Thursday, July 03, 2014

Green Family/Hobby Lobby - A Study in Hypocrisy

The Greens - a study in self-centered hypocrisy
In addition to holding animus towards those who do not subscribe to their hate and fear based religious beliefs, one of the principal characteristics of today's "conservative Christians" is rank hypocrisy.  The Green family that owns Hobby Lobby and which demands special rights to ignore the laws that govern the rest of us is a case study in hypocrisy.   As an article in Forbes reports, these modern day Pharisees do not want to provide health coverage to employees that includes certain forms of contraception, but they have no problem in investing in the very same corporations that make the supposedly religiously abhorrent types of contraception.  If one wanted a reason to boycott Hobby Lobby stores you now have yet another one.  Here are highlights from Forbes:

 In what just may be the most stunning example of hypocrisy in my lifetime, Mother Jones has uncovered numerous investments on the part of Hobby Lobby’s retirement fund in a wide variety of companies producing abortion and contraception related products.

[T]he company is closely held by the Green family who purport to have strong religious objections to certain types of contraceptive devices and are suing to protect those religious rights.
Remarkably, the contraceptive devices and products that so offend the religious beliefs of this family are manufactured by the very companies in which Hobby Lobby holds a substantial stake via their employee 401(k) plan.

As I suspect many readers will find this as hard to believe and digest as I, the data can be confirmed by reviewing the company’s 2012 Annual Report of Employee Benefit Plan as filed with the Department of Labor.

This according to Mother Jones’ Molly Redden:
Documents filed with the Department of Labor and dated December 2012 (see above)—three months after the company’s owners filed their lawsuit—show that the Hobby Lobby 401(k) employee retirement plan held more than $73 million in mutual funds with investments in companies that produce emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and drugs commonly used in abortions. Hobby Lobby makes large matching contributions to this company-sponsored 401(k).
According to the Green family, interfering with an already fertilized egg is tantamount to abortion—an act unacceptable to the family and one they refuse to participate in no matter what the Affordable Care Act may require .

However, it turns out that the owners of Hobby Lobby do not appear to have any problem with profiting from the companies that manufacture the very products that so grievously offend their religious principles.

The following is a summation of the companies manufacturing these products that are held by the Hobby Lobby employee retirement plan, as set forth by Ms. Redden’s remarkable reporting:
These companies include Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, which makes Plan B and ParaGard, a copper IUD, and Actavis ACT -1.03%, which makes a generic version of Plan B and distributes Ella. Other holdings in the mutual funds selected by Hobby Lobby include Pfizer PFE +0.96%, the maker of Cytotec and Prostin E2, which are used to induce abortions; Bayer , which manufactures the hormonal IUDs Skyla and MirenaAstraZeneca AZN +2.02%, which has an Indian subsidiary that manufactures Prostodin, Cerviprime, and Partocin, three drugs commonly used in abortions; and Forest Laboratories, which makes Cervidil, a drug used to induce abortions. Several funds in the Hobby Lobby retirement plan also invested in Aetna AET +1.05% and Humana, two health insurance companies that cover surgical abortions, abortion drugs, and emergency contraception in many of the health care policies they sell.
When added up, the nine funds holding the stated investments involve three-quarters of Hobby Lobby’s 401(k) assets.

You may be thinking that it must have been beyond Hobby Lobby’s reasonable abilities to know what companies were being invested in by the mutual  funds purchased for the Hobby Lobby 401(k) plans—but I am afraid you would be wrong.

Not only does Hobby Lobby have an obligation to know what their sponsored 401(k) is investing in for the benefit of their employees, it turns out that there are ample opportunities for the retirement fund to invest in mutual funds that are specifically screened to avoid any religiously offensive products.

While these revelations will likely have no impact on the outcome of the case pending in the Supreme Court, the sheer and stunning hypocrisy of these people will forever stain any finding by the Court in favor of Hobby Lobby—should this come to pass.
 As I have noted before, increasingly, when I encounter someone who purports to be a "born again" or "conservative Christian," my first reaction is to believe that they are not nice or decent people but instead are self-centered assholes and hypocrites.  Those labels seemingly fit the Green family members.

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