David Green, the founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby has decided that rather than offer total healthcare coverage of contraceptives as required by Obamacare, he is willing to pay a fine of $1.3 million dollars per day. He’s stated that certain types of contraception such as the morning-after pill and the week-after pill violated their religious beliefs against abortion. Hobby Lobby has over 500 stores in 41 states, employs 21,000 people, and has a gross revenue of $2.28 Billion. But what kind of message is Mr. Green’s decision sending to his employees and the rest of the world? Godly conviction or worldly defiance?
Has he considered the long term business effect this will have on his company? If the government continues to rule against them as they have so far, how long can he pay the fine without being forced to raise prices or lay off employees? I guess since it’s a privately held company, he can do as he wishes and not answer to shareholders who watch their dividends and stock prices drop. But my concern is the employment of the staff. I’ve watched as family members have been laid off by employers much larger than Hobby Lobby who needed to free up cash. Will Mr. Green’s employees and families understand when his religious convictions result in store closings and lay-off’s?
I appreciate him sticking to his religious beliefs, but at the end of the day he is running a business not a church. Where does “Submit to the authorities” (Romans 13:1, Hebrews 13:17, 1 Peter 2:13) come in? Is this more the statement of a conservative businessman who doesn’t support what he sees as a liberal administration? Is he trying to make a political statement? There’s just too much to this one action for me to believe it’s simply a matter of personal faith. At first it appears nice. I would hope I have the religious conviction to be willing to pay a million dollar per day fine for my beliefs. But it’s also hypocritical to me how one person feels the need to set an example of defiance to the government while at the same time exerting control over the personal practices of his employees. Does he feel it’s easier to control their actions than convert their hearts and minds?
It’s disturbing to me that Mr. Green distrusts his employees and wishes to dictate their actions beyond the storeroom floor. How does covering the medication required by the healthcare plan mean your staff will use it? It reminds me so much of how Christians in general want to make laws and guidelines to restrict their lifestyles much in the same way that the Pharisees did in Jesus’ day. They ultimately don’t want the freedom of choice that God implemented from creation. It’s one thing to cover the morning-after pill in the health plan, but quite another to educate your staff and promote a lifestyle that doesn’t even require it. What is Mr. Green doing to help his employees believe and live the lifestyle he wishes to enforce by refusing to obey a government mandate? Does he also have policies about no smoking, drinking, partying, promiscuous sex, getting a divorce, being gay, etc.? Surely he complies with equal opportunity laws that forbid him from even asking those questions, let alone determining someone’s employment, so why would this be any different?
Faith leads to action. I’m sure Mr. Green is a good man, full of good intentions, and has done amazing things for his employees and community through his faith. But Mr. Green has a larger problem with the way he lives his testimony and shares the life changing power of Jesus if he feels the need to defy the government to make his employees follow his system of beliefs.