The Briefing: Christians urged to pray for Hobby Lobby

Meredith Flynn —  March 25, 2014

Hobby_Lobby_prayerTHE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

The Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission is calling Christians to pray for Hobby Lobby as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear oral arguments this week in the government’s case against the craft retailer and another company, Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation.

At issue is the businesses’ refusal to cover abortion-inducing drugs for its employees, a measure required of for-profit companies by the Obama administration’s healthcare plan.

“This case will set the tone for the next hundred years of church/state jurisprudence in this country,” ERLC President Russell Moore wrote in a blog post March 23.
“One of the reasons we oppose this sort of incursion into free exercise is that we want neither to be oppressed nor to oppress others,” Moore wrote. “We do not ask the government to bless our doctrinal convictions, or to impose them on others. We simply ask the government not to set itself up as lord of our consciences.”
The ERLC has created a “Pray for Hobby Lobby” avatar for use on social media, and is asking Twitter users to post with the hashtag #PrayForHobbyLobby. Read the ERLC’s news release about the Hobby Lobby case here.
Other news:
Southern Baptist Convention First VP candidate named
North Carolina pastor Clint Pressley will be nominated for the office of first vice president at the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting this June in Baltimore. Pressley pastors Charlotte’s Hickory Grove Baptist Church and currently is vice president of the SBC Pastor’s Conference.

“I love the Southern Baptist Convention,” Pressley told North Carolina’s Bibilical Recorder newspaper. “I’m thankful for the work of NAMB and IMB, and I want to keep supporting the convention. I want to see more younger guys getting excited about the work of our convention and how we do missions – whether it’s in North America or around the world.” Read the full story at BPNews.net.

Westboro pastor Fred Phelps dies
Fred Phelps, whose Kansas church made headlines for years with their incendiary protests, died March 19. LifeWay’s Ed Stetzer suggests how Christians should respond to Phelps’ death, including taking the opportunity for some self-examination.

“Let’s be careful to avoid our own self-deception,” Stetzer wrote on his blog, The Exchange. “The Phelps family, and the Westboro clan they started, are full of people that need Jesus. Let’s not get Pharisaical here – the Phelps family and the people they lead in worship of a false god are sinners, but so are we. The people who spew the hateful words of Phelps’s hateful god need the love of Jesus just like you and me. Pray for them to find peace in Jesus and love as he has loved.”

Former Haitian prisoner tells his storyA Baptist volunteer recounts his experience in a Haitian jail four years ago in this story on BPNews.net. “They were difficult and perplexing and complex days, but God ordained them,” Paul Thompson, pastor of Eastside Baptist Church in Twin Falls, Idaho, told BP. In 2010, he and nine other Baptist volunteers were detained and charged with kidnapping after trying to move children to safety in post-earthquake Haiti.

Barna: Who’s watching what at the movies
Sequels were big in 2013, according to data compiled by Barna Research, although the average American only saw 3.3 movies at the theater. The study also found 11% of people saw a movie in the last two years that made them think seriously about religion or spirituality. Read more at Barna.org.

Meredith Flynn

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Meredith is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.