Hobby Lobby & The No Good, Very Bad Adjective – in Five Points

Christian Phone BookSCOTUS’ ruling yesterday in favor of Hobby Lobby moved many people of faith to declare their intention to never again buy their scrap-booking supplies at the national craft chain. And then there are other people of faith who will intentionally spend their money at Hobby Lobby when they haven’t before.

We people of faith often make our purchasing decisions according to what we privately support/don’t support in hopes of making a small difference. For example:

  • I shop at Costco because they are good to their employees in terms of minimum salaries and benefits. As a follower of Jesus, I believe that this is the way businesses should treat their workers.
  • I buy Aveda products because they have a good environmental record. As a follower of Jesus, I believe that we are called to be good stewards of the earth.
  • I eat Ben and Jerry’s ice cream because their economic policies were developed to keep the pay ratio between the highest salaried executive and lowest earning worker to be no greater than 5 to 1. As a follower of Jesus, I believe that he said more about greed than most other things and I want to reward business leaders who are not greedy.

Nevertheless, the truth is that:

  • Costco is routinely criticized for packaging their items in environmentally-unfriendly paper and plastic, and their big box stores with big box items require a car/personal 18-wheeler to get the stuff home. There are no bike racks outside Costco for a reason.
  • Aveda is now owned by Estee Lauder which refuses to refrain from using cancer-causing ingredients from their products according to this article.
  • Ben and Jerry’s is now owned by Unilever and their salary guidelines currently resemble most other corporate models.

My own denomination – which also does not invest in tobacco and alcohol companies for spiritual reasons – famously voted recently at General Assembly to divest funds from Caterpillar Inc., Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions because of the products they make which are used in Israel-Palestine for “non-peaceful pursuits.” As a follower of Jesus, I believe that – while Israelis are understandably concerned about their security – Palestinians are mistreated to the point that it looks like apartheid to many.

On the other hand, my denomination continues to invest in Coca-Cola which has been accused of human rights violations in Columbia and other nations.

My point is that no one is pure.

We may try to follow Jesus in our buying patterns and in our daily consumption, but the world is complicated and we can’t possibly keep up with all policies and corporate purchases.

Secondly, followers of Jesus disagree.

The Green family who own and run Hobby Lobby are Assemblies of God Christians. They give millions of dollars away to organizations that support their theology and this is their right and their calling. But other Christians disagree with them. And this is also our right and our calling.

Thirdly, there is no such thing as a Christian business. In many communities in the United States, there are Christian Yellow Pages which list Christian Florists, Christian Dentists, Christian Manicurists, and Christian Housepainters. Presumbly there are no Christian Bartenders or Christian Marijuana Farmers (in Colorado) included. But in real life there actually are Christian Bartenders and Christian Marijuana Farmers and Christian Planned Parenthood Nurses and Christian Weapons Dealers.

My fourth point: we all fall short of the glory of God.

My fifth point: “Christian” is a terrible adjective. To say that Hobby Lobby is a Christian company is confusing and unhelpful in terms of sharing the gospel.

My hope is that we will allow each other the personal freedom to express our faith the way we choose.

Image from “The Christian Business Phone Book.”

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10 responses to “Hobby Lobby & The No Good, Very Bad Adjective – in Five Points

  1. Pingback: This Week’s Links « Timothy Siburg

  2. Very helpful post! Thank you!

  3. good and humbling reminders, thanks!

  4. Hansen Wendlandt

    While I agree wholeheartedly with your point about the absurdity of “Christian” businesses, your small presumption is wrong. I do in fact know a medical marijuana farmer in Colorado who firmly understands his business as an expression of his Christian faith. He grows strains specifically for cancer patients, in organic soil, without sourcing it to recreational shops. I’m not sure if he tithes 10% of his ‘first fruits’, but if we were to consider what business practices or services that various industries and companies provide, his farm and commitments to it, seem far, far more consistent with anything or everything Jesus said, than whatever Hobby Lobby does to sell cheap crap and hold their employees in distraught servitude. Thanks for all you do, Jan!

  5. There have been so many lies and misinformation about Hobby Lobby. First of all, they pay their employees an average of $14.00 an hour, which is almost double the Federal minimum wage. They pay their part-time employees $9.50 an hour. They start their employees at pay that is at least 10% higher than other similar companies. The job satisfaction rate among employees is one of the highest. That is hardly distraught servitude or slave wages.

    Second, they cover 16 out of 20 contraceptions for their employees, another fact some choose to ignore.

    http://youngcons.com/when-you-find-out-how-much-hobby-lobby-pays-their-employs-tell-every-liberal-you-know/

    http://www.christianpost.com/news/hobby-lobby-raises-minimum-wage-to-14-for-full-time-employees-94233/

    • Something else that is not being reported. The basis for the Supreme Court Decision was the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). This act was unanimously supported by the Democrats in Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

    • They have some good qualities, granted, but the lawsuit was based on their religious belief that Plan B and Ella pills along with IUD contraceptives , caused abortions. Both pills prevent ovulation where the egg cannot be fertilized and the IUDs prevent the sperm from reaching the egg…..thus there CANNOT be anything to abort, because the egg is never fertilized.

    • Danny Robbins This was just a back door way of going after the ACA, which is going to result in women losing rights and opens the door for other religious beliefs to be used as a weapon. Notice they are not stopping to pay for vasectomies or Viagra….a man’s choice.

  6. Pingback: Peace, Love and Divestment? | pollytone1

  7. Back to the original Article, It’s important to note that Yes, ALL have sinned and come short, However, It Behooves us to be good stewards of our money. Galatians 6:10 tells us that “Whenever possible do good to all people, but especially to those in the family of faith.” We all have choices where we spend our money but keep in mind where that money goes. I would much rather support a business that I know that money is going back to serving the Lord, through tithes, offerings, missions, Christian families, Christian lifestyles, etc. As opposed to supporting a business you don’t have any idea what they practice. You could be supporting a habit, an addiction, a lifestyle contrary to your spiritual beliefs. By saying I will not use a directory like that or not support Hobby Lobby is like saying I refuse to go to church because there are hypocrites. Yes there are Christian run businesses that are out of the ordinary. For instance the directory you note actually has a Bail Bondsman in it. You go ahead and take your chances who you support. No one is casting stones, it’s just important to seek out those of like faith and support them. As for me and my house, we sill serve the Lord and support as many Christian businesses as we can.

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