12.27.2012

'The Face of Creation' - Higgs Remix

Celebrate 2012's greatest scientific discovery with a remix by melodysheep:




12.19.2012

Thoughts On The Sandy Hook Shootings

This was vomited out in a ranty, knee-jerky fashion without edits or revisions. Please forgive my sloppiness and lack of references.

I'm getting pretty tired of hearing the following comments regarding the Sandy Hook shootings:

1. Things like this didn't used to happen.
Yes. Things like this have always happened. People have killed other human beings for little or no reason for as long as humans have existed.

2. People might have killed other people in the past, but they wouldn't take out groups of innocent children and then kill themselves.
Yes. They have. Do some research.

3. This was an act of hatred.
No. This was not an act of hatred. It was the act of a mentally ill man with access to large quantities of ammunition and assault weapons.

4. This was due to the decline of morality in our society.
No. Mental illness doesn't care about morals. An individual with a normal and healthy brain with the capacity for empathy will not commit an act like the one in Sandy Hook.

5. If we had more religion in our societies and in our schools, we wouldn't see things like this happen. Mental illness does not discriminate. No amount of religion (or lack thereof) will keep a mentally ill individual from acting on violent ideation.

6. In the past, if someone was crazy, they'd maybe kill a few people at most -- they'd never enter a school and kill 27 people.
In the past, schools were smaller, our cities and towns were not as densely populated, and assault rifles (and associated rounds of ammunition) were not available on the internet. The internet is only a recent phenomenon. One room school-houses existed just a generation ago. Do the math. If a psychopath had walked into a schoolhouse with an ax or a musket in centuries past, they might get away with killing or maiming a handful of children. And you better believe that psychopaths did kill women and children in the past. We are often blinded by our own lack of appreciation of time and history.

7. This person was pure evil.
We love to exculpate ourselves from culpability. Evil is a human construct. There is nothing at all supernatural about a school shooting.

Let's be honest and admit that what makes these horrible recent events seem so unimaginable is the fact that in all of history, the recipe for such events has not been possible. Mental illness + easy access to assault weapons + densely populated cities, towns, schools, malls = unprecedented fatalities caused by lone actors.

This wasn't an act of evil. It is not a sign of a decaying morality. It cannot be attributed to a lack of religion. These kinds of incidents have always happened -- Americans simply live in a time characterized by a) easy access to assault weapons online 24/7 and in neighborhood stores in every town in America, b) a widespread lack of understanding about mental illness, the stigma associated with it, and the failure of parents, families, co-workers, and neighbors to identify the signs of serious mental illness, c) densely populated cities, towns, and buildings.

It's time we stopped making excuses, accept the realities of our time and place in history, and work to improve the contributing factors that we actually can control.

11.05.2012

Our Story In One Minute

A tapestry of footage tracing the cosmic and biological origins of our species, set to original music. Another great mash-up from Melodysheep.

Watch:


10.24.2012

The Bible As A Voting Guide

Over at Christian Post, there's an interesting opinion piece entitled Why the Bible Is the Best Voters Guide.

Here are a few of the key takeaways from the piece, along with quotes from the op-ed:

Don't Vote For The Kenyan
Civil leaders should be selected from among their own people. People must know the candidate. This is why the Constitution of the United States requires the president must be naturally born in the U.S.

Don't Vote For The Black Guy Who Supports Equal Pay, Women's Rights, And Equality
He must execute justice without respect to race, gender, and national origin, or any other categorical distinction made in society.

Don't Vote For Women
The Scriptures require that we "choose wise, understanding, and knowledgeable men." The word men used here is not the generic term for "mankind" but rather the word for "male." Everywhere the qualifications for civil leaders are mentioned in the Bible, males – not females – are identified.

Don't Vote For the Guy Who Endorsed Gay Marriage -- But The Mormon Still Makes Us Nervous
The Bible is clear that marriage is between one man and one woman, since "the two shall become one flesh"...This definition excludes multiple wives.

Never mind The Establishment Clause
So before you consult all the other voting guides, make sure you have rightly prioritized the words of Scripture above all the other voices for how you analyze the candidates.


