Obeying immoral laws

by La Shawn Barber
Posted on Wednesday, January 2, 2013, at 10:35 am

Last week, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor denied Christian retailer Hobby Lobby’s request to block Obamacare’s requirement that employee healthcare plans provide coverage for the morning-after pill and similar emergency contraception drugs. In theory, the morning-after pill prevents fertilization, but if not, it prevents the fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus. I call this a “mini-abortion,” but it’s an abortion nonetheless.

Hobby Lobby sued the federal government on religious liberty grounds and sought an injunction. “In her opinion,” WORLD reported, “Justice Sotomayor said the retailer failed to satisfy the demanding legal standard for blocking the requirement on an emergency basis. She said the companies could continue their challenge to the mandate in the lower courts.”

Hobby Lobby’s attorney said his client would not offer abortion drug coverage: “The company will continue to provide health insurance to all qualified employees. To remain true to their faith, it is not their intention, as a company, to pay for abortion-inducing drugs.” For the trouble of following their conscience, Hobby Lobby could face fines of up to $1.3 million a day.

From Romans 13:

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good.”

In essence, Hobby Lobby has declared it will not be subject to government authorities with regard to offering drugs that kill the unborn. In an act of civil disobedience, the retailer will defy the law and face the consequences.

Does submitting to civil authorities mean obeying laws that are immoral? We are commanded by God to share the gospel. What if a law barred us from doing so, even privately? We see that obeying government authorities isn’t absolute. It should be clear to Christians that unless there is legal recourse against obeying a law that compels us to sin, we are justified in disobeying it. Is it a sin to offer employees “mini-abortion drugs”?

God instituted government, but the problem is that sinners run government—there aren’t any non-sinners around to appoint or elect. The government maintains law and order and peace, through the sword if necessary. Ideally, those who do good and obey the law shouldn’t be afraid of the government. But we face the real possibility that the Obama administration is prepared to chip away at our constitutional right to bear arms, and we should be very afraid of that. But I digress.

I support Hobby Lobby’s intention to disobey the Obamacare mandate to offer drugs created to kill life in the womb. What say you?

Listen to a report on Hobby Lobby’s decision on WORLD’s radio news magazine The World and Everything in It.

La Shawn Barber

La Shawn is a former WORLD columnist.

Read more from this writer