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. Intelligent Woman

    Let's be fair about this. No contraception or morning after pill and no testosterone gels and magical erection pills. They sort of cancel each other out don't they? How can it be ok to provide fertility treatments and erection inducing pills and not be ok to provide women a way to deal with the results? We all know men are looking for a place to use those erections and shortly after looking for a way to avoid the results. Grow up people.

    December 28, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Unfortunately, the excuse for covering Viagra is that it is prescribed for a "disorder"–erectile disfunction. I wonder though, how the owners of Hobby Lobby feel about having to provide coverage for that.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I'm sure the Chard has an answer. Or believes he does. I mean, after all, if a man can't have a stiffie, wouldn't that be under the heading of "God's will"?

      December 28, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • Intelligent Woman

      It is a "disorder" if it is something you want and can't have without medical assistance. Like infertility. If all the people who consider themselves 'religious' who can't concieve just had to live with the situation they would have a nutty and go all Westboro on the rest of us.

      My point is that if it is ok to tamper with "God's will" for one thing then it is ok to tamper for everything. Sane people can't find ways to rationalize just their side of the issue. Sane people see that any twisting of the 'rules' is unfair.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Of course they do. The insane, like Khruddy, think that there's some big conspiracy going on.

      And they wonder why others laugh at them.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • Saraswati

      "Unfortunately, the excuse for covering Viagra is that it is prescribed for a "disorder"–erectile disfunction."

      If women understood the relationship between number of pregnancies and onset of alzheimer's they would take the health implications of pregnancy a lot more seriously.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Abort, abort, abort! Keep sane the insanities of abortions! Keep sane the bittersweet memories of lovemaking without its ending to be a child wanted! Be then liberal minded but when a child rears itself up, get rid of it! I hate this fvcked up world and its uncaring desires for children! No damn wonder many kids today are growing up wrong!

      You who do the deed and have fallback plans are fvcking perverted mothers and fathers! No wonder kids are growing up less civil and even less moral! They see and know that their parents will dare abort their soon to be sister or brother! Like parents do your children suffer in the rants and raves of abortion being the legal avenues to escape life's s e x u a l consequences! What a fvcking life people live who use abortion as a means to an end!

      December 28, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • Father Guido Sarducci

      Yes, Lion – I'm afraid my boss should have got he message quite a long time ago. This anti-contraception thing just isn't working out.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      LL=Lunatic Liar.

      December 28, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
  2. Michael

    Hobby Lobby just needs to start a Wednesday Night church service and this would qualify them as a church, end of conversation.
    They would fall under the same rules that apply to a church. Who says that a business and a church cannot be combined.
    As long as the church funds stay separate from the business.

    December 28, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • Saraswati

      That's not enough to qualify you. The exemption is based on the beliefs of your employees, and has to be achieved through other than discriminatory hiring. Essentially you have to be a voluntary group of like minded people, which excludes most insti'tutions we'd think of as companies.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
  3. Winston5

    Somebody pull this company into the 21st century. Keep your sky-gods on Sunday, NOT in the workplace.

    December 28, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • Chad

      how would you describe the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of religion?

      December 28, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • Colin

      @Chad – that people are free to believe whatever garbage they want to as long as it doesn't interfer with third parties. For e.g., Christian Scientists can believe that they should pray in lieu of seeking medical help for THEMSELVES, but not for their infant children.

      That's the thing about religion, it is ok when it is not tested, but because it will fail every test, it should not be taken seiuously.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • Linda Shogren

      Ok, heres the deal. YOU live by YOUR rules, and let others of us who have our rules – our morals, our beliefs- live by ours. Hobby Lobby has always stood for what they believed – NEVER have they crossed the line – to Heck with Obamacare and what that mandates – if the mandates of Obamacare go against anyone's religious beliefs – whether they are an individual or an organization – then that person/organization should be exempt.l Bottom line: CONGRESS and the SENATE do NOT have to join this plan – they have their own...........ah, that tells me..............- so I am totally behind Hobby Lobby and to HELL with the damn government and their FORCED plan on the American public!!

