Hobby Lobby Closing All Stores Across the Nation-Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
Rumors are circulating that Hobby Lobby plans to close 500+ retail locations across the country.
Rumors that Hobby Lobby is closing all stores have been around since 2013, and none of them have proven true.
The flap started when Hobby Lobby CEO David Green wrote an open letter about Christian companies being forced to bow to the “sinful” mandates of Obamacare like health plans that require morning after contraception for female employees:
But now, our government threatens to change all of that. A new government health care mandate says that our family business must provide what I believe are abortion-causing drugs as part of our health insurance. Being Christians, we don’t pay for drugs that might cause abortions. Which means that we don’t cover emergency contraception, the morning-after pill or the week-after pill. We believe doing so might end a life after the moment of conception, something that is contrary to our most important beliefs. It goes against the biblical principles on which we have run this company since day one. If we refuse to comply, we could face $1.3 million per day in government fines.
Green continued that he wanted to continue growing the company that he founded and providing jobs, but added that, “the government is forcing us to choose between following our faith and following the law.”
The letter immediately sparked questions about whether Green would rather close Hobby Lobby’s 500+ stores instead of complying with a government mandate for contraception that flies in the face of his Christian beliefs.
Many of those questions were answered by 2014. Green filed a lawsuit on behalf of Hobby Lobby, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Christian-owned businesses could not be forced to follow a birth control mandate, the Christian Post reports:
In a landmark religious freedom case the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods Specialties, stating that corporations can refuse to provide certain drugs that may abort a fetus on the basis of religious objection.
In a five to four decision, the highest court in the land ruled that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act applies to privately owned businesses like Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods Specialties.
The decision was narrowed to only the contraceptive mandate and is not necessarily applicable to all insurance mandates, like blood transfusions or vaccinations.
That seemed to put to rest questions about whether the contraception mandate would force Hobby Lobby to close all of its stores. In fact, the company announced in 2014 that it planned to open 70 new stores across the U.S., according to a press release:
The expansion comes amid inaccurate rumors circulating through social media that the company would be closing stores. Hobby Lobby, owned by its founders, David and Barbara Green, and operated according to the family’s deeply held religious convictions, has objected to providing certain contraceptive drugs and devices mandated by the Affordable Care Act despite possible government-induced fines, a decision that may be driving the incorrect rumors.
Those “inaccurate rumors” about Hobby Lobby closing were still circulating on social media two years later, but there’s no truth them. These are outdated reports about Hobby Lobby would possibly close all its stores.
Update: The rumor that Hobby Lobby was closing all of its stores resurfaced in July 2017. That time, Hobby Lobby issued an official statement clarifying that the chain was not closing any stores, and actually had plans to open an additional 50 stores in the coming year. This one is still fiction.