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home : opinions : letters August 27, 2015

1/14/2013 9:44:00 PM
Letter: Hobby Lobby would do well by doing good


Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., which employs 21,000 in 42 states, is a privately held retail chain of 525 stores based in Oklahoma City. According to the Hobby Lobby website, the store's foundation was built "and will continue to be (built on) strong values, and honoring the Lord in a manner consistent with Biblical principles."

In September 2012, Hobby Lobby sued the United States over recent regulations requiring health insurance provided by employers to cover the cost of emergency contraception (specifically, the "morning after pill"). The company claims that this coverage would violate the owners' religious beliefs.

Their appeal was rejected by our conservative U.S. Supreme Court. As of Dec. 31, 2012, the company faces fines of up to $1.3 million per day for violating provisions of the Affordable Health Care Act. This seems like a poor business decision by company CEO and founder David Green.

Hobby Lobby claims to be an equal opportunity employer who only rejects job applicants who drink alcohol or use drugs. Perhaps it should also include women of child-bearing age on their "do not hire" list. This is logical since this special minority of applicants are the only ones at risk of violating the CEO's strict rules on emergency contraception.

Hobby Lobby could confidently hire and cover the medical emergencies of lesbians, men and elderly employees. None would (by definition), ever challenge Mr. Green's policy.

And, instead handing over cash to the government, why not donate $1,300,000 to a charity like the East Valley Child Crisis Center in Mesa, Ariz.? This non-profit organization gives children suffering from neglect and abuse much needed nutrition, shelter, tutoring and love while they await adoption or return to their families.

Mr. Green, do well by doing good. Righteous intolerance is bad for business.

Peter Nelson


EDITOR'S NOTE - As of Jan. 11, Hobby Lobby would have racked up $14.3 million in fines from the Internal Revenue Service for bucking Obamacare, according to the AP. Peter M. Dobelbower, general counsel for Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. said in a statement that "Hobby Lobby discovered a way to shift the plan year for its employee health insurance, thus postponing the effective date of the mandate for several months."

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, January 28, 2013
Article comment by: William Leighton

It amazes that the Left believes they are the most inclusive and tolerant, yet they are the ones that try to crush freedom time and time and time again.

This man and HIS company should not be forced to support a mandate his religion does not support.

The employee don't have to work there, THEY CHOSE to work there. If they don't like company positions, then LEAVE.

Posted: Friday, January 18, 2013
Article comment by: The

Every day it seems the same old "chosen few" have their way with comments and remarks, bashing others who don't conform to what they believe and criticizing those who don't spell correctly. Leave others to their opinions once in awhile and take step back on yours.

Posted: Friday, January 18, 2013
Article comment by: Peter, Yavapai County

@Attentive Listener Jan.18
You are correct, sir.

Posted: Friday, January 18, 2013
Article comment by: Attentive Listener

You are certainly entitled to disagree with the regulation and to work to change it. A critical mass built up once before regarding access to health insurance. People who wanted to avoid a government takeover of healthcare came up with the solution that private businesses would provide private insurance to their employees, negotiated and purchased in the marketplace, which is how we got the old regulation. This critical mass built up again, with many of the same concerns, and we got the ACA, where private individuals and businesses purchase private insurance in the marketplace. You might think that the alternative is simply not having mandatory coverage, but it isn't. The alternative is having the government pay for it, and here's why:

The fact is, everyone will require healthcare during their life. We don't believe in allowing people to die in the streets of curable diseases (though it still happens), not to mention what would happen to the medical industry if they only had patients who could pay out of their savings. So if someone needs critical care, they are more than likely going to get it. If they can't pay, the provider will have an uncollectable debt, meaning that they will have to raise prices on the customers who pay to cover the ones that don't. If no one had insurance, far fewer would be able to pay, especially after prices went through the roof to cover all the people not paying, and eventually the only people that would end up paying would be the very rich (and very stupid), who could afford to pay but didn't simply use a different healthcare system to avoid paying for the freeloaders, and government care programs, who must follow regulations and cannot simply default. We can either require that they have insurance to pay for it themselves, or the government will end up paying for it through the back door.

I think that a lot of people don't want to pay for it themselves and simply pretend that they will never need it. When they inevitably do need it, it is taxpayers that end up holding the tab. I think a lot of businesses would also prefer not to pay. They too, though they might not realize it, are merely waiting to stick the taxpayer with the bill.

You may think that one problem is that too much frivolous or unneccesarily expensive care is being used by the people who don't pay. I happen to agree, but the thing is that there is absolutely no way to address that issue whilst maintaining the illusion that we don't pay for each other's health care. That's one thing the ACA may be able to address, by requiring insurance plans to have specific coverage limits that can then be discussed openly if they are found to be disfunctional.

