Hobby Lobby ad riles some locals again

Hobby Lobby is an arts and crafts store that caters to an evangelical Christian clientele and it makes no apologies for doing so.

But the chain hasn’t been in Minnesota very long, so when a full-page ad appeared in the Star Tribune on Monday clearly defining the country as a Christian nation, it apparently shocked some readers.


This isn’t even the first time Hobby Lobby has run a July 4th full-page ad in the Strib. Here’s 2015’s:

Granted, Hobby Lobby’s philosophy isn’t for everyone — non-Christians and non-believers, for example — but is it a problem mixing religion and business?

Apparently it is for some readers, judging by today’s letters to the editor who believe it’s a veiled attack on non-Christians.

“Especially in light of the coverage of tragic sectarian violence in our world, this ad amounted to intimidation of anyone who does not fit the Christian label — or the narrowly defined Christian values of the far right,” Rev. Emily Goldthwaite Fries, pastor of the Mayflower United Church of Christ in Minneapolis, wrote. “When xenophobia, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism are issues just as serious as terrorism, this attitude is downright un-Christian and un-Minnesotan.”

“If we were to follow the teachings of Hobby Lobby, we would negate the learning and enlightenment of the past 300 years,” added John Clouse of Shoreview. “That is a formula for bigotry and prejudice and isolationism. Let’s use our God-given talents to improve the world, not draw ourselves into a cocoon of ignorance.”

The ad ran in papers across the country with similar reaction.

“The ad is Hobby Lobby’s annual ‘manipulations of history’ tome designed to convince you that those people who wrote our secular-appearing founding documents actually intended to create a Christian-based government,” Linda Allewalt, of Shelbyville, Ky., tells the Louisville Courier. “Honest, those Founding Fathers really did mean to pencil in God and Jesus into the preamble of the Constitution. They just forgot. Good thing we have the folks at Hobby Lobby to correct our history for us.”

The ads are not new for the Oklahoma-based company. Founder David Green started running them around Christmas in 1996, according to the company website. It now runs additional ads on Easter and July 4th.

  • Jeff

    How is this any different than a company claiming to “go green”??? I have no problem with it as long as they don’t beat me over the head with it if I ever go into their store. Pandering to subset of ideologues (or zealots in this case) might work out for their business, just like it has with going green or being anti-GMO (like Chipotle)…let me buy a tasty burrito and I don’t have a problem with how you sell your product.

  • Jeff

    The cynic in me says that they are playing to their core customer base to build loyalty, just like when Target promotes its Rainbow collection.

    “It’s all about the money, boys”

    • 212944

      Same as it ever was.

  • Dan

    I’d still rather kneel down and pray to American Supply-Side Jesus than go through the checkout at Michael’s.

    • But…you’re MAN! Men aren’t supposed to go to Michael’s!

      /I am frequently the only male in Micheal’s who actually hasn’t been dragged there by their female spouse/SO…

      • jon

        When there with my wife, I tell her I’ll be in the power tool section… spent hours looking for that section… Cooking stores have stand mixers and microwaves and the like (if it draws more than 350 watts (1/2 hp) of power it’s a power tool.) Fabric store has benchtop thread injectors… many craft stores have air compressors for airbrushes… but at Michaels, you’re lucky if you can find a wood burner.

      • Mark in Ohio

        I’ve been used as a landmark in a Joann Fabrics store before. I was waiting for my number to be called at the fabric cutting counter. Since it’s a take a number system, everyone kind of mills around the area, and the line was fairly long. I was standing near the end of a row, half leaning against a display, and heard the clerk directing someone to a type of fabric she was looking for as “It’s down the row by The Guy” pointing in my direction.

        I’ll confess, I have no spouse so was there on my own, for my own reasons. One benefit to mention, since there are so few guys in there, the men’s restrooms in craft stores are some of the cleanest you’ll find.

        • >> One benefit to mention, since there are so few guys in there, the men’s restrooms in craft stores are some of the cleanest you’ll find.<<

          Note to self.

          🙂

  • MrE85

    I noticed the HL ad during Easter, which at least is a bona fide Christian holiday. I think the 4th of July ad is a little more provocative for folks who like to keep their church and state at arm’s distance.

    It’s kinda funny in a state where you can’t buy a bottle of whiskey or a car on the Sabbath.

    • markinator

      Easter is not a christian holiday. That tradition stems back much farther, and actually comes from a pagan celebration called “Oster”. Indeed, the 4th of July ad was intended to provoke. Also, the Sabbath is traditionally on Saturday, not Sunday.

      • MrE85

        Heresy! 😉

    • Deborah Rosen

      Of me being Jewish means I Can buy a bottle on
      my sabbath 🙂

  • Kurt O

    The ST didn’t have to run those ads, and they also don’t have to include the St Patrick’s Guild insert in the Thanksgiving day paper (another secular holiday).

  • Anna

    I don’t believe we have changed the 1st amendment so that it excludes any religious organization from taking out a business ad in a local paper. The Star Tribune has the right to refuse business ads as it sees fit. If they disagreed with the message they could simply have said, “No. We won’t run your advertisement.”

    It seems prudent to point out that until the recent, fractious election cycle, no one would have batted an eye at Hobby Lobby’s Christian-themed ad, no matter what time of year it occurred.

    We’ve suddenly become a xenophobic, homophobic, racist and religiously intolerant nation all in less than 10 years (and Britain is not too far behind). Come to think of it that’s the same time span which gave rise to Facebook, Twitter, and all the other non-sensical avenues we use to tear each other apart online with bullying, hate-filled speech.