10.23.2012

AFA's Bryan Fischer: I Am A "Prophetic Voice" Warning Against The Gay Agenda

On yesterday's program, Bryan Fischer claimed to be a "prophetic voice," stating that America is "going to have to choose between the homosexual agenda and liberty, because we cannot have both."

Watch:



10.19.2012

Racism Is Alive And Well: 35 Incredibly Racist Anti-Obama Images

This post is part of PBS's Race 2012 Blogging Project. Race 2012: A Conversation About Race and Politics in America, a PBS election special, uses the current presidential election as a lens through which to explore America’s rapidly changing racial landscape. The film re-airs on PBS Friday October, 19th. (Check local listings) The film can also be viewed at the PBS Race 2012 website.

WARNING: This post contains inflammatory racist imagery and language collected from various online news sites, blogs, forums, and social networks. 


If Obama's 2008 inauguration was supposed to signal some kind of 'post-racial' America, someone forgot to send a memo.

We've all seen or heard our share of racist anti-Obama sentiment. Some of us may be insulated enough that we rarely come in contact with those who would find this stuff amusing. Others, however, are less fortunate, and are reminded regularly that although we have made great strides over the past few hundred years, a deep undercurrent of racism continues in our culture.

Although racism rears its ugly head in many areas of American life from time to time -- in the workplace, in the classroom, in the media, etc. -- nothing brings out racism quite like politics.

Racism has always been a staple in American politics (the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Republicans' "Southern Strategy," Reagan's "welfare queen," Jesse Helms' "Hands" ad, to cite a few examples). We cringe when we recall these (and other) events. We are relieved to have these times behind us.

While the days of lynchings and fire-hoses are behind us, racism is alive and well in 2012. The election of our first African-American president unleashed an incessant stream of racism that continues, and there is no sign of it letting up.

Many on the right think liberals are quick to cry "racism," that we are too sensitive, or that we are misinterpreting the message. "It's okay to hang an effigy of Bush," they say, "but we're not allowed to hang an effigy of Obama?" Or, "It's okay to make George Bush look like a monkey, but when we make Obama look like a monkey, it's racism?"

Yes. It is.

What many fail to understand is that there is not a history of whites being lynched in America. There is not a history of whites being depicted as monkeys. Our words, our statements, and our imagery, carry the baggage of history. To fail to recognize the difference between hanging a white man's effigy and hanging a black man's effigy is to fail to recognize this.

There's a world of difference between a depiction of Hansel and Gretel being put in an oven and a depiction of Elie Wiesel being put in an oven. If you don't appreciate that difference, you are either willfully ignorant or woefully uneducated.

Yes, there are instances where the term 'racism' is thrown around a bit loosely. Yes, some are guilty of being a little too sensitive and crying racism when it is not merited. But the sensitivity would not exist if there were not already a torrent of legitimately racist remarks, depictions, and displays to reference.

I wrestled with the idea of compiling these highly offensive images. Arguably, the perpetuation of these images, even in the context of condemnation, does more damage than good. But the sad truth is that a simple Google search will return each and every one of these images (and then some) -- duplicated countless times in various locations across the web.

This compilation of disturbing and inflammatory images is a stark reminder of the level of hatred that continues nearly a half-century after the civil rights movement. It is to remind us that although we have come a long way, we are still very far from a widespread acceptance of racial equality.

Here are 21 news-making examples (and 14 additional images) of overt racism directed at the President:

1. A San Bernadino Republican group distributed Obama Bucks:



2. A bar owner sells Curious George Obama T-shirts:


3. Manhattan boutique sells "Obama Is My Slave" T-shirts:



4. A man was photographed by Getty Images at a Romney-Ryan rally in Lancaster, Ohio, wearing a "Put The White Back In the White House" T-shirt:



