On the day the U.S. Supreme Court was to announce its decision in the Hobby Lobby case, I sat huddled around a computer with other staff and interns of the Secular Coalition for America waiting with baited breath.
The moment finally came and our hearts sank: five male, Roman Catholic Supreme Court justices gave employers a free pass to impose their religious beliefs on their employees in denying them certain contraceptive coverage as part of their healthcare plan.
When the shock died down, my secular comrades and I put our heads together. We decided to battle it out with the Hobby Lobby craft store chain by giving them a taste of their own craft supplies. And thus #KnitABrick was born.
The #KnitABrick campaign is asking people who oppose the Supreme Court ruling to knit symbolic bricks as a cathartic expression of protest, a demonstration of solidarity among secular Americans of all stripes, and, above all, an attempt to capture the momentum we need to push Congress to uphold the battered wall that’s supposed to separate church and state in this nation. When complete, our wall will offer a striking visual impact for lawmakers, and will assist us in our lobbying efforts. The wall shows just how passionate so many Americans are about the issue.
If there is any positive consequence to this outrageous decision, it is that Americans are waking up to the reality of institutionalized religious privilege in our government. Secular, for-profit corporations can now impose religious dogma onto the earned benefits of employees, in complete disregard for the employees’ religious beliefs. The Supreme Court blew a gaping hole in the wall of separation between religion and government with this decision, and it is up to all of us to rebuild that wall.
I am encouraged and inspired by the overwhelming show of support for our shared cause, and the (proverbial) ton of bricks we have received so far. In just three weeks, we have surpassed our goal of 400 bricks to bring to the Supreme Court. At the time this was written, we had just surpassed 600 bricks, and are still going strong. Our secular craftivism even caught the attention of the Washington Post and National Review.
If you are angry about this decision and want to send a powerful message to your government, knit a brick. You can also crochet, sew, or quilt a brick. Our goal is to reach 800 to bring our wall of separation to Congress, and 1,200 to take it to the White House. We have extended the deadline to August 5. Not a crafty person? You can sponsor an Intern Brick ($10), SCA Staff Brick ($25), or a Presidential Brick ($100) knit by SCA President Amanda Metskas herself.
SCA cannot fight this battle alone. We need the vocal support of secular craftivists everywhere. We need to build a wall of separation too large to be ignored. I knitted a brick this weekend, and I am proud to say that it’s just another brick in the wall among hundreds of others representing secular Americans fighting back for true religious freedom.