Hobby Lobby’s Case Isn’t About Religious Freedom, It’s About Destroying Obamacare

I really thought the Hobby Lobby thing had been covered from just about every angle, until a Mother Jones report was released today in which they uncovered the fact that Hobby Lobby’s retirement fund has over $73 million invested in pharmaceutical companies that produce contraceptives. Yes, you heard that right. The company that wants to refuse contraceptives to their employees under the false pretenses of “religious freedom” invests money in corporations that make contraceptives and even drugs used in abortions.

Documents filed with the Department of Labor and dated December 2012—three months after the company’s owners filed their lawsuit—show that the Hobby Lobby 401(k) employee retirement plan held more than $73 million in mutual funds with investments in companies that produce emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and drugs commonly used in abortions. Hobby Lobby makes large matching contributions to this company-sponsored 401(k).

Several of the mutual funds in Hobby Lobby’s retirement plan have holdings in companies that manufacture the specific drugs and devices that the Green family, which owns Hobby Lobby, is fighting to keep out of Hobby Lobby’s health care policies: the emergency contraceptive pills Plan B and Ella, and copper and hormonal intrauterine devices. (Source)



Here’s the thing, I honestly don’t think Hobby Lobby really cares about birth control. Heck, most Protestants don’t have a problem with contraceptives of any kind and many don’t even get that worked up about abortion. That area of self-righteous indignation has usually been reserved for Catholics and as pointed out in this article from Prospect.org, neither of the parties in the case currently before the Supreme Court are Catholic. Also, neither Hobby Lobby or Conestoga Wood Specialties are religious organizations, they are corporations.

Oddly enough, neither of the business owners involved are Catholic, even though the first objections to the contraception mandate were raised by Catholic leaders, who didn’t want religiously affiliated hospitals and schools to provide birth control, which the Catholic hierarchy considers taboo. One case—Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, documented extensively for the Prospect by Sarah Posner earlier this summer—deals with an arts-and-crafts chain owned by evangelical Christians. The other—Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius—hones in on a smaller, Mennonite-owned cabinet door manufacturer. (Source)

So what is Hobby Lobby’s case really about? It’s simple. By allowing a corporation – not a church or other religious non-profit organization – to deny access to specific healthcare products on the grounds they have some sort of objection to it, then it will open a door to allow other companies to make decisions on the behalf of their employees that aren’t rightfully their decision to make. The Affordable Care Act itself has been upheld by the Supreme Court and conservatives are still fuming about it. They know that the Supreme Court has spoken and Obamacare just isn’t going to go away, but what they can do is undermine it as much as possible. Instead of accepting that decision and moving on, political operatives and the groups that fund them will try to punch as many holes as they possibly can in the Affordable Care Act to weaken its ability to function properly.


If they can make it expensive and dysfunctional through various means of sabotage, then they can trick people into voting for politicians who will then try to repeal the law in full. Don’t think that can happen? If we fail to show up to vote in 2014 and 2016, you can bet that with a newly held majority in the Senate (and certainly with a Republican in the White House) every attempt will be made to return us to a day when an insurance company could drop anyone, at any time, and for any reason. My daughter who has severe asthma or my son who has seizures could find themselves without private insurance because no company wants to cover a child with health problems they will deal with for the rest of their lives.

This isn’t about “religious freedom” and this is absolutely NOT about being “pro-life” – it’s about undermining Obamacare by any means possible. It is about turning the clock back to before Obama. That’s all it was ever about.

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  • Jim Bean

    If hobby lobby wins, it won’t destroy Obamacare. Obama has already made dozens of special deals for friends-of-the-administration and it hasn’t destroyed it.

    • xnerd

      One example?

      • Charles Vincent

        Exempting congressional employees, Unions, churches and religious non profits.

      • Trevor Bordelon

        Except that Congressional employees are not “exempt,” in that the US Government is their employer. As such, the government provides their healthcare (which is the same as it was before the ACA was enacted), they do not need to sign up for medical coverage. Therefore, ANY employer that provided an individual employee healthcare coverage exempted that employee from having to purchase healthcare.

      • Charles Vincent

        The congressional aids got an exemption as they didn’t get the coverage senators got.

