Hobby Lobby Investment Angers Liberals Anew

Hobby Lobby

Days after the June 30 Supreme Court decision ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby’s right to religious freedom, which angered liberals nationwide, news about its investments were publicized on social media. The court judgment was based on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which protects against “substantial burden on a person’s exercise of religion,” as well as the First Amendment’s free exercise clause, which guarantees that employers have the right to break laws that they claim violate their religious beliefs.

Hobby Lobby, the arts-and-crafts empire, sued the Obama Administration via the U.S. Supreme Court to seek a reprieve from having to provide contraceptive benefits required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). And, they won. The case was widely publicized, as it represented a landmark decision on the rights of corporations and it extended personal religious protection toward a corporation.

In fact, it subsequently voted in support of several corporations. After its 5-4 decision that companies held by a small number of individuals could determine whether or not to include birth control for their employees, it expanded that judgment. The Court ruled in favor of six other pending cases related to employers’ religious objections towards Obamacare. Privately held companies can, based on their religious beliefs, refuse to cover their employees for birth control needs.

However, the news story of Hobby Lobby’s investments was originally published three months before the Supreme Court ruling of June 30. This means that the data contained in the report, as uncovered by Mother Jones magazine, could have been used as testimony in the decision. The evidence was not merely circumstantial.

Molly Redden of Mother Jones learned through her research that in December 2012 Hobby Lobby filed their Annual Report of Employee Benefit Plan with the Department of Labor, showing that the company had more than $73 million in mutual funds.

Hobby Lobby matched funds for their employees’ 401K retirement plan. Their investments were in pharmaceutical companies that manufacture intrauterine devices (IUDs), drugs used for abortion, and emergency contraceptive pills.

Hobby Lobby
A boycott against Hobby Lobby was started on Facebook on April 1st

In early April a boycott against Hobby Lobby was begun on Facebook, with over 17,000 likes and nearly that many angry comments from liberals across the country, due to the then uncovered investment scandal. To exacerbate the situation, identified in the brief that Hobby Lobby submitted to the Court to support their case, are the same contraceptive products that are manufactured by the pharmaceutical companies that the Plaintiffs say violate their religious beliefs.

These include four companies that manufacture products preventing a fertilized egg from implanting in a woman’s uterus – Plan B, Ella, and IUDs. These are the same products that the company owners, the Green family, say produce results tantamount to abortion.

According to the Mother Jones April 2014 report, Hobby Lobby did know what the companies they invested in manufacture. It is their obligation to know this. These investments comprise three-quarters of the Plaintiff’s retirement assets. Moreover, they could have opted for investment in mutual funds that cater to objection on religious grounds. There are investment management firms that specifically screen out stocks that might be considered morally objectionable on religious grounds.

Hobby Lobby employs thousands of people and owns over 600 stores across the U.S. The company is listed in Forbes and Fortune’s list of America’s largest private companies, and their owners, the Green family, are billionaires. Their website has a statement that they “believe that it is God’s grace and provision that Hobby Lobby has endured” since its inception in 1970. The Green family attends a Baptist church in Oklahoma, where the company was founded.

Hobby LobbyThe decision that extended a personal religious Act to corporations and subjects employees to the religious beliefs of their employers raised fury across the nation. That Hobby Lobby invested in the very companies that manufacture devices that it sued the U.S. government over, angered liberals three months before the Supreme Court decision. That rage has been fueled anew nationwide by the apparent hypocrisy inherent in the case.

Opinion by Fern Remedi-Brown

Sources:
Forbes Opinion
Hobby Lobby website
Fox 31 Denver
WBUR
Facebook
Los Angeles Times, Business
Slate

9 Responses to "Hobby Lobby Investment Angers Liberals Anew"

  1. Art   July 18, 2014 at 11:18 am

    Men decided roe vs wade. You want that overturned? Is that ok?

    Reply
  2. Spiff Richman   July 6, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    How about having the people that work for HL sign a pledge not to buy what HL will
    not cover. _After all HL is paying them and should have a say as how the their money
    is to be used.

    Reply
  3. Fern Remedi-Brown   July 5, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    Waddsworth,

    The connection is not that the two acts are equivalent, but where are the limits on behavior against others? If decisions such as whether an employer pays for a necessary part of a woman’s health care are at the whim of judges (who decided by a slim margin in their 5-4 decision), where does it stop? The next step is that employers are suing to allow discrimination against gays and lesbians. Is that o.k.? Of course not. Rules are set, yes. But are they equitably set? And, by whose standards? The majority rule has usually been stacked against minorities, women, gays, the poor, the infirm, the elderly – disenfranchised, in other words. Is that justifiable? I think only in the eyes of a bully would it be so.

