Hobby Lobby Chooses to See: Faces Supreme Court

The US Supreme Court will begin hearing oral arguments today as the Green family continues its courageous stand against abortion-funding mandates in Obamacare. For those unfamiliar with the case, the (allegedly) Affordable Health Care Act requires employers to provide health insurance that includes funding for “morning after” pills. The Green family, and countless others, consider such pills to be abortion-inducing drugs. In effect then, they believe the law requires  them to pay for employees to kill their unborn children.

They have refused to blindly comply. They have chosen to see.

Evil does not begin in gas ovens. It begins, more often than not, processed in triplicate. ~ Hannah Arendt [ Tweet this! ]

Steven Garber has written a cogent and insightful book, just released this month, entitled Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good. In a powerful chapter, he unpacks what it means to truly see, to take responsibility for the world around us and how we respond to injustice in it.

He shares the true story of Adolph Eichmann, “the Nazi official given primary responsibility by Hitler to answer ‘the Jewish Question.’” What fascinated me most — was that when Eichmann finally stood trial in 1962, his sincere defense was that he never actually killed any Jews. He merely did his duty. He repeatedly stressed that he not only did his duty — he followed the law. How could anyone, he seemed to think,  possibly find fault with one who complied with the law of the land?

Journalist and philosopher Hannah Arendt observed the trial and recorded this thought: Eichmann was guilty of failing to see, of failing to stop and think through the implications of his blind obedience:

He merely, to put the matter colloquially, never realized what he was doing…. It was sheer thoughtlessness — something by no means identical with stupidity — that predisposed him to become one of the greatest criminals of that period.

Hobby Lobby chooses to see. That is why they and others stand before the Supreme Court today. Rather than offering what Eichmann claimed as his defense — Kadavergehorsam (literally, the “obedience of corpses”) — they choose to take responsibility for their actions.

And courageously face the consequences.


About Bill Blankschaen

Bill Blankschaen is a writer, author, and communicator who empowers people to live a story worth telling. As the founder of FaithWalkers, he equips Christians to think, live, and lead with abundant faith.

His next book entitled Live a Story Worth Telling: A FaithWalker's Guide is scheduled for release in May 2015 from Abingdon Press. His writing has been featured with Michael Hyatt, Ron Edmondson, Skip Prichard, Jeff Goins, Blueprint for Life, Catalyst Leaders, Faith Village, and many others who shall remain nameless.

Bill is a blessed husband and the father of six children with an extensive background in education and organizational leadership. He serves as VP of Content & Operations for Polymath Innovations in partnership with Patheos Labs. He is the Junior Scholar of Cultural Theology and Director of Development for the Center for Cultural Leadership. He works with a variety of ministries including Equip Leadership (founded by John C. Maxwell) when he's not visiting his second home -- Walt Disney World.

  • Dorfl

    For those unfamiliar with the case, the (allegedly) Affordable Health Care Act requires employers to provide health insurance that includes funding for “morning after” pills. The Green family, and countless others, consider such pills to be abortion-inducing drugs.

    The problem with this is that human biology isn’t a matter of opinion. Morning after pills don’t induce abortions:


  • Jennifer

    Do morning after pills cause abortion? It was my understanding that they stopped pregnancy either by stopping ovulation or by making it very difficult for fertilization to occur. And that if ovulation has already occurred than they are pretty much useless.

    Is there information showing that they kill babies after fertilization or implantation has occurred?

  • Nathaniel

    I believe that every time Bill Blacnkschaen writes a blog post, a puppy dies.

    Please think of the puppies, Bill. Stop posting.

    • http://www.BillintheBlank.com/ Bill Blankschaen

      Thanks for the kind comment, Nathaniel. I am sorry to hear about your beliefs about my posting. At least I don’t force you to pay for my puppy-killing posting behavior that you find so objectionable.

      • Nathaniel

        But I believe that you are forcing to me to pay for your posting. And if I believe it, that means its true.

        Please think of the the puppies, Bill.

        • Jennifer

          Hey, he hasn’t killed my puppy yet!

          The main question brought to my mind from this post was, “(quoting my thoughts – not Bill’s writing!) To what extent is it our responsibility to examine (“see”) our actions and to adjust those actions in light of our beliefs”

          The owners of Hobby Lobby believe strongly that the morning after pills can cause abortion. Many others (including myself) may disagree with this based on various studies, etc. Kudos to the owners of Hobby Lobby for trying to match their actions with their beliefs. Not too many people have the guts for that.

          We currently have a Measles outbreak in Canada. Many people, in the belief that the vaccine can hurt their child, have chosen to “see” – against widespread public opinion and medical advice – that their child would be healthier without the vaccine. And maybe they are! But then their child gets the measles… and goes to school… and infects a bunch of other kids… who go home and potentially infect younger siblings (measles in dangerous in very young children) or a pregnant Mom… and then a developing baby is potentially severely damaged (heart and brain abnormalities, blindness, deafness, miscarriage). Actions have consequences.