      December 28, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You wanna napkin to wipe the spittle off your chin, there, Linda?

      December 28, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • Father Guido Sarducci

      Now I know you make an excellent batch of sauerkraut, Linda honey, but please run along back to the kitchen and let us take care of these complicated matters. There you go – thanks, Linda.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • Chad

      @Colin "that people are free to believe whatever garbage they want to as long as it doesn't interfer with third parties."

      =>what does that mean? "doesn't interfer with third parties"

      December 28, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • Father Guido Sarducci

      You've never had a close encounter of the 3rd kind there, Chad? (wink wink)

      December 28, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • Colin

      Chad – I gave an example. No religious person should be able to impose their views of others. e.g. – certain counties prohibiting alcohol sales on Sunday based on Old Testament rules aout the Sabbath.

      December 28, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • Chad

      @Colin "No religious person should be able to impose their views of others. e.g. – certain counties prohibiting alcohol sales on Sunday based on Old Testament rules aout the Sabbath"

      @Chad "so, you are proposing something different than the current view of the SCOTUS, ok.
      Sounds like your view is "Christians can do what ever they want as long as atheists dont object to it"
      Which is in clear violation of the first amendment.

      The Supreme Court of the United States held in its landmark case, McGowan v. Maryland (1961), that Maryland's blue laws violated neither the Free Exercise Clause nor the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Consti tution. It approved the state's blue law restricting commercial activities on Sunday, noting that while such laws originated to encourage attendance at Christian churches, the contemporary Maryland laws were intended to serve "to provide a uniform day of rest for all citizens" on a secular basis and to promote the secular values of "health, safety, recreation, and general well-being" through a common day of rest. That this day coincides with Christian Sabbath is not a bar to the state's secular goals; it neither reduces its effectiveness for secular purposes nor prevents adherents of other religions from observing their own holy days.[9]

      December 28, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Odd that Chard fails to reveal that blue laws have been abandoned and the SCOTUS hasn't revisited the issue since its decision.

      December 28, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Even the county liquor stores are open on Sundays now.

      December 28, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
  4. Father Guido Sarducci

    So essentially, at the register of this Hobby Lobby once it is fined, when one is buying some plastic beads to make a new travel rosary, it's like they are contributing a few cents out of their purchase to go to Obamacare instead of Jerry's kids. Either way it's OK.

    December 28, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • Lover

      Shouldn't you be touching someone's kid right now?

      December 28, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
  5. Snarky

    Does Obamacare include complimentary brain implants for people living in the South?

    December 28, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • Linda Shogren

      Such a typical and expected remark from a damn yankee who has NO idea what the South is really about. Come here my friend and find out what life is really all about! STUPID IDIOT!

      December 28, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It's pretty clear from your posts, Linda, what the South is "all about."

      December 28, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Linda, I did exactly as you suggested after hearing people ridicule the South. I heard the jokes about ignorance and the claims of racism and thought it all had to be exaggerated, so I moved there to do graduate work. Sadly I found it was worse than anything I had imagined and was very glad to leave 4 years later.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:52 pm |

    Well i suppose Obama and the dems will be happy when this company dumps its insurance coverage for it employees because they don't agree with the service they must provide. One really has to wonder how ignorant the president and dems are? I mean you could have this company paying for insurance or have them getting subsidies from the federal governemnt to pay for insurance...pretty ignorant. And all this over providing contraception?

    December 28, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Would you feel that way if they denied coverage for blood transfusions?

      December 28, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Except that dumping insurance isn't an option.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:40 pm |

      contraception is not a life saving service...it is elective.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Not necessarily so, Khruddy. And it doesn't matter–the principle is the same. If a company can deny one it can deny the other. Nice job avoiding answering the question, as usual. Why can't you ever tell the truth?

      December 28, 2012 at 8:55 pm |


      "Except that dumping insurance isn't an option."

