photo by Sheri Dixon

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Dear Hobby Lobby...

I confess. I went into Hobby Lobby recently. I used to go all the time, before Michael's moved into the strip mall that's closer to where I work. I remember that Hobby Lobby and Michael's were essentially the same store.

Maybe I'm seeing things through different eyes now, but I don't remember HL being quite so in your face Christian before.

Walk into Michael's and it's...craft stuff, home decor, art supplies. Sure, in the home decor area there's stuff with crosses on it and sure in the picture frame area there's frames that say whoever's photo you stuff into it is a blessing to you somehow, but that's normal- especially here in the Bible Belt.

Hobby Lobby?

Holy shit. Really- the entire store is nothing but holy shit.

It was everywhere. I could literally not swing a cat without hitting something with the word 'Jesus' on it.

*And lemme tell you for the record- neither the cat nor store security considered that a valid measure, but it's a measure that's always served me well so I'm sticking to it.

Seriously, ya'll. Not only in home decor, but every single aisle had something bible-related prominently displayed. Every single center-of-the-big-aisles island was mounded up like it had been burped straight from the bowels of the Sea of Scripture- one little craggy atoll of religiosity after another from stem to stern the entire length and breadth of the store.

If I hadn't needed a cupcake pan for my snacks class in our secular, non-Christian liberal-lovin' co-op I would've walked right out.

Not because I'm allergic to Jesus (I'm sure those hives came from something in the air...) but because of their whiny-ass complaining (all the way to the Supreme Court) that they don't want to provide reproductive health care for their female employees under that mean ol' healthcare bill.

Specifically this- (from their own Wikipedia page) "In September 2012, Hobby Lobby sued the United States over new regulations requiring health insurance provided by employers to cover emergency contraceptives, stating that, "The Green family's religious beliefs forbid them from participating in, providing access to, paying for, training others to engage in, or otherwise supporting abortion-causing drugs and devices."

What they're talking about is stuff like 'the morning after' pill- that flushes out a woman's uterus BEFORE THE EGG CAN BE FERTILIZED. So...not an 'abortion-causing drug or device', just something they think is icky and might encourage 'loose behavior'.

I can see that. I can see where a corporate person (because they're ALL PERSONS NOW thanks to Citizens United) would live such a godly and upstanding life that they'd never, ever EVER be in a position to need something as tawdry as a morning-after pill.

Nothing they'd ever have to walk back on and think, "That was probably not my best life choice."

Wait. Lower down on their Wiki page is this (italics from the page, bold is mine)-

"In September 2013, a shopper reported being told by an employee of the store in Marlboro, New Jersey, it did not carry merchandise celebrating Jewish holidays. While the store carried Christmas items, they did not carry items related to bar mitzvah, Hanukkah, or Passover. The store employee told the shopper that these items were not sold, due to the owner's Christian values. In response, Hobby Lobby apologized for the employee's comments, stating that it has carried Jewish holiday items in the past, and would do so in test areas beginning in November 2013."

'Test areas'? What are they testing? To see if people who dive into Hobby Lobby for a full-on Jesus immersion would be offended by a section celebrating some OTHER religion?

Oy Vey.

Dear Hobby Lobby,

It's me- the old heathen hippie who darkened your pristine doorstep to purchase a cupcake pan for use in a totally secular home school co-op. We meet in a Unitarian Church, but I know that counts for nothing in your holy book. Because there are books on ALL religions, spiritual beliefs AND SCIENCE on the bookshelves of that church and you need only the one book. Whatever.

I just wanted you to know that I won't be back.

Oh, I could stand the almost total scriptural suffocation suffered from every shelf of your store...although you may consider changing your name to "Hobby Lobby Christian Craft Store"- that would both bring your flock flocking in even more fervently as well as warn us sinners to maybe not wear our pentagrams on the day we go to Hobby Lobby. Maybe.

I just can't abide the hypocrisy.

See, everywhere I read something about you, the one thing that's stressed when you're being small-minded bigots is that you're doing it out of the goodness of your Christian Values.

Now, I grew up Lutheran which I know is not considered a 'real' Christian religion down here, but we were taught that Jesus Christ (where the word 'Christian' comes from in case you forgot that) was pretty big on forgiveness and charity and compassion...all those words today's real corporate and political Christians think are 'weak and sinful'. He was big on loving humans- all of us imperfect messed-up carbon-based creatures who slog through life doing the best we can most of the time. He was huge on second chances and not a big fan of hypocritical assholes, especially those who chose to judge other people.

I don't think Jesus would approve of your Christian Values.

