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Archive for October, 2012

The mother of one of my dear friends is in a nursing home.  She is a widow of so many years I’ve lost count.  In the past year, she survived near death experience but, at 95, her body is weakened.  Her daughter is faithful.  She travels four hours one way to spend two or three days with her mother.  The daughter encourages the mother and, at the same time, I believe the mother remains the mentor.  Even in poor health and weakened condition, the mother is an instrument for good in the hands of the Mighty God.

I can do little.  But, today, I wrote my friend’s mother this note:

Dear One,

I had these note cards printed with the single word “Amen.”  Why?  Because this word means “so be it.”  It can be our voice, responding to God, saying, “I agree with You, Father!  You said it!  Yes, indeed!”

So many days of our life are spent wondering and questioning: Why, Lord?  Why am I in this place?  Why is this happening?  Where are You?

Without a doubt, you are asking these questions.  But, you know what?  You have the answer.  You are in the hands of the Mighty God.  He said it is so.  God has called you by name, you are His.  He said it is so.  God knows every hair on your head.  He said it is so.  Because of what Jesus has done for you, you are a treasure of great price.  He said it is so.

Do battle with the doubts and fears, my friend.  They are deceptions of Satan, your enemy and mine.  Hold fast to the Promise of Jesus who died for you and me.  Tell Satan to take a hike… be gone… diminish into the nothing that he is.

You remain — forever and in all circumstances — the daughter of the King.  You are loved no matter what.”

It is my hope and prayer that, someday, someone writes me an “Amen.”  “So be it!”  “You said it, Father, it is so!”  May someone else remind me to trust The Promise.  God, who calls us by name, is faithful to work a good work in us and through us — until the day He calls us home.

In Jesus,

Amen.

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No one knows why, but a young woman is dead.   She was found in the garage of her parent’s home.  It appears that she hung herself.

Why?  Why would a young woman fear life itself?

What makes this especially personal is that I was on the phone with my son when it happened.  This young woman was his neighbor.  “The police have pulled up, Mom.  People are milling about outside the garage.  I’ll call you back.”  When he did, he explained what had just happened.  “Her mom and dad are standing outside.  Her dad is talking loud.  People are on cell phones.  The neighborhood is stunned.”

So, why?  Why was a young life cut short?  Not long ago, when our son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren were out for a walk, this young woman approached them with interest.  She was friendly.  Talkative.  During the course of the conversation, she explained that she was a psychology major in college.  She asked if she could hold baby Kate.

Now the girl who held my granddaughter is dead.  Evidence suggests that it was by her own hand.  I never met this young woman.  I don’t know her parents.  But, the ache inside me is real.

What happened?  Her parents, family and friends may never know.  But, one thing is certain.

Human life, because of sin, is very fragile.  The enemy of life knows this.  He delights in this weakness.  He takes advantage of our frailty.

Satan despises the humans who are created “a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned with glory and honor” (Psalm 8:5).  He is jealous of God’s beloved creations who have been given “dominion over the works of [His] hands;” with “all things under [our] feet” (v. 6).  Satan is a thief.  He comes to “steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10a).

But, Jesus says, “I came that [you] may have life and have it abundantly.  I am the Good Shepherd.  The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep” (v. 10b-11).  Jesus left heaven for our sake.  He lowered Himself so that He might battle Satan for every fragile life.  Jesus won eternal victory over Satan when He died on the Cross at Calvary.  His resurrection proves that victory.  He ascended back to heaven.  There He waits, until the Father tells the Son it is time to return to earth on the last day.  Then He will call every believer home.  To heaven.  To new life without the chains of sin.

For now, Satan is having his little day.  The destruction he leaves in his wake can take our breath away.  In our most vulnerable moments, he hisses, “Did God really say . . .?”  His best weapon is to deceive.  Once deceived, we doubt.  Then fear.  In fear, we are desperate to take control.  To do anything… anything that might stop the confusion or loneliness or suffering.

For this – and every other reason – our identity matters.  Knowing Whose we are matters.  Knowing that we are adopted sons and daughters of God because of what Jesus did for us matters.  Trusting our identity as God’s beloved creation serves us well in all circumstances.  No matter if we don’t feel loved or attractive or significant.  No matter if we are unhappy or in pain or seemingly spinning out of control and knocked off our foundation, we remain God’s treasures in Christ.

Trusting our identity in Christ, we become less vulnerable.  When Satan comes to deceive, Jesus stands close.  When Satan hisses in one ear, Jesus calls us to Him.  “Trust Me, My child.  Hear My word of hope.  When all forsake you, I never will.”

