In keeping with what has become an annual tradition at the company, Hobby Lobby took out full-page ads in select newspapers throughout the country on Sunday listing under the title “One Nation Under God” religious quotes from the nation’s founding fathers, first presidents, and other political leaders. "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord," the ad reads, quoting from Psalm 33:12. The company says it started posting religious ads in 1996 after founder David Green noticed a 'lack of any testimony in newspapers” about the meaning of the Christmas holiday. “Before long, Hobby Lobby was placing beautiful full-page ads celebrating the real meaning of Christmas, Easter and Independence Day in newspapers across the country,” the business said on its website. “The impact and relevancy of these messages is ongoing, so we post them here for your enjoyment.”
All that religious sentiment, however, was nowhere to be found when the company was making the decision to stay open during the Coronavirus pandemic, when God reportedly spoke through Green’s wife to tell him stores should stay open. The company didn't offer employees paid sick leave but instead publicized a plan to send them into self-isolation and contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention if someone had "direct or indirect" exposure to COVID-19. So let this day, when many Americans celebrate the country gaining its independence from Great Britain in 1776, serve as a reminder that such freedom means the ability to purchase your glue guns and sewing needs elsewhere.
"I wonder how many hungry they could have fed, how many homeless they could have housed, with the money they spent on that ad!" progressive Democrat Miles Simonson tweeted. Other social media users, who helped the company become a trending topic on Twitter Sunday, pointed out the many examples of hypocrisy at Hobby Lobby from its refusal to provide employees basic healthcare protections to a reported breach of the commandment against stealing after the company was accused of illegally shipping thousands of ancient artifacts from Iraq.
Business Insider listed 15 controversies the company has found itself wrapped up in since its founding in 1972 in Oklahoma. In one of the more notable examples, Green was successful in getting the U.S. Supreme Court to allow his company to deny its employees health coverage of contraception under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which maintains that government can not “substantially burden” a person's exercise of religion. “Again, the Court forgets that religious organizations exist to serve a community of believers. For-profit corporations do not fit that bill,” the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in the dissent opinion in June 2014.
The Business Insider list also includes:
- accusations from founders of the Feed the Children nonprofit that the Green family pushed them out of their own charity, launching a "hostile takeover" and culminating in a lawsuit against the family in May 2011;
- a Hobby Lobby employee telling a Jewish customer the store ‘doesn't cater to your people’ in October 2013;
- a nasty link to a letter to the White House in July 2014 in which faith leaders cited Hobby Lobby’s Supreme Court ruling in requesting an exemption from laws prohibiting discrimination against the LGBTQ community; and
- a boycott last year stemming from a viral tweet of a store display encouraging patrons to vote for former President Donald Trump.
"I'm not a fan of Hobby Lobby. I would never shop there," Kari Brekke, the social media user who sent the tweet, told Business Insider. "I'm a Democrat. I hate the company."
RELATED: Hobby Lobby founder tells workers that God spoke to his wife and forgot to mention paid sick leave