To remain true to its faith...
December 28, 2012 7:15 AM   Subscribe

Hobby Lobby, a craft store with 525 U.S. locations, has announced that it will defy a federal mandate to provide health coverage for all employees that includes emergency contraceptive coverage, and will pay a fine of $1.3 million every day.

On Wednesday, Justice Sotomayor denied the company's request for an emergency injunction to block the portion of the Affordable Care Act that requires employee health-care plans to provide insurance coverage for the morning-after pill and similar emergency contraception pills.

An attorney for Hobby Lobby, whose lawsuit claims that the mandate violates the religious beliefs of their owners, has stated that Hobby Lobby doesn't intend to offer its employees insurance that would cover the drug while its lawsuit is pending.
posted by roomthreeseventeen (389 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow, those arts and crafts stores must be rolling in the money.
posted by JHarris at 7:17 AM on December 28, 2012 [28 favorites]


what a weird, weird thing to take a principled stand on. really, seriously, incomprehensibly weird. out of all the serious issues affecting contemporary society, you pick this one. that's just bizarre.
posted by facetious at 7:20 AM on December 28, 2012 [100 favorites]


Cheap yarn or no, this is one company I remain happy to warn people away from.

About those religious beliefs: they're sanctimonious about closing on Sundays and post signs on their doors about how they're giving their employees time to spend with their families. However, I've got it on good authority from a store employee that they're still required to come in to do inventory on Sundays.
posted by asperity at 7:21 AM on December 28, 2012 [162 favorites]


All because of contraception. Which almost all women use at some point in their lives.

I hope their new hobby is going bankrupt, fast.
posted by agregoli at 7:22 AM on December 28, 2012 [57 favorites]


Man I wish I was the type of person who might ever conceivably shop at a Hobby Lobby so that I could vow never to shop there again in protest of this bullshit, but as I am never going to be in the market for (what do they sell? Yarn right? I think yarn.) yarn I am just going to have to sit here and impotently fume. So a normal day pretty much.
posted by ND¢ at 7:22 AM on December 28, 2012 [15 favorites]


No kidding on the Lobby part. What I find suspect is that companies can represent one faith and get the same sympathy as an individual. Arguably, then, their faith includes anything that allows their faith to rule the world.
posted by Brian B. at 7:23 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, good for them, I guess. Civil disobedience and all. Compliance would have been cheaper.

Shitty thing to do to employees who might like to take advantage of the expanded health care offering, however.
posted by notyou at 7:23 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


A 1.3 million dollar fine, per day, combined with a boycott and some fierce competition from other hobby big-box stores as well as a thriving mom'n'pop shop presence. This is a self-correcting problem.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:23 AM on December 28, 2012 [112 favorites]


Wow. I bought from the folks last year. Never again, knowing this.
posted by parki at 7:24 AM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


The closing on Sundays thing bothers me so much, with them and Chik-Fil-A too. Read the PDF of that lawsuit to see how sanctimonious they are about it, what a great thing they do for their employees by closing on Sundays. You can bet your ass they don't let Jewish employees have Saturdays off.
posted by jbickers at 7:24 AM on December 28, 2012 [87 favorites]


Yeah, I'd stop shopping there, but to do that, I'd have to start shopping there. So my negative opinion is completely irrelevant to them.

My mother's, however, may not be.
posted by Malor at 7:24 AM on December 28, 2012


... a fine of $1.3 million every day.
Lololololol.
posted by Evernix at 7:24 AM on December 28, 2012


whew, the single hobby place by me is Hobbytown USA, not Hobby Lobby.
posted by DU at 7:24 AM on December 28, 2012


well, presumably they will get it back if and when they prevail. Since their revenues in 2011 were $2.8 billion, they can probably afford to pay the fine until this case inevitably reaches the Supreme Court.

It actually presents an interesting question. Given that the government has no right to impinge on the religious practices of some organizations, e.g., the Native American church, the question is whether Hobby Lobby qualifies for the same treatment. (It is, after all, a privately-held corporation).

My money is on the Supremes telling Hobby Lobby to either provide the contraceptives or not provide any health insurance at all. (But aren't employers now required to provide it by the ACA?).

One more reason Obama should have had the balls to propose single-payer instead of rolling over for the Republicans.
posted by anewnadir at 7:25 AM on December 28, 2012 [11 favorites]


Isn't paying a fine to a government that institutes such a mandate just as much a violation of the owners' religious beliefs as paying an insurance company that pays for contraceptives?


Do people really need to be reminded about how living in a democratic society works?
posted by pokermonk at 7:26 AM on December 28, 2012 [10 favorites]


OK, so moral dilemma: I've been boycotting for years (and I actually do spend a fair bit of money with their competitors) but if this ridiculous showdown results in store closures, would it be acceptable to buy from them at going-out-of-business sales? I figure that'll just help the liquidator rather than them.
posted by asperity at 7:26 AM on December 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


However, I've got it on good authority from a store employee that they're still required to come in to do inventory on Sundays.

Sounds like a great tip for local TV news.
posted by grouse at 7:26 AM on December 28, 2012 [33 favorites]


Well, I used to buy clay there.
posted by the_artificer at 7:27 AM on December 28, 2012


Hobby Lobby is fighting the $1.3 million fine, and has not chosen to pay it as implied by the wording of the FPP. This news is a bit thin, as it only concerns denial of an injunction request.
posted by Ardiril at 7:27 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry to say I've shopped at several of their locations. They have really inexpensive picture framing.
posted by hyperizer at 7:27 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've always felt vaguely threatened by the idea of Big Hobby and its lobbying powers.
posted by quiet coyote at 7:28 AM on December 28, 2012 [41 favorites]


Hobby Lobby is like Michael's on thorazine. The noisome fake cinnamon pot pourri at HL is probably to mask the smell of leakers.
posted by scruss at 7:29 AM on December 28, 2012 [9 favorites]


Basically, this argument comes down to, "it's our money, and we want to use it to deprive our employees of their religious freedom, as an exercise of OUR religious freedom."

They should extend the coverage to every employee, and then do what everyone else has to do in this society, try to convince their employees not to use it. Otherwise, they are using their position of power to violate their employees' right to be whatever religion, and choose whatever set of morals, they wish.

Obviously, that's the point. This isn't about religious freedom, it's about religious control. Their right to control is more important then their employees' right to be free.

The Federal government should use that $1.3 million/day to buy insurance riders for all Hobby Lobby employees.
posted by Malor at 7:30 AM on December 28, 2012 [108 favorites]


God, between this and Chik-fil-A, this has been the easiest boycott season in years!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:30 AM on December 28, 2012 [13 favorites]


And you know what? Fuck you too, Hobby Lobby.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 7:31 AM on December 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


facetious: what a weird, weird thing to take a principled stand on. really, seriously, incomprehensibly weird. out of all the serious issues affecting contemporary society, you pick this one. that's just bizarre.

I saw a stand-up comic once that had a bit about gay marriage in the US and how he's actually happy that's an issue we can get all mad about. He continued by explaining that people in other areas of the world are dying on a daily basis by getting eaten by a Lion or stepping on a land-mine, but here we've got nothing like that to fight over so we've moved down the path to fight about gay marriage.
posted by zombieApoc at 7:31 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


This argument makes no sense.

Do they refuse to pay state taxes, because some states provide same sex partner benefits to their employees?

Do they refuse to pay federal taxes because of the funds that go to fun NEA projects that undoubtedly impugn their religious beliefs?
posted by DigDoug at 7:31 AM on December 28, 2012 [9 favorites]


Is making babies (a) a hobby (b) a duty (c) an accident?
posted by Postroad at 7:32 AM on December 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


As a person who believes business owners should be free to choose what benefits they provide their employees, my first reaction was, "Crap, now I have to take up scrapbooking." Fortunately my daughter frequently needs crafty things for her school classes so I'm covered.
posted by Infinity_8 at 7:33 AM on December 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Hobby Lobby, like so many corporations today, are operating under the mistaken assumption that they own their employees, body and soul.
posted by smirkette at 7:33 AM on December 28, 2012 [82 favorites]


So we finally see anti-contraceptive attitudes as the political hobby horse they are!
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:34 AM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Do they refuse to pay state taxes, because states provide same sex benefits to their employees?

I think it's worse than that, actually, because paying the state tax at least comes out of the company's general ledger. Refusing to cover health insurance premiums for your employees is a form of denying your employees' wages. It's like saying 'We respect our employees' freedom of religion, and thus dictate to them what they are allowed to spend their paycheck on.'
posted by shakespeherian at 7:35 AM on December 28, 2012 [25 favorites]


Suppose you have a Christian Scientist employer. Should they have the right to deny you any health coverage other than prayer?
posted by thelonius at 7:35 AM on December 28, 2012 [89 favorites]


It's like saying 'We respect our employees' freedom of religion, and thus dictate to them what they are allowed to spend their paycheck on.'

Well, presumably they would just deduct from wages whatever their employees spent on forbidden activities like Judaism or swearing like a sailor.
posted by ennui.bz at 7:38 AM on December 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


As a person who believes business owners should be free to choose what benefits they provide their employees

Yeah! The government mandating all those silly safety regulations and lunch breaks and making it so you can't refuse to hire people because they're black or female are clearly over stepping here!
posted by DigDoug at 7:39 AM on December 28, 2012 [152 favorites]


This is only funny/snarky/boycotty until the minimum wage-esque jobs and working hours qualifying jobs all become reformatted so that none or few of the employees are required to be insured.

A better solution would to have the (damned! Damned!) pill reclassed as an OTC at Wal-greens, etc; and combined with a good slogan; say "Move On", or "Forward"; leave the pithy behind. Both parties would be able to abort the current issue that has been conceived. Brillian!t.
posted by buzzman at 7:40 AM on December 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


From Wikipedia: Stores do not use a barcode system and therefore rely on the hand pricing and ordering of items. The website states they ″ continue to look at and review the option of scanning at the registers but do not feel it is right for us at this time.″

*facepalm*
posted by Sys Rq at 7:41 AM on December 28, 2012 [13 favorites]


f— those guys. we'll go somewhere else for our already-broken framing.
posted by jepler at 7:41 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have some sympathy to the argument that a business owner should be free to choose the benefits it offers, but think about the diversity of viewpoints and just how arbitrary that could become. Your Jehovah's Witness boss not recognizing Thanksgiving, or your Scientologist boss refusing to provide for psychiatric care or medication, or your evangelical Christian boss refusing to provide your partner with benefits, or your Christian Scientist boss requiring prayer as a first course of treatment before allowing you to go to the hospital.
posted by AgentRocket at 7:42 AM on December 28, 2012 [43 favorites]


This is the key part.......
In ruling against the companies last month, U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton said churches and other religious organizations have been granted constitutional protection from the birth-control provisions but that "Hobby Lobby and Mardel are not religious organizations."

I have no doubt that these same Obamacare naysayers are also the first in line at the Constitution Forever rallies. Again, conservative hypocrisy rears its large, voluminous head.

Part of me wants to see HL die off, but a far larger part of me wants to see them have a Come To Jesus Moment and abide by the law so the employees can keep their jobs and receive the benefits of the law.
posted by lampshade at 7:42 AM on December 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


If we assume their operating margin is around 5% (which is the case for roughly similar-sized retail chains like Big 5 Sporting Goods), then $2.8B/year in revenue means net income of around $140M/year, or $0.38M/day. So they will quite likely be losing money over any period for which they end up paying the $1.3M/day fine.
posted by mbrubeck at 7:43 AM on December 28, 2012 [18 favorites]


It actually presents an interesting question. Given that the government has no right to impinge on the religious practices of some organizations, e.g., the Native American church...

I don't think this is quite true. Suppose my religion calls for human sacrifice. Does the government have the right to stop that practice? Of course it does.
posted by NoMich at 7:43 AM on December 28, 2012 [4 favorites]



They can afford 1.3 million dollars per day on this quixotic moronitude ?

Apparently, their taxes are too low.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:43 AM on December 28, 2012 [61 favorites]


My aunt's house in Texas is like walking into a professionally decorated model home, but admittly warmer and comfy. A few years ago I made some jokes about it just being that way when we were there for the holidays, but she said no, "I get everything at Hobby Lobby!" So the next day my SO and I made a trip into town to see this place. I was kind of amazed. So much stuff. I didn't liken it to Michaels on thorazine as Michaels on steroids. Major steroids. We bought a couple of smallish things because we had flown into town and left.

Fast forward to last year when I discovered a Hobby Lobby had opened here in NorCal. I made trip to it and immediately noticed things I hadn't noticed during my first visit. Signs with religious passages. Crosses. And everything was made in China. Like every single item.

It was like some wierd pulling back of the curtain. And this I think was before they started complaining about ACA. Haven't been back since.
posted by Big_B at 7:44 AM on December 28, 2012 [12 favorites]


I actually respect the rights of each of the hypothetical bosses AgentRocket makes example of.

I also wouldn't work for any of them.
posted by MoTLD at 7:46 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Contrary to the belief of my loudest followers, I do not have much on an opinion on political matters. However, it does seem like restricting birth control does more to hurt those who might need it. And I know I talked a lot more about about helping those who need it than I did birth control. Or sex at all, now that I think about it. And speaking of helping those in need, it does seem like $1.3 million dollars a day could help a lot of people in ways I did actually talk about.

Wait, what's this about Hobby Lobby actually making employees work on Sunday even though the stores are famously closed for the Sabbath? I didn't know about that one. Sure, Dad's omniscient but we've got more important things to focus on. But now that you've mentioned it - what's up with those signs and crosses? I know I was clear on that one. Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.' Ring any bells?

In conclusion, I try not to get involved in your political struggles, but when it comes to Hobby Lobby, I've only got on thing to say: Me, what an asshole." --

Jesus
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:46 AM on December 28, 2012 [34 favorites]


My money is on the Supremes telling Hobby Lobby to either provide the contraceptives or not provide any health insurance at all. (But aren't employers now required to provide it by the ACA?).

Make all employees part time on 30 hours a week and strip all healthcare from them.

One more reason Obama should have had the balls to propose single-payer instead of rolling over for the Republicans.

Oh how quick we forget. The dems had house, 60 votes in the senate and the presidency. They rolled over to the Blue Dogs not Republicans. Republicans were going to vote no no matter what healthcare was put on the table.
posted by Talez at 7:46 AM on December 28, 2012 [23 favorites]


As a person who believes business owners should be free to choose what benefits they provide their employees, my first reaction was, "Crap, now I have to take up scrapbooking."

Yeah! Stick it to the man! Because owning a business means you are above the law, and paying someone a salary means you can exploit them at will! Hell, they're lucky you're giving them benefits at all!

As a business owner who knows how hard it is to attract and retain good talent, I say "hahahaha good luck with that."
posted by snickerdoodle at 7:46 AM on December 28, 2012 [74 favorites]


Fascinating: Hobby Lobby has their own branded Visa card, issued by US Bank. Which puts them in clear violation of dozens of Biblical edicts.
posted by jbickers at 7:47 AM on December 28, 2012 [90 favorites]


When would fines start kicking in? I predict when push comes to shove, they'll quietly back down before they would start being fined.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:49 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


TPS, Tuesday.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:50 AM on December 28, 2012


mbrubeck: "If we assume their operating margin is around 5% (which is the case for roughly similar-sized retail chains like Big 5 Sporting Goods), then $2.8B/year in revenue means net income of around $140M/year, or $0.38M/day. So they will quite likely be losing money over any period for which they end up paying the $1.3M/day fine."

semi serious question: could they then write off these losses on their taxes?
posted by ArgentCorvid at 7:50 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I actually respect the rights of each of the hypothetical bosses AgentRocket makes example of.

I also wouldn't work for any of them.


How nice for you to be able to afford to shop around for employment.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:51 AM on December 28, 2012 [72 favorites]


Someone should make a website that lists (in a searchable database) as many items as possible in their inventory along with item by item links to the lowest priced online source for each item. Just saying.

Like Google shopping, but very specifically targeting all the best selling items in their inventory.

Use the devious power of online commerce over brick and mortar commerce for good. After all, these big boxes took out the mom and pop stores, and the web provided many small businesses with a new platform (such as Etsy or Amazon marketplace). Now that Amazon has given up on fighting state and local taxes, the arguments start to decline (if there were any) that there is some moral virtue in operating a storefront versus a website.

So concerned consumers could do a lot here even if they never shop at Hobby Lobby. Help their competition.

It's like a different kind of boycott. Could definitely be crowdsourced on social media.
posted by spitbull at 7:51 AM on December 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


Make all employees part time on 30 hours a week and strip all healthcare from them.

Having been in the position of having a shitty full time job with meager benefits and a crappy part time job with none - the main advantage is that at least with a part time job, you'll have time to find another job.

And stripping them of healthcare sucks, but really - why should employers be providing it anyway ? The sooner that nonsense stops, the better.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:51 AM on December 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


If Forbes is correct, and they have 21,000 employees, that $1.3 million/day fine works out to $61.90 per employee per day, which is in all likelihood more than most of their employees actually earn in wages. (Wikipedia says 18,000 employees, which works out to $72.22 per employee per day)

Basically, they're saying "Our right to screw you is worth more to us than the entire sum of what you make for a living."