Our identity matters.  Trusting our identity in Christ makes a difference.  Even if something snaps… if a neuron misfires… our identity does not change.

One question remains.  It is for us.  The living.  Do we know our identity?  Do we see ourselves as treasures of great price?  In the battle for our very souls, do we look past the thief to focus hearts and minds on the Good Shepherd?  No matter the circumstances, do we cling to His promise?

Dear Father, comfort the parents of this young woman.  They suffer loss beyond my imagination.  In their loss, draw them to the Cross of their Savior.  Send Your Spirit to fill the emptiness.  To work Your will for good.  Amen. 

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There are two things (we’re told) we should never talk about.  Religion and politics.  That’s difficult… and silly.

A few days ago, two women and I – standing in a very public place – avoided the “safe” topics found in the pages of People magazine to enter into dialogue about the election and matters of faith.  I don’t know either of these women very well, but I believe that when we are attentive to facial expressions and body language, we can usually recognize another person’s willingness (or unwillingness) to dialogue.  Experience proves to me that a great many people are hungry to talk about issues of faith and life, but they need an invitation to speak whatever might be on their mind or hidden in their heart.

Dialogue is sadly becoming a lost art.  Perhaps we feel ourselves ill-equipped to speak about what may be emotional topics.  Perhaps we’re afraid of conflict.  But, it’s o.k. to disagree.  Two people who don’t agree on something can learn from one another during the polite exchange of thoughts and ideas.  If we keep silent and don’t speak about controversial issues of life from the Biblical perspective, we might miss the opportunity to comfort a hurting soul… to share a word of hope… to point to forgiveness and healing.

We need to break the silence and, with a caring and careful manner, talk about abortion, cohabitation, same-gender “marriage,” health care and, yes, the election.  That’s what happened quite unexpectedly in a public store with two women I’ll call Ellen and Diane.

I know Ellen only because of family connections.  I know Diane because she is a supporter of the pregnancy center where I volunteer.   At a recent fundraiser for our center, Diane told me she didn’t think she could vote this year, “neither for a Mormon,” she said, “nor for Obama.”  That comment stayed with me so, after greeting her in the store, I took the opportunity to tell her that I’d been giving some thought to what she had said about not voting.  I asked her if she had ever considered that Thomas Jefferson, while not a believer in the deity of Jesus Christ, was nonetheless a defender of religious freedom and encourager of virtuous people.  Diane admitted this might be applicable to this year’s election.

“It seems to me,” I said, “that we should vote for the man who will keep us the farthest from the edge of the cliff.”

At that moment, Ellen leaned in to the conversation.  She smiled at me, then said to Diane, “Linda should be out speaking!”

That was an invitation to continue the conversation.  With the invitation, however, also came a memory.  A faint memory of Ellen’s past.  After high school, Ellen left home in search of something different from the life of her parents.  There were some rough years.  I don’t know specifics.  But, this memory prompted me to respond to Ellen.

“I am a speaker,” I said.  “I’ve been a pro-life speaker for a long time.”  But, I explained to Ellen, “it was only when I became a listener that I really learned.”  Often, in a hallway or the restroom after my presentation, women would approach me, wanting to confess their abortion.   The pain in their voices, I told Ellen, compelled me to dig beneath the symptoms of promiscuity and abortion to the real problem.

“We’re in spiritual battle, Ellen.  It seems to me that Satan and our Savior both desire our attention, but what they have in store for us is very, very different.  Trusting ourselves, we are deceived and bound for trouble.  Satan offers no comfort when we fall.  But, even after our sin and in the midst of consequences, Jesus stands close with arms open wide.”

Ellen’s eyes never wandered from mine.  Her cheeks were moist.  I suspicioned that she was thinking about her own life.

“We all have a story,” I said.  “We all have a story.”

At that point, we needed to go our separate ways.  Ellen and Diane went to one part of the store for coffee, I to another.  Within a half hour, one of my closest friends walked in the door.  Jane was in town to visit her mom.  We had not planned to meet, but apparently God had a different idea.  “Can I buy you a cup of coffee?” I asked.  We settled into chairs at a table across the room from Ellen and Diane who were enjoying their time together.  When they got up to leave, Diane and I waved to one another.  Then she headed for her car.

Ellen, however, approached our table.  “That conversation we had mattered,” she said.  “This afternoon has been good.”

She kept looking at Jane.  “There’s something familiar about you.  Do I know you from high school?”

