By Diane Anderson-Minshall
Originally published on Advocate.com March 30 2014 11:31 AM ET
Hobby Lobby, which is facing off with the government over the Affordable Care Act in the Supreme Court this month, has been championed by right wing pundits for "protecting religious liberties," is actually, according to Media Matters, "an active partner to activist groups pushing their Christian agenda into American law."
The Christian-owned craft chain store is disputing the ACA's contraception coverage mandate in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby. If the company wins, writes Media Matters, it would allow secular, for-profit corporations "an unprecedented religious exemption from the requirement that all health insurance cover preventive services like birth control. The conservative plaintiff, Hobby Lobby, is arguing that some emergency contraceptives covered by the mandate amount to abortion — even though they don't."
But on March 27, Salon revealed that it had obtained documents showing a hidden agenda for the company that's beyond just a small religious company being targetted by Uncle Sam. Salon posits that Hobby Lobby is "quietly funding a vast right-wing movement," with reporter Eli Clifton arguing that "entities related to the company are quietly pumping tens of millions into a mélange of fringe causes" that are "deeply engaged in pushing a Christian agenda into American law."
Clifton writes that the 2009 tax forms for Crafts Etc., a Hobby Lobby affiliate company, and Jon Cargill, the CFO of Hobby Lobby, contributed nearly $65 million that year alone to the National Christian Charitable Foundation, which is one of the biggest contributors to the organizations in Arizona that pushed SB 1062, the antigay legislation that was so archaic even Governor Jan Brewer felt pressured to veto it.
Clifton writes, "Seen in this light, the ideological connection between the Hobby Lobby suit and Arizona's recently vetoed legislation becomes clearer: One seeks to allow companies the right to deny contraceptive coverage while the other would permit businesses to deny services to LGBT people."
"There are really close legal connections between [Arizona's anti-gay SB 1062 bill] and the [Hobby Lobby] Supreme Court case," Emily Martin, vice president and general counsel at the National Women's Law Center, told Salon. "Ideologically, the thing that unites the two efforts is an attempt to use religious exercise as a sword to impose religious belief on others, even if it harms others, which would be a radical expansion of free exercise law," said Martin.