5. A California Tea Party activist e-mailed an image of Barack Obama depicted as a chimpanzee:



6. Online business sells "Don't Re-Nig in 2012" bumper stickers:



7. A N.J. clothing store's window display shows President Barack Obama as a witch doctor:


8. A billboard in Missouri depicts Barack Obama in a turban:


9. Anti-Obama yard signs in Massachusetts:



10. Anti-Obama signs in Pennsylvania:


11. Georgia Bar owner calls Obama "Nigger" on business sign and claims he isn't racist:



12. Racist anti-Obama slogan appears on a $5 bill:



13. Racist sign erected in Wisconsin by guy who claims he's a "big fan" of the President:


14. Billboard appears in Colorado depicting Obama as a suicide bomber, a gangster, a Mexican revolutionary and a homosexual:


15. Sign from a Tea Party rally:


16. The below image featuring Obama in drag eating fried chicken was featured on a John Locke Foundation website:




17. Texas resident lynched an empty chair following Clint Eastwood's empty chair bit at the RNC:


18. Altered Obama yard signs in Texas:


19.  Florida pastor Terry Jones hangs Obama effigy outside church (flanked by gay pride flag and Muhammad cartoon):



20. A pair of racist images posted on the Mecklenburg County VA Republican Party Facebook page:




What's truly sad is that this is only the tip of the iceberg.  One need only to do a Google search to unearth all kinds of ugliness.

And while the above examples received press from multiple sources, we can't catalog the incessant posting, emailing, and sharing of racist political imagery.

The below are all legitimate images circulating on the Internet, via social networks, online forums, emails, and blogs:

















10.16.2012

Bill Hicks & George Carlin, Auto-Tuned, Share Their Views On Life

"The big electron -- it doesn't punish, it doesn't reward, it doesn't judge at all, it just is."

Watch:


LifeWay Drops Rachel Held Evans' 'A Year of Biblical Womanhood' Over Content, Continues Selling Bible

LifeWay Christian Resources has dropped A Year Of Biblical Womanhood, by award-winning Evangelical author Rachel Held Evans, over her use of the word 'vagina.'

Meanwhile, LifeWay will continue selling a book that condones murder, acts of genocide, slavery, and contains acts of drunken incest, oral sex, and the collection of 200 dead men's foreskins.

That book would be the Bible, LifeWay's number one seller.

Evans' book is an entry into the 'do something for a year and write about it' genre. In 'A Year of Biblical Womanhood,' Evans writes of her experience living as a woman under the Bible's strict guidelines, including "growing out her hair, making her own clothes, covering her head, obeying her husband, rising before dawn, abstaining from gossip, remaining silent in church, and even camping out in the front yard during her period."

What's LifeWay's beef, then, if Evans is simply describing her womanly allegiance to the Bible?

Here's the passage (emphasis mine) that severed her ties with LifeWay (Evans refused to change the manuscript after requests to do so):
I signed my first abstinence pledge when I was just fifteen. I’d been invited by some friends to a fall youth rally at the First Baptist Church, and in the fellowship hall one night, the youth leader passed around neon blue and pink postcards that included a form letter to God promising to remain sexually abstinent until marriage. We had only a few minutes to add our signatures, and all my friends were signing theirs, so I used the back of my metal chair to scribble my name across the dotted line before marching to the front of the room to pin my promise to God and to my vagina onto a giant corkboard for all to see. The youth leader said he planned to hang the corkboard in the hallway outside the sanctuary so that parents could marvel at the seventy-five abstinence pledges he’d collected that night. It was a pretty cheap way to treat both our bodies and God, come to think of it.
Evans wrote about the Christian bookstore "chokehold" on her blog:
Christian bookstores have developed a reputation for producing a highly sanitized customer experience, purging from their shelves any language, content, or theology that doesn’t meet their uber-conservative standards. Walk into your local LifeWay and you will find plenty of Precious Moments statues, specialty Bibles, Veggie Tale movies, and Thomas Kinkade prints...but little trace of art or literature that intrigues, agitates, and inspires—as true art should! The Christian bookstore experience is, in a word, safe. Butsafe is not how Christians are called to live, and safe is not what artists who are Christians are called to create. In fact, based on LifeWay’s own standards, the Bible itself—which includes profanity, violence, and sex—should be banned from the shelves.