Jane looked surprised.  “Oh, my goodness,” she said.  “We graduated the same year, didn’t we… but that was a long time ago.”

Ellen pressed on.  “Weren’t you in a serious car accident?  I remember reading about it in our class reunion book.”

“I was,” Jane said, “and God sent mighty angels to protect me that day.”  She gave a few details.  Then paused.  Ellen could have excused herself and said good-bye.  But, she didn’t.   This was another invitation.

“Ellen,” I said, “the fact that Jane is here with us today is God’s amazing grace, but she has another story to tell… a powerful story of Christ’s work in her life.  She doesn’t tell this particular story publicly, but . . .”

At this point, Jane interrupted.  “No, I don’t tell my story, but I’ve given Linda permission to tell it.”

“And it’s so important that I do,” I continued.  “It’s after I share Jane’s story that other women are more willing to come up to me and share their own stories.  They tell me they feel more welcomed and less alone and vulnerable.  Jane’s story is one of hope.  It reminds others of how patient God really is and that He never turns His back on us.  We may walk away from Him, but our Father never abandons us.”

“There is so much fear,” Jane spoke up.  “It can be overpowering.”

“It is,” Ellen agreed.  “It is overpowering.”

“I’ve come to believe,” I added, “that every one of our wrong choices is made out of fear… fear of being out of control or unloved or insignificant.”

It was long past time for Ellen to go be with her family, but she lingered.  She seemed to be searching for words.  “I came home to visit my parents, but never would I have imagined meeting up with the two of you or having a conversation like this.”

Ellen continued.  “Do you know what this afternoon has meant to me?  I’ve been close to losing my faith . . . I was told by my parents that my life and the lives of my children have been difficult because it’s punishment for the sins of my youth, but you have reminded me that God doesn’t work that way.”

No, He doesn’t.  “There are consequences of our choices – good or bad,” I said, “but rather than punishing you, it seems that God is staying the course with you.”

Jane nodded and said, “I thank God every day that He never lets go.”

Ellen hugged Jane.  Then me.  “Thank you.  Thank you for this visit.  For the honesty.  What a difference this has made for me.”

Jesus makes the difference.  Jesus – the very Word of Life – speaks to every important issue of our day.  Trusting Him, we can dare to break the silence.  Ellen was hungry to hear someone speak to the concerns she has about our nation.  Even more, she was hungry to get personal… to hear someone remind her that sins of the past may affect our lives, but do not have to bind us.  Newness of life in Christ is real.  We are forgiven and set free to start our lives over.

What do you think?  If we who claim to know the Lord of life are afraid to dialogue in the public square about issues of life, what will happen?  What won’t happen?

We may not want to make waves, but what about a ripple here and there?

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More Americans now commit suicide than die in car accidents.  “People are despairing in America,” writes Joseph Farah, “more than ever before.”

It would be easy, notes Farah, to blame the suicide epidemic on the economy.  But, that’s not how he sees it.  People may be struggling financially, but they’re not ending their lives because they lack food and shelter or toys and gadgets.

“I believe the trend reflects a deep and growing spiritual emptiness in a culture that is more depraved than ever before,” writes Farah.  “Too many people just don’t find any meaning in life.”

We should all, as Farah advices, “think about it.”  He continues:

We are told from the youngest age in state-run schools that human beings are merely the result of billions of years of evolution from lower life forms and random mutations.  There is no God who loves us and to whom we are accountable.  There are no laws higher than those that government imposes on us – no sin.  No ultimate, objective moral code.  In fact, human beings are a blight on the planet.  It would be better off without us – or at least with a lot fewer of us polluting the air with carbon dioxide and overheating the earth.

. . . Prayer and Bible reading are prohibited, but explicit instruction on how to have promiscuous sex without consequences is mandated.

Abortion is subsidized, while adoption is prohibitively expensive in the unlikely event you can find a child to adopt.

Increasingly, the state is sticking its nose into what we eat, what we say, how we raise our children – even what we believe.

Government is fine with pornography.  But purity and abstinence are discouraged.

In other words, right is wrong, up is down, black is white, left is right.  And we sit here and wonder why people are killing themselves.

When government replaces God in the lives of people, their lives become empty.  They become subjects of the state, rather than citizens endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights – among those being life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

When government becomes the ultimate authority in our lives and practices lawlessness, disregarding routinely the Constitution from which it derives its limited authority, I would suggest to you this is a much bigger cause for despair and powerlessness.

