An Open Letter in Defence of Hobby Lobby

Hobby Lobby is an arts and crafts retail chain and is currently under attack by the Obama administration because they (along with many other companies) refuse to follow the Health and Human Services (HHS) contraception mandate requiring employers to provide contraceptive and abortive services in their health care plans.  I’ve written about this issue in the past but I’m still amazed how little attention it receives and how few people care about (although I shouldn’t really be surprised given society’s religious direction).

English: Detail of Preamble to Constitution of...

The HHS contraception mandate is more than just a “Catholic thing” or a “pro-life thing.”  It’s an assault on a fundamental constitutional freedom.  Even if you aren’t religious or don’t have any strong opinions about the HHS mandate, you should still be concerned.  Today it’s an assault on the freedom of religion.  Tomorrow it could be the freedom of the press, freedom to assemble, freedom of speech, etc.  Letting one fundamental right slide opens the door to all our freedoms becoming subject to the whims of whatever government is in power.  Please read this open letter, pray and meditate about it, and please share it with your family and friends.

President Obama,

Hobby Lobby employs thousands of people directly, not to mention thousands more indirectly through the services they consume to stay in business (web hosting, building management, advertising, etc.).  They also enable many people to make an income by selling goods created from supplies purchased at Hobby Lobby stores.  As you know, the economy is very fragile right now and this country cannot afford businesses shutting their doors and laying off thousands of people.  Hobby Lobby started over 40 years ago with 300 square feet of retail space and has grown to be one of the largest arts and crafts chains in the United States.  This is the type of entrepreneurial spirit we should encourage in this country and look towards for making our economy stronger.  And yet, your administration intends to fine them over one million dollars a day because they refuse to follow a law that violates their religious beliefs.

On January 21, you will be sworn into your second term as president.  You will once again take an oath to follow and enforce the Constitution of the United States.  One of the cornerstones of the Constitution is the first amendment guaranteeing the freedom of religion.  Regardless of what your personal beliefs are or the beliefs of your political party, you are bound by your office to respect and defend the religious rights of all citizens.  The reason why we have a Constitution and a Bill of Rights is so that the personal beliefs of any one person, party, or elected governing body cannot arbitrarily alter this great country’s core principles.  Our country has a strong foundation because previous leaders honoured their oath to respect our founding documents and did not try to remake the United States according to their personal beliefs.

President Obama, I urge you to reconsider the damage you are inflicting on hard working Americans by forcing them to choose between their values and their livelihood.  The Green family (founders of Hobby Lobby) are not enemies of the United States and yet you choose to punish them because they will not follow your agenda.  As an American, I do not appreciate or support these attacks on my fellow citizens any more than you or your family would like being forced to violate your own values by a future administration.  As a Christian, you surely understand the golden rule — treat others in the way you would like to be treated.  In this case, respect peoples’ religious beliefs as you would like them to respect your personal beliefs.

Sincerely,

Those who value the freedom of religion

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Non-Religious at a Greater Risk of Developing a Mental Disorder

I love it when I find a connection between one of my RosaryMeds posts and a news article. It makes me feel like I’m really on to something and my thoughts aren’t too far off in right field if they relate to current media headlines. Of course, I wish the topic wasn’t about the declining practice of religion. But unfortunately that theme seems very prevalent in our world today. In a previous article about the growing number of US voters with no religions affiliation, I mentioned the dangers about being a “believer” but not ascribing to a particular religion. I wrote:

Here’s the problem with “nones” who are supposedly “believers.” What do they believe? Are their beliefs just an arbitrary set of guidelines that they will follow or ignore at their convenience? Are they in that “God loves me and I think He’s cool with how I choose to live my life” group? Because that’s not belief. That’s just finding justification for living however one pleases. It’s a religious foundation built on sand where the slightest disturbance or challenge will knock it over. Or less poetically, they are beliefs that will change as soon as someone declares them outdated, uncool, or not following the majority in society. In my experience, not being connected to an organized religion is synonymous with not practicing any religion at all.

It turns out that modern psychiatry backs up my claim about the dangers of being a free-form “spiritual” person with no religious affiliation. Non-religiously affiliated people might have a greater chance of developing a mental disorder. The Telegraph reported this study:

Professor Michael King, from University College London, and his fellow researchers wrote in the British Journal of Psychiatry: “Our main finding is that people who had a spiritual understanding of life had worse mental health than those with an understanding that was neither religious nor spiritual.”

The researchers concluded: “We conclude that there is increasing evidence that people who profess spiritual beliefs in the absence of a religious framework are more vulnerable to mental disorder.

This was a small study on only 7,403 people. And while I didn’t arrive at the exact conclusion in my thought exercise about mental disorders, I did point out how vulnerable unaffiliated believers are to the whims of society. And since our culture is getting crazier by the day, it stands to reason that those who base their spirituality solely on the societal norms might also go a little crazy too.

I think of unaffiliated, spiritual people like a leaf floating in the wind. The leaf cannot control its trajectory or destiny. It is completely at the mercy of the elements around it. Now if the wind is society, than it is blowing like a tempest. Everyone is so hot-headed and pointing fingers at each other. People pay too little taxes, people pay too many taxes, government is doing too much, government is doing too little, gun owners are evil, the Catholic Church is a hate group, the GOP hates minorities, Obama is a Marxist, and on and on and on. This is what the media spews out all day and every day. And so, like the leaf caught in the hurricane, people without a dogmatic religious foundation just get battered around without any control.  And so I don’t find it surprising at all that many unaffiliated spiritual people develop mental disorders and need to turn to drugs to achieve some level of control in their lives.

What RosaryMeds Do I Need?

Society has come down with a case of battered belief syndrome. The name describes people who aren’t rooted in any religious belief system and so the chaotic nature of the modern world beats them down. Symptoms include an increase of drug-dependent people not practicing any particular religion. They often suffer from anxiety and nervousness because they have a hard time coping with the craziness all around them. I prescribe a healthy dose of meditating on the Fourth Glorious Mystery — The Assumption of Mary. Our Mother Mary is the greatest physician when it comes to fighting battered belief syndrome. She informs us to really embrace our faith and learn what the Church really teaches. We must take those teachings to heart and try our best to live by them. That way we form a strong foundation that won’t crumble no matter how chaotic and anti-religious the world becomes.  Learn the faith by reading scripture, Church documents, and any number of great educational books.  But most importantly, pray that you let that knowledge sink into your soul and act like an anchor that will keep you standing tall no matter what societal storm comes your way.

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