Hobby Lobby owners want Obamacare religious exemption

The Green family, owners of the Hobby Lobby chain that includes the store in East Lansing, brought suit against the Affordable Care Act in federal court arguing that they have a religious objection to providing free conception as part of employee health insurance.

According to local store manager Scott Pertz, Hobby Lobby is the first “privately held Christian corporation” to join 26 other entities seeking relief from Obamacare’s requirement that employers who provide insurance must include female contraception without any co-pay. According to Pertz, the family specifically objects to providing the so-called “morning after” and “week after” pills, which they consider abortifacients.

The Becket Fund, which helps to fund lawsuits against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Department for violating “religious freedom,” issued a news release that quotes CEO David Green: ““By being required to make a choice between sacrificing our faith or paying millions of dollars in fines, we essentially must choose which poison pill to swallow. We simply cannot abandon our religious beliefs to comply with this mandate.” Violations of the federal law could impose fines up to $1.3 million a day.

Hobby Lobby expresses its religious beliefs in other ways, according to Pertz. All Hobby Lobby stores are closed on Sundays so employees can go to church and spend time with their families. He said the family has also given full-time workers a $1-an-hour raise each of the past three years, for a base wage of $13 an hour.

Bonnie Bucqueroux teaches at Michigan State University's School of Journalism and experiments with citizen journalism, including co-publishing Lansing Online News with Bill Castanier. They also co-host a radio show Mondays at 7 p.m. on LCC Radio - WLNZ - 89.7.