- (Photo: Hobby Lobby)
Over 60,000 people have signed up to shop at Hobby Lobby Saturday in a show of support for the company's freedom of religion.
While the number of customer commitments fall far below that of last year's Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day which had over half a million sign up to buy a chicken sandwich on Aug. 1, Hobby Lobby Appreciation Day has still gained considerable attention and support.
"Today is Hobby Lobby Appreciation Day! Please bring your friends and remind your family across the country to head to Hobby Lobby to show their support for religious freedom and free speech," wrote former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who was behind the wildly successful Chick-fil-A effort.
The Hobby Lobby campaign is being organized by Joe Grabowski who hopes "the numbers of support on Saturday will at least send a message to the Obama administration and our other elected officials – as well as, hopefully, to the justices on the bench waiting to hear this case," he told CP earlier.
Hobby Lobby, a crafts retailer owned by evangelical David Green, filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration's contraceptive mandate which requires them to cover contraception, sterilization and abortifacients in their employees' health care.
"We simply cannot abandon our religious beliefs to comply with this mandate," Green, CEO and founder, stated.
"We're Christians, and we run our business on Christian principles," he said in an open letter earlier. "I've always said that the first two goals of our business are (1) to run our business in harmony with God's laws, and (2) to focus on people more than money ... But now, our government threatens to change all of that."
The Green family is specifically against providing or paying for abortifacients, though it has no moral objection to the use of preventive contraceptives. They believe that life begins at conception, when an egg is fertilized, and abortifacients such as Plan B or Ella are believed to abort a fertilized egg.
Hobby Lobby faces a penalty of $1.3 million per day for not complying with the mandate.
"It (paying for abortifacients) goes against the Biblical principles on which we have run this company since day one," Green said.
So far, courts have ruled against Hobby Lobby which is seeking an injunction. The U.S. Supreme Court recently denied their emergency request to block enforcement of the mandate.
Just as Americans backed Chick-fil-A last year when its president, Dan Cathy, was facing backlash for expressing his stance against same-sex marriage, Grabowski is hoping many will do the same for Hobby Lobby and the Green family on Saturday.
"On Saturday, January 5th, all Americans who value freedom of religion and oppose the HHS Mandate's unfair impositions upon religious individuals and corporate entities are called upon to show their support for Hobby Lobby by shopping either at their local retail Hobby Lobby store or online," the Facebook page for the campaign reads.
"I stood with you today =) bought a sweet aircraft carrier model..thank you for your courageous stand..God bless you Hobby Lobby," wrote supporter Mark Fisher on the Hobby Lobby Facebook page Saturday.
"We are defending our religious beliefs. GO HOBBY LOBBY!!!!!!!!" commented Adriana Corrales Roldan.
Dozens of other lawsuits have been filed against the contraceptive mandate. Hobby Lobby is the largest non-Catholic company to bring suit.