December 27th, 2012
07:20 PM ET

Hobby Lobby faces millions in fines for bucking Obamacare

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
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Washington (CNN)– Craft store giant Hobby Lobby is bracing for a $1.3 million a day fine beginning January 1 for noncompliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, dubbed Obamacare.

The company opposes providing some contraceptives to employees through its company health care plan on religious grounds, saying some contraceptive products, like the morning after pill, equate to abortion.

After failing to receive temporary relief from the fines from the Supreme Court, Hobby Lobby announced late Thursday through its attorneys that it "will continue to provide health insurance to all qualified employees. To remain true to their faith, it is not their intention, as a company, to pay for abortion-inducing drugs."

In September, Hobby Lobby and affiliate Mardel, a Christian bookstore chain, sued the federal government for violating their owners' religious freedom and ability to freely exercise their religion.

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"All they're asking for is a narrow exemption from the law that says they don't have to provide drugs they believe cause abortions," Hobby Lobby attorney Kyle Duncan, a general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, told CNN affiliate KFOR in November. "Our basic point is the government can't put a corporation in the position of choosing between its faith and following the law."

The lawsuit says the companies' religious beliefs prohibit them from providing insurance coverage for abortion inducing drugs. As of August 2012, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires employer-provided health care plans to provide "all Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity," according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Churches and houses of worship are exempt from the regulation and a narrow exemption was added for nonprofit religious employers whose employees "primarily share its religious tenets" and who "primarily serve persons who share its religious tenets."

In the face of that opposition, the Department of Health and Human Services tweaked its original rule in February to require health insurers, not employers, to cover the cost of contraception coverage, reasoning that would prevent religious groups from having to finance such coverage. Critics have argued that exemption for nonprofits is far too narrow and a host of nonprofit religious groups have sued the administration over the regulations.

The Internal Revenue Service regulations now say that a group health care plan that "fails to comply" with the Affordable Care Act is subject to an "excise tax" of "$100 per day per individual for each day the plan does not comply with the requirement." It remains unclear how the IRS would implement and collect the excise tax.

The Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, based Hobby Lobby chain has more than 500 stores that employ 13,000 employees across 42 states, and takes in $2.6 billion in sales. The company's attorneys say January begins a new health care plan year for Hobby Lobby and that excise tax from the IRS would amount to $1.3 million a day.

Hobby Lobby is owned by CEO and founder David Green and members of his family. "The foundation of our business has been, and will continue to be strong values, and honoring the Lord in a manner consistent with biblical principles," a statement on the Hobby Lobby website reads, adding that one outgrowth of that is the store is closed on Sundays to give its employees a day of rest. Each year the company also takes out full-page ads in numerous newspapers proclaiming its faith at Christmastime and on Independence Day.

The store is not formally connected to any denomination, but the Green family supports numerous Christian ministries and is behind the Green Collection, one of the largest private collections of biblical antiquities in the world. The family plans to permanently house the collection in Washington at a museum set to open in 2016.

On Friday, attorneys for Hobby Lobby petitioned the Supreme Court to intervene and provide temporary relief from the the fines until the case was decided by the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

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Wednesday evening, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who handles emergency appeals from the 10th Circuit Court, said the company failed to meet "the demanding standard for the extraordinary relief," and that it could continue to pursue its challenge in lower courts and return to the higher court, if necessary, after a final judgment.

"Hobby Lobby will continue their appeal before the 10th Circuit. The Supreme Court merely decided not to get involved in the case at this time," Duncan said in a statement.

A spokesperson for the Justice Department declined to comment on the high court's move.

White House officials have long said they believe they have struck an appropriate compromise between religious exemptions and women's health. The White House has not commented specifically on the Hobby Lobby case.

"It's just so sad that Hobby Lobby is facing this choice. What company, even a successful family owned business like Hobby Lobby, how can they afford the government $1.3 million in fines every day? It's just really absurd that government is not giving on this," said Maureen Ferguson, a senior policy adviser for the Catholic Association. Religious liberty groups like hers are watching the Hobby Lobby case closely.

"I am optimistic that these cases will eventually snake their way back up to the Supreme Court and given a full hearing on the merits of the case, I am confident that the Supreme Court will rule in favor of religious liberty," Ferguson said. "But in the meantime there is serious damage being done to businesses like Hobby Lobby and nonprofit charitable organizations."

