Culture Institutions Politics

Hobby Lobby protesters ‘Knit a Brick’

(RNS) Did the Hobby Lobby decision make you so mad you could knit a brick?

Secular Coalition for America intern Antonio Thomas sorts through the mail and gathers knitted bricks sent by people unhappy with the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision.

RNS photo by Heather Adams

Secular Coalition for America intern Antonio Thomas sorts through the mail and gathers knitted bricks sent by people unhappy with the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision.

That’s the question behind a new protest spearheaded by the Secular Coalition for America, an umbrella advocacy organization of more than a dozen atheist and humanist groups. The coalition wants anyone upset by the Supreme Court’s ruling last month that granted corporations religious exemptions in covering women’s contraception to knit or crochet rectangles, or “bricks,” to shore up what it sees as the crumbling wall of separation between church and state.

If organizers collect 400 bricks, they will carry them to the steps of the Supreme Court. If they collect 800, they will deliver them to Congress. And if they collect 1,200, they will walk over to the White House and hand them over to President Obama’s staff.

“People tend to be impacted when they see a visual demonstration, and that is what this is,” said Lauren Anderson Youngblood, the coalition’s director of communications. “It’s a visual demonstration of people’s anger about this decision and a constructive way to show lawmakers that they have the ability to change it.”

Secular Coalition for America intern Antonio Thomas, right, and other interns keep track of where the knitted bricks sent by people unhappy with the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision are coming from.

RNS photo by Heather Adams

Secular Coalition for America intern Antonio Thomas, right, and other interns keep track of where the knitted bricks sent by people unhappy with the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision are coming from.

The “Knit a Brick” campaign, which kicked off on July 2, has been so successful that organizers have extended the deadline to receive them through the mail through Aug. 5. The bricks — each about 6 inches by 3 inches and made of red or reddish yarn – are arriving at the rate of 25 or more a day, Youngblood said. Some have reached the coalition’s office in Washington from as far away as South Korea, Japan and Switzerland.

“I am shocked at where some of these bricks are coming from,” Youngblood Anderson said. “They have been coming from places where people are not affected by this decision but are passionate enough about the implications that they are willing to knit a brick.”

Secular Coalition for America Director of Operations Austin Cooper knits a brick in her Washington, D.C. office on July 17, 2014.

RNS photo by Heather Adams

Secular Coalition for America Director of Operations Austin Cooper knits a brick in her Washington, D.C. office on July 17, 2014.

Not all the bricks are coming from atheists and humanists, either. Austin Cooper, the coalition’s director of operations, said members of her traditional Catholic family are so committed to secularism they made 19 bricks last weekend and gave them to her to bring in to the office.

“This this decision kind of united and galvanized the my family members,” Cooper said. “Religion can sometimes be a divisive issue for us, but they could see the far implications of the decision.”

Other groups have engaged in protest knitting. In 2012, “Government Free VJJ” organized people to knit pink uteruses for male lawmakers who were making laws regarding women’s contraception. “Wool Against Weapons” is a British organization that knits to protest nuclear arms factories, and Australia’s “Knitting Nannas Against Gas” rallies grandmothers (and others) to knit in protest of gas mining.

And the yarn-challenged need not fear. For a donation of between $10 and $100, a coalition staff member — from the newest intern to the group’s president  — will act as a surrogate knitter.

Of course, once the individual bricks are collected, they must be shaped into a “wall” by sewing them together — a task most knitters hate and try to avoid.

“Yeah,” Youngblood said, acknowledging the tediousness of the task, which coalition staffers will undertake. “We were looking at them yesterday and going, ‘Holy mackerel, now we are going to have to put all these together.’ But it will be worth it.”


About the author

Kimberly Winston

Kimberly Winston is a freelance religion reporter based in the San Francisco Bay Area.


Click here to post a comment

  • So cute, the socialist zealots and godless humaniods turn to crafts to express their rage! At least its a constructive and aesthetically pleasing. Make lots if pretty bricks with lace and doilies each time you cannot make religion participate in your personal choices. Soon you’ll have enough to build a wall of glam around yourselves. I know you like the idea.

  • Not one “sheeple” or “asleep”. Dammit I had almost every bingo square filled with your rant!

    Anyone who supports the Hobby Lobby decision and is not self-employed, or a civil servant, is a blithering idiot. Even if you run a corporation and support it you would be a fool.

    It means you support a corporate head treating you as property for use in his personal religious rites. It means you are so venal and dismissive of religious faith that you can assign it to a pile of filings with a local Department of State. It means you whatever protections you have to your personal assets by incorporation don’t mean anything.

  • I was mocking. Not ranting.

    So don’t be disappointed. We will fill up the card soon enough. Humanity is not nearly done with it absence of logic or morals.

  • You can’t disappoint me because I have no expectations that you are capable of a rational discussion. 🙂

  • I see two activists in the pictures. I doubt either work at HL or are in any way personally effected by the ruling.

    So if they knit 600 blocks each, they can make it look like 1200 people think enough of thr matter to care.

    Or, they could just save the effort and their fingers and realize the honest solution actual HL workers already knoe. Buy their own darn contraceptives with the money they get from their jobs. Keep the decision to themselves and keep that freedom and the responsability.

