Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Haunting the Halls of Hobby Lobby

Sticker sheet at Hobby Lobby

The Green family of Oklahoma City, which owns the Hobby Lobby craft store chain, is known for supporting Christian causes and closing their stores on Sundays. The company has stated that they are "committed to honoring the Lord in all we do". According to Forbes magazine, "Hobby Lobby takes half of total pretax earnings and plunges it directly into a portfolio of evangelical ministries."

Plaque at Hobby Lobby
"Old Jeffrey", perhaps?

In recent months, Hobby Lobby has been fighting in court to avoid complying with federal rules that require employer healthcare plans to cover contraceptives, arguing that the Greens' personal religious beliefs do not allow them to sponsor contraceptives for their employees. And Hobby Lobby has recently been criticized for not carrying Hanukkah decorations or supplies. 

Bones of Elisha?

"Wicked Good"

I took a stroll through my local Hobby Lobby yesterday to see how they handle another controversy: Halloween. And as the store's sound system surrounded me with a mellow instrumental version of "Lord, I Lift Your Name on High", I pondered my evangelical past, my atheist present, and the meaning of religious freedom in America.

The Green family are Pentecostal, and their church is listed in the directory on the Assemblies of God website. According to that same website:

 "Halloween cannot, by any stretch, be called a Christian holiday....
"Focusing on witches, ghosts of departed persons, evil monsters, devils, and other characters associated with the satanic should never be allowed in Christian social activities, even in innocent play."
I used to feel the same way, because we knew that those ghosts, evil spirits, and witches were REAL. All that spooky stuff was in the Bible, after all. Jesus was just stronger magic. Now that I consider it all pretend, I just think some aspects of Halloween are icky. Maybe I'll outgrow that feeling someday. Or maybe it's just that I can't forget that lots of real people have gotten hurt because other people believed that witches were an actual thing.

Anyway, David Green apparently takes the Assembly of God position with a grain of salt. Strolling the aisles listening to the church music, it was hard to take myself too seriously either...

"God so loved the world
that he gave..."?

Definitely not kosher

Look! A Lazarus candy dish!
And we don't trust contraceptives...


  1. I haven't gotten over Halloween. I'm cool with other people doing it. But I haven't gotten over the anti-halloween vibs of my past.

  2. In the late '90s during my OKC years I worked in purchasing for a sister company of Hobby Lobby. I'm so disappointed in the apparent radicalism of the Green family in recent years because this is not how I remembered them. Very devout and devoted to Bible translation work, yes. But not nutty like this. On the other hand, maybe I'm the one who has changed. I don't know.

    Lana, I have to say I'm not over the anti-Halloween teaching of my past either. I don't have a problem with it, but it just doesn't do much for me. My husband loves it, though, so it's kind of his holiday. The bug has definitely already bit our four-year-old daughter who looks forward to Halloween all year!


  3. I still love Halloween, but I grew up back when it was acceptable, even for us fundamentalists to dress up and go trick-or-treating. By elementary school, my mom would even let me and my brothers trick-or-treat without her supervision and we would cover half the town. I'm sorry it's no longer the safe fun community holiday it was then but I can understand your revulsion. It's not that my folks religion didn't believe that stuff was real. I was told I really shouldn't read the newspaper horoscopes. But Halloween was considered a harmless fun holiday for the kids.

  4. I'm looking forward to my first guilt free Halloween in a loooong time this year:)

  5. We are Halloween fanatics, ha! I live in a (very) small community and HL is my one crafting store option. Sigh. Alas.

  6. Why did David Green adopt a child from China?