What You Need to Know About the Hobby Lobby Billionaires
The Supreme Court handed down its decision today in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, ruling that for-profit businesses can opt-out of the Obamacare provision requiring them to provide contraceptives in their health plans if it conflicts with their sincerely held religious beliefs.
The ruling thrilled the Green family, the owners of the Hobby Lobby chain of craft supplies stores.
"Our family is overjoyed by the Supreme Court's decision. Today the nation's highest court has re-affirmed the vital importance of religious liberty as one of our country's founding principles," said Barbara Green, co-founder of Hobby Lobby . "The court's decision is a victory, not just for our family business, but for all who seek to live out their faith. We are grateful to God and to those who have supported us on this difficult journey."
The family behind the lawsuit are the Greens, the billionaire, evangelical owners of Hobby Lobby who succeeded in challenging the federal provision.
Who are the Greens?
David and Barbara Green are the founders and current owners of craft-supply store Hobby Lobby. With a net worth of $5.1 billion, Forbes ranks David Green as the 94 th wealthiest person in the United States. The Greens are a family that has given tens of millions of dollars to Christian universities
When did they start Hobby Lobby?
According to the company's corporate history, Hobby Lobby "started as an extension of Greco Products, a miniature picture frames company founded in a garage by David Green in 1970." Hobby Lobby has since expanded to 572 stores nation-wide, with a revenue of $3.3 billion in 2013.
How did they make their fortune?
Green, 72, can certainly be described as self-made. He started Hobby Lobby with a $600 loan and has grown the venture into a multi-billion dollar corporation.
The company prides itself on its Christian values, stating a commitment to "Honoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company in a manner consistent with biblical principles," and "Providing a return on the owner's investment, sharing the Lord's blessings with our employees, and investing in our community." In 2013 Hobby Lobby raised its starting wage for full time employees to $14 an hour.
What have they been doing with their money?
While the Greens have given generously to charitable causes in the past, they appear to be upping the ante with much larger scale projects-seemingly more political in nature. The Greens have supported the development of a biblical curriculum they hope to implement in public schools across the country.
What's up with this Bible museum?
The Green family also has plans to build a Bible Museum only a few blocks away from the National Mall. According to Politico, the museum could cost the family upwards of $800 million and would house an immense number of biblical artifacts. The museum's initial mission statement was "to inspire confidence in the absolute authority and reliability of the Bible." The modified mission statement reads "to invite people to engage with the Bible."
What have they said publicly?
Green's ambitions are not small in scale. In an interview with Forbes' Brian Solomon, Green said, "I want to know that I have affected people for eternity. I believe I am. I believe once someone knows Christ as their personal savior, I've affected eternity. I matter 10 billion years from now."
Do their k ids share their religious/politics convictions?
David and Barbara's son Mart Green is the CEO of Mardel Christian and Educational Supply. Following in his father's footsteps, he has recently produced a documentary titled "Little Town of Bethlehem". The film highlights the "struggle for a nonviolent solution to a crisis that has torn Israelis and Palestinians apart."