Even if you love Hobby Lobby for its craft supplies, here's some very good reasons not to shop at the Hobby Lobby store that just opened in the Willamette Town Center mall (which used to be called Lancaster Mall).
The biggest reason was given in a Slate podcast interview with Candida Moss, a Professor of Theology who wrote a book about the company's efforts to Christianize this country, "Bible Nation: The United States of Hobby Lobby."
After hearing Moss talk about some Hobby Lobby horror stories that I'll summarize below, at about the 21:14 mark Mike Pesca, the interviewer, says that the engine of all that Hobby Lobby sets out to do is their stores.
So, he said, "When you shop there, you're giving directly to their efforts." Moss agreed, saying that the company's evangelical owners are the religious equivalent of the Koch brothers.
Here's what Hobby Lobby shoppers are supporting.
(1) Denying contraception coverage to women employed by corporations owned by religious zealots. This is the best-known Hobby Lobby "accomplishment." In 2014 the Green family, which owns Hobby Lobby, won a 5-4 Supreme Court decision that allows them to deny some forms of contraception to their employees because of their religious beliefs.
In a deeply divisive case pitting advocates of religious liberty against women’s right’s groups, the Supreme Court said today that two for profit corporations with sincerely held religious beliefs do not have to provide a full range of contraceptives at no cost to their employees pursuant to the Affordable Care Act.
...The decision is a victory for the Green family that owns Hobby Lobby, an arts and crafts chain, and the Hahns who own Conestoga, a cabinet making company, who had challenged the so called contraceptive mandate saying it forced them to either violate their faith or pay ruinous fines.
(2) Teaching the Bible in public schools as "true" and "good." Steve Green, the Hobby Lobby president, has a goal of introducing a Bible curriculum in public schools that goes far beyond a secular treatment of Christianity.
If successful, Green, whose family’s wealth is estimated at upward of $3 billion, would galvanize the movement to teach the Bible academically in public schools, a movement born after the Supreme Court banned school-sanctioned devotion in the 1960s but whose steady progress in the last decades has been somewhat hampered.
...In an award acceptance speech last April before the National Bible Association, Green explained that his goals for a high school curriculum were to show that the Bible is true, that it’s good and that its impact, “whether (upon) our government, education, science, art, literature, family ... when we apply it to our lives in all aspects of our life, that it has been good.”
(3) Smuggling artifacts from Iraq, an act that supports terrorism. Hobby Lobby agreed to forfeit 5,500 artifacts that were smuggled out of Iraq. In the above-mentioned podcast, Moss said that this is a big deal, because selling artifacts has been used by terrorist groups to fund their activities.
In 2010, as a deal for the tablets was being struck, an expert on cultural property law who had been hired by Hobby Lobby warned company executives that the artifacts might have been looted from historical sites in Iraq, and that failing to determine their heritage could break the law.
Despite these words of caution, the prosecutors said, Hobby Lobby bought more than 5,500 artifacts — the tablets and clay talismans and so-called cylinder seals — from an unnamed dealer for $1.6 million in December 2010.
In addition to the complaint, the prosecutors on Wednesday filed a stipulation of settlement with Hobby Lobby that requires the company to return all of the pieces, and to forfeit to the government an additional $3 million, resolving the civil action.
(4) Supporting the election of Trump. In September 2016 David Green, the founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby, endorsed Donald Trump for president, after failing to do so during the GOP primaries. His reason was scary (at least, to those who don't believe the United States should become a Christian nation).
Now, with election day only 67 days out, Green is talking politics again, and he's endorsing Trump. He says he's doing it because he doesn't trust Hillary Clinton to choose judges who will preserve America's religious liberty.
...Like Trump, Green is a billionaire, and he built an empire with his Hobby Lobby business. The founder and CEO is a leader among social conservatives, an area where Trump struggles to gain support.
According to a Gallup poll, at 53%, the majority of Republicans are social conservatives. So having as big of a voice as Green behind him could give Trump an edge he's been needing all along.
(5) Helping fund a $500 million Museum of the Bible. Half a billion dollars of Hobby Lobby money has paid for a museum dedicated to a decidedly slanted view of the Bible. I heard Moss say that even other evangelicals are disturbed by how the Green family is pushing a one-sided Biblical perspective. And a Newsweek piece gives more reasons to be concerned about the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C.
Scholars also have a larger concern: the truth. They know too well that “biblical archaeology” is rife with amateurs desperate to prove the people and stories in the Bible are historically accurate, with many grand claims but little proof. Academics are also troubled by the résumé of the man hired to run the Bible museum; he used to head the Creation Museum, which states as fact that the Earth was created just 6,000 years ago and that humans were around when dinosaurs ruled the planet.
Also troubling is how the museum handles much more recent history. A fundraising video for the museum shared with Newsweek declares that the Founding Fathers intended the Bible to be the center of American government and culture and opens with a spurious quote from George Washington: “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” The nation’s first president never said that, but Green insists the Bible was central to the creation of the United States and is now imperiled. In an interview at the Vatican in 2014, he declared, “The fact of the matter is, the book is under assault today.”
So please think twice, or even five times, once for each of the 5 reasons I've given here, before you shop at Hobby Lobby in Salem. Or anywhere.
I liked this letter to the editor in the Salem Statesman Journal, "Store owners have rights; shoppers have rights to take their business elsewhere."
When I was a girl walking home from school with friends, we liked to stop in the one local drugstore, sit at the counter, and order a soda pop. We hurried to be first because there was a sign in the window that read, “Only four kids at the counter at a time.”The owners could make whatever rules they chose.
Things are very different today. It seems to me that, right or wrong, business owners might be within their rights to put up signs that read, “We have the right to refuse service to anyone.”
And I have the right not to do business with them if I am offended by their choice.
A new craft store (Hobby Lobby) is opening in town. I once happened by another branch of that store in a nearby town. It looked very nice. However, I noticed a prominent sign in one of those windows. “In order to allow our employees and customers more time for worship and family, we are closed on Sundays.”
This gave me pause. In fact, it offended me on several levels. Do they only hire people who have families and whose holy day is Sunday? It is their business and it’s none of my business. Nevertheless, I will take my business elsewhere.