Conscience Cause Hits Twitter

by Kathryn Jean Lopez

Right now on Twitter there has been a bit of a religious-freedom explosion. Or make that a “War on Women” explosion. It depends on whose talking points you’re reading from.

EMILY’s List just retweeted one:

No woman’s boss should have the power to determine her access to birth control. #notmybossbusiness #hobbylobby

— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) March 13, 2014

The problem with that little tweet is that the Green family that runs Hobby Lobby and the Hahn family that runs Conestoga Woods lumber company simply want the freedom not to have to violate their conscience in order to provide health-care coverage to their employees. This is not a fight about access, but conscience. 

Mollie Hemingway, meanwhile, asks an excellent question:

Govt has exempted 100 million from the #HHSmandate for political and commercial reasons. Why not the Greens and Hahns? #Notmybossbusiness

— Mollie (@MZHemingway) March 13, 2014

Later this month, the Hobby Lobby case hits the Supreme Court. The buzz I hear in my ear from MSNBC is that corporations aren’t people and that the Justice Department argues that people who run businesses don’t have religious freedom in the marketplace. Or, #Notmybossbusiness, as you saw in Senator Gillibrand’s hashtag.

This is all complicated by the fact that part of the reason Pope Francis is such a celebrity is that he seems to so clearly see the Gospels as radical, requiring some real sacrifice and transformation. People haven’t exactly been overwhelmed by that kind of Christian witness in the public square, even as there are people throughout the country and world who do live an integrated faith in their lives, not a compartmentalized worship. That’s a freedom we’ve heretofore protected. But a culture that has internalized secularism – considering religion as but a comfort, nostalgia, or a safe harbor in a storm – is now changing its laws as it has changed much of its practice.

Listen to the Green family – they are Evangelicals — explain themselves and freedom of religion here. Read my interview with Anthony Hahn – he and his family are Mennonites — here. Get a sense of the ecumenical coalition supporting religious freedom in the face of the Department of Human Services abortion-drug, contraception, and female sterilization mandate here.

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