Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby, has encouraged Christians to continue fighting for religious liberty, warning that there will always be those who attempt to take those freedoms away.
Speaking to The Gospel Herald just after President Donald Trump signed an executive order on religious liberty, Green, CEO of the Oklahoma-based Christian crafts store chain, asserted that "religious freedom is an issue for us to always stand for."
"This nation was built on principles found in the Bible, and one of those concepts was our religious freedom," he told GH. "There are and will be challenges to the religious freedoms of Americans that we'll have to face in the future, and we'll have to continue to stand for those. And, even in other parts of the world, we need to stand for the religious freedoms of people all over the world."
Driving his point home, Green, who also serves as chairman of the board of Museum of the Bible, quoted Thomas Jefferson: "No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of the civil authority."
A committed Christian, Green is no stranger to fighting for religious freedom. In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled in Hobby Lobby's favor in the case over whether employers who run their businesses on Christian principles had to provide insurance coverage for abortifacients under the Affordable Care Act.
In the majority opinion, authored by Justice Samuel Alito, the high court concluded that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act applied to businesses whose owners held a religious objection to the HHS mandate.
"The Government has failed to satisfy RFRA's least-restrictive means standard. HHS has not shown that it lacks other means of achieving its desired goal without imposing a substantial burden on the exercise of religion," wrote Justice Alito.
Reflecting on the groundbreaking Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision, the "Faith in America" author called the Obamacare contraception mandate a "violation of conscience".
"We didn't want to be a part of taking life," he explained. "We wound up having to sue this government that we love. We won in the court, and it showed that a for-profit company does have religious freedoms, which was the ultimate argument. That put us in the same category as non-profits; in non-profits, there was an accommodation that was offered."
Meanwhile, Trump's order, entitled "Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty", aims to extend political speech protections for pastors and religious organizations, allowing them to talk about politics without penalty. Additionally, the order "provides regulatory relief" and instructs the Department of Health and Human Services to "consider" granting religious exemptions to the Obamacare contraception mandate that violates the beliefs of religious organizations and companies like Hobby Lobby.
"With this executive order, we also make clear that the federal government will never penalize any person for their protected religious beliefs," Trump said after signing the order, revealing that he also instructed the Department of Justice to "develop new rules to ensure these religious protections are afforded to all Americans."
"There are more than 50 religious Americans and groups that sued the previous administration for violating their religious freedom," Trump said. "The abuses were widespread, the abuses were all over."
Last month, Green released his memoir, Giving It All Away...and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously.
"Green tells the story of caring for the small things and starting Hobby Lobby in their garage. He shares the difference between the worlds of 'having and hoarding' and a world of 'giving and generosity,' the principle of working for God and not for men, and that now is not too soon to consider what you want your legacy to be," noted the book's Amazon description.
"As proof of how living by those principles can change your life, Green shares that when Hobby Lobby came close to bankruptcy in 1986 and when the Supreme Court challenged the Hobby Lobby's right to life beliefs in 2014, the company emerged with its integrity intact."