Founder of Hobby Lobby: "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. "
Column: Christian companies can't bow to sinful mandate
By David Green
When my family and I started our company40 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 Lobbyhas become one of the nation's largest arts and crafts retailers, with more than500 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. Weclose earlyso our employees can see their families at night. We keep our stores closed on Sundays, one of the week'sbiggest 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 onlyadded jobsin a weak economy, we'veraised wagesfor thepast four yearsin a row. Our full-time employees start at80%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 areabortion-causing drugsas 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 millionper dayin 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 hasexempted thousands of companiesfrom 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 Greenis the CEO and founder of Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.
The government cannot force you to follow laws that go against your fundamental religious beliefs
They have exempted thousands of companies (friends of Obama) but will not except Christian organizations