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At the Intersection of Hobbies and Personal Beliefs, Belief Prevails on Both Sides

By November 30, 2012

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By now you may have seen posts on Facebook describing the involvement of Hobby Lobby in a lawsuit fighting the provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

The company's founder, David Green, publicly shared a letter in which he expressed that he doesn't want to pay for contraceptive coverage such as the morning after pill because he believes they can cause abortions. They don't. They prevent pregnancy, but his public letter states that they can cause abortion and it's another example of a public individual with his own agenda spreading misinformation to make his case.

He justifies his point by saying, "We're Christians, and we run our business on Christian principles....We believe that it is by God's grace that Hobby Lobby has endured, and he has blessed us and our employees." So because he's a Christian man running a Christian business, he wants to be exempt from these provisions.

As Kerri, the blogger behind Damn You, Little Rock writes:

I take issue with a for-profit company claiming any religion. Are the stocks baptized? Do the bonds take communion? Are all employees screened with a religion test? How do they judge another person's heart? It's just absurd on its face.

A number of us feel as Kerri does. There's a group on Facebook calling for a boycott of Hobby Lobby.

However, I don't need to join a group to know that shopping in a store that works against the best interests of women hurts me and every woman I know.

David Green and Hobby Lobby can do as they want, and so can I. On Hobby Lobby's Facebook wall, I explained why I came to the decision to spend my money elsewhere:

I am an avid crafter and have been known to spend thousand of dollars a year on crafts, easily. I don't smoke, drink, or gamble -- instead, I put all that money into crafts.

For two years I used to drive 20 miles every week to a Hobby Lobby with my coupon in hand and make a pleasant morning of it shopping your store. When one opened up down the street from me, less than two miles away and a quarter of the distance from the nearest Jo-Ann's or Michael's or A.C. Moore, I was in heaven.

But those days are over.

I'm deeply saddened to see your involvement in a lawsuit attempting to block the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, which offers 8 very important preventive care services to women, services which were recommended by the Institute of Medicine and which include domestic violence screening and breast feeding support.

And I'm not alone.

In the blogosphere you are taking a huge hit for your actions. Many of us understand why religious institutions and universities would beg off, but you are a private business and a for-profit entity. You have the right to act as you see fit, but I have the right to express my dismay by no longer shopping at your store.

I've stopped shopping at Walmart because their low prices are made off the backs of their underpaid, poorly treated workers; this was made clear to me after reading Barbara Ehrenreich's "Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting By in America."

Sure, it pains me to pass up your lovely items, many of which are not carried by your competitors.

But it pains me more that you believe your own personal beliefs can dictate public policy for an entire nation. That smacks of hubris, and as someone who has family members from a variety of spiritual backgrounds including Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism and Judaism, I've learned that faith comes in diverse forms and the most respectful observance of faith does not dictate how others live but acknowledges that differences exist.

Unless there's a public about-face on Hobby Lobby's stance on the Affordable Care Act, contraception and LGBT rights, I am not going to shop at any of your stores ever again. You will lose thousands of dollars from me and millions of dollars judging from the outcry I'm seeing online, but the rest of us will gain self-respect.

My hobbies should not fund businesses that work at cross-purposes to my best interests and those of other women, especially the least-advantaged among us. And they no longer will.

Comments

November 30, 2012 at 8:41 pm
(1) Robert Hanley says:

Linda,

Honestly, I usually avoid the About.com articles thanks to their signature banality. However, the story you conveyed above – a human story – about standing up to an ideologist in Capitalist clothing has made me a fan.

Cheers!

December 1, 2012 at 12:32 am
(2) womensissues says:

Robert, thank you. I appreciate your comments more than I can express but what I value most is that you are an ally. Women cannot fight this alone, and for every man who stands up declaring his good Christian values there are quiet men like you who believe in human values and compassion. I didn’t pen the above with hatred, but with the full understanding that this street runs in both directions. Unless he’s selling water in the middle of the desert, he is not immune to public opinion when it hits him in the cash register.

Claire McCaskill is in the Senate because Todd Akin stuck his foot in his mouth. Every “rape comment” Republican lost his bid for office. I wonder how many times a righteous man convinced his opinions are unassailable has to go down in flames before a certain segment of society understands that their words are not sermons delivered on the mount but subject to public scrutiny and — in many cases — a very real backlash.

I tend to keep my religious beliefs to myself unless provoked. I was provoked. I’m grateful to find the first comment here a positive show of support rather than a negative one questioning my credentials and calling me a hack. I get a lot of those. I appreciate your taking the time to comment.

December 10, 2012 at 2:16 pm
(3) seafoodie says:

there seems to be a part that was missed in all of this. Which is really at the bottom of the problem. Mr. Green wants to know why other large businesses are ALLOWED to OPT-OUT of the coverage he objects to, but he can not!! So, is it alright to shop at large busniesses that do not have to offer the coverage, but you won’t shop at Hobby Lobby because they feel they should get the same consideration??
Think people. In the grand plan, this so called women’s care is a drop in the bucket. Most of hte women you are trying to “protect” are on medicaid anyway and do not fall under the this coverage.
This HAS becoem, because of goernment meddling, a reglious affair. it never had to be.
Remember how the ACLU screams bloody murder when a prayer is offered at a school game?? This really does fall under the “rule” of seperation of church and state. This time the state needs to back off!
It is the employees choice. If they don’t like it they can work elsewhere.

January 9, 2013 at 8:36 am
(4) John says:

Your article is very biased and full of disinformation. To tell people that RU486 does not cause abortions is a lie. That is its main purpose and it accounts for almost 25% of abortions in the US. Perhaps you do not believe that human life begins at conception, but that does not make RU486 a contraceptive rather than an abortion actuator. You can’t define away the truth.

January 9, 2013 at 3:43 pm
(5) womensissues says:

John, *you* are the one who is biased and putting out disinformation. Get your facts straight before you spout an opinion based on ignorance.

RU486 is a completely different drug from the morning after pill, and nothing in the article above mentions RU486. That is NOT the issue and that is NOT part of Obamacare. Obamacare does not cover RU486 and is not part of this debate. RU486 is not contraception.

The fact that you don’t know the difference between the two weakens your argument. If this were a presidential debate fact-checkers would be all over your statement. You may have an opinion, but it’s based on wrong information and false facts.

The two pills are distinctly different — RU486 is Mifepristone which causes abortions and is also known as the abortion pill — whereas the morning after pill is emergency contraception and does not cause abortion and is a completely different pharmaceutical product.

Emergency contraception (also known as Plan B and other names) is available over the counter, whereas RU486 is prescribed by a doctor and administered only by a doctor or medical facility.

Don’t believe me? Read this from the Office of Population Research at Princeton University which contains a link to a PDF of a comprehensive academic review of emergency contraception. This is not a biased site from the pro-choice contingent but a respected Ivy League institution, so you should be able to accept their findings as fact.

To paraphrase your final point, you can’t lie away the truth. The morning after pill works by preventing ovulation and fertilization. It is NOT an abortion pill but emergency contraception.

It’s worth repeating: get the facts straight.

January 28, 2013 at 10:57 am
(6) Penster47 says:

Nevertheless, as Christians, we have the right to our beliefs, just as you nonbelievers do. We have the right to be against any type of medication that ends the formation of a fetus. By “the morning after”, if a woman has ovulated, the sperm has already reached the egg and fertilization has occurred. That means that life has started. No one makes the Catholics support contraceptives, so why should anyone else be forced to?

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