National Catholic Reporter

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Hobby Lobby's Conscience

Mother Jones reports that Hobby Lobby, the craft chain owned by devout evangelicals who objected to complying with the HHS contraception mandate, invests in the very same companies that make the objectionable contraception through Hobby Lobby's retirement plan. Ooops. But, if Hobby Lobby stepped in it, I also pose this question: How much confidence do you now have in the Department of Justice lawyers who were unable to find this out about Hobby Lobby when a reporter at Mother Jones did? 

This incident gets to the cultural, if not the legal, heart of the matter. In a complex society, we all take actions without intending to do harm, but find ourselves entangled with those whose moral compass is very different. Trying to figure out how to proceed is easy if you are Amish but it is not so easy for a Church, or a company, that is involved in the world. This issue never should have become a vehicle for the kind of histrionic, culture war rhetoric that has plagued it all along. It became a frontline in the culture war because entrenched interest groups on both sides saw an opportunity to make a stink, raise their profile and, most importantly, raise some money. Women's groups like NARAL do not speak for all women. Becket Fund does not speak for everyone who cares about religious liberty. Thumbs down to the White House and HHS for not avoiding this fight. And thumbs down to the USCCB for giving every indication that they were not interested in finding a solution. Now, it seems to me, everyone has enough egg on their face that they should think about trying again. But, I am not holding my breath.

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December 5-18, 2014

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