Sunday, March 4, 2012

In defense of religion

Sorry I've been MIA lately, y'all. Have been super busy with work, which is good since I basically work on commission, and with preps for YodaMan's coming deployment. Which...[drumroll]...will be our last!! I'm so excited. There's virtually no way for him to deploy again after this one before it's time to retire, so I'm excited to get this one done and over. I'm ready to start a real life now with some consistency and unmolesterated expectations.

Isn't that weird, though? I'm excited to start this deployment. What's even more bizarre? We haven't argued once in the last month. And usually we have one before a deployment. We're not an argue-ish kind of couple, so I've noticed the handful of spats we've had during our marriage. And without fail, there's one leading up to deployment, which is typical and expected and TOTALLY ABSENT THIS TIME. It's so weird.


The thing I wish to wank about today is political rather than Navy-ical. WARNING below!*

All this bollocks with birth control, personhood, transvaginal ultrasounds, etc. -- what many have termed a War on Women but might more rightly be called Putting Women Back in the Kitchen and Taking Away Her Shoes -- has been discussed. Folks with greater insight and more eloquence have already touched on various aspects of the issue. Sara Robinson discusses why birth control scares men and women who rely on the patriarchy. Author and soldier Jessica Scott discusses why she is not a slut. And in case we're concerned about equating lack of insurance coverage of birth control with outlawing birth control, don't forget personhood bills and amendments, as well as Steve King's view of birth control. Oh, yeah. And Santorum's:

I particularly enjoyed Jon Stewart's take on this whole, heaping pile of bullshit:

Jon, you're my hero.

I've heard rebuttals to the attack on reproductive rights and birth control, and they've been solid. I won't rehash them here. But there's one argument that I have not heard, and it's bothering me.

Some have come close to that argument when they ask whether an employer's religious beliefs can overrule an employee's personal ethics and medical needs. But here's my beef: why does an employer's religious beliefs take precedence over MY religious beliefs?

Allow me to explain.

My religion has at its core a recognition of the sacredness of sex--not just for procreation, though. That's a happy possibility for those who wish to procreate and to work spiritually through parenthood. But sex itself is a means of spiritual bonding between two people. It can also elevate spiritual awareness. But for day-to-day purposes, it is a foundation of a healthy whole being.

For this reason, sex is a sacred right, a foundational corner to my spirituality.

Similarly, what happens in my uterus is a piece of my spirituality. It is the root of much of my foundational justice, self, and power. It is a crossroads of a sort, and in my religion, crossroads are muy importante and not to be treated lightly. To explain my view, I'm going to quote straight out of The Pagan Book of Living and Dying, which explains this view via abortion:

...we came to reject the dichotomy politics that would require women to choose between two beliefs: that pregnancy is a miracle, the fetus's life is sacred, and therefore abortion is wrong; or that pregnancy is merely a physical event, the fetus is just a mass of tissue, and therefore abortion is insignificant. As feminists and Pagans, we believe that women are literally a gateway between the worlds and that abortion is a responsible exercise of the sacred power of choice. (237)
(BTW, if you need healing, mourning, or aid in any fashion related to death or dying -- including the death of possibility via abortion -- this book is full of excellent discussion, ritual ideas, and poetry, and I highly recommend it.)

I am a physical manifestation of the Divine, and my gateway is my responsibility. I have the right to use whatever means available to me (and all hail birth control!) to get pregnant, to avoid pregnancy, to stay pregnant, to terminate pregnancy, etc. But it's not just my right. It's my sacred duty to be self-aware and aligned spiritually, and to know from that whether my womb is meant to bring new life or to act as the crossroads of my power.

These are my religious beliefs. And they are just as important as those of my employer or my husband's employer. When I am denied coverage for birth control that will keep me healthy and keep my womb viable for future pregnancies, that is infringement, especially when other medications are covered and no religious person is directly contributing a dime to my birth control. It is infringement on my ability to practice my religion, and it is an infringement on my right to equal treatment.

When congresscritters wonk about the evils of birth control, when they say I am not entitled to my sacred responsibilities, they infringe on my religious beliefs...because they feel their own take precedence. If they're so concerned about "family values" and "social health" as defined by their religion, why aren't they happy to allow me to live by the ideals of "family values" and "social health" my religion calls for?

So to those decrying the trampling of your religious convictions, I volley that one right back atcha. Sorry to tell you, my precious little cuntcakes, but you can't have it both ways. If you get freedom of religion, so do I. If you are entitled to freedom from my religion, then I, too, deserve to go about my life without having my needs and rights trampled by your religion. And if you take issue with this fact, you ought to build a time machine and make your case to our founding fathers, who made their opinions pretty fucking clear. When your argument is invalid because provisions have been made for your personal stance, you need to carry on with shit that really matters. Like the economy. Jobs. And priests diddling kids while bishops and cardinals spread their robes to cover it all up.

