Thursday, October 3, 2013

Hobby Lobby: Deep Pockets

Since we're talking about Hobby Lobby's values, here is more about the family behind the company.

David Green, founder of Hobby Lobby, is a pastor's son from Emporia, KS. The Greens are Pentecostal and have a long history of supporting charismatic ministries and organizations. In 2003, David Green received the Assemblies of God Superintendent's Medal of Honor. The next year, he donated $10.5 million to Jerry Falwell's Liberty University.

In 2007, the Green family came to the rescue of charismatic Oral Roberts University, paying off debts to the tune of $70 million. In return, Mart Green, son of David Green and CEO of Christian book store chain Mardel, became chairman of the new ORU board of trustees. The same year, David Green donated a Massachusetts campus to Zion Bible College, which was renamed Northpoint Bible College to avoid being mistaken for a Jewish organization. "Northpoint Bible College exists to teach and train students for excellent Pentecostal ministry."

In 2009, AG News reported that a gift of $10 million from Hobby Lobby to Southeast University, an interdenominational school in Lakeland, FL with a long Pentecostal tradition. Mart Green was quoted as saying, "We appreciate your commitment to Christian higher education and all that Southeastern is doing to raise up students with a Christian world view."  In 2010, Hobby Lobby donated $1.5 million to Northwest University, a private college in Kirkland, WA, operated by the Assemblies of God.

The Green Family Trust supports numerous churches and parachurch organizations, purchasing dozens of properties and donating them to evangelical causes, such as Rick Warren's Saddleback Church. The Greens also own the "Passages" exhibit, a collection of rare biblical texts and artifacts assembled by Steven Green, now Hobby Lobby's president. Hobby Lobby partners with the controversial right-wing group Wallbuilders to run full-page newspaper ads around the country.

Mart Green is also the founder of Every Tribe Entertainment, which produced "End of the Spear", a 2005 film about five male missionaries killed by a tribe in Ecuador while attempting to evangelize them in 1956. One of the missionaries is played by actor Chad Allen, a gay Christian. Green has stated that he was unaware of Allen's sexual orientation when he offered him the contract. "We found out Chad was gay after we offered him the parts. We felt like when we offered him the contract, we were obligated to honor it." Green told Christianity Today, "To be honest, I would not have hired Chad had I known everything about him. But God had to work around me to get Chad on this project. He wanted Chad on this project. I wish I were able to articulate all the things that led me to understand that. It is very hard to share the ways the Lord leads, especially when you can't fully grasp why he is doing things that don't make sense to the natural man."

The Green family has a friendly relationship with cult leader Bill Gothard, whose seminars they have attended. They bought him a decrepit VA hospital in Little Rock in 2000 and another hospital building in Nashville in 2003. (Gothard lacked the resources to see either project completed.) Hobby Lobby also purchased the Ambassador University campus in Big Sandy, Texas from the Worldwide Church of God and turned it over to Gothard's IBLP for an ALERT training campus.

Steve Green, Hobby Lobby's president, has spoken alongside Gothard at an ATI conference (attended by the Duggars) at the Big Sandy center. Last year, he was a keynote speaker at a businessmen's seminar held at Gothard's headquarters in Oak Brook, IL (and also advertised on the very strange website of the "World Trade Center of Illinois", of which Gothard claims to be president). Steve Green is a featured speaker for Gothard's Embassy Institute.

And David Green has allowed Gothard to speak to employees and distribute IBLP materials at a Hobby Lobby store near Oak Brook, IL. According to an IBLP staff member:
"Friday evening, a small group of us had the amazing opportunity to go with Mr. Gothard to the local Hobby Lobby store. We had been invited by CEO and Founder David Green to present the message of God’s freedom and power to their staff. Each employee who attended the meeting was given the opportunity to receive one of Mr. Gothard’s latest books: How to Resolve 7 Deadly Stresses. During this meeting, three of us had the privilege to give our testimonies of how we transformed the “stresses” from our past experiences by applying the commands of Christ to our situation and life. The staff seemed intrigued seeing the renewed joy, peace, and blessing that came as a result."
Bill Gothard, who has never been married but has been accused of sexually harassing young women on his staff, shares the Greens' opposition to contraceptives. He tells attendees of his Advanced seminar, "There is no question that many birth control methods and devices simply kill the conceived child. Chief among these is the IUD. It comes as a shock to many couples, however, that taking the pill also results in aborting a conceived child." Gothard cites a 1979 report from Britain to convince couples that taking the pill is more dangerous than pregnancy. He assures his followers that overpopulation is a myth, that God intends couples to "multiply exceedingly", and that reducing family size is "the hidden agenda of secular humanism".
"Humanists have carried on a persistent propaganda campaign to convince nations that the world is overpopulated and has dwindling natural resources."  
(Bill Gothard, Advanced Seminar textbook)