Fuck these people. There is nothing Christian about this at all.
posted by schmod at 7:52 AM on December 28, 2012 [127 favorites]


I have some sympathy to the argument that a business owner should be free to choose the benefits it offers, but think about the diversity of viewpoints and just how arbitrary that could become.

How about your Jehovah's Witness bible student boss who refuses to pay for any health insurance that might cover a procedure which could require a blood transfusion?
posted by ennui.bz at 7:52 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


As a person who believes business owners should be free to choose what benefits they provide their employees, my first reaction was, "Crap, now I have to take up scrapbooking."

This is not how modern society functions. It's literally a fairy-tale understanding of the world.
posted by odinsdream at 7:53 AM on December 28, 2012 [53 favorites]


Michael's is owned in large part by Bain capital. We can't win this battle without a revolution.

Think local, buy local. Or something like that.
posted by Yowser at 7:53 AM on December 28, 2012 [12 favorites]


Any time I hear some business owner whining about Obamacare, I'm reminded of this pretty excellent 8 minutes or so of The Daily Show. (There's a transcript of the big relevant part on this page, if you scroll down below the two embedded videos.) [apologies to those outside the permitted viewing area for those videos]
posted by hippybear at 7:53 AM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


semi serious question: could they then write off these losses on their taxes?

No. You can only write off any fine or penalty that's not paid directly to the government. Since this would be paid entirely to the government they would not be entitled to any tax write off.
posted by Talez at 7:54 AM on December 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


"Hi, I'd like to buy some hobby supplies for an ad-hoc sex-positive mural installation outside your store. What paint do you have that's closest in color to a condom?"
posted by zippy at 7:54 AM on December 28, 2012 [15 favorites]


This just in: Hobby Lobby Becomes "Church Of The Holy Yarnball".
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:54 AM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Think local, buy local. Or something like that.

Etsy.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:54 AM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


I sort of hope they stick to their guns, pay the $1.3m/day fine, and whoever is collecting that fine funnel it directly into the local Planned Parenthood in exchange for birth control vouchers for employees of Hobby Lobby. Everyone wins!
posted by griphus at 7:55 AM on December 28, 2012 [17 favorites]


It's literally a fairy-tale understanding of the world.

Condescension of your ideological opponent's joke as a serious worldview won't get your point across any faster. The correct response is an even more inane joke:

Or how about underwater basket-weaving!
Bonus tag-on:
Damn hippies.
posted by carsonb at 7:56 AM on December 28, 2012


Which puts them in clear violation of dozens of Biblical edicts.

Yeah, all of these Christian religious objection things are extremely selective in what parts of the Bible they listen to and kick up a fuss over. They wouldn't be bothering with this if they weren't trying to keep that political football in the air.

Think local, buy local. Or something like that.

But that'll make you a smug liberal hipster suitable for mockery on a variety of normative comedy programs!
posted by JHarris at 7:56 AM on December 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


"And everything was made in China. Like every single item."

Yes, my first pilgrimage was made to a Hobby Lobby this Chrismas season; of all times. Grandmother needed a two frame 5x7... yes, China, China, China... Well, they *did* have some niice throw pillows, Stuffed in America; covers made in India.

I don't think they have too many employees that are still in a 'get pregnant' age of life.
posted by buzzman at 7:57 AM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


"How nice for you to be able to afford to shop around for employment."

How about being willing to sacrifice some opportunities when they might compromise my principles.

BTW, I live on the street.
posted by MoTLD at 7:58 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


It will be interesting to see if this stand inspires a customer Show Your Support Day, a la Chik-Fil-A's "Come Support Us In Hating Gay People" Day. Think of all the fun interactions with the employees the self-righteous customers could have! "Hi, I came in to support your store in denying you health care! Now ring up my bible passage picture frame!"
posted by Timmoy Daen at 7:58 AM on December 28, 2012 [15 favorites]


"We don't want to give them complete health care, but we also don't want the government to give it to them either..."

I don't get you, conservatives.
posted by inturnaround at 7:59 AM on December 28, 2012 [32 favorites]


Fuck these people. There is nothing Christian about this at all.

heh....in just about every one of these so-called Christianity dust ups, it more often turns out to be less about religious beliefs and more to support bigotry.

Or maybe looked at another way: this HL thing is the I-Hate-Obama-And-I-Am-Absolutely-Selfish-Because-Obama-Makes-Me-Selfish (or whatever you want to call it) thing du jour. This will die down and in about a couple of weeks another "christian" company will think they are above the law and we will have another thread about that.

Maybe in a few years it will shake out.
posted by lampshade at 7:59 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


The CEO of Michaels is probably very happy about this.
posted by humanfont at 8:01 AM on December 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 8:01 AM on December 28, 2012 [12 favorites]


As a person who believes business owners should be free to choose what benefits they provide their employees

Ideally, Hobby Lobby would be able to pay their employees in HobbyLobbyBucks, usable at the HobbyLobbyMarket, where employees would have the freedom to choose from all sorts of delightful bibles, basic food staples, and whatever decent and modest clothing the employers, in their infinite freedom, chose to let their employees wear outside working hours. What a wonderful world of freedom and choice, where mere employees never do anything on their personal time which hasn't been pre-selected by their benevolent and free employers. Maybe at some point employers should be free to exchange employees with other employers, and give the employers the freedom to choose the prices. It's really all about freedom and keeping the US free!

Actually it's a crappy deal that healthcare is tied to employment and employers, but the barbarians in this country couldn't handle any more change than was in the ACA. We got an insurance bill when we needed a healthcare bill.
posted by Llama-Lime at 8:01 AM on December 28, 2012 [87 favorites]


MoTLD, it is nice if you have sufficently few responsibilities that living on the street is an option. But many people have families to raise, or medical conditions they have to pay for, or would like not to freeze to death when there's a cold snap, or just want to know where their next meal is coming from with reasonable consistency, or want not to be as the whim of others if they just want to crap in a bathroom.
posted by JHarris at 8:01 AM on December 28, 2012 [19 favorites]


buzzman: "I don't think they have too many employees that are still in a 'get pregnant' age of life."

Last time i was in there to buy sculpey it seemed to be mostly women in their late teens/early twenties, and one guy in the frame shop.
posted by the_artificer at 8:02 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


It will be interesting to see if this stand inspires a customer Show Your Support Day,

It would not surprise me at all if the Huckster is already planning his next media blitz.
posted by lampshade at 8:03 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Now, to play devil's advocate:

Hobby Lobby has 21,000 employees, 13,000 of which are full-time. These 13,000 employees apparently get health-insurance, and are paid a minimum of $13 per hour, while part-time employees earn a minimum of $9/hour. If we only count starting wages, this already (easily) puts them in the top half of retail businesses in terms of what they pay their employees. (However, anecdotal data suggests wages top out pretty quickly, given that nobody's reporting wages above $14/hour)

The federal minimum wage is $7.25/hour. Washington State has the highest minimum wage ($9.04/hr), and the median wage for retail workers is $10.10/hr.

Apart from this snafu, it does appear as though Hobby Lobby treats their employees a bit better than most big box chains, in that they employ an above-average proportion of full-time workers, and offer insurance to them at all.

If you want a more cynical spin on this, Hobby Lobby's executives like to mention this all the time for PR purposes, they're still not that much better than Wal-Mart's median $10.11/hr wage), and they're a far cry from Costco's $17/hour average wage.
posted by schmod at 8:05 AM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


So now life begins before conception?

Birth control pills aren't an abortifacient. They keep conception from even happening. So even if one buys that it's a legitimate Christian position to oppose abortion (even though the religion's sacred text says nothing about it, and even though evangelicals all supported it until the early 80s), birth control isn't abortion. Not even close.

So what's the standard for calling something a religious belief these days? That I just think a thing? Shouldn't my religious institution have to historically be opposed to it? Or can I just make up stuff my religion opposes ad hoc?

Also, employers don't have the right to deny their employees benefits based on religious beliefs - the whole point of the first amendment was to protect citizens against this very sort of thing.
posted by eustacescrubb at 8:06 AM on December 28, 2012 [36 favorites]


Is this going to be another Chick-Fil-A?

Supporters lined up around the block to buy their brick-a-brack in support of their RIGHTS AS AMERICANS and opposition to the WAR ON RELIGION?
posted by Tevin at 8:07 AM on December 28, 2012


To my knowledge (that is to say, I haven't run to Wikipedia to confirm this), birth control pills work by preventing implantation in the uterine wall, which is necessary for development. The zygote is expelled from the cervix and dies on its own.

If that sounds like a horrible death of a human soul that God will surely punish with lightnings and wrath, it happens all the time even without the pill. Who will think of those unborn children!
posted by JHarris at 8:09 AM on December 28, 2012


I just imagine all the good, Christian things that could be done spending $1.3 million per day. Even if the fine is figurative, it still sends a pretty clear message regarding their priorities as it pertains to management's religious beliefs. I mean apart from the quasi-feudal nature of imposing your religious beliefs on your employees.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:09 AM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


JHarris, I understand family responsibility or medical disability, but if you're willing to compromise your principles just to have a warm place to crap at your leisure, they're not very strong principles.
posted by MoTLD at 8:09 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


From Wikipedia: Stores do not use a barcode system and therefore rely on the hand pricing and ordering of items. The website states they ″ continue to look at and review the option of scanning at the registers but do not feel it is right for us at this time.″

Fascinating: Hobby Lobby has their own branded Visa card, issued by US Bank. Which puts them in clear violation of dozens of Biblical edicts.

So they have no problem with the magnetic strip on their credit card but barcodes are the work of the devil? Yeah, okay.
posted by fuse theorem at 8:10 AM on December 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


if you're willing to compromise your principles just to have a warm place to crap at your leisure, they're not very strong principles.

Fortunately the onus isn't on the employees to stand by their principles, but for management to not impose their religiously-informed ones.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:10 AM on December 28, 2012 [35 favorites]


> So now life begins before conception?

It's never been about unborn children at its root; it's about what rights they believe women have (or rather, don't have) over their bodies.
posted by gilrain at 8:11 AM on December 28, 2012 [25 favorites]


Pretty sure Jesus would have been a big supporter of universal healthcare, seeing as how his hobby was going around healing the sick.
posted by Soliloquy at 8:11 AM on December 28, 2012 [27 favorites]


OK, so moral dilemma: I've been boycotting for years (and I actually do spend a fair bit of money with their competitors) but if this ridiculous showdown results in store closures, would it be acceptable to buy from them at going-out-of-business sales? I figure that'll just help the liquidator rather than them.

Putting aside the issue of the liquidator, that is not a moral dilemma. That is a situation where you are tempted to act against what you think is moral (boycotting this company) because it would be in your advantage to do so. In a moral dilemma, there are competing moral claims that cannot both be fulfilled.
posted by thelonius at 8:11 AM on December 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


JHarris, I understand family responsibility or medical disability, but if you're willing to compromise your principles just to have a warm place to crap at your leisure, they're not very strong principles.

I gave you five counter examples to indicate the plethora of responses that can be made to your argument. The way it works is, you have to react in a way that considers all of them, not just bat back the one you find the most laughable -- especially when I choose that one mostly for humor value.
posted by JHarris at 8:11 AM on December 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


Pretty sure Jesus would have been a big supporter of universal healthcare, seeing as how his hobby was going around healing the sick.

ANOTHER JOB LOST DUE TO OBAMACARE
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:13 AM on December 28, 2012 [42 favorites]


> In a moral dilemma, there are competing moral claims that cannot both be fulfilled.

I know a lot of people for whom thriftiness is a moral issue.
posted by gilrain at 8:13 AM on December 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Access to properly functioning toilets is a pretty important principle. It's what has virtually eliminated waste-born illnesses, and, in places where there isn't that sort of public access, they are drowning in their own excreta.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 8:15 AM on December 28, 2012 [12 favorites]


My money is on the Supremes telling Hobby Lobby to either provide the contraceptives or not provide any health insurance at all.

This gave me a vision of the Supreme Court judges, all dressed up in 'fro wigs and sequinned dresses, and all singing cleverly reworked versions of "Stop in the Name of Love" and "Love Child".

I'm Canadian and we don't have Hobby Lobby stores here — I'm an avid knitter and needleworker, and had never even heard of the chain. (The Canadian equivalent is probably Mary Maxim, which I love, bless its secular little heart.) So I never shopped there and can't make a statement by not shopping there. But I can write it about for my knitting blog and hopefully make a few American knitters aware of the issues involved in shopping there. By the way, I can't believe how many socio-political type posts I've already done for my blog in the 48 days it's existed, though I shouldn't be surprised, because knitting takes resources (time, money, materials) and the allocation of resources is always political.
posted by orange swan at 8:15 AM on December 28, 2012 [22 favorites]


I know a lot of people for whom thriftiness is a moral issue

That is a good point - you could argue that it's a moral obligation to provide for your family, and to do that you need to pursue frugality.
posted by thelonius at 8:15 AM on December 28, 2012


We should lobby Hobby Lobby to change its name to Hobby Horse, of course.
posted by mrbarrett.com at 8:17 AM on December 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


Ugh.
posted by Tevin at 8:17 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


That is a good point - you could argue that it's a moral obligation to provide for your family, and to do that you need to pursue frugality.

This is true. However, I doubt anyone's family really *needs* clearance-priced merchandise from the Hobby Lobby, at least not to the the extent that there's no other recourse but for the parent to shop there.
posted by orange swan at 8:17 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fair enough, JHarris.

I will go hungry before I compromise my principles. I fast regularly anyway. I will get very cold before I compromise my principles. If I am in danger of freezing or starving, it doesn't compromise my principles to accept charity, but it does mean I didn't do a very good job of caring for myself and need to learn from my mistakes.

And I addressed the other two by agreeing with you that family or disability might mean one does not have the ability to take quite so firm a stand.
posted by MoTLD at 8:18 AM on December 28, 2012


But please: don't jump to this conclusion that nobody who is pro-life is really concerned about the value of life.

But this isn't about abortion.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:19 AM on December 28, 2012 [19 favorites]


Here is the ruling.
posted by thelonius at 8:20 AM on December 28, 2012


Marisa, I believe that principles, by their very nature, place the onus on employees to not work for someone whose beliefs counter their own. Unless, as JHarris pointed out, family responsibility or life and limb is at stake.
posted by MoTLD at 8:20 AM on December 28, 2012


But this isn't about abortion.

What else is it about?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:21 AM on December 28, 2012


Um, contraception?
posted by agregoli at 8:22 AM on December 28, 2012 [16 favorites]


I believe that principles, by their very nature, place the onus on employees to not work for someone whose beliefs counter their own.

You can believe and practice whatever you like, but expecting any other human being to do so is exactly what led to this problem in the first place.
posted by griphus at 8:22 AM on December 28, 2012 [34 favorites]


The fact that HL offers insurance to all employees really means nothing if they can't reasonably afford their share of the premium. I don't know the situation at HL, but my experience with retail employees is that the health plans they are offered are not great in the first place, and most employees can't or won't pay $50+ plus bucks a paycheck for coverage that likely has a substantial deductible.
posted by COD at 8:22 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


griphus, that is exactly why I prefaced that with "I believe." Obviously others have a different definition of "principles."
posted by MoTLD at 8:24 AM on December 28, 2012


Um, contraception?

But, if I'm reading the lawsuit correctly, they are only opposing the emergency contraception that they state causes abortions.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:24 AM on December 28, 2012


"They state" being the important part. They believe that...so what? It's not true.
posted by agregoli at 8:26 AM on December 28, 2012 [12 favorites]


JHarris - they do not not not not not not NOT prevent implantation.
This is my #1 crazy soap box pet peeve.

Birth control pills prevent ovulation, they prevent the egg from meeting the sperm in time, they turn cervical mucus into impenetrable glue - they do not act by preventing the fertilized zygote from implanting into the uterine wall. That's a myth that gets spread around by anti-abortion activists, and is one of the main reasons that emergency contraception is opposed by people opposed to abortion.... because they think it's an abortifacent.
posted by circle_b at 8:26 AM on December 28, 2012 [56 favorites]


But, if I'm reading the lawsuit correctly, they are only opposing the emergency contraception that they state causes abortions.

No, it's called "emergency contraception" for a reason. It induces menstruation, and needs to be taken within a narrow window of time after sex in order to prevent pregnancy. An abortion is a whole other ball of wax.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:28 AM on December 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


Actually, it's about "what is perceived as abortion", where one side hears "emergency contraception" or "morning-after pill" and pictures a tiny 6-celled zygote, freshly fertilized, floating gently down a woman's insides only to have this HORRIFIC WAVE of CHEMICALS AND UNNATURAL THINGS sweep across and keep it from implanting in the wall of the uterus...

and the other side hears the same words and pictures a high school student or college-age woman or any woman at any point in her life who finds herself suddenly pregnant and her life greatly changed, perhaps not in good ways, and who might have had a much more established living to support a child if only the actual having of one could have been delayed a while, if only there had been emergency contraception easily available for her after that one night...

And both sides recoil in horror at the vision they encounter on hearing those words.
posted by hippybear at 8:29 AM on December 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


An abortion is a whole other ball of wax.