* Though I invoke the politically savage word abortion within this post in order to craft a full view of a definition, I don't want to read comments about abortion since we as a nation are completely incapable of having a rational, logical discussion on this  topic. If you comment and need to invoke the a-word, fine. But if your comment does not add to the discussion, is used only to broadcast to everyone whether you are pro-life or pro-choice, or is meant to stir the abortion pot, I will probably delete it. Or disemvowel it. Possibly call you a twatbottle or a taintraider. You've been warned.


Wifey said...

THANK YOU! I had not watched that Jon Stewart clip.

And I agree 100%. I was a virgin when I went on birth control. Ya know, to stop the evil endometriosis from beginning with me like it did my mom. Oh... and that evil thing called uterine cancer that my mom, her mom and my mom's mom had. Because genetics are awesome like that.

But even though I was a virgin, I was a apparently a slut since I wanted some of those awesome oh-my-god-now-I'm-able-to-screw-everything-with-a-penis pills.

Not to mention how SLUTTY I was as a married woman since I chose to be on them for the reasons stated above AND because I was planning on going on a deployment myself and didn't want to be get pregnant just before and be thought of as someone who got pregnant to get out of a deployment. Ya know, since that's what all women do, right?

I'm such a slut.

Anchored Away said...

Wifey -

I, too, was on BC for the last 3 years of my virginity. Then for about 6 years of marriage. All because of debilitating cramps that they suspected might be endometriosis but didn't feel like diagnosing. Once, a GYN didn't believe that I was a virgin (if I'm on the pill, I must be fucking anything with a cock, right?) and gave me absolute fucking hell with comments like, "I'm about to find out anyway, so you might as well tell me the truth." Stellar.

My parents' insurance didn't cover my meds. They got really fucking expensive really fucking fast. My college clinic had them for $3/month, which was great...except they weren't the formulation I needed, so they weren't as effective, and I had to go back to paying out of pocket to get the right Rx. AWESOME.

Sluts unite!

ohsoang said...

Oy. This is why it bugs me as an atheist. Religion plays no part in my life. Keep it to yourselves. (Not *you* in particular, but "you" the religious folks in general.) But "the religious right" seem to think they're the police of everyone everywhere. And all logic and rational thinking is lost on them, so arguing and fighting is useless. Aggravating to say the least.

Anchored Away said...

Precisely! Their religious objections move beyond themselves and apply to folks who are not members of their religion.

Frankly, I wonder why the Catholic dudes care. If the non-Catholics aren't procreating, doesn't that mean they're breeding a majority population? And isn't that what they want?

Also, the only Biblical reference I ever hear is where Onan spilled his seed. And that story isn't about wasting his precious sperm and KILLING TEH BAYBEEZ. That story is all about defying God's will and not fulfilling his duty to his dead brother.

Still, if the punishment for preventing a pregnancy is that sinners will be struck dead, then shouldn't they just assume their god will take care of all those sinners for them? Sounds to me like they don't have faith...

Anyway, you're right on. Their religious beliefs should apply to *them* and not to us.

Kimberly said...

I'm glad you've been good-busy, and am glad to see you back blogging!

I understand that some people feel that using contraception is against their principles, and we're all fine with that! No one - NO ONE - is being forced to use contraception. However, I think that allowing a moral repugnance exemption to people's health care is, well, repugnant. It can start with contraception: Some religious sects have proscriptions against using contraception, so they don't want their health care plans to cover that for their employees. If we allow this, what's next? Will we allow businesses to have their prenatal care benefits *only* for married women, because we don't think that unmarried women should be having sex, and it's repugnant for us to have to pay for prenatal care for their immorally-conceived bastard fetuses? What about if we find racially-mixed marriages morally repugnant? Can we deny people the right to cover a spouse on their work insurance policy if the spouse is of a different race? And we certainly don't want to be forced to extend insurance coverage to mixed-race children, do we?

See the slippery slope we start down if we allow employers to decide what they want to cover based on their own sense of what's moral? It should be up to the employees to exercise their own moral beliefs: If a person thinks that contraception is morally wrong, then she should avoid getting a prescription for birth control pills. Morality is individual, not institutional.

Becky said...

Thank you, I loved this post so much. Like Wifey and Anchored Away, I was on BC because of painful periods (which then turned out to be endometriosis). And even if you are NOT on BC because of a medical condition, just not wanting to get pregnant should be enough. Aren't these the same people who are against abortions? Shouldn't we be trying to prevent unwanted pregnancies, and the easiest way to do this is by making contraceptives easily available.

