Monday, October 1, 2012

Letter from David Green, CEO of Hobby Lobby

Column: Christian companies can't bow to sinful mandate by David Green

When my family and I started our com
pany 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 healthcare 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 is the CEO and founder of Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.


Anonymous said...

You don't have to go out of business over this - just offer the damn insurance. What some Christians keep forgetting is that it is not up to them to judge others in this life. If the morning after pill is something YOU don't believe in, YOU don't have to personally use it, but you should not judge or control whether or not the people who work for you use it.

Country Girl said...

What those who are expecting others to pay for are forgetting is that it is against our principles and our religion to pay for a type of birth control that is in reality an abortion.
If others want to use it, let them pay for it and have it on their consciences but not expect employers to pay for it--especially if they think it is wrong. That is not judging others, or controlling whether they use it, but those who choose to use it should be willing to give those who oppose it as much freedom to disagree as they have to use it.

Anonymous said...

If you hand someone the knife or the gun, you are guilty of being an accomplice to murder. Abortion is the premeditated murder of an unborn child. Christians do not murder their own children. They also cannot provide the substance that will murder another child. For the government to mandate that they must infringes on their freedom of religion.