What most people don’t realize, however, is that the problem of sanitized Christian bookstores extends far beyond the inventory on the shelves to create an entire Christian subculture that is so sanitized and safe it often fails to produce art that is relevant to our culture or our lives.
Later in the post, Evans writes candidly about her own experience with LifeWay, saying that she was asked to take out words like “hell,” “damn,” and “kick-ass.”

I'm reminded of Daniel Radosh's funny and insightful expose on Christian pop culture, Rapture Ready!, which contains a wonderful passage in which Radosh discusses Christin publishing taboos with bestselling Christian authors Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti.
I showed them the list of taboos for Christian romance novels.

Peretti shook his head at the prohibitions against dancing, nudity, and words like 'whore.' "They'd never publish The Bible!" He recalled a complaint he'd heard from another Christian writer: "You can kill and stab and shoot, as long as you have all your clothes on when you do it, and don't swear."



10.15.2012

Race 2012: Our First 'Post-Racial' Election?


This post is part of PBS's Race 2012 Blogging Project. Race 2012: A Conversation About Race and Politics in America, a PBS election special, uses the current presidential election as a lens through which to explore America’s rapidly changing racial landscape. The film premieres on PBS Thursday October, 16th at 8p.m. (Check local listings)



Post-Racial America?
When Barack Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States on November 4, 2007, many started throwing around the phrase "post-racial America." While we certainly had reached a historic milestone -- much quicker than many of us would have predicted -- we are nowhere near such a theoretical society devoid of discrimination and prejudice.

The political rhetoric of this election cycle has mostly revolved around jobs, the economy, and federal spending, but there is an undeniable anxiety about race. To be clear, most issues surrounding the 2012 election aren't really about race -- at least not on the surface -- but we can't ignore race's strong undercurrent in this so-called "post-racial" election.


Romney's 47%
By now, everyone has heard (or heard about) the audio tape of Romney discussing the "47 percent who are with [Obama], who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing."

As we have come to learn, the 47% who don't pay taxes are actually comprised of the super-wealthy, college students, senior citizens, and service members deployed in combat zones, among those who are down on their luck.

Let's not fool ourselves, however. Romney's comments were the epitome of dog whistle politics.

Imira Jones, writing for Colorlines:
Mitt Romney’s comments on “those people” uttered in a video released yesterday are the missing link in the candidates views on race and economic justice.

[His] heartfelt riff was stunningly wrong and counterfactual in almost every way. Frighteningly it was grounded in over 500 years of racial stereotypes about people of color, particularly those of African descent. The former governor didn’t use the word “black.” He didn’t have to. The nature of his economic smear did it for him.
Of course, by claiming that Romney's comments were racial is to risk being accused of playing the "race card" by the right. And so it goes.


Same-Sex Marriage
What does same-sex marriage have to do with race? Quite a bit, actually.

When Obama's stance on same-sex marriage finally evolved (or was forced to evolve by a trigger-happy Biden), many declared that this pro-equality stance would cost him the election. The loudest voices decrying Obama's pro-equality stance came from African-American clergy.

Rev. William Owens, head of the Coalition of African-American Pastors:
“He has not done a smart thing and it might cost him the election,” Owens said during a press conference Tuesday at the National Press Club in Washington. “There are more people that want marriage to be right than there are homosexuals.”...“[Obama] has ignored the black community because he thinks we are in his pocket because he’s black. We refuse to give him a pass.”
While the majority of African Americans have historically been opposed to same-sex marriage, polls taken after Obama's announcement seemed to indicate that opposition is waning.


Elizabeth Warren, Cherokee?
For those not following the story, Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown has leveled accusations that his challenger Elizabeth Warren claimed Cherokee heritage in order to benefit her Harvard law career. The accusations have prompted a series of inflammatory remarks from Republicans, pundits, and Native American organizations.

John McCain reacted to the allegations by stating, "I’m entertained. I just think it’s bizarre...I know lots and lots of Native Americans, they have a very huge presence in my state and I’ve yet to meet one of them who claims to be related to Elizabeth Warren.”

