Posted by: smstrouse | July 5, 2014

Forget Hobby Lobby; How Can I Boycott SCOTUS?

hobby-lobby-justicesA lot of metaphorical ink has been spilled since the Supreme Court ruled in the Hobby Lobby case last week. Those who are outraged at the decision are calling for a boycott of the craft store chain. I’d have to drive 40 miles just to get to one of their stores. But the more I think about it, the less angry I am with Hobby Lobby. My outrage is directed at the Supreme Court (actually the 5 justices who think it’s appropriate for the government to make decisions that favor one religion over others or no religion at all) and I want to know how I can boycott them.


I know that’s a silly question. But the sentiment is real. What can we do when the highest court in the land has clearly gone off the rails? Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s 35-page dissent says it all. For example: Religious organizations exist to foster the interests of persons subscribing to the same religious faith. Not so of for-profit corporations. The distinction between a community made up of believers in the same religion and one embracing persons of diverse beliefs, clear as it is, constantly escapes the Court’s attention. One can only wonder why the Court shuts this key difference from sight.

birth-control-gumball-hobby-lobby-scotus-638x424As upset as I am about the Hobby Lobby decision, I see it as just another symptom of the dangerous turn this country has taken away from the democracy envisioned by our founders, as well as the advances made in the lives of citizens not originally covered in those founding documents, i.e. anybody who’s not a straight white man.

Consider that on Tuesday, a group of religious leaders wrote to President Obama on Tuesday asking for exemption from a pending executive order that would prohibit federal contractors from discriminating against lgbt people in hiring practices. And so it goes.

I’ve been thinking about all of this at the same time that I’m hearing about my friend who has become the target of attacks by a small group in the congregation she serves. Hearing about the tactics of this group – the lies, skullduggery and the unwillingness to hear any facts that would refute their prejudices – I had to say, “They sound just like the Tea Paanxietyrty.” The sad thing is that this kind of behavior is happening in churches throughout the country.

Here’s what I think is going on, in our church as well as the whole country. Change is happening. Power is shifting. And those who have been in power do not like that. I don’t necessarily mean power of political office; I do mean power of privilege. As soon as African-Americans, Latinos and Latinas, and women and lgbt people of all races began to claim the right to be part of the decision-making process of our culture, the anxiety level of the old structure went way up. To be fair, that’s to be expected; change does that. What is not fair when this anxiety goes unacknowledged.

Consider this definition of anxiety: an emotional state in which people feel uneasy, apprehensive or fearful. People usually feel anxiety about events they cannot control or predict, or about events that seem threatening or dangerous. There is a feeling of vulnerability. Severe anxiety can persist and become disabling.

Severe anxiety can persist and become disabling. Gee, does that sound like our government?

In the situation in my friend’s church, it is a group of fearful, anxious people who see their church changing. They don’t understand that all the good things about what a church is supposed to be will remain the same. On the other hand, they absolutely do understand that they won’t be the ones calling all the shots anymore.

The big question is how will we confront this climate of fear and anxiety crippling our institutions? Here are some thoughts:

#1  Name it for what it is
#2  Acknowledge its power
#3  Refuse to be held hostage by it
#4  Deal with it in our own psyches (nobody’s immune, so self-awareness is key)
#5  Work tirelessly for inclusion, justice and transparency
#6  Speak out against abuses of power
#7  Support leaders who understand that democracy – as well as the realm of God – is for everybody
#8  Don’t give up; live in hope
#9  Support one another because this work can get tiring
#10  Be a part of “climate change” in any way you can (iow: be the change you want to see)

Now how will I personally translate these thoughts into a response to the Hobby Lobby decision? Probably not by preaching to the choir and posting snarky cartoons about conservative Christian employers. Hobby Lobby is what Hobby Lobby is.

Accountability must lie with those who are supposed to be governing and making decisions on our behalf. So my protest, activism, vote and financial support has to be directed there in order to help bring about the change I want to see.

So – kudos to RBG! Thanks for speaking out for us. You give us courage to fight the good fight.

And fight it we will!







  1. Bravo!


  2. You are not entitled to make the rest of the world conform to your personal views. Blame Obama, he is the one that pushed through this monstrosity of a health disaster against the will of most of the people in this country. The polls still reflect a majority against it. When the midterms are over you will finally realize the cost of abusing everyone else to suit your own goals. Get used to being disappointed. When you poke a hornets nest, expect to get stung.


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