It’s not often I will wade into controversial waters on my blog, but there’s an ongoing issue and a lawsuit recently heard by the Supreme Court involving Hobby Lobby a major chain of craft stores, and the owners’ opposition to the Affordable Care Act, that I wanted to share my opinion on.
Specifically, their opposition is to the mandate that health plans under the Affordable Care Act provide contraceptive coverage for their female employees. Hobby Lobby’s claim is that contraceptives go against their deeply held religious beliefs. They further claim that some of the contraceptives, specifically “Plan B” and “Ella”, actually cause abortions, which the owners oppose, and they should be exempt from providing that coverage just the same as religious institutions that employ people and provide health coverage are exempt.
My first issue with this is that Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. which owns and operates the Hobby Lobby stores, even though it may be privately held, is a for-profit corporation, not a religious institution. The owners may claim to be Christians, and they may even claim to operate their corporation based on their version of Christianity, but that doesn’t make their corporation a religious institution, nor does it make the corporation Christian. Corporations, whether for profit or not for profit, do not have religious beliefs. Corporations do not attend religious services. You won’t see one sitting in the pews at the church you attend. They don’t get baptized, receive communion, have a confirmation, or even pray. Corporations are legal entities, not people.
My second issue is that before the owners of Hobby Lobby began complaining about having to provide contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act, they actually provided coverage for contraceptives, including the ones they now oppose. That’s right; up until 2012 they provided coverage for the “Plan B” and “Ella” contraceptives that they now claim to so vehemently oppose. It seems to me that if the owners of Hobby Lobby were so concerned about operating their business according to their deeply held religious beliefs, someone would have done a little more homework on their health care plans to make sure they weren’t providing coverage for something that they opposed. They would have also done enough homework to figure out that the contraceptive drugs they previously didn’t oppose but now do, don’t actually cause abortions. But they haven’t. My guess is that their true opposition has less to do with what they are required by the ACA to provide coverage for, and more to do with the presidential administration that authored and implemented the ACA.
But wait, there’s more! The owners of Hobby Lobby claim a moral opposition to abortion and want to operate their corporation based on their deeply held religious beliefs. Take a walk though any Hobby Lobby store and take a good look at many of the items they sell. The number one source of merchandise in every Hobby store is China, a country where abortion is not only legal, but is offered as a state service, and is sometimes IMPOSED on its citizens! Yes, you read that correctly. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., supposedly operated under the same deeply held religious beliefs as its owners, which includes an opposition to abortion, does business with a nation that provides abortions as a state service, and sometimes imposes them on its citizens. Furthermore, Hobby Lobby is actually investing in the companies that manufacture the contraceptives that they previously provided coverage for, but now claim to oppose. Yes, Hobby Lobby is essentially funding the very thing they oppose. Looks like someone didn’t do their homework again!
The hypocrisy of Hobby Lobby isn’t limited to the issue of coverage for contraceptives either. Take a walk though any Hobby Lobby store and see if you can find any decor or craft items related to any non-Christian holidays. You won’t. They may as well post a sign at the door saying that if you’re not Christian, there’s nothing for you here. In fact, a Hobby Lobby store manager in New Jersey told a customer who asked why Hobby Lobby had no Hanukkah décor that We don’t cater to you people. Yet Hobby Lobby has no qualms about profiting from the sale of Lion Brand Yarn, a Jewish owned company.
It will be interesting to see how the Supreme Court decides on this nonsense of a case that has been brought before them. I have read that if the Supreme Court does not rule in their favor, David Green, the owner and CEO of Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., has vowed that he will close down all of the Hobby Lobby stores. You won’t see me shed any tears if that happens. The crafting community, including knitters, crocheters, and weavers, would be better off without the cheap crap that Hobby Lobby sells, and without contributing to Hobby Lobby’s funding of discrimination against gays and lesbians.
In the overview of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s “Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter” it is said that over 50 million people in America knit, and that the average knitter spends between $500 and $1700 a year on yarn. I can’t vouch for the accuracy of those numbers, and I won’t say what I spend in a year on yarn and fiber, mostly because I have never really kept track. If you crochet or weave as well as knit, that dollar figure is likely to be even higher. So if you care about where your crafting dollars go, please make every effort to buy local. Support your local, independently owned yarn shops, local dyers, fiber and yarn producers, and local fiber producing farms. Your local, independently owned art supply store will appreciate your business too. Don’t use your hard earned money to support the hypocrisy and frivolous lawsuits and waste of taxpayer money that Hobby Lobby is engaging in.