    The far left and far right might be having their 15 minutes of fame, but the more tolerant among us will have to deal with the fall out for the foreseeable future.

    Everything in life is 1% what happens and 99% your reaction to it.

    “Talk is cheap and time is money.” America needs to start helping each other more and reacting to each other less. If you had to own your behavior up close and personal, our world might just become a little more peaceful.

    • BJ

      > “until the recent, fractious election cycle, no one would have batted an eye at Hobby Lobby’s Christian-themed ad”

      I’m pretty sure it has gotten play in media before and pretty sure it has gotten very similar reactions, I’ve avoided the store for at least 10 years.

    • markinator

      Sure, and the xenophobia, homophobia, and the racism is fueled by the religious zealots.

  • MarkUp

    Instead of writing letters to the editor (published for free), why doesn’t somebody run an ad expressing secular views in US history? They could even use quotes from the 20th and 21st century.

    Slight digression: since the Cold War is over, can we change the US motto back to E Pluribus Unum?

    • Mike Worcester

      I’m pretty sure that would take congressional action (it was coupled with the insertion of “under God” into the Pledge), so you can probably about guess the prospects of any official action being taken. That would not stop though any citizens who wish to use that phrase on their own from doing so.

    • Jerry

      Most of the founding fathers would barely qualify as Christian to a modern evangelical, considering that most of them were Deists and Unitarians.

  • John

    It’s a good way for them to stretch their advertising dollar by getting free space in the opinion sections of various newspapers. I think they’ve gambled (correctly) that the number of people who will boycott based on this is small compared to the number of people who will go check them out and buy some crafting supplies because of the ads.

  • Rixware

    “…Hobby Lobby’s philosophy isn’t for everyone — non-Christians and non-believers, for example…”

    To this Christian, that “philosophy” is offensive to the core.

    • jon

      That moment when you realize an evangelistic religion is based on a principle of exclusion…

      I wouldn’t call myself Christian, or a believer.
      I, also, wouldn’t call hobby lobby Christian either, both because I still contend that a corporate entity can not have a religion (in contrast to the supreme court ruling), and because their brand of “christianity” doesn’t seem to be based around the teachings of Christ, but around select bible verses both old and new testament that support a position that their management is pre-disposed to…
      Christians really should take their name back from these Biblical Selectivists… lest they be lumped in with them.

  • PaulJ

    Is is hard to determine who the cry-bully is in this case…
    Maybe it is just cry-bullies up in each others face…..

  • Jim Hartmann

    This is a good opportunity to plug the Freedom From Religion Foundation, they do all kinds of good work promoting the separation of church and state, including running ads in newspapers and on television.

    http://ffrf.org/

    • Jeff

      It’s a good thing that Hobby Lobby is a private business, isn’t it?

      • Jim Hartmann

        I said nothing about Hobby Lobby. Hobby Lobby promotes the idea that we are a “Christian Nation”, FFRF is in direct opposition to that idea.

        • Jeff

          I agree with you on the idea of a “Christian Nation” but I also agree with the idea that Hobby Lobby has the right to promote whatever they believe.

          • markinator

            Hobby Lobby should not have the right to impose the owner’s christian delusions onto their female employees. Also, the Green family was caught buying black market religious icons from the Iranians, so they can display these illicit artifacts in the Jesus museum they’re building in DC. But if you support a private business owner, whose business is in trinket retail and nothing to do with religion, then you should support an atheist business owner denying time off for an employee to attend religious services.

          • Jeff

            Hobby Lobby was simply testing the limits of the laws…do they have the right to remain closed on Sundays? Sure, do they have the right to suggest they don’t have to buy a product they don’t agree with (including contraception since they foot the majority of the health insurance bill as a business) I would suggest they do have that right to test the limits in the Obamacare law. A business owner may not prevent a person from expressing their religious beliefs, the business may choose to not hire a person for being unable to perform the job (i.e. slicing ham is against their religion they probably shouldn’t work in the deli section of a store). I’m for freedom in all aspects, both as a business owner and employee…the business owner shouldn’t restrict an employees religious rights unless the business is being asked to pay actual money for a person’s differing beliefs.

          • markinator

            If the laws created for the people don’t jive with a business entrepreneur’s personal religious delusions, they should try a different career, or a different religion. It’s wrong to allow exemptions merely for religious beliefs. Does an atheist business owner get to skirt law when he refuses to employ a professed christian?

  • Al

    Oh, go away, Hobby Lobby. Your name is insipid, your inventory inferior, and your marketing offensive.

  • lindblomeagles

    I guess who you pray too is becoming everybody’s business again, the end of privacy as we know it.

    • Anna

      Amen.

  • Kurt O

    If we truely want separation of church and state, all of the “Blue” laws need to be repealed.it’s my right go out on Sunday to buy a car off the lot and pick up some cheap booze on the way home to celebrate.

    • asiljoy

      I had no idea I couldn’t buy a car on Sunday till a couple of weeks ago when we went shopping and I was the only one on the lot; it took a bit for us to realize what had happened.

  • Deborah Rosen

    Crusades any one?

  • Deborah Rosen

    Bible says to keep your prayers in the closet

  • Khatti

    I’m pleading with you all again to make dueling legal, therefore we can settle the problem of extreme partisanship through attrition.

  • Jim Granger

    Meh. Whatever. Hobby Lobby has the freedom to run their ad, and I have the freedom to shop at Michaels.