Monday, June 30, 2014

Hobby Lobby & Conestoga Wood Specialties SCOTUS Decision

So many opinions being expressed about the SCOTUS' decision this morning concerning Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties which I think is good.  The more people pay attention to what's happening locally, in our states, and in our nation, the better!  However, there are an awful lot of those opinions that are simply not based on the facts.  Hobby Lobby's health insurance coverage, prior to ACA, provided coverage for sixteen different methods of birth control and even included us guys.  I haven't heard much talk about that little fact.  There are others too! 

The decision specifically states that it deals solely with the contraceptive mandate (p. 46 of the majority opinion) so those who are making much of a company refusing to cover blood transfusions or immunizations or even permitting discrimination in hiring practices, for example, are either willfully ignorant of the ruling or intentionally deceptive.  Either way, they are being intellectually dishonest in their protests of the decision. 

The court today ruled that the Contraceptive Mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that the US House of Representatives passed unanimously and the US Senate passed by a vote or 97 - 3.  President Bill Clinton signed that bill into law in 1993.  As a reminder for my liberal friends, the Democrats controlled both the House and Senate in 1993.  The history of how that law came into being may be of interest to some of my friends and it is actually a good read. 

I have included a link to the actual ruling for those who might choose to take the time to read it.  Like most legal rulings, it is a bit dry, but is worth the time to read.  Also, Justice Kennedy's concurring opinion as well as the dissent written by Justice Ginsburg is rather interesting in and of themselves.  At a time in our nation when many people are choosing sexuality as the basis of self-definition, it is refreshing to be reminded by the highest court in our nation that people have a right to believe in a divine creator and to strive for their own self-definition based on those beliefs.  Further, that right is not excluded from the political, civic, and economic life of the larger community (p. 1-2, Justice Kennedy concurring opinion).  In other words, people of faith have every right to participate in public life and do so in a way consistent with their religious beliefs.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

What Jesus Affirmed

I was having a conversation with a friend recently who is struggling with some of the things he finds in Scripture. I reminded my friend that we do not get to pick and choose that which we will believe in God's word. You see my friend is struggling with, among other things the story of Jonah. Can't possibly be a real account of an actual event...right? I disagree!
Stay with me for a second and I will tie this all together! My Sunday School class is in a study of Proverbs and Song of Songs focusing on Solomon. Well, during my studies, I was reminded of Matthew 12:38-42 (ESV) which reads as follows:
"Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here."

While preparing for our series in Proverbs and Song of Songs, this little reminder pops up that ties Jesus, Solomon, and Jonah all together in a single passage! Here's the hook folks: you can't say you accept Jesus and then deny the things that He affirmed! It simply doesn't work and honestly, it is really bad theology. I love how God weaves everything together for our good!