David Green, Chairman and Founder of the well known Arts & Crafts empire "Hobby Lobby", is not a happy man. The root cause of his dismay appears to be the Federal Court ruling that he must, like all law-abiding citizens, comply with the law.
I know! It's shocking.
Anyway, so upset is he that he has written an open letter that he has requested is shared publicly. So I am sharing it, and afterwads we might get to the views of a few folk he himself shared it with
Before we get to the letter itself, it is worth taking a look at some parts of the ruling handed down by the US District Court, and linked here. The Honorable Joe Heaton, the presiding judge was, by the way, a Bush appointee to the Federal Bench in 2001.
In his ruling the Federal Judge had the following to say. This context might be helpful when you read the mealy-mouthed response from Green:
As to "abortion pills", Judge Heaton ruled that while some exemptions have been granted to the provision, "Hobby Lobby and Mardell are not religious organisations". I should point out that the government lawyers did give evidence that the Morning After Pill is not an abortion pill.
On the company's 1st Amendment rights:
"Plaintiffs have not cited, and the court has not found, any case concluding that secular, for-profit corporations such as Hobby Lobby and Mardel have a constitutional right to the free exercise of religion,"Not content with either the ruling or the subsequent refusal of the Supreme Court of the United States of America [Sonia Sotomayor] to grant an injunction staying the order, and facing the possibility of fines totaling $1.3 Million per day, Green did what every large and self respecting corporation does ... they went running to Facebook:
The fines kicked in on New Years Day, so as I write this they already owe us $1.3 Million, and if they keep it up we might not have to worry about the deficit
PLEASE READ AND SHARE THIS IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS HOBBY LOBBY:Now I feel confident that Mr Green is a smart guy and astute businessman, and I am just a Blogger. Yet he appears not to understand the difference between a "Religious Organisation", and a "Corporation". One is usually a non-profit organisation of religious believers, the other sells stuff. Hobby Lobby sells stuff, lots of stuff and on the few occasions I have been in one of their stores, I never had the feeling that I was in a church, or other place of worship. I exclude worship of the Almighty Dollar from those remarks because a) It's not so "Almighty" any more and b) It's tacky.
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.
The government cannot force you to follow laws that go against your fundamental religious belief. They have exempted thousands of companies but will not except Christian organizations including the Catholic church.
Since you will not see this covered in any of the liberal media, pass this on to all your contacts.
David Green, CEO and Founder of Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.
He also appears to confuse the government with the Federal Court. One makes the laws, the other applies them. It's not that hard to understand. The government is not picking on Hobby Lobby, it is imposing fines on a company that the Federal Court has determined is breaking the law.
Therefore, and because I feel it reasonable to assume that Mr Green and his attorneys are at least literate, I have to conclude that someone is being a teensy bit disingenuous.
So what of the responses to this missive. Well here is where the fun really begins:
William: Follow your beliefs, hobby lobby. As owner of your business you have a right to follow your beliefs and run your company any way you like. If any of the above had a business they would not like it if the government made them do something that was so against their religious beliefs.Right .. follow those beliefs ... Bankruptcy Court is pretty close to the Federal Court.
Kevin: This is all very entertaining - America has Freedom of religion, but if someone doesn't agree with your religion - THEY are wrong. Entertaining, that's for sure!Kevin, really! Logic is not going to work here ... they are believers, and they are in Oklahoma where God is but a local call away.
Jim: Morality is doing what you are told, regardless if what is right. Spirituality is doing what is right, regardless if what you are told. The "God" (and I use that term loosely) is in everyone for the criminal to the saint. Spirtuality is seeing the divine in everyone, no matter what they believe. Does that help?No Jim, it doesn't help much because it is utter bollocks.
Ronda: What does it matter if the employees are good Christians they wouldn't need the contraception. The plan could include it without any worry that they would be used. Problem solved, right? Or is it that perhaps you don't necessarily trust that your employees might not want that contraception, or find themselves raped or a victim of incest.I think Ronda gets it. Her main problem is that on that page, in that discussion (sic) she is pissing in the wind ... very messy.
Suck it up. Pay for it, or ask for a waiver on other grounds. It's so past time that the religious stop asking for special waivers. For craps sakes... churches already don't have to pay taxes. That's MORE than enough. It should extend to Christian owned businesses. If it does, that pretty much is an excuse for any business to use that excuse for NO reason than to get out of their duty to their employees.
Hobby Lobby has some decent employment practises. They close early and they are closed on Sunday. I don't care much why they do this, because family life matters and as an employer they are good at that. Their starting wages are 80% above the minimum wage and as I understand it their benefits package is good.
But all of this is to naught if they, as an employer, seek to impose their faith on their employees.
If the government was seeking to do that to Hobby Lobby, then Mr Green would be in Federal Court before the ink had dried on the order. I do not imagine, despite his smarts, that he understands the irony of that.
Meanwhile, this case may well be the next challenge to the Affordable Care Act that reaches the Supreme Court, so it is one to keep an eye on.
12:53 PM PT: So I just turned on "Ads" for a moment. The top ad, above the "Welcome Back" Box, was for "Hobby Lobby Coupons" ... Gotta love Google!