UPDATE: Hobby Lobby has since published a Facebook post apologizing for employee comments - most likely referring to a report that an employee told a Jewish customer, “We don’t cater to you people.” The company wrote: “Comments like these do not reflect the feelings of the Green family or Hobby Lobby. We are investigating this matter and do not tolerate discrimination at our company or our stores.”
Hobby Lobby has made a lot of headlines recently, from their lawsuit against the contraception mandate to a possible refusal to carry Hanukkah products.
The most recent controversy started when blogger Ken Berwitz heard rumors that his local store didn’t carry Hanukkah items, called them, and said he was told, “Because Mr. Green is the owner of the company, he’s a Christian, and those are his values.”
After the story hit the media, Hobby Lobby released a statement saying they’re evaluating their holiday selection and investigating employee comments. But needless to say, it’s a PR mess.
The Christian Faith of Hobby Lobby
The store is known for the conservative beliefs of its evangelical Christian founder and CEO, David Green, and president, Steve Green. Vocal about his faith, Steve Green believes in promoting biblical scholarship and oversees the Green Collection to do so.
He doesn’t believe in including morning-after pills in healthcare coverage, which is why Hobby Lobby is suing the government. At the Religion Newswriters Association conference last week, Steve Green said it was an issue of conscience and that the company “had no desire to impose our religious beliefs on anybody.”
What’s a Christian Business?
After he spoke at the conference, I asked Steve Green for his take on what it means to be a “Christian business.”
Steve Green said: “It’s operating our business according to biblical principles.” He listed honesty, integrity, and financial responsibility, citing Hobby Lobby’s $14/hour wage for full-time workers as an example.
Share Your Thoughts Here
What do you think it means to be a Christian business? Does Hobby Lobby embody those principles?
Image 2: Hobby Lobby President Steve Green spoke at the Religion Newswriters Association conference last week. Photo by Cat Knarr.
Cat Knarr (formerly Catherine Newhouse) is the Editor and Community Manager for Faith Driven Business. She lives in St. Louis with her husband, Ben, tweets from @CatherineKnarr, and writes for Christianity Today. Cat’s religion reporting earned her first place student journalist of 2012 from both the Religion Newswriters Association and Evangelical Press Association, and second place from RNA in 2013. Find her on LinkedIn and Google+.