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Letter to the editor: We need to stand behind Hobby Lobby

Monday, April 29, 2013 - 8:42 am

As you read this letter, David Green, founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby, is involved in a lawsuit that could cause him to close his stores forever nationwide. And all because he disagrees with the new Obamacare mandate stipulating exactly what he must include in health care coverage for his employees.

The problem is one of the items required, emergency contraceptive pills, violates his deeply held religious beliefs. Green has agreed to include in the coverage the regular contraceptive pills that act toward preventing pregnancy. But he is not willing to include the emergency pills, commonly known as “the morning-after pill” (Plan B), and “the week-after pill,” (Ella One), because these pills act toward killing (not preventing) any newly developed life.

The government argues that Green’s religious convictions do not matter in this situation. They have given him these choices: Pay for the controversial pills, despite how you feel, and continue business as usual; refuse to comply and pay fines of up to $l.3 million per day; or close down your business permanently.

Green has hired Kyle Duncan, general counsel for the Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty, to represent him in Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius, now pending in the 10th circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals. Duncan emphasized the importance of the court’s final ruling by stating, “The court’s decision will affect the rights of all religious business owners.”

When I learned about these facts, I was frustrated and saddened. I was freshly aware of how our once-beautiful America is moving away from not only religious freedom (which incidentally is guaranteed in our First Amendment) but from other freedoms as well. If we allow the government to force its way into even privately owned businesses and dictate how they must be run, isn’t that a step toward loss of personal enthusiasm and individual incentive? If we can no longer by our own ingenuity create a business and control how it functions, why would we want to create at all?

Approximately 40 years ago Green and his family started Hobby Lobby in their garage. They worked long and hard, often sacrificing, to make their “American Dream” come true. The son of a preacher, David Green dedicated his business to God and ran it by his interpretation of biblical rules. This was his right, and it seems to have worked. He is presently a billionaire with more than 500 stores in 4l states. He is a generous philanthropist and employer with starting salaries 80 percent above minimum wage. His Hobby Lobby stores provide jobs for thousands of people and raise the quality of life for arts and crafts lovers who shop there.

Green must win this case not only for himself but for all Americans. Private businesses must not be forced to comply with government regulations that violate the moral code of their founders. I would hate to lose our Ft. Wayne Hobby Lobby store, but I would hate even more to see our country take a step closer to dictatorship. I hope you will join me in contacting our Indiana senators, Dan Coats and Joe Donnelly, urging them to stand with Hobby Lobby in its battle for survival.

To reach Dan Coats, use this email address: www.coats.senate.gov. To reach Joe Donnelly, use the following phone number: 202-224-4814.

Charmaine Wolfert