There are all sorts of verbal martial arts going on out there when this happens. The details and minutia of Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby has been examined more closely than a 14-year old boy examines a mannequin in a Victoria's Secret window.
For instance, there’s this piece from George Takei, in which he says a business is not a church (click here to read it). George, by your definition they might not be a church (perhaps a quaint little structure where people worship)?. By my definition (a church is an assembled group of people), they are. Hobby Lobby is a group assembled to make money by selling pipe cleaners and thousands of other products GP has no interest in ever using. Since they are a family they likely have a similar belief system. Now to be clear, the Church of Hobby Lobby is not GP's kind of church, but they are one nonetheless (For the record, the churches of Walmart, McDonalds, and Santa aren't GP's kind of churches either).
Then there are pieces on the Hobby Lobby that are about facts and truth. The thinking is that if we just use the facts, the other side will come to see things how we see it. For instance there is this one from the Huffington Post (click here to read), which states that Hobby Lobby invests in companies that produce the drugs they don’t want to provide. Or the other side of things paints a different fact picture and gets specific about the drugs Hobby Lobby doesn’t like, which they claim are not birth control but are abortion drugs (click here to read).
Eventually, the truth and justice brigades might be so bludgeoned by each others’ facts they might eventually give up. Who is GP kidding? No they won't.
So why doesn’t GP like this stuff? Besides the whole “Noise, noise, noise” thing? Because GP becomes one more jerk in an ocean full of jerks. It’s one more opinion out there in a world full of opinions. Grumpy Pastor just becomes one more cancerous cell in an ongoing and widespread attack of verbal cancer. Grumpy begins to lose his angry edge and feel ashamed.
So is there anything GP can add to this conversation that hasn’t been added yet? GP doubts it. But these topics take on some weight in Grumpy Pastor’s mind when they include the whole religion thing. Grumpy Pastor is a pastor, and is supposed to have some sort of authority to speak for God or something.
The word “freedom” is often used in ways that GP doesn’t use. Freedom is generally thought of as the ability to do something without being coerced. But here is the catch… In the worldly sense, freedom doesn’t actually exist. Americans like to think it does, and wave flags, and come up with catchy slogans about it. However, coercion is everywhere. We are all coerced in ways… some small, some large. Being coerced or pressured comes with being connected to other people. It’s a fact of life. Most of the time you have been coerced, you aren’t even aware of it.
Hobby Lobby went to court because they were being coerced into having to provide certain prescription drugs they didn’t want to provide in their employee health plan. And coerce is a correct term… no matter how reasonable and well accepted those drugs are.
The employees of Hobby Lobby? They are being coerced too. Yup. Work here, share our values. The employer would like its employees to think/act/believe in a certain way. That is coercion too.
This isn’t a battle about freedom. It’s a battle about coercion, specifically, who can coerce who. This is a battle I want nothing to do with. The freedom that Jesus was getting at, it wasn't the kind of freedom everyone wants or believes in - wanting to be free of impediment and consequences to thinking, believing, or acting in a certain way. Nope. Jesus was pretty sure there are consequences (Matthew 5:11-12). The message of Jesus was that these consequences, the motivation behind coercion, in the end, have no power over you.