*sigh* I get so frustrated by these things.

Like Kimberley said, it is SUCH a slippery slope. In the case of Jehova's Witnesses, they might not want to fund blood transfusions, because it's against their religious beliefs.

Natalia said...

You had me at "cuntcakes." Great post, totally agree. I wonder if these same insurance plans cover Viagara and Cialis....Wouldn't want a priest to go without a blowjob in the confessional.

Jamie said...

I love this post... especially since I am not a taintraider.

Amanda said...

I completely agree with you on the religious argument. They can't have their cake and eat it too.

Now, let them take away my depo which keeps my seriously whacked hormones in check an let me cycle. I am seriously psychotic when I cycle and my hormones flux. Then let's see what happens, m'kay? You know where my first crazy enraged phone calls will be? Every member of Congress I can get a phone number to call.

Ananta Androscoggin said...

'fraid they've got Psalms 137:9 (or was it 139:7 ??)

"Happy shall be he who dashes thy little one's head against the rocks."

riley2012 said...

This is the first post I have read of yours and I am in love. I had heard some of this but Jon Stewart was hilarious. I especially like the part at the end where they denied a woman speaker to talk about needing bc for health reasons. BC has helped countless woman with medical problems. I am a Catholic but let me just tell you the way these priests and other religious officers have been acting lately makes me almost ashamed to say I'm Catholic. Do what you want, don't force your belief on others, and let people in your church make their own decisions. A good religious person is someone who always questions their faith instead of blinding following.

Comparative Disadvantage said...

You couldn't be more wrong. Your post demonstrates a severe lack of understanding.

If the government doesn't force insurance
Companies to cover birth control, it is not the same thing as banning birth control. The belief that it does implies that women are unable to provide for themselves- that they must be subsidized by men. But, let's be honest , no feminist believes that. No, these causes are about receiving benefits for women- feminists are a special interest group wrapping up their demands for subsidy in the sacred robes of woman's equality, of political correctness, of an argument from intimidation.

There is no war on women. When is the last time a women was required to sign up for the draft? When was the last time a woman had to perform at the same level as a man on a PRT? (do emergency situations take in to account gender?) when is the last time a woman paid higher health insurance rates for her higher average health care costs? ( doing Sonia against the law but not so for charging men higher car insurance rates)

Comparative Disadvantage said...

No one is taking anything away from you. Your sense of entitlement is huge - probably fostered by a lifetime of special treatment - your argument is that you want depo and you are a wee little woman so your depo should be subsidized by non-users (mostly men).

Pablo Ochoa said...

This is the most intelligent discussion of these issues I've come across. Thanks for the clips, too!

Anchored Away said...

Posted on behalf of Wifey, who's having trouble leaving a comment...

"Comparative Disadvantage...

What about erectile dysfunction drugs? That's all about getting a stiffy that, under your train of thought, shouldn't be covered by non-users (women). Because it's the same thing."

Anchored Away said...

And in line with all that train of thought that Wifey brings up. What about breast, uterine, cervical, or ovarian cancers? Surgery, chemo, radiation, etc. shouldn't be covered. Then nor should testicular cancer treatment or prostate cancer or ...

Because that shit doesn't come out in the wash, does it?

"The belief that it does implies that women are unable to provide for themselves- that they must be subsidized by men."

Right, because only men are paying this shit. Women aren't paying any part of it. And women certainly aren't contributing to the insurance pot that deals with manly issues, non?

"When is the last time a women was required to sign up for the draft? When was the last time a woman had to perform at the same level as a man on a PRT?"

Funny that this shit is only trotted out in the absence of the other side of your manly coin: women shouldn't serve on the front lines. They're there only for succor and support. Feminists have been saying for years that if women were socialized the same way as men, and if girls' expectations for strength and agility matched expectations laid out for boys, women wouldn't end up with separate standards for physical readiness. But the misogynists (and I use that term because it does land squarely opposite of feminist by definition) would have us believe that girls need to be dressed in pink ruffles and told not to play rough and told not to engage physically. They're told that their power is in their beauty and their sexuality, but then they're punished for using those tools of their "power" by being slut-shamed or treated as if they have no intellect.

And wow. Talk about a sense of entitlement, oh man of manliness. You have a cock and therefore should be exempt from having to share equally with other members of society. Your dick puts you above the rest of us, and by deflecting the argument and mansplaining to us silly, uppity womenfolk, you show us exactly How It Is.

Nicely done. I applaud your sucktastic arguments, for they remind me that I'm hella more compassionate and prone to logical thought than the bulk of the cuntcakes running amok out there in Limbaugh Land.