  • Thanks for telling everyone how frightened you are that Americans are speaking out against the outrageous Supreme Court ruling, Lies.

  • “realize the honest solution actual HL workers already knoe”

    Repeal the RFRA.

    “Buy their own darn contraceptives with the money they get from their jobs.”

    Which they were trying to do using their medical benefits. Which is compensation for work performed at their jobs.

    Lles why do you have to lie to get your point across?

  • You don’t really expect Lies to admit openly he’s trying to overthrow the United States Constitution and set up his minister as the Dictator, do you, Larry?

  • Buy private insurance that provides the preferred method of death delivery to your conveniently termed fetus. Demanding a christian do it for you is just wierd.

  • Why buy something extra one when is entitled to by the terms of employment and insurance law?

    “Demanding a christian do it for you is just wierd.”

    Calling a corporation Christian is just stupid. But there you go.

    Somehow a pile of state government filings is somehow Christian. You really have no respect for the Christian faith if you can assign it willy nilly to things which are described as legal fictions.

    What is next baptizing your toaster?

  • The Green family own the company. Its their personal asset. So…they get to decide what plans the asset can afford. Employees do not and are free to choose employment elsewhere. If they don’t like it, they can work somewhere else. Bottom line…capitalism has worked for a very long time where the interests of the owners of the asset determine its management. If you want employees to do that cause you need to defend their right to be promiscuous….well, maybe your a closet socialist and sex obsessed. I dunno.

  • Larry, your grasp of constitutional precepts as envisaged by the founders is minimal at best. Your arguments are always full of logical fallacies, and as for ‘rational,’ your rants are the most irrational I’ve ever seen, typically on on the level of ‘Liar ,Liar, pants on fire.’ In fact, every time you open your mouth you subtract from the sum of human knowledge.

  • You do not understand what incorporation is for. It is separate and apart frm Mr. Green’s personal interests and liabilities. At will employment is not an excuse for avoiding compliance with labor laws. A corporation cannot have religious belief, a company is not its owner.
    If he sels hobby lobby, it does not require a priest to convert it to a new faith.

    Gaming the system for personal aggrandizement with no financial motive is not capitalism. You have no idea what socialism is.

    You are an ignorant fool. I am not the one trying to controll the actions of female reproduction.

  • Your opinion is worthless unless you can show that you have a compelling counter argument. Obviously you do not, hence the personal attack.

    Fact of the matter is, lying is a standard method employed by fundamentalists. Not enough people. Call them out on it.

  • Well, at least your ignorance is total. You don’t understand how far a Supreme Court decision can reach or how the HL-prohibited contraceptives work. (Here’s a hint: if you think it’s killing a fetus, you should do more research)

  • Your counter arguments are never compelling, facts and logic are a total waste of time with you, so there’s no point in resorting to them, plus personal invective is your stock in in trade, what comes around goes around, basically I’m just laughing at you, so I will continue to mock you for the fun of it, your best defense would be to ignore me, maybe I’ll go away.

  • It’s killing human life plain and simple. I guess you are gonna debate what the word “is” means now.

  • So you are just flinging poo for its own sake like a diuretic chimpanzee. No details as to the alleged flaws in my statements or correcting any misapprehension of fact I might have made. So do you have a point to make on the subject? Obviously not.

  • @Frank,

    You are opposed to killing human life?
    But Christian, why start now?

    “Execute them” – Jesus (Luke 19:27)

  • @Joe Mac,


    Women will die of endometrial illnesses because a simple medicine was available but forbidden because of somebody ELSE’S religion.
    YES! in AMERICA!

    Christians will screech “serves those women right”!
    But the same Christians won’t understand that endometrial disease is not abortion and the poor women will die for no good reason.

    If we cannot stop the relentless Christian Fascist Taliban
    by arguing for sanity and reason
    We must confront the foolishness
    of religion at its most basic level.

    It is foolish and destructive to civilization to believe in:

    Jesus miracles
    The Bible,
    The resurrection,
    Any God claims

    We are in danger of losing every freedom in America
    for the sake of a few rich Christians who can afford to take over the government – and that is what they are working towards.

    Beware the Christian Oligarchy.

  • Yup…Another Atheist here.
    And yes the wall is crumbling. I don’t find it humorous at all and if you knew some history you might not like it much either. Do you really want us to push our humanism on you? Then We could outlaw Christian stuff in the name of our religion and you would not be able to do anything to stop us except have a war. Is separation of church and state really what you want? really?
    are you even listening? dumb ideas tend to rise up.

  • Of course Atheism isn’t a religion but “humanism’ could be made into a religion (I would not support it) but my point is to say the wall of separation should be respected for all people.

  • Hi Doggy-nees
    “constitutional precepts”?….um…..”as envisaged by the founders”..
    You know the constitution is atheist as in (godless) right?

  • Deal with it? If your employer decided that all male employees must have a vasectomy, how would you “deal with it”?

    That’s right, running to mommy… Whom, by the way, isn’t allowed to choose according to our government.

  • No one is stopping anyone from choosing anything. The level of ignorance around this issue is astounding.