The Hobby Lobby case is just one of many before the courts over the religious exemption aspects of the law. The case represents by far the biggest for-profit group challenging the health care mandate.

After this piece of the law went into effect in August, religious nonprofits were given "safe harbor" of one year from implementing the law. "In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences," Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, said in January when the administration announced the move.

Dolan's New York Archdiocese won a victory this month in its legal battle against the administration and the mandate. In May it sued the government in federal court in Brooklyn over the mandate, saying it "unconstitutionally attempts to define the nature of the church's religious ministry and would force religious employers to violate their consciences."

The government moved to have the case dismissed. On December 4, Judge Brian M. Cogan denied the government's motion to dismiss the case, saying the government's promise of changes to how it will implement the law were not enough to merit dismissal. "There is no, 'Trust us, changes are coming' clause in the Constitution," Cogan wrote in in his decision to let the case proceed.

UPDATE: Hobby Lobby's $1.3 million Obamacare loophole

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church and state

soundoff (5,627 Responses)
  1. George

    Whoever decided that healthcare should be attached to employment obviously didn't foresee these problems. Some religions reject blood transfusions on biblical grounds. Everyone has an opinion. Should someone you work for who doesn't know you make your medical decisions for you? Another problem with tying healthcare to employment is that it encourages part-time and temporary positions rather than full time positions. Yet a third problem is that there are a whole lot of people who don't have a job for whatever legitimate reason. College students, disabled people, people between jobs, and the self employed are many examples of people who struggle to have health insurance. Health insurance could be offered to all if we instead imposed a business tax that went to a pool of funds for national healthcare. This should be combined with increased sales taxes on alcohol, fast food, electronics and other health culprits all streamed to one subsidized health insurance plan for every man woman and child in the United States. Malpractice payments should have a cap. Doctors and hospitals should be required to clearly state costs for procedures so people can shop for better prices. Charges shouldn't' be a mystery until you receive a bill. All of these things could contribute to a healthier population. Companies like Hobby Lobby, shouldn't be making such crucial decisions for people, nor should they be expected to go against their own personal beliefs, whatever they might be.

    December 28, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • Saraswati

      Agreed – it shouldn't be attached to employment, and likely soon won't be. In the mean time, we have to do what we can to ensure people are covered. Eventually the companies will give up and we'll be able to shose what we want individually. Those who want the more expensive "no birth control" coverage can pay extra for that. I'm guessing there won't be that many takers.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • doughnuts

      Employers started offerign health insurance coverage during WWII. Wages were fixed at the time, so employers started adding benefits to compete for employees.

      The Romneycare/Obamacare plan isn't enough, and it leads to stuff like this Hobby Lobby case. There should be universal simgle-payer in the United States as there is in every other industrialized nation on the planet.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • George

      I will go one step further to say that insurance tied to employment actually inhibits new business growth. People who have a medical problem may decide they don't want to take a chance to create their own business because they are worried about losing health insurance or not being able to afford it when their business is just starting. When people have basic needs taken care of they can afford to be more ambitious about making decisions to start businesses that help drive economic growth. I ran a small company for years but struggled to have health insurance. I would start another if health insurance weren't a factor.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:09 am |
  2. Saraswati

    On what planet are you living that you think US healthcare is the best in the world. We have good response to cancer treatment...and that's it. The one and only category in which we're even competi’tive. This is some bizarre mantra repeated on Fox news or something with every untraveled, uneducated sucker in the country parroting it blindly.

    December 28, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • doughnuts

      We're only #1 in the amount we pay for healthcare. In services, we're not even in the top 10.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:06 am |
  3. Eric G

    My opinion is that their case might have been stronger if they did not attempt to use "religious belief" as the basis of their non-compliance. If you drill down on the belief based argument, you end up at a point requiring proof that your beliefs are based in fact. If they are not based in fact, they cannot be used as reasonable objections.

    Maybe if they just said they were "pro life" and left the god angle out of it, they might have been able to make a reasonable argument. They would only be accountable to prove why they should be able to dictate what a woman can do with her body at that point.

