Religious liberty is front and center on the nation’s Thanksgiving table.
Last week, the Supreme Court agreed to hear Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. The family owned craft store company is intrepidly challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare’s abortion coverage mandate.
Hobby Lobby’s faithful owners deserve our thanks and praise as they defend freedom of conscience for all Americans.
The privately held retail chain’s story is the quintessential American Dream. Founder David Green started out making mini picture frames in his Oklahoma garage in 1970. He recruited his two sons, Mart and Steve, to pitch in at an early age.
The family’s first establishment took up a tiny 300 square feet of retail space. Hobby Lobby now runs nearly 600 stores across the country, employs 13,000 people and topped $2 billion in sales in 2009.
The Greens’ Christian faith is at the heart of how they do business. They are dedicated to integrity and service for their customers and their employees. The debt-free company commits to “honoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company in a manner consistent with biblical principles,” as well as “serving our employees and their families by establishing a work environment and company policies that build character, strengthen individuals and nurture families.”
The company donates more than 10 percent of its income every year to charity. All stores are closed on Sundays to allow employees more family and worship time.
It’s the company’s dedication to biblical principles that led Hobby Lobby in April to raise full-time employees’ starting minimum wage to $14 an hour at a time when many other firms have been forced to slash both wages and benefits.
“We believe that it is by God’s grace that Hobby Lobby has endured, and he has blessed us and our employees,” Green pointed out. “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.”
While countless businesses have been forced to drop health insurance for their shrinking workforces during the Age of Obama, Hobby Lobby headquarters opened an onsite comprehensive health care and wellness clinic in 2010 with no co-pays.
Hobby Lobby employees are covered under the company’s self-insured health plan, which brings us back to the company’s legal case.
Last September, Hobby Lobby sued the feds over Obamacare’s “preventive services” mandate, which forces the Christian-owned-and-operated business to provide, without co-pay, abortion-inducing drugs including the “morning after pill” and “week after pill” in their health insurance plan.
The company risked fines up to $1.3 million per day for defying the government’s coercive abridgment of their First Amendment rights.
As attorney Lori Windham said at the time: “Washington politicians cannot force families to abandon their faith just to earn a living. Every American, including family business owners like the Greens, should be free to live and do business according to their religious beliefs.”
This summer, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals exempted Hobby Lobby from the abortion mandate and allowed the business to avoid those crippling fines while pursuing its case. Now, the Supreme Court will decide whether Democratic Party pandering trumps bedrock constitutional principles.
Let’s pray the Supreme Court sees the light.
Michelle Malkin writes for Creators Syndicate. Her e-mail address is: