Four Good (and Not So Good) Ways to Protest the Hobby Lobby Decision

2014 704 hob swHobby Lobby in Miamisburg, Ohio (Photo: Nicholas Eckhart / Flickr)

Although there are a number of conservative groups pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the birth control mandate for corporations with religious owners, those who support the Affordable Care Act, who are concerned about the fraying line between church and state, who are worried about the rights of workers being undermined by those of corporations and who would like to see more birth control access for public health reasons aren’t nearly as pleased. Since the ruling came down, many who oppose the verdict have been searching for ways to express their unhappiness with it.

Activists have been protesting where ever they can, be it at the Capitol or online. Some of the ideas have been good, others, not so much. Here are four ideas for taking action against the Hobby Lobby decision, some obviously much better than others:

1) “Go have sex at a Hobby Lobby store!” The far right is calling Jessica Valenti “unhinged” for her tongue in cheek suggestion that those who oppose the ruling should hit the aisles and hit the sheets. Obviously, Valenti didn’t really expect people to do it in the glitter, nor did she really intend to incite teens to condom bomb the stores. The right wing took her seriously, however. “Anyway, it will be truly sad and despicable if the Guardian’s columnist actually convinces teens to throw condoms around at a Hobby Lobby. Or worse, if she convinces women to have sex inside the stores,” wrote someone at Liberty News who may be in the running for the term “unhinged” as well. “She can claim she’s joking all she wants, but the suggestion, joke or not, is ridiculous and does nothing to advance her cause in the public arena of ideas.”

2) “Burning down the stores!” While Valenti at least is a recognizable name to say represents the “radical” feminist agenda, or something like that, apparently feminists are equally represented by every single anonymous person on Twitter. Twitchy folk pulled together a number of people demanding that Hobby Lobby stores be burned down as a response to the ruling, and called them “pro-abortion advocates.” In reality, all of those accounts no longer exist. Either something was afoot and the accounts were made up just to incite a little drama, or those “activists” are going to be pretty angry they lost their accounts.

3) “Protesting and boycotting the stores themselves (yes, even religious folk).” It seems difficult for many to grasp, but those who are opposing the birth control mandate aren’t all religious people or, frankly, even most religious people. Or even more “pro-life” people. As activist Lauren Rankin pointed out on Twitter, “So we’re clear: If 99% of U.S. women have used birth control but 99% don’t ID as pro-choice, many PRO-LIFE WOMEN USE BIRTH CONTROL.” So boycotting or protesting is for everyone, not just the secular. “There are many of us Baptists, as well as other Christians, who believe that religious liberty rights are something inviolable for individuals and not for corporations,” said Dr. Bruce Powell of Faithful America, who organized a protest at Hobby Lobby headquarters in response to the ruling. “There are a lot of Christians and denominations that are opposed to what the Supreme Court has done.”

4) “Let’s see some paid parental leave.” One of the best responses so far to the Hobby Lobby decision is a demand that the corporation put its money where its mouth is. If the company really wants to ensure that they are anti-abortion in every way (even non-existent ones, like refusing to offer birth control which actually prevents pregnancy), then it needs to go whole hog when it comes to supporting their employees who are going to raise families. “Now you should provide the most fantastic, bang-up, paid and protected parental leave in the United States,” writes the Washington Post’s Petula Dvorak.”Think about it. Your craft stores can become American corporate pioneers, showcasing your Christian values by giving your more than 13,000 employees paid time off when they have children.” I think about 3 months paid for each employee, male or female, should do it.

Still upset? There are a number of things you can do now to show your anger. Contact your officials and be sure that they know that you want Congress to address this ruling and find a way to ensure contraception is still covered regardless of the “moral” pining of your boss. Contact groups like Abortion Is Healthcare to get birth control and abortion care added back in as the basic medical procedures they are. And always, always, always vote. The Senate could be deciding about birth control access next, and with this year’s election, you control who is in those seats making those decisions.