Boycotts, Hobby Lobby, and Misplaced Evangelical Outrage

Boycotts, Hobby Lobby, and Misplaced Evangelical Outrage April 1, 2014

Growing up, my family didn’t shop at K-Mart. Along with numerous others, we were involved in a 1990s evangelical boycott of the store. Why? Because K-Mart owned a bookstore chain called Waldenbooks, which sold pornography. The outrage rallied in this boycott had a similar feel to the outrage of evangelicals over Obamacare’s contraception mandate. David Green, the owner of Hobby Lobby, is currently involved in a Supreme Court case challenging this mandate on the grounds that buying health insurance that covers contraception for his employees would violate his religious beliefs.

Being Christians, we don’t pay for drugs that might cause abortions, which means that we don’t cover emergency contraception, the morning-after pill or the week-after pill. We believe doing so might end a life after the moment of conception, something that is contrary to our most important beliefs. It goes against the Biblical principles on which we have run this company since day one.

Green insists that as a Christian, he does not fund drugs that might cause abortion (by which he means contraception). But it is becoming increasingly clear that this claim is rather hollow. For one thing, Hobby Lobby was already covering contraception for its employees before it was required under Obamacare. But there’s more than that.

With all the outrage over K-Mart, it only recently occurred to me to ask why evangelicals have never boycotted products from China. China has a national one-child policy with state-funded contraception and abortion and even forced and coerced abortions (and it’s not like evangelicals don’t know this). Why the blazes are evangelicals not boycotting the country? This seems like a no brainer! As you may know, just about all of Hobby Lobby’s merchandise comes from China. So I have to wonder, does Green not know about China’s one-child policy? Does he not know about government funded contraception and abortion there? Where is his outrage? Why is he using his company to fund contraception and abortion in China?

But it’s even worse than that for Green. It turns out that Hobby Lobby also funds both contraception and abortion through the holdings of various mutual funds in its retirement plan. This from Mother Jones:

Several of the mutual funds in Hobby Lobby’s retirement plan have holdings in companies that manufacture the specific drugs and devices that the Green family, which owns Hobby Lobby, is fighting to keep out of Hobby Lobby’s health care policies: the emergency contraceptive pills Plan B and Ella, and copper and hormonal intrauterine devices.

These companies include Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, which makes Plan B and ParaGard, a copper IUD, and Actavis, which makes a generic version of Plan B and distributes Ella. Other holdings in the mutual funds selected by Hobby Lobby include Pfizer, the maker of Cytotec and Prostin E2, which are used to induce abortions; Bayer, which manufactures the hormonal IUDs Skyla and Mirena; AstraZeneca, which has an Indian subsidiary that manufactures Prostodin, Cerviprime, and Partocin, three drugs commonly used in abortions; and Forest Laboratories, which makes Cervidil, a drug used to induce abortions. Several funds in the Hobby Lobby retirement plan also invested in Aetna and Humana, two health insurance companies that cover surgical abortions, abortion drugs, and emergency contraception in many of the health care policies they sell.

Green would probably argue that his money invested in China and the holdings of his mutual funds represent only indirect funding for contraception and abortion. But then, this is no different from purchasing health insurance that covers contraception. It’s not as though anyone is asking either him to go out and purchase contraception. Rather, he is simply required, as a large employer, to purchase comprehensive health insurance plans for his employees.

I wonder if evangelicals like Green would have gotten upset over the contraception mandate if it had been passed by Bush, rather than Obama.

(Many thanks to a reader for sending the link along!)

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