"He who has ears to hear, let him hear." Luke 14:35b

Monday, December 31, 2012

The Devil's In The Details

Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men!” Acts 5:29

In 2010, health care “reform” was discussed in the United States Congress and then a bill was proposed with the intention of providing healthcare to all Americans. California Democrat Representative Nancy Pelosi implored Congress to pass the 2,000+ page bill and then we could read it to see what it contained. That was the first indication the bill was chock-full of garbage some Americans wouldn’t find palatable. Obamacare (The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) was ramrodded through Congress at breakneck speed, and now we’re suffering the consequences. 
On January 1, 2013, the Obamacare mandate goes into effect. Part of this mandate includes abortion inducing drugs most Christians find appalling. If you’re a Christian and you don’t, that’s a whole other issue. 
Among private sector business-owners objecting is the Green family, owners of Hobby Lobby. They applied for an emergency injunction based on their Christian beliefs. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayer turned them down. It seems that if you’re a Christian who runs a for-profit business (unlike a Christian university or school), you’re expected to put aside your beliefs. Apparently, Ms. Sotomayer believes Christianity is something you put on when you enter the church building and then take off again when you leave. She’s sadly mistaken. Christianity is who you are and what you are 24/7. Or at least it should be. 
Hobby Lobby’s Statement of Purpose (from HobbyLobby.com)
In order to effectively serve our owners, employees, and customers the Board of Directors is committed to:
Honoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles.
Offering our customers an exceptional selection and value.
Serving our employees and their families by establishing a work environment and company policies that build character, strengthen individuals, and nurture families.
Providing a return on the owners' investment, sharing the Lord's blessings with our employees, and investing in our community.
We believe that it is by God's grace and provision that Hobby Lobby has endured. He has been faithful in the past, and we trust Him for our future.
According to EastonPatch.com: "A statement from The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a law firm representing Hobby Lobby, explains that 'covering these drugs, as the government is forcing them to do under the threat of $1.3 million penalty per day, would violate [the Green family's] most deeply held religious belief that life begins at conception, when an egg is fertilized.' The statement adds that Hobby Lobby has 'no moral objection to the use of preventive contraceptives and will continue its longstanding practice of covering these preventive contraceptives for its employees.'"
The Greens have decided not to comply with the government mandate. With over 13,000 employees, this will cost them $1.3 million a day in fines starting January 1. 
[David] Green maintains that Hobby Lobby, "[b]y being required to make a choice between sacrificing our faith, or paying millions of dollars in fines, we essentially must choose which poison pill to swallow. We simply cannot abandon our religious beliefs to comply with this mandate." Sounds like Hobby Lobby's David Green believes verbatim the Scripture verse that asks "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?" (American Thinker)
Interestingly enough, Justice Sotomayer previously upheld a Muslim prisoner’s first amendment religious rights, as cited in The Independent Sentinel’s December 28, 2012 article:
Justice Sotomayor, however, did have a similar First Amendment experience prior to becoming a Supreme Court Justice in which she showed unusual deference to Muslim inmates when she found in favor of the Ramadan Ruling of 2003 [Laura Ingraham] In that case, she found that a MUSLIM PRISONER, who was denied Ramadan meals, must be provided with the meals on a feast day even though it was not a religious requirement…Sotomayor ruled that the inmate’s First Amendment rights were violated because the feast was subjectively important to the inmate’s practice of Islam. [Ford v. McGinnis]
If the Greens stand by their courageous decision, and the Obama administration and the judicial system continue to disrespect their religious rights, by the end of January, the Greens will owe $40 million dollars in penalties. 

What say you, Mr. President? As a professing Christian, will you continue to turn a blind eye to your fellow Christian Americans and their equal rights under the law? Last time I checked, your job is to represent all Americans.

As secular progressives seek to marginalize Christians, this will become more commonplace. The Green family didn’t just wake up one day after being informed of this mandate and decide to fight it. Their moral compass is set by Christian principles ingrained in them through seeking Christ in their daily lives. Like I said in paragraph three above, Christianity is who and what you are. If it’s not, when the challenges come, and they will come more often and more intense in the years ahead, the narrow path won’t seem so clear. The Greens' courage begs the question:

What am I willing to sacrifice to uphold the Apostle Peter’s command in Acts 5:29? 

