Press Statement of David Green – September 13, 2012
My name is David Green, and I am the founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. In case you are not familiar with our company, we are a national arts and crafts retailer with more than 500 stores in 41 states. We are headquartered in Oklahoma and employ more than 22,500 individuals nationwide.
I started Hobby Lobby as a miniature picture frame company, called Greco Products, in 1970. My family and I made miniature picture frames and sold them to various retailers. Because there was a high demand for this product at the time, we were able to take out a loan of $600 from the bank to open our first retail store, which consisted of 300 square feet of manufacturing space in the back, and 300 square feet of retail space in the front. That store became the first ever Hobby Lobby.
My family has been an integral part of this business since day one, and remains an important part of it today. My son, Steve Green, is president of Hobby Lobby. My son, Mart Green, is president of Mardel, which is a Christian bookstore that is an affiliated business with Hobby Lobby. My daughter Darsee Lett is a vice president of Hobby Lobby. Several of my grandchildren also work in our business.
Another integral part of Hobby Lobby from day one has been our faith. My parents were both pastors, and all of my siblings are involved in ministry. I felt like somewhat of an outsider going into retail, but I’ve found a way to minister through Hobby Lobby. We have always operated our company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles, including integrity and service to others. 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.
As part of that faith, we care greatly for our employees and their families. That’s why, unlike most major retailers, we are only open 66 hours per week and are closed on Sundays to allow our employees to spend time with their families. For the past four years in a row, we have increased the minimum wage for our full-time employees, and it’s now 80 percent above the national minimum wage.
We also believe in sharing our faith, which is why we purchase full-page ads at Christmas and Easter in newspapers in all the major cities where we operate. We also contribute both time and funds to numerous Christian organizations across the nation and the world. Hobby Lobby has always been a tool for the Lord’s work. For me and my family, charity equals ministry, which equals the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We know that we have been blessed by God’s grace, and we believe it is because we have chosen to live our lives and to operate our business according to His word, and we are very grateful for that.
But now our faith is being challenged by the federal government. The Health and Human Services “preventative services” mandate forces businesses to provide the “morning-after” and the “week-after” pills in our health insurance plans. These abortion-causing drugs go against our faith, and our family is now being forced to choose between following the laws of the land that we love or maintaining the religious beliefs that have made our business successful and have supported our family and thousands of our employees and their families. We simply cannot abandon our religious beliefs to comply with this mandate.
We are now represented in this endeavor by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a firm that specializes in religious liberty. Sitting here with me is their Chief Counsel, Kyle Duncan. He will now make comments and take your questions.