Hobby Lobby and the Truth


Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Weekend Contributor

Unless you have been in a coma the last few weeks, you have probably heard of or read about the Hobby Lobby case recently argued in front of the United States Supreme Court.  Hobby Lobby is challenging a section of the Affordable Care Act that requires companies to provide medical insurance for their employees or pay a fine.  The mandate also requires the insurance to include coverage for contraception services.  Services that its owners claim violates their religious beliefs.

“…. the battle for its Christian identity was revived this week when lawyers for the company argued before the Supreme Court that the company should not have to comply with the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate. The issue, says Hobby Lobby co-founder Barbara Green, isn’t that the company wants to meddle with women’s rights to take contraceptive drugs. “We’re not trying to control that,” she said. “We’re just trying to control our participation in it.” ‘ Reader Supported News

Mrs. Green claims they are not trying to control their female employees use of contraceptives, but the network of causes that they are involved with seem to indicate that the Greens want to mix their religious views into everyone else’s business.

When you dig a little deeper, the facts indicate that the donations made by the Green family and their related businesses and executives, display an attempt to force their religious beliefs on others.

“But a document published here for the first time reveals Hobby Lobby appears to be going much further than protecting freedom, providing funding for a group that backs a political network of activist groups deeply engaged in pushing a Christian agenda into American law. The document shows entities related to the company to be two of the largest donors to the organization funding a right-wing Christian agenda, investing tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars into a vast network of organizations working in concert to advance an agenda that would allow businesses to discriminate against gays and lesbians and deny their employees contraceptives under a maximalist interpretation of the Free Exercise Clause of the United States Constitution.

That network of activist groups has succeeded in passing legislation in Arizona requiring women to undergo an ultrasound before an abortion, banning taxpayer-funded insurance paying for government employees’ abortions, defining marriage as a union between a man and woman, and funding abstinence education. And there’s evidence that its efforts go well beyond the borders of the Copper State.” Reader Supported News

The above efforts by Hobby Lobby and its owners seems to conflict with Mrs. Greens claim that they are not trying to meddle with women’s right to use contraceptives.  Just how deeply is Hobby Lobby involved in these organizations funding and assisting with these efforts to restrict other citizens of their freedoms?

“Hobby Lobby-related entities are some of the biggest sources of funding to the National Christian Charitable Foundation, which backed groups that collaborated in promoting the anti-gay legislation in Arizona – recently vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer – that critics say would have legalized discrimination against gays and lesbians by businesses.

The path of SB 1062 to the Arizona statehouse was built by two groups, the Center for Arizona Policy and the Alliance Defending Freedom. Center for Arizona Policy employees regularly spoke in favor of the legislation, appearing as the grass-roots face of a bill that the center’s president, Cathi Herrod, characterized as “[making] certain that governmental laws cannot force people to violate their faith unless it has a compelling governmental interest–a balancing of interests that has been in federal law since 1993,” according to a statement on the group’s website. (One hundred and twenty-three Center for Arizona Policy-supported measures have been signed into law; its legislative agenda ranges from requiring intrusive ultrasounds for women seeking abortions to HB 2281, a bill that, if passed by the Arizona Senate, would exempt religious institutions from paying property taxes on leased or rented property.)

For its part, the Alliance Defending Freedom, a national Christian organization based in Arizona, works toward the “spread of the Gospel by transforming the legal system and advocating for religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family,” according to the group’s website. Both groups are heavily funded by the National Christian Charitable Foundation, “the largest Christian grant-making foundation in the world,” as described on the group’s website. And who is the largest funder of National Christian Charitable? That would be a Hobby Lobby executive.” Reader Supported News

It would appear to this reader that Hobby Lobby does quite a bit more than just look after protecting what it considers its own religious rights.  Their donations and efforts are geared toward making their religious beliefs the law of the land.  They seem to think the Free Exercise Clause allows them to dictate how other people have to exercise their lives.  Just how much money has Hobby Lobby and its executives donated to the cause of transforming the legal system?

“In 2011, the National Christian Charitable Foundation contributed $9,606,281.88 of the Alliance Defending Freedom’s $36,379,373 grant revenue. That same year, the NCF contributed $236,250 of the Center for Arizona Policy’s $1,662,355 in grant revenue.

Overall, from 2002 to 2011 the NCF contributed $1,481,343 to the Center for Arizona Policy and $31,024,584.30 to the Alliance Defending Freedom.

