Hobby Lobby case sparks discussion on what makes a ‘Christian business’

Meredith Flynn —  June 24, 2014

The_BriefingTHE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

Leading up to the Supreme Court’s expected ruling on a case involving Hobby Lobby, culture writer Jonathan Merritt took issue with calling the craft retailer a “Christian business” because of its dealings with China, one of the world’s worst offenders of human rights.

Hobby Lobby currently is fighting for an exemption to the government’s requirement that for-profit companies cover some abortion-inducing drugs in their employee health care plans. The Supreme Court’s ruling is expected this week.

The things Hobby Lobby claims to stand for, Merritt wrote for The Week magazine, including sanctity of life and religious liberty, are grossly undervalued in China.

“Hobby Lobby reminds us why for-profit businesses should resist calling themselves ‘Christian,’” he wrote. “The free market is messy and complicated and riddled with hypocrisy. Conducting business in today’s complex global economy almost ensures one will engage in behavior that is at least morally suspect from a Biblical standpoint.”

Merritt invited Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, to respond to his article. Moore recently presented the Green family with the John Leland Award for Religious Liberty.

Forsaking business in China, Moore wrote, likely won’t help improve human rights there. Historically, he said, “open trade, in most cases, tends to help the development of political rights rather than hinder them.” If the Greens believed boycotting Chinese business would turn the nation’s government toward improved human rights, Moore said, they would.

But, “The Greens cannot control the decisions made by the Chinese government. They can, however, direct their own actions. And, as Americans, they can participate in a democratic republic in which the people are ultimately accountable for the decisions of their government.

“Buying products from companies that operate in a country that aborts children is not the same as being forced by the United States government to purchase directly insurance that does the same.”

Meriam Ibrahim released from prison, then rearrested
A 27-year-old mother of two imprisoned for her Christian faith was released June 23, but rearrested just hours later, The Christian Post reported this morning. Meriam Yahia Ibrahim, a Sudanese doctor, had been imprisoned with her young son and newborn daughter after she was found guilty of apostasy and adultery. (Because Ibrahim’s husband, Daniel Wani, is a Christian, their government does not recognize their marriage.) Her death sentence was to be carried out in two years. After Ibrahim was freed and her sentence commuted Monday, she was rearrested with her husband and children as they prepared to leave Sudan. Ibrahim’s case has drawn attention internationally and in the U.S., 38 members of Congress signed a letter asking the government to intervene on her behalf. Read more at ChristianPost.com.

Benched basketball star says ‘I know God has a plan!’
Isaiah Austin, a center for the Baylor University basketball team, was expected to be a first-round pick in the June 26 NBA draft. Instead, a diagnosis of Marfan syndrome will end his career, reported The Christian Post. He sat down for an emotional interview with ESPN, but was hopeful on Twitter and Instagram, using social media to talk about his faith in God.

“I know God has a plan!” Austin posted as part of a message on Instagram, with the hashtag #NewBeginnings. “I would love to thank EVERYONE who has reached out to me,” he tweeted under the handle God’s Child. “Toughest days of my life. But not the last! Life goes on. GOD IS STILL GREAT!”

Mohler: PCUSA marriage vote helps establish ‘clear divide’
When the General Assembly of The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted to allow pastors to conduct same-sex marriages, their decision set a dividing line in culture and in Christianity, said Southern Seminary President Albert Mohler.

“That very clear divide puts on one side those who stand with 2,000 years of Christian witness and on the very clear statements of Scripture, and, on the other side, those who stand with the moral revolution of the era…,” Mohler said on his daily podcast.

The Presbyterian denomination not only voted on the policy change for pastors, but also to amend their constitution to define marriage as between “two people” instead of “a man and a woman.” A majority of the PCUSA’s presbyteries must approve the amendment for it take effect, Baptist Press reported, but the departure of many conservative congregations makes the change a likely prospect.

Meredith Flynn

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Meredith is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.

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  1. Supreme Court ruling will have lasting religious liberty implications, leaders say « iB2 News - June 24, 2014

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