Another family-owned business joined the fray over the Health and Human Services (HHS) anti-conscience mandate this morning.
Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., an arts and crafts supply retailer, filed a lawsuit against the Obamacare anti-conscience mandate, demanding that the government respect the business’s desire to operate in accordance with Christian principles. Represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, Hobby Lobby joins over 80 other organizations and businesses in the now 27 lawsuits pending against the HHS mandate.
David Green, CEO of Hobby Lobby who founded the company in 1972, explained in a press conference this morning:
[W]e seek to honor God by operating the company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles. The conflict for me is that our family is being forced to choose between following the laws of the country that we love or maintaining the religious beliefs that have made our business successful and have supported our family and thousands of our employees and their families.
Headquartered in Oklahoma City, Hobby Lobby has grown from one 300-square-foot garage to over 500 stores in 41 states employing more than 22,500 individuals. The Green family is not only committed to serving their customers and employees but also to investing in communities through partnerships with numerous Christian ministries.
The Green family’s company, which closes all its locations on Sundays, seeks to operate in accordance with Christian principles—including offering an employee health care plan that aligns with those values. Under the HHS mandate, however, Hobby Lobby will be forced to provide and pay for abortion-inducing drugs such as the “morning after” and “week after” pills, regardless of their religious or moral objections to doing so.
The mandate’s offensively narrow religious exemption doesn’t apply to a large number of religious organizations, let alone for-profit businesses. Like all for-profit employers, Hobby Lobby is also ineligible for the Obama Administration’s “temporary safe harbor” and will be subject to the HHS mandate at the beginning of its next health plan year on January 1, 2013.
Moreover, unless the Green family violates its deeply held beliefs and gets in line with the coercive government mandate, Hobby Lobby could face fines of up to $1.3 million per day.
“This nationwide litigation against this HHS mandate is a fight for religious freedom for all Americans,” explained Kyle Duncan, general counsel for the Becket Fund. “Today, [Hobby Lobby is] asking a federal court to defend their right to run their business as they always have in harmony with their Christian faith.… The government cannot fine any American, including business owners like the Greens, for refusing to violate their faith.”
Today’s lawsuit continues the widespread outcry by many organizations and businesses over the Obama Administration’s assault on religious liberty. Given the Administration’s continual refusal to adequately protect Americans’ religious freedom from the coercive HHS mandate, Hobby Lobby’s lawsuit today is unlikely to be the last.
Heritage’s Jennifer Marshall recently spoke about the threat to religious liberty posed by the HHS mandate on the Colson Center’s Two-Minute Warning. Listen to the segment here.