So you've gone all the way to the Supreme Court to defend your (defenseless) 'right' to not provide the morning after pill to your female employees. What, exactly does that save you? Pennies? Percentages of pennies? What is it costing you? Millions? More than millions?

Here's the thing, Hobby Lobby. You're not a church. You're a public business. You may have a Christian owner, but you're not a Christian entity. Sort of like the US is not a Christian nation, but it has a majority of Christian people. An ever-shrinking majority thanks to shenanigans like this.

Your employees might not all be Christians. Because siphoning your employment pool to only include one Faith is illegal as hell. Maybe I'll go apply at Hobby Lobby. I'd love to see what your interview process is like...

As a public company, you may not force your religious beliefs on your employees. May not.

So here's what I suggest. I suggest you take that millions of dollars you're willing to spend on a non-defensible and totally reprehensible stand and do something good with it. Put it towards school programs that actually TEACH the birds and the bees and not just 'don't do that', so that young people won't have just old-wives tales about when you can and can't have sex to not get pregnant.

Saying you 'love the sinner but hate the sin' has a lot more meaning when your boots-on-the-ground includes education beforehand rather than focusing on punishment afterwards.

Spending millions of dollars to prove how godly you by denying your employees legally available (and NOT ABORTION-INDUCING) health care seems more than a little assholish to me when it could be spent in many more...Christian endeavors.

What WOULD Jesus do?


Sheri Dixon

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

You Learn Something New Every Day

Today was the primary election here in Texas, and it went about how it always goes for me.

The primaries are 'straight party' elections, so you choose to vote R or D. Here in East Texas, they used a potted palm to sit in the chair of the D side until I moved here, and now they need a real person to do it. She brings her knitting and waits for me to get there, then she can go home. I am mostly not kidding.

It was a philodendron.

I admit to not really paying much attention to the other stuff. The stuff at the end of all the names you can vote for. The propositions. I just always assumed they were the same for both parties. Turns out, they're not.

The propositions at the end of the names you can vote for are chosen by each party as things that they want to put forward in the general election in November. Shit that's really important to them.

Lets look at them here and you'll get a pretty good idea about Texas politics. Everything from here on in and in italics is typed directly off of the news reports and not my own wittily embellished stylings.


ON IMMIGRATION REFORM- The United States Congress must pass immigration reform; including an earned path to citizenship for those individuals contributing to the economy and the dependents of those individuals. 86% for/13% against

A LIVING WAGE FOR ALL TEXANS- Congress should pass legislation raising the federal minimum wage to at least 110% of the federal poverty level for a family of four without exception. 90% for/9% against

MEDICAID EXPANSION- The governor and the Texas legislature should accept federal funds; as provided in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010; for the expansion of Medicaid to provide coverage to millions of uninsured and underinsured Texans. 89% for/10% against

NON-DISCRIMINATION LEGISLATION- The Congress and the Texas Legislature should adopt legislation that expands protections against discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations based upon sexual orientation and gender identity. 88% for/11% against.


RELIGIOUS FREEDOM- Texans should be free to express their religious beliefs, including prayer, in public places. 97% for/2% against

SECOND AMENDMENT- Texas should support Second Amendment liberties by expanding locations where concealed handgun license-holders may legally carry. 86% for/13% against

FRANCHISE TAX- Texas should abolish the state franchise tax, also known as the margins tax, to encourage business growth. 88% for/11% against

WELFARE REFORM- Texas recipients of taxpayer-funded public assistance should be subject to random drug testing as a condition of receiving benefits 95% for/5% against

NO LAWMAKER EXCEPTION- All elected officials and their staff should be subject to the same laws, rules, regulations and ordinances as their constituents 99% for/1% against

OBAMACARE- The Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare", should be repealed. 93% for/6% against

Alrighty, then. Lets recap, using only the actual propositions and not my interjected interpretations.

Texas Democrats are for immigration reform, a living wage, the FREE Medicaid expansion that would insure millions more Texans and non-discrimination.

Texas Republicans are for public prayer(I'm sure that includes Muslims), MORE GUNS, less taxes on the rich, drug testing the poor to punish them as much as possible, (actually- the NO LAWMAKER EXCEPTION one is ridiculous- they already have to abide by the same rules we do, ya morons but I LOVE that the 99% actually did outvote the 1% on this one) and to repeal Obamacare...which isn't even the name of the damn thing so as far as I'm concerned- you want to literally repeal OBAMACARE??? Repeal away, idiots!

What a bunch of short-sighted, small-minded selfish assholes.