    December 28, 2012 at 8:50 am |
  4. Pat

    Wow! I guess Mitt Romney was right: corporations are people. According to this article, Hobby Lobby is a Christian. I wonder if it goes to church?

    The CEO and founder wants the legal benefits provided by incorporating, but he doesn't want to follow the laws regarding his corporation. Maybe the corporate charter should be revoked?

    December 28, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • Jeff from Columbus

      I always am amused at this argument for people in favor of this HHS mandate. The Obama administration passed a VERY controversial law mandating all insurance companies offer FREE birth control, including abortion-inducing drugs.

      Companies oppose this mandate and supporters cry, "Why won't these corporations follow the LAW?". Hello?!! The "LAW" (ie., the HHS mandate) IS the issue. That's the whole debate – that the mandate is unfair.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • Pat

      The law is the law. It was passed by congress, signed by the president, and now upheld by the supreme court. The problem is not the law. The problem is moochers that want the benefits of government protection while thumbing their nose at the American people.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • doughnuts

      It isn't free. There just aren't any co-pays attached to birth-control perscription, just as there aren't for a number of drugs.
      The insurance companies, incidentally, came up with the idea. It is a HUGE money-saver for them, as covering contraception is far far less costly than covering the most problem-free pregnancy and delivery.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • Jeff from Columbus

      @Pat: LOL – really? So, we all should just accept laws without dissent?

      You know, at one point, slavery was legal. So were Jim Crow laws. The law WAS the law, right? But, people stood up and those laws were repealed. And rightfully so.

      I'm not equating the HHS mandate to slavery other than to show your stance that "The Law is the law" is completely wrong. Maybe you want to live in a society where we just meekly accept whatever laws our government passes but I sure don't.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • Pat

      Corporations have no ability to dissent. Further, corporations only exist becuase of the government. If the caretakers (CEO, etc) of the corporation no longer want to follow the law, then they should not be allowed to oversee the corporation or the corporate charter needs to be revoked.

      Further dissent has consequences. Thoreau was jailed for his refusal to pay taxes. During the Occupy protests last year, people who were peacable assembling to protest were assested en masse. I've paid fines for my little acts of rebellion. Why does a legal fiction (corporation) deserve extra protections? I'm not saying people shouldn't work to change laws with which they disagree, but you should be ready for the consequences of breaking the law.

      December 28, 2012 at 10:42 am |
  5. lionroar88

    Hawaiiguest – Healthcare has ALWAYS been privatized in The USA – ALWAYS. Never in our History has the government run our Healthcare System, and you know what – that is why our Healthcare System is the best in the World.

    I am sick and tired of our government butting into our lives and taking away our freedoms and liberty. No one has the right to contraception, no one. If you want to buy birthcontrol pills for the intent of birthcontrol – pay for them yourself – or find an employer who offers them in their healthcare package. We have RELIGIOUS Freedom in The USA for a reason, and the government is NOT supposed to get involved in it, they aren't to pass laws establishing a State Religion, and they are NOT to tell Religious Organizations how to run themselves or what that can and cannot believe. A company has EVERY Right to choose how they want to run themselves as long as they are not endangering the general populous (causing cancer, death, etc) not offering contraceptions is well within their Rights to determine if they want to do it or not. Just as not all healthcare plans cover ED drugs.

    December 28, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • realgone2

      "that is why our Healthcare System is the best in the World." This is the most idiotic statement I've read in awhile

      December 28, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • Saraswati

      On what planet are you living that you think US healthcare is the best in the world. We have good response to cancer treatment...and that's it. The one and only category in which we're even competi’tive. This is some bizarre mantra repeated on Fox news or something with every untraveled, uneducated sucker in the country parroting it blindly.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • Eric G

      Medicare & Medicade? Govenment run healthcare.

      Please list what liberties have been taken away by your government........

      December 28, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • Fladabosco

      If you think we have the best health care in the world you are mistaken. Other than how much we spend on it (twice as much per capita than any other country except Switzerland) we don't lead the world in any aspect of medical care. According to the World Health Organization, we rank 37th in quality of health care among nations. Not good. But we seem to be convinced we have the best. Maybe it's so we will continue to pay obscene amounts for less than the best care.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • nbgb

      The best in the world???? Are you kidding me. We are the wealthiest country but our healthcare system is a business based
      abomination designed to make money for providers not repair people.
      SEPARATION of church & state.....When did this disappear? Tax the churches.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      "that is why our Healthcare System is the best in the World."

