When my family and I started our company 40 years ago, we were working out of a garage on a $600 bank loan, as- sembling miniature pic- ture frames. Our first retail store wasn’t much bigger than most people’s living rooms, but we had faith that we would succeed if we lived and worked ac- cording to God‘s word. From there, Hobby Lob- by has become one of the nation’s largest arts and crafts retailers, with more than 500 lo- cations in 41 states. Our children grew up into fine business leaders, and today we run Hob- by Lobby together, as a family.
We’re Christians, and we run our busi- ness on Christian prin- ciples. I’ve always said that the first two goals of our business are (1) to run our business in harmony with God’s laws, and (2) to focus on people more than mon- ey. And that’s what we’ve tried to do. We close early so our em- ployees can see their families at night. We keep our stores closed on Sundays, one of the week’s biggest shopping days, so that our work- ers and their families can enjoy a day of rest. We believe that it is by God’s grace that Hobby Lobby has endured, and he has blessed us and our employees. We’ve not only added jobs in a weak economy, we’ve raised wages for the past four years in a row. Our full-time employees start at 80 percent above minimum wage.
But now, our govern- ment threatens to change all of that. A new government health care mandate says that our family business MUST provide what I believe are abortion- causing drugs as part of our health insurance. 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 mo- ment of conception, something that is con-
trary to our most im- portant beliefs. It goes against the Biblical principles on which we have run this company since day one. If we re- fuse to comply, we could face $1.3 million PER DAY in government fines.
Our government threatens to fine job creators in a bad econo- my. Our government threatens to fine a com- pany that’s raised wages four years run- ning. Our government threatens to fine a fami- ly for running its busi- ness according to its be- liefs. It’s not right. I know people will say we ought to follow the rules; that it’s the same for everybody. But that’s not true. The gov- ernment has exempted thousands of compa- nies from this mandate, for reasons of conven- ience or cost. But it won’t exempt them for reasons of religious be- lief.
So, Hobby Lobby – and my family – are forced to make a choice. With great reluctance, we filed a lawsuit today, represented by the Becket Fund for Reli- gious Liberty, asking a federal court to stop this mandate before it hurts our business. We don’t like to go running into court, but we no longer have a choice. We believe people are more important than the bottom line and that honoring God is more important than turning a profit.
My family has lived the American dream. We want to continue growing our company and providing great jobs for thousands of employees, but the gov- ernment is going to make that much more difficult. The govern- ment is forcing us to choose between follow- ing our faith and fol- lowing the law. I say that’s a choice no American – and no American business – should have to make.
CEO, founder of Hobby Lobby
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