Hobby Lobby, the Oklahoma-based arts and crafts company founded by Christian evangelical David Green, stands accused of anti-Semitism because its stores do not carry Jewish holiday decorations.
The controversy erupted Friday after blogger Ken Berwitz posted an article on political website Hopelessly Partisan after receiving word that Hobby Lobby stores in Marlboro Township, N.J., refused to sell menorahs and other Jewish holiday items.
“One of our friends entered the store, asked where the Chanukah goods were, 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.’”
Hobby Lobby has sued the federal government over its mandate in the Affordable Care Act requiring employers to provide access to birth control to their employees.
Berwitz then called the Hobby Lobby in Marlboro and inquired whether they would be stocking Chanukah merchandise and was told by the employee the store would not “because Mr. Green is the owner of the company, he’s a Christian, and those are his values.”
Marlboro is a heavily Jewish area, and Berwitz said that is reason enough for Hobby Lobby to stock Jewish items.
“I have no problem at all with Christianity,” Berwitz wrote in the post that has since gone viral. “But I have a major problem with anti-Semitic idiots.”
Hobby Lobby now says it is reviewing its decision not to carry Jewish holiday items.
Hobby Lobby President Steve Green, son of founder and CEO David Green, addressed the Faith & Freedom Coalition Road to Majority Conference in Washington in June.
“We currently do not carry any Hanukah items in our store. Our customers have brought this to our attention and we are currently evaluating our Holiday items and what we will carry in the future,” Vincent Parker, a spokesperson, told Marlboro-Colts Neck Patch.
The issue has attracted the attention of many of Marlboro’s residents, including Rabbi Don Weber, who noted that the store was within its legal rights to ignore the wishes of its Jewish clientele.
“If you want to buy items for Hanukkah, there are lots of choices,” Weber said in a blog post at the Temple Rodeph Torah’s website, adding, “and if you want to buy items that are sold in Hobby Lobby, it’s your choice whether to go there or somewhere else. Personally, I’ll go somewhere else.”
Green is no stranger to controversy, and Hobby Lobby has filed a lawsuit against the federal government over the Affordable Health Care Act’s mandate that private employers provide birth control to their employees.
“We’re Christians and we run our company on Christian principles,” Green wrote in a 2012 Op-Ed in USA Today.