Tents in Hobby Lobby Parking Lot
February 9, 2015
Greenville, MS- Greenville workers and customers were shocked by the appearance of work tents for menstruating women in the Hobby Lobby parking lot. Store manager Bertram “Bubba” Lee instituted the new policy in order to afford proper “separation” for the women’s fundamentalist Christian coworkers. According to the manager, the store is following the biblical mandate set forth in the Old Testament. “It’s in Leviticus,” Lee quoted, “And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days.”
Two large tents were set up in the parking lot near the front doors. Inside each were two check out lanes and some bargain bins. When asked about the legality of such segregation Lee insisted there were no complaints about the arrangements. “We put heaters in there for them and there’s Port-A-Pottys right outside.” Attempts to interview the female workers were thwarted by Lee as he stood at in front of the tent flaps. “If you ain’t buyin’, you ain’t spyin’,” he said.
The Green family, owners of Hobby Lobby are well-known Pentecostal Christians from Oklahoma. They state they close their stores every Sunday so that their employees may “go to church or spend time with family.” Presumably this excludes Seventh Day Adventists, Jews and even Jesus himself who did’t worship on Sundays. Last year the corporation won the famous Supreme Court case Burwell v. Hobby Lobby which granted the corporation the right of religious freedom. This decision has been further interpreted to protect members of the Church of Latter Day Saints from testifying in a child labor case in which children were removed from school to harvest pecans on a private ranch for up to eight hours without pay. It’s also been used by Catholic nuns to refuse to provide mandatory insurance forms because they claim it’s a burden to fill them out.
“We have freedom of religion in this country and that’s what we’re doing,” Lee explained about the tent situation. The unusual situation didn’t seem to have an effect on the customers preparing for Valentine’s Day. When asked if the modifications caused a reduction in revenue, the manager stated, “No matter what the political or religious situation may be, scrapbooking never stops.”
In a brief phone conversation with Hobby Lobby’s regional Human Resources department, questions about their position on providing paid menstrual leave for female employees similar to that given in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan were met with a quick disconnection of service. Attempts to contact Hobby Lobby headquarters have gone unanswered.