A Reluctant Post about Hobby Lobby
I am reluctant to post on inflammatory issues–especially those with a political bent. This isn’t because I don’t have opinions, but because the medium of a blog (and even further, social media) doesn’t seem to accomplish much in the way of advancing the conversation. Yet there are a couple thoughts I wanted to share with the hope that they can contribute positively to the tide of reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision to allow Hobby Lobby to opt out of providing the morning after pill. Whether or not it’s really helpful–I guess you’ll have to be the judge.
Let’s be honest with our language and perspectives.
I am so sick of the crafting of language to barely tell the truth (or sometimes not at all). There are media outlets whose entire enterprise is characterized by this endeavor. For instance, to say that Hobby Lobby is denying people birth control is barely true. They are refusing to pay for one specific kind of birth control (morning after pill) because they have convictions that lead them to believe it is wrong. They cannot and are not keeping anyone from going and buying that pill. Now, a person could believe Hobby Lobby absolutely should pay for the morning after pill for their employees and have well-formed reasons why. But if we can have that conversation with honesty about what is happening we’ll get much further. When we mischaracterize a situation we basically negate any opportunity for honest dialogue. And there is no ideology that is innocent of doing this.
Let’s try to look at things rationally.
When it comes to inflammatory issues we get worked up and irrational! Passion is great–especially about things that matter, but when that passion leads to irrationality it shuts down any chance of conversation. Sometimes we need to stop whatever we’re reading or saying, take a few deep breaths, and calm ourselves down. It is wonderful for our passion to come out, but when engaging those who adamantly disagree with us, unchecked passion can become an insurmountable barrier to conversation.
If the Supreme Court had ruled the other way I’m sure we’d hear people sounding the alarm for the end of all religious liberty in America. As it is, people are decrying a massive step in the violation of women’s rights. Both of these rely on some pretty slippery slopes for footing–and those aren’t places where good footing is usually found. This isn’t to say that many small events can’t lead to substantial societal changes, but we need to check our runaway reasoning at times. Let’s try to be at least moderately levelheaded about the importance of events like this. It will help the conversation .
Let’s do our best to look at each other (and especially our ideological opponents) as people.
In engaging issues like the Hobby Lobby ruling, it is very easy to caricature our opponents and thereby cast them in a mold that allows us to see them as less than human. We assume the worst possible motives for the actions of those we disagree with–all sides are guilty of this. For instance, this post from Matt Walsh is well-reasoned and expresses many things that seem logical and true, but it does so with a tone that dehumanizes its opponents. I would challenge people on whatever side of whatever issue to be creative and compassionate enough to write and speak about their ideological opponents as human beings. Human beings who probably have a mixture of good and bad motivations for their perspectives–as we all do.