GOP Wolves In Grandma’s Nightie — Run, Red, Run

The male-dominated Republican Party really is engaged in a nationwide campaign to give government – the government of their dreams – control of women’s bodies, at least those women’s bodies that survive the deep cuts in women’s health care.

Todd Akin is no lone puppy. If anything, he’s just a weak follower of the GOP pack led by the likes of Paul Ryan and Rick Perry. The attack becomes even more sinister when Ryan and others deny it.

Ryan’s now the wolf in grandma’s clothes ready to gobble down Little Red Riding Hood. Ryan,  worried that a nation of Red Riding voters will run away, says, “Nobody is proposing to deny birth control to anybody.” Asked about the big, sharp lie, he might have answered, “All the better to eat you with, my dears.”

A goodly number of Republican women voters are trying their darndest to overlook this medieval state of affairs. Some actively want to return to an era of female subservience. Others probably don’t really believe these dangerous and regressive policies will ever be in place.

We have to ask two questions: What so haunts these men that they want so badly to control ladyparts? Are they threatened? Given their embarrassing public statements about female physiology and biology, it’s clear that it’s not facts that worry them. Where have you gone Sigmund? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

The second question: Since they dress up in their grandmas’ nighties to disguise their intentions, they must realize that most women want nothing to do with their sick quest, right?

Run, Red. Run.

Poll Finds Americans Support Sex “Contraptions”

Surprised that 65 percent of Americans support President Obama’s contraceptive initiative, we decided to look a little deeper into the poll. We were surprised only because we heard so many D.C. pundits go on and on about Obama making a mistake with the initiative. Still, we wanted to see where this overwhelming support was coming from.

It turns out that the answer is a little embarrassing for those of us who live in or near the more red neck enclaves of red states. I use the term “enclave” to protect the innocent. Anyway, in or near those enclaves,  it turns out that male voters think the controversy involves sex contraptions, not contraceptives. They are, it seems, intrigued by the prospect that their little darlins will now have access to some kind of new fun stuff for after closing time.

My guess is this support will evaporate soon as one of the male respondents gets up the guts to ask his new girl companion where her contraption is. It’s conceivable that it might be the last thing he ever asks, so maybe it won’t matter for support of Obama’s initiative in the long run.

We’re No Angels: Americans, Church Doctrine, and the Pill

What’s all the fuss about Americans not following religious doctrine? Seriously, we all know that none of us dance and drink as passionately as Baptists. Few are as happy with the invention of the Pill as Catholics. Many seem grateful that Jesus’ plea to help the poor is taken no more seriously than an Ogden Nash poem.

Oh, I have no doubt that Catholic Church leaders are quite frustrated that their flock no longer does what they are ordered to do by the self-regarding, closer-to-god Church hierarchy. And, it’s probably true that Mormons are, as these things go, a little more obedient to doctrine, right down to their underwear, than members of most other faiths. Credit where credit is due.

Lurking behind the church/state controversy over the morally righteous effort to make contraceptives available to American women is the certain truth that even the most devout Catholics ignore the Church’s medieval doctrine on this one. The controversy was truly like arguing about the number of angels on the head of a pin. There are no angels; there are no pins. Just pundits and panderers.

Denial may not be a river an Egypt, as the 12-steppers say, but it’s broader than the Mississippi in America. If there’s anything we do better than escaping religious doctrine, it’s denying that we escape it.

Now, it must be admitted that many can get themselves into a righteous snit when they discover that others have also sawed through the bars and run away across the fields. High-tailing it to freedom like the trio of miscreants in O Brother Where Art Thou, they look over their shoulders and shout at the escapees behind them, “Get thee back to God’s House, sinners!” Their indignation is born of two parents: seeing themselves unhappily mirrored in their doctrine-denying brethren makes their denial a little more difficult; and, they are worried about the lack of parking spaces near the bars, the dancehalls, and the contraceptive-dispensing pharmacies.

Speaking of the Coen Brothers’ O Brother, the scene where Delmar is saved by the preacher may be the most accurate portrayal of Americans and faith on film:

Delmar: Well, that’s it, boys. I been redeemed. The preacher done washed away all my sins and transgressions. It’s the straight and narrow from here on out. And heaven everlasting’s my reward.

Everett: Delmar, what are you on about? We got bigger fish to fry.

Delmar: The preacher said all my sins is washed away,
including that Piggly Wiggly I knocked over in Yazoo.

Everett: You said you was innocent of that.

Delmar: Well, I was lyin’. And the preacher said that that sin’s been washed away, too. Neither God nor man’s got nothin’ on me now.

Secretly, we’re all thankful for the First Amendment’s separation of church and state. God forbid (pardon the reference) that the State should enforce church doctrines under penalty of the criminal law. If we think we have a prison crisis now…

So what’s behind all the hooting and hollering over the Obama Administration’s contraception initiative? Why is it that even some progressive pundits are arguing for more deference to the Catholic Bishops on an issue that’s not even about religious freedom, but women’s health? I think it’s because they feel we’re not showing enough deference to pretense. That the health of American women would be put at risk by such deference is kind of beside the point.

I don’t mean to in any way mock religion. Many – most – of us draw deep and abiding values from the faith traditions we were raised in or discovered on our own. I think humans come with a wonderful ability to look for answers beyond what’s immediately at hand, and religions can facilitate that and a give us a sense of community, too.

But I do mean to mock those who argue that we must sacrifice women’s health on the altar of a religious doctrine no one in America takes seriously. On the other hand, Republicans who think this is a viable wedge issue might discover it’s a wedge between themselves and the rest of America. I’m tempted to say, go for it.

The Right’s War on Birth Control

If you thought the legislative attacks on family planning and Planned Parenthood were all about abortion, think again.

In a moment of unscripted political bravado, Republican State Representative Wayne Christian made clear to the Texas Tribune that the Right’s true agenda is not about what happens in health care clinics after all, but rather about what goes on in bedrooms between consenting adults.

When they declare “war on birth control” they are intruding into the private, personal decisions of every man, woman and family in Texas.

How extreme are they? Consider that they’ve already repealed the law that requires insurance companies to cover the pill just as they do Viagra, they’ve encouraged pharmacists to undermine doctors’ orders and deny emergency contraception, and now they are pushing an outright plan to defund family planning — even though none of the funds can be used for abortion.

It’s time to draw the line and get politics out of our bedrooms once and for all.