I have been known to make certain comparisons between the punitive HHS mandate and King Nebuchadnezzar’s infamous power trip — an analogy that casts the Green Family and others like them as the Shadrachs, Meshachs, and Abednegos of modern-day coercion subversion.
As I wrote just over a year ago:
As we continue to see Christian business leaders refusing to bow to King Nebuchadnezzar’s Golden Image—choosing economic martyrdom over secularist conformity—the more this administration’s limited, debased, and deterministic view of man and society will reveal itself. Through it all, even as the furnace grows hotter and hotter, Christians should remember that a Fourth Man stands close by, offering peace and protection according to a different system altogether.
Having already connected such dots, it’s worth noting that, in a recent profile, Hobby Lobby’s CEO seems to be sniffing the same stuff:
Lately, it’s the Book of Daniel that comes often to [Steve Green's] mind. In Chapter 3, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego would rather face a fiery furnace than bow to an idol at the command of King Nebuchadnezzar.
Green said, “They told the king ‘Our God is able to deliver us.’”
As he faces the white-hot spotlight of the Supreme Court case, Steve Green said, “God has allowed us to take this stand. I don’t want to be presumptuous to say this is God’s will.”
If the ruling goes against Hobby Lobby, “I don’t know what we will do but I am sure what we will not do,” he said. He will say as the three men told the king, “even if God does not deliver us, we still cannot do this.” (Daniel 3:16-18)
Ross Douthat recently warned Christians about invoking the language of “persecution” too hastily. And though we ought to heed such advice with care and concern, I find it increasingly easy to connect this with that. Even if we are but drifting in “the large space in between true pluralism and outright persecution,” as Douthat puts it, we’d do well to install the proper signage from here to there.
The State is pressuring generous, profitable businesses to lay millions of dollars at its altar, all because they refuse to compromise on particularly tolerable features of their faith. We can try to content ourselves by calling this “disproportionate legal pressure,” “lackluster pluralism,” or “the inevitable backlash of political loss,” but if the drooling Leviathan has her way, we will see doors shuttered, jobs lost, and valuable spiritual and cultural capital squandered. All because of some silly statue.
Many will say, “cool down.” “This isn’t the first time.” “This isn’t the worst time.” But all of this “mere ideology” is quickly becoming an idol too tall, and the impending consequences — “merely legal,” “merely monetary,” or otherwise — feel plenty toasty to me.
The Law was originally published in French in 1850 by Frederic Bastiat and is the work for which Bastiat is most famous. This translation to American English is from 1874.