Have You Shopped at Hobby Lobby This Month?

ImageServerDB

Source: Baptist Press

I headed to Hobby Lobby as soon as I deposited my paycheck last week. 

I don’t buy big, but I try to buy something every month. It’s the least I can do to support them in their fight for my freedom and yours. 

Hobby Lobby is still embroiled in a bitter court battle with the Obama administration over the HHS Mandate. Owner David Green has said that the company will pay the huge fines the government plans to assess rather than pay for health insurance coverage for abortifacients. Hobby Lobby already pays for birth control coverage for employees who receive health insurance, so that is not the issue.

The real question is whether or not the government can confine First Amendment freedoms to religious institutions, or if those freedoms belong to every American. 

In my opinion, the government position in this is a legalized version of what I was once told about my job as a legislator: You can go to church all you want, but leave it there. The HHS Mandate is an attempt to enforce that outrageous demand by law and to punish those who refuse to adhere to it with crippling fines and penalties.

If this position is allowed to stand, I do not think it will be all that long before similar penalties are imposed on individual people like you and me, and not just Christian businesses.

GlobalRestrictions lede 300x200

The thrust of militant secularism is to push people of faith and religious ideas out of the public sphere and into an intellectual and social ghetto. This ghettoizing of people of faith, particularly Christians, is moving along at a fast pace in our Western society. The idea that the government would do something as egregious as the HHS Mandate was something everyone thought was a ridiculous impossibility just a few years ago.

Now, we have most of the press and large swaths of the population, including “progressive” Christian Churches, supporting what amounts to an outright government attack on religious freedom. What was unthinkable a few years ago has come to pass.

It is being pushed on us with lies, distortions and obfuscations from genuine true-believer militant secularists, and those kool-aid drinking Christians who have deluded themselves into thinking that the time when this same sword will be used on them will never come. These sad folks are joining with those who attack their own house and are trying to draw the rest of us into that delusion along with them.

I thank God for people like the owner of Hobby Lobby who are willing to stand for Christ, no matter what the cost.

The Baptist Press recently published an interview with members of the Green family. It says in part:

OKLAHOMA CITY (BP) — Hobby Lobby has been pushed to the front lines of a monumental battle over religious liberty just when the arts and crafts chain is aiming to open a Bible museum near the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

“God’s up to something,” Steve Green, Hobby Lobby’s president, often says.

“We’re just along for the ride.”

Hobby Lobby’s founder — Green’s father, David — has publicly stated the company will not obey a federal mandate to provide employee health insurance that covers abortion-causing drugs. The 530-store chain could face government fines amounting to $1.3 million a day if the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services forces its will on Hobby Lobby and numerous other privately owned businesses lead by Christians who regard abortion as the taking of innocent life.

Steve Green, meanwhile, is leading Hobby Lobby’s plan to open a museum showcasing many of the 40,000 Bible artifacts in The Green Collection secured by the family’s company over the past three years. The museum and accompanying research center will be housed in 400,000-500,000 square feet renovated from two office buildings two blocks from the Air and Space Museum and a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol. The yet-unnamed museum could open as early as the fall of 2016.

Green spoke about the court battle and the museum to editors who visited Hobby Lobby’s headquarters, its sprawling manufacturing plant and four distribution centers on the outskirts of Oklahoma City during the Association of State Baptist Publications’ Feb. 11-14 annual meeting.

Asked if the HHS mandate, if ultimately enforced by the courts, could cost Hobby Lobby its solvency and its vision for a Bible museum, Green said, “I don’t have the answer to that. All I know is that we’re in good hands. I anticipate that it’s going to be a long battle.

“And what and where God directs this, I don’t know.”

Hobby Lobby, in its suit against the HHS mandate, remains in federal appeals court among dozens of companies objecting to the abortion insurance requirement.

“We haven’t gotten to the merits of the case,” Green said of the Hobby Lobby suit. “This is just asking for the injunction. …

“Even if we get a no” on the merits of the case — if two appeals courts issue “two different rulings — and there have been on the injunction — then it’s more likely that the Supreme Court would make a ruling on it. That’s probably, at earliest, a couple of years down the road,” Green said.

Asked how Hobby Lobby’s supporters can pray for the company, Green requested prayer “for the wisdom to say the right things and not say what we shouldn’t be saying. I think that we’re pretty clear. We know what our answer is.

“Pray for our government leaders,” Green added, “and the judges who are going to make the decisions, that exactly what God wants, happens.” (Read the rest here.) 

  • Darren

    Well, I am sure that with a net worth of $4.5 billion, Hobby Lobby CEO David Green thanks you for your support.

