Jesus Goes to Hobby Lobby

At my university, I manage a student organization for creative writers. In addition to workshops, readings, etc., we host craft nights that pertain to writing and literature. Since we are located in a smaller town with few available art-centric resources and since I am admittedly not always the best planner, I occasionally end up buying some of our supplies from Hobby Lobby, the begrudged craft store not far from campus. For example, the organization’s Writer’s Block Party required acrylic spray that would add a glossed finish to members’ works, and I (poor planner that I am) ended up at Hobby Lobby on the day of our event asking an employee to help find the product. Alas.

CWC006

Me with that damned Hobby Lobby acrylic spray. *pitch forks! fire!*
Someone! Quick! Mop that floor.

With a more liberal-leaning membership and support system, some people voiced concerns about purchasing products from Hobby Lobby. Our more conservative members were silent. They didn’t praise our “support” of Hobby Lobby. When asked, many of them said they didn’t care at all and thought the whole thing was being “blown out of proportion.”

The popular view in the media was that conservatives were going wild over the Supreme Court decision to favor Hobby Lobby’s charged mandate against providing female employees with contraceptive coverage. Hobby Lobby has claimed to be a reflection of Christian values. (I guess, this explains why I never see any snazzy Margaritaville signs in their stores.) Many conservatives who support the pro-life movement thought Hobby Lobby was making a crucial stand for their freedoms and quickly joined in the crusade by posting their opinions on social media websites. The most popular question being, “How can the Government make Christians pay for abortions?”

On June 30, 2014, the Supreme Court decision was made, and conservatives celebrated. Many considered this ruling to be a success for freedom of religion and began writing posts on Facebook and Twitter about a “rare triumph. . . in the war against Christianity.”

During all this yaysaying and war victory celebrating and liberal head shaking, we failed to see one simple detail:

“The most straightforward way of doing this would be for the Government to assume the cost of providing the four contraceptives at issue to any women who are unable to obtain them under their health-insurance policies due to their employers’ religious objections.”

Burwell v. Hobby Lobby

Who is “the Government” exactly? Well, taxpayers. Me, the conservatives and their pro-choice neighbor. In celebrating the rights of for-profit corporations to have religious freedom, many conservatives failed to see the scope of this detail. Corporations were the winner in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. Not conservatives or Christians or protesting activists. Hobby Lobby decided not to pay their share and thus burdened taxpayers. None of this is a new story. Pacifists have long been paying taxes that go to military support. Atheists have shouldered a larger tax responsibility, because many churches are tax-exempt.

WWJD2

Hobby Lobby sold its case as being a huge victory for the conservative pro-life movement to garner customers and higher sales. It made Christians believe that their corporation was carrying some huge burden for them on the front lines of the “war against Christianity” when really this court ruling was a huge loss for everyone but Hobby Lobby and other future corporations that could possibly pass off their fiscal obligations to taxpayers.

It does make me feel somewhat disgusted to find myself shopping in Hobby Lobby and to know that I will probably end up there again sometime in the next year, but it’s not because of my anti-religious leanings. It’s because of my feminist ideology. I am exhausted at women being treated like objects again in some sort of religious contest. I am exhausted at seeing the working class woman disproportionately affected by a demagogic corporation. I am exhausted by reading another ridiculous gender-based legislative act. Here is to hoping that we remain conscious of the disingenuous nature in these acts and the consequences of such ubiquitous crusades.

9 comments

  1. Catholic Tap House · October 19, 2014

    Burwell v. Hobby Lobby DOESN’T make sense….

    Corporations are not people with religious beliefs. The whole point of a corporation is to create something separate to limit the liability of shareholders. All this means that a corporation when it gets sued can’t ask shareholders for their money. Shareholders and owners can’t have it both ways! Shareholders get the privilege of limited liability while also claiming that their corporation has religious beliefs. So the logic is that corporations are separate legal entities, but when it comes to 1st Amendment rights, apparently they are not?

    Birth control is an important issue that shouldn’t be an ISSUE at all, and this is coming from someone in the Catholic faith who looks forward to men have oral contraceptives too one day…. I am MORE interested in how we are able to reason that corporations have religious beliefs. What about anti-discrimination laws that some could feel violate their religion? What is going to be constituted and entertained under RFRA??

    Don’t feel bad about Hobby Lobby and shopping there. Once you start comparing corporations, you just turn your nose up at each of them. Its hard to compare their sins…. I’m Glad you are clarifying this CRUSADE on your blog.

