Hobby Lobby rejects health care mandate

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CEO and founder of Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. David Green released a letter in December ex-pressing his discontent with the current regulations that are part of what is known as “ObamaCare,” illustrating the current debate between religious freedom and U.S. Depart-ment of Health and Human Services.

Green’s biggest problem is that the new health care system’s insurance provides his employees with contraception inclu-ding the morning-after and week-after pills. The CEO said he believes both are ways of aborting an unborn child. Hobby Lobby faces up to a $1.3 million fine every day it does not comply with the mandate.

“I would see that as a violation of the First Amendment,” said Dr. Adamson Co, associate professor of theology. “I think this is one of those instances where the church or a Christian institution living in this country, where we’re given the right to religious freedom, ought to stand up at least to make our case.”

Since 1972, Hobby Lobby has grown into one of the largest craft store chains in the nation. The store’s website states its foundation “will continue to be strong values, and honoring the Lord in a manner consistent with biblical principles.”

“We don’t like to go running into court, but we no longer have a choice,” Green wrote in his letter. “We believe people are more important than the bottom line and that honoring God is more important than turning a profit.”

Hobby Lobby will be represented by The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a non-profit legal group that fights for religious freedom.

“If the government decides that I have to pay for someone else’s abortion with my taxes, then I would be hard pressed to say ‘no,’” said James Whitten, senior applied theology major. “Jesus commanded the Jewish scribes to render their tax money to a Roman government that probably funded the genocide of children under King Herod.”

While the company waits for the case to be taken up, they have a temporary solution. Instead of starting employees’ health insurance plans on Jan. 1 like most companies, they pushed back the start date a few months. The mandate does not have to be enforced until then, buying some time.

“We may have to go back to the drawing board and try to see what’s the Christian approach to this situation,” Co said. “But for now, I think we must use the legal means to assert our Constitution-given rights.”

Toward the end of his letter, Green wrote: “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.”

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