According to a report in the Ozark Post-Gazette, the store’s management decided to execute Jeremy Gleason, 43, in an alley behind the store in accordance with the Biblical verse Leviticus 20:13, which commands believers to kill homosexual men.
The assailants reportedly tied Gleason to a pole and threw large chunks of granite and whole bricks at his body. An autopsy later revealed the adoptive father of 2 young children died of blunt force trauma to the head.
Although Gleason’s family have called for Hobby Lobby’s managers to be charged with murder, police say they do not intend to make any arrests in the case because the store was simply exercising its religious beliefs.
“I don’t really see the problem here,” says Mark Patterson, Wilson County sheriff, “I mean stoning gays to death is in the Bible. And Hobby Lobby is a Christian company.
“What am I supposed to do? Arrest the people who killed him? Last I checked this was America. We don’t put people in jail for exercising their religion.”
Gleason’s unusual execution comes just days after the US Supreme Court ruled that his employer may be exempted from a federal law requiring employers to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees.
Although that ruling applied strictly to health care, some critics - including dissenting justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg - have argued that it sets a dangerous precedent that may allow closely-held firms to exempt themselves from vast swaths of American law.
“We had known for a long time that Jeremy was a sinner,” says Justin Anderson, one of the Hobby Lobby managers who took part in the stoning, “But we didn’t have the power to do anything about it.
“But now that the Supreme Court has ruled that Christian companies can exempt themselves from any law that conflicts with their religious beliefs we can finally start enforcing biblical order.”
In a statement lawyers for Hobby Lobby say they believe their client bears no liability in the case.
“The Supreme Court decision is clear. Hobby Lobby was fully with their rights to execute Mr. Gleason.”