One of the things that make the Holly Lobby decision so frustrating is that there appeared to be little the left can do in the short term. Boycotting Hobby Lobby is great, and I fully support all who do so, but in truth, shopping in one of their stores is something I would never have done anyway. On the other hand, we can put a dent in the finances of Eden foods, because so many activists are also into organic foods. They certainly deserve it.
Yesterday on my public Facebook page, I began following the story of Eden Foods (this is a good place to start), an organic food company whose products are beloved by many friends, especially my vegetarian and vegan friends (they make beans and soy milk, among other products).
In 2013, the company and their chairman and sole shareholder, Michael Potter, sued the federal government for the right to deny contraceptive coverage to their employees. Here’s the court filing.
The plaintiffs, Eden Foods, Inc., and Michael Potter, appeal from a denial of their request for a preliminary injunction that would forbid federal agencies from enforcing that mandate against them. They contend that offering such contraceptive services to the employees of Eden Foods would substantially burden the plaintiffs’ religious beliefs.
Potter refers to contraceptives as "lifestyle drugs. [pseudo-Christians delinked]" He has compared buying birth-control pills to Jack Daniels. He believes that "Obama’s in your bedroom" and that he a defender of freedom, and has also characterized Obama as a dictator. Moreover, he actually can’t identify which religious principle in particular leads him to object to providing birth control.
Two things interest me here. First, I have my doubts whether an organic food company can survive a boycott from progressives. Whole Foods has managed to be an anti-union corporation with CEO who likes to go on Obama-is-a-fascist rants (speaking as a historian, this is not what fascism looks like) and yet still thrive. I rarely shop there, but they seem to do alright, in part by providing the only option for high-quality insanely-expensive fancy foods in many area. Eden Foods has to compete with other, less offensive (in public anyway. EDIT: I assume few CEOs share my values), brands.
Second, I am always interested in the way that white wealthy Christians present themselves as victims (my public writing is coordinated under the general heading of "language, power, and privilege."). There is power in simultaneously claiming righteous might while also under assault by powerful and nefarious forces. It’s an old rhetorical move and remains widely spread among the American Christian right (see my CNN.com piece on Sarah Palin at the NRA). In response to the outrage at their position, Eden Foods has gone on the defensive-offense… [emphasis added]
Inserted from <Daily Kos>
In a separate article, Daily Kos has a petition to the CEO of Eden Foods. It threatens a boycott, so it’s certainly worth signing. But this isn’t the first time this company has ventured into the arena of Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christian attempts to violated the rights of others to impose their own dogma. I went to their own store locator and found six local businesses that carry their products. I called them and have spoken with the managers of five. One knew about this, and said the owners are making a decision on whether to stop selling Eden. The other four did not even know about Eden’s involvement. Two did not care, one said he would discuss the matter with the owners, and one was very angry that Eden would do such a thing. She said that, if the owners would not pull Eden’s plug, she would advise her customers to choose different brands.
That’s what one tired old man can do. Imagine what thousands of really pissed-off women could accomplish.