Posted: Friday, January 18, 2013
Article comment by: More Raving Nonsense From A Conservative

@ More Hypocrisy From Another Liberal -
You know what, you're right. After giving your statement that "It's their right to run their business the way they want, without ignorant interference..." I've seen the light. Employers want to hire children? That's their right. Child labor laws be darned. Employers don't want to provide safe work environments? That's their right. OSHA be darned. Employers want to fire women for getting pregnant? That's cool too, it's their right, after all. I see, it's so simple for you! Employers get to be tyrannical, and employees must turn around, smile, and take it because that's the right of the employer. The Conservative mindset advocates for a return to the 1870s.

Posted: Friday, January 18, 2013
Article comment by: @ attentive listener

You don't get it. The regulation is wrong. The fact that Obama got it passed does not make it right. It is wrong to try to force someone to change their beliefs and it is doubly wrong to force Hobby Lobby to pay for your beliefs and it is wrong to bankrupt this country to pay for a socialist utopian fantasy. Do you have any concept of cause and effect? Just for a moment, think of the long term effects of more regullation and higher business costs to businesses.

Considering the massive failure of high tax, high entitlement spending countries like France, Spain, Greece- why in the world would we follow their example?

You have the right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That's it. Nobody owes you anything. Look at the 10 amendments in the Bill of Rights. We have alot of our freedoms safeguarded (supposedly), but nowhere in the constitution does it contain the right of someone to demand someone else pay for their livlihood or medical care.

Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013
Article comment by: A .

As an employee of the Hobby Lobby store I just want this thing to be settled. I am tired of waiting to find out if I am going to be losing my job because the owner of the company is being selfish. In following through with all this court bull he is proving that he does not care about any of his thousands of employees. We are losing our homes, and more if we lose our jobs. All he loses is a little money and a couple of his many houses. Not to mention the morning after contraceptive is NOT an abortion drug. If you are taking it THE MORNING AFTER, then there is NO CHILD yet. It is simply a precautionary pill to help prevent you GETTING PREGNANT, not aborting a pregnancy. Ask anyone at your local pharmacy.

All in all I am just tired of this. As of today Hobby Lobby owes over 20 million dollars to the government, how much longer are they going to wait......till they owe everything they are worth!!??

Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013
Article comment by: Attentive Listener

To: @Me

When you make ridiculous statements like "liberals scream bloody murder", you obviously don't want to talk about anything specific or factual. You gave an example of those mean old liberals stepping on other people's beliefs, and so did I.

There are things called regulations, that are like rules for how businesses can operate. The ACA actually isn't the first, we've had them for thousands of years. We even already had one requiring businesses to offer employees group insurance as part of their compensation. But the ACA set new minimum coverage limits for the health insurance that employees receive as part of their compensation. This issue is not about freedom of religion, contraception, or abortion. It is about a business not offering group health insurance to its employees as per the regulation.

Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013
Article comment by: To: @ Attentive Listener

Attitudes like yours engendered the rise of the labor movement and unions, and provided the seeds for agencies such as OSHA, BOL, CPSC, etc. and etc.

BTW, you might read "The Jungle" for another perspective.

Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013
Article comment by: @ Attentive Listener

Great response! I guess if you can't really come up with a good defense, you can always use a riduculous example.

The point being that liberals aren't happy enough that they can have their own choices. They want everyone else to pay for them too.

A business can offer the salary, health and benefits package that it feels will attract the best employees that the business can afford. If you don't like the benefits package that's offered, go work somewhere else. That's called freedom- also called responsibility. Nobody OWES you a job. They offer you a salary and you can take it and work for them or not.

Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013
Article comment by: Attentive Listener

@ "@Open Book"- I am one of those liberals you are talking about. For example, if someone believes that they can assault a black person for walking on the sidewalk and I believe that they can't, then me, the cops, and all the other liberals will just trample all over that person's beliefs! What an egregious double standard, right?

All beliefs are not created equal, and you are not entitled to your opinion being right.

Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Article comment by: open book

It is an interesting comment that Hobby Lobby was not concerned with what was covered by the insurance for their employees until the health mandate. I would be curious to find out if their insurance did indeed cover birth control and/or abortion. By the way, one of the best ways to reduce the number of abortions would be to increase the use of birth control.

It probably isn't a good idea to make gross generalizations about groups of people. How many "liberals" have you interviewed so that you have any idea what "they" believe?

Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Article comment by: @open Book

Why is it so important that Hobby Lobby be forced to pay for something they don't believe in? Women still have access to the abortion pill. What is so wrong with expecting them to pay for it themselves?

You see, this is why liberals are so hypocritical. Liberals scream bloody murder when one cent of their money goes to fund something they don't believe in. Case in point: separation of church and state. Liberals will go rabid if a government entity were to fund a manger scene at Christmas time. The screams of "waste of taxpayer money" are still echoing. But when it comes to some elses beliefs, you change the rules completely. No one can step on your beliefs, but you feel perfectly free to step all over someone elses.

Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Article comment by: @ Open Book

Hobby Lobby employee's have every right to make their own personal choice/decisions in healthcare, they do so when they accept employment with Hobby Lobby. In addition, when should birth control be part of an employment package? That is an individual choice and shouldn't be part of a benefit package. This is just one reason of what is wrong with the mandated insurance law that this administration shoved down our throats.

During the 70's/80's when I was at the age of making life choices and working, not once did I look at a potential benefit package and ask, "are you going to pay for my birth control"? We actually had to pay for it ourselves, just like any other monthly budget item, ie, gas, food, otc medicines (saline for contacts, etc).

Hobby Lobby didn't have an issue with health benefit packages until this new mandate.

We as a nation need to stop looking to everyone else to provide our every need. I'm not a religious person and I believe in making your own choices however birth control shoud not be part of your employment benefit package.

Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Article comment by: open book

@Their Business: So apparently it is okay for the Hobby Lobby to send money to China since abortion isn't mandated but only available, but it is not okay for the employees of the Hobby Lobby to make their own decisions about their personal health care. That says to me that Hobby Lobby, while making a big deal about "standing up for their beliefs" are not consistent and only stand up for them when it is profitable. Their position looks shaky to me.

Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Article comment by: Their Business

To ronaldy raygun and others who oppose shopping at Hobby Lobby.... It is a privately owned business, which means they can decide on how to run that business. If that means purchasing items that are made in the US (which they do), China, India or wherever they are made, it is their choice.

As for the whole mandatory abortion issue, please..... To try to cut down on over-population, the government does not force someone to have an abortion, but tells families that after their first child, they must provide 100% for that child, which includes any medical expense, education, etc. The stories of "mandated abortions" are just that "old" stories from China's past.

I've travelled to China numerous times and I see many examples of Christianity as well as other religions being practiced everywhere.

Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Article comment by: Peter Nelson

It is a good discussion to have: Should contraceptives and sexual enhancement drugs (like Viagra) be covered by insurance?

Should insurance cover treatment for drug addiction or alcoholism?

Should insurance cover lung cancer for smokers?

Should insurance cover gun shot wounds for gun owners? Etc.

But once we decide that health insurance covers everything, we have decided to stop "picking and choosing" what to cover, as Mr. Green is doing.

If Mr, Green's policy is important to him, he should be careful to not hire women who might have contraceptive emergencies just as he is careful not to hire alcohol users.

Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Article comment by: Anything for low prices

They should follow WalMart's example and announce a focused effort to hire 100,000 veterans. Does WalMart do this because they want to honor veterans? No! It's because veterans come with their own government-paid health insurance!

Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Article comment by: ronald raygun

Mr. green will fold like a cheap suit when he has to start paying the 1.3 million a day fine. Like what has been said, he has no problem supporting the Chinese and their mandatory abortion laws. It would appear Mr. green is a hypocrite of the first order.

The war on women continues.

Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

I think Hobby Lobby has to buy stuff from China because America doesn't make much stuff to buy anymore. "Stuff" is made in China not because of cheaper labor (that used to be true but their standard of living is rapidly approaching ours, which is actually declining), but because they have superior engineers and workers who will work 60 hours/week to make factories in a hurry. America no longer has such a superior workforce. We have a bunch of union dough heads that work 40 hours screwing antennas on cars and go home. Energy is way more expensive in China than it is here. Chinese are better educated, they send their kids to top US universities because they don't have enough capacity there. Chinese have more money because they have only one kid per family. I'm not a fan of the Chinese but their nation is in many ways superior to ours and they are gaining ground.

Posted: Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Article comment by: No Longer A Hobby Lobbyist!!!

It's unfortunate that Mr.Green is using so much of the money "The Little People" (his customers) have given him to fight Affordable Health Care Act.

Mr Green's money took his fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. He lost, but when you have millions and pay your workers peanuts, I guess you can snub your nose at the Supreme Court. However it really is too bad he'd rather spend $1.3 million per day on defying the law instead of dividing it up among his 21,000 hard working employees.

I do not share Mr Green's views and will be spending my hobby money at Michael's.

Posted: Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Article comment by: Sheesh Deluxe

Why should my employer get to tell me how to use my own insurance?

Posted: Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Article comment by: EX PAT

My only gripe with Hobby Lobby is that 95% of the store is devoted to stuff for women, they only have a small area for men and boys.

Posted: Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Article comment by: Hobby Lobby supports communism and funds it

when it purchases anything from China, which, BTW, has a one-child policy enforced with government mandated abortions.

Could someone please explain how this is upholding Christian beliefs?

Posted: Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Article comment by: Dear Spike

Thank you for your clarification. I do believe you're correct.

I think the coverages are determined by the insurance companies in the Insurance Exchanges. As I understand it under Obamacare the companies, among other things, can't decree that anything from a hangnail to rape constitutes "Pre-existing" and they can no longer deny coverage.

The current coverage Hobby Lobby has does cover contraception along with male enhancement products. I suspect it IS more about Affordable Health Care than what is covered.

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