        This is what I was referring to;
        “When Obamacare was passed into law, Sen. Charles Grassley, the Iowa
        Republican, attached language to the bill that mandated members of
        Congress and their staffers would have to buy health insurance on the
        newly created health insurance exchanges. What nobody accounted for at
        the time was that members of Congress and their staffers currently have
        health insurance through their employer – the federal government. No
        other employer has been legally required to drop its employee’s health
        care plan and have them buy coverage on the exchanges.
        Like most other large employers, the federal government contributes a
        portion to the premiums of its employees. In fact, like many employers,
        the federal government pays most of the premiums for its workers; an
        average of 72 percent on Capitol Hill. The law didn’t account for the
        continued employer contribution for these federal workers who would now
        be buying their insurance on the exchanges. The exchanges were designed
        to help people without health insurance and people with overly expensive
        health insurance. It became clear that without their employer
        contribution, members and their staffers would essentially be getting a
        cut in pay and benefits equal to thousands of dollars. Even Grassley,
        the provision’s author, had said the government should continue to
        contribute to lawmakers’ and staffers’ premiums. What the Obama
        administration has done is ruled that the congressional workers will
        continue to receive the employer contribution to help them buy their
        insurance on the exchange.”

    • lurker

      Careful – this Jim Bean guy is a repub troll.

      • Jim Bean

        Correction. Bean is Dem troll (but not the Robo-Dem variety).

      • Michael Siever

        Nah, he just misses his brother, Sean, a lot. He keeps dying brutal deaths. So, brother Jim comes here to vent his angst…

      • Brian

        Bean’s not really a troll. I think he believes what he says. Charles Vincent is a troll.

  • xnerd

    On this whole Hobby Lobby issue:

    They pay their employees money that can pay for an abortion just as easily as a benefit package would.

    Stop being childish and admit this has nothing what so ever to do with the prescription issue. It has everything to do with setting a legal precedence to get religion introduced into our law books.

    People, even people that are against HL, do not realize the ramifications of this.

    Setting a precedence for a COMPANY of all things to be able to say we are not going to follow a law because our it goes against a COMPANIES religious beliefs gives them the freedom to ignore any regulation they choose.

    A company that is owned by Scientologists can refuse medical packages altogether!

    HEY WHAT COULD GO WRONG

    Now what did that constitution say about separation of church and state? and WHY did they say it?

    Oh yeah.

    • meatwad_SSuppet

      OUR Constitution never said “separate church and state”, that came from a private letter from T.Jefferson and a future supreme courts use of that phrase. The Constitution does say ‘law makers’ “shall make no law respecting religious establishments”, like that tax free status they benefit from as parasites. That tax break is what created the monsters known as the west borough baptist scum. If you do want nativity scenes on public property, blame the supreme court for that restriction.

      One militant Atheist here.

  • Michael Siever

    1. If Hobby Lobby convinces the Supreme Court that the contraception
    mandate of the Affordable Care Act violates their religious freedom, and should, therefore, be exempt from it, you can bet that many CEOs will
    suddenly start saying that being required to pay for their employees’ health insurance violates their religious freedom. Anything to dismantle ACA is what this lawsuit is really about.

    2. Just about all of the female employees I’ve seen working at my local Hobby Lobby are well beyond their child-bearing years, meaning Hobby Lobby wouldn’t be directly paying for their contraception, anyways.

    3. If David Green, CEO of Hobby Lobby, has ever paid for his own health insurance prior to the implementation of ACA, then he has more than likely already paid for somebody else’s contraception, since most health insurance providers covered contraception well before ACA came into fruition. As many people know, when you pay for health insurance, you’re putting money in a pot to be included in the insurance pool, which covers everybody in that pool, and when somebody used that same insurance plan to pay for their contraception, Mr. Green technically paid for it.

    4. While arguing that the contraception mandate violates their religious freedom, Hobby Lobby willingly sells merchandise made in China, a country whose government forces its citizens to conduct abortions and practice birth control against their will in the name of population control. This makes Hobby Lobby’s argument both disingenuous and hypocritical.

    5. If David Green wins this case and is no longer required to adhere to the contraception mandate due to religious objections, would this mean Quakers could claim tax exemptions towards paying for the wars? Could Orthodox Jews claim exemptions from paying taxes towards pork farming subsidies? Could Buddhists claim exemptions from paying taxes towards paying back the money we owe China? The list goes on and on.

    • Charles Vincent

      “2. Just about all of the female employees I’ve seen working at my local
      Hobby Lobby are well beyond their child-bearing years, meaning Hobby
      Lobby wouldn’t be directly paying for their contraception, anyways.”

      Paying either directly for employees or indirectly for someone else is still paying for something they have a moral objection too.

      “4. While arguing that the contraception mandate violates their religious freedom,”

      They are arguing about 4 of 20 available , and those 4 are abortive drugs. their objection is over subsidizing abortion.

      “5. If David Green wins this case and is no longer required to adhere to the contraception mandate due to religious objections, would this mean Quakers could claim tax exemptions towards paying for the wars? Could Orthodox Jews claim exemptions from paying taxes towards pork farming subsidies? Could Buddhists claim exemptions from paying taxes towards paying back the money we owe China? The list goes on and on.”