I agree with you, but Hobby Lobby doesn't.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:31 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I will go hungry before I compromise my principles.

Accepting charity is an avenue if there is charity to spare; there isn't, always. But this is living at the mercy of others. Which is exactly what the employee/employer relationship is, it's just that the employer gets something more substantive out of the relationship than just relieving his conscience.

I fast regularly anyway. I will get very cold before I compromise my principles. If I am in danger of freezing or starving, it doesn't compromise my principles to accept charity, but it does mean I didn't do a very good job of caring for myself and need to learn from my mistakes.

Well, despite my somewhat rancorous statement above my heart goes out to you. I'm not really in a terrifically better situation myself right now. Best of luck to you.
posted by JHarris at 8:31 AM on December 28, 2012 [10 favorites]


Hobby Lobby, like so many corporations today, are operating under the mistaken assumption that they own their employees, body and soul.


Siiigh. Sorry smirkette. I am sorry to have to inform you that it is you whose assumption is mistaken.
posted by notreally at 8:33 AM on December 28, 2012


Render unto Caesar already ... god damn.
posted by edgeways at 8:33 AM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


I agree with you, but Hobby Lobby doesn't.

Science doesn't agree with them, either, but I think the meat of this débâcle is whether or not they can impose their anti-science religious beliefs on their employees by denying them what is afforded to them by secular law.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:36 AM on December 28, 2012 [13 favorites]


While I'm a big fan of contraception, and certainly not what you might call a person of faith, I must admit that I have a certain abstract admiration for people who are willing to destroy themselves in order to defend their principles... which seems to be exactly the path that this company has chosen. So even though people like this may be the enemy of everything I stand for, I'm happy to let them commit financial suicide with dignity.

(And besides, our government could use the revenue. ;-)
posted by wolfdreams01 at 8:36 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


We should lobby Hobby Lobby to change its name to Hobby Horse, of course.

Actually, there was/is a hobby supply company in the Midwest called Hobby Horse. They may well be defunct, but there is no call to defile their memory this way. I bought my first D&D set there!
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:37 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Just hope they provide job-placement assistance when they do go under.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:37 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm happy to let them commit financial suicide with dignity.

What's unfortunate is the thousands of employees they will take down with them.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:37 AM on December 28, 2012 [13 favorites]


Thanks, JHarris, best of luck to you as well.

Lots of folks are in tough situations right now, so I definitely have understanding for those who feel they must work for someone odious just to feed their children.

But that also means they have to put up with their odious employer, unfortunately. Employers have rights too.
posted by MoTLD at 8:37 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


So even though people like this may be the enemy of everything I stand for, I'm happy to let them commit financial suicide with dignity.

I prefer that people fall on their own sword, rather than demand that their employees fall alongside them. That doesn't seem principled, but instead seems like some ancient fiefdom where the king would die and his wives and slaves would get strangled and placed in the grave with them.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 8:38 AM on December 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


"Just hope they provide job-placement assistance when they do go under."

How true. Those of you wishing this company ill should keep in mind that plenty of folks will lose more than access to free contraceptives if they close their doors.
posted by MoTLD at 8:39 AM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Employers have rights too.

And whether or not they have the right to do this remains to be seen.

I have a strong feeling health care has already become the civil rights struggle of our century.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:40 AM on December 28, 2012 [11 favorites]


How true. Those of you wishing this company ill should keep in mind that plenty of folks will lose more than access to free contraceptives if they close their doors.

Shoot the hostage.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:41 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well really, if Hobby Lobby chooses to self-destruct than allow those employees with health insurance access to emergency contraception, it's not the government that I'd tend to assign blame to, especially considering, as I said above, that the "religious principles" of most Christians usually only extend as far as whatever bee is in their collective bonnets this week.
posted by JHarris at 8:42 AM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


"I have a strong feeling health care has already become the civil rights struggle of our century."

We've solved everything more serious already?
posted by MoTLD at 8:43 AM on December 28, 2012


Employers have rights too.

Which are not imperial, nor unassailable.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:44 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah health & not dying is a pretty low priority, personally.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:44 AM on December 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


JHarris, I wasn't talking about blame, just talking about who would suffer most. The owners would still be comparatively wealthy.
posted by MoTLD at 8:44 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


The owners would still be comparatively wealthy.

Sure, if your measure of comparison is orders of magnitude.
posted by hippybear at 8:46 AM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Those of you wishing this company ill should keep in mind that plenty of folks will lose more than access to free contraceptives if they close their doors.

I think we need to remember that this company is bringing the ill upon itself and its employees by refusing to obey the law. By being law breakers.

Fucking ne'er–do–wells. Law breakers. Scum. A pox upon the scales of justice.

But MeFites need to keep in mind that "by wishing this company ill" that "folks will lose more" than health care?

You know what, Hobby Lobby should keep in mind that they are planning on breaking the law and as a result putting their company, and employees, at unnecessary risk.
posted by IvoShandor at 8:47 AM on December 28, 2012 [24 favorites]


JHarris, I wasn't talking about blame, just talking about who would suffer most. The owners would still be comparatively wealthy.

They're in business for some reason, I would expect. And while the closure of one company is arguably a bad thing, it also provides opportunities, like for competitors, which means it's not necessarily a problem in the long term. I'm sure the other big hobby chains are watching this with lots of interest.
posted by JHarris at 8:48 AM on December 28, 2012


We've solved everything more serious already?

Health isn't serious?
posted by kmz at 8:49 AM on December 28, 2012 [10 favorites]


And what the hell is that anyway? If this company goes belly up after I wish that just that happens, I'd be ecstatic.

To know that I had that power!!?
posted by IvoShandor at 8:49 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know what, Hobby Lobby should keep in mind that they are planning on breaking the law and as a result putting their company, and employees, at unnecessary risk.

All they care about is smugly punishing godless sluts under the pathetic guise of their alleged "family values".
posted by elizardbits at 8:50 AM on December 28, 2012 [29 favorites]


Fuck them and every last fucking thing they stand for.
posted by elizardbits at 8:51 AM on December 28, 2012 [32 favorites]


In fact, isn't Hobby Lobby just engaging in a form of self-selection here? Selecting stridently right-wing voices out of the hobby store space? Doesn't this make fundamentalist Christianity that less economically viable on the whole? (Any such Christians listening, take note, this is an evolutionist concept, you don't believe in that kind of thing so pay me no heed.)
posted by JHarris at 8:52 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think it's important to remember that this is a corporation based in Oklahoma, one of the reddest of the red states. By choosing to not comply with the law, they'll be capitalizing on a lot of anti-Obama sentiment prevalent in these parts, and will enjoy much local political support. They'll be able to portray themselves as martyrs, victims of a federal government run amok.
I have to wonder if they were based in a different, left-leaning state whether they'd be taking such an aggressive stance of civil disobedience.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:52 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


IvoShandor, you might be right about everything you said. But that doesn't change the fact that the only folks who will suffer will be the employees who are subsequently jobless.

You'd be ecstatic at having the power to unemploy thousands of people?
posted by MoTLD at 8:53 AM on December 28, 2012


You'd be ecstatic at having the power to unemploy thousands of people?

You need to fine tune your humor/sarcasm meter. that's from a Louis CK bit.

But really, if I had the power to suddenly wish things true, yeah, that would be pretty cool.
posted by IvoShandor at 8:55 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


You'd be ecstatic at having the power to unemploy thousands of people?

He likes firing people.
posted by eustacescrubb at 8:56 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nah, not an out of tune meter, I just didn't get the reference. But if you feel that way, even if you might not have worded it that way yourself, I guess I still must stand by what I said.
posted by MoTLD at 8:58 AM on December 28, 2012


My actual point was that wishing shit to be, doesn't make it be. Which was in response to a user telling everyone else to remember that if Hobby Lobby goes under, people will lose their jobs.

Which is really a no brainer. Yes, when companies close, people lose their jobs. Yes, we know this. No, people can't just make things happen by professing their preference that they do.
posted by IvoShandor at 8:59 AM on December 28, 2012


This thread is better now that it is about IvoShandor's telekinetic abilities.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:00 AM on December 28, 2012 [17 favorites]


Here is the key part of District Court Judge Carol Jackson’s decision dismissing another of the lawsuits challenging the contraceptive mandate (O’Brien v. HHS, here):

"However, the challenged regulations do not demand that plaintiffs alter their behavior in a manner that will directly and inevitably prevent plaintiffs from acting in accordance with their religious beliefs. Frank O’Brien is not prevented from keeping the Sabbath [Sherbert v. Verner], from providing a religious upbringing for his children [Yoder v. Wisconsin], or from participating in a religious ritual such as communion [Gonzales v. O Centro]. Instead, plaintiffs remain free to exercise their religion, by not using contraceptives and by discouraging employees from using contraceptives. The burden of which plaintiffs complain is that funds, which plaintiffs will contribute to a group health plan, might, after a series of independent decisions by health care providers and patients covered by OIH’s plan, subsidize someone else’s participation in an activity that is condemned by plaintiffs’ religion. This Court rejects the proposition that requiring indirect financial support of a practice, from which plaintiff himself abstains according to his religious principles, constitutes a substantial burden on plaintiff’s religious exercise.

[The Religious Freedom Restoration Act] is a shield, not a sword. It protects individuals from substantial burdens on religious exercise that occur when the government coerces action one’s religion forbids, or forbids action one’s religion requires; it is not a means to force one’s religious practices upon others. RFRA does not protect against the slight burden on religious exercise that arises when one’s money circuitously flows to support the conduct of other free-exercise-wielding individuals who hold religious beliefs that differ
from one’s own."
posted by Eyebeams at 9:00 AM on December 28, 2012 [84 favorites]


When sweatshops and child labor mills were closed down, they cost lots of people jobs too.
posted by kmz at 9:00 AM on December 28, 2012 [18 favorites]


Well, not so much in the snapping your fingers and making it so sort of way, but very much in the boycotting and picketing sort of way, which many here are calling for and which is what I was responding to.
posted by MoTLD at 9:01 AM on December 28, 2012


By that logic nothing should ever be boycotted.
posted by kmz at 9:02 AM on December 28, 2012 [17 favorites]


Well, not so much in the snapping your fingers and making it so sort of way, but very much in the boycotting and picketing sort of way, which many here are calling for and which is what I was responding to.

Of course such actions will have consequences in the short term, but the point is to affect change so that in the longer term all benefit. How else can companies be made to change their ways and treat their employees better if not by regulation, boycott, or protest?

I'm very curious as to what principles you hold so dead, MoTLD, because your positions are baffling.
posted by Sangermaine at 9:02 AM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh.. don't boycott or protest anything any company does because they might have to lay people off and IT WILL BE YOUR FAULT!

You know?

Bollocks to that. Seriously if the best one can do is a version of victim blaming then fuck that, seriously.
"Oh... I'd totally not go shop at that one big box store that is notorious for ruining downtown communities, is incredibly anti-union and has been implicated in major league serious bribery allegations, but you know they might fire a bunch of people so never-mind I will continue to reward their bad behavior and spend all my money there next paycheck... oh maybe if I'm lucky I'll totally score a job there as well once they kill off everything else in town! Don't you dare criticize in any meaningful way my potential future employer!!!!
posted by edgeways at 9:02 AM on December 28, 2012 [12 favorites]


No, some organizations are composed mostly or entirely of folks who share the org's ideology. Boycott those and nobody gets hurt, or at least nobody innocent of whatever evil you're boycotting.

It's kinda the "contractors on the Death Star" argument...
posted by MoTLD at 9:04 AM on December 28, 2012


I've just made some math regarding those 1.3M a day: you could literally help 1.03 million families in Central America rise above the extreme poverty line with that money, annually, at the tune of around 500 USD per month or 16 USD per day, which is about double the poverty line income in the region. You could use that money to move all your factories from China to, say, Honduras, boost the region and still make some profit. Bonus: the healthcare will be handled, very christianly if I might add, by the Honduran government (or Costa Rican, or whatever).

That would be the very thing HL and some other corporations in the US would never ever do with that money. It makes me sad.
posted by omegar at 9:05 AM on December 28, 2012 [12 favorites]


No, some organizations are composed of mostly or entirely folks who share the org's ideology. Boycott those and nobody gets hurt, or at least nobody innocent of whatever evil you're boycotting.

This makes no sense. What organizations are you talking about? This certainly isn't true for companies. Who knows if the employees of a company are "mostly or entirely" behind the ideology of the "org"? Even that doesn't make sense. Organizations don't have ideologies, their owners and directors do. It doesn't matter what the employees of a corporation think, it matters what the board (or the shareholders) think.

How would you even determine whether an entire organization believes something before taking action? Your ideas just make so little sense it's bewildering.
posted by Sangermaine at 9:07 AM on December 28, 2012 [15 favorites]


Hobby Lobby is not a magical stone from which jobs spring sourceless and independent of the larger domestic economy. It sucks for anyone to lose their job, just like it sucks for anyone to lose or be denied health benefits they depend on, but we don't guarantee companies solvency in the face of illegal behavior on that basis.

And the relative fluidity of the economy means that money not being made by one company is money another company is likely to make instead, and the jobs fueled by that money migrate accordingly. It's not a frictionless process or anything, and again it sucks very much for the individual workers being forced back out into the job market because nobody wants to be forced to deal with that, but there's no economic black hole which Hobby Lobby and Hobby Lobby alone is valiantly plugging with its stalwart being-in-business-ness.
posted by cortex at 9:08 AM on December 28, 2012 [34 favorites]


You'd be ecstatic at having the power to unemploy thousands of people?

We need to remind ourselves that it is this privately-owned company that is exercising that power, threatening jobs in the name of either bullying the public into compliance with religious edicts, or attaining a weird kind of post-capitalist martyrdom by being fined for not complying with a pretty reasonable set of laws that help protect worker health. It is not the government or "us" firing people if this company chooses to go under — we need to be absolutely clear on that point, or we have just handed religious bullies yet another victory in their cultural war on America.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:12 AM on December 28, 2012 [30 favorites]


Finally I can stop feeling guilty for making Hobby Lobby my first shoplifting experience when I was about 9. The memory of those stolen model-rocket engines igniting is now all the sweeter.
posted by item at 9:12 AM on December 28, 2012 [33 favorites]


Presumably the contractors on the Death Star:
1) realize they could come under attack as, innocent or not, they are direct participants in a war making endeavor
2) are already complicit in genocide crimes so comparing them to cashiers at a HL is, perhaps, a bit of a stretch.
posted by edgeways at 9:12 AM on December 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's kinda the "contractors on the Death Star" argument...

Darth Vader can just set up health insurance like the rest of the damn ewoks. We don't need to make special exceptions for him or anyone else.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:14 AM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Companies are not people. They do not have a right to exist. Why is this so hard to comprehend. Hobby Lobby fills a niche market for people who have discretionary money to spend on knick knacks. As such they need human beings to move the products around and count inventories. Those human beings have a right to be compensated. If left to their own devices all companies would just use slave labour. This is why we have a government to protect the rights of us human beings.

As a people we are slowly starting to see that healthcare is a basic need/right and we are changing our laws and culture
to reflect that. Hobby Lobby refuses to accept this and should be dissolved and severely punished.
posted by M Edward at 9:14 AM on December 28, 2012 [30 favorites]


But what I want to know is if IvoShandor can make a rock so heavy he can't lift it.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:16 AM on December 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


item: Finally I can stop feeling guilty for making Hobby Lobby my first shoplifting experience when I was about 9. The memory of those stolen model-rocket engines igniting is now all the sweeter.

Ha! My sole experience in a Hobby Lobby is accidentally knocking over a lot of porcelain things and slowly walking away (I was nine). My only fight experience is punching a kid who later became a felon. I have prescient hands, apparently.
posted by troika at 9:16 AM on December 28, 2012


It's kinda the "contractors on the Death Star" argument...

Oh, it's like a joke argument from a comedy movie.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:16 AM on December 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


Infinity_8: As a person who believes business owners should be free to choose what benefits they provide their employees, my first reaction was, "Crap, now I have to take up scrapbooking."

I know you're getting piled on here, but I want to point out to you that contraception coverage is free to employers. Insurers are eager to provide this care, because pregnancies and babies are exceedingly expensive. It is much cheaper for the insurer to pay for a whole bunch of condoms and pills than to take care of a baby.

Neither Hobby Lobby nor its insurers are being financially hurt by this law. This is purely about exercising control over the private lives of employees. That's not a 'benefit they provide', that's a 'weapon they use', and it does not belong in the American workplace.

In this country, matters of religion are supposed to be dealt with through persuasion, not coercion.
posted by Malor at 9:16 AM on December 28, 2012 [107 favorites]


typing on a phone brings out the 2nd grade sentence structure :(
posted by M Edward at 9:17 AM on December 28, 2012


Darth Vader can just set up health insurance like the rest of the damn ewoks. We don't need to make special exceptions for him or anyone else.

Little known fact: Ewoks also had a fully socialized educational system. Higher education and job-training - in the form of making snares, traps, and spears - was fully subsidized by their government, the Enlightened Theocracy of the Divine C3PO.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 9:18 AM on December 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Y'all missed the meta-reference to making joke arguments about serious topics.