While Brown's accusations have boosted his chances against his Democrat opponent, his own camp didn't score any points when staffers were caught on video making tomahawk gestures towards a group of Warren supporters.

Voters are left deciding which is the worst offense: allegedly ginning up minority status for career advancement, or making racially charged gestures in public.


'You're Racist If you Vote For Obama Just Because He's Black'
This is not just something you might hear from your Tea Partying uncle at Thanksgiving. It's something you also hear from African Americans. Not many, but some, including Ben Kinchlow, minister/broadcaster/author and founder of the organizations Americans for Israel and the African American Political Awareness Coalition.

Kinchlow, writing in World Net Daily:
Let me state unequivocally: If you are a black person, and you are voting for Obama solely “because he is black,” then you are by default placing your imprimatur on racism. You are, albeit unknowingly, saying the Klan is right to demand a vote for a candidate solely “because he is white."...Has “the land of the free and the home of the brave” turned into a Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) or South Africa where only race matters?
It's important to note that Kinchlow seems to have a beef with Obama regarding his stance on same-sex marriage.

Magic Johnson, on the other hand, recently stated on CNN:
One thing African-Americans are going to do: They’re either go to vote for President Obama or they’re going to stay home and vote for nobody.”
This race stuff isn't so black and white, is it?


At Least You Know Where They Stand
I grew up in North Carolina, in the shadow of Jesse Helms, a man who didn't mince words when it came to race. Jesse Helms was so blatantly racist (and homophobic) that his own staff coined a slogan that would more or less define his career: "You may not agree with Jesse, but at least you know where he stands."

The past four years have provided us with countless examples of blatant political sentiment. It doesn't take much to know exactly where these folks stand.

In California, there was the empty chair hanging from a noose, with a watermelon and a sign stating, "Go back to Kenya."

In New Jersey, a shop-owner displayed a picture of Obama in witch-doctor garb.

In Ohio, a caller left a highly offensive post-debate message on the voice mailbox of a local labor organization.

In California, a professional rodeo clown told spectators a racist joke about Michelle Obama.

Also in California, a GOP official send an email depicting Obama's parents as monkeys.

In Arizona, radio host Barbara Espinosa said of Barack Obama, "I don't believe in calling him the first black president," she said, "I voted for the white guy myself. I call him a monkey." When told this was a racist comment, Espinosa replied, "with a last name of Espinosa I'm anything but racist."

There seems to be an awful lot of that going around these days -- people unaware of their own racism who are very quick to blame the president himself of playing the race card. Many whites will will cry "reverse racism," a claim utterly disingenuous, if not laughable. Whites can hardly understand what true racism entails given their status in America over the past few hundred years.


Guilty of Being Black
One of the strangest racial phenomena of the past four years is the determination of some on the right to paint Obama as blacker than he actually portrays himself when in the limelight.

Take the 'leaked' video of then-senator Obama speaking at Hampton University in Virginia. In the video, it is purported that Obama speaks in a "racially-charged tone" -- in other words, he sounds more black.

Obama also speaks of the inequality exhibited in the government's response to Katrina. In other words, Obama is "favoring" African-Americans over the rest of America. It has been remarked that the release of this video was timed to counter Romney's "47% video."

It was baffling to hear talk show hosts remark about Obama sounding "more black" in this video, as if we were getting a glimpse of the "real Obama," an obvious tactic to associate Obama with the bogeymen of the 2008 election: Jeremiah Wright, ACORN, the Black Panthers, and Islam.

This charge is about boring as the fact that I often slip back into my Appalachian drawl when I am around my NC relatives at Thanksgiving.

And when people accuse the president of exhibiting signs of his allegiance to the interests of black people, I can't help but think about the past 40+ presidents and their laser-focus on the interests of white folks.

Birtherism, Immigration, and The Fear of Otherness
What does the Birther movement, voter ID legislation, and the draconian immigration laws of Arizona, Utah, Alabama, and South Carolina have in common? The GOP will tell you it's all about preserving the integrity of the constitution and the vision our forefathers had for America. While we can't deny that there might be a bit of truth to that, it comes down to xenophobia and otherness anxiety.