      That's funny! I live in Canada where Universal Health Care exists thankfully. Our medications are either paid for out of our own pocket or if we're fortunate enough to have benefits through our employer or in the case of those on government assistance the government covers it. While our health care system has some minor issues (nothing is perfect), it is still better than your system...at least I don't worry about going bankrupt if I get sick.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • Portland tony

      Comparing emergency birth control to ED is a very slippery slope and certainly lessens the importance of your opinion!

      December 28, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • IrishGriz

      Lion – can I address a few of your points?
      1. The government is involved in quite a bit of U.S. healthcare: Medicare, Medicaid, and VA benefits, for starters.
      2. We do not have the best healthcare system in the world. We spent too much for care that is not markedly better.
      3. The coin of "religious freedom" has two sides. As an individual, you have the right to worship as you please, within the boundaries of U.S. law, without the threat that the government might decide they like one religion more and outlaw yours. However, if you are my employer, my religious freedom means that you cannot impose your religion on me just because you write my paycheck.
      4. The mandate isn't about contraceptives; it's about including comprehensive healthcare for all, regardless of how expensive it is or what you would prefer to offer. Insurance companies have been denying cancer treatments and expensive medications for years, and that isn't right.

      January 6, 2013 at 10:13 am |
  6. John

    I have always liked Hobby Lobby – and anybody else that stands up to the Dear Leader. I just hope they do it intelligently as possible. If they go bankrupt in their defiance, the Dear Leader will just laugh. Maybe they could reorgainize their company and make each store an independent franchise of under fifty employees?

    December 28, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • doughnuts

      Or maybe they can pull their heads out of their rear-ends, and realize that just because you emoploy someone, you do not get to decide what medical decisions they make.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:14 am |
  7. SixDegrees

    "It remains unclear how the IRS would implement and collect the excise tax."

    Actually, it isn't at all unclear. There is no provision in the health care law for any enforcement mechanism. In similar fashion, citizens face fines if they don't have health insurance under the new laws, but there is no provision for actually penalizing them if they don't. At worst, the IRS could refuse to issue a refund, but citizens cannot be taken to court or have their own money extracted from them.

    This is the kind of law that gets passed quickly, without full debate or public disclosure. It will be a huge mess for decades to come.

    December 28, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • lionroar88

      AND cost the Country TRILLIONS in additional debt.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:47 am |
  8. Judith Nixon

    What hypocrites! What about their trucks which are hauling their products on Sunday!! When do these drivers get to go to church and spend time with their families?

    December 28, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • Mike from CT

      Saturday service. I go to a Saturday service. What is so special about Sundays again?

      December 28, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      "What is so special about Sundays again?"

      Doesnt your god forbid you to work on the Sabbath? You dont even know what your own god wants you to do but you want to scream that the government is making you go against your religion. LOL.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • Mike from CT

      Doesnt your god forbid you to work on the Sabbath? Yes


      Please quote the doctrine of Christianity you are trying to refer to. When did Jesus preach on the importance of a day, Sunday, that did not yet exist.

      Then hopefully we can have a conversation.

      December 28, 2012 at 10:11 am |
  9. LG

    Kay's comment is the correct one. Anyone denying contraception to others who wants it should be proactively ready to step up and be ready to spend their personal time as well as have their wages garnished to support the child until it is 18 years old (or maybe 22 if the child wants to go to college). If you are not willing to participate for the long-term in the raising of the child then you should have no say in the matter period.

    December 28, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • Mike from CT

      Following that same logic.... for anyone who is not in favor of murdering the mentally ill or disabled, please be prepared to pay into a health care system for others. We must murder them to save money.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • lionroar88

      If a woman can't keep her legs closed if she isn't willing to pay for her own birthcontrol then she should be allowed to also murder her offspring? That is just plain sick and immoral. BTW – we have adoptions in this country for those who get pregnant and don't want to accept responsibility for their actions, they can place their offspring for adoption with a family that will care for and love that child as their own.

