Hobby Lobby (official site/Wikipedia entry) is a company with several major divisions that has come under concern for three distinct reasons--firstly, possible discrimination in hiring practices; secondly, promotion of dominionist (and even Christian Reconstructionist) groups; and thirdly, funding of dominionism.
Divisions of the company include:
- Hobby Lobby Creative Centers (the main craft store chain)
- Hemispheres (a home decor design company)
- Crafts Etc.! (an online and wholesale retailer of craft supplies)
- H. L. Construction (a construction company responsible for building Hobby Lobby stores)
- Hong Kong Connection (an import/export company dealing in Chinese goods)
- Greco Frame and Supply
Divisions of the company specifically marketing to dominionist and/or evangelical concerns include:
- Mardel (a chain of Christian bookstores)
- Bearing Fruit Communications (an advertising and production company which deals heavily in promotion of dominionist media)
Possible discrimination in hiring practices
There have been multiple ancedotal reports of firings and/or discrimination against non-dominionist employees in the hiring process (link 1/link 2). Ancedental reports have included claims that applications for management in particular have non-dominionist candidates weeded out.
There are also reports that employees have been victims of retaliatory firings for refusing to hide evidence of tax problems.
There is at least one report of a lesbian woman being refused service at a Colorado Springs Hobby Lobby due to wearing rainbow-coloured "pride beads" in her hair; reportedly no less than four other couples, all LGBT people, have been refused service at the same location.
Much like fellow dominionist business Chick-Fil-A, stores are closed on Sunday; this effectively forces employees who celebrate a Sabbath on Saturday to lose a day of work or work on their holy day.
Hobby Lobby has been reported to only play Christian Contemporary music in its stores; the company also notes that much of the company "Muzak" system selections are in fact covers of various Christian (and, specifically, Protestant) hymns.
There are reports that employees are required to sign statements disallowing lawsuits against the company as a condition of hire.
Promotion of dominionist groups and connections with dominionists
Hobby Lobby's founder, David Green, is a fairly major contributor to dominionist causes.
Hobby Lobby's founder operates a tract-handling business called "Every Home For Christ" and has donated over $30 million US to a dominionist movie production company operated by his son; this does not include cross-promotion of movies (one movie advertised on Hobby Lobby's site is this film depicting the "murder" of missionaries by the Waorani First Nation, and produced by Bearing Fruit Communications and Mart Green]]; the Waorani First Nation (one of the most endangered peoples on the planet) have been aggressively targeted by missionary groups (often working in conjunction with oil exploration companies) and convertees have been exploited in Ron Luce seminars in methods resembling "Wild Man of Borneo" sideshow affairs (very often promoting the Waorani people as "the most violent people in the world"), and the Waorani people's population has dropped from 25,000 (in the 50's) to around 2000 today).
Hobby Lobby runs an entire family of dominionist charities that are either operated by the group or are directly funded by them:
- Harbor House is a "facility for troubled youth" that appears to be a dominionist-operated "behaviour modification facility". (Many facilities of this type are of high concern to groups like International Survivors Action Committee due to an extensive history of coercive tactics and abuse at dominionist "behaviour modification" facilities.)
Harbor House is operated by a group formerly calling itself the Oklahoma City Family Church and now using the name Church of the Harvest; the church is a neopentecostal group which promotes "shepherding" cell churches (in practice, these tend to be quite abusive) and there are multiple hallmarks (not the least of these being the name) that the church promotes a particular variant of dominion theology known as "Joel's Army" theology. (Of note, the "Joel's Army" variant of dominion theology is common in the Assemblies of God? and in denominations and churches descended from the Assemblies.)
- Bearing Fruit Communications is a dominionist media corporation largely operated by Mart Green, son of Hobby Lobby owner David Green.
Bearing Fruit Communications is linked to at least two separate exploitation films focusing on the Waorani people (both the aforementioned "Beyond The Gates of Splendor" and the movie "End Of The Spear", both of which were aimed at dominionist audiences). "End Of The Spear" has been specifically marketed at "BattleCry" seminars held by Ron Luce, a promoter of "Joel's Army" theology to youth (see above). Much of the efforts of Bearing Fruit Communications are aimed squarely at youth recruitment.
