Why I Think Hobby Lobby Will Win

The battle over birth control and the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, continues with two private companies who are owned by devoutly religious families suing to become exempt from a portion of the health care legislation that mandates providing certain forms of birth control to their employees. They feel this infringes on their religious beliefs regarding abortion and that somehow these birth control methods, such as the IUD and morning after pill, in fact work by causing abortions. This is debatable, but I’m not going to go there.

On the day back in March when arguments were presented to the Supreme Court, the PBS Newshour provided this report in combination with the show Religion and Ethics News Weekly, and provided some much needed clarity on the case.

Given the issue with the Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed by Congress and signed by Bill Clinton back in 1993 along with current exemptions already provided by the Administration, I can see the Supreme Court providing a limited exclusion to these companies (and others like them). Will it be the end of the battle? of course not. Will it open the flood gates to other cases? Probably.

My main issue with Hobby Lobby is why abortion is singled out. These same people/companies who are so religiously devout that the thought that a 3rd party might end the life of an unborn fetus is so devastating that they couldn’t live with themselves also pay taxes to our government that funds all kinds of religiously abhorrent things such as our military. Their taxes fund a 3rd party to go off to some foreign land and kill living individuals. No objection there though. Why is the supposed “murder” of a fetus more devastating to them than the actual killing of a combatant?  Maybe it’s because as most pro-life people, they don’t care about you once you’re born.

Finally, a follow up on the case presented by the show Religion and Ethics News Weekly can be viewed here:

I guess we will see what happens tomorrow.

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Friday Funny

Ikea Cross

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The Most Moral Story Ever Told

Mr. Deity’s spot on response to Dennis Prager’s response to Bill Maher calling God a mass murderer.

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Why Do You Believe?

Great video asking a hard question of the religious. I’ve often wanted to ask this of believers but never thought I would get a true reflective answer.

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Christianity Explained

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Survivor

Survivor

A friend of mine suggested I read Chuck Palahniuk’s book Survivor which is the story of a man named Tender Branson who is a survivor of a religious death-cult known as the Creedish.  It’s an interesting story, although I wouldn’t call it great literature.  As with most of Palahniuk’s books, there are some great lines that either made me chuckle or just stuck with me afterward.  I thought I would share just a few.

“Eternity was going to seem like forever.”

“The bad news is we don’t have any control.  The good news is we can’t make any mistakes.”

“I’m not stupid, but I’m getting there.”

“Even the garden of Eden was just a big fancy cage.  You’ll be a slave the rest of your life unless you bite the apple.”

And my favorite…

“What people forget is a journey to nowhere starts with a single step too.”

But I would have to say my favorite quote of Palahniuk’s is from his book Choke.

“The unreal is more powerful than the real. Because nothing is as perfect as you can imagine it. Because it’s only intangible ideas, concepts, beliefs, fantasies that last. Stone crumbles. Wood rots. People, well, they die. But things as fragile as a thought, a dream, a legend, they can go on and on. If you can change the way people think, the way they see themselves, the way they see the world — you can change the way people live their lives. That’s the only lasting thing you can create.”

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Discovery and Confirmation

For more detail on the discovery go to Space Ripples Reveal Big Bang’s Smoking Gun

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An Atheist Comes Out

Many of you probably remember the tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma earlier this year.  It inflicted terrible devastation and many people were killed.  Afterward, CNN host Wolf Blitzer interviewed a survivor.  A woman whom he prodded into trying to thank the Lord for saving her.  Instead, she announced she was an Atheist.

Well, here’s the back story on that event describing how she survived the tornado and how she came to be in that interview.  And finally, how in that split second, she made the decision to come out as an Atheist to the world.

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The Rest of the Story

The Baptist church I drive by every day going in and out of my neighborhood has a new sign up this week.  It says:

“There is only one mediator between God and man, 1 Timothy 2″

When I arrived home, I pulled out my King James Version of the Bible and began reading 1 Timothy.  Here is what it says:

Exhort therefore that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men.  For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come into the knowledge of the truth.

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

According to my study Bible, the apostle Paul wrote 1 Timothy during the time of the “notorious” Roman emperor Nero, hence the reference to kings and those in authority.  But the sign is pointing out that last line about Jesus Christ being the mediator between God and men.  I assume this is similar to John 14:6 that says Jesus is the way to God.

Jesus is the way

From a Catholic perspective, I’ve never been quite clear on that entire Jesus vs. God thing.  We were taught about the Trinity; God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost being different incarnations of God, they are all one and the same.  That way even though there were three versions of God, it was still a monotheistic religion.

Maybe the Baptists see this differently, but if Jesus is God, how can he be a mediator between man and himself?  In the Catholic faith, the priest is needed as an intermediary between God and man, hence the sacraments such as confession being performed by the priest for the congregation.  I guess there are different versions of mediation required.

But why would God need a mediator?  He used to talk directly to people, Moses to give the commandments, Abraham telling him to kill his son, etc.  Why would an all-powerful God need a mediator?  And why an only son?  If God created everything, why does he limit himself to one son?  I guess these are questions I’ll never know the answers to.

But I digress.  What really struck me most was the remaining verses of 1 Timothy that I think the people who put up this sign forgot about…the rest of the story as they say.

Whereunto I am ordained a preacher and an apostle, I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not; a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.  I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefastness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but which becometh women professing godliness with good works.

Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.  But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

For Adam was first formed, then Eve.  And Adam was not deceived but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness and sobriety.

First, I like that Paul has to remind us of his position and that he isn’t going to lie to us.  Then he goes on to say “men” shall pray and explicitly excludes women.  As the passage continues, it appears Paul is blaming Eve for the fall of man and therefore, subjugating all women as the weaker sex to be subservient to men.  Eve lead Adam astray and therefore no woman can be trusted to be in a position of authority over a man ever again.  And besides, Adam was here first; Eve was created as an afterthought.  This is where the Catholic Church gets its idea that women can’t be priests.  Not from God, but from Paul.

I wonder how the Baptist church feels about this part of 1 Timothy? Maybe I need a mediator to figure it out.

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The Cult of Seriousness

As a follow up to my post a few weeks ago featuring a video of Lawrence Krauss talking about the purpose of education, here’s a video from Tyler Dewitt discussing some of the issues with how science is taught today.  I think he does a great job providing a concrete example of the problem with science education and discusses a very simple solution.  Make it understandable and get rid of the cult of “seriousness” as he calls it.

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