A Lesson From the Hobby Lobby Case: Will You Obey God or Men?
Hobby Lobby and other corporations stood on their convictions and recently won a U.S. Supreme Court victory. When your beliefs are challenged, what do you do?
Since the Affordable Care Act became law in the United States in 2010, many companies are now required to offer health insurance with contraceptive coverage to their employees. The list of mandated contraceptives includes those that destroy an already fertilized egg. This poses a problem for some business owners who believe life begins at the moment of conception. If they fund these contraceptive methods, they believe they are essentially funding an abortion—something they are morally opposed to.
Because of this dilemma, owners of the craft store Hobby Lobby and about three dozen other companies filed lawsuits seeking to be exempted from offering such contraceptives based on their religious convictions. After going through the lower courts, the case finally came to the Supreme Court.
On June 30, in a 5-4 split decision, the Supreme Court ruled that closely held corporations can be exempted from federal laws that violate the owners’ religious convictions.
But what if the court had ruled differently? What would these companies have done then?
Refusing to compromise
David Green, founder of Hobby Lobby, indicated in the past that he would consider closing his 500-store chain rather than violate his long-held beliefs. We cannot know whether or not that was just talk, or something he actually would have done.
The true test of our character is whether we will choose to do what we are convicted is right, regardless of the consequences. Those who lack character often give in to pressure, while those with real character will not.
Character is more than knowing what is right
Simply put, real character is doing the right thing in any given situation no matter the consequences. One cannot stand firm on any issue if he or she does not have an unwavering conviction of what he or she believes is right or wrong. But who defines what is right and what is wrong?
Real character is doing the right thing in any given situation no matter the consequences. Along with many others, Mr. Green holds to his convictions based on his understanding of one of God’s 10 Commandments—the Sixth Commandment against murder. Many understand that if a human life begins at conception, then to end that life is the same as ending the life of a human being of any age.
We commend anyone who stands on principle for a biblical law. But we should also remember that we can’t pick and choose which laws we keep and which we don’t. Mainstream Christianity often defends particular commandments, but ignores others. The most ignored commandment is the Fourth Commandment—“Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8). The biblical Sabbath is on the seventh day of the week, Saturday.
A needed ingredient for real character
Many are familiar with the Bible’s account of Daniel’s three friends—Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego. King Nebuchadnezzar had threatened to burn them alive if they did not bow down to and worship a gold image he had set up. Yet Daniel’s friends knew it was wrong to worship anyone or anything except the true God.
They knew what was right, but would they show their real character by doing what was right?
Daniel’s friends had no problem deciding what to do because they had a needed ingredient for real character—faith in God. They knew that God would ultimately reward them for standing up for what God said was right and not doing what He said was wrong. They knew bowing down to an idol was wrong according to God.
Better to obey God
Daniel’s friends told the king that regardless of his threats or the outcome, they would obey God (Daniel 3:15-18).
Nebuchadnezzar didn’t fear God and threw Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego into the fiery furnace (verses 19-21). But God rewarded them for displaying real character by miraculously preserving their lives (verses 24-25, 30).
Christians are instructed by the Bible to obey the laws of the land (Romans 13:1-7). But if human laws result in the breaking of God’s laws, then, as the apostles said, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
But if we neither believe God’s commandments nor have the faith to believe God, how can we have the character to stand up for what’s right? We can’t.
A coming test of character
Bible prophecy reveals that a personality will arise out of Europe and challenge God and His laws (Daniel 7:25; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4). Yet God says that those who have the character to stand up and refuse to follow this false prophet will be rewarded with rulership in the Kingdom of God (Revelation 20:4).
Developing righteous character
If we are going to have the faith and character to stand up against this powerful leader in the end time, we need to be building a relationship with God and obeying His commandments faithfully now, before that time of persecution comes. That requires learning and applying each of God’s commandments in our lives.
There are many tools on LifeHopeandTruth.com to help you learn about God’s laws and develop righteous character. We encourage you to take advantage of our free resources and always stand up for what is right—no matter the cost!
We especially suggest you read our free booklet God’s 10 Commandments: Still Relevant Today to gain a better understanding of God’s laws and how they apply to your life.