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From Ideal to Ideologues

I've been accused of being an idealist in the past. Probably rightfully so. There are certain things that I'd love to be pure in some way, whether it's art or coding or the perfect paint job. But the reality of the world often intervenes and reminds me that my technique is imperfect, the paint is imperfect, I'm imperfect, the world is imperfect. There's no way to escape those aspects of reality.

So I wonder what happens to others as they go through these struggles, of trying to seek perfection in a world that won't allow it. I especially wonder about those people seeking perfection in religion and its application to the world at large.

My very religious friend recently posted about Hobby Lobby (a private company owned by a Christian family). This company is very much against the Affordable Care Act and specifically against the provision that requires healthcare plans to fund contraception options. In some cases the option may be an abortive agent.

On the surface I understand their concern. As Christians they want to hold to an ideal, that abortion, as well as the general behavior that would lead to abortion is wrong. They don't want to be seen as supporting that behavior and in fact want to be seen by God as having done everything within their power to oppose that behavior. Understood.

However... how far does one go with that logic? As an ideal it's great, but as a practice it's flawed. How far do you follow the logic that you will not fund things or give the appearance of supporting a position if that position is counter to your religion, but your business has to be sustainable in the real world, under real government rules and in interactions with real people. Do you give up your livelihood in pursuit of the ideal.

Let's follow the logic.

Let's say that I'm a Christian and I own a business and I believe that homosexuality is wrong. The state says that I can't discriminate against homosexuals in my hiring practices. Do I stick to my ideals and face closing my business? What about the companies that I get my products from? Do I hold them to my same standards? Do I only buy products from other Christian owned companies? Do I only by products from companies I can be sure subscribe to my interpretation of the word of God? What about the people I employ? Should there be a test, should I ask them if they believe in God or go to church? What if their behavior isn't Christian, should I fire them if I find out that they're atheists or agnostics?

That's really the problem I see with people setting their sights on an ideal and trying to vociferously defend it. There are chinks in the armor. Ways to nullify their stance easily.

In the case of Hobby Lobby and their stance on abortion the simple question is "where do you buy your good from?" The simple answer China. China the country that abhors religion, especially Christianity. The country that has a key policy allowing only one child per couple making abortion critical to the functioning of that policy. A communist country where people don't work for their own gain but that of the country. While China might be coming around on the capitalism front, Hobby Lobby has been doing business with their state run fronts for decades and as such, funding abortions, MILLIONS of them. Likewise they're buying products from all over the world funding companies and organization and governments that believe much differently than this Christian organization does, and in some cases absolutely counter to the Christian teachings.

So how do they reconcile these two aspects of their behavior. Fight abortion on one front, turn a blind eye to it on another front? Is this just human nature? Is this giving into what the owners know they might be able to control versus what they know they absolutely can't control (US vs. China).

The fact is that they are stuck in a conundrum. They have chosen a position that reads very well to the ideologues out there; These right leaning blogs, entertainment outlets, and political parties that like to paint everything that doesn't agree with them under the banner of "the liberal media". But if Hobby Lobby caves to what might be inevitable, what then? Will those same organizations point to Hobby Lobby as a traitor, or as the hero putting up the good fight only to be "forced" to do the wrong thing by the government.

There is of course an option for the owners of Hobby Lobby. 1) go with the law 2) fight the law and maybe win (likely not) 3) close shop 4) sell the business to someone who doesn't care and just wants to make a profit. So no one is "forcing" them. They have choices. They just might not be the choices they'd like to have. Such is the path when you choose ideology in an imperfect world.