Hobby Lobby and Religious Choices

David Green, the CEO of the Hobby Lobby, suggests that due to mandates relating to birth control in the Affordable Care Act, he would rather close more than 500 stores in over 41 states, abandoning all these American jobs, than to comply. Apparently his Christian values are more important than his business and the livelihood and health (and reproductive choices) of his employees.

This article in Your Daily Does of Conservatism illustrates his reasoning. I have a lot of respect for a man who has built a large retail business, based on hard work, sound principles of business, moral conduct and Christian values. But I have difficulty following his reasoning. Here are some of his statements:

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.

This makes it sound like all his employees are going to run to the store and buy morning-after pills. I venture to say that some of the 21,000 Hobby Lobby employees are using morning-after pills right now. They are currently making their private reproductive choices. If their health plan covers such drugs, does he really believe that more people out of his 21,000 employees will start using those drugs?

It seems like a stretch to me. Either a woman believes she should not destroy a zygote because it represents a potential human being. In that case, she is not likely to use a morning-after drug. Or she does not agree that a zygote is a human being, potential or not, and she will possibly make that choice and opt to use morning-after drugs. These decisions are currently being made every day by the 21,000 Hobby Lobby employees. Whether their health insurance pays for the drug can’t possibly be a big factor in that moral, ethical or religious decision.

He says:

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.

The government cannot force you to follow laws that go against your fundamental religious belief. They have exempted thousands of companies but will not except Christian organizations including the Catholic church.

So he is actually blaming the government for the what I would call very bad business decision he is about to make. The government is purportedly forcing them to go against their faith.

Christians often quote specific bible verses to justify certain decisions and behaviors. That goes both ways though, and I wonder how they can reconcile this.

I did a quick check of my bible and searched for the phrase “put to death.” This exact phrase resulted in 80 matches. Here are a few of them along with my thoughts with respect to Green and Hobby Lobby.

The man who acts presumptuously by not obeying the priest who stands to minister there before the LORD your God, or the judge, that man shall die. So you shall purge the evil from Israel. [Deuteronomy 17:12]

This basically says that if a man does not obey his priest, the man deserves to die. What if that priest has been found to molest children? I hear that there are some of those. Does Green suggest that those few of his 21,000 employees that have not obeyed their priest should die? Why is he not following through on that bible verse?

If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them. [Leviticus 20:13]

This is the famous homosexual clause that so many of our conservative lawmakers invoke damning homosexuality. Gays should die! Statistics indicate that about two to ten percent of the population is homosexual, depending on what study and statistic you want to quote. So let’s say it’s only two percent. That means that there are about 420 homosexual employees at Hobby Lobby, probably less, since they may have been driven out by a possibly homophobic company culture (I really don’t know their culture, but I would assume there might be a homophobic element given the founder’s statements). Does Green want to put those 420 folks to death? His bible apparently commands him to do so. Why isn’t he following?

And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and with all their soul, but that whoever would not seek the LORD, the God of Israel,  should be put to death, whether young or old, man or woman. [2 Chronicles 15:12-13]

Here is the one that states that  anyone who does not seek the lord, for instance an atheist, should be killed. If this were a Christian nation, I’d be put to death. I guess I am lucky to be born in the 20th century, not in the 3rd, in a nation where church is separated from state, and I can safely write this post. I wonder what Green would do with the atheists or non-Christians among his 21,000 employees. There must be some?

But if the thing is true, that evidence of virginity was not found in the young woman, then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones, because she has done an outrageous thing in Israel by whoring in her father’s house.  So you shall purge the evil from your midst. [Deuteronomy 22:20-21]

This is a particularly hilarious one in Deuteronomy. It gives instructions to the family to check out the bride to be and make sure she’s a virgin. If she is not, she must be stoned to death. Surely the Hobby Lobby is not checking out its maiden employees before they get married?

I am puzzled by Green’s insistence on honoring one of the more obscure laws of his religion, when there are so many other atrocious ones that he ignores, like some of these listed here. He is willing to give up the company, shut it down, lay off 21,000 people, affect thousands of suppliers, all because his health plan has to supply the option of a contraceptive choice.