Friday, March 28, 2014

The Other Six Days

“You can’t have a belief system on Sunday and not live it the other six days.” ~ David Green
David Green has one of America’s great, little-known fortunes, having turned a makeshift manufacturing operation in his living room for arts and crafts into a retail monster, with 520 superstores in 42 states with 23,000 employees. Green and his family own 100% of the company and he ranks No. 79 on Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans, with an estimated net worth of $4.5 billion. 

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver”.  

Green keeps the total amount of his charitable contributions private, but based on information received from him and discussion with various recipients, FORBES estimates his lifetime giving at upwards of $500 million.  Forbes

The Issue at Hand ~ Religious Freedom

“If you have anything or if I have anything, it’s because it’s been given to us by our Creator,”
There is no litmus test for religious freedom.  The issue isn't whether or not David Green is right or wrong, reasonable or not, but whether or not he has the freedom to run his private corporation in accordance with his own beliefs.

David Green hasn't suddenly found religion at the feet of Obamacare, he has been running his business this way since its founding in 1972.  Hobby Lobby is not a Public Corporation, it is a family owned business.  That it is a corporation is irrelevant, it is not a public corporation and no one in their right mind holds this size of business in their own name.

“A religious individual may enter the for-profit realm intending to demonstrate to the marketplace that a corporation can succeed financially while adhering to religious values, As a court, we do not see how we can distinguish this form of evangelism from any other.” 10th Circuit Court

The Other Six Days

Hobby Lobby starts its full time employees $14.00 an hour, well above the federal mandated minimum wage and their part-time employees at $9.50.  Their 13,000 full-time employees had insurance long before Obamacare. The company is closed on Sunday, Christmas, and Easter and takes out ads proclaiming Jesus Christ the Lord and Savior.  Hobby Lobby takes half of its pre-tax earnings and donates them to a portfolio of evangelical ministries.  The company is set up such that in the event of a sale or liquidation 90% of the profits will go to charity while only 10% will go into a generational trust for the health and education of family members.

“My grandkids can’t say, ‘I own 5% and I own 10,’ and then all of a sudden they’re sitting on a yacht,” says Green.

In short, Hobby Lobby doesn't behave like other corporations... it is run in accordance with David Green's religious beliefs, do we really want it to start acting like Wal-Mart or McDonald's?

Another important thing to remember is this, unlike a publicly traded company it only takes 1 vote to close Hobby Lobby for good, David Green's.  David Green doesn't have to provide anything in violation of his beliefs, he can simply fire 23,000 people.  Which is what I would do if the government tried to make me do something in violation of my beliefs, I don't think David Green would go there, I think he would believe that to be wrong, but I'm a libertarian not an evangelical.

American Prospect

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