Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The REAL Battle in Hobby Lobby/Conestoga Wood Case

The Supreme Cout began hearing arguments for exemption from the government's mandated Affordable Health Care Act's standard for contraception coverage for all businesses employing a large number of workers. In both the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood's case, the strict evangelical faith rights of the business owners are at stake. This case has created, as you will imagine, no end of comments and remarks, and is a big deal in Lancaster County, PA, where I live and minister. Conservatives are circling the wagons on this one, touting it as one of the most important Supreme Court cases of the decade or even the present time. Again, in our anti-God, anti-evangelical society battle lines have been drawn. Just a couple of comments and a "prophetic" word here.

First, we should beware of distractions. The Court and many will try to argue that to grant these Christian businesses their religious exemptions would open the door to all sorts of future litigation by other Christian organizations, both profit and non-profit. Individual rights will be curtailed and people will be forced into difficult medical situations--all due, of course, to bigoted, biased, narrow-minded Christian people who happen to own businesses. It will seem to the American public that the Court will act in the utmost interest of the individual and on principles of fairness and equal justice for all. I would be surprised if the litigants will win their case based on these so-called "American" principles.

But not so fast. There are a couple of chilling results of a decision against Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood. This will be a decision against moral, Christian standards and evangelical views, long held in this country. It will open the door to other kinds of businesses barring biblically centered viewpoints in the workplace and in modern society. It will strike down any semblance of Christ-centered decency and moral retaining walls we once had. It will legalize all sorts of lawsuits against conservative, evangelical businesses seeking to honor God biblically. It will sanction fines against these businesses, real jail time for the owners, and a condemnation of the freedom for such owners to build up a business on their own faith terms.

This is a spiritual battle of immense proportions. Like the homosexual and same-sex marriage recent battles, a defeat will open the floodgate of anti-God inspired thinking and action against evangelicals. We are headed toward Armageddon, at least spiritually and figuratively, if not literally as many believe. I had some friends recently return from Europe where they noted that a pastor was jailed because of his biblical stand against homosexuality preached from his own pulpit in his own church. This is fast coming to America. Evangelical Christians will become a minority element in this society, and their views will be akin to parents withholding medical treatment for a deathly ill child due to their religious convictions. American views have always and will always follow that of their European heritage. We are not as free as we think we are, so it seems!

The other effect a decision against these companies will have is a downturn of Christian entrepreneurs. To be "successful" in business in this country will mean adopting the rules, the standards, the morés of American culture and society's anti-Christian flavor. To be a Christ-centered entrepreneur is to adopt values and standards and "higher" rules lead down by Jesus Christ Himself in the Word of God. To be forced to give these up just to have a prosperous and successful business will be discrimination against Christian businesses and entrepreneurs. But the legal and societal fabric of life will be so much against biblical values that any discrimination lawsuits that do make it to the courtroom will be summarily dismissed.

I repeat. This is a spiritual battle of immense proportion. What is coming down the pike, as I see it, will be pastors silenced, churches fined or even closed down, and parachurch agencies and businesses severely limited and scrutinized by an unbelieving governmental system and the public in general. This is my "prophetic" word, which doesn't require any kind of special gifting to recognize what is happening and going to happen.

Evangelicals have long insisted that the only hope for American is an in-depth revival of the faith in our churches and a resounding taking back of American institutions, government, schools and businesses to the "faith of our fathers." It may be too late for that, however. We may have gone too far, and "Ichabod" is being written over this country by God Himself. If true, we are in for a long, cold and dark season of unbelief and unspeakable tribulation against the children of God. That may be too morose and too "gloom-and-doom" for many. At the very least it will become an America where the evangelical faith many of us profess is in grave danger of disappearing.