So currently I live in a podunk town in the midwest, and there are not a lot of shopping options around here, for anything, much less art supplies. Thank goddess for the internet, because I’d be screwed. But in any case, from time to time over the years I’ve dropped by the local Hobby Lobby for random things. We have a huge Hobby Lobby here, and while I guess about 80% of it is pure useless junk, every now and then I find something I need.
Now I’ve known from the moment I moved here that they are a “Christian” company— after all, corporations are people now, right? So a company can be a “Christian”. One way I’ve come to know this is by the fact that the moment you arrive at the door you are hailed by a sign explaining they are closed on Sundays for religious reasons— that’s a hint— and then you go in and are immediately assailed with all kinds of Christiany literature in the store entry, and THEN as you continue to shop, you notice the insipid music playing throughout the store is relentlessly hymnal and religious.
Here’s the thing. I am not a Christian, but because I don’t care if other people are or not, it doesn’t bother me that Hobby Lobby is on full proselytizing display as a “Christian” company. If I really had a problem with it, I wouldn’t go there. It’s not like they don’t basically greet you at the door with a sign making a statement of, kind of, faith. Do I think this is appropriate? Not really. If you are selling religious items it would be, but you’re a craft store, Hobby Lobby. However by and large it didn’t matter to me, because I’m generally tolerant, until someone crosses a line.
Which is what Hobby Lobby did this week, in filing suit to try to stop the new Healthcare Law proviso that requires health insurance companies to make birth control and other care pertaining to a woman’s health affordable and accessible. Why does Hobby Lobby care? They claim their religious rights are being violated, because as employers they will be picking up some of the health insurance costs, and they “don’t believe in birth control”. Well, actually they said “abortion”, because now we’re supposed to believe that birth control and abortion are the same thing. Technically it’s true, abortion is a form of birth control, but that isn’t what is covered under the Obamacare Law anyway. If you need an abortion and can still find a clinic that’ll give you one, you’re on your own, ladies. But back to Hobby Lobby and “the Green family”, who are the owners.
Never mind that, (a) this is between the employee and the health insurance company and has nothing to do with the employer, technically, or (b) that there is nothing in the Bible about birth control with the lone exception of a moment in which God loses his temper because a dude pulls out of his dead brother’s wife during sex and God disapproves of him spilling his seed instead of knocking her up and strikes the dude dead— which oddly has nothing to do with birth control, even in that context, it has to do with a dude being so petty as to deny his own dead brother his legal claim to his generations, you can read all about it if you care to slog through Genesis, have fun, or (c) birth control is not a religious issue because there’s nothing about it in the Bible, period. I know. You’d think there was, with all the fuss being made, but seriously, nothing in the Bible. Nothing about abortion either. In fact, in another episode, which you can read if you care to slog through the Chronicles of the Kings, God strikes a newly born baby dead, because King David had a dude killed so he could carry off the widow, who clearly asked for it by having the temerity to take a bath on her rooftop, where lots of people used to take baths, by the way, he just happened to notice her. So David grabs the widow for his own, knocks her up, and God decides infanticide is clearly the correct punishment for this sin. Which makes perfect sense.
Or, you know. Not.
But I digress. So I happened to be trolling around my mainly unused Twitter account and came upon the Hobby Lobby story, and I had two reactions.
1) Fuck you you fucking fuckwads. Here more than 50% of your employees are female (and in our local branch I’d guess about 70%, perhaps?) and I’m willing to bet 80% of your CUSTOMERS are female too, and you don’t think we are fully evolved humans who can decide for ourselves if and when we should have families? In fact you think you can dictate the terms under which we can have sex, because if you think we don’t deserve control over pregnancy, you can try to control the terms of sexual freedom. That’s the actual root, by the way, of all of this nonsense about birth control and abortion, for those of you who wonder why these creepy patriarchal religions who obviously don’t care about women and babies and children at all want to make sure women get knocked up. Because the threat of unwanted pregnancy is the classic way in which women are brought to heel, like good little bitches. You can see this attitude reflected in the comments section of sites posting this story, where goody two-shoes who haven’t received the memo that 98% of American women use contraception at some point in their lives, say things like: Well if you’d take responsibility BEFORE you got pregnant, by KEEPING YOUR LEGS TOGETHER, or, another favorite, if you were responsible in the first place you wouldn’t have to WORRY ABOUT BEING PREGNANT— failing to notice that birth control and abortion both resolve that problem. So what are they really saying? They are saying they have the God-given right to control the sexual behavior of all womankind, and the threat of unwanted pregnancy is a weapon in their war. They don’t give a shit about babies. They don’t give a shit about children. They don’t give a shit about motherhood. They prove this in every single one of their other political actions and views, on war, capital punishment, charity, maternity leave, education, the living wage, gender equality, etc.
No. They just want to control me. Personally. Hobby Lobby, a corporation, is claiming the right to control the sex life of me, a female customer. They think they are talking about their employees, but actually they are talking about all women everywhere, which is why they can fuck themselves.
2) But my second reaction was, interestingly, this: back when I WAS a Christian, and I was, scary to say, I would have considered this action the very worst possible witness for their faith. When you are a bad witness, when you align yourself with politics and not principles, when you try to use religion as a cloak for your disregard for half the population, you are not representing Jesus Christ. You are representing the same thing your kind of person always represents, and it doesn’t matter if you are Hobby Lobby or the Taliban. Oh, you think that’s an extreme comparison? How do you think these kinds of movements start? They start like this, like a thief in the night, under cover of religion and righteousness and trying to keep the women, first, safe, and then decent, and then under control because as Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell or one of those bastards once said, if you give women an inch, next thing you know they’ll be having abortions and practicing witchcraft and becoming lesbians, and we mustn’t have that, oh no, all of society will collapse.
You are a terrible witness for your alleged faith, Hobby Lobby. I know people like you don’t care, which also makes you a terrible witness. I know you read only the parts of the Bible which please you, much as the infamous Chik-Filet Homophobes did in displaying their ignorance and hatred for all the world to see. Maybe your business will prosper. You’ll think it has something to do with God blessing you, because you haven’t read the book of Ecclesiastes. Many women will, as women have been wont to for the last several hundred years, act against their own self interest and continue to shop at your stores. Many of your employees will privately do whatever they have to do to continue to live their godless, hedonistic, free lives without getting knocked up. Many of your employees will have abortions. Because guess what? Many women do.
And if you think your business will suffer no consequences just because one person in the midwest ceases doing business with you, and if you think if you do suffer consequences you are just being persecuted, it doesn’t really matter. Because your actions change nothing when it comes to women doing what we have always had to do, which is work around patriarchal bullshit like the kind you dish out, and meanwhile if there is a god who even remotely resembles Jesus Christ, he’s just looking at you and thinking Well.
That was not helpful.