      No...actually they can pay a 2000 dollar a year fine for every employee and "dump" the employee insurance. I bet two thousand per year is nothing compared to what they pay now for insurance per employee, but the tax payer can pick up the rest through Obamacare taxes right depending on what the person makes per year. For a political party and president who thinks they are intelligent...they sure do some dumb things don't they.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It's "stupid" to insist a corporation obey the law?

      December 28, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @KRHODES, These are two separate policies, one starts this January, the other next. They company still has to deal with the whole of 2013.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      KRHODES. So your answer is that people stop doing things that might cause them to need healthcare and therefore insurance – so anything related to smoking, overeating, etc. is not covered. What about the situation where the employer does not approve of any (legal) drug use, or blood transfusions, etc. Can a Jewish or Muslim employer force you to work according to their religious practices.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:21 pm |

      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "It's "stupid" to insist a corporation obey the law?"

      Well they would be within the law by stopping insurance coverage, but the dems don't care about that as long they get control of an individuals decisions on healthcare. By the way...aren't laws just suggestions? The president and the democrats think so.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      oooooh those big bad boogeymen are gonna getcha, Khruddy. Better ask Jeebus for hep.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:38 pm |

      In Santa we trust

      "KRHODES. So your answer is that people stop doing things that might cause them to need healthcare and therefore insurance – so anything related to smoking, overeating, etc. is not covered. What about the situation where the employer does not approve of any (legal) drug use, or blood transfusions, etc. Can a Jewish or Muslim employer force you to work according to their religious practices."

      Stop doing things they need healthcare for? I think the vast majority of contraception is elective...it is not life or death situation. I am sure that if someone had a condition in which they absolutely had to have the same medication for a real problem the doctor would make that clear to the insurance company. BTW...is the morning after pill a medical neccesity or an elective? And really...comparing contraception to a blood transfusion...you are really reaching there.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I wonder, Khrud, why you think it's okay for the Hobby Slobby owners to "get hold" of their employees' health care decisions when you're so vehemently opposed to the coverage the government is requiring. Doesn't make sense to me, but then again, I'm not nuts.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "Really reaching"? Not at all. The principle is the same. And your views on reproduction are inane. You seem to think that it's simply a luxury, apparently. Do you really have so little upstairs? How do you tie your shoes? Unplanned pregnancies are frequently the cause of health problems for the babies that result and for their mothers. If you don't believe it, read the research.

      What sort of man thinks pregnancy is just no big deal?

      December 28, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      My point was – smoking and (generally) overeating are elective. According to some religions some of what you would expect for healthcare may be considered elective. Why draw the line at what makes you froth?

      December 28, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      • Most American families want two children. To achieve this, the average woman spends about five years pregnant, postpartum or trying to become pregnant, and three decades—more than three-quarters of her reproductive life—trying to avoid an unintended pregnancy.[1]
      • Most individuals and couples want to plan the timing and spacing of their childbearing and to avoid unintended pregnancies, for a range of social and economic reasons. In addition, unintended pregnancy has a public health impact: Births resulting from unintended or closely spaced pregnancies are associated with adverse maternal and child health outcomes, such as delayed prenatal care, premature birth and negative physical and mental health effects for children. [2,3,4]
      • For these reasons, reducing the unintended pregnancy rate is a national public health goal. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy People 2020 campaign aims to reduce unintended pregnancy by 10%, from 49% of pregnancies to 44% of pregnancies, over the next 10 years.[5]
      • About half (49%) of the 6.7 million pregnancies in the United States each year (3.2 million) are unintended (see box).

      December 28, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • Father Guido Sarducci

      Sadly KRHODES, my boss' plan just hasn't worked out. Contraception is quite often a life-saving service.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
  7. dink

    If we had a single payer healthcare system like England, Canada, Great Britain, and the rest of the free western world; businesses would not be hindered by these ethical questions! In fact, they would not be hindered by any form of healthcare cost at all!!!

