We all heard the news earlier this week about the death of religious freedom at Hobby Lobby. Even though the public is becoming aware that the owners David and Barbara Green are Christians, Americans still need to know more about these good people and what they stand for. To this end, Ben Domenech writes:
The Hobby Lobby folks are a straight-up American success story. A family business, started in Oklahoma in 1970 with a $600 bank loan, they started by making their frames from wood bought from local sellers, building them in their garage. The kids glued them together on the kitchen table in exchange for baseball cards. The family opened their first frame retail shop in Oklahoma City in 1972. They had four employees. Now they have 514 stores in 41 states. They employ 13,240 people full time. In 1981 they added another store to the family, Mardel, a Christian/church supply shop which sells Bibles and study books, curriculum, Christian craft supplies. That’s another 35 stores, in 7 states, with 372 employees. So they went from a garage business started with $600 to two businesses that employ more than 13,600 people full time across basically the entire country.
The company remained all privately owned, with no franchising. Their statement of purposes and various commitments all begin with Bible verses, commitments to honor the Lord. The Hobby Lobby folks pay well above minimum wage and have increased salaries four years in a row despite the recession. They are teetotalers of the old Oral Roberts variety, refusing to stock shot glasses, don’t sell any of their store locations with liquor stores, don’t allow backhauling of beer shipments – all things that could make them money, but they just bear the costs. Every Christmas and Easter, the Hobby Lobby folks advertise a free Bible and spiritual counseling. They are closed every Sunday. The family also signed the giving pledge, committing to donate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy.
So: I doubt this is the type of company to spend one dime on this contraception mandate. They will just drop coverage, and pay employees the difference, shifting them onto the exchanges or the taxpayer, rather than compromise their beliefs. It’s logical, it’s more predictable as a budgeting choice, and it will save them tens of millions in the long run versus retaining coverage and paying the fine.
You read that right. Hobby Lobby will likely have to drop the healthcare coverage that they are currently providing for their employees. They will have to join one of the government sponsored exchanges going forward. The abortion mandate imposes a profound burden not just on a corporation, but on people. Not just on the Green family, but on their over 13,000 employees. You can read the rest of Domenech’s essay here.