Part Two of America the Immoral took me longer than I anticipated to put together. Better late than never. Here you have it.

violence-against-women-act-600x350The continued war on women is immoral at its very core. Apparently the GOP didn’t get the message sent by women this past November, in spite of the fact that it was loud, clear and decisive. Not only does the 113th Congress have a record 20 female members (still not enough, frankly), but the anti-choice members of the GOP who spent a considerable amount of time ignoring the country’s real problems and redefining “rape”  either lost their seats or failed to get themselves elected in November. One would think, of course, that this might deter the GOP from pursuing its anti-woman agenda. No chance. The right-wing crazies determined to marginalize women simply aren’t that intelligent. They’re back at it again on both a state and federal level, in spite of the much more pressing issues facing this nation.

Perhaps the most egregious act of the last Congress was to allow the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) to expire for the first time since its passage in 1994. While it passed in the Senate with bipartisan support, it failed in the House because the GOP wingnuts didn’t like the fact that protections were extended to immigrants, Native Americans and LGBT Americans. It has now been reintroduced in the Senate. Frankly, with the crazies in the House, I’m not holding my breath. Now, onto the usual “women” topics embraced by the right wingnuts.

On January 1, a Texas law took effect that basically dumps Planned Parenthood out of a state-funded program, in spite of the fact that it does not even provide abortions. You can thank crazy ass Rick Perry for this law. On the heels of this misguided action, Republican representative Marsha Blackburn introduced H.R. 61, The Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, in the new Congress. Here is what Blackburn said during the introduction of H.R. 61:

“As a woman, I believe America deserves better than abortion. America shouldn’t celebrate abortion and our taxpayers shouldn’t subsidize abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood, who profit from the destruction of human life with taxpayer money. It’s fiscally irresponsible and morally indefensible.”

As a woman, Marsha Blackburn should be ashamed of herself. The members of the GOP know exactly what services are provided by Planned Parenthood, yet they continue to characterize the organization as merely a baby-killing abortion provider. (Someone should also tell the GOP that outright lying is immoral as well.) So all-consuming is the GOP’s desire to eliminate Planned Parenthood from the landscape that they fail to understand how they are hurting the American people. The fact is that only three percent of Planned Parenthood funding goes to abortion services, and none of those funds come from the government. Millions of women and men visit more than 800 Planned Parenthood centers across the nation for things like annual exams, breast and cervical cancer screenings, well-woman health visits, contraception services, and education.

And what more can we say about our illustrious former vice presidential candidate, Paul Ryan (R-WI)? (This is, of course, a sarcastically rhetorical question.) I can’t recall the last time this clown introduced any meaningful legislation (or if he ever has), but his latest piece of legislation is an exercise in misogyny. Ryan opened the new legislative session by reintroducing a “personhood” bill. Basically, Ryan and his far right wingnuts believe that as soon as a sperm fertilizes a zygote, the government assumes the right to make medical decisions for the pregnant woman in order to protect the fetus. No kidding. This may be the ultimate form of birth control. I’d never get pregnant in this national climate.

Here’s the bottom line: The government has no business telling women what they can and cannot do with their bodies. In a nation where we are reluctant to pass gun control legislation for fear of infringing on people’s Second Amendment rights, our legislators have no problem telling women whether or not they can use contraception or have an abortion. What do you call that? Not only does it transcend the boundaries of the government infringing upon people’s individual rights, but it’s also immoral.

I’m a firm believer that “religion” in all its organized forms is nothing more than method of controlling the paranoid masses. In addition, it is one of the most immoral institutions on the planet. Because I’m a Catholic by birth, we’ll start there. Here we have a Church on a crusade to oppress both the LGBT community and women, while shielding pedophile priests for decades. The church shipped repeat sexual offenders from diocese to diocese to continue molesting children in the interest of damage control. Years have passed since the scandal broke, and precious few of these sex offenders (let’s call them exactly what they are) have been prosecuted under the law. This is immoral. The Catholic Church should simply STFU and stop passing judgment on others because it far from lives up to God’s law. All of the church’s records on this matter should be turned over to authorities, and everyone who participated in this heinous offense should be prosecuted, including those who have shielded the criminals. Nobody is above the law. And I’m not talking about God’s law either.

The Catholic’s don’t have the market cornered on immorality, however. It can, of course, be argued that the Catholic situation is worse because it’s a systemic problem but we have plenty of freelancers on the evangelical side. In fact, there are so many that I cannot possibly describe all of them. There’s the one about a 40-year-old student ministry volunteer who not only paid underage boys for sex but also to keep the sexual encounters quiet. Oddly enough, this little event was handled just like the whole Catholic Church sex scandal since the perpetrator had been caught in 1998, but essentially went unpunished and moved on to the First Baptist Church at the Mall in Florida…where he was again arrested. Then, there’s pastor Ted Haggard of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs and disgraced former president of the National Evangelical Association, who was not only outed out by a prostitute, but also by a professional masseur (male) who was paid to have sex with him for three years.

Religious entities continue to participate in the government and legislative process, and they’ve got no business doing that.  Not only is it immoral, but it’s illegal. There are very specific IRS rules about the latitude given churches and religious organizations as it relates to their no-tax status. If they want to play, they have to pay. Period.

America, the lawless. That is what we’ve become, and it’s infuriating just how immoral we’ve become. Barack Obama worked out a backdoor agreement with the members of the outgoing Bush administration to not only not prosecute anyone for war crimes, but also to not even investigate them. That’s immoral, particularly since we all know that torture was the norm. It doesn’t seem to phase us though. We still indulge in chest pounding and pretend we’re the moral barometer for the world. The problem is that Americans are the only ones that fall for that anymore. The rest of the world doesn’t.

I went to a celebration party at a friend’s house after Barack Obama’s reelection. Personally, I wasn’t there as an Obamabot. I was there celebrating that Mitt Romney wasn’t elected. I discovered that I wasn’t the only one there for that reason. One attendee told the story about how Obama called all the bankers down to DC after the financial collapse. The bankers were afraid of what was going to happen. Basically, Barack Obama got them all together and told him he was supposed to be coming down on them. He didn’t. He just needed it to look that way. There is a great Frontline program about how none of the perpetrators that caused the 2008 financial collapse have not been punished, in spite of the fact that they are criminals. In fact, very little has changed. The regulations that the Obama administration has put in place are a joke. If you have not watched the Frontline program yet, I urge you to. Today.

If you think all of this is okay, then you’re also short on the morality scale.