      We spend money all the time to 'save the children', now we should spend money to kill kids to 'save money'... let me guess – you are a Democrat? Only a Democrat can come up with something this boneheaded and claim it is logical!

      December 28, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • ZUES

      @LION: how many kids have you adopted?
      do you know that most children waiting to be adopted end up growing up in either in foster care or an orphanage.
      as foster children grow older they have a less and less chance of being adopted because adults want the "cute little babies" so they can brainwash them into good little christian robots instead of having to deal with a teen.

      get your head out of your forth point of contact and see the world for how it really is.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      lionroar88: What if said woman was raped? What if her life is at risk? How is it any of your business or the business of any company as to whether or not a woman carries through with an unwanted pregnancy?

      December 28, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • doughnuts

      mouseroaridiot can't seem to wrap his head around the idea that birth-control pills are used for things other than contraception, and actually save a lot of women from dying of ovarian cysts, endometrial tumors, and a number of other causes.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:18 am |
  10. DMHend

    Unless these companies own the Insurance company that their employees are using then they have no religious rights not to stop said employees from any type of Birth Control. The company does not supply them, the insurance company does!

    December 28, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • Kenn deMoll

      Maybe in fairy tale land. If you were an insurance company and the government wanted you to pay for something, wouldn't you raise your rates so you didn't have to pay? The rates are paid by the companies which offer the healthcare to employees.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • doughnuts

      Kenn, it was the insurance companies that came up with the idea of offering female contraceptives with no co-pay. It saves them a fortune as they wind up covering fewer pregnancies, fewer cases of ovarian cysts, fewer cases of endometriosis, fewer hysterectomies, etc.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:21 am |
  11. Tiffani

    More of the Christian Right imposing its beliefs on my life.

    This is not an issue of Obamacare or "slapping Obama in the face" this is an issue of a company telling its employees how they should live in their private lives and withholding benefits from people based on its own standards. Next it will be looking into the private medical records and firing people for having abortions or using birth control.

    I have rights too and one of them is the right to choose what's right for me in my own life. I should not have to live under their choices for my life. I have my own religious and moral beliefs and they should be recognized and respected as equally important.

    No more supporting Hobby Lobby. Who's the Fuhrer now?

    December 28, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • boarddog

      So go do what's right for you. Oh...wait. You want someone else to pay for whatever you decide is right for you don't you.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • DLinLA

      Why do these posters keep repeating the "someone else is paying for your contraception" lie? EMPLOYEE pays premiums – very few companies pay the whole premium. Besides, the employer contribution to the health premium is COMPENSATION – since when can an employer tell you how to spend the $ you earn?

      December 28, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
  12. Philo99

    This is an ugly precedent that can affect us all at one point or another.
    If you are liberal you make think this is a great idea now, but what happens when the Republicans are back in power? What happens when we have another pro-life president in office?
    Are you going to feel the same way when the government fines companies that provide healthcare that funds abortion.

    Be careful what you wish for.

    December 28, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Funding something that is legal is not a bad thing, opposed to not funding it and dealing with greater issues such as the results of backyard abortions. Roe v Wade already decided the abortion issue and that won't be overturned.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:49 am |
  13. Sullivan

    Sorry Hobby Lobby but you can't push your religous beliefs on others. What you're essentially saying is that the people that work for you have to believe in the same god that you do and follow the same principles and beleifs. If I remember correctly, we have freedom of religion in this country. I hope they get fined all day long until they come to the realization that they aren't a house of worship.

    December 28, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • Philo99

      What about freedom of religion for the owners of Hobby Lobby?

      Life is a two way street.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • Rundvelt

      > What about freedom of religion for the owners of Hobby Lobby?

      They are not affected. At least, not affected any more then before when they were paying taxes for stuff they didn't agree with.

      How does providing medical care to employees which includes birth control and the morning after pill impede their right to worship?

      December 28, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • Esaias

      Obama just pushed his religious beliefs on the PRIVATE companies of the U.S. – by forcing them to carry the healthcare coverage on his terms. Fascist.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • Kenn deMoll

      So what about all the free onctraception the employees can get from the health department and planned parenthood? What about the employees freedom to choose where to work? I suppose next you'll be after the kosher delis to serve non kosher foods so people won't have their "freedom" of food selection stripped as well?