There is a solution to this problem.  But it’s not a top-down answer.  It’s a bottom-up solution.  Americans need to get right with God.

They need to find out what He requires of them, why He created them, and how much He loves them.

They need to have a genuine repentance for having turned away from Him and whored after false gods and pursuits.

If Americans did this, they wouldn’t be taking their own lives in record numbers.

Thank you, Joseph Farah.  It is a privilege to reprint a portion of your column.  May it be used to spark dialogue in families, neighborhoods, schools, places of business, law offices, and congregations.

Joseph Farah is a nationally syndicated columnist.
I excerpted  from his commentary,
“What happens when government replaces God”
which appeared in October 1 edition of The Washington Times

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I have never met Paul and Jenn.  But their story, featured on the front page of my hometown paper, caught my attention.  The way I see it, Paul and Jenn have been living with dying.

In July, Jenn gave birth to Logan.  He was two months premature.  Jenn called her son a miracle who, literally “fit in the palm of my boyfriend’s hand.”  I want to talk about her boyfriend Paul’s hand but, first, we need to understand this “miracle.”

In a way, and right up to Logan’s birth, Jenn was living with dying.  She is a young woman with Crohn’s disease who was told she would never become pregnant.  In October of 2011, Jenn has an ileostomy.  In November, she had it reversed.  Early in 2012, she learned she was pregnant.  The prenatal specialist told Jenn at her 20-week checkup that she should “terminate [the] pregnancy.”

There was “something wrong” with her baby’s brain.  There was “evidence of a hole in his heart.”  He was not growing correctly.  Jenn was told that her baby “wasn’t getting enough blood flow.”  He was suffering from intrauterine growth restriction.  What was Jenn’s reaction?  “His heart was always strong,” she said, “and I never lost hope.”

Worried about a chromosomal mutation or a genetic deformity, the doctors performed an amniocentesis at 24 weeks.  There were no signs of a birth defect; nevertheless, the doctors told her there would be no chance of survival.  It was explained to Jenn that her baby wasn’t growing because she had a full placental abruption.  The placenta was not attached to the uterus.

Jenn had planned on giving birth at our local hospital but, on July 20, she woke up in a pool of blood.  “I didn’t really want to go all the way to Des Moines, but Paul’s mom . . . insisted I go.”  Doctors explained to Jenn that she had two choices: let the contractions take their course or risk a C-section.  She chose a C-section when Logan’s heart rate dipped.  There was a ten percent chance that he would survive.

Logan was born at 29 weeks, 2 days gestation.  He weighed 15 ounces.  “I didn’t know what to think or if he was OK . . . I didn’t really get to see him until the next day.  I was in shock.  I cried.  I was so happy and scared at the same time.  I couldn’t believe that I was actually a mom and he was so small.”

On his 2-month birthday, Logan weighed almost three pounds.  Jenn explained to the reporter, “There is absolutely nothing wrong with his brain or heart.”  He is small, but “perfectly healthy.”  Doctors told Jenn there is a higher risk of cerebral palsy, but Logan has good muscle activity.  Jenn is a mother with hope.  And, for good reason.

Her boyfriend, Paul, has a six-year-old son who was also born premature at 29 weeks and four days.  He was three pounds at birth.  Today, in Jenn’s words, this little boy is “tall, healthy and fine . . . he’s perfectly fine.”  By the time you read this (and God-willing), Paul and Jenn will have brought Logan home from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to meet his half-brother.

My pro-life eyes help me see that Jenn has been living with dying for quite some time.  I’ve never heard Chrohn’s disease described as “fatal,” but I know people who have it and how much they suffer.  Perhaps, at times, it might feel a little bit like dying.  But, with life and breathe in them, these people persevere.  Perhaps, in the face of adversity, they treasure life even more.

Jenn lives with her own poor health, but let me tell you what pierces deep to my pro-life soul.  Every day of Logan’s life in her womb, Jenn lived with the possibility of his death.  She was told to abort him.  When she dared not, she was told her son’s life was incompatible with life.  Logan’s mom persisted in hope.

I am a stranger to Jenn and her boyfriend, Paul.  Yet, at the same time, I am their neighbor.  Though they may never read this – I offer a plea… an encouragement for the sake of their son.

Jenn and Paul, in spite of adversity, you have stayed the course for life.

Jenn, when voices cried: “Abort him,” you defended the personhood of your son.  When voices cried: “Your baby will never make it,” you defended his right to try.  You lived in the face of dying.