And while xenophobia can be found in all cultures, can be observed in primates, and most likely was crucial to the survival of our ancestors, as modern humans, we are (or, should be, anyway) civilized enough to suppress any unfounded anxieties associated with otherness.

This is difficult to accomplish when you have the propaganda machine working 24 hours a day to validate any anxieties one may have. Too many Americans will readily parrot AM radio talking points that paint African Americans, Latinos, and Arab Americans as threatening to the American way of life.

This xenophobia-stoking propaganda comes in the form of anecdotes, crude internet memes, forwarded emails, conservative pundits, bloggers, and talk radio hosts. They tell us that non-whites are living the dream on welfare (whites actually form the largest racial group on welfare). They tell us that blacks and hispanics are prone to violence and crime (whites commit the vast majority of crimes in America). They tell us to fear Arab Americans, who want to kill us (the fact is that America sees more Jewish acts of terrorism than Islamic terrorism).

However, we humans are not only prone to fear otherness, we are also prone to believe things that 'feel' true to us. It is often through personal experience and education that we overcome. Yet, so many never gain the experience or education necessary to do so. Propaganda, as we have seen throughout history, is designed to appeal emotion, not intellect. And so it goes.


Are We There Yet?
The fact that we have an African-American man sitting in the White House is a clear indicator that America has come a long way since the days of slavery and segregation. Something definitely happened on November 4 of 2008. We witnessed something truly wonderful that day -- a sign that we had fulfilled -- in part at least -- the elusive dream of Martin Luther King, Jr.

But like most important social causes, progress is often followed by temporary setbacks. As we have seen recently in the marriage equality fight, a step forward is often followed by a few steps back.

Those of us living today will likely never see a true 'Post-Racial' America. It is worth asking if such a thing will ever exist. 'Post-Racial' is as utopian as 'Post-Sexist,' or 'Post-Homophobic.'  The arc is bending in the right direction, but it is much longer than any of us had ever anticipated.

10.03.2012

GOP Volunteer Tells Voter Obama Is Muslim, Socialist

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

In audio picked up by an answering machine, a volunteer for the Republican Party of Clay County can be heard calling President Barack Obama "a Muslim" and saying he wants to "get rid of your Medicare" while reaching out to voters in support of Mitt Romney's campaign.

The call was made as part of a statewide phone bank for Romney's campaign being conducted by the Clay County GOP. The volunteer, who was not identified, did not hang up before moving onto her next call.

Her pitch to the next person was picked up on the first person's answering machine.




9.27.2012

The Higgs Boson, A Cappella Style

Enjoy:


American Family Association's New Anti-Choice Video 'Aaron'

What? I don't even.

Watch:

The American Family Association presents - Aaron from American Family Association on Vimeo.




9.19.2012

Chick-fil-A Sandwiches No Longer Deep Fried In Hate

When zillions of 'family values' eaters lined up to support Chick-fil-A on August 1, many conservatives felt the turnout signaled a victory for free speech and Biblical values.

While those folks may have won the battle on that day, they didn't (and won't) win the culture war.

Via The Atlantic:
Fried chicken just went back to being delicious as the chain promised to stop "supporting organizations with political agendas," which includes anti-gay groups--a move that's gotten them back into a Chicago's good graces. We learned the news by way of Chicago's The Civil Right Agenda (TCRA) an LGBT-rights advocacy group, who report that Chick-fil-A has penned a letter saying, "The WinShape Foundations is now taking a much closer look at the organizations it considers helping, and in that process will remain true to its stated philosophy of not supporting organizations with political agendas." That letter was addressed to Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno, who along with Boston mayor Thomas Menino, said they would block the chain for its anti-gay views. WinShape is the chain's not-for-profit charitable arm that had previously donated to groups opposing gay marriage. TCRA adds, "In meetings the company executives clarified that they will no longer give to anti-gay organizations, such as Focus on the Family and the National Organization for Marriage."
While it's likely that CEO Dan Cathy still hasn't changed his anti-LGBT views, and while Chick-fil-A is in no means pro-equality, it is indeed a victory for humanity in that one of our more delicious fast food chains is no longer funneling its profits into organizations that actively discriminate against the LGBT population.

