Friday, December 28, 2012

Hobby Lobby vs. ObamaCare

English: Hobby Lobby store in Stow, Ohio
English: Hobby Lobby store in Stow, Ohio (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Hobby Lobby has filed a lawsuit seeking protection from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more appropriately known as ObamaCare, mandate that will require employers to provide coverage for the so-called "morning after pill." Hobby Lobby's founder and CEO David Green feels that the mandate requires the company to violate it's religious beliefs which are in opposition to abortion. A U.S. District Court Judge ruled against Hobby Lobby back in November, but the company is appealing that ruling. At the time the company originally filed the lawsuit, the company's CEO compiled a statement ** (below), which appeared in USA Today (link to USA Today column here), to explain the company's position.

** - There are multiple versions of Mr. Green's statement floating around on the internet. However, each of them has the same basic theme.

A Letter from Hobby Lobby Stores CEO
By David Green, the founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

When my family and I started our company 40 years ago, we were working out of a garage on a $600 bank loan, assembling miniature picture frames. Our first retail store wasn't much bigger than most people's living rooms, but we had faith that we would succeed if we lived and worked according to God's word. From there, Hobby Lobby has become one of the nation's largest arts and crafts retailers, with more than 500 locations in 41 states. Our children grew up into fine business leaders, and today we run Hobby Lobby together, as a family.

We're Christians, and we run our business on Christian principles. 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. 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, our government threatens to change all of that. A new government health care mandate says that our family business must provide what I believe are abortion-causing drugs as part of our health insurance. 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. If we refuse to comply, we could face $1.3 million per day in government fines.

Our government threatens to fine job creators in a bad economy. Our government threatens to fine a company that's raised wages four years running. Our government threatens to fine a family for running its business according to its beliefs. It's not right. 

I know people will say we ought to follow the rules, that it's the same for everybody. But that's not true. The government has exempted thousands of companies from this mandate, for reasons of convenience or cost. But it won't exempt them for reasons of religious belief. So, Hobby Lobby and my family are forced to make a choice. With great reluctance, we filed a lawsuit today, represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, asking a federal court to stop this mandate before it hurts our business. We don't like to go running into court, but we no longer have a choice. We believe people are more important than the bottom line and that honoring God is more important than turning a profit.

My family has lived the American dream. We want to continue growing our company and providing great jobs for thousands of employees, but the government is going to make that much more difficult. The government is forcing us to choose between following our faith and following the law. I say that's a choice no American and no American business should have to make.

David Green, CEO and Founder of Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

It is going to be interesting to watch this case and see how it turns out. Will the courts allow the federal government to infringe upon religious freedom once again, or will the courts finally say "enough is enough" ?

No matter how it turns out, I applaud Hobby Lobby for standing up for what it believes in and what it thinks is right. Too many times too many of us sit on the sidelines and take whatever is being dished out upon us no matter how wrong or how unfair it is. In my opinion, that is one reason our country is in the mess it is right now. More of us need to show some courage as Hobby Lobby has done. 
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