Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Are Christian Businesses Blocking Access to Contraception?

I'm trying so hard to do less politics on here, but sometimes I just can't keep silent, especially when politics rubs up against something I'm passionate about, religious liberty. I'm astounded by the comments of those who are upset about yesterday's SCOTUS decision in favor of Hobby Lobby, and especially those by Hillary Clinton, who should know better.
First, Mrs. Clinton is upset because "It’s the first time that our court has said that a closely held corporation has the rights of a person when it comes to religious freedom.” So why does this bother her? Does she know what a "closely held corporation" is? It's when those who own the company choose to incorporate it, but do not offer the stock to be publicly traded. One or two individuals, or sometimes a family, own all the stock. They own the whole business. Why does Mrs. Clinton think they should lose their religious liberty just because they choose to operate their business as a corporation, rather than a simple partnership, or as sole proprietor? I can't understand for the life of me why anyone finds it "deeply troubling" when the court upholds the religious liberty of one or more individuals.
Second she said that the ruling means companies can "impose their religious beliefs on their employees." Really? In what reality does an employer have to sacrifice his or her own religious convictions in order to not impose those convictions on employees? Is there any part of this decision that says closely held corporations can discriminate in hiring or compensation, or promotion of employees, based on whether they share the religious belief of the employer? Of course not. Employees are still free to believe whatever they want. They are still free to worship, or not worship, in any fashion they choose.
Third, she said that a closely held corporation could "deny women contraception as part of their health care plan." I suppose their is a smidgen of truth to this one, but only a smidgen. The only thing that makes this close to true is the "as part of their health plan" phrase at the end. In the case of Hobby Lobby, they were still willing to provide payment for most types of contraception in their plan, only raising a conscientious objection to a very few. But I could see how a Roman Catholic business owner might be able to say that his beliefs prevent him from paying for any type of contraception.
But what makes this last objection nearly a falsehood is the idea that if your employer doesn't include something as "part of your health plan" that you are denied access. My wife and I have two children, because that's how many children we wanted. We were able to limit ourselves to two because contraception was available and affordable, long before the Affordable Care Act mandated that it be included, at no cost to employees, in company sponsored health plans. It is so absurd to assume that because someone doesn't give you something free of charge that you are being denied access to that item. By that logic I'm being denied access to food, water, clothing and shelter.
It's time for the entitlement society to end. If you want contraception, and paying for it would violate your employer's conscience, buy it out of pocket, pay for a rider on your insurance so that YOU and not your employer are funding that benefit, or, go to work elsewhere, where the employer has no religious objection. If you don't like the compensation AND BENEFITS at one employer, you are free to seek employment elsewhere. We outlawed slavery over 150 years ago. Your employer doesn't own you. But please, don't try to sell me on the idea that the SCOTUS, or Christian business people, are denying you access to something that is available and affordable on the open market.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

My Take on the Phil Robertson Controversy (mehardin.mikesmessage@blogger.com)

My Take on the Phil Robertson Controversy

Snapshot of the item below:
My Take on the Phil Robertson Controversy

My Take on the Phil Robertson Controversy

by Mike Hardin  19 Dec 2013

This morning facebook greeted me with a flurry of messages from fellow Christians who are upset about the “hiatus” A&E has given Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson. It strikes me that both sides of this culture war knew exactly what to expect from the other, and are doing a sad job feigning shock and surprise that they got what they expected.

Phil Robertson has been very vocal about his Chrisitian faith. The Bible’s position on homosexuality is the worst kept secret in world history. So you ask a bible believing Christian his views on homosexuality and act like you are surprised when he tells you exactly what the Bible says about it?

In fairness to GQ, I guess they didn’t ask his views on homosexuality, they asked for his definition of sin, and he began with homosexuality. I’m not sure why he chose to start there. It may have something to do with the fact that, unlike lying, cheating, stealing, murder, adultery, etc., we live in a culture that wants to declare that this sin is not a sin at all. Homosexuality is not a worse sin than any other. That is not the point. Robertson was not rating sin. He was pointing out the chasm between the Bible and popular culture. But all that aside, the interviewer got exactly what he wanted out of Phil. He knew what kind of answer to expect before he asked the question. He wanted a sensational story and he got it.

But I’m not sure that the mass of angry Christians should be any more surprised. If we really believe the Bible, then we know that Jesus told us that the world would hate us as it hated him. We are told that the world is at enmity with God. Did we expect a different action from GQ, A&E, or GLAAD? If they represent the values of this world, and this world is fallen and at enmity with God, shouldn’t we expect their persecution? I submit that rather than ranting about our free speech rights and threatening to boycott a cable network, we ought to be rejoicing because we have been counted worthy to be dishonored on account of the Name (Acts 5:41). Far too often we try to use our rhetoric, or our purse strings, to force the culture to adapt to us. That is a recipe for disaster. We are trying to fight the world on its turf with its weapons.

Our battle is not with flesh and blood. Our battle is a spiritual battle. Rather than ranting about Christian free speech rights and threatening boycotts, we ought rather to be praying for revival in our lives, churches, and nation. We ought to be proclaiming the good news of the gospel. The spiritual realm is our turf. We won’t turn the tide of secularism and moral relativism in our nation by yelling louder than the enemies of God. But we can have a posittive impact by introducing them, one man and woman at a time, to the only One who can change their hearts. They need to meet Jesus, who can transform the enemies of God into children of God.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Using Remember the Milk to Keep Your Other Web Apps Free

I'm a big believer in cloud computing. First of all, I find it much safer to keep my files in the cloud. If my computer is ever lost or stolen, or my hard drive crashes, my files will be waiting for me in the cloud when I get another computer. Of course, I could set up an elaborate back-up system to protect myself from such calamity, but those require a great deal of effort and discipline, the back-up media needs to be stored off site, or you must use an online backup system with a monthly fee if you want to have enough space for all of your files. Secondly, it's just so much more convenient. It doesn't matter whether I'm using my laptop at home, my desktop at the office, borrowing a friend's computer at his house, or even using my smart phone on the go, I have access to my files.

Since I'm a bit on the cheap side, I use web apps that are free, but each gives a limited amount of storage capacity for free accounts. Here are just a few of the applications I use on the web. All of them are available free, but you can get more storage space for a monthly fee:
  • Drop Box 3.1 GB free.
  • Zumo Drive 2 GB free.
  • Google Docs unlimited free strorage of documents created in Google Docs, 1 GB of space to upload other files, i.e. Microsoft Office files or pdf files.
  • Evernote, unlimited total storage capacity, but only allows you to upload 60 MB per month.
Remember the Milk  (RTM) does not provide a place for me to store files in the cloud. It is a task manager. It helps me to remember what I am supposed to do each day, and to keep a record of what does and does not get accomplished. But it does help me maximize my storage capacity on my other apps.  Until recently, Evernote users with free accounts could only upload pictures and pdf files. This week Evernote removed that restriction, and allows it's free users to upload any file (with a maximum file size of 25MB). To maximize my useage of the other applications, I've set up a monthly reminder in RTM to see how much of my 60 MB allotment is remaining on the last day of the month, and then transfer infrequently used files from Drop Box, Zumo Drive, or Google Docs until I've (nearly) used up my 60 MB allotment. I leave a little space in case I need to make some more notes in Evernote before my allotment starts over at zero the next day. 

Of course, in this monthly review of the files that may or may not need to be transferred, I also just find many that are obsolete and I don't need to use them at all anymore.