Archive for the ‘Religion in Politics’ Category

Republican House- Abort! Abort!

June 19, 2013

Republicans in the House of Representatives are once again voting to give the government – which Republicans often argue can’t do anything as well as private parties – more control over women’s bodies.

Republicans often display contempt of the government and push for privatization in such matters as social security, schools, Food and Drug oversight, mass public transportation

Considering this, the contempt Republicans must have for women while turning over their private decisions to the government is staggering to contemplate.

Okay, obviously that was disingenuous: it isn’t just contempt. It is a religiously motivated attempt to punish women for sex, to “hold them accountable for their actions.” To slut shame not just for now, but for a lifetime.

Here’s the thing: sex is not wrong. Non-consensual sex is wrong. Pregnancies are sometimes wrong. Whether because carrying your rapist’s baby is an emotional trauma, or because pregnancy is dangerous, or because you simply aren’t ready financially or emotionally to support and nurture a child or… for whatever other reason is personally the most important to you.

If you aren’t ready to be a parent, you are a better judge of that than anybody else. If you think you are ready to be a parent, that is where Dunning–Kruger effect might be coming into play.

I suggest adding an amendment that requires the Republican Party to pay 100% of the costs that would result (if this measure actually had a chance of going into effect) which are associated with prenatal care, medical appointments, medication (including pain killers) labor, and then child rearing (including finding approx. 15,000 good homes per year) and treating women for postpartum depression and health complications.

Somehow I think Republicans’ enthusiasm for sexual control over others would dry up if we held Republicans accountable for their actions.

Who must give up identity politics?

August 30, 2012

Joe Klein says Democrats must give up identity politics. Excuse me?

Was Todd Akin a Democrat when he attacked women’s right to bodily autonomy?

Was Alan Clemmons a Democrat when he wrote a law which would suppress the voting rights of minorities?

Was Jan Brewer a Democrat when she denied public benefits to young immigrants working in and to the benefit of this country?

Was Peter King a Democrat when he created a panel to persecute American Muslims?

And was the Republican Party Platform somehow hijacked by Democrats where it calls for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman?

No. Those were all Republicans playing to their monochromatic base of male Christians.

Those were Republicans treating women’s bodies as their property, deciding that the voting rights of poor people, dark people, elderly people and students were not as important as winning an election, deciding that working to make a life in the land of the free should be as hard as the government can make it for immigrants, pissing on the First Amendment by trying to create classes of citizen where Christians are above suspicion while those other religions are the focus of hate and fear, and deciding that the genitalia of an individual matters more than the relationship between two people.

And the same things that motivate those Republicans would motivate those who come after, to come after contraception once abortion was illegal. They would further reduce the number of people who have the right to vote until it is only a few white males with enormous pots of money, own land, and have the good sense to be of the majority denomination. They would profit off of the labor of immigrants while paying them pennies and blaming them for anything wrong in a community. It wouldn’t be enough for it to be a Christian Theocracy after a time: you would have to be the right type of Christian. Which denomination of Protestant are you? Lutheran? You are too quiet for the American Christendom. Better to have been Baptist. And as for gays? Have you noticed that when Christian Republicans quote Leviticus, it always seems to be the same verse?

Who needs to give up identity politics?

Hell, nobody on the side of equality until the actions in the list above are political poison.

Todd Akin has pissed off the musically talented.

August 29, 2012

I can’t decide which I like better, but I nearly laughed myself to tears when I recognized the second tune.

 

First video found through Greta Christina’s Blog, second video found through Allison’s comment on the same page.

Mike Huckabee describes the political debate I want to see.

August 26, 2012

“This could be a Mount Carmel moment. You know, you bring your gods. We’ll bring ours. We’ll see whose God answers the prayers and brings fire from heaven. That’s kind of where I’m praying: that there will be fire from heaven, and we’ll see it clearly, and everyone else will too.”

Mike Huckabee, rallying Southern Baptists to support Representative Todd Akin (R-MO) in his campaign.