    December 28, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son


      December 28, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • Saraswati

      The arguments become simpler and more focussed, but in Europe there are still fights about coverage of abortion by the national health care systems...some cover it, others don't even allow it privately.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      This isn't about covering abortions, though. It's about covering contraception. Which would prevent more abortions, if only the idiots would get that through their skulls.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @tom, Tom, I remember when I was in Ireland in the 80s there were strict restrictions on birth control and a lot of fights about how it was covered. Yes, the US is more conservative than most countries, but nationalizing healthcare doesn't make the controversies go away. Whatever is controversial is still contested, be it bariatric surgery, abortions, birth control, FGM...whatever. I fully support national health, but it doesn't end controversy...just saves money by focussing it and cutting out middlemen. Every country I know of is fighting about something in medical coverage.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      There will still be contention about what is covered, but not by the owners of corporations, as in this case.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • Saraswati

      True, it frees up businesses on many fronts. Most importantly the thousands of small businesses who go under every year because an owner has to cover health costs in their own family. The current system is a nightmare.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:58 pm |


      "If we had a single payer healthcare system like England, Canada, Great Britain, and the rest of the free western world; businesses would not be hindered by these ethical questions! In fact, they would not be hindered by any form of healthcare cost at all!!!"

      I like that...the free western world. They are not nearly as free as we are, of course if Obama and the dems have their way...neither will we.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, brother. Let me guess, Khrud, you thought McCarthy was all right, didn't you?

      What a friggin' dope you are.

      December 28, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
  8. BelladonnaCove

    ObamaCare will fix this nation.

    December 28, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
  9. lionlylamb

    According to a site, there were over 50,000,000, that's 50 million abortions since 1973.

    December 28, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Father Guido Sarducci

      So when that bag lady caught hold of the gleam in your eye the other day and you turned and walked the other way – that was 1 for the count, right?

      December 28, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      How many children died of starvation in that period? Significantly more. Then add in the other causes of death and your outrage will be immense. All those living people who could have been saved.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      Uh, what site would that be cowardly lion?

      December 28, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      That's 50,000,000 abortions by doctors and doesn't include contraceptive pills of the aborted,,,,,,,, 🙁 🙁 🙁

      December 28, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Liquor is pickling the two brain cells you have left, you moron. http://ec.princeton.edu/questions/ecabt.html

      December 28, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      United States Abortion Statistics, 54,559,615 abortions 1973–2011 and these stats do not include the pill aborted,,, Nearly 55 million doctor assisted abortions in 38 years and growing!


      December 28, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, gee, I was wrong. You don't even have two anymore.

      You dolt, that's an anti-choice site. Get a clue, you old coot.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
  10. Father Guido Sarducci

    This is a no brainer. They Supreme Court got together with the Pope several years back and settled this whole mess. It was called "Eminent Dominum" I think.

    December 28, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • Bewildered

      funny 🙂

      December 28, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • Father Guido Sarducci

      No wait, I think it was "Eminem Domino". Well, something like that.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
  11. JoeCommonSense

    I will never shop at Hobby Lobby....make it hard on them to make money to pay the fine!!! Then when they concede, it will be all because on money. It is ashame that some of the so called christians think the way they do....pitiful!!!!

    December 28, 2012 at 8:12 pm |

      Well Joe..."common sense" will tell you that instead of paying the fine or providing the coverage for questionable service...i bet they dump their employees insurance and pay the 2000 dollar yearly fine. Then those same people can sign up for a plan through Obamacare. Hope that makes Obama and the rest of the democrats who voted for the legislation happy.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • Bewildered

      joecommonsense......It never ceases to amaze me. "Concede" really....our forefathers were not willing to concede to the British and the hold they had over many aspects of our great/(great) grandparents!!!! I thank the lucky stars every night that I am able to lay my head down feeling that I haven't coerced, imtimidated, or threated anyone that I meet that they MUST do things the way I saw it....or the highway! Believe me I am proud that have been able to not ask or hope ill will come to anyone I meet, although with your comment I must say it is very compelling.
      May 2013 bring you prosperity in your life.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Jackie

