Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. has become the first non-Roman Catholic business to file lawsuit against the Obama Health and Human Services (HHS) Department since the Obamacare mandate, which declares companies provide sterilization, contraception and abortifacients in their health care plans, went into effect on August 1.
Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., a Christian-oriented hobby and craft store, filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday. The company is challenging a mandate in the nation’s healthcare law, dubbed “Obamacare”, that would require the Christian company to pay for the morning-after pill. The hobby and craft chain, based out of Oklahoma City, claims in the lawsuit that the government mandate is forcing them to “to violate their deeply held religious beliefs under threat of heavy fines, penalties and lawsuits”. If Hobby Lobby stores do not provide the drugs in their company health insurance plans, they could be fined up to $1.3 million a day. Hobby Lobby is self-insured. The company will be forced to comply with the mandate by Jan. 1, which is the start of its insurance year.
“By being required to make a choice between sacrificing our faith or paying millions of dollars in fines, we essentially must choose which poison pill to swallow,” Hobby Lobby CEO and founder, David Green, stated. “We simply cannot abandon our religious beliefs to comply with this mandate.”
Hobby Lobby was founded in 1972 and calls itself a “biblically founded business”. All stores in the chain, more than 500, are closed on Sundays. Mardel, Inc., another company of David Green’s, also joined in the lawsuit. Mardel, Inc. is a bookstore and education company with 35 stores that sells Christian-themed materials.
The lawsuit read, “The Green family’s religious beliefs forbid them from participating in, providing access to, paying for, training others to engage in, or otherwise supporting abortion-causing drugs and devices.”
According to the lawsuit, Hobby Lobby has always operated as a family business and provides health plans to employees through a self-insured policy.
In addition, the Greens pay their employees at least 80 percent above the minimum wage, give a portion of their profits to charity and close their stores on Sundays in accordance with their beliefs, according to the court document.
“Certain nonprofit religious organizations have been exempted from the mandate altogether, and others have been given extra time to comply with it. But the government refuses to give any accommodation whatsoever to families like the Greens, who simply want to run their businesses in accordance with their beliefs,” the lawsuit states.
Should the Greens decide to provide an insurance policy that excludes the services that violate their religious faith, they could be facing fines of up to $1.3 million per day, according to Baxter.
Their attorney, Eric Baxter, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, said, “The HHS mandate puts the Green family and Hobby Lobby in the position where they are facing millions of dollars of fines per day unless they violate their religious conscience.”
“And the government’s position throughout this has been that if you go into business, if you’re making a profit, you lose your religious freedom, your First Amendment rights. And that’s really outrageous,” said Baxter.
“This just reinforces that this is not just a Catholic issue,” Baxter continued. “There are many religious organizations — Christian and non-Christian — throughout our country that object to abortion. And even if they don’t object to preventive contraception like the Greens, they do object to contributing or paying for drugs that will induce an abortion.
“Not only that but whether you share those religious convictions or not, all people who love liberty should be concerned that the government is encroaching on First Amendment rights in this manner,” he said.
It is clear this is an over reach of the federal government despite what the Supreme Court has ruled. It is a clear violation of the First Amendment. However, If people would band together and stand up and not comply with the mandate, what could the federal government possibly do with millions of businesses not complying? Shut them down? Talk about social unrest. It would make the economic situation in our nation far worse than it is now.
May God bless the Greens and others who are fighting this infringement upon God given rights that their representatives swore an oath to God that they would defend in the Constitution.