Paul, I’m guessing that some voices hinted your girlfriend might be “crazy,” but you defended her sense of motherhood.  When voices cried, “You’ve been through this before, why would you do it again,” you stayed the course and lived in the face of dying.

Will you go the distance, Paul and Jenn?  Will you please consider another act of courage?  In a time when marriage is being rejected and children are paying the price, will you dare to build a better foundation for your “miracle?”  Will you show Logan how much his life matters?  Whatever your reasons for not marrying might be, will you consider the benefits for Logan of having a mommy and daddy who have committed themselves – hard work as it is – to the faithfulness of marriage?

I was captivated, Paul, by the front page newspaper photo of you holding your 15 ounce son “in the palm of your hand.”  That’s what a father does.  He holds the miracle of life very tenderly in his loving care.  A father gives both his child and his child’s mother the covering of his name.  I speak from experience because both my Heavenly and earthly fathers have called me by their name.  The covering of that name bestows great value on my life.

Will you, Paul and Jenn, join with God in bestowing great value on Logan’s life “in sickness and health ‘til death do you part?”

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I really don’t understand my generation nor do I understand my parents’ generation.  We cry out for ourselves.  We want government health care, government assistance, government support.  We worry that someone will take away Medicare, Medicaid, and access to inexpensive prescription drugs.  “These are our rights!” we claim.

But, where are the arms of the government?  Where are the hands?  The heart?  The soul?  Where is the government when we need encouragement in times of loneliness, difficulty, or loss?

Government is not a person.  It does not think.  It does not care.  It is only what the people shape it to be.

Government can only provide programs and assistance for its citizens when the citizens provide the funds.  These funds are called taxes.  We have to pay them… or suffer penalty of law.  In other words, we are depending on the coerced charity of people who don’t know us and maybe don’t even care.

My generation had not a brain in its collective head when it demanded uninhibited sexual freedoms and legalized abortion.  “I am a sexual being; therefore, it’s my right.”  “I deserve to be happy.”  “It’s all about me.”

Well, now what?  Sexualized, “all about me” Boomers want their Viagra for “performance edge in the bedroom” AND a government health care plan.   Tell me, Boomers, is there anything else we’d like on the backs of our children and grandchildren?

Government is an institution without a heart, mind or soul.  It doesn’t know us.  It is not in touch with us.  It cannot love us or help bear our burdens.  America’s older citizens clamor for care and support, but – duh! – what were we thinking?  Fearing any inconvenience, so many of my generation aborted the living souls who would have grown up to care for us.  My generation aborted the very flesh and blood that, unlike government, would have had bonded relationally with parents and grandparents.

We aborted those feared to be “inconvenient” or “burdensome.”  But, allowed to live, those children would have lessened the fears of parents who may be labeled by a “death panel” as a financial burden to society.

God does not scratch His head, wondering how He will care for all the people.  That’s what generations are for!  Fifty million babies (the number of those aborted in the U.S. since 1973) would have pumped energy, creativity, and consumer dollars into a now dead economy.

People my age and older – who should know better – proclaim, “It’s the economy, stupid!”  We dismiss what are called “social issues.”  Well, dismissing social issues — the sanctity of human life, marriage, and family – helped create the mess we’re in.  Refusing to dialogue about personal responsibility, moral ethics, and values made an already spoiled citizenry more selfish and lazy.  Tolerant of everything except discussions of “right and wrong,” we listen to a sound bite here, read a headline there, and vote for whoever will send the most financial assistance our direction.

“It’s the economy, stupid!”  No, I disagree.  The economy is the way it is because we’ve been living off the investments of our Founding Fathers and every father who worked honestly and faithfully to provide for his family.  We’ve been living off the investments of mothers who understood that a nation is built upon vibrant homes and children taught self-restraint.  We’ve been living off the investments of others but, as my husband says, invested very little – if anything – ourselves.  Now that’s stupid.  And, as it’s been said, you can’t fix stupid.

A long time ago I was compelled to become involved with pro-life and family ministries as a volunteer.  Although probably considered “illiterate” by university-types, I have been hungry to learn through reading and research.  My worth cannot be measured by a salary, but I have been blessed to travel the country speaking with and listening to countless people from all walks of life.  My Biblical worldview allows me to see all people of every color, ethnicity, and culture as part of the human family because they are all creations of God.  That means that people – and the conundrum of social issues – matter to me.

Government can’t do what I do.  It can’t do what anyone who cares for their neighbor can do.  My arms have reached out to comfort women hurting years after their abortion choice.  The Spirit of my Baptism moves me to love complete strangers with no strings attached.  A great number of these “strangers” have become my friends and fellow sojourners.

With the desire to help eliminate costly health problems such as sexually transmitted diseases, pre-marital sex, and abortion, I joined with two other moms to start a caring pregnancy center (CPC).   Every service we offer is freely and willingly provided, not coerced by compulsory “taxation.”  When funds are needed, we work to raise them.  We invite – never demand – our community to join with us in making a positive difference for people in times of fear or need.  We provide at no charge the pregnancy tests for which Planned Parenthood charges (in spite of all our tax dollars sitting in their coffers).  We mentor toward personal accountability and the stability of marriage.

Government is not a person.  Government is without hands, heart and soul.  Government does not love its neighbor as itself.  Government can provide assistance only when its citizens provide the funds.  And, in too many cases, government welfare tends to enslave the people.

For this reason, I’m going to the voting booth not to vote for a Republican or Democrat.  Not to vote for one personality over another.  But, to vote for leaders who will defend human life in the womb and, therefore, human life in old age.

To vote for leaders who will defend the sanctity of marriage as the institution created by God for a civilized world.  Who will defend the freedom of more than worship, but expression of faith in daily life.

The economy will begin to fix itself when life, marriage and family begin to matter more.

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Dan Cathy, the president of Chick-fil-A, spoke out about the Biblical meaning of marriage.  Threats followed from mayors in Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.  Chick-fil-A, it seemed, would not be “welcome” in their cities.  But, the mayors sheepishly backed down when even the ACLU dubbed the mayors’ threats a “clear cut” case of viewpoint discrimination.  To show their support of the family-owned business, people stood in long lines at local franchises across the country on Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.

But, what will happen to Hobby Lobby?  This Christian, family-owned business is standing up to the government health care mandate.  I’ll let David Green, the CEO and founder of Hobby Lobby, explain.  Below is his open letter that appeared in USA Today (9/12/2012).

When my family and I started our company 40 years ago, we were working out of a garage on a $600 bank loan, assembling miniature picture frames. Our first retail store wasn’t much bigger than most people’s living rooms, but we had faith that we would succeed if we lived and worked according to God’s word. From there, Hobby Lobby has become one of the nation’s largest arts and crafts retailers, with more than 500 locations in 41 states. Our children grew up into fine business leaders, and today we run Hobby Lobby together, as a family.

We’re Christians, and we run our business on Christian principles. I’ve always said that the first two goals of our business are 1) to run our business in harmony with God’s laws, and 2) to focus on people more than money. And that’s what we’ve tried to do. We close early so our employees can see their families at night. We keep our stores closed on Sundays, one of the week’s biggest shopping days, so that our workers and their families can enjoy a day of rest. We believe that it is by God’s grace that Hobby Lobby has endured, and he has blessed us and our employees. We’ve not only added jobs in a weak economy, we’ve also raised wages for the past four years in a row. Our full-time employees start at 80% above minimum wage.

But now, our government threatens to change all of that. A new government health care mandate says that our family business must provide what I believe are abortion-causing drugs as part of our health insurance. Being Christians, we don’t pay for drugs that might cause abortions. Which means that we don’t cover emergency contraception, the morning-after pill or the week-after pill. We believe doing so might end a life after the moment of conception, something that is contrary to our most important beliefs. It goes against the biblical principles on which we have run this company since day one. If we refuse to comply, we could face $1.3 million per day in government fines.

Our government threatens to fine job creators in a bad economy. Our government threatens to fine a company that’s raised wages four years running. Our government threatens to fine a family for running its business according to its beliefs. It’s not right.

I know people will say we ought to follow the rules, that it’s the same for everybody. But that’s not true. The government has exempted thousands of companies from this mandate, for reasons of convenience or cost. But it won’t exempt them for reasons of religious belief. So, Hobby Lobby — and my family — are forced to make a choice. With great reluctance, we filed a lawsuit today, represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, asking a federal court to stop this mandate before it hurts our business. We don’t like to go running into court, but we no longer have a choice. We believe people are more important than the bottom line and that honoring God is more important than turning a profit.

My family has lived the American dream. We want to continue growing our company and providing great jobs for thousands of employees, but the government is going to make that much more difficult. The government is forcing us to choose between following our faith and following the law. I say that’s a choice no American — and no American business — should have to make.

It seems to me that many Christians are going to be put to the test under this health care mandate.

Where will we take our stand… and why?

David Green is the CEO and founder of Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

Want to support David Green and his family business?
Visit American Family Association to learn how.

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