      We are already on that slippery slope with same sex marriage and polygamy, but I don’t hear you lamenting about that. I smell a double standard on your part chief.

      • Michael Siever

        “Paying either directly for employees or indirectly for someone else is still paying for something they have a moral objection to *fixed*.”

        Read #3 again. Even if he has never payed for health insurance in his lifetime, statistically speaking, he has gone to the hospital, either to the ER or for surgery. In either case, the money he paid went directly towards paying for indigent people’s treatments, including rape kits, which are used to flush semen and sperm out of a rape survivor’s uterus. Is that abortion in your eyes? And while you’re at it, read #4 again. He’s willingly conducting his business with China, a country whose government openly violates his so-called religious stance. Very disingenuous to say the least. “I’m a-okay with selling crap from somebody who openly contradicts my religious beliefs, just as long as I’m making money off of it, but once the government starts making me pay for something that I object to, heads are gonna roll!” Yeah, good Christian, my ass…

        “They are arguing about 4 of 20 available , and those 4 are abortive drugs. their objection is over subsidizing abortion.”

        Plan B is just as much abortion as shooting an intruder in your home is first-degree murder.

        “We are already on that slippery slope with same sex marriage and polygamy, but I don’t hear you lamenting about that. I smell a double standard on your part,*fixed* chief.”

        Have gay marriage and polygamy raped and destroyed our economy? Even if they have, I bet it’s not nearly as much as tax-dodging CEO weasels using any excuse they can to get out of paying taxes…

      • Charles Vincent

        “He’s willingly conducting his business with China, a country whose
        government openly violates his so-called religious stance. Very
        disingenuous to say the least. “I’m a-okay with selling crap from
        somebody who openly contradicts my religious beliefs, just as long as
        I’m making money off of it,”

        Source that shows he is dealing with china, and welcome to global economy. they are not forcing him to pay for anything he is selling a product. the government is forcing him to use his money to pay for things they don’t want to pay for.

        Devils advocate here we need a law that say you have to pay for someone to get liposuction and a personal trainer because they can’t get off the couch and stop eating junk food. And they need an assault weapon sand 10000 rnd of ammo to protect themselves from people like you.

        See I can engage in hyperbole as well

        “Have gay marriage and polygamy raped and destroyed our economy?”

        Sorry politicians have already tanked our economy.

        “In either case, the money he paid went directly towards paying for indigent people’s treatments,”

        Taxes are theft of property at the point of a gun, he wouldn’t have used that money to pay for those treatments had government not forcibly taken his money in the first place.

        “In either case, the money he paid went directly towards paying for indigent people’s treatments, including rape kits, which are used to flush semen and sperm out of a rape survivor’s uterus. Is that abortion in your eyes?”

        No that’s a vaginal wash, and rape/incest is one of a few situations where i think abortion is a viable option. secondly the morning after pill is essentially abortion because it prevents the fertilized egg from implanting in the uterine wall;

        http://ec DOT princeton DOT edu/questions/ecnotru DOT html

        and if you’re lazy here is the pertinent passage;

        “Mifepristone, which is sold in the United States under the brand name Mifeprex, works differently from levonorgestrel (Plan B One-Step, Next Choice One Dose, My Way and Levonorgestrel Tablets) or ulipristal acetate (ella)emergency contraceptive pills. When given after a pregnancy has started, mifepristone stops the development of a pregnancy (which happens once a fertilized egg implants in the uterus). This drug is approved for use in early abortions in the United States, and many other countries.”

      • Charles Vincent

        “Paying either directly for employees or indirectly for someone else is still paying for something they have a moral objection to *fixed*.”

        In the case of the fixed here too is correct, to implies movement to someplace. Too implies, as well or in addition.

        You sir are a failure of a grammar Nazi.
        http://dictionary DOT reference DOT com/browse/to?s=t
        http://dictionary DOT reference DOT com/browse/too?s=t

        We are already on that slippery slope with same sex marriage and polygamy, but I don’t hear you lamenting about that. I smell a double standard on your part,*fixed* chief.”

        The comma in this “fixed” passage is also unnecessary way to fail twice as a grammar Nazi.

    • El Yunque

      If a corporation has religious freedoms, it also has religious liabilities.

      The door swings both ways, and the case more or less destroys the concept of legal protections that incorporating actually provides to the people behind the corporation, should HL win.

      So, I say, knock yourselves out HL. You could open the door to a few thousand lawsuits and criminal claims right out of the gate should you win.

      80 Amicus briefs on their behalf out of tens of thousands of corporations?

      Corporate personhood has never seen so much danger.

  • meatwad_SSuppet

    ACA should be dropped as the corporate welfare that it really is. A benefit for the do nothing parasites known as insurance salesmen that do not one thing to care for the health of people. We wanted one payer, not Parasite corporate welfare.

