States has been, that’s no easy matter. We have been deeply distressed at the tone of rhetoric coming from both candidates and supporters. Ugly words have been hurled, arrogant lies told with appalling ease. Very few people seem to be engaging the campaign with a positive vision of an America cherishing the love of God and passionately pursuing its highest ideals. We have only the slightest hope that Nov. 7 will be anything but a day of anger, recrimination, and accusation.

We have not endorsed a candidate or party platform, and we aren’t under the impression many would pay attention if we did. None of the options on tomorrow’s ballot should be satisfying to anyone who is focused on pursuing Kingdom justice from a biblical worldview. Politics, of course, always involves compromise. Any political party with two members will face a floor fight over at least one issue at its annual convention. But none of the options before us displays any real heart for social justice or offers a plan for making America a more just society. Both of the major parties are committed to a big government approach to social welfare that causes far more harm than good. Not only will it continue to drive the country into bankruptcy, but it will continue to trap ever more people in poverty and dependency. We believe the power-hungry elites of both parties would be just fine with that.

As you prepare to cast your ballot tomorrow, we want to leave you with three thoughts:

Justice. We need candidates and parties concerned more about the good of the people than electoral success and the perks of office. Many of our people already have no hope of making decent lives for themselves, and that number is growing rapidly. We need leaders willing to rise above partisanship and forge a partnership — an alliance between key segments of our society that can effectively attack the giant problems that oppress the weak and threaten everyone’s future.

Life. Life issues must be taken much more seriously. None of the major parties gives more than lip service to life issues. One party has been openly hostile toward concern about the casual way abortion is used as birth control and the trauma disproportionately inflicted on poor minorities. Another party panders to conservative evangelicals, telling them what they want to hear to gain their vote, with no intention of actually doing anything. And nobody at the top is saying anything about the wide range of life issues that ought to concern a civilized society.

Freedom. When the framers of the U.S. Constitution sat down to establish the Bill of Rights, the first issue they addressed was religious freedom. They plainly said the law must not be used to establish religion or to prohibit its free exercise. Successive American administrations have allowed religious freedom to erode, and the current administration has attacked it directly. The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in general and the HHS contraception mandate in particular pose extremely serious threats to religious freedom, but neither candidates nor their audiences seem concerned. A government that can force business owners to pay for insurance covering procedures they find reprehensible is a tyranny that has only begun to explore the ways it can extort its citizens. We should not be comfortable with a tyrant whose oppressions only afflict others, because that tyrant — or one from the other party — will soon turn his attention to us.

We all should exercise our right to vote in an earnest, thoughtful manner, mindful of both the well-being of the poor and the prosperity of the country. We all should pray that the process goes smoothly and we aren’t subjected to the interminable lawsuits for which the U.S. is famous or the violent social unrest that characterizes banana republics.

And if, on Nov. 7, you’d like to set your sights on 2016 and work with other believers to advance Kingdom justice in this country, drop us a note. We can get you hooked up.

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