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.

Anyway.

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.