    What this Mandate for business ties with a for profit private party, it is the same as involuntary servitude. Illegal under our Constitution.

  • Keith Cable

    “Hobby Lobby’s Case Isn’t About Religious Freedom, It’s About Destroying Obamacare”

    Figure that out all by yourself did you? I’ve also heard that the Pope may in fact actually be Catholic.

    • Luis Alfredo Martinez

      No shit Keith.

  • Georga96

    I’m so tired of the stupidity of the right wing and exasperated at the pitiful lack on the part of tea party members to verify the facts being spit at them non stop via Right wing pundits! Where is the intellectual aspects of their mentality ?

  • Georga96

    This says it all From Article : Documents filed with the Department of Labor and dated December 2012—three months after the company’s owners filed their lawsuit—show that the Hobby Lobby 401(k) employee retirement plan held more than $73 million in mutual funds with investments in companies that produce emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and drugs commonly used in abortions. Hobby Lobby makes large matching contributions to this company-sponsored 401(k). –

  • Eddie Krebbs

    As pointed out already, Hobby Lobby gets most of its stuff from China which has a high rate of abortions (even encouraged by the govt). And Abortions are considered anathema across most Christian denominations.

    Plus their retirement plan invests heavily in companies making both birth control and various devices which many Christians would consider abortifactants (although medically there is room to argue that they just prevent the fertilized egg from implanting and thus may not meet the medical definition).

  • Debbie Soares

    First, under the law, your employer can’t ask you anything about your health. You call in sick, they can’t ask you what kind of illness you have. So where do they have the right to invade your privacy about birth control, contraceptives, etc. And yes, we all know the real motive, is to undermine the ACA. But it would also open the doors for more intrusion by the employer over the employee. Eventually, it will allow employers to discriminate for other reasons.

  • J-Way

    The Catholic prohibition against birth control is directly from the Bible, Gen 38:9-10. Use of birth control is considered to be the same as “spilling seed”, which is “wicked in the sight of the Lord”. (Off topic, but that entire chapter, which strangely is always omitted even though it occurs right in the middle of one of the more famous Sunday-school stories, is a glorious example of WTF??? that can be found in many places in the Old Testament.)

    Back (mostly) on topic…

    The abortion debate isn’t an argument of pro-life vs. pro choice. EVERYONE (who isn’t a sociopath) is “pro-life”, and no one would “choose” to get pregnant just to get an abortion, just as no one would “choose” to kill a 6-month old baby. The abortion debate is, and always has been, over the question of: “When does life begin?”

    For the hard-core pro-abortion types, life begins at first breath. Any time before that, even a matter of just seconds, and the fetus is just a lump of cells; a parasite or cancerous mass, if you will. As long as it hasn’t had time to draw breath, it is perfectly reasonable and moral to reach in and cut off its head.

    For the hard-core anti-abortion types, life begins at conception. Anything you do to prevent conception (condoms, foam, diaphragms, whatever) is acceptable. But once conception occurs, anything done to harm that single cell is equivalent to murdering a 6-month-old child. The Protestants in the current court case do not object to all birth control, just the forms that they consider to be “murder”. This includes IUDs and drugs that can be used to prevent implantation. In their minds, intentionally preventing implantation, performing an abortion 2 seconds before natural birth, or killing a baby 6 months after first breath are all equal crimes.

    Both extremes are just that, extremes. Thankfully, in spite of the loud caterwauling from both sides, the vast majority of people in this country believe that life begins somewhere between those extremes (see the failure of all the attempted “personhood” amendments in various states, as well as the successful criminal prosecutions where abortion doctors killed viable fetuses).

    The questions before the court now, are:
    1) Should a non-religious corporation be allowed to force all its employees to adhere to its founders’ religious beliefs?
    *and*
    2) If the founders of a company (this case is about a massive corporation, but it could just as easily be about a 60-employee small business) considers an act to be “murder”, should they be forced to pay for it because someone else considers it to be “health care”? Keep in mind that Hobby Lobby is self-insured, so any funds used to pay for “abortions” would come directly from the company.

    I can see the decision going either way.

    • jchastn

      What if a woman has a fertilized, but not implanted egg in her, and she does something and the fetus doesn’t implant? is that murder, and if she is unaware of her potential pregnancy, is it manslaughter?

  • Vivian Sue House Hughes

    Hobby Lobby mostly believes in the church of the almighty dollar. If this goes through you can bet other corps will soon find their religion too. They may dress it up as something else but somehow all of their godly convictions benefit them financially.

  • Rod Haney

    Just glad I don’t have to deal with these assholes in Canada.