Who Won The Week — 11/13/22

The idea behind Who Won the Week is to give you the opportunity to select who (or what) you think “won” this past week. Your selection can be anyone or anything — politicians, celebrities, athletes, authors, bloggers, your friends or family members, books, movies, TV shows, businesses, organizations, whatever.

It’s been almost a month since I last published a Who Won the Week post. Frankly, there hasn’t been much to crow about in my humble opinion. But this week there is.

Republicans were anticipating a big red wave in this year’s midterm elections, but what they got instead was barely a trickle. On Tuesday, in a repudiation of GOP election deniers and hard-core Trumpism, voters came out in droves to save democracy in America.

Democrats maintained control of the U.S. Senate when the incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto won a close race in Nevada to give the the Democrats 50 seats in the chamber, with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie-breaking vote. Democrats could still gain a true majority (51-49) in the Senate, depending on the outcome of the Senate race in Georgia, which is headed to a runoff between Raphael Warnock, the Democratic incumbent, and Herschel Walker, a Donald Trump-endorsed former football star, after neither won a majority of votes on Election Day.

Democrats also fended off the GOP in most of the tossup districts Republicans had targeted in the House of Representatives. Hence, it’s not likely either party will have more than a slim majority next year, even though the Republicans will likely have more seats in the House than the Democrats. That said, there is still a very slim chance that, when all the votes are tallied, the Dems might still be in the hunt for an upset win.

So who (or what) do you think won the week?

If you want to participate, write your own post designating who you think won the week and why you think they deserve your nod. Then link back to this post and tag you post with FWWTW.

Abortion: Bad News/Good News

First the bad news:

Librarians in Oklahoma received the above email memo in their inboxes. It warned them of the risk termination, jail time, and a $10,000 fine if they help library visitors find information about abortion. Oklahoma’s Metropolitan Library System advised staff that, with abortion now illegal statewide, they should avoid even speaking the word “abortion,” especially since patrons might try to trick them into using it so as to report them.

Library staff should avoid speaking the word “abortion”? So much for free speech in America… or at least in Oklahoma.

Now for the good news:

The question presented to Kansas voters yesterday was whether abortion protections should be stripped from the state constitution. A “yes” vote would have allow the state’s Republican-led legislature to pass future limits on abortion — or to ban it altogether — in its coming session in January. A “no” vote would leave those protections in place.

Kansas voters cheer the outcome of the vote on abortion rights. Photo credit: Dave Kaup/AFP/Getty Images

Kansas voters in the traditionally conservative state overwhelming voted to support abortion rights. More than 60% wanted to maintain those abortion protections.

The vote sent a decisive message to Republican lawmakers about the issue’s popularity in the first political test since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June. Subsequent to the Supreme Court’s ruling, more than a dozen Republican-led states have moved to ban or further restrict abortion.

Let’s hope this message will give pause to GOP lawmakers, letting them know, loud and clear, that their constituents want women to maintain their reproductive rights granted in Roe v. Wade.

Oh, who am I kidding? Republican lawmakers don’t give two shits about what their constituents want. Unless those constituents are mega donors who are willing to buy politicians to do their bidding. I’m just saying.

Opus Dei

The following Editor’s letter in the latest issue of The Week magazine was penned by the magazine’s co-managing editor, Susan Caskie. The reason I’m posting it here is because I’ve been expressing to people, both in real life and on this blog, that America is rapidly heading toward becoming a Christian theocracy. The reactions I have received from many range from being told that I’m making a mountain out of a molehill, that I’m a Chicken Little claiming that the sky is falling, and to, “Well, America is a Christian nation, you know.”

So when I read this opinion piece, I felt at least some sense of relief that I’m not alone in my concerns and that I’m not a crazy conspiracy theorist crying wolf. Please take a moment to read this and let me know what you think in the comments.

A 40-foot Christian cross can stand on public land. A public-school football coach can pray to Jesus on the field. A U.S. state must extend its vouchers to Christian schools that teach “a Christian worldview.” The newly activist Supreme Court has given a green light to all these government-sanctioned expressions of religious belief, in defiance of previous rulings that the Constitution bars official endorsement of a particular religion.

Since John Roberts became chief justice in 2005, the court has ruled for religious organizations 85 percent of the time. And while past courts often protected minority faiths, this one showers freshly discovered rights on the Christian majority. Under Roberts, says Northeastern University law professor Wendy Parmet, “almost all of the decisions are issued on behalf of Catholics or evangelicals.”

That is not an accident. Republican presidents have for decades outsourced their court picks to the Federalist Society, whose co-chair Leonard Leo is a member of the far-right Catholic sect Opus Dei. The result is an overwhelmingly Catholic court. Only about 21 percent of Americans are Catholic (including — full disclosure here — my mother’s side of the family, the Irish side; the Scottish Caskies are Episcopalian). Yet six out of the nine justices are Catholic, or seven if you count Neil Gorsuch, who was raised Catholic. In theory, judges put their personal beliefs aside. But does anyone doubt that the worldviews of these justices strongly colored their opinions in these cases — and in overturning Roe v. Wade? The belief that full human personhood begins at conception and that the rights of an embryo trump those of a woman is a conservative Christian teaching — one not shared by a majority of Americans.

Our Constitution prohibits the government from favoring, or “establishing,” one faith as the state religion. But we are getting perilously close to doing just that.

Who Won The Week — 06/26/22

The idea behind Who Won the Week is to give you the opportunity to select who (or what) you think “won” this past week. Your selection can be anyone or anything — politicians, celebrities, athletes, authors, bloggers, your friends or family members, books, movies, TV shows, businesses, organizations, whatever.

This week I am reluctantly awarding my Who Won the Week designation to conservative Christians. When I say reluctantly, it’s not because I have a grudge against conservative Christians. I believe people should be free to practice whatever religion they want to. Hey, whatever floats your boat, right?

That said, when conservative Christians insist on trying to float other people’s boats, I draw the line. But that’s what happened this week when six conservative Christian U.S. Supreme Court justices handed conservative Christians (and Republicans, most of whom are conservative and Christian) the gift they’ve been fighting for for nearly fifty years. The Court overturned Roe v. Wade, giving states run by Republicans the ability to ban abortions and to make criminals of women who choose to have abortions, doctors who perform abortions, and even anyone who aids or assists a woman who seeks an abortion.

And this purging of religious freedoms and personal liberties is just beginning, as conservative Christian’s are buoyed by this favorable Supreme Court decision by targeting the overturning of other decisions that prohibit states from making the use of contraceptives illegal, by banning gay marriage, and by removing equal protections for the LBGT community.

What’s next? Requiring kids to recite the Lord’s Prayer in public schools? Banning the teaching of evolution in science classes and mandating that Creationism be a part of the educational curriculum? How long before the Supreme Court reconsiders the First Amendment, which prohibits the Congress from making a law “respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”?

This provision of the U.S. Constitution later expanded to state and local governments, through their incorporation of the First Amendment. But just as the Supreme Court has now empowered the states to pass laws banning abortions, who’s to say it won’t also return to the states the power to make laws establishing Christianity as the official religion of any state run by run conservative Christians?

So congratulations conservative Christians. The pendulum has certainly swung your way. All I can say is stay the fuck off of my boat.

What about you? Who (or what) do you think won the week?

If you want to participate, write your own post designating who you think won the week and why you think they deserve your nod. Then link back to this post and tag you post with FWWTW.


Image credit: Hanna Barczyk for The Lily