You also seem to miss the fact that I have strong principles which, in this case, mean I'm pretty against boycotts because of the collateral damage they cause. I might choose not to shop somewhere, but I don't try to influence others not to.
posted by MoTLD at 9:19 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


We've solved everything more serious already?

Uh, what? We can't care about more than one thing at a time? Let me be more specific: health care has probably already become one of those very important issues that arises from activism and becomes a struggle between federal authorities and local/privatized agencies, with the assumption that there are also some very serious things happening in the country.

As to the "boycotts hurt employees" argument, well, using your workforce as human shields in order to deny them what the federal government has deemed their right to have is cause for a boycott if I ever heard one.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:20 AM on December 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


But what I want to know is if IvoShandor can make a rock so heavy he can't lift it.

When someone asks you if you're a god, you say yes!
posted by IvoShandor at 9:22 AM on December 28, 2012 [26 favorites]


But what I want to know is if IvoShandor can make a rock so heavy he can't lift it.

No.1
  1. Tobin, John H. (1920). Tobin's Spirit Guide. Penguin.
posted by griphus at 9:23 AM on December 28, 2012 [22 favorites]


"We can't care about more than one thing at a time?"

I like the way you rephrased it. But that's a bit different from "the civil rights struggle of our century," which is what I was responding to.
posted by MoTLD at 9:25 AM on December 28, 2012


[C]ontraception coverage is free to employers. Insurers are eager to provide this care, because pregnancies and babies are exceedingly expensive. It is much cheaper for the insurer to pay for a whole bunch of condoms and pills than to take care of a baby.

I agree with your last sentence, but -- and I have no solid idea, because I'm basing this off vague memories of arguments, and I am in Quebec which requires insurance companies to cover birth control with the other prescription medicines -- I was under the impression that insurance companies do not like to cover birth control because, as a general rule, women will pay for it anyhow, so they are not choosing between "pay for the pill" vs "pay for lots of pregnancies" but "pay for the pill" vs "pay nothing".
posted by jeather at 9:26 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


To clarify, "the way you rephrased it" as, to paraphrase, "a civil rights struggle," rather than "the civil rights struggle."
posted by MoTLD at 9:27 AM on December 28, 2012


I might choose not to shop somewhere, but I don't try to influence others not to.

So you never talk about why you don't shop there, or bring up the subject(s) that relate(s) to your reasons not to shop there, either, I'm guessing? A boycott of one, in a total ideological vacuum, as it were? Or do you talk about these beliefs of yours up to but not including the point of saying "and that, my friends, is why I don't shop there"? I think you might have more "influence" than you realize.

But that's a bit different from "the civil rights struggle of our century," which is what I was responding to.

And what I rephrased in the interests of splitting as many hairs as possible. You might deem plenty of things more important, but health care is becoming the federal v. state/private, human rights struggle within the US that's getting the lion's share of media attention.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:27 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


You also seem to miss the fact that I have strong principles

Of course we missed that "fact": you've gone on and on about having principles but we have no idea what they are as you haven't deigned to inform us. We have no idea what principles lead you to espouse the incoherent nonsense you've written so far.
posted by Sangermaine at 9:30 AM on December 28, 2012 [24 favorites]


I know you're getting piled on here, but I want to point out to you that contraception coverage is free to employers. Insurers are eager to provide this care, because pregnancies and babies are exceedingly expensive. It is much cheaper for the insurer to pay for a whole bunch of condoms and pills than to take care of a baby.

That makes no sense. If this was in fact true, then there would be little need for a mandate for coverage as insurance companies would be including it (and no additional cost to employers) in their policies already. But employers (who mostly don't have religious objections) aren't already providing this as part of their policies, which they would if it was uncomplicatedly true that the coverage was free to employers and insurers were eager to provide it.
posted by Jahaza at 9:30 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


"So you never talk about why you don't shop there"

Not without being asked. And it's really not even a boycott of one. I shop so little it's less a question of where I won't do business, and more a question of where I will when I actually have money to spend.
posted by MoTLD at 9:34 AM on December 28, 2012


threatening jobs in the name of either bullying the public into compliance with religious edicts

Umm... what religious edict is the public forced to comply with? The religious edict in question is "don't fund medical procedure x" which if Hobby Lobby wins their suit, no one will be forced to comply with. Everyone will still be free to fund medical procedure x.
posted by Jahaza at 9:34 AM on December 28, 2012


Yes, because that suit will exist perpetually in a vacuum and will never ever be cited as cause for thousands of other employers to enact similar oppressive policies.
posted by elizardbits at 9:35 AM on December 28, 2012 [17 favorites]


Jahaza, where you're wrong, though, is that it would put a religious exemption into the public accommodations laws, which SCOTUS is not going to do.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:37 AM on December 28, 2012


So, religious exemptions are ok when they compel private property holders to accommodate the public, but not vice versa?
posted by MoTLD at 9:39 AM on December 28, 2012


Well, I don't think that religious exemptions are ever okay.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:43 AM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Umm... what religious edict is the public forced to comply with?

That employers can claim a religious exemption to insurance requirement regulations.
posted by Sangermaine at 9:45 AM on December 28, 2012


Let me rephrase, then. Public places and employers are not allowed to compel a member of the public to act against their faith. Should the reverse be true?
posted by MoTLD at 9:46 AM on December 28, 2012


Fascinating: Hobby Lobby has their own branded Visa card, issued by US Bank. Which puts them in clear violation of dozens of Biblical edicts.

I can picture Jesus now flipping over a table that was hand crafted using wood glue bought from Hobby Lobby. How ironic.

It is so scary that people have zero clue as to what contraception (ie. the pill) is for beyond not having babies--endometriosis, fibroids, ovarian cysts, etc.

But hey, let's cover VIAGRA!
posted by stormpooper at 9:46 AM on December 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


soliloquy: Pretty sure Jesus would have been a big supporter of universal healthcare, seeing as how his hobby was going around healing the sick.

As a side note, Jesus would never even be considered for a job at Hobby Lobby to begin with. Didn't get a high school diploma, has a two thousand year gap in employment history, and a criminal record.
posted by dr_dank at 9:48 AM on December 28, 2012 [18 favorites]


Public places and employers are not allowed to compel a member of the public to act against their faith. Should the reverse be true?

No employer is being compelled to act against their faith. HL and others are asking that they be allowed to compel their employees to adhere to theirs.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:49 AM on December 28, 2012 [30 favorites]


Let me rephrase, then. Public places and employers are not allowed to compel a member of the public to act against their faith. Should the reverse be true?

To a certain, limited amount. But a "place" doesn't have a faith, and a company which is paying people doesn't, either. If Hobby Lobby CEO doesn't want to follow a certain law, they are certainly allowed to leave their job to find one which doesn't require them to do so (eg, one where they are not paying other people), right? The owners -- well, unless they don't own shares in anything at all, which I will call unlikely -- have money in all sorts of ventures which hire people and provide insurance.
posted by jeather at 9:50 AM on December 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Public places and employers are not allowed to compel a member of the public to act against their faith. Should the reverse be true?

No one is compelling the owners of Hobby Lobby to use contraception. They don't get to pick and choose how employees use their benefits any more than they get to decide not to give someone their paycheck because they saw them at a casino.

On preview, ditto zombieflanders.
posted by solotoro at 9:51 AM on December 28, 2012 [16 favorites]


Owning a business is not a matter of religious preference surely? The government is saying IF you offer THIS service you have to comply to THESE rules. If you do not wish to comply to those rules you are entitled to not offer the service. No one is forcing HL owners to remain in the business. If they have incompatible differences they are free to not operate a business. I would not join the army and then say "I believe killing is a sin so you can't make me". If I was forced to join the army I would make the claim. If HL owners where forced to be business owners I may have some sympathy for their position, but they are not. As such they are expected to comply with all Local, State and Federal laws, even ones they dislike.

Just because someone may say "money is the root of all evil" does not excuse them from the obligation of paying their employees minimum wage.
posted by edgeways at 9:56 AM on December 28, 2012 [20 favorites]


Birth control options just aren't one size fits all; that is for sure.
posted by buzzman at 9:56 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


" The owners -- well, unless they don't own shares in anything at all, which I will call unlikely -- have money in all sorts of ventures which hire people and provide insurance."

Of course, it's the owners and not the places themselves to which I was referring. And if the owners are consistent in their faith, they have researched these investments and made sure they aren't supporting something they feel strongly against. If not, fuck 'em.

And you are both correct that they're not being compelled to use contraception themselves. But if you are fundamentally opposed to guns or drugs, is there a significant difference between being forced to possess guns or drugs and being forced to buy them for someone else?
posted by MoTLD at 9:57 AM on December 28, 2012


edgeways, you're saying their options are, pay for contraception or don't own a business?
posted by MoTLD at 9:58 AM on December 28, 2012



edgeways, you're saying their options are, pay for contraception or don't own a business?


Their options are adhere to the same federal mandate as everyone else, or don't fucking own a business in the usa.
posted by elizardbits at 9:59 AM on December 28, 2012 [50 favorites]


Fourth big chain this year to go nutty with their politics, Chick fil A, Domino's, Papa's John's, and now Hobby Lobby.

So far I only miss the chicken strip salads...
posted by aerotive at 10:00 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Almost totally off-topic:

At my parents' for Christmas this year, I asked my mother to pick up a razor because I had forgotten mine, was not within reasonable walking distance of a store and had no car. She made a big deal out of violating her beliefs by stopping at a CVS on the way home from church; the LORD's day, after all, is not for working or shopping.

The next day was Christmas Eve, and the whole family went to an evening church service. My mother has apparently been going to this new non-denominational church -- I'll call it a "kilo-church" because it isn't nearly big enough to be the mega-church it clearly aspires to -- instead of the Lutheran church she's been attending for the last 25 years. So we decided to try it out.

Imagine my surprise when right there inside the church building, she pointed out a coffee shop with the predictable name "Sacred Grounds". I did not ask, but strongly suspect that it does not close on Sundays...

The weird church-and-business-industrial-complex that's been emerging in the United States over the last three decades does certainly not suffer from a lack of cognitive dissonance.
posted by Slothrup at 10:00 AM on December 28, 2012 [20 favorites]


As a moral stance, it is weak (not the anti-contraception thing, the not-paying-for-healthcare thing). They compensate their employees; those employees may well spend the money on contraception, any number of sinful activities. The employees, I presume, do not have to sign an agreement to not squander their income preventing STDs or children. Health care is part of the compensation. I see there is a small difference; they know where some of this compensation is going, but the simple fact is you can try not sinning yourself, but you can't stop other people from sinning and if you give people money, they sure as hell are going to do some sinning.
posted by Bovine Love at 10:01 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


So your position is that they could decide to withhold all employees' pay because one employee used their salary to buy a gun?
posted by solotoro at 10:01 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


To me, there's a difference between the companies that disagree with a provision of the ACA, and CFA, which does not like gay people.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:01 AM on December 28, 2012


Jahaza: That makes no sense. If this was in fact true, then there would be little need for a mandate for coverage as insurance companies would be including it (and no additional cost to employers) in their policies already.

Well, I can't find the original links that were talking about this, because 'contraceptive coverage free' is coming up with a bazillion hits now about how it's free to end-users, rather than employers. I'm certain I saw this discussed at length when the bill was being argued, but I just can't track down the links now, they're too buried under all the new stuff. So, I could be wrong about this. Sadly, I cannot go back and say "this could be incorrect" in my original post, or I would.

I think the real change here, and the reason it was mandated, is that birth control has to be covered without a co-payment, rather than just be covered with a standard prescription payment. They're not "free", because you still paid for them through your insurance coverage, but they don't have a co-pay anymore, and as far as I know, that's a fairly major change. Never having paid for birth control pills myself, however, I am uncertain.
posted by Malor at 10:02 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


edgeways, you're saying their options are, pay for contraception or don't own a business?

Yes, of course. Comply with the laws regulating business or do not own a business. There is no right to have a business.

being forced to buy them for someone else?

They are not being forced to do this either. They are not being required to buy employees contraceptives. I don't think you understand the issue here.
posted by Sangermaine at 10:02 AM on December 28, 2012 [15 favorites]


I was under the impression that insurance companies do not like to cover birth control because, as a general rule, women will pay for it anyhow, so they are not choosing between "pay for the pill" vs "pay for lots of pregnancies" but "pay for the pill" vs "pay nothing".

Following the money trail... a bit dated but the quickest semi-authorative source I could locate, ... the average US woman spends more than 20 yrs needing some type of birth control The same document cites a 1998 (I told you it was dated) approx 17USD/yr per employee to add on contraceptive coverage from scratch, presuming dr's visits are already covered and that non-birth control usage of contraceptives (those taken for other medical indications) are likely already covered.

So up that dollar amt to 25/yr for inflation and assuming 21,000 employees per previous cites: 21,000 employees X 17/yr = 357,000/yr for contraception coverage

HL's fine is 1.3 mil/day

Someone, please check my math because...seriously, it's ridiculous argument.

Guttmacher lists tons of other briefs re to this topic
posted by beaning at 10:02 AM on December 28, 2012


No, solotoro, but they could sue the federal government if there was a gun-buying tax on employers.
posted by MoTLD at 10:02 AM on December 28, 2012


I am really tempted to abuse the edit window for this, but my quip above is in response to But if you are fundamentally opposed to guns or drugs, is there a significant difference between being forced to possess guns or drugs and being forced to buy them for someone else?
posted by solotoro at 10:03 AM on December 28, 2012


Sangermaine, if they aren't being forced to buy employees contraceptives, what are they suing about? Perhaps I am off base.
posted by MoTLD at 10:03 AM on December 28, 2012


MoTLD: But if you are fundamentally opposed to guns or drugs, is there a significant difference between being forced to possess guns or drugs and being forced to buy them for someone else?

Are you seriously headed toward the the "I don't want my taxes going to $GOVERNMENTPROGRAMIDON'TLIKE" argument? The law says that all businesses must provide X, Y, and Z for their employees. If an employer's *personal religious beliefs* make it impossible for them to, in good faith, adhere to this law (and let's not kid ourselves that anything of the kind is what's really going on here), then they can get the fuck out of business.

Your "principles" in this particular instance have no bearing on the discussion, and your constant referral to them serve only as a distraction.
posted by tzikeh at 10:04 AM on December 28, 2012 [13 favorites]


They are being forced to buy their employees healthcare which the employees could choose to use to obtain contraceptives. Just like, you know, their salary.
posted by Bovine Love at 10:05 AM on December 28, 2012 [26 favorites]


...if they aren't being forced to buy employees contraceptives, what are they suing about? Perhaps I am off base.

Simply put, they are suing because they are now required to provide health insurance that, in turn, is required to provide contraception coverage. Their objection is that contraception violates their religious beliefs, thus, they should not be required to provide health insurance that has contraception coverage. It's not about dollars. It's about their apparent inability to separate their personal religious beliefs from the requirements of running a corporation
posted by Thorzdad at 10:08 AM on December 28, 2012 [9 favorites]


MoTLD

Bovine Love already gave you your answer. But I'm really curious, what are your vaunted "principles"? Judging by your constant reference to "private property owners" and "force" I'm guessing you're some kind of libertarian, but it's not clear from what you've written.
posted by Sangermaine at 10:10 AM on December 28, 2012


Their objection is that contraception violates their religious beliefs

Or, more specifically, an incorrect understanding of science leads them to the conclusion that contraception violates their religious beliefs.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:11 AM on December 28, 2012 [18 favorites]


Does a privately held corporation and employer have a duty to its employees not to engage in obviously on the face of it self-destructive behavior? If Hobby Lobby incurs huge fines and goes bankrupt, would the employees who lose their jobs as a result have standing to sue the employer and the executives and board members?
posted by zippy at 10:11 AM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


They are being forced to buy their employees healthcare which the employees could choose to use to obtain contraceptives. Just like, you know, their salary.

If these things were morally and socially equivalent, then the law to require them to provide health insurance would never have been passed in the first place.
posted by Jahaza at 10:16 AM on December 28, 2012


But if you are fundamentally opposed to guns or drugs, is there a significant difference between being forced to possess guns or drugs and being forced to buy them for someone else?

Let's extend the metaphor a little bit, so you can see how it sounds:

If you're fundamentally opposed to gay marriage, is there a significant difference between being forced to be "gay married" and being forced to provide the same family/spousal benefits for gay employees who are married as straight employees?
posted by zombieflanders at 10:17 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's funny how so many people are willing to be all "If employee doesn't like [company policy] they can just get another job!" but won't or can't apply the same line to employers who might be required to follow certain regulations.
posted by rtha at 10:18 AM on December 28, 2012 [27 favorites]


But I'm really curious, what are your vaunted "principles"?