      December 28, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • lionroar88


      Are you even paying attention? Where did you learn to read?

      Birthcontrol can also be used to abort. The Catholic Church discourages the use of unnatural birthcontrol, and many Religions are against abortion.

      Also – an employee can chose where they want to work, no one if forcing them to work at Hobby Lobby.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • doughnuts

      Philo, no-one is forcing them to take contraceptives.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • Rundvelt

      > Are you even paying attention?

      Yes, I am.

      > Where did you learn to read?

      School. It should be evident I can read by the mere fact I'm replying to you.

      > Birthcontrol can also be used to abort.

      So can God's Will.

      > The Catholic Church discourages the use of unnatural birthcontrol, and many Religions are against abortion.

      Who cares what people believe based off nonsense and stupidity?

      > Also – an employee can chose where they want to work, no one if forcing them to work at Hobby Lobby.

      Yes, and black people don't have to eat at this particular restaurant. They can go elsewhere.

      Your arguments are silly and flat out wrong.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • Primewonk

      " So what about all the free onctraception the employees can get from the health department and planned parenthood? "

      What free contraception? County health departments, where available, would work on a sliding fee schedule. Same with Planned Parehood. And isn't it you ignorant, religious right (oxymoron), fundiot nutters who keep screaming to close down Planned Parenthood?

      December 28, 2012 at 10:15 am |
  14. RT

    I won't be shopping at Hobby Lobby anymore for the simple fact that while the Green family may not believe in certain contraception their employees deserve the right to choose whether or not they do and want/need it. So long Hobby Lobby!

    December 28, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • CJ

      RT, the employees of Hobby Lobby have the right to seek employment elsewhere too!!!!!!!

      December 28, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • JSS

      People can choose not to shop there...and no one is forcing anyone to work there. Likewise, no one can force an adult in this country to attend church either. Let it be, and let your wallets and feet do the talking (or don't), I don't really care.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:50 am |
  15. vixis

    "In September, Hobby Lobby and affiliate Mardel, a Christian bookstore chain, sued the federal government for violating their owners' religious freedom and ability to freely exercise their religion.'

    It's not up to a company to dictate what their employees decide for their medical care, I have no religious beliefs therefore I shouldn't be forced or coerced by the company.

    December 28, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • Esaias

      Hey moron, they are not deciding for the employee. If the employee wants contraception they can buy it themselves, why should the governmnt dictate what a private company covers for health care. Wake up America and think before you post. Every liberal here argues choice, what about the CHOICE of the company? You guys are such hypocrites it's unbelievable and you are so blind you don't even now it! Scary.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Esaias: HEY MORON!!! It's not Hobby Lobby covering it, it's an external insurance company and if an employee doesn't wish to use contraceptive then they don't have to but for the ones that do wish to use them, they should have that right.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • Phil

      Truth you are wrong. HL like most large companies "self insures" they don't actually pay premiums and let the insurance company decide everything. Just about any company with 500 or more employees does this. It's a very cost effective way to insure. The insurance company takes no risk on the covered and gets a fee for managing the process. So in that case it IS HL who is 100% in charge, not the insurance company so they know exactly how each penny is spent.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Phil: The insurance company they are using would have to adhere to federal laws of some form. Said insurance company also likely offers coverage to other businesses...one clear set of rules across the board regardless of belief/disbelief . HL still pays taxes and are registered with the government as a business and thus they must adhere to all the laws that any other business must adhere to. Not all of their 13000 employee's are likely to share the owner's viewpoint.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • Phil

      You missed my point to your earlier response. My employer self insures (9,000 employees) The company decides what is covered (broadly) but doesn't for example exclude heart transplants. If this year they think they will pay for one, and instead there are 5, they pay for all 5. They manage the risk of funding the procedures the employees use. An insurance company would have priced the account to make a profit and if premiums were not going to cover the cost of the policy based on utilization, the insurance company eats it. In that case they are incentivized to "manage" the group experience to maintain that profit. There is a reason why actuaries are paid so well. My point is there is no endless pot of money so naturally SOMEONE OTHER THAN THE PATIENTwill be involved in the decision. And by the way the tax code is 70,000 pages because companies do not play by a uniform set of rules so do not expect every company to be treated the same. Proof of this can be found on the HHS website detailing the big companies who lobbied and received waivers from implementing Obama Care

      December 28, 2012 at 9:39 am |
  16. kevobx

    Does lying affect a persons mental health. When a mother gives birth, does that child have any birthrights? Be honest. Why is the world fighting so hard human rights!