    Fern

    Fern Remedi-Brown,
    [email protected]
    Las Vegas Guardian Liberty Voice News
    http://guardianlv.com

    Reply
  4. Fern Remedi-Brown   July 5, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    To which I say amen, Tabitha! And, now LGBT folks are next… Gordon College stands with Jews on the Holocaust day of Remembrance, Yom HaShoah, every year.

    Gordon College leader joins request for exemption to hiring rule:
    Bias on sexual orientation at issue, http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/07/03/gordon-college-president-signs-letter-asking-for-religious-exemption-from-order-banning-anti-gay-discrimination/79cgrbFOuUg7lxH2rKXOgO/story.html

    Gordon College is a women’s college. How could they not see the parallels for women, and for LGBT people? What can be trusted?

    Reply
  5. waddsworth   July 5, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    Tabitha Farrar, the fact that you think not paying for something for somebody else is akin to killing a person speaks volumes. If you want to talk about rules, consider this: The government has rules that they have to follow. In trying to force business owners to pay for something they had a moral objection to, the government broke the rules. That’s what the ruling says. Hobby Lobby was in the right, and it was the government that needed to GTFO.

    Reply
    • Tabitha   July 5, 2014 at 9:28 pm

      Like Fern said, you totally missed the point that I was making, which was not equivalence.

      What if a business owner has a moral objection to the minimum wage?Is that a closer example? Is that ok?

      People can have opinions, people can have moral objections, not corporations.
      Why are Hobby Lobby not opposed to paying for viagra? Corporations should not be able to pick and choose what they do and do not object to when it comes to employees healthcare, especially when it appears that they only seem to object to women having sex.

      Reply
  6. Fern Remedi-Brown   July 5, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    Tom,

    According to the venerable Rick Ungar, Hobby Lobby Invested In Numerous Abortion And Contraception Products While Claiming Religious Objection, April 1, 2014, Forbes Opinion, http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2014/04/01/hobby-lobby-401k-discovered-to-be-investor-in-numerous-abortion-and-contraception-products-while-claiming-religious-objection/:

    “Not only does Hobby Lobby have an obligation to know what their sponsored 401(k) is investing in for the benefit of their employees, it turns out that there are ample opportunities for the retirement fund to invest in mutual funds that are specifically screened to avoid any religiously offensive products.

    “To avoid supporting companies that manufacture abortion drugs—or products such as alcohol or pornography—religious investors can turn to a cottage industry of mutual funds that screen out stocks that religious people might consider morally objectionable. The Timothy Plan and the Ave Maria Fund, for example, screen for companies that manufacture abortion drugs, support Planned Parenthood, or engage in embryonic stem cell research.

    “Apparently, Hobby Lobby was either not aware that these options existed (kind of hard to believe for a company willing to take a case to the Supreme Court over their religious beliefs) or simply didn’t care.”

    This opinion is corroborated by Fox News: Hobby Lobby 401K plan invests in firms that make contraceptives, July 1, 2014, Fox 31 Denver, http://kdvr.com/2014/07/01/hobby-lobby-401k-plan-invests-in-firms-that-make-contraceptives/

    Fern

    ​Fern Remedi-Brown,
    [email protected]
    Las Vegas Guardian Liberty Voice News
    http://guardianlv.com

    Reply
  7. Tom   July 5, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    This such a dumb argument when this author talks about the investments. Basically a third-party(the mutual funds) picked what to invest in and apparently Finacial manager of Hobby Lobby didn’t know that you can screen the companies your mutual funds will invest on. Obviously, Hobby Lobby didn’t Intend to invest in those companies. The author’s desperation for trying to make any get any negative in this case is incredible.

    Reply
  8. Tabitha Farrar   July 5, 2014 at 10:26 am

    It the hypocrisy of the whole situation that gets me the most. Granted its a horrible case of men making decisions that effect women, but what really makes me grind my teeth about this is the fact that corporation has been allowed to break the rules. Especially that it has been allowed to do so on religious grounds. What if my religion tells me that all others not following my religion should be killed? Can I break the rules then? That ok? Religion needs to take a back seat in the business world, if you want to run a business and you don’t like the rules then GTFO. Pretty simple, governments make rules for a reason, if corporations are allowed not to abide by them we have a problem.

    Reply

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