Honestly, I don't think the thread is going to be improved by chasing this down. MoTLD, you've commented kind of a lot in here already and need to throttle it back some at this point; folks wanting to nail down MoTLD on the specifics of his personal beliefs, maybe likewise let that go and move on with the discussion. You know where mefimail is, use it if you want to keep having a one-on-one conversation.
posted by cortex at 10:18 AM on December 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Ok, I think I'm done playing devil's advocate. Honestly, I don't know enough about this company to have formed as much of an opinion as I have, but FWIW that opinion is that y'all are probably correct that they're being disingenuous. But, as someone with unusual beliefs who is often refused service or otherwise discriminated against because of them, I am sensitive to any situation where it even seems like someone (even an odious business owner) is being forced to choose between their faith and something they think they should be free to do or not do.

I'm bowing out for now to think things over.

Bovine Love and zombieflanders, you've both made good points which I have to consider, and yes, Sangermaine, I am some sort of libertarian. Even I'm not quite sure what sort, though. ;)
posted by MoTLD at 10:20 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


> To me, there's a difference between the companies that disagree with a provision of the ACA, and CFA, which does not like gay people.

Not really. The Chik-Fil-A people would say that they don't hate gay people, they simply believe for religious reasons that marriage should only be between a woman and a man.

Just like how Hobby Lobby would say they don't hate women, they simply believe for religious reasons that women shouldn't be able to control their wombs.
posted by gilrain at 10:20 AM on December 28, 2012


If these things were morally and socially equivalent, then the law to require them to provide health insurance would never have been passed in the first place.

Think of it as the health insurance version of minimum wage.
posted by solotoro at 10:20 AM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


If these things were morally and socially equivalent, then the law to require them to provide health insurance would never have been passed in the first place.

But there are all sorts of laws about wages and how and when they must be paid. Precisely because employers played all sorts of games with paying employees. These concepts are being extended into insurance.
posted by Sangermaine at 10:22 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


If these things were morally and socially equivalent, then the law to require them to provide health insurance would never have been passed in the first place.

What does this even mean? Unless I'm missing something, no company is required to provide health insurance at all. That's why it's called the individual mandate.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:22 AM on December 28, 2012


Does a privately held corporation and employer have a duty to its employees not to engage in obviously on the face of it self-destructive behavior? If Hobby Lobby incurs huge fines and goes bankrupt, would the employees who lose their jobs as a result have standing to sue the employer and the executives and board members?

Legally, no. Morally, yes. Which is an example of why, contra Thorzad, we wouldn't actually want people to "separate their personal religious beliefs from the requirements of running a corporation."

If you're fundamentally opposed to gay marriage, is there a significant difference between being forced to be "gay married" and being forced to provide the same family/spousal benefits for gay employees who are married as straight employees?

I can't speak for Hobby Lobby, but the distinction that Catholics would potentially make is that providing health coverage for a person is not in itself morally problematic. A closer analogy would be "being forced to be 'gay married' and being forced to" pay the license fee for your employees to get "gay married."
posted by Jahaza at 10:22 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]



Well Hobby Lobby et al just should of supported a single payer option, then like here in Canada they would have the 'freedom' to not offer health insurance that has those religiously bad things in it they don't like as in many places, like in most parts in Canada things like contraception and emergency birth control are not covered by basic government medical care.

These things can be covered by extended medical insurance packages that no company is mandated to provide their employees at all. Nada, nothing. A company can just forget about healthcare for their employees if they feel like it and know that their employees at least have the basics covered if the need it.

I dunno, but to me this seems to give companies a lot more 'freedom' to choose and way less hassle regarding healthcare as an issue.

Yes, this is mostly a sarcastic response but to me the system in the US at least from an employers perspective seems a whole lot more restrictive and less 'free' then a system like we have in Canada.
posted by Jalliah at 10:22 AM on December 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


Well put, cortex, but if you'd've just given me another minute to finish typing... ;)
posted by MoTLD at 10:23 AM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Legally, no. Morally, yes. Which is an example of why, contra Thorzad, we wouldn't actually want people to "separate their personal religious beliefs from the requirements of running a corporation."

Speaking as a religious person, personal religious beliefs != morals.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:25 AM on December 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


///Well Hobby Lobby et al just should of supported a single payer option///

That wouldn't solve anything because then they would object to their tax dollars being used to buy contraception.
posted by COD at 10:26 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Universal healthcare is the obvious solution as Jalliah says. That way the businesses can offer unto Caesar their taxes as mandated by the bible and everyone gets the coverage they need. I really don't see how anyone can look at the maths and not get this.
posted by arcticseal at 10:26 AM on December 28, 2012


Jahaza, just to illustrate my point, companies had to be required by law to even pay their employees in the first place. At one point we had the awful "truck system" in which employees were paid in commodities or company scrip usable only at company stores. Employers had to literally be forced to pay workers money they could use elsewhere. Now companies must be forced to provide their employees choices in their health plans.

The bottom line is that companies will take any way to fuck or control their employees that they can unless a law stops them.
posted by Sangermaine at 10:27 AM on December 28, 2012 [31 favorites]


One more reason Obama should have had the balls to propose single-payer instead of rolling over for the Republicans.

But single payer would not have functioned as a bail out for the insurance companies by creating a Government mandated market for them.

(Think of the poor insurance firm and all of their commercial real estate they are invested in.)
posted by rough ashlar at 10:29 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


At one point we had the awful "truck system" in which employees were paid in commodities or company scrip usable only at company stores. Employers had to literally be forced to pay workers money they could use elsewhere.

But...but...those were free market solutions!
posted by zombieflanders at 10:31 AM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


If left to their own devices all companies would just use slave labour.

As a business owner who treats his employees fairly and compassionately, I find this (alarmingly common) belief disgusting and insulting.

The higher ups at Hobby Lobby are not the bad guys in this story because they are employers or because they have authority. They are the bad guys because they are doing bad things.

Not everything is about eating the rich.
posted by Jick at 10:31 AM on December 28, 2012 [15 favorites]


Universal healthcare is the obvious solution as Jalliah says. That way the businesses can offer unto Caesar their taxes as mandated by the bible and everyone gets the coverage they need.

Bonus: floating Christian corporations located just outside national waters.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:31 AM on December 28, 2012


As a business owner who treats his employees fairly and compassionately, I find this (alarmingly common) belief disgusting and insulting.

Yeah well, you also can't compete with companies using slave labour, and would rapidly go bankrupt if it were legal, principles or no.
posted by mek at 10:33 AM on December 28, 2012 [13 favorites]


This is perhaps relevant to Malor's point, that first-dollar contraceptive coverage is almost certainly cost effective: When the Obamacare contraceptive mandate became news, the Hobby Lobby owners looked at the company's health insurance policies and found that, notwithstanding their professed abhorrence at having to cover certain contraceptives, the policies in fact DID cover Plan B and Ella (see paragraph 55), which they consider abortifacients. So although the owners claim that the mandate will cause them irreparable harm, the "harm" is one that they were suffering for an indeterminate time before Obamacare came along.
posted by Eyebeams at 10:33 AM on December 28, 2012 [29 favorites]


That wouldn't solve anything because then they would object to their tax dollars being used by woman to buy contraception.

Um no they wouldn't or at least not necessarily. In my province I pay for my own contraception. I believe most provinces are the same. Coverage is not offered by basic gov't provided care unless there is some medical reason it's needed.

At one time I had a job where I had extended medical benefits, where the company paid for a package that included coverage of half the cost. This package was done through a private insurance company and the company chose to provide it.

In Canada it's pretty common for even small companies to have some sort of extended medical as part of their employee benefit packages. So common in some area that I know people who never even realized that some of the things that they got paid for weren't part of basic coverage but from a private insurance company.

I dunno, I know I'm biased but as a business owner this system just makes so much more sense. Knowing my employees can get treated when sick without hassle and having the ability to give even most benefits if I feel like it just makes more sense to me.
posted by Jalliah at 10:35 AM on December 28, 2012


What does this even mean? Unless I'm missing something, no company is required to provide health insurance at all. That's why it's called the individual mandate.

Bovine love: They are being forced to buy their employees healthcare which the employees could choose to use to obtain contraceptives. Just like, you know, their salary.

Bovine Love's comment seems to be arguing that Hobby Lobby's moral objection is baseless because there is an equivalence or interchangability between salary and benefits that makes the purchase of products considered to be immoral by employees with their salary morally equivalent to the purchase of those products by the employer or its agent and their provision to the employees. My counterargument was that these things are not functionally (and therefore not morally) equivalent as if they were, we wouldn't have adopted this elaborate health insurance mandate system, but just an increased minimum wage.

Speaking as a religious person, personal religious beliefs != morals.

Hurrah for you, I guess, but the separation isn't possible for huge numbers of people.
posted by Jahaza at 10:43 AM on December 28, 2012


zombieflanders, there is an employer mandate as well as an individual mandate. The former applies only to larger (50+ FTEs) employers, and neither is truly a mandate: You either have, or provide, adequate health insurance or you pay a fine.
posted by Eyebeams at 10:50 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm reminded of something Obama once said about how we do have religious freedom in the US, so long as what you practice does not interfere with secular law. To me, the implications of that belief go farther than "you cannot do this illegal thing under guise of religious practice" (with aforementioned exceptions), but will also come into play the closer the US moves towards a universal health care system. What used to be strictly an economics argument is increasingly becoming a religious one on this topic, and - maybe I'm being naive here - that's part of the reason why I'm actually glad to see this happening.

It should go without saying that I hope no one loses their much-needed jobs over this, but while the development towards universal health care is still in these very nascent stages, let's deal with the religious argument, in a legal setting, now, and get that out of the way.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:52 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've posted to my knitting blog on this topic.

I love it when my taking a political stand for a cause I believe in coincides with an opportunity for shameless self-promotion.;-)
posted by orange swan at 10:53 AM on December 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


My counterargument was that these things are not functionally (and therefore not morally) equivalent as if they were, we wouldn't have adopted this elaborate health insurance mandate system, but just an increased minimum wage.

Ah, well, the flaw in your argument concerns the goal, which is not solely to ensure that people could afford healthcare on an individual basis. For healthcare to be affordable in general (and the US is overpaying as it is on a per-capita basis compared to other countries), it has to be to be universal (*), in particular if you believe in compassionate care (e.g. treating people for fatal illnesses even if they can't afford it). Increasing minimum wage would not necessarily get you universal coverage, so would not achieve the goal, which goes beyond simply making sure people can afford it. In any case, I was arguing they were equivalent given that healthcare is mandated, but not that the healthcare mandate itself fell under the same argument. That is a little more complex debate, covering all sorts of things like greater good.

(*) Debatable, but a different debate.
posted by Bovine Love at 10:53 AM on December 28, 2012


, is there a significant difference between being forced to possess guns or drugs and being forced to buy them for someone else?

We all do this, if we pay taxes, right? Our money gets used for a shit ton of guns, and probably drugs too if you count undercover bust operations. Hobby Lobby is free, as I am free, to continue to push for laws such that the government doesn't force them to pay for things they don't like.

But right now, the law isn't on their side. If they don't follow it, they get penalized, just as I will for refusing to pay my taxes.

I happen to think they are wrong about what their money is going towards, and that the rights of their employees to have access to the very basic medical care of contraception is in the government's interest to protect, just as their employees rights to safe workspaces do. Hobby Lobby doesn't have to like any of those rules, but there is nothing special about being required to follow rules and pay the money involved in following those rules, such as hiring sufficient staff and putting in safety rails.
posted by emjaybee at 10:54 AM on December 28, 2012


Is boycotting a company much help when the issue is the treatment of its workers?

Boycott = less business = less profit = an excellent excuse to treat workers even worse, no?
posted by Sys Rq at 10:55 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


A good friend has made his living for years now solely off shoplifting from Hobby Lobby and reselling boosted scrapbooking supplies to suburbanites. He lives astonishingly well, too, considering his line of...work. I imagine he's been stepping up operations since this news came out. Gotta think about retirement, ya know?
posted by broadway bill at 10:55 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Jahaza: Hurrah for you, I guess, but the separation isn't possible for huge numbers of people.

So it would be okay for a Muslim employer to demand that you see a doctor of the same gender that you are?

You are on extremely dangerous ground here. Extremely dangerous. If you can force your personal convictions on others, then so can others, and you may find those beliefs vile. But if the Muslim is the only employer in your town, then you see the same-gender doctor, or you starve.
posted by Malor at 10:56 AM on December 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


MetaFilter: leave the pithy behind.
posted by Splunge at 10:56 AM on December 28, 2012


Boycott = less business = less profit = an excellent excuse to treat workers even worse, no?

Beats buying their shit but asking pretty please with sugar on top to be nicer.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:58 AM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


> Is boycotting a company much help when the issue is the treatment of its workers?

It acts as a deterrent to other companies, yes.
posted by gilrain at 11:01 AM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


you also can't compete with companies using slave labour, and would rapidly go bankrupt if it were legal,

Depends. Do you have an obligation to your slaves as property or are they just replaceable? If they are property that needs to be taken care of, well, eventually you'll circle right back round to "do you provide 'em with contraception?" Businesses have opted for the replaceable wage slave model.

If one is looking for a can not compete business and 'slaves' - look at prison labor contracting and have to buy from prison labor government contracting. Someone is making bank on those insider deals.

The human trafficking data I remember from a few years ago had the cost for a human in the sub $10,000 range. How many 'ironicly bad' stick figures can you draw for $10,000?

(and if the idea of slavery in this day and age squicks ya out - plenty of NGO's attempting to address human trafficking. For added Government-tied slavery fun - lookup up Dyncorp and human trafficking in your favourite search engine)
posted by rough ashlar at 11:05 AM on December 28, 2012


Is boycotting a company much help when the issue is the treatment of its workers?

It acts as a deterrent to other companies, yes.


And perhaps to the company losing gobs of money because of the boycott too. Before a business goes under, there is that time it spends going under.

But this is the crux of it. Hobby Lobby doesn't exist in a vacuum and is not (to paraphrase comments upthread) the sole magical fount of employment in the United States.
posted by IvoShandor at 11:06 AM on December 28, 2012


Let's not forget... even if Hobby Lobby should end up going under because of this (and we're getting way ahead of ourselves here), other craft stores will benefit from the increased benefit, and open new stores in areas where there's no longer any competition, and that means there will be new jobs created.
posted by orange swan at 11:11 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


A brand new huge Hobby Lobby just opened right outside my city, within 0.5 miles of Michaels, AC Moore and JoAnn Fabrics, all competitors. I buy a ton of supplies at craft stores, and Hobby Lobby creeps me out because of all the crosses everywhere.

The no scanning barcode thing is infuriating as well. I can't imagine how inefficient it must be. There are tens of thousands of items in the store. How do they know what they are selling? I had a tube of glue that didn't have a price tag on it, and they needed to call 2 different people to find another one in the store with a price tag. It is the worst.
posted by elvissa at 11:13 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


A good friend has made his living for years now solely off shoplifting from Hobby Lobby and reselling boosted scrapbooking supplies to suburbanites. He lives astonishingly well, too, considering his line of...work.

With such shrinkage from the area stores - you'd think a well managed firm would up security.
Perhaps they pay for the stores to fall under the protection of the Lord.
(what is the religious verse that prevents in-store security cameras?)

BUT

Are you sure this friend isn't, say, the Government functionary in charge of assigning 1.3 million a day fines and they felt telling people that they are a piano player in a whore house is played out?
posted by rough ashlar at 11:13 AM on December 28, 2012


Wait, does Hobby Lobby really seriously not use the barcode scanners because of some hilariously made up bible panic reason? Is this a real thing that is real?
posted by elizardbits at 11:23 AM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


> Is this a real thing that is real?

Well, they definitely don't use any kind of scanner. They key in each price by hand, then have to calculate discounts and whatnot by hand as well. This is actually why my partner has always refused to shop there, even before knowing about their wrongheadedness. It just takes ages to check out, apparently.

Whether it's for a conspiracy-level, crazy, 666 reason or not, I don't know.
posted by gilrain at 11:26 AM on December 28, 2012


It acts as a deterrent to other companies, yes.

Ah! Of course. Thank you.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:27 AM on December 28, 2012


No, I mean, I can see by their website's FAQ that it is something they actually do, I just want to know if there is legit confirmation that they are doing it for a whackazoid made up reason.
posted by elizardbits at 11:27 AM on December 28, 2012


But if the Muslim is the only employer in your town, then you see the same-gender doctor, or you starve.

What about the doctor? Wait, is this some sort of trick question? Oh, I get it the doctor IS the muslim and it's just you and him/her in the town!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:28 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wait, does Hobby Lobby really seriously not use the barcode scanners because of some hilariously made up bible panic reason? Is this a real thing that is real?

Well, no. Probably not. They don't use them, but I don't know that that's the reason. They probably just prefer old-timey things.

But it's entirely possible, and that alone is kind of ridiculous.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:29 AM on December 28, 2012


I've heard this one before--the Muslim doctor is a woman!
posted by box at 11:31 AM on December 28, 2012 [9 favorites]


Hurrah for you, I guess, but the separation isn't possible for huge numbers of people.

