I learned about sweatshops towards the end of junior high and I remember being deeply troubled. A burgeoning activist, I decided to boycott all clothing stores that sold products made in sweatshops. A quick AOL internet search (#old) revealed that my boycott would actually be incredibly difficult — if not impossible — given that I did not have my own money, transportation or sewing skills. The boycott was abandoned. With the exception of the fair trade purchasing when I do when it’s convenient, it hasn’t reared its head since.
Boycotting Hobby Lobby, however, is easy. The first reason is that I’ve never actually laid eyes on one. Frankly, I didn’t know it existed before they took it upon themselves to save all the unborn fetuses of crafty shift-workers of America. There is only one Hobby Lobby in my hometown San Diego, and it’s about an hour’s drive from my family home. The same is true in Boston, the other American city in which I’ve dwelled. In my current home of Melbourne, Australia, there is literally not a Hobby Lobby in the hemisphere. So you see, my boycott is a bit ridiculous but also VERY MEANINGFUL, you know?
I say this because I know that a boycott can be inconvenient. As the tidal wave of shit that is the recent Supreme Court decision drifts further into the past, it will seem less important to drive an extra 10 minutes to buy your yarn. Keep reading »
Well, surprise, surprise. Not. Just days after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby — which gives business owners with “religious objections” the right to deny coverage of contraception in health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act — a group of religious leaders are now demanding that they be allowed to discriminate against LGBT people when hiring on that same basis. Fourteen religious representatives sent President Obama a letter, asking that they be exempt from a forthcoming executive order that would prohibit contractors that receive federal funding from discriminating on the basis of gender or sexual orientation. Keep reading »
Fun facts about me: My mom’s whole family is Catholic going back centuries. It’s part of our family legacy – the Veteri Ponte (shortened to Vipond) were Catholic barons in England, and depending on who was ruling and whether they were Anglicans or Protestants, we had our land granted and taken away over and over. One of my ancestors was Queen Elizabeth I’s handmaid, and apparently she was mouthy (now you know where I get it from).
Which is all to say, Catholicism is part of my identity. I was loosely raised in the Catholic church. I stopped short of getting confirmed because I didn’t want to make a promise to a god if I didn’t know that I believed in it. Later in adulthood, when I was attending a Jesuit university, I started inching further back toward it. I took classes on Catholic history and on sacramentalism, I started reading the Bible more, I grew an affinity for Graham Greene. One of my favorite novels is still The Power and the Glory, in no small part for this very twentieth-century Catholic point of view, which I still think is a beautiful way of framing Christ:
“Man was so limited: he hadn’t even the ingenuity to invent a new vice: the animals knew as much. It was for this world that Christ had died: the more evil you saw and heard about you, the greater the glory lay around the death; it was too easy to die for what was good or beautiful, for home or children or civilization–it needed a God to die for the half-hearted and the corrupt.”
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The Supreme Court ruled today [PDF] that employers with religious objections to birth control are not required to cover contraception in health insurance plans for women under the Affordable Care Act. The court ruled 5-4 in favor of Hobby Lobby, a chain of craft stores owned by evangelical Christians who oppose birth control. The Obama administration had made a variety of concessions for religious employers like churches and religious non-profits, but this ruling affects for-profit businesses. (According to Amy Howe at SCOTUSblog, this ruling will not apply to publicly held corporations, just family-owned businesses when the owners in question are clearly religious.)
Update: Keep reading »