Hobby Lobby Owner, Museum of the Bible Founder Honored

(Reuters)

Sometimes standing firm for Christ leads to persecution. Other times, though, the courage shown is recognized, even honored.

Steve Green, owner of Hobby Lobby and the founder of Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C., was presented Saturday with the William L. Armstrong Award for Visionary Leadership in Service to the American Idea for 2020. The recognition came from the Centennial Institute, Colorado Christian University's public policy think tank.

"The Green family's boldness in standing for religious freedom has a lasting legacy for American families," said Jeff Hunt, director of the Centennial Institute and chairman of the Western Conservative Summit. "America is freer because of Steve Green."

The award was presented by Wil Armstrong, William L.'s son, during Centennial Institute's virtual Western Conservative Summit. He told Green he was presenting the award:

—"for demonstrating a lifetime of commitment to the cause of religious freedom,

—for using business for God's glory and for standing firm when it was challenging to do so,

—for illuminating the Bible and its influence in our great country and

—for your passion for the future of America and for its generations to come."

"It's with heartfelt gratitude that I say thank you for all you've done and for all you continue to do," Armstrong added during the presentation.

When receiving the award with his wife, Jackie, at his side, Green said, "It's an honor for me to receive the award named after your father. His fortitude and his faith were visible."

The award is named for the late Colorado statesman, William L. Armstrong, who served as president of Colorado Christian University from 2006-2016. Honorees exemplify Armstrong's commitment to faith, family and freedom. Past winners have included Dennis Prager, Dr. James C. Dobson, Edwin Meese III and Dr. Robert George.

Steve Green is the president of Hobby Lobby, a chain of arts-and-crafts stores across America that was founded by his parents, David and Barbara Green, in 1970. He co-founded the 430,000 square foot Museum of the Bible with his wife, where he currently serves as chairman of the board, according to a news release. Additionally, he is the author of four books and is a contributor to Faith Driven Entrepreneur and an influencer with the Truth and Liberty Coalition. He was awarded an honorary doctorate of divinity from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary in 2013 and received an honorary doctorate in biblical literature from Mid-American Christian University in 2015.

"In our generation, Steve Green and his family represent the definitive entrepreneurial spirit of America," said Armstrong. "Hobby Lobby started with a dream, a garage and a $600 loan. It grew into a chain of over 900 stores in 47 states, with revenue in excess of $5 billion and more than 43,000 employees."

The company's fight against a federal mandate to provide health plans that violated its founders' religious convictions resulted in a landmark Supreme Court ruling, establishing that individuals do not lose their religious freedom when they open a family business.

The award is given annually by the Armstrong family. It honors "a leader who embodies the values that my father held dear—faith, family and freedom—and who has made a difference in our culture through business, politics or education."

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