    Perhaps, instead of spending $20 on a Made-in-China knick-knack, you could instead make a donation to one of the many fine anti-malaria charities. That money would protect two children, some 600,000 of which die every year from that disease.

    Just a suggestion…

    Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      I think donating to anti-marlaria efforts is a fine thing Darren. I’m not sure why you think that buying at Hobby Lobby and working to end malaria would be mutually exclusive.

      You might try advocating for your viewpoint a little more courteously.

      Just a suggestion …

    • Theodore Seeber

      The “cure for malaria” suggested by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is the radical depopulation of the third world through the use of contraception and abortion.

      I’d much rather fund the fine Catholic organization Nothing But Nets.
      http://www.nothingbutnets.net/

      • Darren

        Also good. There is a link to them on the B&MGF website.

  • Nobody

    Yes I did. I chose HL over JoAnn for a framing project and it is beautiful. The man running the framing desk helped me enormously with frame selection and impressed me as far more knowledgeable than the staff at the JoAnn in our town. I’ll be going back to HL for the next phase of the project.

  • Bob Seidensticker

    “Militant secularism”? To insist that companies not impose their religious beliefs on their employees sounds fair to me.

    You’d be OK with the company with a Christian Science founder claiming a religious exemption to the law demanding that companies provide employees with health care?

    • Theodore Seeber

      “To insist that companies not impose their religious beliefs on their employees sounds fair to me.”

      Yes, but you’re an admitted militant secularist who seems to have bought into Richard Dawkin’s idea that mankind is better off with the suicide of Nihilism than religion, so pardon me if I consider you a bit biased on that.

      • Bob Seidensticker

        Theodore:

        I have no idea what your definition of “militant secularist” means. I think of myself as a fanatical defender of the Constitution.

        I have no interest in suicide or nihilism.

        And I notice that you had nothing to say about my actual, y’know, argument. I don’t want a society where companies can say, “Well, following rule X is inconvenient to me for religous reason Y, so I’m not gonna.” I can’t imagine you’d want that either.

    • Oregon Catholic

      No one is forcing anyone to work for a Catholic employer, or a Christian Science employer, or any employer at all. We constantly hear about how small business is the backbone of our economy and yet there are all kinds of laws that small businesses don’t have to observe if they have fewer than 50 employees. Are people are forced to work for small employers? Should we should require employers with even one employee to provide health insurance and FMLA leave because they are not being fair otherwise?

      • Bob Seidensticker

        Oregon:

        I’m not following your argument. No one is forcing you to work for a particular employer, so it doesn’t much matter what laws they follow? Someone who has a beauty test for its women employees is kosher because, hey–if you don’t like it then don’t work there. Or are you saying something else?

        • Rebecca Hamilton

          Bob, I want to make certain that my readers understand what is happening in this discussion. You are a colleague of mine here at Patheos. Your blog, so far as I can tell, is dedicated to atheist apologetics, particularly as that involves attacking Christianity. Most of your posts that I have seen (I admit I don’t check your blog very often) involve some sort of attack on Christian faith and belief. Your purpose in jumping into this conversation is most likely to push your atheist viewpoint and evangelize for it.

        • Oregon Catholic

          I suggest you pose your question to Hooters, Bob.

  • Peg

    I’ve been advocating for folks to shop there but some are frustrated with the lack of customer service at our local store of late.

    Darren, a lot of folks here who are going through Lent right now are giving up things they enjoy and saving the money up for Catholic Relief Services’ Operation Rice Bowl. This helps people all over the world start coops, build wells and become self sufficient. They work on the ground with great cultural respect.

    Unfortunately the Gates Foundation is imposing their values and hurting villages. There are African villages that value birth and life and don’t want pills shoved at them that harm and destroy life. It’s a complete culture clash and unnecessary disrespect.

    Bob, it’s the government that is violating the constitution, not HL imposing beliefs. There is no constitutional right to morning after pills. Cmon these things are available in vending machines. Shall we force Mormon companies to provide free cokes for everyone? People need serious and real healthcare not free group one carcinogens.

    I’ll support Hobby Lobby, buy American whenever I can and support Catholic Relief Services.

    • Darren

      Peg says:

      ”Bob, it’s the government that is violating the constitution, not HL imposing beliefs.”

      The government violating the constitutional right to freedom of religion for corporations?

  • Don

    Many of the products are made in China.

  • Don

    I think Hobby Lobby has complied for the most part with the HHS mandate. To fine them the same as an employer who does not provide any health care coverage seems a bit extreme. Women should be using the morning after pill only as the last line of defense against an unwanted pregnancy. I can’t see them using it routinely when better long term methods exist.

