UPDATE: Hobby Lobby apologizes, says it will carry Jewish holiday items

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Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby, speaks at the Religion Newswriters Association conference in Austin, Texas, in 2013. RNS photo by Sally Morrow

Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby, speaks at the Religion Newswriters Association conference in Austin, Texas, in 2013. RNS photo by Sally Morrow

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(RNS) “We sincerely apologize for any employee comments that may have offended anyone, especially our Jewish customers and friends. Comments like these do not reflect the feelings of our family or Hobby Lobby."

  • Eric

    Hasn’t Hobby Lobby gone bankrupt yet?

  • •I spent an hour at the Marlboro store trying to help them and spoke to corporate. I do not believe they are anti-Semitic and believe certain people are trying to destroy their reputation. I have suggested sources to obtain channukah items and how to fight the bad press. RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG

  • Bill

    Why would a person think a hobby store would carry religious items? So, I went looking. It turns out the owner of Hobby Lobby bought a one of a kind Jewish artifact. This fellow in N.J. must have a problem with that and decided to play the infamous ‘jew card.’ Who would have thought there was kosher balsa wood and styrene balls.. Rabbi Bernhard Rosenberg that is a sign of a mature man astute in politics. My hat goes off to you. Now about that illegal organ trade supported by the Isreali healthcare system. How many ‘rabbis’ have to be arrested? A slight change in the end of death belief would cure that.

  • E

    That’s funny… when I go to Hobby Lobby I am going there to buy stuff like beads, clay, fabric, thread, needles, paints, canvases, brushes, paper cutters, scrapbook supplies…ya know…HOBBY MERCHANDISE. I sure don’t go to Hobby Lobby expecting to see craft foam cut outs of Isis or Anubis or Zeus or Jupiter just because a holiday I celebrate is coming soon. If you want Jewish merchandise maybe you should look for a store that has that in stock. Or maybe some Jewish person with a lot of money could open a Jewish Hobby store for all those people being ~*shunned*~ from Hobby Lobby. Really.. this is like walking into a Christian Book Store and getting uppity because they don’t have books on Kwanzaa or Celtic Mythology.

  • Miri

    I would find the comments made by the sales staff more offensive than the fact that they do not carry Jewish items. I’ve seen that issue at Jewel and other big-name grocers during Passover – it’s common, nothing to be upset over. A conversation with the store manager usually has good results – if you want something to be carried for your particular needs, just ask. No one is obligated to carry specific items for minority holidays – it’s really going out on a limb to accuse Hobby Lobby of anti-Semtism. The blogger should exercise restraint when using that term. Anyone who is a first or second-generation Holocaust survivor knows what that means, and this isn’t it.

  • Ezra Pound

    Why should a store be forced to sell items that only 2% of the population AT MOST will ever buy? Should they have to stock Hindu religious paraphernalia or Islamic keffiyeh? If Americans tried to force a Jewish store owner to stock Christian goods, there would be a Federal civil rights lawsuit and they would be called “Nazis” “anti-Semites” and “racists.” Hobby Lobby should have told the Jewish supremacists to go F* themselves.

  • Ezra Pound

    Should they have to stock Hindu religious paraphernalia or Islamic keffiyeh too?

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  • Esther

    Now sure they gone!

  • Esther

    Simple: boycott!

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  • JOnah

    You’re an idiot for the following reasons:

    1. The Jewish population in the Marlboro, NJ area is about 35% of the population.

    2. This isn’t a religious store, it’s a craft store.

  • George Marshall Worthington

    Right to the point — and thank you! There are many stores that identify themselves as Christian-themed, eg., bookstores and the like. Hobby Lobby is a craft store and markets itself as such. That is what makes the lawsuit against the ACA so absurd.

    And to your point about Marlboro, NJ. This just shows that Hobby Lobby is discriminating. They can order inventory based on regional demographics and seasonality.

    All facts taken into consideration, the owners and employees of Hobby Lobby are bigots, plain and simple. I say boycott now!

  • While I am sympathetic with the concerns expressed about this policy I am disappointed that they chose to fight this battle publicly.

    It is, however, a sad irony when a religion popularized on the basis of freedom from Biblical law now has a large contingency of adherents who in the name of the Bible legalistically avoid the very celebrations ordained and observed in the Bible. Meanwhile holidays rooted in non-Biblical religions are promoted as more legitimately Christian than those observed by the Nazarene himself.

    Could it be that this is really more about distinguishing oneself from those who are different than any principled teaching in the Christian Bible. The Christian Bible explicitly allows one to purchase meat which had been sacrificed to idols…where does this notion that Biblical holidays are forbidden come from? Are the Biblical holidays less Christian that idolatrous sacrifices?

    With regard to the notion that a store cannot be expected to stock any sort of item for each and every customer, this is a fair point but irrelevant. The customers where asking for items comparable to others being sold and available at regular retail outlets, not “matzah and tefillin” or other similar ritual items or religious garb. Furthermore the report makes clear that they were not refraining for doing so because there was an insufficient market but because of ideology. If the customer had been told that there wasn’t enough demand this wouldn’t be a story (although my experience in retail is that paying customers rarely find it a satisfying answer when the product is available).

