Pod people: Hobby Lobby and the Mennonite angle

On this week’s episode of the GetReligion podcast “Crossroads,” host Todd Wilken and I discuss media coverage of the Hobby Lobby case.

Or — as our editor Terry Mattingly asked recently — is it really the Hobby Lobby case?

From tmatt’s post:

Now, I realize Hobby Lobby is a nationally known brand and that this punchy name fits better in a headline than that of Conestoga Wood, the cabinetmaking company owned by a Mennonite family in Pennsylvania that is also part of the case. Is it possible that “Mennonites fight for free exercise of religion” isn’t as culture-wars friendly a story line as “giant, rich conservative evangelical company fights, etc., etc.”?

Todd wondered if anyone had explored the Mennonite angle. My basic response: I don’t know. (Yes, such enlightening insight makes for great listening. But I digress.)

However, a quick Google search turned up an in-depth report from Lancaster Newspapers in Pennsylvania that explores the Mennonite faith of Conestoga Wood’s owners. If I missed other coverage on that angle, please share links in the comments section.

From the Lancaster story:

When the Hahns took their first step to assert their rights by filing suit in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia on Dec. 4, 2012, the move came only after prayerful consideration.

“As Mennonites, they’re not thrilled about going to court,” said Wenger, chief counsel for the Independence Law Center in Harrisburg, which is affiliated with Pennsylvania Family Institute. “They’re probably the most reluctant clients I’ve ever encountered.”

Irvin Weaver Jr., an owner of Weaver’s Store in Brecknock Township who attends Lichty Mennonite Church with Anthony Hahn, Conestoga Wood’s CEO, said, “A core Anabaptist belief is to not become involved in the government, but to submit to authority and live a quiet, peaceful life.”

Weaver said the Hahns decided they had to challenge the government and defend religious liberty, but the choice was not easy. They certainly never thought they’d end up before the Supreme Court.

By all means, read the whole story.

And enjoy the podcast.

As always, the smooth, relaxing Oklahoma accent is free.

About Bobby Ross Jr.

Bobby Ross Jr. is an award-winning reporter and editor with a quarter-century of professional experience. A former religion editor for The Oklahoman and religion writer for The Associated Press, Ross serves as chief correspondent for the The Christian Chronicle. He has reported from 47 states and 11 countries and was honored as the Religion Newswriters Association's 2013 Magazine Reporter of the Year.


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