Will Hobby Lobby’s beliefs extend to its dealings with China?

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On June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision in the Hobby Lobby case. The majority held that Hobby Lobby, as a “closely held,” family-owned corporation, could deny certain contraceptive insurance coverage to Hobby Lobby employees based on the Hobby Lobby owners’ “deeply held religious beliefs.”

Hobby Lobby is a very prolific and successful craft and hobby chain that operates more than 600 stores in 47 states and has more than 13,000 past and present employees covered under its benefit plans. Many items, perhaps a majority of the products, sold by Hobby Lobby bear the label “made in China.”

The owners of Hobby Lobby profess to be “pro-life” and predicated their objection to certain language in the Affordable Care Act that requires employers to provide contraceptive insurance coverage to their employees on their belief that certain types of contraceptive products such as intrauterine devices and Plan B morning-after and week-after pills are a form of abortion.

For many years China has had policies leading to forced abortion. Although China’s one-child policy recently has been relaxed, many forced abortions still occur there.

Neither Hobby Lobby nor the owners of Hobby Lobby can legally challenge abortion policy of China based on their “deeply held religious beliefs.” They can, however, make a profound statement of faith by not buying any products from China as long as China maintains policies that lead to abortion.

Will the owners of Hobby Lobby make this profound statement of faith based on their “deeply held religious beliefs” and refuse to continue to purchase products from China, or will their “deeply held religious beliefs” apply only to certain types of health care coverage for its employees?

One can only hope that deeply held Christian beliefs are not “situational.”


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