We Talk Too Much About Hobby Lobby – There Are Greater Dangers

Embarrassed. A friend and I had two rather lengthy conversations about the recent Supreme Court ruling regarding the Hobby Lobby case. I read countless articles from all sides and am still convinced the issues are not as simple as some suggest, that both extremes find in the decision some reason to extol the virtues of their respective ideologies, and underneath it all is a very mixed bag on what constitutes personhood.

Running down all the good and opposing pieces on the subject crossed my mind. Then, I decided that it may be better not to rush to judgment one way or another as I am not accomplished at legalese and the consequences of these things end up telling us more about what lie beneath than all the pundits who quickly type out their assessments.

All of this was confirmed when I received a press release from Lifeway. I do not always pass them on for one reason or another. But, this sentence caught my eye,

For many Protestant pastors, domestic violence is the pro-life issue they almost never talk about.

Say it is not so! According to the research requested by Sojourners and IMA World Health, indeed it is so. The piece reads,

The recent LifeWay Research pastor’s survey is one of the first of its kind on the topic of domestic violence.

Researchers found about 4 in 10 (42 percent) pastors “rarely” or “never” speak about domestic violence. Less than a quarter (22 percent) speak to their church about the issue once a year.

“When two-thirds of pastors address the issue of domestic violence in church one time a year or less, we have a serious disconnect with the realities of American life,” said Ed Stetzer, President of LifeWay Research Division. “Pastors cannot ignore or downplay the issue, when lives are being ruined–and sometimes lost–through sexual and domestic violence right in their own communities and churches.”

“The church needs to be part of the solution here,” explained Stetzer. “This is an issue where people of faith, across theological lines, can speak together that it matters, we care, and it must change.”

Amidst the point and counterpoint of the Hobby Lobby case, the celebrations on government building steps and the gnashing teeth of disbelief elsewhere, women face abuse every single day. I realize someone will point out that domestic abuse runs both ways. Others will fear I am leaving out children. Bite your tongue or better shackle your keyboard. I know too many in my years of pastoring who suffered as children to ignore them.

Lifeway reports this news prior to in the aftermath the Hobby Lobby SCOTUS ruling. This should have made more of a splash than it did. It is about silence on what Ed Stetzer describes as a pro-life issue. He does well to make that connection. What seems to get lost in the rhetoric of the left and the right is how each group sees what may be termed pro-life. But that is hard work to do.

I considered attempting to make a more specific connection to the Hobby Lobby case. But, that would have been a distraction to the point that there are important pro-life issues about which, according to the survey results, too many are silent. We should not be.

To my pastor friends I invite you to join me in making a more concerted effort to speak about the issue of domestic violence. Be warned. It is messy and difficult. You will be surprised who participates. Let’s not keep silent. Or worse, let’s not fail to step back and see how the very systems we support blindly create the ethos from which such vicious decisions may be made.

To my church I hope that we will continue to be sensitive and aware, always looking for opportunities to bring mercy, rescue, and love into lives shattered by such events and that we do so in the loving Name of Jesus.

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About the Author
Husband to Patty. Daddy to Kimberly and Tommie. Grandpa Doc to Cohen, Max, Fox, and Marlee. Pastor to Snow Hill Baptist Church. Graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Reading. Photography. Golf. Colorado. Jeeping. Friend. The views and opinions expressed here are my own and should not be construed as representing the corporate views of the church I pastor.