Mom-and-Pop Chain Fights Obamacare
• Hobby Lobby says it has moral objections to being forced by new laws to fund abortion procedures
By Pat Shannan
The new government healthcare program mandating that businesses must provide abortion-causing drugs as part of health insurance has placed the family business of the well-known arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby on the horns of a dilemma.
“Being Christians,” says CEO and founder David Green, “we don’t pay for drugs that cover emergency contraception, the morning-after pill or the week-after pill. This is contrary to our most important beliefs and goes against the biblical principles on which we have run this company since day one.”
The federal government has said that non-compliance could cost Hobby Lobby $1.3 million a day in penalties, which would drive the $3 billion company out of business.
Forty years ago, David Green and his family in Oklahoma City had a small business idea. They borrowed $600 and began working out of a garage assembling miniature picture frames. Their first retail store wasn’t much bigger than most people’s living rooms, but they had faith in their future success because they had a good product at a fair price and instinctively treated people fairly. They also had a catchy name most Americans recognize today. The confidence in their future success was well placed, and today Hobby Lobby has become one of the nation’s largest arts and crafts retailers, with more than 500 locations, employing 18,000 people in 41 states.
“We have lived the American dream,” said Green, who is now 71.
An American success story, the Green family has a problem in the upside-down world of today: They run their business on Christian principles, and this is in head-on conflict with the federal government.
“I’ve always said that the first two goals of our business are (1) to run our business in harmony with God’s laws, and (2) to focus on people more than money,” said Green. “And that’s what we’ve tried to do. We close early so our employees can see their families at night. We keep our stores closed on Sundays, one of the week’s biggest shopping days, so that our workers and their families can enjoy a day of rest. We believe that it is by God’s grace that Hobby Lobby has endured, and he has blessed us and our employees. We’ve not only added jobs in a weak economy, we’ve raised wages for the past four years in a row. Our full-time employees start at 80% above minimum wage.”
But now, government edicts not only are threatening to change all of that but even drive Hobby Lobby back to its garage beginnings.
In November, Hobby Lobby’s lawsuit was denied, and the Washington-based Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is handling the legal case for the company, immediately sought relief from the federal appeals court in Denver.
Becket Fund attorney Emily Hardman told AMERICAN FREE PRESS that failing a reversal, beginning January 1, Green and his family must either violate their faith or acquiesce to the federal mandate and accept the government insurance in full.
“No American family should have to face that decision,” she said.
Pat Shannan is an AFP contributing editor and the author of several best-selling videos and books.