I guess those people should get out of public life then, since the US isn't a theocracy.
posted by jaduncan at 11:32 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can see by their website

I'm shocked that they even have a website. HL has always struck me a some sort of throwback to the 1970's and I mean that in the worst possible sense. Their stores are poorly located, poorly lit, poorly staffed, poorly stocked, poorly designed, it's like everything that was bad about stores before they started thinking about things like urban design, ergonomics, product marketing, team building, running a decent store...
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:32 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Trader Joe's didn't use scanners for a really long time, either. My theory is that it a) saved them some money, because a 40-year-old cash register is cheaper than a new one, and b) weeded out potential employees who balked at the idea of having to be knowledgeable about the products and the prices.
posted by Jick at 11:32 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


elizardbits, this blog said this in 2007:
According to Hobby Lobby's website, they don't use bar code systems because "the high cost of the scanner system would hurt their ability to remain competitive in pricing." My friend, not knowing of this, asked her manager why they didn't use bar codes like normal stores. Her reply? (to quote my friend exactly from MSN):

"Hobby Lobby is a 'religiously-affiliated' company, and barcodes are considered (are you ready?) the mark of the beast."
No way to verify that, but other links say that they're constantly writing up employees for ringing things up wrong, so whatever the reason is for not using scanners, it sounds highly irrational. Given their willingness, in this case, to pay such monstrous fines, which is completely stupid by any reasonable measure, Biblical literalism seems a likely explanation.
posted by Malor at 11:33 AM on December 28, 2012


We do not use a computerized inventory system so we cannot determine if the item is still available.

And yet they have an online shop? How does that work?
posted by jeather at 11:34 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hurrah for you, I guess, but the separation isn't possible for huge numbers of people.
I guess those people should get out of public life then, since the US isn't a theocracy.


Neither is it an atheocracy. Democratic government in which people's religious views inform their political beliefs is not the same thing as theocracy.
posted by Jahaza at 11:36 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


According to Hobby Lobby's website, they don't use bar code systems because "the high cost of the scanner system would hurt their ability to remain competitive in pricing."

See and I find that hilarious because Aldi products have bar codes on every possible surface so that checkout can be super efficient and they can remain competitive in pricing.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:37 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Democratic government in which people's religious views inform their political beliefs is not the same thing as theocracy.

It is when these religious beliefs are legally being used as a blunt object wielded against the human rights of the nonreligious or differently religious.
posted by elizardbits at 11:38 AM on December 28, 2012 [10 favorites]


But neither theocracy or atheocracy are related to employers trying to control the healthcare choices their workers are allowed to make.
posted by Malor at 11:38 AM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


In related news -- Maryland Trolley Co. Ends Marriage Tours To Protest Same-Sex Marriage, 'Bigotry'.
The head of the Maryland Wedding Professionals Association said the trolley company is the second vendor to refuse business over the state's same-sex marriage law, which voters upheld in November. The Maryland clergyman who led opposition to same-sex marriage called the trolley company's choice to abandon profits on principle "gutsy" and predicted that more businesses would quietly follow suit.
posted by ericb at 11:39 AM on December 28, 2012


Democratic government in which people's religious views inform their political beliefs is not the same thing as theocracy.


Ahh, but if you wait a bit....
posted by Bovine Love at 11:40 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Democratic government in which people's religious views inform their political beliefs is not the same thing as theocracy.

A state where exemptions from the rule of law are sought purely on the basis of religious belief is awfully close, however. Not only personal exemptions, but the right to deny others legal rights.

You'll be excited to know that my personal religious beliefs mean that I can only pay a maximum of $2 an hour with no breaks and unpaid overtime. The policy reasons you find this insane are the reasons I find a denial of medical insurance rights insane too.
posted by jaduncan at 11:42 AM on December 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


Hobby Lobby CEO on why they doesn't use bar codes:
But he resists an expensive bar-code inventory and pricing system. Why? For one thing, some of his foreign manufacturers can’t support a bar-code system. For another, employees know what’s on shelves and can more readily help customers if they take inventory the old-fashioned way, by counting. The computer won’t know if products are broken or stolen, he says. “It blithely goes on telling the staff they have such-and-such, when in fact they don’t.”

The lack of bar codes slows checkout lines a couple of seconds per product, Green says, and if cashiers get backed up, managers open another lane. Bottom line: Bar codes don’t pay their way.
More here:
The decision partially stems from Hobby Lobby’s core value of emphasizing people over profits. Green never wants to send a message to his employees that conveys, “Instead of using you, I am going to use the computer to replenish your stores.”
posted by Jahaza at 11:43 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Democratic government in which people's religious views inform their political beliefs is not the same thing as theocracy.

What you said was that if people left their religious beliefs at home when it came to running a corporation, they would be free to make business choices which fucked over their employees because they are, under these circumstances (religious beliefs at home), without moral obligation. This sounds to me like you are arguing that religious beliefs are necessary to ensure moral business practices, which, while not at all the same as advocating for theocracy, is really crazy.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:44 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


This wouldn't even be a problem if we decoupled employment and health insurance like most countries...
posted by wildcrdj at 11:44 AM on December 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


Man, I can't wait until their movies come out in theatres! They sound fantastic!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:45 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Democratic government in which people's religious views inform their political beliefs is not the same thing as theocracy.

It's not a democracy when one subset of people decide they don't have to follow the same employment laws as everyone else, because of reasons religion.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:53 AM on December 28, 2012 [13 favorites]


Well, no. Probably not. They don't use them, but I don't know that that's the reason. They probably just like old-timey things.

The principal old-timey thing they seem to like is the Bible. The president, Steve Green, spends half of his time on his Bible collection, recently producing a touring Bible exhibition (with a speaker series endorsed by a gentleman from Oral Roberts University), and designs on a permanent home in DC.

Here the Green family is giving millions of dollars to the Southern Baptists, but here is CEO David Green speaking at an Assembly of God function - the Benny Hinn sort of Pentecostal, speaking-in-tongues, Satan-is-real denomination.


For one thing, some of his foreign manufacturers can’t support a bar-code system.

Yeah, it's very rare to see Chinese products with barcodes these days. Or alternately, Mr. Green is a smart enough businessman to not tell a business reporter writing a bland profile that he's on a one-man crusade to turn back the tide of Satan with his inventory control techniques.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 11:53 AM on December 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


As someone who actively works with and on barcode technology, it makes me proud that I am assisting Satan as well as helping businesses with inventory control.
posted by spinifex23 at 11:58 AM on December 28, 2012 [38 favorites]


HL has always struck me a some sort of throwback to the 1970's and I mean that in the worst possible sense. Their stores are poorly located, poorly lit, poorly staffed, poorly stocked, poorly designed, it's like everything that was bad about stores before they started thinking about things like urban design, ergonomics, product marketing, team building, running a decent store...

My local Hobby Lobby is well-stocked, so logically organized that despite the huge variety of inventory you can almost always find what you're looking for without assistance, and staffed by helpful, knowledgeable people. It's the only one I've ever been to. Their cheap store-brand yarn is nicer than other cheap brands for crocheting amigurumi.
posted by not that girl at 11:59 AM on December 28, 2012


Let them know your opinion by leaving a message on their facebook page. They aren't able to keep up with the sanitizing.
posted by francesca too at 12:03 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Putting the whole "Federal Law" thing aside for a moment, I have no problem with a business owner having their own convictions which they want to uphold, provided that if they feel so incredibly strong about the mere option of "abortion" being made available to those within their organizations, they should make it widely known that customers who have had abortions or think that women have the right to choose should shop elsewhere if possible, as they would not prefer to have their business.

I personally consider abortion to not be an appropriate option (for me), and neither does my wife. However, I do not deign to think that my current circumstances are the only ones that will ever exist, nor am I inflexible to listening to logic (the safety of my wife), or other valid reasons. My beliefs are mine, and I do not think that He would judge anyone whose circumstances warranted whatever they genuinely felt necessary. The Power in my life which guides me is only to enable me to help others, and shoving my beliefs down someone's throat by telling them what is right or wrong in their lives does no good for anyone.
posted by Debaser626 at 12:07 PM on December 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


As someone who actively works with and on barcode technology, it makes me proud that I am assisting Satan as well as helping businesses with inventory control.

I herd that the lasers r in the shape of a pentagram!11! Like dis if you credulous everytim!
posted by jaduncan at 12:08 PM on December 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


The first post on their FB page right now is by a nice lady telling me that "It is quite obvious that if you support Barack you are a fascist."
posted by Eyebeams at 12:09 PM on December 28, 2012


Debaser626, if only there were more people of faith like you.
posted by jbickers at 12:09 PM on December 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


I don't think a facebook storm is the proper MeFi thing to do or suggest.
posted by buzzman at 12:10 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hobby Lobby’s core value of emphasizing people over profits

lol lol lol lol lol

"People" meaning "not women who want to have sex".
posted by elizardbits at 12:12 PM on December 28, 2012 [12 favorites]


One can also leave reviews on individual location pages via Google +.
posted by spinifex23 at 12:13 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


From the Wikipedia page linked above: In July 2012, The Green Collection announced the purchase of the Washington Design Center in D.C. for a reported $50 million to house the as-yet-unnamed national Bible museum.

Interesting location as the museum will be surrounded by the historic seat of American propaganda; flanked by the former homes of the USIA and VOA!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:13 PM on December 28, 2012


"not women who want to have sex"... outside of marriage in order only to procreate.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:14 PM on December 28, 2012


edgeways, you're saying their options are, pay for contraception or don't own a business?


Ahahahaha: So you are saying businesses are free to pick and choose what laws they want to follow, as long as it is against their religion?

Fine: I own a small arts sales and promotion business. I find war is against my religion, a perfectly sane position I feel. (hell I'd say that was more Christian than many Christians are and I'm by far and away not a Christian) henceforth I am only paying the portion of taxes that don't go towards paying for current or past military actions or preparations.

Should save a bundle next year I tells ya what!

Now:

Driving around today if wonder if I came up with a solution to all of this -

What if... HL, instead of providing health insurance coverage for contraception, established a Flex Plan account for every single employee covered under their health plan, into that flex plan they must deposit, every year, the maximum amount a health plan would pay for contraception in a year under all circumstances. The employees can use that money for contraception if they care to, or other medical expenses. HL can pretend it isn't funding the pre-abortions of their degenerate employees.
posted by edgeways at 12:20 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


If Hobby Lobby goes under, and the market for the cheap shoddy imported crap they sold remains, then businesses whose business model does not include "we will pay almost eight and a half million dollars per week in fines incurred from breaking laws to make a point about GRAR ABORTIONOBAMACARESOMETHING" will step in to satisfy that market, and will be able to hire the displaced employees. The newly employed former Hobby Lobby employees will then have an employer who was not willing to piss away more than a third of a billion dollars per year to avoid following the law. They will also have an employer that is not attempting to have an almost fascist level of sovereignty over the bodies of its' employees. If I understand economics. (Which I do not.)
posted by Cookiebastard at 12:22 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


The laid-off employees should just band together nationwide and form the People's Corporation of Hobby Lobby.
posted by griphus at 12:25 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Let them know your opinion by leaving a message on their facebook page. They aren't able to keep up with the sanitizing.

Everybody is ultimately responsible for navigating their feelings about this sort of thing themselves, but I'd rather not have folks advocating on Metafilter that we barnstorm other websites or spam people's social media pages, etc.
posted by cortex at 12:27 PM on December 28, 2012 [14 favorites]


I get really annoyed by things like this, because there are a lot of reasons to take contraceptives beyond prevention of pregnancy.

I am one of many women who takes contraceptives for legitimate medical reasons. Without going into all the details (you're welcome) it's to control otherwise-severe menopause-related issues.

If I was a Hobby Lobby employee, I guess they would prefer that I pay out of pocket for the medication that prevents me from gushing blood from my privates in a two-week-long odyssey of MegaPeriod. Because God said so?

A detail that got lost in the "Rush Limbaugh called women sluts" debacle regarding Sandra Fluke: she was giving testimony about her roommate, who needs contraceptives in order to prevent a situation where basically her ovaries would explode. According to Hobby Lobby, I guess "exploding ovaries" doesn't qualify your prescription.

I know many more women who take contraceptives in order to prevent PMDD, which is a crippling condition that is basically "PMS x 1000." Hobby Lobby doesn't care, I guess.

Contraceptives are more than just a religious issue. There are a lot of serious medical reasons why someone might be on contraception. These religious nuts never take that into consideration, preferring instead to make all women suffer equally. Maybe Hobby Lobby thinks it's more qualified than my doctor, to say what medicine is and isn't "medicine"?

Anyway fuck those guys, their yarn selection is shitty anyway.
posted by ErikaB at 12:34 PM on December 28, 2012 [35 favorites]


As usual, snopes is here for us to dispel dumb myths about barcodes.

This site gives a more thorough background of how it originated. (Warning: this page seems to be written by a true barcode believer, so be prepared to be assaulted with tidal waves of crazy):
One of the most popular and shocking accusations concerning the number "666" is that the number "666" is quietly "hidden" in every UPC barcode. Mary Stewart Relfe's book, "The New Money System 666", published in 1982, is the "pioneer" of the "666 in the UPC barcode" teaching. Relfe's book contains over 50 pages of excellant doumentation on the UPC barcodes. Relfe's discovery is repeated in many publications touching the mark of the beast, within the last fifteen years. Including tracts published by this author.

Here's a few samples:


Terry Cook, The Mark of the New World Order, 1996:
". . . the entire system [UPC barcode] is very deceptively designed around the infamous numerical configuration, Biblically known as 666, the mark of the Antichrist or devil (Revelation 13:16-18). . ." (Terry Cook, The Mark of the New World Order, 1996, p. 376)

Bob Fraley, The Last Days in America, 1984:

"The interpretation of the Universal Product Code marks is most revealing in that the three numbers '666' are the key working numbers for every designed Universal Product Code. Every group of Universal Product Code marks has in it three unidentified numbers. All three of these numbers are 6, making the use of the numbers '666' the key to using this identifying marking system. . .

There is no deviation. Every Universal Product Code has three unidentified marks whose number equivalent '6' encoding it with the code number '666'. " (Bob Fraley, The Last Days in America, 1984, p. 225, 228)

posted by young sister beacon at 12:38 PM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


You know, someone should point out to these folks just how in line with the Catholic position they are. And then congratulate them for being good little Papists. I know they seem to be immune to head explosions from cognitive dissonance, but it's worth another shot.
posted by stevis23 at 12:40 PM on December 28, 2012


I hereby nominate Sweat Loaf as the Official Hobby Lobby Boycott Song. Play it every time you don't buy something from them!!!

"And by the way, if you see your mom this weekend, wouldja be sure and tell her . . . SATAN! SATAN! SATAN!"
posted by soundguy99 at 12:41 PM on December 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm not trying to single you out ErikaB, but one of the comments in your, uh, comment, stuck out at me -- "legitimate medical reason" - it's just something I hear or see often, and it bugs me. As a reproductive health specialist, the idea that controlling your fertility, choosing how to use your body, or safe pregnancy spacing are somehow illegitimate depresses me profoundly. I see it used a lot to try to defend contraception coverage to religious jackasses who use their religion to deny women basic healthcare, and it's so frustrating to me that we're at the point where this is what we use to try to keep it covered - this idea that managing fertility is less valid than other uses.

I know that's not what you're saying with your comment at all, your experience you're sharing just reminded me of this socially-prevalent canard, but the fact that we're at the point where we're up against the wall defending contraception based on it's non-contraceptive properties is ... just discouraging.

though I am certainly a person who has to point out frequently to people that birth control has many varied and fantastic medical uses. i guess that's the flipside, trying to get across to people that it's a drug, like any other drug, and is used for a bazillion-ty things.
posted by circle_b at 1:05 PM on December 28, 2012 [57 favorites]


Refusing to cover health insurance premiums for your employees is a form of denying your employees' wages.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:35 AM on December 28


Pay them their wages each day before sunset, because they are poor and are counting on it. Otherwise they may cry to the Lord against you, and you will be guilty of sin.
Deuteronomy 24:15 (NIV)

"So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me," says the LORD Almighty.
Malachi 3:5 (NIV)

Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation.
Romans 4:4 (NIV)

Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages.
Luke 10:7 (NIV)

For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.”
1 Timothy 5:18 (NIV)(Note: 1Tim is referencing Deut. 25:4 and Luke 10:7.)

Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.
James 5:4 (NIV)
posted by magstheaxe at 1:09 PM on December 28, 2012 [53 favorites]


I just wanted to announce to the world, also, that I just had my first ever birth control refill covered 100% by my crappy insurance. AWESOME. I went to the pharmacy to pick up my BS expensive birth control, and she was like "no charge!" and I was like "what?" and she was like "no charge!" and I was like "well hot damn!" yaaay

I just about skipped out of the store.
posted by circle_b at 1:12 PM on December 28, 2012 [18 favorites]


That is a beautiful collection of scripture references, magstheaxe. Thank you for posting those.
posted by Cookiebastard at 1:14 PM on December 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.
James 5:4 (NIV)


Let's face facts: These guys who run Hobby Lobby and what have you just read the parts they want to read, and they skip over the rest.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:15 PM on December 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


These guys who run Hobby Lobby and what have you just read the parts they want to read, and they skip over the rest.

