Friday, 4 July 2014

Hobby Lobby gets it wrong.

An American Company called Hobby Lobby placed a full page advertisement in our local Sarasota Herald-Tribune newspaper today.  I am certain that the same advertisement appeared in many other American newspapers.

You can read it here:

http://www.hobbylobby.com/assets/images/holiday_messages/current_message.jpg

In my opinion the advertisement is a bit of “cherry-picking” in which Hobby Lobby  ( a privately held Company whose owners are Evangelical Christians)  strives to assert that the United States of America is a Christian nation.

Notwithstanding that that there is no such thing as a “Christian nation” (see this from an evangelical scholar)…..

 

Jonathan Merritt, an evangelical Christian writer and blogger for the Religion News Service, “……… arguing that conservative evangelicals shouldn’t call businesses “Christian” in the first place.

“The New Testament never—not one time—applies the ‘Christian’ label to a business or even a government,” he writes. “The tag is applied only to individuals. If the Bible is your ultimate guide, the only organization one might rightly term ‘Christian’ is a church. And this is only because a church in the New Testament is not a building or a business, but a collection of Christian individuals who have repented, believed on Christ, and are pursuing a life of holiness”…
 
With gratitude to Jonathan Merritt for his wisdom and clarity I turn your attention to the following assertion in the Hobby Lobby ad. This is what Hobby Lobby posted.
 

lied only to individuals. If the Bible is your ultimate guide, the only organization one might rightly term ‘Christian’ is a church. And this is only because a church in the New Testament is not a building or a business, but a collection of Christian individuals who have repented, believed on Christ, and are pursuing a life SUPREME COURT RULINGS “There is no dissonance in these [legal] declarations…These are not individual sayings, declarations of private persons: they are organic [legal, governmental] utterances; they speak the voice of the entire people…These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation.” Church of the Holy Trinity v. U.S., 1892”  Unanimous Decision Declaring America a Christian Nation.

The Hobby Lobby folks do not acknowledge that the author of this opinion, Justice Harry Brewer wrote the following in 1905

But in what sense can it be called a Christian nation? Not in the sense that Christianity is the established religion or that people are in any matter compelled to support it. On the contrary, the Constitution specifically provides that 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.' Neither is it Christian in the sense that all of its citizens are either in fact or name Christian. On the contrary, all religions have free scope within our borders. Numbers of our people profess other religions, and many reject all. Nor is it Christian in the sense that a profession of Christianity is a condition of holding office or otherwise engaging in public service, or essential to recognition either politically or socially. In fact, the government as a legal organization is independent of all religions. Nevertheless, we constantly speak of this republic as a Christian Nation--in fact, as the leading Christian Nation of the world. This popular use of the term certainly has significance. It is not a mere creation of the imagination. It is not a term of derision but has substantial basis--one which justifies its use.  (Justice Brewer 1905 explanation)

 
In other words his comments of 1892 reflected that the USA was a Christian Nation “de facto”, but not “de jure”.

Hobby Lobby is guilty of gross negligence in its advertisement and reportage of what this Associate Justice of the Supreme Court said.
 
Of course I have a decent respect for  Evangelical Christians. Some of my family members are beloved Christians in this honorable Evangelical traction.
But I get ancy when businesses such as Hobby Lobby  hi-jack the words of the founding fathers and Supreme Court Justices etc  to buttress  their  ideological convictions that America is a Christian (read Evangelical Christian) nation.

1 comment:

  1. Hobby Lobby are also guilty of serious double standards. The reason they brought the case, they say, was to prevent their employees having access to birth control through their health insurance policies (because birth control is not Christian).

    Turns out that a large part of the employer co-funding for the insurance policy (is it a 401? can't get my head round US bureaucracy) is invested in - you guessed - companies that may contraceptives...

    ReplyDelete