Will the religious right now boycott Chick-fil-A for caving to the gay agenda?




9.14.2012

Dr. Pepper 'Evolution Of Flavor' Ad Rankles Fundamentalist Christians On Facebook

Via HuffPo:
Controversy has erupted over the latest Dr. Pepper ad dubbed "The Evolution of Flavor," with a small, but vocal minority of commenters on Facebook posting complaints about the ad's evolution motif. 
The comments began after the ad appeared on the soft drink's official Facebook page Thursday afternoon. 
"I love Dr. Pepper but hate this photo," wrote Kara Duran, "Forget evolution... Jesus all the way!" 
"Well, there goes my support for this company," Jolynn Danae Pilapil wrote.
One of the most recent comments on the Facebook page this morning:

"Another lot going crazy over cartoons rather than when people are killed in the name of their religion.."



9.13.2012

Hobby Lobby: Evangelical-Led Business Files Suit Against HHS Mandate

Via Christian Post:
Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., a privately held retail chain with 22,500 employees led by a Christian family, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, opposing the Health and Human Services "preventive services" mandate, the company announced Wednesday. The company becomes the largest and only non-Catholic-owned business to file a lawsuit against the government's contraception mandate.

The company's CEO and founder, David Green, said Wednesday that the mandate would force the Christian-owned-and-operated business to provide, without co-pay, the "morning after pill" and "week after pill" in their health insurance plan, or face crippling fines up to 1.3 million dollars per day.
"We simply cannot abandon our religious beliefs and comply with this mandate," Green said during a teleconference press meeting. "We know that we have been blessed by God's grace and believe it is because we have chosen to live our lives and to operate our business according to His Word and we are very grateful for that. But our faith is being challenged by the federal government."
Hobby Lobby's evangelical roots were first noticed by many during the Chick-fil-A fracas earlier this year. Many news organizations began highlighting other businesses which, like Chick-fil-A, operated on Biblical principles.

CEO David Green, at left
Forbes:
[CEO David] Green is a big contributor to evangelical education, having given to Jerry Falwell's Liberty University and Oral Roberts University. He has also acquired Christian artifacts (medieval manuscripts, Hebrew scrolls and Codex Climaci Rescriptus: a rare sixth century Bible written partly in Palestinian Aramaic) for the National Bible Museum. In August 2011, Green announced that he is donating a 170-acre ranch in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., to Saddleback Church. A preacher's son from a poor background, Green started Greco Products in 1970 with $600, which he spun into his first Hobby Lobby arts and crafts stores in Oklahoma City in 1972. The family-friendly chain now has 490 locations in 40 states. Green strives to grow the company according to biblical principles; stores are closed on Sundays. The company has also delivered 508 million copies of a gospel booklet to children in more than 100 countries.
Fox News:
Hobby Lobby, the Oklahoma City-based arts and crafts store chain, cites its commitment to “honoring the Lord” on its website and closes its 500-plus nationwide locations on Sundays, as does Chick-fil-A.
“We believe that it is by God's grace and provision that Hobby Lobby has endured,” its website reads. “He has been faithful in the past, we trust Him for our future.”
While there have been many lawsuits challenging the US government's mandate, Hobby Lobby appears to be the first Evangelical-led business to file.
There are now 27 separate lawsuits challenging the HHS mandate, which is a regulation under the Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare"). These HHS challenges were not affected by the Supreme Court's June 28th ruling on the constitutionality of the "individual mandate."

"These abortion causing drugs go against our faith and our family is now being forced to choose between following the laws of the land that we love or maintaining the religious beliefs that have made our business successful and have supported our family and thousands of employees and their families," said Green, whose company is being represented by the Becket Fund, a religious freedom law group.

"The nationwide litigation against this HHS mandate is a fight for religious freedom for all Americans," said Kyle Duncan, general counsel for the Becket Fund, during the teleconference. "Today, [Hobby Lobby and its owners] are asking the federal court to protect their right to run their business as they always have in harmony with their Christian faith."