You gotta admire these Christians who so deftly manage to ignore all of the Jesus Stuff while they assert their freedom of religion.
posted by Pudhoho at 1:22 PM on December 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


Let's face facts: These guys who run Hobby Lobby and what have you just read the parts they want to read, and they skip over the rest.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:15 PM on December 28



I just want to give ammo to anyone who feels like emailing Hobby Lobby about this, or perhaps protest-marching outside of their corporate HQ with a sign. The verses may be of some use.

Yeah, it might just be "pearls before swine", but at least they'll know what the Bible also says about people who withold wages from workers (friggin' Pharisees).
posted by magstheaxe at 1:29 PM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


back in earlier days during a shoplifting phase a friend showed me how to casually switch around price tags at hobby lobby - expensive yarn priced as cheap yarn, good glues priced as kid craft glues, etc. always the same sort of product, never so outrageous as to raise eyebrows. i imagine we came out hundreds of dollars ahead. so, thanks hobby lobby for not using barcode systems!
posted by nadawi at 1:31 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just want to give ammo to anyone who feels like emailing Hobby Lobby about this, or perhaps protest-marching outside of their corporate HQ with a sign. The verses may be of some use.

They'll probably bother to actually read the parts where it talks about fraud and agreement.
posted by Jahaza at 1:32 PM on December 28, 2012


You gotta admire these Christians who so deftly manage to ignore all of the Jesus Stuff

Well, to be fair, only a couple of those were from the Jesus part. Then again, the parts they do choose to follow closely are also not from the Jesus parts, so take that as you will.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 1:32 PM on December 28, 2012


zombieflanders, there is an employer mandate as well as an individual mandate. The former applies only to larger (50+ FTEs) employers, and neither is truly a mandate: You either have, or provide, adequate health insurance or you pay a fine.

Or you make all of your employees work 30 hours a week and then laugh at those stupid liberals for leaving such a massive loophole.
posted by Talez at 1:48 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


You'd have to have a workforce willing to accept only part-time work in that case. You'd also have to hire more people.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 1:50 PM on December 28, 2012


You'd have to have a workforce willing to accept only part-time work in that case. You'd also have to hire more people.

7.9% unemployment and all of the seasonal workers being let go this week?

I'm sure HL would find it impossible to find people... in opposite world.
posted by Talez at 1:53 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


//You'd have to have a workforce willing to accept only part-time work in that case. You'd also have to hire more people.//

So we raise the minimum wage 25% to keep all the former full time workers whole, and we are right back where we started. Same pay - no insurance - 10 hours less work per week.

On second thought, maybe that wouldn't be so bad.
posted by COD at 1:54 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Hobby Lobby, a craft store with 525 U.S. locations, has announced that it will defy a federal mandate to provide health coverage for all employees that includes emergency contraceptive coverage, and will pay a fine of $1.3 million every day."

Well then... the US government looks forward to Hobby Lobby's $474.5 million dollars in the upcoming year! That should be enough to cover the cost of, say, PBS, plus change.
posted by markkraft at 2:00 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Raising minimum wage just gets the prices of most other goods to jump 20%-25%. That's the thing about condensed, merged businesses, they know they can get away with that kind of shit. Dropping FT employees to PT during a recession though, that's something anyone not using moderately specialized employees can get away with.

If you want to fix a systematic problem, you can't just say 'Every give the employees X and Y (except under conditions A and B)' because waaaaaay too many employers will fabricate conditions A and B. Want to solve the insurance problem, take it out of the hands of people looking to profit or those simply looking to satisfy that pyscopathic control urge. Want to solve minimum wage issues, do something along the lines of capped renumeration forcing trickle down.
posted by Slackermagee at 2:03 PM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Man, some of the comments on Hobby Lobby's Facebook page from supporters of their refusal are... well, not exactly Christlike. The one that had me shaking my head the most was the one from a Hobby Lobby supporter going off the rails about "Leftists" and how she's thrilled she won't have to worry about catching STDs in the Hobby Lobby restrooms anymore because Lefty scum isn't shopping there.

Very interesting to see so much hatred from people who claim to be supportive of a Christian ideal.
posted by palomar at 2:05 PM on December 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


7.9% unemployment and all of the seasonal workers being let go this week?

Seasonal workers are not part-time workers nor are unemployed people people who are simply willing to take any job available. By your math we wouldn't have employment deficits in any sectors, yet for some reason we import tens of thousands of temporary and seasonal workers from overseas and the Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the number of unfulfilled job listings at around 3.7 million.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 2:05 PM on December 28, 2012


> Trader Joe's didn't use scanners for a really long time, either

Unrelated to the Hobby Lobby, but: there's a burger stand I've been to where they don't even use cash registers. Or calculators. The people taking your order add everything up using pen and paper. They have a sign saying something like "Please be patient, for many of our employees this is their first job," and I presume their no-calculator policy is to help them learn those skills.

I went to the Hobby Lobby when one opened near-ish me, out of curiosity. It was creepy and alienating and full of depressingly shoddy crap. There were some useful craft items hidden in there, but nothing that couldn't be found at one of the many other craft stores in the area.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:15 PM on December 28, 2012


Many of the comments above seem to suggest HL is trying to keep contraception from its employees altogether. But that's not really what they're saying, right? To my reading of HL's complaint, they lodge no objection to "standard" birth control pills, or other methods that prevent the fertilization of an egg, which are by far the most common forms of contraception. What HL is objecting to are methods that prevent an already fertilized egg from attaching to the uterine wall. The distinction between pre-fertilized egg and fertilized egg may be meaningless to many, but it is a chronological and biological distinction, and apparently not meaningless to everyone. If one believes life begins at conception, there's no logical way not to object to these latter methods. So, slam HL all you want, but at least slam them for what they're actually doing. And taking a broad "papal" stance against all contraception is not what they're doing.
posted by azaner at 2:29 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Azaner, they've covered methods that they claim prevent a fertilized egg from implanting for years. (No science has ever confirmed that ECP actually works that way, or anyway none that I've read.) If they cared so much, you'd think they'd have checked before now.
posted by KathrynT at 2:36 PM on December 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


Azaner, they've covered methods that they claim prevent a fertilized egg from implanting for years. (No science has ever confirmed that ECP actually works that way, or anyway none that I've read.) If they cared so much, you'd think they'd have checked before now.

I think the amount of money they're willing to sink into fines and legal fees shows that they really do care.
posted by Jahaza at 2:39 PM on December 28, 2012


then why did they ever cover it at all?
posted by KathrynT at 2:40 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Interestingly, one of their major objections is that not everyone is required to follow the ACA laws about contraception, so why are they required to? This is not, to my mind, unreasonable, though to me the clear answer is that there should be no waivers or religious exemptions, not more.
posted by jeather at 2:40 PM on December 28, 2012


To my reading of HL's complaint, they lodge no objection to "standard" birth control pills, or other methods that prevent the fertilization of an egg, which are by far the most common forms of contraception. What HL is objecting to are methods that prevent an already fertilized egg from attaching to the uterine wall.

That's not how I read it. According to this article, they don't want to pay for "the morning-after pill and similar emergency contraception pills." But, as noted above, those pills "work by keeping a woman's ovaries from releasing eggs — ovulation. Pregnancy cannot happen if there is no egg to join with sperm."

They're not just limiting their fight to abortion.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:43 PM on December 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


Imagine my surprise when right there inside the church building, she pointed out a coffee shop with the predictable name "Sacred Grounds"

This is right out of the Mega Church playbook-- a coffee shop/gift shop on the premises. It is supposed to get people in the habit of dropping by the church regularly even when they don't plan to go to a service.

Or you make all of your employees work 30 hours a week and then laugh at those stupid liberals for leaving such a massive loophole.

Olive Garden tried this and it did not work out for them. They had a trial run in some of their restaurants and gave it up because employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction dropped. If Hobby Lobby is depending on their employees to memorize prices on thousands of items and be knowledgeable about the stock on hand, then replacing their full time employees with part time employees does not make sense.

I am fascinated by the grey area of employer's rights vs. employees rights. We have come a long way since Judge Bork ruled it was perfectly legal for an employer to tell his female employee that she must be sterilized in order to keep her job.

I am sympathetic to the idea that a person should be allowed to hire another person for whatever benefit the two people can agree on. However the system is ripe for abuse and the Government is right to establish some minimum guidelines. What those guidelines are and how they should be enforced continues to evolve. I wonder what new requirements will be considered mandatory 20 years from now, 50 years from now.

I also wonder what new causes the Religious Right will take on. Temperance is one that faded away to be replaced by women's sexuality and homosexuality. They are definitely losing those two battles so what new cause will arise to take their place? Remember, it doesn't have to be Biblically-based.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 2:44 PM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


then why did they ever cover it at all?

Negligence? Ignorance? It's not really relevant.
posted by Jahaza at 2:47 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is right out of the Mega Church playbook-- a coffee shop/gift shop on the premises. It is supposed to get people in the habit of dropping by the church regularly even when they don't plan to go to a service.

It always makes me wonder what these churches do if you go to the coffeeshop and don't have correct change. Do they have money changers there?
posted by shakespeherian at 2:50 PM on December 28, 2012 [12 favorites]


Negligence? Ignorance? It's not really relevant.

It sure as shit is relevant, to me. They were willing to cover it (and do not tell me that there is nobody at Hobby Lobby who didn't read the fine print) as long as there wasn't an outcry, but as soon as they could raise the public stink of their piety, they seized the option. It's like the very definition of "cleaning the outside of the cup." (Luke 11:39)
posted by KathrynT at 2:55 PM on December 28, 2012 [24 favorites]


This is right out of the Mega Church playbook-- a coffee shop/gift shop on the premises. It is supposed to get people in the habit of dropping by the church regularly even when they don't plan to go to a service.

It's that self-balkanization that evangelicals practice so well. They seem to do everything in their power to make it easy for their members to limit their interaction with the outside world. There's a church down the road from me that actually went so far as to run a little-league baseball league for a few years, in direct competition with the regular "secular" little-league.

They do everything they can to close-off the outside world, then complain loudly that the outside world is somehow discriminatory against them.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:56 PM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Question: is there a health insurance company that will sell them a group policy without a federally mandated coverage?
posted by bgrebs at 3:10 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


i have never understood how some christians justify shops and ATMs inside of churches with that whole money changers thing. i mean, i know the answer is "money" "greater good" and "that doesn't apply to this because, reasons" - i just don't understand how they sell that lie to themselves.
posted by nadawi at 3:50 PM on December 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


> I didn't liken it to Michaels on thorazine as Michaels on steroids

To be fair, my sample size for Hobby Lobby is precisely one, a rather sad location in Phoenix. It was so beige and run-down looking that it appeared to be on some form of liquid cosh.
posted by scruss at 3:54 PM on December 28, 2012


I wouldn't exactly call the temperance movement "religious right". Remember, many in the movement were highly connected with women's suffrage, labor, and other Progressive causes of the day!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 3:54 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dear Jesus,

Please save us from those of your followers who think you've given them an immoral imperative to arrogantly impose their arbitrary beliefs on the rest of us.

Thanks.

Signed,

A fellow MOT
posted by zarq at 3:59 PM on December 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


scruss, The 10th Regiment - i've been in a fair number of hobby lobby stores and i think your experiences are an anomaly. most of them are very brightly lit, clean, lots of neatly arranged stock on the shelves, large aisles, etc. there's a lot to not like about them, but as for general big box store aesthetic and location, they seem above par.
posted by nadawi at 4:03 PM on December 28, 2012


Interesting, I've been in quite a few too and I'd have to classify them as dingy, dank, reeking of faux potpourri spray, and generally craptastic always located in a has-been strip mall.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 4:21 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Cookiebastard: That is a beautiful collection of scripture references, magstheaxe. Thank you for posting those.

As much as I also liked the bible quote post, has there ever been a time when hypocrites and busybodies are turned around by quoting text back at them? People who didn't reason their way into a position aren't likely to reason their way out of it.
posted by dr_dank at 4:21 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


We have come a long way since Judge Bork ruled it was perfectly legal for an employer to tell his female employee that she must be sterilized in order to keep her job.

That kind of stuff is still happening.
posted by young sister beacon at 4:21 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I also wonder what new causes the Religious Right will take on. Temperance is one that faded away to be replaced by women's sexuality and homosexuality. They are definitely losing those two battles so what new cause will arise to take their place? Remember, it doesn't have to be Biblically-based.

Something Israel-related:
          2:1
Something Christmas related:
          5:2
Something number-of-the-beast related:
          3:1
Something Sabbath related:
          7:2
Something gambling related:
          15:1
Something related to Jesus' role as peacemaker, turning the other cheek:
          30:1
Something related to feeding and clothing the poor:
          50:1
posted by JHarris at 4:31 PM on December 28, 2012 [11 favorites]


I wouldn't exactly call the temperance movement "religious right".

The Women's Christian Temperance group was a fairly extreme faction in its hayday with Carrie Nation taking her hatchet to beer halls.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:42 PM on December 28, 2012


Sure, another noted Prohibitionist would be Susan B. Anthony too though. It was the meeting ground of Progressives and Evangelicals in the days before there was a "religious right".
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:01 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


The law being used by the plaintiffs was signed with enthusiasm by Bill Clinton. Enacted in response to the Supreme Court's decision in the peyote case (Smith v. Oregon, per Justice Scalia), it was an effort to make sure that religious minorities don't have their beliefs impinged upon by political majorities. While this case concerns a non-minority, by any stretch of the imagination, any rule articulated by the Court will certainly impact religious minorities as well. Important to keep that in mind.
posted by learnsome at 5:06 PM on December 28, 2012


JHarris, I like your odds, in fact I think they are hilariously accurate.

Except the last one, which seems a tad cynical.

While they too often tend to be quite sanctimonious while doing it, the religious right do feed and clothe a lot of poor folks.
posted by MoTLD at 5:15 PM on December 28, 2012


Employer based health insurance is a stupid, ineffective plan to begin with, so this whole problem should just go away with the adoption of a single payer solution.
posted by Daddy-O at 5:30 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


They don't make it a point of policy though. The best way to feed and clothe people would be to give the job to the organization with the most resources and cause -- the government. They could do it for millions of people, not the small numbers your standard soup kitchen serves.
posted by JHarris at 5:39 PM on December 28, 2012


but the red menace
posted by elizardbits at 5:40 PM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Sure, another noted Prohibitionist would be Susan B. Anthony too though. It was the meeting ground of Progressives and Evangelicals in the days before there was a "religious right".

I'd just like to tack on to this that contrary to the Pat Robertson/Glen Beck revision of history, the Protestant and Evangelical movements were originally movements to empower the masses. Just think of how radical it was to state in a time of omnipotent Popes and Kings that a person has a direct connection with scripture and the almighty as opposed to only via some special, exclusive, heirarchical club that told the people what they were to believe. These movements gave gave both religious and political power to the congregants which fueled such concepts as democracy, liberty, human rights, and eventually Progressivism.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:49 PM on December 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


has there ever been a time when hypocrites and busybodies are turned around by quoting text back at them?

Once? No. Over time? Yes, and I've seen it and been instrumental in it. I convinced a handful of people that voting for Washington's marriage equality law was not just consistent with Christianity, but required by it, for example.
posted by KathrynT at 5:49 PM on December 28, 2012 [13 favorites]


Jahaza, I would be interested to know your responses to some hypothetical questions raised earlier in the thread:

Suppose you have a Christian Scientist employer. Should they have the right to deny you any health coverage other than prayer?


and

So it would be okay for a Muslim employer to demand that you see a doctor of the same gender that you are?

Thank you.
posted by dhens at 8:31 PM on December 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm betting you get no answer, dhens; it would involve confronting cognitive dissonance, and that's always uncomfortable.
posted by Malor at 9:08 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Generally speaking, I think both those things should be legal. (As for morally, the scenarios are underspecified.)
posted by Jahaza at 9:17 PM on December 28, 2012


So, special rights for religious reasons. Sweet. Can't see how that could go wrong.
posted by rtha at 9:43 PM on December 28, 2012 [15 favorites]


What do you think of requiring union membership as a condition of employment?
posted by dirigibleman at 9:50 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


The right of people with minority religious views to participate in the economy outweighs the rights of businesses to maintain ideological or religious or racial purity.

It's all a balancing act of the rights of groups, not of individuals. Why respect a right to have segregated gas stations and restaurants and hotels when it strips the rights of a minority population to travel freely through their own country on public roads they paid for?

God will not judge you for giving people the option to use birth control, they already had that option anyway and you aren't the one making the choice.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:53 PM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Jahaza: Though your answer scares me, thank you for answering and owning up to those positions.
posted by dhens at 10:11 PM on December 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Jahaza: Generally speaking, I think both those things should be legal.

So where's the limit? Can a Muslim employer demand that you live by Sharia law? Can a devout Christian Scientist demand that you not receive medical care? I mean, not just fail to pay for it, but actively demand that you not receive medical care, because it violates his or her religious beliefs? Can a nature worshiper demand that you engage in orgies with the staff to remain employed? Can a Satanist demand that you pray to his or her deity at the start of every work shift?

If you believe all those things are permissible, which would be the logical extension of a Muslim doctor being able to force you to see same-gender doctors, why do you believe that? Why is an employer's belief more important than yours? Why are you expected to be subservient merely because of an employment relationship?