This is very interesting to me even aside from the implication that “good Christians” should believe like Romney, Ryan, or Akin – and the Republican Party Platform – that abortion should never be legal, and like Akin and Romney that rape somehow isn’t rape if it results in pregnancy.


I mean, look at that quote: I am sold. I want to have these charlatans who claim to know the mind of god stand before the world and have a miracle competition. As the judges we can get The Amazing Randi, Penn and Teller and any other stage magicians willing to watch for fraud. To enter the competition, contracts must be signed saying that anybody who tries but can’t perform a miracle has to tithe to the National Center for Science Education for the rest of their lives.

Anybody who actually performs a miracle before all the world suddenly has a much greater reach and audience.

I can see no possible downside… except to charlatans.

 

Mike Huckabee quote found through Political Wire.

Pussy Riot and a How-To for government

August 22, 2012

To recap: The Russian government and the Russian Orthodox Church are using their joint power hand in glove and the art collective and political protest group Pussy Riot held a “Punk Prayer” protest in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. They sang and danced in protest and were, although disruptive, nonviolent.

3 members of the group were arrested, charged with “hooliganism” and sentenced to 2 years in prison. Which is ridiculous and an abuse of state power.

I will state right out front that I admire Pussy Riot and other protesters who issue challenges to a harmful status quo, who challenge political power and/or religious dogma.

But I am not arguing that people should be allowed to disrupt other groups meetings without any legal repercussions, either. After all  if majorities could ruin minority gatherings anytime they wished, tyranny of the majority would be stating the case mildly.

So what would be a sensible way to approach such an issue? How about this:

If the protest is violent, charge the protesters responsible for violence. Treat as you would any other violent crime.

If the protest is nonviolent but disruptive, charge the protesters with disturbing the peace, charge them, give them a court date and release them on their own recognizance. At the court date, the judge can let them choose between forms of community service.

If the protest is nonviolent and minimally disruptive (protesters are not preventing normal communication or activities within a space, etc. beyond their mere numbers) ignore them, you’ve got nothing. Leave them alone unless the situation changes.

Republican Party Platform Prepares to Back Akin

August 21, 2012

At the same time as Representative Todd Akin (Republican-Missouri) said this

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

-The Republican National Party prepares to reaffirm a platform which includes amending the constitution to outlaw abortion even in cases of rape or incest. From CNN, draft language for the platform:

“Faithful to the ‘self-evident’ truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed,” the draft platform declares. “We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.”

The good news? Conservatives finally see a good side to the 14th Amendment.

When religion is a test for political office.

August 3, 2012

In the Constitution of the United States of America, there is this to say about religious tests for office (emphasis mine):

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

But religion has become a de facto test in campaigns as the Christian majority is pandered to by politicians trying to out Christian each other, even when it involves attempts to infringe on the right to free exercise of religion of others.

In Tennessee, two candidates in a Republican primary are in a contest of who opposes the construction of a mosque more. In 2010, district lines were redrawn and so the mosque isn’t even in the district they are running in, but hey: these are Republicans and we can’t expect facts to get in the way of demagoguery.

So, they are opposing the Constitution they are bound to serve, in order to have an unconstitutional de facto test for office which, if more than rhetoric would infringe on the free exercise of religion of a minority group, if the mosque were still in the same district, which it isn’t.

It’s nice that sometimes stupid renders itself impotent.

But what about the underlying issues: the rights of the individual and minorities against possible tyranny of the majority, the right to build religious institutions, the tax exempt status of those institutions?

The Constitutional approach works better than we allow it to: the free exercise of religion including the building of places of worship, the protection of the rights of minorities and individuals is why we haven’t historical had problems with large groups of radicialized extremist minorities.

But- to pick a high profile example- Rep. King with his anti-Muslim panels wants to trample those rights and would increase the likelihood of radicalization, whether he desires that outcome or not.

And in the Bill of Rights this phrase “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” was used by Jefferson in the sense of a wall of separation where Congress could not pass- not to create a religion, not to create ties to a religion, not to either support or oppose a religion. Madison famously called that wall “absolute.”