In July, Hobby Lobby won a temporary exemption from the law requiring it to offer its employees insurance coverage for birth control. The Green family says some contraceptives, including the morning-after pill, violate its religious beliefs. The Denver appeals court observed that the company had "drawn a line at providing coverage for drugs or devices they consider to induce abortions, and it is not for us to question whether the line is reasonable."

Last month, David Green explained his position:
Hobby Lobby merchandise
A new government healthcare 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.
Since emergency contraception violates Hobby Lobby's conscience, I can only hope that in the future Hobby Lobby will be redirecting some of its evangelistic budget into programs such as women's self-defense classes, violence prevention, equal rights for women, abuse intervention, and sex education for teen girls.

Update 7/5/14 -- For more information, check out Micah Murray's post at Hobby Lobby, The Duggars, and Bill Gothard


  1. I didn't realize that the Green family had ties to Gothard. Thank you for sharing that information.

    The Greens are also behind plans for a Bible museum in Washington D.C. When the museum is complete, I'd like to visit just to see if any of the Green's politics are reflected in the museum's collection or messages.

  2. You wrote:
    "Since emergency contraception violates Hobby Lobby's conscience, I can only hope that in the future Hobby Lobby will be redirecting some of its evangelistic budget into programs such as women's self-defense classes, violence prevention, equal rights for women, abuse intervention, and sex education for teen girls. "

    Yes. Yes. And yes.

  3. I love your last sentence - just like Lora. :-) Yes, yes, and YES!! :-)

  4. I am sickened to hear all this about my former employer. It seems that most of this activity has happened since the 1990s. I wonder if that's an indication of the changing times or their growing net worth. (About the time I left, word on the street was that David Green was in the process of building a 40,000 square foot home. Yes, that's four zeros.)


    1. Bill Gothard will be able to tell him how to get Christian women to clean all 40,000 square feet free of charge. This would include having them on their hands & knees cleaning stains from carpeting/rugs with a kitchenspoon. For reasons that we can only speculate, perverted Bill will have to be there to see the scrubbing.

  5. Thank you for the information about the Greens and their association with Bill Gothard. I was not aware of it either, but somehow it doesn't come as a surprise.

  6. This just makes me SICK. I have known some people personally who are (or at least, at the time, were) heavily into IBLP teachings and seminars and such. I got along with them OK for a while until the father of that family exploded and went OFF on me once over a special I did once just because it had a back-beat to it. What's more, he also spread lies about me and ordered his daughters to avoid me all because of my tastes in music. I hate to say it, but after learning this, I don't think I'll be shopping at Hobby Lobby anymore.

  7. They just built a Hobby Lobby in my town. I refuse to buy their trash.

    I wonder how many women have been made store managers

    1. Why do they play Christian music all the time in there?

  8. Well, Gothard's teachings nearly ruined my life, so I'm never spending another dime at Hobby Lobby. They support the cult that has destroyed many families. Thanks for the info.

  9. Why are the Greens into spreading the gospel?

  10. They're building one in my town too. I'm upset that a business run by Evangelical Pentecostals is coming.

  11. I currently work here and I just put in my 2 weeks yesterday because of another job offer. I had no idea that david green was a part of this and it's disgusting. if anyone is ever thinking about working here, do not do it. the management is horrible, my boss is sexist and very hostile towards women. I am so glad that I just quit this job, I am so disgusted to know that I supported a place like this, this is awful.