Fact: I never went to law school. I have, however, read a large number of John Grisham books, which is kinda the same thing, yes? Ok, not really. What about those Law & Order reruns I became addicted to my freshman year of college? Certainly those count, especially when they’re “based on real life events”?
Now that we’ve established my credentials on posting about a Supreme Court ruling, let’s also bring out my achievements in the world of health care. Like the fact that I hate it. If health care insurance companies showed up at my party, I would politely ask them to leave or, at the least, I would spit in their food. In general the American health care model of all forms has made my life miserable.
And now, on to Christianity. Ding ding ding! A winner! I’ve got a degree in that. I’m pretty well practiced when it comes to loving Jesus. I even have a pretty good grip on my Bible. So allow me to direct you to the chapter and verse where it says we should make all healthcare decisions for one another because we value life. Just let me find my Greek and Hebrew concordance. It’s around here somewhere…
I fully support the right for businesses and organizations to exert their “personhood” and I don’t believe they need to foot the bill for products and procedures which oppose their values. Catholic institutions have been doing it for years (and I believe their success lies in their consistency – they didn’t get all picky-choosy, allowing the pills yet leaving out the IUD). Yet I would ask Hobby Lobby to think again. They can continue to make their personal healthcare decisions based upon their view of when life begins but enforcing it company-wide might not be the best form of proselytization.
My Christian Ethics class, and professor, taught me that our ethic should inform all areas of our life, parts that seem unconnected. Small things do matter and if it matters, then we should live it – kudos to Hobby Lobby for wanting to remain true to something they identify with as wrong. However, that course also taught me what seems the obviously right choice might not take into consideration the very people whom Jesus spent his life ministering to – the poor, the sick, the disenfranchised and the unreligious. Jesus had very high ethical standards for the religious elite; for the common folk, he tended to speak with words of grace and compassion before jumping to behavior modification.
In fact, we can see in Jesus’ stern words to the priests and Pharisees in Luke 11 (verse 46) – “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.” This came in a whole series of harsh remarks toward the religious ones. I think if you want to wave a religious freedom flag you have to put yourself into the category of “religious” when it comes to Jesus’ teaching. These warnings are for us, the ones who love our religion.
We the religious tend to take our stand against something, anything, to differentiate ourselves. But in taking a stand against issues, we’re creating distance between our values and the people we’ve been directed to love. “Us and them” is the very language Jesus opposed; you can see throughout his life and ministry he wanted people to begin to understand that all of creation belonged to God, not just the ones privy to the ancient texts and their meanings.
I don’t love Hobby Lobby’s policy because it rejects the only form of birth control my OB will allow me to use (the copper IUD is the only non-hormonal option) and if I’m in that boat, surely others will be as well. It’s not “my right” that an employer cover every health care need (more on our poor view of health insurance later), but to feel singled out and even accused of moral shortcoming because of it and using Jesus as the reason, makes me uncomfortable. According to this, in order for me to remain un-pregnant, I am un-Jesus-like and practicing something on par with abortion. I’m not sure that’s the message Jesus would want to give women.
I also don’t love how again the fellow Christians have responded in outright support of such a decision simply because it’s “Christian.” Which leads to the division it creates, a direct opposition to the way of life for Jesus. (You want to come at me with the the “I come with a sword” and division of family verses? Bring it. Post forthcoming.) Any time we the Christians want to exert “our rights” I have to wonder at the expense it comes. The cost may be the invitation for a civil chat at the table about issues that matter because we’re all the time yelling about our beliefs, unable to listen.
I have to wonder how Jesus would deal with issues of reproduction and health care and working. How would He love all parties involved? How would he consistently point toward God and reveal our own selfish tendencies when choosing a “side”? I can’t think that he would vilify anyone but those who use religion to their own advantage (because that’s how he dealt with most issues in the Gospels).
And I’m positive he’d be cool with the IUD.