    • Darren

      Don says:

      ” To fine them the same as an employer who does not provide any health care coverage seems a bit extreme.”

      Luckily, they are in no particular danger. At $1,300,000 per day, Mr. Green could pay that out of his checking account for 10 years.

      Of course he is under no legal requirement to do so. Hobby Lobby is a separate legal entity from David Green and he is not obligated to cover its’ debts with his personal fortune. I would imagine, though, as a demonstration of his commitment to the cause and his faith that he would gladly write those checks, day after day, for as long as it took. I would think he might welcome the chance of of being made a martyr in such a noble struggle…

      • Rebecca Hamilton

        Darren, I believe that Hobby Lobby is a privately held corporation. How, exactly, do you have such detailed knowledge of their financials, and how, exactly, do you have such detailed knowledge of Mr Green’s private checking account?

        Another question: How, exactly, do you have such detailed knowledge of the inner workings of Mr Green’s mind, motives, intentions and conscience?

        • Darren

          Rebecca Hamilton said:

          ”Darren, I believe that Hobby Lobby is a privately held corporation. How, exactly, do you have such detailed knowledge of their financials, and how, exactly, do you have such detailed knowledge of Mr Green’s private checking account?”

          Indeed, Hobby Lobby is a corporation, and by having fewer than 500 shareholders, is exempt from most financial and governance reporting requirements. So far as the corporate officers:

          Forbes profile: David Green

          ”Another question: How, exactly, do you have such detailed knowledge of the inner workings of Mr. Green’s mind, motives, intentions and conscience?”

          Only through what Mr. Green has _said_ were his intentions and the contents of his conscience (often in letters kindly published by you).

          No word yet on the religious affiliation or conscience of the Hobby Lobby corporation (once the courts rule that corporations have human rights).

          One wonders, would a corporation require baptism to legally claim membership in the Roman Catholic Church?

    • Theodore Seeber

      “better long term methods”= poisoning women to sterilize them either temporarily or permanently. And the bigotry against pregnancy continues.

  • Peg

    Darren,

    I suppose the answer to your earlier question would be yes since our government has defined corporations as people since the late 1880′s

    As ridiculous as that is it is how they are defined and their money is considered speech. Bill Moyers wrote an excellent blog on this last fall. I ‘d rather not buy goods from China so I will check on that.

    Those wanting morning after pills should pay for them theirselves. While folks are out here demanding companies like HL provide free birth control, biggercorporations are daily denying their employs necessary medical drugs and treatment or charging so much that they can’t even afford an office visit anymore. That’s the real tragedy. More power to the
    Greens.

    • Darren

      Peg;

      Yes, corporations are legal entities, similar in some ways to persons. They have some of the rights applying to individuals, such as equal protection under the law and the right to spend corporate funds in political campaigns (but not, for example, the right to spend money to advertise tobacco products, despite the clear infringement with legitimate business interests of certain corporations).

      Those rights have not, prior to now, included such things as religious freedom, freedom from self-incrimination (i.e. not being required to turn over “corporate” documents in criminal investigations,), or the right to vote or hold office.

      In the HHS / Hobby Lobby case, you would appear to be advocating for the extension of religious freedom rights to corporations. You would further appear to be advocating that corporations then be exempted from laws which the corporation / corporate officers / majority shareholders feel conflict with their / the corporations’ religious convictions.

      That brings up some interesting questions.

      Do you feel this should be a blanket extension, covering any corporation and any religious affiliation?

      How should such affiliations be determined, considering that with corporations we have independent legal entities? Should the corporation itself choose? Should it be based upon the personal affiliation of the majority shareholders? Should it be the same as the affiliations of the corporate officers? Must the corporation then declare its religious convictions along with other relevant business metrics (for example, within SEC filings)? Must a corporation choose only one affiliation? What if it wishes to change affiliations at a later date?

      How, exactly, does a corporation proceed with fulfilling it religious obligations once affiliated (confession, mass, baptism, tithing)?

      Should a corporate religious conviction exempt the corporation from any particular law? If not, what limitations would you consider appropriate: OSHA, wage and hour, non-discrimination, taxes, EPA? Should a corporate exemption apply only to Federal laws, or would it extend to state and local laws?

      Thank you for your thoughts.

  • Peg

    Darren,

    I guess I was being somewhat facetious. I don’t think corporations should be considered people nor their money speech.

    So I am not really abdicating anything other than that we stick to the constitution our founders signed and those unalieanable rights endowed by our creator–the HHS mandate is a clear violation of those. Secretary Sebellius and Obama, constitutional relatavist that they are, cannot tale away what they didn’t endow plain and simple.