When David Green started his family-owned business 40 years ago, it was an enterprise housed in a garage, financed by a $600 bank loan. The first retail store, he recalled in a recent article for USA Today, “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.” Forty years later, it appears that the faith and the work have been abundantly rewarded. The company, Hobby Lobby, is now one of the nation’s largest arts and crafts retailers, with more than 500 stores in 41 states.
But the faith of Green and his family stands to be penalized, not rewarded, by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services mandate that requires coverage of contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs, with no deductibles or co-pay, in the health insurance employers provide for their workers. Green, a devout Baptist, says his Christian faith and conscience will not permit him to comply with that mandate, issued in pursuance of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare).
“Being Christians, we don’t pay for drugs that might cause abortions,” Green wrote. “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.”
Since the penalty for noncompliance is $100 per employee per day, Green, with thousands of employees nationwide, says the cost to him would be an estimated $1.3 million a day, forcing the company in short order to close its doors and go out of business. Like the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and an array of religiously affiliated schools, hospitals, and other non-profits, Hobby Lobby in September filed suit in U.S. District Court to overturn the HHS mandate. That, in turn, has inspired a backlash against the company by those who believe employees have a right to have their sex lives subsidized. A “Boycott Hobby Lobby” page soon appeared on Facebook, and the page administrator claimed it was having the desired effect.
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