7/7/2014—It was very good that Ross Douthat reminded liberals in his New York Times op-ed on Sunday that the Hobby Lobby Corporation pays its workers $15/hour. Douthat’s point is both small and large. The small point is that the Green family really does live their Christian values in the company. They pay and treat their workers better than most companies, despite the company's enormous size ($3 billion in revenue). The Green family is not saving money in their quest for a religious exemption.
But the larger point is even more important. Where do liberals think the values of social justice come from if not, at least in part, from religion? Liberals not only should change their narrow-minded view of religion, they should be happy to do so, because religion is an important potential ally in so many areas.
And, anyway, what ever happened to pluralism, so vaunted by most liberals most of the time? It is troubling that the left is now insisting that businesses can only serve the bottom line when we used to call on corporations to do more—-and Hobby Lobby actually does more.
This is a lot to think about and well worth pondering. But it was ironic that the day before the Douthat op-ed appeared, Hobby Lobby placed its annual Fourth of July ad in the newspapers in which they advertise praising America as a Christian nation and touting In God We Trust. The Green family has no interest in pluralism. The Christian right does not dominate America anymore because they cannot, not because they don’t want to.
I guess Douthat would say, so what? Liberals should still appreciate the Green family and others like them for what they do.