Typically the trail would stop there. The National Christian Charitable Foundation appears to be one of the biggest, if not the biggest, single contributor to the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Center for Arizona Policy, but because the foundation is a massive-donor advised fund, its donors are shielded from public scrutiny.

However, a 2009 NCF tax filing, reported here for the first time, offers insights into the deep pockets backing National Christian Charitable Foundation.

The form, viewable here, shows a total of nearly $65 million in contributions coming from a combination of Jon Cargill, who is the CFO of Hobby Lobby, and “Craft Etc.,” an apparent misspelling of Crafts Etc., a Hobby Lobby affiliate company. The document shows that Hobby Lobby‑related contributions were the single largest source of tax-deductible donations to National Christian Charitable’s approximately $383.785 million in 2009 grant revenue.

According to addresses on the filing, both the contributions from Crafts Etc. and Jon Cargill came from a massive warehouse and office facility housing Hobby Lobby’s headquarters in Oklahoma City.” Reader Supported News

Notwithstanding Mrs. Greens earlier claims, Hobby Lobby seems to be deeply involved in the business of pushing their religious beliefs upon their employees and upon citizens in many states where laws have been introduced or passed at the behest of the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Center for Arizona Policy and the National Christian Charitable Foundation.  I wonder how Hobby Lobby would react if another business sued for the ability to subtract a percentage of its taxes on the grounds that their religion does not allow their tax money to be spent on any military expenses?

Is Hobby Lobby fibbing when they claim that they are merely trying to protect their own religious beliefs when they are sending millions of dollars to causes intent on making their religious beliefs the law of the land?  Hobby Lobby buys millions of products from China and other countries that have a variety of policies and laws that a good Christian would not agree with or which might violate their religious beliefs.  Shouldn’t Hobby Lobby boycott those countries products that are produced under slave like conditions, or in countries that have forced abortion laws?

What do you think?

“The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.”

692 thoughts on “Hobby Lobby and the Truth”

  1. Admiring the persistence you put into your blog and in depth information you present.

    It’s awesome to come across a blog every once in a while
    that isn’t the same outdated rehashed information. Fantastic read!
    I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google

  2. Paul – I agree. That is why I am concerned that now they will be even less likely to use them.

  3. Karen and Annie – it is my anecdotal experience that men will not use a condom unless absolutely necessary, this is from both men and women. My understanding (and I do not speak from experience) is that the feeling is different. When condoms are recommended as a solution to premature ejaculation, I think the point has been made.

    Although the fact that some now are flavored, come in colors and even glow in the dark might be a selling point to men. 😉

  4. Hi Annie:

    Thanks for the link. I’ve read the article before.

    Here are the problems that I have with the study:
    -A stated in the article, there was no comparison with a control group (!) It only compared behavior of participants before and after free contraceptives were given
    -As stated in the article, 16% did not participate in the follow up survey, who may have belonged to a higher risk group. That is a significant percentage.
    -As stated, participants were surveyed over the phone, which allows them anonymity, and might contribute to false answers. It did not take place in a clinic under controlled conditions.
    -This does not indicate if their male partners knew birth control were free to the participants. You have to study free contraceptives become widespread, for years, in a large study group or population, to make a determination of effect. My hypothesis is that men will be less willing to use a condom if they know that all women have access to free birth control. As time goes on, I assume that contraceptive use will increase, and knowledge of its no-copay status will spread. That will be beneficial for pharmaceutical companies, and may have a decrease in unplanned pregnancies for those women who would not have used a condom without them. I also expect more women will use contraceptives that would be contraindicated for them, such as smokers, because it is “free”. They pay the higher premiums whether or not they get free contraceptives, so they might as well use them. So I also suspect that we will see an increase in rates of side effects such as strokes.

    Please note that I do not oppose contraceptives. But, like condoms, they are not a panacea. Condoms may only protect against STDs 80% of the time, but contraceptives provide 0%. If we’re talking about healthcare, condoms are actually a healthier choice, with less side effects.

  5. Byron – the efficacy of condoms is typically 70-80%, depending on the study. The failure rates are attributed to causes including improper use and breakage.

    You are correct, they are not 100%. Disregarding morality or religion completely, there is biologically a risk in engaging with multiple partners, or with a partner whose status is unknown.

Comments are closed.