          So do we “see” that avoiding the vaccine causes healthier children and less risk of side-effects? Or do we “see” that avoiding the measles vaccine can lead to damage and death. The current debate is whether parents should be forced to immunize their children (like Hobby Lobby might be forced to pay for the morning after pill).

          Does Hobby Lobby “see” that morning after pills cause abortions? Does the government “see” that morning after pills prevent unwanted pregnancies (by delaying ovulation and preventing sperm and egg from meeting) and thus reduce the number of abortions asked for? I’m sure both sides have their “truths”.

          A lot of what we “see” is based on our experiences and expectations (think of the blind men and the elephant story). If we all knew the absolute truth then there would be no need for faith. It’s almost paralyzing. So while I think it is vitally important for us to avoid acting blindly through life I think it is equally important to acknowledge that we are all wearing blinders forged from our experiences, education and expectations. We need to marry our actions to our thoughts/beliefs while at the same time expanding our field of vision by developing our awareness of that which we have not been conditioned to “see”.

          And, meanwhile, try not to blindly follow the crowd because it’s easier or “safer”.

          I, too, require payment for my posts. e-transfers of funds can be sent to….

          • DavidR

            Very good points, Jennifer. I believe strongly in the right of conscientious objection; but to own a large business and expect all of one’s employees to follow the owners’ conscience seems unfair. And here’s another thought: suppose a Jehovah’s Witness family owned such a large business. They believe that blood transfusions are a sin, in accordance with the biblical principle that “the blood is the life.” So should they be allowed to reject any health insurance coverage for blood transfusions for their employees?

          • Jennifer

            I agree, David. It’s a very “slippery slope” (to borrow a phrase). You make a good point about the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Other religions forbid the consumption of animals or anything made from them. They could use the argument that paying for insulin or any medications containing gelatine goes against their religious beliefs. I suppose that there is a small difference in that Hobby Lobby doesn’t want to pay for medication they believe will kill a baby and most other medical procedures are primarily supportive of life. On the other hand, those that have very strong religious beliefs might consider harm to the soul just as bad as harm to the body.

            I certainly don’t have a wonderful solution. I can understand how painful it would be for the owners of Hobby Lobby – given their religious views – to feel that they were paying for something that could end an unborn life. And given that a) “morning after” pills are pretty cheap – hardly a budget breaker – and b) they aren’t arguing other forms of contraception, I think that they truly believe that the morning after pill can cause abortion. Science seems to be leaning in another direction, but it’s science and not certainty.

            I can also relate to how much it would suck to be in a car accident while working for a company that won’t pay for blood!

            And where does it end? If large corporations are allowed to “opt out” of things that don’t fit with their religious beliefs, what about individuals?

            They can, actually. They just get penalized. Maybe that is the solution. Maybe the penalty for refusing to pay for a particular medical procedure should equal the estimated cost (I’m sure they could use statistics to figure out something reasonable). This could then be put into some “extended health coverage for employees of religious organizations” pot overseen by some non-religious entity and used when required. Hobby Lobby doesn’t seem to have a problem with saving money by buying inventory from Chinese companies who have less than stellar Christian values. Their dollars support the economy of a country with strict regulations on the number of children allowed and government forced abortions. So they shouldn’t have a problem with indirectly paying for morning after pills, either.

          • http://www.BillintheBlank.com/ Bill Blankschaen

            As always, I can count on you Jennifer for reasonable and gracious comments. Wouldn’t this entire dilemma disappear if employers just got out of the health-care insurance process?

          • Jennifer

            I don’t imagine that you are suggesting a publicly funded healthcare system similar to the one in Canada – so what are you picturing?

            It’s interesting that you raise this question. I was visiting my Mom’s best friend in San Francisco a few weeks back (the sun, the sun!!). He is a doctor and was talking about the major problems with employer paid health care insurance. Most of the conversation went way over my head (or maybe I was just in a sun induced trance).

          • http://www.BillintheBlank.com/ Bill Blankschaen

            But David, we must remember that they do own the company. In other words, it is their company. Employees who do not like policies are free to work elsewhere. But don’t employers already expect employees to follow the dictates of the owner’s conscience on a wide range of ethical issues. These norms appear in company values, policy, HR, customer service approaches, etc.

  • Psycho Gecko

    Well, first off Hobby Lobby is going to have to show, despite all the medical evidence to the contrary, that the morning after pill actually kills babies. What, do they expect people to shove them into babies’ throats until they choke?

    Because what they actually do, if anyone bothers to actually look them up, is keep women who take them from getting pregnant in the first place, thus keeping low-income women or women who don’t want children from having to abort a fetus in the future.

    If Hobby Lobby really wanted to reduce the number of abortions, they would readily provide birth control, contraception, and the morning after pill to employees.