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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
Hobby Lobby and the price of bringing faith to work
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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 – about sharing love with others. And because of those beliefs, there are things we don’t 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 – not like an arm or a leg that we could survive without, but something deep inside, like a heart keeping us alive.

I’ve never met the family who owns Hobby Lobby and Mardel Inc. but I suspect that’s the way their faith works, too, because I’ve shopped for years at their stores. I’ve heard the hymns and the contemporary Christian music that they play as I’ve browsed for Bibles and books. I’ve read the scriptures on their home décor items, and I’ve 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 can’t bring themselves to do that. For them, the morning-after pill is essentially abortion and they can’t have any part of it. In their family rules, it’s one of the non-negotiables.

The courts have ruled that religious organizations have constitutional protection from the new healthcare rules – but that Hobby Lobby and Mardel are not religious organizations.

It’s true that these businesses aren’t churches. But should they have to be?

Should families have to choose between doing business and following their faith?

That’s a question I thought we settled long ago.

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