January 4, 2013, (LifeSiteNews.com) – More than 30,000 people have signed up to support Hobby Lobby in its fight against the Obama administration’s HHS mandate this Saturday – and the numbers are rising fast.
Hobby Lobby, the popular arts and crafts store with more than 500 locations across the country, and its sister company Madel, have vowed to defy the mandate that went into effect on January 1, risking fines of up to $1.3 million per day.
In November, a federal court denied the companies a request for a temporary injunction against the mandate while litigation proceeded. The judge ruled that the companies had not cited any precedent that “for-profit corporations such as Hobby Lobby and Mardel have a constitutional right to the free exercise of religion.”
Now the organizers of a “Stand with Hobby Lobby” Facebook event page are urging “all Americans who value freedom of religion” to shop at their local Hobby Lobby store this weekend.
More than 200,000 people have been invited to the event, and the number of confirmed attendees is rising by the hour, with many expressing their support for the company in posts on the page.
One supporter, Michelle Tarantino, posted, “I absolutely love the worship music playing in the store! I’m going!”
Another, Nancy Murray, added, “It’s not about any one persons belief or opinion! It’s about our human rights to make that decision on our own! The government has no right to dictate what is against religious or moral beliefs- to anyone - company or individual!”
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If the numbers continue to rise as rapidly as they have in the past day, the event stands to be a possible repeat of the wildly successful Chik-fil-A Appreciation Day that took place last August. That event saw hundreds of thousands flock to the fast food chain to support the traditional marriage views of its founder.
Hobby Lobby founder and CEO David Green is a devout Christian who says the mandate violates his faith and the principles on which his company was founded. Although Hobby Lobby does pay for birth control for its employees, Green objects to funding the morning-after pill and the week-after pill, both of which can act as abortifacients.
In a statement last September, Green had said that his company’s success is inextricably connected to its groundings in the Christian faith.
“We have always operated our company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles, including integrity and service to others,” he said. “We believe wholeheartedly that it is by God’s grace and provision that Hobby Lobby has been successful. Therefore, we seek to honor him in all that we do.”
Green noted the company keeps fewer hours than most and, like Christian-founded restaurant chain Chick-Fil-A, is closed on Sundays. Meanwhile, he said Hobby Lobby’s minimum wage is 80 percent above the national average, and its headquarters even offers an in-house clinic where employees with company health insurance can visit for free.
Green and his wife Barbara in 2010 signed a pledge to donate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy.
“For me and my family, charity equals ministry, which equals the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” said Green. For that reason, he said, a government mandate forcing the company to provide abortifacient drugs is no side issue.
“Our family is now being forced to choose between following the laws of the land that we love,” said Green, “or maintaining the religious beliefs that have made our business successful, and have supported our family and thousands of our employees and their families.”