The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
Finding the sacred in everyday life
Hobby Lobby and the price of bringing faith to work
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Marketta Gregory never meant to be a columnist. \x34I trained to be a newspaper reporter -- one who tried to her best to be objective. I covered religion for a few years and felt like it was the best job a curious woman like me could ever have. ...
Simply Faithful
Marketta Gregory never meant to be a columnist. I trained to be a newspaper reporter -- one who tried to her best to be objective. I covered religion for a few years and felt like it was the best job a curious woman like me could ever have. Every day I got to listen as people told me about the things that were most important to them, the things that were sacred. But the newspaper industry was changing and few papers could afford to have an army of speciality reporters. So, I moved to cover the suburbs where, as luck would have it, they have plenty of religion, too. Eventually, children came into the picture. One by birth and another two months later by foster care/adoption. I struggled to chase breaking news and be home at a decent hour, so I made the move to what we journalists call the dark side: I took a job in public relations. (Don't worry. I work for a great non-profit, so it's not dark at all.) When I gave my notice at the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle, the executive editor asked me to consider writing a column on a freelance basis. She didn't want the newspaper to lose touch with its religious sources, and she still wanted consistent faith coverage. I was terrified. It took me about 10 months to get back to her with a solid plan and some sample columns. And so it began, this journey of opening up my heart to strangers.
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By simplyfaithful
Dec. 31, 2012 5:15 p.m.

My modest home, with its original leaded glass windows and creaky wooden floors, is a sacred place to me and to my family.
We hold hands at the dinner table and pray together. We talk a lot about God and about faith Ė about sharing love with others. And because of those beliefs, there are things we donít allow in this home.
Illegal drugs. Pornography. Racial slurs. Violence.
You see, like most people of faith, we try to take what we learn at our churches and temples and mosques and weave it into our everyday lives. We bring it to our homes. Our offices. Our schools.
Because it is part of who we are Ė not like an arm or a leg that we could survive without, but something deep inside, like a heart keeping us alive.
Iíve never met the family who owns Hobby Lobby and Mardel Inc. but I suspect thatís the way their faith works, too, because Iíve shopped for years at their stores. Iíve heard the hymns and the contemporary Christian music that they play as Iíve browsed for Bibles and books. Iíve read the scriptures on their home dťcor items, and Iíve admired the ornate crosses in their aisles. I follow their stores on Twitter, and I know Mardel regularly asks for prayer requests on social media. So, the faith of the owners has always seemed obvious to me, just naturally a part of who they are and how they do business.
But tomorrow, those owners face a $1.3 million fine for bringing their faith to work. The day after, they face another $1.3 million fine. And another. And another.
Starting Jan. 1, the federal government mandates they must offer employees health coverage that includes access to the morning-after pill, and the family canít bring themselves to do that. For them, the morning-after pill is essentially abortion and they canít have any part of it. In their family rules, itís one of the non-negotiables.
The courts have ruled that religious organizations have constitutional protection from the new healthcare rules Ė but that Hobby Lobby and Mardel are not religious organizations.
Itís true that these businesses arenít churches. But should they have to be?
Should families have to choose between doing business and following their faith?
Thatís a question I thought we settled long ago.

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