      Hobby Lobby is an at will employer. That means that if you want an employer that will cover abortive inducing contraceptives, than Hobby Lobby is not the place for you. How is this any different than employers that will not tolerate smokers and will even screen and test for nicotine. As a nurse, I know of nurses, that are smokers, that know which hospitals they can't apply too. They choose to smoke and that means they must work at smoke free facilities.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How does the morning after pill const itute an "abortive"? If you're a nurse, you should know better.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Well...crickets chirping.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • Bj

      How does hobby lobby feel about profiting from child abuse. If anyone on this board has ever shopped there, it's a bunch of cheap crap made in a third world country. Is it not ironic that they take a stand when they simply don't want to pay for something? Maybe they should put more focus on quality. Businesses are not people.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
  12. Dunhill

    If these folks are Holier than Thou, I guess they wouldn't be using the pill, so whats the big deal, have it in the plan, just choose not to use it. Get on with life!

    December 28, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
  13. Patty

    I think that people have a choice who they work for, and companies have a choice of incentives that they provide.. If your company doesn’t offer coverage for something that you need, well then your option is to seek employment elsewhere for benefits more fitting to your needs, or pay out of pocket! I understand Hobby Lobby’s position, and I don’t understand how they can be so taxed for not providing contraception.. My husband is hard of hearing and requires yearly hearing test and hearing aids, some companies that he has worked for has elected to cover that, others do not.. Some pay for yearly screening, other cover screening every two years, and in some cases no coverage for hearing was provided. I don’t see anyone making a fuss about that, it just happens! Right now I am trying to conceive another child and I have been trying for years and it hasn’t worked.. I haven’t sought out fertility treatment because my company’s insurance elected to cover diagnosing but not the treatment of infertility.. So I will have to pay out of pocket if I decide to seek fertility treatment.. Does that make the huge cooperation that employees my family unfair? Hobby Lobby/Mardel have always been a Christian cooperation, and they are really no different than any other place of employment who elects the sort of coverage that they want to pay for, the only difference is that they are being put on the spot and forced to provide something that goes against everything that they believe in. They have the right not to provide the morning after pill, like any person seeking employment has the right not to work there!

    December 28, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What part of the 'it's the law' is so hard to grasp?

      December 28, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Birth control is considered basic health care. Fertility treatments are not. Neither are hearing aids.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • ArgleBargle

      It's part of the prescription plan, cupcake, and how nice that you equate hearing screens with the morning after pill that someone who gets r.aped may need...sounds like your pist off because you can't get knocked up.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • Athy

      People like Patty are just a little slow on the uptake. They just don't get it.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • Patty

      Tom, Tom, the Piper's son;

      I find it ironic how the separation of church and state can be echoed in any instance to which one wishes to remove God from a public assembly; school, football game, court house, public park.. But we have absolutely no problem asserting power over those same people in law.. Take a look at what Thomas Jefferson said about that written in Thomas Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802.
      The original text reads: "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church and State."
      Do you see that? “make no law… Prohibiting free exercise thereof”?..

      You see you can't choose for someone else how they exercise their religion.. Not even by LAW

      December 28, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Patty, dear, no one is preventing the owners from worshipping whatever god they wish and nobody is prohibited from praying in schools, or anywhere else. Why do fundies like you have to lie to try to make a point?

      December 28, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • Chad

      killing unborn children was co-opted as a women's rights issue when feminists in the 60's 70's seized on that as a political ploy. "keep your hands off our bodies" has been the refrain ever since. Over a million children are sacrificed on that altar every year.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why are people like you so unable to grasp the concept that the law doesn't have to recognize what the owners of a corporation believe? The corporation is required BY LAW to provide this coverage, regardless of the beliefs of the owners, just as it would be required to offer insurance that covers blood transfusions even if the religious beliefs of the owners were opposed to such. It's the same principle, Patty, and if you can find any argument against, it, then present one. Don't bother with the nonsense about public prayer, because it has nothing whatsoever to do with this issue.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Poor Chard. He still can't figure out what to say so he doesn't look like such a moron in every post.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Noone is telling the employer that they can't practise their religion – the employer is deciding employee healthcare based upon the religious beliefs of officers of the company. Do you think that a corporation has a religion?