At least one member of Bearing Fruit's board of directors (T. Ray Grandstaff) is a former Senior VP for Fellowship of Christian Athletes?; FCA has been linked to dominionism in numerous ways, including religious coercion scandals (in particular, with the US Air Force Academy religious coercion scandal). A second member of the board (Bill Hane Sr.) is a former VP of advertising for Hobby Lobby (and reportedly directs the "ministry" efforts); a third member of the board of directors (Mike Galloway) was the former senior graphic designer for Lifechurch.tv (Lifechurch.tv is a large multi-campus, multi-state church that is nominally part of the Evangelical Covenant Church but in practice is a neopentecostal megachurch; of note, it has attempted prosyletisation in the online game "Second Life", is particularly aggressive in regards to prosyletising and missionary activity via the Internet, and has close connections with Ron Luce's "BattleCry" group).
- Mardel Bookstore is a "Christian and education" bookstore which is run by Mart Green (who is also CEO of Bearing Fruit Communications, above); as noted above, Mardel Bookstore and Bearing Fruit Communications are both officially seen as divisions of Hobby Lobby.
Mardel Bookstores explicitly sell dominionist curricula packages including Bob Jones University's package. (BJU's curriculum, among several others, has been ruled as educationally insufficient by the University of California at Berkeley and students solely educated on BJU will not receive high school credit for courses in biology or history.)
- 1-800-NEED-HIM is a dial-a-conversion, "dial-a-prayer" and referral service to dominionist churches.
- Book Of Hope distributes New Testaments to children, including--notably--non-dominionist Christians. (Much of the group's "missionary" activity is in heavily Catholic countries in Latin America and involves distributing New Testaments to children before their First Communion.)
Book of Hope promotes an explicitly dominionist view of Christianity; the founders of the group apparently began operations in Beirut in the 1970s at a time when many "Messianic Jew" and neopentecostal "Jewish outreach" programs explicitly targeted Israel for conversion and operated out of Beirut (due to Israeli laws frowning on missionary activity directed at the Jewish population).
The operator of Book of Hope, Bob Hoskins, is also president of Life Publishers International (which is a publishing front company of the Assemblies of God? by its own admission--they are, among other things, primary publisher for Paul Yonggi Cho, a major promoter of "Joel's Army" theology); Book of Hope is essentially an Assemblies front as well, and Hoskins is apparently one of the Assemblies of God's major missionaries in the Middle East in particular. Book of Hope has actively worked with Teen Challenge, a second Assemblies of God front group targeting teens, to set up "stealth evangelism" programs promoted falsely as anti-drug groups (similar to the operations of the Seven Project, yet another Assemblies operated "youth ministry" disguising itself as a program for at-risk teens and actively promoted within public schools).
Of note, Life Publishing International publishes a specific Assemblies-authored Bible version promoted to youth.
Reportedly Book of Hope receives some of the largest funding out of the groups funded explicitly by Hobby Lobby.
In addition to the extensive links with dominionism in its charities and subsidiary businesses, Hobby Lobby has explicitly promoted dominionist groups in and of itself. One particular group that has extensively partnered with Hobby Lobby in Independence Day promotions is Wallbuilders (link 1/link from Hobby Lobby ministries website). Wallbuilders (official site/PFAW profile/RWW profile) is a dominionist group which promotes the "America Is A Christian Nation" canard (to such an extent that their works have been referred to as dominionist historical revisionism) and which has been described as frankly Christian Reconstructionist; its leader was head of the Texas GOP convention during the period where it was taken over by dominionists, actively engaged in electioneering with George W. Bush, and apparently has no formal degrees in history (and only possesses two honorary degrees from Oral Roberts University and Pensacola Christian College; the latter publishes the dominionist "A Beka" curriculum and has been criticised for being a coercive religious group). Wallbuilders has been linked to the Constitution Party? and Maranatha? (link) as well as Summit Ministries; the latter has been linked to the Army of God domestic terrorist network. Multiple websites exist debunking claims by Wallbuilders (of which some reportedly involve forgeries of quotes from "Founding Fathers"), including by historians and even a Seventh-Day Adventist church.
David Green himself reportedly converted at age 7 at an altar call held at his father's church; Green's father was a Church of God minister (unfortunately, as there are multiple denominations using the name "Church of God", it is impossible to narrow down further). Presently the Greens attend Lakeside Assembly of God in Oklahoma City, and the Greens remain close friends with pastor Glenn Cranfield.
Mardel, a subsidiary of Hobby Lobby, is now linked to the expanding scandal surrounding Oral Roberts University and misuse of ministry funds; specifically, it seems Mardel explicitly bailed out ORU via a US$70 million grant. (ORU was running a deficit of $53 million US; the scandal has caused many "prosperity gospel" pastors to be targeted in a Congressional investigation of televangelism due to many being on the board of directors. Prosperity gospel promoters known to be on the ORU Board of Directors include Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer, and others.)