Colorado Christian University is giving this year's William L. Armstrong Award, named for the late conservative political icon, to Hobby Lobby president Steve Green.
The award is presented annually by the Armstrong family, Colorado Christian and its affiliated think tank, the Centennial Institute, during the Western Conservative Summit in Denver each summer. This year it will be held online on Saturday, because of the difficulties caused by the pandemic.
“Understanding [Armstrong’s] love and his heart for the Biblical roots of our nation … just resonated with me, and I am excited to be able to receive this award,” Green said in a statement. “I am honored to have known Senator Armstrong and very grateful.”
On Friday night, thousands who were gathered at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver paused for a few moments to share a tribute to Bill Armstrong, the father of the modern Republican Party in Colorado, whose civic work across six decades has inspired multitudes and established Armstrong as a role model for the modern conservative. “There’s never been a Republican in Colorado like Bill Armstrong. He’s been a phenomenon ever since he stepped on the stage,” says former U.S. Sen. Hank Brown
A former U.S. senator and House member from Colorado, Armstrong served as president of CCU from 2006 to 2016.
His son, Wil Armstrong, said the award 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.”
He said Green had demonstrated a lifetime commitment to religious freedom and "for using business for God’s glory, 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.”
Hobby Lobby won the landmark case before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2014 that exempted for-profit corporations from government regulations that violate the owner's religious beliefs, if alternatives existed. In the case, Hobby Lobby opposed being required by the Affordable Care Act to provide its employees coverage that included free contraceptives.
Green also is a co-founder and board chairman for the 430,000-square-foot Museum of the Bible near the Capitol in Washington, D.C., which opened in 2017. Green is the author of "Faith in America" and "The Bible in America." among other publications.
“In our generation, Steve Green and his family represent the definitive entrepreneurial spirit of America,” Wil Armstrong said. “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 ruling establishing that individuals do not lose their religious freedom when they open a family business.
Past recipients of the Armstrong award include conservative talk show host Dennis Prager, Focus on the Family and Family Talk founder Dr. James Dobson, former Attorney General Edwin Meese, and legal scholar and Professor Dr. Robert George.