What makes an employer's beliefs better than an employee's?
posted by Malor at 10:51 PM on December 28, 2012 [10 favorites]


Well, if employers' rights know no bounds, at least it follows that active government intervention in the economy is absolutely necessary, to permit a sufficiently diverse group of employers in every industry such that individuals' rights are preserved to the extent necessary under the constitution. Governments would have to nationalize or break up monopolized industry else effectively abrogate freedom of belief for religious minorities in industries that were dominated by the cultural majority and bent on persecuting them.

Unless it's just perfectly OK that minorities are refused employment by dominant groups and forced to work menial labour. In that case, well, enjoy your land of the free, slave.
posted by mek at 11:23 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


On the bar code thing: I'd bet not having close control over stock and reporting on sales would make it a lot easier to launder money.

Blazecock Pileon writes "Let's face facts: These guys who run Hobby Lobby and what have you just read the parts they want to read, and they skip over the rest."

To be fair you can prove pretty well anything you want with scripture if you look at it the right and pick the right quotes. There is a copious amount of contradictory stuff in there. I mean the crusades happened despite one of the big, not much wiggle room rules being "No Killin".

jeather writes "Interestingly, one of their major objections is that not everyone is required to follow the ACA laws about contraception, so why are they required to? This is not, to my mind, unreasonable, though to me the clear answer is that there should be no waivers or religious exemptions, not more."

this is very problematic and may indeed be the source for the owner of Hobby Lobby to throw it all on the line like this. Why are they not eligible for the special treatment afford to other religious organizations? This is also why I don't think the 1.3 million dollars a day is scaring them yet; the have a belief that they will prevail in which case they won't have to pay the fine.
posted by Mitheral at 12:17 AM on December 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why are they not eligible for the special treatment afford to other religious organizations?

Because they aren't a religious organization. They're a craft supplies store.
posted by KathrynT at 1:05 AM on December 29, 2012 [23 favorites]


Can a nature worshiper demand that you engage in orgies with the staff to remain employed?
*searches indeed.com*
posted by Smedleyman at 1:30 AM on December 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


griphus: "But what I want to know is if IvoShandor can make a rock so heavy he can't lift it.

No.1
  1. Tobin, John H. (1920). Tobin's Spirit Guide. Penguin.
"

Just a tip there, my friend. No serious paranormal researcher takes the Penguin edition seriously, but, instead, see it as the feeble attempts of the normal world to capitalize on the events following both the EPA storage grid shut down disaster and the Carpathian Incident.

Please, if you are going to show off, do the legwork first.
posted by Samizdata at 3:12 AM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Slothrup: "Almost totally off-topic:

Imagine my surprise when right there inside the church building, she pointed out a coffee shop with the predictable name "Sacred Grounds". I did not ask, but strongly suspect that it does not close on Sundays...

The weird church-and-business-industrial-complex that's been emerging in the United States over the last three decades does certainly not suffer from a lack of cognitive dissonance.
"


Like the local one, which includes books, and is, lo and behold, open on Sundays?
posted by Samizdata at 3:16 AM on December 29, 2012


not that girl: "HL has always struck me a some sort of throwback to the 1970's and I mean that in the worst possible sense. Their stores are poorly located, poorly lit, poorly staffed, poorly stocked, poorly designed, it's like everything that was bad about stores before they started thinking about things like urban design, ergonomics, product marketing, team building, running a decent store...

My local Hobby Lobby is well-stocked, so logically organized that despite the huge variety of inventory you can almost always find what you're looking for without assistance, and staffed by helpful, knowledgeable people. It's the only one I've ever been to. Their cheap store-brand yarn is nicer than other cheap brands for crocheting amigurumi.
"

Crikey, I wish I knew someone that could do me up a sockish monkey.

NOT a puppet. Just a monkey.

(I've tried knitting. It ended up non-Euclidean.)
posted by Samizdata at 3:48 AM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


KathrynT writes "Because they aren't a religious organization. They're a craft supplies store."

Sorry I was missing a set of quotes there. What I was saying is that is the hypothetical question Hobby Lobby is going to court over. It seems obvious to me what the distinction is.

Actually more interesting for me is that this religious exemption was carved out in the first place. Stuff like that has always seemed like a weird way of going about separation.
posted by Mitheral at 5:54 AM on December 29, 2012


Why are they not eligible for the special treatment afford to other religious organizations?

My understanding of their complaint is that not only religious organisations are getting waivers but also certain non-religious ones. (Not that I think religious ones should get the waivers.) I am not a lawyer, though.
posted by jeather at 5:58 AM on December 29, 2012


Just because this keeps coming up over and over: the idea of a Muslim employer forcing employees to see same-gender doctors absolutely would not happen and is a misrepresentation of the religion.

While many Muslim men and women won't touch non-related people of the opposite gender in social settings - no shaking hands or hugs, for example - this doesn't apply in emergencies (to pull someone back onto a kerb out of traffic, or to save a drowning person), nor does it apply in professional settings. Muslim doctors, dentists, paramedics, etc. will touch people of both genders in the course of their work.

One of the doctors I see at my local surgery is a very strictly observant Muslim. She wears a hijab and jilbab (long, loose coat over her clothing), takes time out of her work to pray, and she sees male patients.
posted by cilantro at 6:33 AM on December 29, 2012 [10 favorites]


Employer based health insurance is a stupid, ineffective plan to begin with, so this whole problem should just go away with the adoption of a single payer solution.

and then we'll have millions of individuals who will be claiming that the government is violating their religious rights by using their tax dollars to fund contraceptives and abortions

i suspect this is one reason why we don't have single payer yet
posted by pyramid termite at 6:39 AM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was curious about Hobby Lobby's claim in paragraph 10 of its complaint that "The Mandate does not apply to everyone equally. The government has not required every insurance plan in the country to cover these services, but has instead exempted numerous persons and groups, often for reasons of commercial convenience. Millions of employers may escape the age of the mandate because of the age of their plans or because of the number of people they employ."

That last line I italicized intrigued me because it hints at an argument that the feds are enforcing this in a way that is unfair to Hobby Lobby. The only examples of employer exemptions "for commercial convenience" that they cite are the age of the plans or number of employees. Hobby Lobby seems to be arguing here that because the government includes these "commercial convenience" exemptions, they should also be granted a religious exemption because of "commercial convenience." It's an argument of exceptionalism; we love Jesus, and we don't believe in morning after pills, so we shouldn't have to pay for coverage that provides it because it's "commercially inconvenient."

Just in case anyone is wondering about the regs regarding the religious exemption, the cite is 45 C.F.R. §147.130(a)(1)(iv)(B). Here's the relevant language:
(B) For purposes of this subsection, a “religious employer” is an organization that meets all of the following criteria:
(1) The inculcation of religious values is the purpose of the organization.
(2) The organization primarily employs persons who share the religious tenets of the organization.
(3) The organization serves primarily persons who share the religious tenets of the organization.
(4) The organization is a nonprofit organization as described in section 6033(a)(1) and section 6033(a)(3)(A)(i) or (iii) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.

So you have a "for profit" company essentially arguing that they deserve a religious exemption available only to non-profits such as hospitals, charities, etc. because the Greens deserve the right to run the business "in accordance with their beliefs." For all the reasons discussed by others above, it's such an unbelievably short-sighted argument that would have troubling implications for the economy and society as a whole if it were granted, because it would open up the First Amendment as an end run around the substantive due process provisions upon which we rely for all sorts of legislation regulating U.S. businesses. I think it would establish a precedent that could return us to the Lochner era.
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:54 AM on December 29, 2012 [8 favorites]


While many Muslim men and women won't touch non-related people of the opposite gender in social settings - no shaking hands or hugs, for example - this doesn't apply in emergencies (to pull someone back onto a kerb out of traffic, or to save a drowning person), nor does it apply in professional settings.

I think maybe for a lot of people here this misunderstanding comes from that post a few weeks back about the barber in Canada who refused to cut a woman's hair because he claimed it was against his religion.
posted by elizardbits at 8:06 AM on December 29, 2012


I know there are Christians and Jews who feel it is impermissible to see a doctor of the opposite sex except in an emergency, so we don't need to use Muslims in that example.
posted by jeather at 8:26 AM on December 29, 2012


MoTLD
And I addressed the other two by agreeing with you that family or disability might mean one does not have the ability to take quite so firm a stand.

That's why society needs to create rights to protect the weakest and most vulnerable members of society rather than strong ones that can afford to pay the price. It is the weak and vulnerable who will be the exploited and pay the cost. There were times I likely qualified for government assistance and chose not to take it out of middle class pride. Good for you and me; the laws don't exist for us, they exist for the people for whom every paycheck means the difference between their child eating or not.

No child with pneumonia dies thinking, "At least my mother's employer wasn't forced to provide health care for me." I want a single payer system where health care is completely severed from employment but hopefully what we got is a baby step in the right direction.
posted by Candleman at 8:30 AM on December 29, 2012 [8 favorites]


I think Hobby Lobby looked at Chick-Fil-A's sales figures and realized that being a highly religious hate group is pretty good business in the US today.

Color me cynical, but this is an organization that lies about giving their employees Sundays off. They're a lot of things, but they're not faithful to even the most basic of God's commandments.
posted by grudgebgon at 8:39 AM on December 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


I googled a bit on the Muslim doctors thing and the closest I could come was to note some medical students who did not want to examine members of the opposite sex as part of their training. If I understand correctly, they were given alternate curriculum so that they had the necessary knowledge? That is very different from an emergency situation. As long as they know what they are doing when the emergency time comes, it seems fine to me.

I can't help but think about the 2002 Mecca girls' school fire as an example of a lack of emergency suspension of rules. Don't for a second think I'm suggesting that is an attitude held by any percentage of American Muslims, but if we are talking about religious rights do we give it to the extremists as much as we do the moderates? Given the statistics for birth control use, it seems like only the extremists are out there on that subject too.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:03 AM on December 29, 2012


So you have a "for profit" company essentially arguing that they deserve a religious exemption available only to non-profits such as hospitals, charities, etc. because the Greens deserve the right to run the business "in accordance with their beliefs."

This is wrong in two different ways. First, Hobby Lobby isn't arguing that they deserve the exemption provided for in the regulation, they're arguing that a broader exemption is required.

Second, the exemption does not in fact cover "hospitals, charities, etc.," because hospitals and most charities don't meet test 1 of the regulation.
posted by Jahaza at 9:38 AM on December 29, 2012


Slothrup, there is now a megachurch in my hometown that my mom started dabbling in attending after Dad died. (To be fair, they have so many people that they have more resources for things such as a church grief care group, which wouldn't be possible at her nice, normal, sane Methodist family chuch that isn't mega.) The first time she dragged me there, I had a cow when I saw that there was a Starbucks franchise in it. That said everything I needed to know about the place, really.

Then we went inside, where they had a band, recordings of the sermon for sale immediately after the performance... and while to be fair, the pastor did a good sermon, he did refer to himself jokingly as "CEO and pastor" during said sermon. I pretty much refuse to go back, because the money creeped me out.

As for Hobby Lobby, (a) yeah, I can't go there any more even though it's huge and has a better supply of mosaic stuff than Michael's, and (b) what assholes that they'd rather waste a million a day.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:56 AM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jahaza: "This is wrong in two different ways. First, Hobby Lobby isn't arguing that they deserve the exemption provided for in the regulation, they're arguing that a broader exemption is required.

Second, the exemption does not in fact cover "hospitals, charities, etc.," because hospitals and most charities don't meet test 1 of the regulation.
"

These are fair points, well taken. However, by alleging in their complaint that "the mandate does not apply to everyone equally," they appear to be using the current existence of the religious exemptions provided in the regs to fashion an argument that fairness dictates similar exemptions be extended to for profit entities.

In addition, the crux of the argument of Hobby Lobby and Mardel's that they are entitled to any exemption at all under RFRA hinges on comparisons of its operation of its business for a "religious purpose" as an exercise of religion. On pages 5-6 of their SCOTUS app for emergency injunction, they cite facts in support of their allegation that they operate their business for "express and public religious purposes."

If this were a non-profit entity with religious affiliations, it would be a much easier argument for them to make, because it would be a much easier argument to frame their charitable mission as an exercise of religion, in accordance with the examples mentioned in this Federalist Society article. I don't know that it would be a winning argument, but certainly much stronger than the same argument coming from a for-profit entity.

As a for-profit entity making this argument, asserting the free exercise argument essentially amounts to asking the federal courts to recognize individual rights to corporate entities, which is going to be a far greater stretch than (I hope) the courts will be willing to make. I expect this is one of the reasons they included the Greens themselves (who, according to the Complaint, operate the stores through various trusts) as plaintiffs, in addition to Hobby Lobby and Mardel.
posted by Dr. Zira at 11:32 AM on December 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


You can bet your ass they don't let Jewish employees have Saturdays off.

They let Jewish employees off like anyone else who is unavailable a certain day. Spoken like someone with no scheduling experience...
posted by michaelh at 2:57 PM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


*** Dear Christians: for the last time, "religious freedom" does not mean you get to force others to obey your religious doctrine. ***

And surely if one should be allowed to avoid taxes if they are spent in ways that violate religious beliefs, wouldn't the 20% of the federal budget that goes towards the military (or state funds that go towards the death penalty) be your number one and number two complaints? Ten Commandments? Thou shalt not kill? Anyone? Bueller?
posted by Davenhill at 5:10 PM on December 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Render Unto Caesar? On Paying Taxes After Obamacare

The author is the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
posted by rtha at 5:38 PM on December 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon: "It's not a democracy when one subset of people decide they don't have to follow the same employment laws as everyone else, because of reasons religion."

It should not be possible to continue doing business by paying fines. Fines should be so large the company goes bankrupt.
posted by dunkadunc at 5:49 PM on December 29, 2012


It should not be possible to continue doing business by paying fines. Fines should be so large the company goes bankrupt.

That would be a clever lie to use when ramming a bill through Congress, wouldn't it? It would be more honest to write in the law that businesses that don't comply will be seized by the government. Disgusting proposal either way, of course.
posted by michaelh at 6:28 PM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Disgusting proposal either way, of course.

What, that law-breakers will be forced out of business unless they fix their ways? Why bother to have laws, then? Oh.
posted by maxwelton at 6:51 PM on December 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


Why do we even give these people and the others who demand to break the law the time of day. They want to argue that the law is unfair or a over burden, then perhaps. However, a claim of religious belief should never place you above the law.

We are supposed to have equal protection.

Where does it stop? If we allow one group to ignore the law of the land because they feel contraceptives are a sin do we allow another group to be exempt from offering any medical coverage because they feel that prayer is the only medicine that is not sinful?

Do we allow a group to ignore ERA laws because they feel a woman should be subservient to a man?
Do we allow a group to ignore ADA laws because they feel that a disability is part of god's plan and to allowances for it is an affront?
In a land where you have the freedom to believe any religious ideology, you could claim any law is an offense to your god.

No, no group should be given carte blanche to break the law, this includes the Native American church, the Christians and anyone/every other belief.
posted by 2manyusernames at 8:17 AM on December 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


That would be a clever lie to use when ramming a bill through Congress, wouldn't it? It would be more honest to write in the law that businesses that don't comply will be seized by the government. Disgusting proposal either way, of course.

...it would be almost like a deprival of liberty due to excessive breaches of law? You're right, of course. I'm sure there's absolutely no context where you'd support that.
posted by jaduncan at 8:33 AM on December 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


Has anyone done the math to see what birth control coverage costs per premium? Seeing insurance negotiates rates as well as the reduced price of generics, I'm assuming that it's a few cents compared to other policy coverage items.
posted by stormpooper at 7:45 AM on December 31, 2012


wouldn't the 20% of the federal budget that goes towards the military (or state funds that go towards the death penalty) be your number one and number two complaints? Ten Commandments? Thou shalt not kill?

The standard dodge for this is that the abortion/birth control continuum is responsible for millions of deaths within the country every year, and is thus the top moral problem. It's an absolutely bonkers argument, but it is an argument.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 8:30 AM on December 31, 2012


Thou Shalt Not Kill is usually taken to mean "Thou shalt not murder" makes for a major distinction.
posted by 2manyusernames at 8:00 PM on January 1, 2013


Usually taken by whom?
posted by shakespeherian at 9:07 PM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jews.
posted by zarq at 10:11 PM on January 1, 2013


And the many Christians who argue in favor of the death penalty. And, frequently, these are Biblical literalists, who will claim in one breath that the Bible is inerrant, and in the next breath that they mistranslated a commandment. Not just some routine passage in the begats somewhere, but an actual commandment.

Apparently, many of the Biblical literalists only believe in Biblical literalism when it's convenient.
posted by Malor at 4:55 PM on January 3, 2013


Malor: "Apparently, many of the Biblical literalists only believe in Biblical literalism when it's convenient."

In my World Religions course, the point that was hammered on all semester was that even the utmost fundamentalist cherry-picks the passages they like and ignores the passages they don't like.

Even the Christians who say there's no metaphor in the Bible don't think Jesus was a young sheep.
posted by dunkadunc at 5:03 PM on January 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


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