Carl Mays: May we enjoy our family picnics

Jul. 03, 2014 @ 11:08 AM

Erma Bombeck said, “You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.”

Combine Erma’s comment with Abraham Lincoln’s, “Democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people,” and Benjamin Franklin’s, “Where liberty dwells, there is my country.” They illustrate well the Independence Day meaning and spotlight the importance of the June 30 Supreme Court 5-4 landmark ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby in the case of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

Barbara Green, Hobby Lobby co-founder with husband David, said, "Our family is overjoyed by the decision. Today the nation's highest court has re-affirmed the vital importance of religious liberty as one of our country's founding principles. The decision is a victory, not just for our family business, but for all who seek to live out their faith."

The case arose because the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) issued by the Obama administration requires most insurance plans to provide preventive care services without out-of-pocket expenses for employees. All FDA-approved contraceptives are part of the required packages. The Green family did not object to 16 of the 20 FDA-approved contraceptive drugs and devices mandated by the ACA, but they object to drugs or devices that have the potential to terminate a life as they define it. They refused to provide contraceptive health care coverage they consider "abortifacient" (causing abortions).

The Greens (along with many others) believe life begins when the egg is fertilized. To them, contraceptives that prevent fertilization do not cause abortion and are acceptable. However, pills that can prevent implantation of the already-fertilized egg in the mother's womb, along with intrauterine devices (IUDs) that can also prevent a fertilized egg from implantation, are the contraceptives they believe kill the fertilized egg and cause abortion. They object to these drugs and devices on pro-life, religious grounds.

In contrast to Barbara Green’s statement, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg wrote in her dissent that the court has "ventured into a minefield" in which the decision could open the door to all sorts of discrimination by employers on religious grounds. Ginsberg, however, ignored the fact that the decision was a limited or restricted one, which applies the ruling specifically to the contraception mandate.

On this July 4, 2014, many hopeful Americans who applaud the Green’s stance realize the Obama administration’s position on cases before the Supreme Court has been defeated 9-0 in at least 13 cases since January 2012. Recently, there was a unanimous opinion against the administration’s power grab on appointments by making clear it could not make such appointments when the Senate was in recess. Then the Supreme Court unanimously tossed out a Massachusetts law backed by the administration that would establish abortion-clinic “buffer zones” against pro-life protesters.

Daniel Webster proclaimed, “God grants liberty to those who love it and are always ready to guard and defend it.” Woodrow Wilson, a liberal politician and deeply committed Christian who often joins Abraham Lincoln in top-10 rankings of U.S. presidents, said: "Liberty has never come from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of government. The history of liberty is the history of resistance. The history of liberty is a history of the limitation of governmental power, not the increase of it."

May we enjoy our family picnics and help make the short-lived flies happy – as we thank God, along with living and deceased co-Americans who have helped make such picnics possible.

© 2014 by Carl Mays, National Speakers Association Hall of Fame member and author of over a dozen books. Email or visit