Hobby-Lobby

What the world needs is another Hobby Lobby hand-wringing blog post.  If you read some of my other posts you can probably guess what my ‘opinion’ is on the matter.  Discussing the merits of either side of the case isn’t where I want to go with this post.  Even if you think you disagree with me, please keep reading because I have a point to make that I think is fair regardless of your position on this specific case.

The society places a lot of emphasis on the need for business people to be ethical.  Ethics is taught in business school.  News reports complain about the lack of ethics in business people.  The thing about ethics and morality is that it is divisive.  In the case of Hobby-Lobby, the CEO has very specific morals.  You may or may not agree with his position but I hope you agree that he does have a position and he made a call based on what he honestly thinks is correct.

After the fact, when a company makes an immoral decision, the media causes an an uproar.  “The CEO should be arrested!  It doesn’t matter if what the CEO did was not against the letter of the law, he should have done what was right regardless.”  Congressmen rush to subpoena people and make bold statements to the nearest television cameras.

However, when a CEO or leader states moral beliefs, when it runs counter to the popular culture, he gets vilified.  It is very difficult to ask someone to make morally hard stands when the reward for those hard stands is what happened to Hobby Lobby, Chick Filet, Mozilla, etc.

You might argue that ‘companies aren’t people’ and they shouldn’t even be involved in this.  That’s an interesting argument, but usually is only made when people disagree with the position the company staked out.  During the same Hobby-Lobby reporting cycle, Apple and Starbucks took public stands on different controversial public policy issues that just happen to be popular with vocal activists.  Why is it right for Apple and Starbucks to take a moral stand but not Hobby Lobby?

I find Apple and Starbuck’s stand wrong and destructive to our country.  However, I don’t see a problem with those companies making a stand.  It is the organizations’ right to make such a stand.  You might disagree with Hobby-Lobby’s stand, or Apple’s stand, but it is its right to make that stand.

But… but… but… ‘it’s health care’.  I can solve the health care crisis.  But probably not in this blog post.  The road I’d travel on to answer the ‘but its health care’ is that no one is prohibiting people from obtaining health care.  Hobby Lobby isn’t firing people over this, they just don’t want to provide that particular benefit because they find it morally wrong.  If you disagree with my solution, fine, I’m not trying to argue health care. 

I’m not trying to create a crazy provocative post.  My main point is, if we want business leaders that make moral decisions, some of those decisions will be contrary to what you believe.  If we constantly shut down the likes of Hobby-Lobby and Chick-Filet, we will end up with amoral organizations that only attempt to get in front of a parade, instead of staking out real positions.

Thanks,  I hope I was fair in my points.

Ed

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3 comments

  1. Hi Ed. Nice to meet you. Whether it’s abhorring anti-semitism or admiring outspokenly moral CEOs, we seem to agree on a few principles. I’m guessing the common thread is a healthy respect for morality and freedom. I don’t happen to like coffee, but that didn’t stop me from choosing to follow you. We’ll see what else we have in common philosophically. Catch you later, sir.

    – Jeff

    1. Thank you very much. I liked your post. It is scary how ready people are to simply hate Israel. Yet, given the situation, Israel is remarkably restrained.

      I feel for the people in Gaza though. Their country is overrun with terrorists who claim to speak for them.

      The blog is ‘kinda’ mostly about Coffee and maybe about ‘running’. But sometimes I just gotta put my thoughts down on substantive matters. I try and keep my points fair and readable to people that may disagree with me, but without watering down the point I’m trying to make.

      Please call me out if I say something without proper support — I don’t want to lose a follower if I can avoid it — most of my other followers are ‘advertiser’ type followers 🙂

      Ed

      1. We’re fair on my blog, but folks are pretty firm-footed as they walk through the issues…not usually much tip-toeing. Please stop by. I’m interested in your take on our own Hobby Lobby discussion.
        – Jeff

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