If you’re a Christian, please add the Greens to your daily prayer list. Do you have a few dollars left from Christmas? Find a local Hobby Lobby and give them your business. If not, visit one just to browse and show your support.  

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17 

© Laura Hodges Poole
Photo Courtesy of Microsoft.com free clip art

Monday, December 10, 2012

Let's Get Real, Folks

Fiscal cliff
I’m hard pressed to find any authenticity coming out of our nation’s capital. The looming fiscal cliff hasn’t been solved, yet Congress plans to adjourn at the end of this week, and the President will jet off to Hawaii for Christmas.
The arrogance displayed at the beginning of the President’s first term has re-emerged. Somehow he believes he has a mandate—or worse, sovereign powers. He hands Congress a proposal chock-full of new spending with the only plan to raise revenue is taxing the top 2% of American wage earners, and he’s unwilling to negotiate.
The famous Warren Buffett smoke-and-mirrors analogy of taxing millionaires to pay down the debt is just that. Buffett paid $6+ million in taxes last year. If we doubled his taxes and he paid $13 million, it wouldn’t put a dent in our national debt.
In fact, even if we tax the top 2% at 100% rate, it wouldn’t put a dent in the nation’s debt! The suggestion to raise taxes on the top 2% is a feel-good tactic designed to placate the President’s base
The wealthiest Americans will continue to find loopholes and deductions to avoid paying higher taxes—which is why the Republicans have proposed closing the loopholes and limiting deductions on the top 2%. 
Consider these figures*: 
66.1 million Americans receive welfare, food stamps, and/or Medicaid
21.2 million Americans work for the government
109.3 million Americans are employed by the private sector
This means 87.3 million Americans draw checks from the government. This doesn’t include the Social Security, Medicare, and disability debacle. 
Let’s get real. It’s not rocket science. To raise revenue to help balance the budget and start paying down the debt we need to add more private sector tax payers. To do this, we must create an environment that will enable job growth. Raising taxes on those making above $250,000 (many are small business owners), will stagnate job growth even more.
The other thing in the President’s proposal? Eliminate the debt ceiling. 
Just like when the President erroneously stated last spring the Supreme Court didn’t have jurisdiction to rule on Obamacare, he once again shows his ignorance of the Constitution. Three branches exist for a reason—for times like these when one branch tries for a power grab and refuses to negotiate. The debt ceiling is controlled by Congress to force the country to live within its means. 
Could you imagine if we didn’t have a debt ceiling? 
Part of the problem is we refuse to take the bitter medicine we should have four years ago. No one wants to tighten the purse strings. Yet, like the person who runs up credit card debt and lives overextended all of a sudden finds their world crashing down around them, our nation will suffer the same fate if our leaders don’t get serious about debt control. 
It’s ridiculous that, just like during the election, polls reflect anger and blame toward Republicans when they are working toward financial responsibility. I’m under no illusion that their plan is perfect or that we don’t have pork barrel addicts in Congress. However, it’s time to take the ideological blinders off just because you support the social programs of the President. He’s unwilling to negotiate! 
Where’s the leadership?
President Reagan worked across the aisle with House Speaker Tip O’Neill, and President Clinton worked with House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Both of these administrations enjoyed economic success, which in turn, benefited the American people. 
The sad, ironic thing is that once again the President has taken to the campaign trail to sell his proposal. He implores Americans to tweet or call Congress to show support for his plan. This isn’t a popularity contest, Mr. President. The election is over. I don’t care one whit who gets the “blame” if we go over the fiscal cliff, despite the mainstream media trying to pin it on John Boehner and the Republicans. Neither am I surprised by that. The media helped re-elect what we have now. 
Roll up your sleeves, Mr. President, and get to work! The costs are too high, if you fail to lead. Our country and our children’s future depend on it. 
© Laura Hodges Poole
*Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare
Photo courtesy of Microsoft.com free clip art