I would argue that making churches and other religious organizations tax exempt is in effect a subsidy by the government which violates the Constitution, and is an imposition on all- whether Muslim, Christian, atheist or Buddhist- who don’t want to pay higher taxes to support other people’s churches.

There may be an argument to be had against that mosque- or at least its tax exempt status- but it is the same argument that would apply to churches, and so you won’t ever hear it from someone rallying their Christian Soldiers to vote.

Links found at Political Wire.

Youtubers Get It, So Can You.

August 2, 2012

 

Note the difference between that and the sort of thing Hemant argues against? I know it is subtle but I think if the above was the common approach everybody would be a lot happier, and our government wouldn’t be trying to get into its citizens’ bedrooms.

Secularism: For The Win.

In defense of Muslim Americans

July 27, 2012

A handful of Christian Republican Representatives have been calling for governmental persecution of Muslims, for no reasons beyond that A) Muslims aren’t Christians and B) it brings in donations and votes from a certain demographic of Christian Americans who think the end times are a good thing and will be triggered by righteous war by Christians on Muslims.

In response to this call, 42 “religious, secular, interfaith, advocacy, legal and community organizations” have sent a memo to those 5 Republican Representatives. It is very well written, and I recommend reading it, but I have 2 reservations:

The memo starts by listing the Representatives with the address “Honorable” before each. Even putting aside the fact that they are politicians, surely their positions as governmental leaders coupled with their divisive actions stretches such an address as “Honorable” past the point of credibility.

The memo goes on to address them as “Dear Rep.” before each name. Dear to who, other than (possibly) their mothers? My apologies, back to the point.

The United States was founded to be a secular country. This means that everyone has the right to worship or not as their conscience dictates without government interference whether that interference would be hostile or benevolent, desired or not. Ideally that means that nobody has their pocket picked to support another’s church, but at the barest minimum it means you don’t use the government as a club to intimidate those who believe differently than you do.

Muslim Americans have been going through an incredibly rough time in this country since shortly after 9-11, and it is entirely unfair. Do our political leaders suspect every Christian American to be moments away from engaging in shootings or bombings because of attacks on abortion clinics?

No, that would be as ridiculous as… suspecting all Muslims everywhere of being enemies of America. Or a strange cultural belief that equates Arab with Muslim despite there being plenty of Muslims who aren’t of Arab descent and plenty of Arabs who aren’t Muslim.

I can’t believe this even needs saying, but: Muslims are just individuals like any other individuals trying to make their way in the world. Yes, just like other religions, there are extremists:

But the United States does not have a problem within its population with extremists from minority religions. Due to the bill of rights guaranteeing freedom of religion, people of minority religions have tended to be much happier here than in other countries. What we have is a problem with political extremists produced from frightened majorities with feelings of threatened entitlement.

Found through Friendly Atheist.

Americans should be led, not driven by fear.

July 26, 2012

We have some serious issues in the United States:

We are embracing majority rule while turning our backs on individual rights.

We are complacent in the status quo and frightened of the other.

Our media and culture is trained to ignore the harm done by familiar institutions, while focusing on the harms of unfamiliar institutions.

We are told that immigrants will take our jobs – despite economics telling us immigration is a net good and emigration the net harm- and we are told that established multinational chains wouldn’t do anything to harm us because of the invisible hand of the market.

We are willing to give up our rights of privacy and freedom from bodily search for the sake of – not security – but the mere illusion of security.

We have public monies going to prop up a thousand intellectually bankrupt dogmas, and schools sacrificing scientific understanding in our children to the shrine of “teaching the controversy”: a controversy which only exists in culture, not in scientific fields.

We have the middle class and small businesses taking on a disproportionate share of taxes, while the ultra rich and mega corporations keep their money in tax havens and get the lion’s share of subsidies and services. And this is cheered on by those who cannot face the fact that they are more likely to get hit by lightening twice than to ever win that lottery which would still not make them of the 1%.

The American Dream still exists, but few can see it for fear.