    December 28, 2012 at 8:26 am |
  17. Thierry Steenberghs

    The company is just forcing their ideology on their employee.
    Let the workers choose

    December 28, 2012 at 8:25 am |
    • Esaias

      Hypocrite! listen to yourself, and Obama isn't shoving HIS ideology down companies' throats? Think!

      December 28, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • Primewonk

      @Esaias – no. The PPACA is not forcing anyone to take any medication or have any procedure. It is simply stating that medications prescribed by a physician need to be covered by the insurance plan.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • CJ

      These employees are not being told THEY CANNOT HAVE contraception....only that their employer is NOT going to pay for it. Those of you saying it's not the employer but the insurance company, must not have company provided insurance....the company PAYS the insurance company....all or in part.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:50 am |
  18. Kay

    But if an employee gets pregnant because she had no access to the morning after pill or any other contraceptive, will Hobby Lobby pay for the child's gestation, birth, and upbringing?

    December 28, 2012 at 8:24 am |
  19. Dave

    If I were Hobby Lobby, I'd show Obama by just closing up shop.

    December 28, 2012 at 8:22 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      IDIOT!!! They'll close up shop soon enough, when that 1.3 million a day in fines crumples them and leaves them in a state of financial distress...sucks to be them!

      December 28, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • WASP

      YEAH YOU'RE AN IDIOT. you would rather put your employees out of a job instead of giving them insurance coverage.
      yeah you're a great boss. :p

      December 28, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • SaltyBob

      Let them close and go pray to their god $ its really all they belive in.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:31 am |
  20. John Spurlock


    One of the few companies in America brave enough to stand up tp Fuhrer Obama and his attempts to control the lives and beliefs of Americans. Obama never will understand the American desire to be free, as he is not an American.

    I'll be shopping in Hobby Lobby today.
    I don't really need anything from there.
    I just want to help them, and slap Obama in the face.

    God knows he deserves it!

    December 28, 2012 at 8:14 am |
    • Bridget

      The people of China thank you for your support!

      December 28, 2012 at 8:20 am |
    • Wow

      John S. is an idiot.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:24 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      John: Standing up to Obama is not what they are doing...they are knowingly breaking the law. They don't get to impose their personal beliefs on their employee's. Go ahead and shop there, many others will boycott them and that 1.3 million a day they will be forced to pay out should crumple them like the trash they really are.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • CJ

      AMEN! I was just saying the same thing to a co-worker. We need to support those who stand up for their beliefs. Do you see it people??? The Bible tells us about "PERSECUTION" what do you think this is???????? Obama is not AMERICAN, nor is he a Christian.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • Geosuicide

      "...attempts to control the lives and beliefs of Americans." So it's perfectly ok for a corporation to dictate to their employees contraception issues?

      Also, it's President Obama, not "Fuhrer Obama". This isn't Nazi Germany and to try and compare the US to the Nazi regime is not only disgraceful but an insult to the people that died under Hitler's rule.

      You, sir, are disgraceful and should be ashamed.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • heywaitaminit

      Ya, the Bible also tells us about marrying your rapist, ordained genocide, and God sending bears to murder children. The bible says a lot of crazy stuff. Good thing we can just pick and choose from it what we want to believe, right?

      December 28, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • mark

      So you think I know What he deserves . Well you are wrong . The human individual .is in control of them selves not me the god . So I say unto you get a life .And stop bring my name up

      December 28, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • SaltyBob

      So my religion says I dont need to pay any taxes and my employes need to work for free and I can impose my will on them at any time. Oh and least I forget female employes dont get any rights under my religion they must obey the orders of any male they recive. where is the out rage from every religious group and its people not defending my religious rights. Oh I remeber its all myth no gods no monsters just us and our delusions! You people need to evolve.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:43 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.