These Beans Come With Right Wing Christian Ideology

An organic food company that has never been shy to tout a liberal-leaning message about its “righteous whole grain” and how organic agriculture is “society’s brightest hope for positive change” (pdf) is campaigning for a very different cause. The company, Eden Organic Foods, is seeking to prevent its employees from using their earned insurance benefits to cover contraception. On March 20, Eden Foods filed suit against the Obama administration for an exemption against the Affordable Care Act’s mandate to cover contraception for its employees.

In the suit, Eden Foods (which is being represented by the Thomas More Center, a conservative Christian law firm based in Michigan) contends that birth control “almost always involve[s] immoral and unnatural practices.” Eden also asserts that “Plan B and Ella can cause the death of the embryo, which is a person.” (As Iris Carman writes in Slate, “studies show that neither Plan B nor Ella interfere with fertilization,” which Catholic teaching defines the beginning of life.)

Eden Foods’ support for what Amanda Marcotte on Pandagon calls “paleoconservative politics” more often associated with right-wing religious leaders might seem surprising to its many liberal customers. The company’s promotional literature talks about “revolution” and its lawsuit says that its “products, methods, and accomplishments are described by critics as: tasteful, nutritious, wholesome, principled, unrivaled, nurturing, pure.” With the company’s new suit, CEO Michael Potter (a prominent voice in debates about the labeling of organic foods and of GMOs) is seeking “another form of purity in support of for his 128 employees.”

In emphasizing the purity of its products, Eden is not just promoting a message about what’s good for people’s health and for the planet, but what’s “good” in a moral sense. Why engage in non-procreative sex when you could just practice abstinence, keep yourself “pure” and avoid any moral contamination? “For all the good stuff in the organic food movement, there’s also a sector of people that get into it that have strong reactionary tendencies,” Marcotte writes, highlighting that, for more than a few, the organic food movement, is not based solely in environmental concerns but in ideological beliefs.

Similar arguments have been used by anti-vaccine proponents, who argue that the prick of a vaccine injures and violates the very sanctity of their “innocent” children. More than a few have sought out “treatments” from practitioners of alternative medicine, whose treatments can include a diet based on organic foods and free of wheat, dairy and other substances.

Eden Foods is hardly the only organic products company run by someone with “conservative Christian obsessions.” As Marcotte notes, the company’s very name invokes nothing less than humans in their Garden of Eden prelapsarian state. Promised Land Dairy also quietly points to its owner’s religious belief and conservative agenda; this company is run by someone who “has financed Rick Perry through his entire career,” Marcotte writes.

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey has “publicly campaigned against the Affordable Care Act, including recently referring to it as ‘fascism.’” In Germany, far-right extremists have been seeking to infiltrate that country’s eco-movement, long the preserve of its decidedly left-leaning Greens.

When it comes to products said to be “pure” and free from the evils of modern society’s chemicals, we need to scrutinize more than just the ingredients on the labels.


Related Care2 Coverage

Eco-Movement Infiltrated By Right-Wing Extremists in Germany

House Republicans Promise to Save Country From the Pill

Fat? Michelin Will Cut Your Pay — and Others Might Follow Suit


Photo: artizone/flickr


Jim Ven
Jim Ven10 months ago

thanks for sharing.

Jane H.
Jane H4 years ago

No more Eden foods for me, but I can't live without Whole Foods!

John Hablinski
John Hablinski4 years ago

@Sarah H. Since the end of WWII when companies began offering insurance it has been considered a component of an Employee’s Compensation Package. The owner of Eden can, again, be as prejudiced as he wishes to be at church on Sunday, but his business, like every other is subject to the laws of the land. He can either follow those laws or he can shut it down. He has no other choice.

John Hablinski
John Hablinski4 years ago

@Sarah H, The US was NOT founded on Christian values. The founders went out of their way to insure the nation was NOT Christian. Of those considered to be founders, Adams, Franklin, Hamilton, Jay, Jefferson Madison & Washington, only John Jay claimed Christianity. The others were Deist. You may not like the truth but you can’t change it.

Dennis D.
Dennis D4 years ago

Sarah H. **Sigh** no it wasn't. it was based on a secular idea. That all people are equal. That no religion will be recognized as an official one.

The founding fathers were free thinkers and Deists. They wanted to avoid the nonsense of religious wars that had plagued Europe for centuries. To do that they knew that no religion should have preference over another in the public square.

Marianne Good
Past Member 4 years ago


Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown4 years ago

We are NOT a Christian country and if the religious employers doesn't like our laws they can leave the country and start a business in some theocratic country.

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill4 years ago

This country was founded on Christian values.

If you don't like the insurance the company provides, get a job somewhere else.

marc horton
marc horton4 years ago

i will not be buying any of there products! f'them brainwashed zombie haters

John Hablinski
John Hablinski4 years ago

They want so desperately to rewrite history and turn the US into a Christian nation. It isn’t that they don’t know the truth or can’t find the truth, they just oppose the truth.