  2. buddy71 · October 19, 2014

    i am sure that if you looked hard enough at most of the bigger companies you will find things that you may not like and then not support that company. even any company or business may have ideals that you may not like. you have the options to support them or not. living in a smaller place your options could be limited. as much as i like chik-fil-la, i stopped going. also walmart does things i dont like either and i limit my shopping there as other places dont offer the items i need. today’s life can make it hard to keep with ones choices. i feel your pain and i hope with a bit better planing, if that is what you feel you should do, you will feel better with your choices.

    • Sarah Key · October 20, 2014

      You are entirely right. If I hadn’t gone to Hobby Lobby for the product, I likely would have driven just a bit further down the road to Wal-Mart. Even ordering from Amazon makes me feel guilty.

      http://www.radiolab.org/story/brown-box/

      It is safe to say that the corporate structure is directly correlated to my more minimalist inclinations. Nonetheless, I am frequently torn on how to feel about certain aspects of corporations and technology. Thanks for the thoughtful comment, my friend.

  3. thecuriousbum · October 19, 2014

    Yeah, the objection to paying is absurd. What would be the religious precedent anyway? No sex before marriage? Nevermind the married women who just don’t want to be constantly pregnant. Hell, only the most extreme Christians think that should be the case. And abortions, well, I’d just be saying the same as every other pro-choicer. It’s all a loss for sensibility.

  4. starmanjones · October 19, 2014

    I remember well being trotted out to parrot the teacher’s level of school funding issues back in school and later felt it rather more of a trick for their treat of us lil darling puppets parrot punditing their pet ideologies. now i make dumb jokes about my effective tyranny as I am one who works for a nursing home and it is. my job to deny people stuff they often want more than life itself. I also well remember the campaign to save the town drive-in movie theater and thinking I actually should try to care as it was my history and a few jobs lost to higher aims. I also just as vividly later remember being pushed to picket Disney for putting out “Mr. Magoo” as it is an unflattering portrayal of blind people perpetuating a setback of a hated stereotype of incompetance…really? are you kidding me? Picket a movie and look stupid so as NOT to look stupid? I am not a fan of Walmart largely because I’m a hooty snob – this doesn’t mean that I get what I pay for in pricing and or service, or kindlier treatment of their 1% of working american employees… but again, I know the real reason it is a new version of an old joke… what did the bird say as it flew over K-mart? CHEAP CHEAP! I can’t say I liked chik fil a’s waffles or even their chicken so it is largely for that reason I avoid patronizing them, not their lauded christian stance of no sunday work of the 80’s to their later regretfully slim view entirely unneccessarily voiced about matters not impacting their business. I know I shouuld care about hobby lobby and only patronize Michaels as I do have that luxury of choice, and in practice I do, it’s far too inconvenient for me to go to a hobby lobby neverminding the facts that it’s literally the closest hobby store to me, it’s just inconvenient to my life…but it’s not because I’m truly protesting them. I’ve hung out with the job makers to the job doers of the world and it always amazes me to hear how it’s hard work that won them their success not the low down skullduggery they’re usually up to or the fantastic luck or other people’s money that got them where they actually are – contrasting that to a simpler person out not for money but themselves, a worker, who is more interested in different goals of this life…. I mean the politics are really night and day… however their is a funny blending of politics for workers who want to be like moguls who want to pay for nothing of larger goals or show any compassion to others in cash, and also idiot to some folks notions moguls who want to hold the bedwetter fretters hands through life when they’re just leeches and cheats…. to wit, the funniest thing I ever heard was an irishman laugh that he succeeded in being on the dole as he put it in both ireland and america simultaniously when he’d die of embarasssment if anyone took up to the light of inquiry about anything disparaging of his work ethic…he actually was a good worker. so as you might guess by this monograph, I’m of twin opinions of the value of any decisiciveness. I have been burnt before. so, sing me out with the country tune, You’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.

  5. jr cline · October 20, 2014

    It’s good to see another voice speaking out against corporations and their abuses.

  6. D. Eaton · October 20, 2014

    Wild to see this issue turn into another fight over abortion and wilder to see how the media took the Hobby Lobby case to start criticizing the gay community again. Neither oral contraceptives, emergency contraceptives, nor intrauterine devices cause abortions. Abortions aren’t the same thing as birth control, but if anything, that just goes to show the state of sexual education in the US and the power of groupthought.

    • Sarah Key · October 20, 2014

      There does seem to be a noticeable craze surrounding the pro-life vs. pro-choice division particularly. I am watching the same craze arise right now with the Amendment No. 1 legislation/vote in Tennessee. Debates are neglecting the smaller details about how the legislation could negatively affect private women’s health clinics and focusing instead on the subject of abortion. From my perspective and not to minimize the discussion’s trajectory at all, I think the legislation is a much larger issue than just the availability of abortions in the state.

  7. thecuriousbum · December 12, 2014

    Hope you’re doing all right, bud.

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