    I certainly would not be comfortable selling non-Jewish religious/holiday items and would fight any attempt to by the government to impose such an obligation upon me, or anyone. Nevertheless, no one is proposing a legislative solution to this conflict and such talk is a red herring.

  • Garson Abuita

    As someone earlier tried to point out to your bigotry-addled brain, they don’t have to do anything. But it would be a sign of insensitivity if they were (a) in a heavily Hindu or Muslim area, (b) there were Hindu or Muslim holidays that lent themselves to arts and crafts, and (c) they didn’t stock a single thing relating to those holidays.

  • Steve

    If indeed the individual sales associate did make a comment that was insensitive to the customer (whom reportedly was of the jewish faith or nationality) then there was a gross foul made. Not by Hobby Lobby, but by some ignorant individual.

    To say Hobby Lobby in and of itself was responsible for what the employee said would be like saying that baby zebras are responsible for their own death because they walked in front of a lion. They both are ludachris.

    I know for a fact that Hobby Lobby does sell craft items relating to symbols used in concerns to every religion or belief. From the Jew to the Gentile, Muslim to the Budist. They don’t sell cards, but they sure do sell the things you may need to mke your own card (the hobby part of the idea here).

  • Steve

    Your a moron. End of story

  • ultprinefan

    The nonsense of religion does nothing but cause problems. When will humanity realize to world would be better off if religion did not exist.

  • Daniel Berry, NYC

    Well, Ezra Pound, you’ve certainly chosen the right name.

  • anonymous

    Where’d you get that 35%?

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  • Xn 4ever

    1. Christianity began as a Jewish Sect.
    2. Messianic Jews are often counted as Christians. And are welcome at all Ecumenical Christian gatherings.
    3. A Christian who visits a Reform congregation can participate in the service without being asked to do anything that is contrary to the Christian faith.
    4. The Hebrew Bible used by the Jewish Faith is identical in contents to the Old Testament as used by Protestants, and Mormons. It is also identical in contents to the Hebrew Scriptures used by Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the protocanonical books of the Old Testament used by Catholic and Orthodox Christians.
    5. The holiday in question, Hanukkah, or the Feast of Dedication, is not mentioned in the Jewish Scriptures but is mentioned in the Christian Scriptures.

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  • Daniel Berry, NYC

    I agree with you totally about the staffmember’s comment being, by far, more offensive than the mere fact of not carrying the merchandise. Who in God’s name could say such a thing in our time?

  • Pastor C

    George, the lawsuit filed against the ACA (for your information, if you are interested-which I doubt), is about freedom of religion.

    No one, constitutionally, has a right to restrict the exercise thereof nor place upon those who have certain religious beliefs any requirement that they violate those beliefs.

    The owners are very religious people and do not believe in abortion or any other medical procedures which violate the sanctity of life.

    Therefore, paying for such procedures (particularly under demand from the government) violates their conscience.

    Get it? It’s as simple as that!

  • S

    After the initial story broke, I called my local hobby lobby. The salesperson who answered the phone did not know if the store stocked Hanukkah items. She found a manger who informed me that, because the owner of the chain was “a conservative Christian and does not believe in those values, we don’t carry that stuff.” I would have been satisfied with a response that there was not a sufficient Jewish population in the area to turn a profit selling items for Jewish holidays; that is a sound business decision that would hold true for my locale. The problem with the religious response given (and where I call foul), is that the Hobby Lobby chain that is owned by a conservative Christian, which according to its own management does not carry items related to religions values they do not agree with DOES sell items for Halloween.

  • E

    ” The blogger should exercise restraint when using that term”

    WHAT!! Now why would any self respecting blogger who desires fame and attention for their stupid blog want to go and do that? I would not be surprised if the entire situation was made up entirely by this blogger who just wanted attention for the blog! Was there any video made of these employees acting rudely to Jewish customers and saying things like “We don’t serve your kind” or anything else? OR are we just supposed to take some blogger’s word as fact? I call BS on the whole situation. This guy just had a beef with Hobby Lobby and was looking for a reason to troll and get some attention and money by sensationalizing some imagined “Jewish Oppression” and ruffling the feathers of a bunch of sensitive Jewish people and the internet armchair social justice white knights to go screaming and hollering around and making a fuss.

    IF I’m wrong and the situation really did happen with employees saying stuff like “your kind” and being rude to Jewish people then that is wrong. Those employees should be either fired or put through sensitivity training. However that still shouldn’t mean that HL should have to be forced to carry Jewish or any other religious merchandise if the owner doesn’t want to. His store, his money, his rules. You can either shop there for your beads, fabric, cheap chinese slave trinket home decor or you can take your feet and pitter patter over to MICHEAL’S or some other store. This is not rocket science.

  • E

    Because many people are too lazy or impatient to buy over the internet. Some are to paranoid that their identity will be stolen if they purchase online.

    But some of the people who were sent away from Hobby Lobby were seeking Bar Mitzvah cards and not just Chanukah items. People who buy cards probably don’t want to wait weeks for them to arrive.