      December 28, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • Chad

      A.Hobby Lobby is pursuing an exemption, which is within its legal rights
      B. "you're an idiot" isnt quite as devastating a riposte as you think it is.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Seems to me it works quite well. It has precisely the desired effect.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And while HL is pursuing an exemption, as is its right, it will have to pay the fine.

      The court says so. That's how laws work.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • Chad

      @Patty, very interesting point you make. Is the gov't, by not respecting the religious views of this privately held business, prohibiting the free exercise of religion?

      excellent question.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • Saraswati

      1) You are completely out of touch with just how little 'choice' most people have in where and when they work. 2) Plenty of people have made a fuss about hearing coverage, however 3) it is a completely different issue as it isn't a religious issue which could open the door for employers to deny ooverage for anything they don't like...transfusions, medicines tested on animals, life-saving cancer treatment, treatments for anyone overweight...

      December 28, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • ArgleBargle

      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"

      They may pursue it, but they will not get it, as they are not remotely in the description above.
      Also, and I know you have been told this MANY times, the morning after pill is a pill one takes the morning after s.ex, not the morning after someone finds out they are pregnant....it wouldn't induce abortion even if someone DID. Now please shut up about it; you are like a child that has to be told a hundred times that two plus two doesn't equal five.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son


      Thank you, Argle Bargle. He really is more like a toddler who insists on having it all his way and then throwing a tantrum when he doesn't get it.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
  14. Get real

    Our government is completely out of control. When will we take a stand?

    December 28, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Well we cant stand you so take your paranoid AZZ and jump in a river.

      December 28, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
  15. dave

    Hobby Lobby is not a church. And while offering birth control may go against the owners beliefs he does not have the right to bestow those beliefs on his employees. People who work there may not necessarily have the same beliefs of the owners. And if the owners are hiring based on beliefs then they are breaking the law by not offering equal opportunity to all people. Also if it is against the owners beliefs to use birth control, then don't use it. But don't deny it to others.

    December 28, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • Polly

      He's not denying it. He's just not going to pay for it. Calm down. Jeeze, people there are so many terrible things going on in the world today. THIS is what you choose to get excited about?

      December 28, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      By not offering coverage for health insurance that covers it, they are indeed denying it and that is against the law.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • Kate

      Thank you for saying what I was thinking. You put it well.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Polly, Denying birth control RAISES costs for all subscribers as pregnancy is far more expensive. Essentially it's a demand that everyone pay more for his beliefs.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
  16. Reality

    Only for new members of this blog:

    Condoms are available over the counter for less than 40 cents each. Make the Pill (type dependent on doctor’s evaluation) available over the counter and there will be no more debate. Planned Parenthood can offer deep discounts for those who say they cannot afford said protection. Ditto for the morning after pill which I believe is available OTC for women over seventeen.

    Or better yet, put a pack of condoms and a box of Pills in cereal boxes. Unfortunately, that would not ensure the condoms and/or Pills would be used. Based on Guttmacher Insti-tute data, said condoms and/or Pills are currently not being used as they should. (one million abortions/yr and 19 million cases of S-TDs/yr because either the daily Pill was not taken or a condom stayed in the pocket.)

    Maybe selling Pill-enriched sodas??? Hmmm?

    Condom-fitted briefs for men?? Hmmm?

    The door is open for other ideas!!!

    December 28, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
  17. Reality

    Only for the new members of this blog:

    The reality of se-x, abortion, contraception and STD/HIV control: – from an agnostic guy who enjoys intelligent se-x-

    Note: Some words hyphenated to defeat an obvious word filter. ...

