Corporations are people. That’s what they keep telling us anyway, and it’s looking more and more like they are the only “people” who count. We’ve been told that they (the corporations) have the same right to free speech that we do, along with the right to privacy and, I am sure, a whole host of other constitutional guarantees which were previously afforded to the people, the REAL flesh and blood people.
Corporations are people, and like people, it seems that they can have religion.
And may the gods have mercy on us all.
Recently, a friend of mine from work posted a link to a letter by David Green, the CEO and Founder of the Hobby Lobby chain of craft stores. In his letter, Mr. Green bemoans the penalties which will be placed upon his corporation if they do not fully implement the new federal healthcare mandates for his employees. In particular, Mr. Green objects to financing an employee health plan that will make various birth-control pills, including the so-called “morning after” pill available to his employees at a reduced cost.
The particular drugs he objects to can in some cases prevent a newly fertilized egg from finding purchase on the walls of the uterus on it’s way out of the body. He calls this abortion (using the widest possible definition of the word) and states that it is against his religion. He is perfectly entitled to his opinion, but that opinion should not trump the law.
Which is exactly what he wants. Mr. Green believes that Hobby Lobby should be given an exemption to the law because of his religious beliefs. In short, he doesn’t feel that he should have to provide the same healthcare options to his employees that every other company is being asked to provide and he feels that he should not be penalized for this because of his religious convictions.
The First Amendment to the Constitution provides for the separation of church and state but Hobby Lobby is not a church. It is a business.
Oh, but Hobby Lobby, Mr. Green tells us, is a Christian business.
And just what does that mean, Christian business?
Mr. Green says that he runs his business on Christian principals, that he closes his stores in the early evening so that his employees have more time with their families and that he keeps his stores closed on Sunday so that his employees may enjoy a “day of rest”. Nothing wrong with those principals, to be sure.
Walk into one of his stores and you will be confronted by aisle after aisle of knick-knacks and “home decor accents”. As you browse, pick one up and turn it over, you will very likely find a ‘Made in China’ stamp on the bottom. The truth is, Mr. Green buys millions of tons of mass-produced trinkets and supplies produced in the Peoples Republic of China. So, his Christian principals would seem to include doing business with one of the worst human-rights abusers on the planet, a country which only just ended its official policy calling for late-term abortions.
Is hypocrisy a Christian principal?
In his letter Mr. Green says…,
“We believe people are more important than the bottom line and that honoring God is more important than turning a profit.”
And yet he is ready to take the government to court to protect that bottom line against penalties which he would not be subject to if he were willing to give his employees the freedom to follow their own moral compass instead of the one he has charted for them.
He seems unwilling to “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s” and just a tad too anxious to confuse his place of business with a house of worship.
And still I wonder, what is it about a business that makes it Christian?
Many business seem to label themselves as such, but do they sell goods and services which are specifically Christian in nature?
Some do. Christian bookstores are in ready supply.
What about those what don’t sell exclusively Christian goods? How is a Christian retailer (or a plumber or dentist for that matter) different from any other?
The boss is a Christian, sure, but with over 200 million Christians living un the United States one has to assume most of the businesses here are owned by Christians. So what else is there to distinguish them?
Are their employees expected to be Christian?
Are their customers?
Is promoting one’s business as “Christian” just good advertising schtick (playing up to a ready-made customer base) or should it be seen as a warning label (heretics need not apply)? Or, is it maybe a little of both.
It certainly seems that way to me and I must admit that I prefer not to frequent so-called Christian businesses. If a corporation is going out of it’s way to link itself to a message that is antithetical to my beliefs, why should I want to support that message by giving them my money? Frankly, it makes me feel unwelcome and I don’t like to go where I’m not wanted.
As much as I used to enjoy their sausage and egg biscuit sandwich, I will continue to avoid Chick-fil-a for as long as they continue to fund rabidly anti-gay religious groups. I have many homosexual friends and I care more for their rights than I do eating overpriced chicken sandwiches.
And I really do not need Whataburger to inform me via window decal, that we are “One Nation Under God”. I have it on good authority that we, as a nation, worship many gods and are guaranteed the right to do so in our most precious founding documents.
In-N-Out Burger will no doubt continue to hide biblical passages on their packaging and drinking cups, but I won’t be there to read them.
Come to think of it, my choice to not patronize Christian businesses is likely to make me healthier not just spiritually but physically as well. Thanks guys!
I have long refused to step foot inside a Wal-Mart and adding Hobby Lobby to the list of big-box retailers I refuse to patronize, will do me no great hardship. I only regret that I’ve spent so much money there on art supplies in years past.
Mr. Green wants the government to mind it’s own business and let him run his company the way he wants. Unfortunately for him, part of the ‘business’ of government, happens to be ensuring the equal rights of workers, which in this case, means granting them equal access to affordable healthcare – even if that healthcare includes drugs and procedures with which Mr. Green and his fellow Christians take exception.
Mr. Green would do better to mind his own business and let his employees make their own decisions about their healthcare choices.