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Hobby Lobby Decision: Put Down Your Gavel And Take Up A Conversation

Monday was a pivotal day for the Green family, owners of Hobby Lobby. I’m pretty sure every Hobby Lobby store across the nation let out a big, glitter-and-raffia-filled sigh of relief.

In case you missed it, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Green family. Due to their religious convictions as persons and business owners, the Hobby Lobby Corporation is no longer required to cover four specific kinds of medication (classified as contraceptives) to their employees through their company-wide health insurance plans.

Now that you are all caught up, it is important to note that there has been a significant amount of poor reporting on this case. In a world where real time news and on demand information is so coveted, accuracy can get lost in translation. Misleading terminology has shrouded this case in confusion. If you feel the need to develop an opinion on this ruling, please, please, please do not do so without attempting to first educate yourself. God gave us brain cells with which we can reason and cultivate opinions – let’s do so with intentionality.

While the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby, it does not mean everyone agrees with the decision. Some of the lack of celebration is due to a biased opinion from the sensationalistic reporting mentioned earlier on about what is actually being disputed. Other disdain comes from well-educated folks who simply disagree. Some say we’ve made a monumental decision while others say we’ve opened Pandora’s Box.

I saw poorly made arguments and flippant discussions with inaccurate information fill my news feeds all day yesterday. It is unnerving and honestly, dumb. Wasted breath, worthless toil. There seem to be many camps on this one. If you dig deep enough, I’m sure you’ll find a place where you feel you belong. And if you wait long enough, I’m sure a 40 plus comment thread will appear on your Facebook feed about it.

Look, I’m the first to say that I love Hobby Lobby. I dabble a bit in wedding planning so I, more than most, know the thrill of the last minute trip to go grab a handful of burlap bags or lace ribbon. That place is magical (except for the piano versions of nineties praise and worship songs). I can never seem to cover the whole store and the moment I get back in the car, I’m immediately dreaming of my next trip. It’s like a crafter’s high, and there may be happy gas floating through the air ducts.

Regardless of my love, I fear we are missing the opportunity, better yet the purpose, behind issues like this.

We are not called to relate to the issues that arise in this world; we are called to relate to the people. Period. People like the Greens, loyal employees, fellow like-minded employers, judges, drug developers, doctors, researchers and chemists.

Besides the folks this ruling directly affects, chances are the majority of the people you interact with today have formed an opinion on the Hobby Lobby case. Your coworker at the office you’ve hardly cared to get to know, a dear friend struggling through infertility who blames her years of taking contraceptives, or your niece who is asking questions about the rights she has over her own body. These are the conversations that should be hogging our brain power when issues like this ripple through our nation.

These are the conversations that matter with the people who matter.

If we don’t start loving the people in front of us who are impacted by these rulings, we aren’t going to go far flapping our jowls about what we think.

I love the people of Hobby Lobby. The sweet gay guy who rung up my seven embroidery hoops at the register or the exhausted mom of four who works on the weekends to pay for her kids’ dance lessons. These people are kind, know where the stamp pads are, and I love them. They are my people.

I love the people who invented the contraceptives that Hobby Lobby so fought against. The devoted working dads much like my own dad and the product managers and marketers like my sister who get to interact with doctors and patients alike. These people are kind, caring, and are seeking to leave a lasting impact in their chosen field. They are my people, too.

Jesus never treated us as stereotyped political positions. We are individuals and He loves us with an individualized love. We can choose to assign these folks to a side of the issue or we can remove our blindfolds and recognize them as the people they are. They are able to feel regret, capable of forgiveness, willing to learn, inspired to invent and full of love. We cannot legislate these relationships and we cannot legislate grace. Humans are too complicated for such black and white measures.

Trade in your gavel for a real conversation today; I promise you, it will be more fulfilling.

[Image via gavinortlund.com]

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