- Hobby Lobby is leaving its doors open as more than 90 retailers across the country opt to temporarily shutter to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
- In a message widely circulated on Twitter, the company’s founder David Green reportedly told employees the decision to stay open was informed by a message from God bestowed upon his wife Barbara Green.
- “While we do not know for certain what the future holds, or how long this disruption will last, we can all rest in knowing that God is in control,” Green allegedly wrote.
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Hobby Lobby, the craft store chain that is no stranger to controversy, is once again finding itself in hot water for allegedly citing a message from God in its decision to leave stores open amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Though more than 90 retailers in the US have temporarily shuttered in the past week in an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus, Hobby Lobby has remained steadfast in staying open for business. On Saturday, digital strategist Kendall Brown tweeted a widely circulated photo of a note allegedly written by Hobby Lobby founder David Green, in which the openly conservative Christian businessman repeatedly mentions the power of God as part of his justification to leave stores open.
In the note to employees, Green reportedly wrote that the decision was informed by a message from God bestowed upon his wife Barbara Green, who he described as a “prayer warrior.”
“In her quiet prayer time this past week, the Lord put on Barbara’s heart three profound words to remind us that He’s in control. Guide, Guard, and Groom,” Green reportedly says in the letter. “We serve a God who will Guide us through this storm, who will Guard us as we travel to places never seen before, and who, as a result of this experience, will Groom us to be better than we could have ever thought possible before now.”
Green wrote that while the future remains unclear, the company can “rest in knowing that God is in control,” adding that the company may have to “tighten our belts” moving forward.
“While we do not know for certain what the future holds, or how long this disruption will last, we can all rest in knowing that God is in control,” he wrote. “The Company’s leaders are doing all they can to balance the need to keep the Company strong and the need of employees. To help ensure our Company remains strong and prepared to once again when this passes, we may all have to ‘tighten our belts’ over the near future.'”
Hobby Lobby did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
Though the company wrote in a note on its website that if a worker exhibits symptoms it “will send that employee for medical care to self-isolate at home,” it did not state if they will be eligible for paid sick leave. According to the company’s 2017 benefits summary guide, its most recently available public document on benefits, only salaried employees are eligible for paid sick leave, leaving hourly workers without protection in the face of the coronavirus.
Green’s note was widely lambasted on Twitter, as several users took to the platform to call out the company for the alleged policies, including writer and editor Parker Molloy who dubbed Hobby Lobby one of “the most deceptively evil companies on the planet.”
The Twitter furor comes on the heels of a recent investigation that discovered pieces of the Dead Sea Scrolls featured at the Museum of the Bible – an organisation that is majority funded by Hobby Lobby and the Green family – were fake. In 2018, the museum and Hobby Lobby also found itself at the centre of controversy for smuggling 4,000 ancient artifacts from Iraq without authorization.
Hobby Lobby had previously drawn ire in 2014 for its Supreme Court case that challenged a mandate issued by the Obama administration that required companies to provide health care options for contraceptives. In the landmark decision, the Supreme Court that privately-owned companies could be exempt from such policies on the basis of religious belief.