Saturday, January 05, 2013

Hobby Lobby

David Green, the CEO of Hobby Lobby (a retailer that I have frequented in the past) is bitching and moaning because new federal healthcare rules mandate that his firm pay for certain prescription drugs that he, as a Christian, objects to. (Read his position here.) I do not sympathize, or agree with him.

As I see it, the religious or political convictions of owners or management don't matter; if you run a business, you have to follow the laws of the land. All the laws, like 'em or not. What I do or don't believe doesn't put me above the law. Same thing for any business owner.

I look at it this way. Say one's beliefs were such that one didn't want to be associated with black people, found them inferior or whatever, and thus refused to hire them. That's obviously against the law here in the U.S.; religious beliefs or not, one cannot discriminate against any racial group. Should that particular religious belief (and you know some have held that belief and called it religious) trump adherence to the law?

If you're a public business, you have to follow the laws, period. You may not believe in paying taxes to the government, but you have to do it. You may not believe in various types of medical procedures or treatments, but if you offer health insurance, you have to cover those procedures and treatments. That's part of the deal. It has nothing to do with intolerance of any religion; it's about holding all citizens (and businesses) equal under the law. I don't get any exceptions because of my beliefs, and neither does anyone else.

For what it's worth, I don't believe in war or in government-sanctioned killing. Call it a religious belief or a moral one, whatever. But I can't not pay my taxes because those funds go towards the support of behavior I oppose. Why should Hobby Lobby be any different?

It's possible that this is all a scam to avoid paying for newly mandated healthcare benefits, much as the CEO of Papa John's is doing. I'll give Green the benefit of the doubt and say that he has a legitimate religious problem with said contraceptive-like meds. Fine. But that doesn't put him above or outside the law. As the CEO of an American company, he is legally bound to follow the laws that apply to his business -- ALL the laws, not just the ones he agrees with. To do otherwise would result in a lawless society where everyone does only what he or she likes, not what the law dictates. That is not civilization as we know it.

Naturally, reasonable minds may disagree -- but in this instance, the law prevails.

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