  • E

    Atheism is a religion. Hypocrite.

  • E

    Halloween isn’t a religion. It’s a holiday in the modern sense and not a holy day. Please don’t mix Halloween up with Samhain which is the old Gaelic holiday that Halloween borrows ideas from. And don’t mix it up with All Saints Day which comes after or All Hallow’s Eve which, like Samhain, Halloween borrows ideas from.. And if you notice what they sell at HL for Halloween is cheap and cheesy monster and spooky stuff but nothing that even looks remotely religious. Don’t let the goth kid down the street telling you the ghosts, vampires and black cats that pepper his bedroom is because of his “religion.” It’s just a holiday like 4th of July or Thanksgiving.

    No where in Christianity does it say that you can’t celebrate Halloween. Most modern xtians celebrate it just fine. Only a few groups really deny it completely like Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    But really, with your logic I should call up a local All Christian book store and ask them if they sell Kwanzaa books. Then when they tell me no because they are a Christian Book store I should start writing blog posts and screaming about how this Christian book store is oppressing the rights of those who practice Kwanzaa and being racist. If I open a store selling nothing but women’s shoes should I be forced to sell men’s shoes just because half the population in the area is male? Would my denying carrying men’s shoes be considered sexist and make me a Misandrist? That’s just ridiculous.

  • E

    Even simpler: Go find a store that sells Jewish Items and actually spend your money there. It’s even better than a boycott because you’re supporting someone who provides you with what you desire and ignoring the one who isn’t. It’s a win-win because you’re not just laying around on the floor kicking and screaming that you’re being oppressed because some big box store isn’t giving you bar mitzvah cards.

  • A

    Interesting. Steve, you call someone else a “moron” using poor grammar. I believe you meant, “You’re a moron.”

  • A

    Atheism is the lack of religion.

    World English Dictionary
    atheism (ˈeɪθɪˌɪzəm)

    — n
    rejection of belief in God or gods

    [C16: from French athéisme, from Greek atheos godless, from a- 1 + theos god]

  • A


    I stopped going to Hobby Lobby, long ago. Money spent at Hobby Lobby supports things that I oppose.

    I support equality for all and reproductive freedom.

    Hobby Lobby supports the opposite.

  • A

    While the residents of Marlboro have many alternatives, I live in Denton where there is nothing. Target carries a tiny endcap of Chanukah items for about 2 weeks. Not a single grocery store in Denton with a population of over 120,000 carries any kosher for Passover items. Most carry stale “Not for Passover” matzoh if anything at all. Denton has two universities. The largest – UNT has a Hillel and a chapter of AEPi. The synagogue in Flower Mound used to be in Denton. A large portion of the congregation still lives in Denton.

    I have asked every grocery store manager in the entire town to please carry “Kosher for Passover” matzoh, even if they don’t carry anything else so I don’t have to drive so very far. I point out that if they were to carry just a few essentials for Passover, they would be the only store in town and would sell out quickly. Still nothing.

    I wasn’t shopping at Hobby Lobby, so I don’t care about that. I do care that with 3 Krogers, an Albertsons, a Brookshires, a Cupboard, a Natural Grocers, an Aldi, and a Super Walmart and a Super Target, not a one carries Kosher for Passover Matzoh at Passover.

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  • shelly

    If they carry xmas decorations why not hannukah decorations too? This is not the same as Christian book shop it is a crafts and decorations shop. The two are not the same. Aside from that,to fail to stock Jewish items in an area heavily populated by Jews is surely a very poor business move.

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  • jammers

    XN 4EVER. You are wrong in # 4. If you take a Hebrew Bible and put it side by side with christian new testament you will see many many differences

  • James Garman

    They made it about religion when injected their personal religious beliefs into the corporation…..and got the supreme court to go along with it.

    But I have never bough anything there, and intend to continue said practice. When I buy crafty things it will be from anybody BUT hobby lobby.

  • James Garman

    certainly assigning religious values to non-human constructs like corporations, which are legal constructs allowing for limited liability for the “owners” are ludricious to say the least.

    I dlon’t care what HL does or does not sell, I simply won’t frequent them for any reason, based on their taking a principal appliable only to human beings on for their corporation.



  • Marla Marlboro

    Exactly Daniel
    Well at least we have one person with common sense on this board

  • Marla Marlboro

    Quite frankly it’s none of your business. Isn’t Jonah a whale?

  • Marla Marlboro

    Oh just a side note for you uneducated Christians.
    Jesus was Jewish
    So were all of his followers except for Luke.
    How you like me now?

  • Marla Marlboro

    Again for all of you that were never told. You are worshipping Jesus who again was Jewish and celebrated all of the Jewish holidays. So Christians are just followers of Jesus get it Christ ians
    There were no Christians before Jesus who again was a Jewish Rabbi
    So welcome to the family

  • Don

    Bill why do you hate religion so much esp the Hebrew religion they have given so much and yes they are (Jewish people ) not purifict but what they ha given to the world of science medicine agriculture etc etc is immeasurable history is there do some research don’t listen to hatful people who purpurtrate myths always look fo truth it will set you free. To think for your self.