Contrary to the views of Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby, who spoke at a religious freedom summit at Cedarville University last week, standing up for his form of religious freedom would be imposing his beliefs on others.
“We have no desire, intent to impose our religion on any of our employees, and that’s not what we’re asking for,” Green, the president of the Oklahoma City-based craft-store chain, said last week during the Religious Freedom Summit at Cedarville University in western Ohio.
“We’re just saying we want to not be forced to become an abortion provider by freely providing products that would take life.”
To Green, it seemed a simple decision in a country that has religious freedoms.
He claims “no desire, intent to impose our religion on any of our employees” while putting religious restrictions on how employees can freely spend their wages. It would be like a Muslim business owner prohibiting his non-muslim workers from buying alcohol with their wages.
What about the car the employee drives to an abortion provider? Does Green think his company shouldn’t pay for the gas or pay the taxes that maintain the roads to the provider? Using his logic, use of the car and the roads makes his company into an abortion provider.
Green’s idea of religious freedom would also allow someone of the Islamic faith to commit an honor killing without legal consequences and allow female genital mutilations.
Setting aside the fact that corporations aren’t people and shouldn’t have religious freedom to begin with, real religious freedom doesn’t mean one’s religious beliefs put one above civil laws.
Our civil rights have boundaries such as they end where someone else’s rights begin. Providing insurance coverage for contraception doesn’t deny the owner of the company her religious freedom but putting religious conditions on what an employee may spend their wages on denies the employee their religious freedom.
Just like the reasoning behind general civil rights laws, if a business offers its services publicly then it must abide by laws we all have to abide by regardless of religious beliefs. If Green believes his religious beliefs are more important than his employees’ religious beliefs then he needs to close his business and open a church.
Also if a group plans on hosting a “religious freedom” summit and the goal is to educate students on the issue then Cedarville should have included atheists or religious people who support separation of church and state.