I may be a political junkie, but I confess there are times when I sit at my computer and pinch myself just to make sure I’m actually awake and not in the middle of some GOP-induced nightmare. (Okay, so I know we’ve all been in one since 2010.) Hell, I’m constantly amazed that we’re still worrying about the fact that the GOP wants to overturn Roe v. Wade, but the fact that we are now discussing contraception in 2012 is simply mind-boggling. The last time I looked, we had about 50 million people without healthcare, 14 million people out of work, and millions losing their homes. And we’re sitting around discussing whether or not contraception should be covered in the health care plan? Are you kidding me?
We could tattoo “It’s the economy, stupid” on our foreheads and parade around the Capitol, but that wouldn’t matter. We could stand in front of John Boehner and hold a sign reading, “We need you to fix our economic problems,” but all we’d get is that deer-in-the-headlight look he’s famous for. We’re discussing contraception because the GOP is basically owned and operated by the Christian right (and let’s add the Catholics and Mormons) and know they couldn’t win an election without pandering to them. Now, I’m not saying that the GOP doesn’t share this twisted 1960s ideology. They do. It’s pretty clear they don’t have much use for women…unless they’re pregnant, chained to the stove, complacent and stupid. But for the GOP, it’s less about religion and God than it is about power. You know, oppressing many for the benefit of the few. (People of color, homosexuals and the elderly are some of their other favorite targets.) The saying goes that politics makes strange bedfellows. This issue is living proof, because the politicians that the churches (and I’m talking about all churches here) back for public office are anything but moral.
Now, not only are we discussing a topic that should well be put to rest here in 2012, but Darrell Issa, the Chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, convened a meeting on what is being called ‘religious freedom’ this past Thursday where the President’s contraception mandate was discussed. The panel discussing the topic of what the women of America can and cannot do to their bodies was all male. No women were invited to testify. (There were two on the second panel but, frankly, that isn’t enough when the issue is women’s health care.) Issa made sure to have a panel of clergymen there to testify.
Here’s a message for both the grandstanding GOP and the religious organizations in America. Like it or not, we are not a Christian nation. We are a secular nation. When it comes to government, the President trumps the Pope (and any other religious leader), and there is no room for religion in government and the church’s participation in legislation is unacceptable. The law on 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations is very clear on that, for example:
- no substantial part of its activity may be attempting to influence legislation,
- the organization may not intervene in political campaigns
I’m pretty sure that every church in America violates these IRS rules with impunity.
Should any church wish to participate and sit on a panel, then their tax-exempt status should be revoked. Period. Furthermore, the Bible isn’t our guide-book. It is the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
Although I practice no religion, I was born into a Catholic family and suffered through fourteen years of Catholic school. I have intimate knowledge of the Bible. The first mention of the anti-birth control mandate was in Genesis when Onan was instructed to sleep with his brother’s widow. He did, but he pulled out before he could impregnate her. What thanks did he get? He was smote. So, I know that pro-creation is serious business to the Catholic church. For the Catholic church, sex isn’t for pleasure. It’s to fill the earth with more and more people. (Unless you’re a pedophile priest. Then it’s for pure pleasure.) However, the Bible was written for a different world. I’m pretty sure that back in say, oh, 950 B.C. when the experts have determined that the writing of the Bible was started, the authors (and it wasn’t God, by the way, who wrote the Bible) could not even have envisioned the world in 2012, let alone instruct people how to live in it. That’s why the Bible isn’t our guide-book and why the Pope doesn’t reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Let’s deal with reality rather than blind faith. As of this writing, there are 313,050,565 people in the United States. At some point, we run out of space and resources. I know that the ‘true believers’ want us to have faith that the Lord will provide, but that’s a bunch of bullshit. The 3.5 million homeless people in America (of which 1.35 million are children) will tell you that the whole five loaves and two fishes thing was a myth. The average family income for the lower 90% of the population hovers around $34,000. So, unless you’re the Duggar family (or a GOP candidate) and spend nine seasons on The Learning Channel pushing your Christian fundamentalist beliefs on people (and collecting a hefty sum of money doing so), nobody can afford 19 kids and counting. By the way, if you don’t think that show is Christian fundamentalist propaganda, consider that Michelle Duggar was a speaker at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference. If you’re interested in following this good Christian woman who represents pro-creation on steroids, the new season of this absurd show will focus on the miscarriage of her 20th child, Jubilee Shalom. You’ll be treated to the full magilla, the miscarriage itself and the funeral. Spare me, please.
Here’s some more reality, particularly for the Pope: Studies show that 98% of sexually active Catholic women have used birth control. Let me spell that out because I know that numbers might be a challenge, particularly for the GOP: Ninety-eight percent. Why is that? Well, maybe they feel as though they have enough children (unlike the Duggars). Maybe they don’t want children at all (a sin, if they’re married; okay if they’re not). Or maybe they’re unmarried and just sexually active. (Oh. My. God. Straight to hell.) The Catholic hierarchy doesn’t want abstinence (a sin). It positively quakes over abortion (a mortal sin). Yet, it doesn’t want birth control. Someone should remind them that they can’t have it all. Oh yeah, I almost forgot: You do get to practice that old Catholic-approved birth control method: It’s called the ‘rhythm’ method. That’s where you don’t have sex during the time a woman is ovulating. Oops. I can tell you it doesn’t work. I’m a rhythm method baby born to my 43-year-old mother. She got more than she bargained for.
No taxation without representation
The Tea Partiers should recognize this whole “no taxation without representation” thing since they borrowed the name from the actual Boston Tea Party. (Depressing. It’s my hometown.) Since the Masters of the Uterus have decided that it’s the role of rich white men to decide on what women can and cannot do with their bodies, I suggest that the women of America simply stop paying taxes. Since we’re using a lot of statistics in this article, that would be about 55% of the 313,050,565 in this country (or about 172,177,810 women). How does that work for you?
Bottom line: Enough is enough. Since the GOP returned to power in 2010, they’ve failed to address the issues that they promised to address (it’s the economy, stupid) in the run up to the midterm elections and instead have attempted to legislate morality by waging a war on women. Now, I know there are some good Christian women out there who live by these ideals, and that’s fine. Let them. If they don’t believe in birth control, don’t use it. If they don’t believe in abortion, don’t have one. However, any supposedly clear-thinking, self-determined woman who can think for herself and may have voted for these clowns back in 2010 needs to see a psychiatrist and get medicated before the November election.
Writer’s Note: For everyone who wants to give the churches (and the GOP) the message they need to hear, please visit change.org and sign my petition to revoke their 501(c)(3) status today. Spread the word. There’s strength in numbers.