While America hunkers down under “Safer at Home” orders to fight the pandemic spread of coronavirus, the Christian owned Hobby Lobby stores, as of March 21, remained open. After a letter to employees from David Green went viral on Twitter, in which he says wife Barbara is a “prayer warrior” amid “this war with this latest virus,” users online were not happy with the arts and crafts stores billionaire owner.
Hobby Lobby, which is based in Oklahoma, is the nation’s largest privately-owned arts and crafts store with over 900 locations across the nation and 43,000 employees. As stated on their official website, Hobby Lobby is taking precautionary methods to prevent shoppers and employees from catching COVID-19, such as “enhanced cleaning” and prohibiting “all international travel,” but they have not shut their doors, and employees are expected to show up for work.
“If an employee is suspected of having COVID-19 based on symptoms and/or known direct or indirect exposure, we will send that employee for medical care and to self-isolate at home, and will promptly coordinate with public health officials,” the company’s statement said.
Green, who has an estimated net worth of $6 billion as reported by Forbes in 2019, wrote in an apparent letter to employees on March 19 wrote, “To help ensure our Company remains strong and prepared to prosper once again when this passes, we may all to ‘tighten our belts’ over the near future’… I ask that you all pray for our health and a return to normalcy very soon.”
What’s largely causing a riotous response on Twitter is Green’s indication that if employees pray, they will be fine amid coronavirus. In the letter, Green shared what he must’ve assumed would be a reassuring story about his wife Barbara:
“In her quiet prayer time this past week, the Lord put on Barbara’s heart three profound words to remind us that He’s in control. Guide, Guard, and Groom. We serve a God who will guide us through this storm, who will Guard us as we travel to places never seen before, and who, as a result of this experience, will Groom us to be better than we could have ever thought possible before now.”
While the stores in state-mandated shutdown amid coronavirus may be closed, as a franchise, they are remaining open. Users online expressed compassion for their employees, with the exemption of store managers, who are not covered with company health benefits.
Hobby Lobby Fought To Block Their Employees From Receiving Birth Control In Their Healthcare Plans
This is not the first time Hobby Lobby has been in the news amid a highly controversial matter. In 2014, they went to the Supreme Court to fight against having to be required to supply employees with birth control in their healthcare coverage in 2014.
Hobby Lobby believes that birth control amounts to abortion, and didn’t want to pay for such contraception because of their Christian values. In Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby, The Supreme Court ultimately voted 5-4 in Hobby Lobby’s favor.
In 2017, Green and his family donated $500 million to the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. In 2018, Hobby Lobby was forced to pay a $3 million fine after illegally smuggling ancient stone and clay artifacts into America from Iraq.