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Ahlin: Hobby Lobby changes the Ten Commandments

Headed into the grocery store, I was stopped by a big sign reading, "Thou shalt not insure contraceptives." No surprise, standing there in an orange jump suit with a purple baseball cap on her head was Mary Contrary.

"Hey, Sunshine, you must have heard about my new campaign." She flipped the sign over, reading what it said aloud, "Time to change the Ten Commandments."

"That's ridiculous, Mary," I said. "Anyway, I just need ice cream, and I'm in a hurry."

"Of course you are, Sunshine; you're so important you're always in a hurry."

"Importance is not the point, Mary."

"You bet it isn't. The point is Hobby Lobby's head guy Steve Green switching out one of the Ten Commandments."

"Oh, good grief, Mary, you aren't making sense."

"You're saying you don't know about Hobby Lobby's smarmy antiquities dealings in the Middle East?"

"No, I heard about the three million dollar fine and the 5,500 ancient artifacts Hobby Lobby has to return. But Mr. Green said he's new to buying antiquities and didn't understand. I mean, he paid $1.6 million for the artifacts. You know, his whole family is devoutly Christian."

"Gee, Sunshine, did he say being asked to wire money to seven separate personal bank accounts didn't strike him as a wee bit unusual?" Mary's eyebrows arched. "And did he say that mailing antiquities to Oklahoma in boxes labeled 'ceramic tiles' and 'clay tiles' wasn't to avoid U.S. Customs?"


"Well nothing, Sunshine. We're talking straight-forward stealing and lying." Mary smiled broadly. "That's why we gotta change the commandment 'thou shalt not steal' to 'thou shalt not insure contraceptives.'"

I felt a headache coming on. "What you are talking about?"

Mary pointed to her sign. "Come on, even you remember 2014 when the Supreme Court said Hobby Lobby didn't have to offer contraceptives in its employee health insurance because it went against the owner's Christian beliefs."

"Yes. I think the Court said Obamacare had to give 'closely held' corporations a pass...or something like that. But I'm still missing your point."

Mary sighed. "Poor Sunshine, always a few bricks short of a load." I scowled and she hurried on. "Okay, okay, back then Steve Green talked about how ignorance of the Bible threatened America's future. For somebody who missed 'thou shalt not steal,' that's rich, don't you think?"

Now my head really hurt, but she kept talking. "Look, Sunshine, here's a guy claiming he's such a hotshot Christian, he gets to deny his employees birth control insurance coverage—which, by the way, most people including Christians see as personal and medical and none of his business—a guy who, as it turns out, has no qualms about smuggling looted antiquities for...wait for it...a Bible museum he's opening in Washington, D.C."

"I see. That does sound like hypocrisy, not Christianity."

"Amen to that, Sunshine."

Looking at me as I turned toward the door, she added, "Not sure you really 'need' that ice cream."

Goodbye, Mary.

Ahlin writes a Sunday column for The Forum. Email