The national craft store chain Hobby Lobby is not carrying merchandise related to the Jewish holiday of Hanukah. Employees of the company’s fundamentalist Christian owner reportedly said that do so would violate his religious values.
The company’s refusal to carry products related to Judaism was first reported by Ken Berwitz of Marlboro, N.J., who blogged about an experience that one of his friends had at the local Hobby Lobby.
“When one of our friends asked where the Chanukah goods were, (she) was told there wouldn’t be any, and asked why,” Berwitz wrote. “According to her, the answer was: ‘We don’t cater to you people.’ ”
Berwitz wrote that he called the Marlboro Hobby Lobby and asked why they don’t carry Hanukah-related merchandise.
“Because Mr. (David) Green is the owner of the company, he’s a Christian, and those are his values,” Berwitz wrote was the response that he received. According to him, roughly one-third of Marlboro’s population is Jewish.
Asbury Park Press said Hobby Lobby employees could not verify the incident.
Billionaire Steve Green owns the chain’s 550 stores, including three in southeastern Wisconsin. Huffington Post reported that Green is suing the federal government over the Affordable Care Act, claiming that it tramples on his religious liberty by forcing him to insure employees for medical services that he objects to on religious grounds.
According to HuffPo, Green’s case has a good chance of making it to the Supreme Court.
Green has one of the country’s largest collections of ancient biblical artifacts, including what’s believed to be the oldest known copy of a Hebrew prayer book.