I'm not a fan of Hobby L0bby, to put it mildly.
When they opened a store here in Salem, Oregon, I did some research on the company and wrote a blog post that listed five good reasons not to shop at the store. Here, in headline form, is what I said shoppers at Hobby Lobby were supporting:
(1) Denying contraception coverage to women employed by corporations owned by religious zealots.
(2) Teaching the Bible in public schools as "true" and "good."
(3) Smuggling artifacts from Iraq, an act that supports terrorism.
(4) Supporting the election of Trump.
(5) Helping fund a $500 million Museum of the Bible.
Here's another reason not to shop at Hobby Lobby -- the company buys a full page ad in newspapers around the country close to July 4 that in very clear terms calls for the United States to be a Christian theocracy.
This is a photo of the ad that ran in yesterday's Portland Oregonian.
If you want to read it, here's a link to the ad on the Hobby Lobby web site. But wait... there's a better way to read Hobby Lobby's paean to theocracy.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation has put together a way-cool annotated version. You click on a quote in the Hobby Lobby ad, then you can read the quotation in its original form and context.
Often it turns out that Hobby Lobby has purposely mangled the quotation to make it better fit their Christian theocratic world view. Many of the quotes are deliberately misleading, which shows how little respect Hobby Lobby has for truth-telling.
A letter to the editor in the Eugene Register Guard does a good job of critiquing the Hobby Lobby ad.
The Register-Guard’s full page “paid advertisement” from Hobby Lobby on July 1 offends me on several grounds. One, it’s right-wing evangelism masquerading as a 4th of July ad. Two, it says “A good America is a Christian America.” Three, it uses misleading, out-of-context quotes as evidence.
I have nothing against Christianity or Jesus. I love them both. But mixing Jesus with government is dangerous and misguided. God and Christianity trump the Constitution. This ad offers random quotes — endorsements — for God-and-Christianity by a few Founding Fathers and 18th and 19th century judges. What’s not there: The founders and Supreme Court vehemently disapprove of mixing church and state.
Alas, somehow Hobby Lobby fell in love with theocracy. Hobby Lobby owners should watch “The Handmaid’s Tale.” It’s a feel-good series for everyone, and exactly what America needs.
-- Michael Janover, Eugene
Janover is correct about the founders of our country being opposed to the United States becoming a Christian nation. I've written numerous blog posts on this subject. Check out my post, "More quotations from 'Nature's God,' a marvelously insightful book," for links to several of them.
Here's some quotes from that book that I shared in the post:
The opposite of the Empire of Reason is in reality the Empire of Faith. Hobbes calls it "the Kingdom of the Fairies"; in more modern terms, we could say that the opposite of democracy is theocracy.
Thus, superstition permits individuals suffering from one set of passions to feed off individuals suffering from another according to a logic that neither side understands, and in this manner society lacerates itself in a fury of thoughtless self-destruction.
No proposition could have elicited more support from the radical precursors to the American Revolution than that the priests are the chief instrument of tyrants.
Human beings achieved self-government only after they learned how to discard the politically dangerous delusions that arise from the common religious consciousness. At least, that is more or less how America's founders saw the matter.
The equality that Jefferson announced and that Lincoln partially advanced is at bottom the demand that all power must explain itself. In reality, the revolutionary force in the Declaration of Independence is the guiding principle of philosophy.
Every thing in the universe strives to persist in being, say the radical philosophers, and the power of nature through which the human mind strives to persist is the power of the understanding.
From the radical position that Locke and Spinoza share, it follows that religion is not a fundamental category of human experience for legal or political purposes in either its public or its private aspects.
The separation of church and state that emerges from the early modern revolutions in philosophy and politics does not in fact imply that the modern secular state is or ought to be neutral with respect to religion in every sense of that term. Rather, this separation at least implicitly involves the creation of a certain kind of public religion.
This new public religion is indeed tolerant of every religious belief -- but only insofar as that belief is understood to be intrinsically private. It does not and ought not tolerate any form of religion that attempts to hold the power of the sovereign answerable to its private religious belief. It also does not and ought not tolerate any attempt to shield the doctrines and practices of any religion from critical scrutiny.