It’s a Paradox

The above headlined flashed up on my iPhone’s newsfeed today. What? Contraception prevents unplanned, unwanted pregnancies, and women who choose to have abortions do so, to a large extent, because of unplanned, unwanted pregnancies. So doesn’t it follow that advocating the use of contraceptives and promoting their availability would reduce the demand for abortions? Yes, it does.

But that logic seems to be beyond what many religious and social conservatives can grasp, so they continue to follow the paradox of being opposed to both abortion and contraception.

The federal right to contraceptives is accepted in the United States because the Supreme Court decided, in the 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut case, that married couples have a constitutional right to buy and use contraceptives without government intrusion.

Yet after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the decision that gave women the right to have a legal abortion, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and other conservatives justices have vowed to erase the right for women to have access to birth control by going after Griswold v. Connecticut just as they did Roe v. Wade.

In an effort to ensure the right for Americans to have legal access to birth control, Democrats introduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, The Right to Contraception Act, that would enshrine that right to contraceptives into federal statutory law. It would ban states from restricting access to the pill, IUDs, and emergency contraceptives, while also giving both the attorney general and medical providers the authority to bring civil lawsuits against state governments that restrict contraception access. It passed the House last week in a 228-195 vote.

But for some reason, the Democratic effort to guarantee the right to contraception under federal law sputtered in the Senate along partisan lines Wednesday. Republican Senators said no to codifying contraceptives on a federal level.

I just don’t understand why those who oppose abortion also often oppose contraception. It seems rather paradoxical to me.

As Democratic Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts said on the Senate floor today, “No abortion, but no birth control to prevent the need for one. That is where the Republican Party is today.”

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.

The American Theocracy

Above is the headline from Slate that appeared on my iPhone’s newsfeed this morning. In yet another move to slowly transition America from a secular democracy to a Christian theocracy, a 6-3 ruling along party lines by the Supreme Court’s conservative justices today has removed foundational, decades-old constitutional limits on religion in public schools.

Today’s decision lowers the bar between church and state in an opinion that will allow more religious expression in public spaces.

Just last week, the Court made it harder for states to decline to fund religious education. In today’s decision, the Court is making it harder for secular schools to keep religion out of extracurricular activities. In the name of defending religious exercise, the Court’s conservative majority has neutered the First Amendment’s reference to the prohibition of a state sanctioning of religion, in this case, Christianity.

And this is hot on the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade after a close to 50 year effort by conservative Christians to force their idea of morality on all Americans.

Welcome to the Divine Republic of America, one nation under God. In God we trust. Praise be.

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

SoCS — The Circle of Life in New America

Linda G. Hill has asked us to use “product” and “produce” in today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt.

The United States Supreme Court yesterday overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that guaranteed a woman’s right to obtain a legal abortion, thus allowing states to criminalize the act of terminating a pregnancy.

When I saw the two words Linda wants us to use for our posts, it made me think about how, in the eyes of six conservative Supreme Court justices, the majority of Republicans, and most Christian conservatives, the primary role of women in America is to produce a product, and that product happens to be babies.

They believe that women should have no choice in the matter. Women should not be able to decide for themselves whether or not they want to produce the product. If they happen to get pregnant, no matter the circumstances, they must produce a baby.

But once the “products” have been produced, the Vu six conservative Supreme Court justices, the majority of Republicans, and most Christian conservatives don’t give a shit about what happens to those products. The producers are on their own. They are expected to feed, clothe, shelter, and nourish the products that they produce. But those that demanded that they produce these products have moved on to other righteous battles, like banning contraception, gay marriages, or whatever other personal and private human “rights” their narrow-minded, fundamentalist views wish to take away.

But on the bright side, if every woman must produce babies, all these babies will create a larger market opportunity for the producers of firearms, enabling them to sell even more of their products. Then the products that these women produce can be more easily shot and killed by the products these gun manufacturers produce.

This is the circle of life in New America (or maybe the Divine Republic of Gilead).