    The Brutal Effects of Stupidity:

    : The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill (8.7% actual failure rate) and male con-dom (17.4% actual failure rate) have led to the large rate of abortions and S-TDs in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or co-ndoms properly and/or use safer methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.- Failure rate statistics provided by the Gut-tmacher Inst-itute. Unfortunately they do not give the statistics for doubling up i.e. using a combination of the Pill and a condom.

    Added information before making your next move:

    from the CDC-2006

    "Se-xually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing, and treating certain S-TDs in recent years, CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.1 In addition to the physical and psy-ch-ological consequences of S-TDs, these diseases also exact a tremendous economic toll. Direct medical costs as-sociated with STDs in the United States are estimated at up to $14.7 billion annually in 2006 dollars."

    And from:

    Consumer Reports, January, 2012

    "Yes, or-al se-x is se-x, and it can boost cancer risk-

    Here's a crucial message for teens (and all se-xually active "post-teeners": Or-al se-x carries many of the same risks as va-ginal se-x, including human papilloma virus, or HPV. And HPV may now be overtaking tobacco as the leading cause of or-al cancers in America in people under age 50.

    "Adolescents don’t think or-al se-x is something to worry about," said Bonnie Halpern-Felsher professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. "They view it as a way to have intimacy without having 's-ex.'" (It should be called the Bill Clinton Syndrome !!)

    Obviously, political leaders in both parties, Planned Parenthood, parents, the "stupid part of the USA" and the educational system have failed miserably on many fronts.

    The most effective forms of contraception, ranked by "Perfect use":
    – (Abstinence, 0% failure rate)
    – (Masturbation, mono or mutual, 0% failure rate)
    Followed by:
    One-month injectable and Implant (both at 0.05 percent)
    Vasectomy and IUD (Mirena) (both at 0.1 percent)
    The Pill, Three-month injectable, and the Patch (all at 0.3 percent)
    Tubal sterilization (at 0.5 percent)
    IUD (Copper-T) (0.6 percent)
    Periodic abstinence (Post-ovulation) (1.0 percent)
    Periodic abstinence (Symptothermal) and Male condom (both at 2.0 percent)
    Periodic abstinence (Ovulation method) (3.0 percent)

    Every other method ranks below these, including Withdrawal (4.0), Female condom (5.0), Diaphragm (6.0), Periodic abstinence (calendar) (9.0), the Sponge (9.0-20.0, depending on whether the woman using it has had a child in the past), Cervical cap (9.0-26.0, with the same caveat as the Sponge), and Spermicides (18.0).

    December 28, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
  18. pogojo

    If i were them i would not pay the fine, and just go out of business.

    December 28, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
  19. lionlylamb

    I remember a time when no auto insurance was needed and then along came the insurance peddlers. Heath insurance peddlers need the money honey! Only a matter of time! Time's up!

    December 28, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Go back to sleep, Rip Van Dinkie.

      December 28, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
  20. UrbanDweller

    This might be more of an issue if birth control were outrageously expensive. It's NOT. Why can't women just buy birth control out-of-pocket, themselves?. The pill is $20 – $50 a month without insurance. A box of condoms about $10. If you can't afford that, then don't f*&k. I lost my job back in 2001 and didn't find full-time, good paying employment until 2003. However, I made sure that I never missed a mortgage payment or a DepoProvera (shot form of the pill administered every three months). Yes, I had to sacrifice a few things but I knew what my priorities were. I didn't want an unplanned pregnancy.

    December 28, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Because when contraceptives are more easily available, fewer unplanned pregnancies occur and it costs us all less. That's why. And because it's the law.

      The election was last month and your side lost. Get over it and enjoy the inauguration.

      December 28, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      I asked this earlier but didn't get an answer so I ask you, "Do you know if Medicare/Medicaid pays for contraceptives and the pill after? If corporations are required then shouldn't Medicare/Medicaid also be required?"

      December 28, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      LL, you have a fvcking computer. Look it up.

      December 28, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
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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.