I understand the compulsion to wish that people would separate religion from politics, but you might as well tell the wind to stand in a corner and think about all the tall grass it pushes around. Religion IS politics. It always has been and it always will be. So, it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that the GOP has found Jesus again. The Prince of Peace showed them a little leg by means of Citizens United, and the good political Christians have been composing love poems ever since. Today it’s working on rhyme scheme full of obby, gobby, and a great big bibilo-bobby.
It’s moments like these when the distinction between religion and politics simply vanishes. Both embrace visions of a moral order; both anchor that order in some vision of the world at large, and both impose that order on real people. So, it shouldn’t come as any surprise when Jesus turns out to want the same things Uncle Sam does (especially when he’s talking out the right side of his mouth). Does it really make a difference whether the government controls your body or a church? …or for that matter a hobby store?
For practical purposes the word ‘your’ today excludes anything claimed by those of us with a y chromosome, but take heart mens’ rights activists! I’m sure someone is oppressing a man somewhere; y’all can still howl!
This notion that corporations are persons for purposes of the Bill of Rights really has opened up new ground in the frontiers of collectivism, and all manner of good commie-bashing Republicans have jumped the gun to homestead this new turf without the slightest trace of irony. So, today we face the perverse prospect that the religious views of a corporate entity may trump the personal liberties of a woman (along with the good judgement of her doctor).
Pardon me, I have to vomit.
If there was ever any doubt that religious exemptions to the terms of the Affordable Care Act are about controlling the bodies of women, that should have been dispelled long ago. It should have been dispelled the day Rush Limbaugh reacted to a critic of these exemptions by calling her a ‘slut’ and a ‘prostitute’ and spreading lies about her sex life. It should certainly have been dispelled when good respectable conservatives all across the land shouted ‘yea verily’ at the grand bigot-pontiff of hack radio and promptly drafted themselves up a rash of laws restricting the health options of any women unfortunate enough to live in the wrong state or county. For all the rhetoric of rights, one doesn’t have to look hard to see the naked power politics of the right wing’s current approach to women’s health. Control over women’s bodies is an end in itself, and the Republicans want it now.
On this topic, they can count on the support of half-baked misogynists everywhere.
Today the great masculine hope lies with Hobby Lobby and misogynists are lining up to buy a kitchy piece of cloth, or perhaps a nice candle. Others are happy to simply tweet their support. Their keyboards say ‘Religious freedom’, but so often their texts read sexism, and they read it loud and clear. Take for example this little gem from the Matt Walsh Blog. Matt’s thoughts on individual rights aren’t particularly interesting; one is hard-pressed actually to call them thoughts, at least insofar as they appear on the pages of this post, but what’s really fascinating to me is the social posture he takes in this post, the footing as it were. You see Matt isn’t content to frame a basic argument about religious freedom or the rights of supposedly Christian corporations, he wants to set his post up as a direct response to those women who may want birth control. The result is epic mansplaining.
I’ve poured through mounds of research, read pages and pages of court precedent; I’ve reflected on it, meditated, retreated into the mountains to ponder this mystery in peace; I’ve even Googled it, and all of these measures have brought me to one incredible solution for women who want birth control:
Pay for it yourselves.
Or find an employer that chooses to provide it.
Or have sex and don’t use it.
Or don’t have sex.
Basically, take responsibility for your sex life, one way or another.
By ‘epic’ I suppose I mean childish and petty, but what do you expect. Anyway, there you have it folks; at bottom this issue is basic childishness. Apparently, women need to take more responsibility for their own sex lives. So, Matt is going to give them all a good lecture and be done with it.
Can you just hear the guy saying “I won’t cum inside you baby?” No really just the tip? If it comes to that, he no doubt promises to do the honorable thing. …You get the idea. I’m almost sorry if this is too graphic, but I’ll be damned if the issue of personal responsibility for sexual matters doesn’t play out in just such moments all over the world. Seriously the notion that women need to take more responsibility for their sex lives is perversely ironic and that is precisely what Walsh’s framing of the issue sets up. His blog post isn’t a polemic on a tricky political problem, it is a lecture given to an errant little girl, one whose rights certainly don’t extend to questions about her own medical care. Why not? Well, let’s let Matt tell you…
It used to be that your rights were infringed upon if the government punished or threatened you for expressing your sincerest beliefs.
Now, your rights are infringed upon if you want something but someone refuses to buy it for you.
It used to be that the vision of tyranny was a man or woman bound, gagged, and shoved in a cage for speaking his or her mind.
Now, tyranny is the tragic image of man or woman forced to spend their own money on something because nobody would give it to them for free.
We used to fight and die for free speech.
Now we sit around and whine for free birth control.
Here Matt’s language echoes that of Limbaugh’s old attack on Sandra Fluke. This is a simple case of someone wanting something for free (which isn’t true, but don’t tell these hacks). Gone is any consideration of larger medical issues or questions about how one decides to deal with his or her own body. I say ‘his’ because I think most of us can relate to those moments when an insurance company turns out to be the reason your doc is doing this as opposed to that, and I sincerely doubt that Matt and his fawning fans are any less likely to grumble about such things when faced with them. But when Hobby Lobby turns out to be the reason why a woman can’t get birth control, well that’s just the facts of life, dontchaknow! Oh yes, of course she can pay for the birth control herself, just like you can pay for any number of medical procedures and prescriptions yourself. The fact is that in THIS world, and I by THIS world (I mean the crappy world of health-care we have here in the U.S.A.) what insurance will and won’t pay for is often the difference between what we get and what we don’t. In the real world Hobby Lobby’s policies will make a difference in the care some women get. Some of us think that difference ought to be up to her and her doctor, but apparently that is the view of tyrants.
…and of silly girls who whine.
Of course this is the tip of the Obamacare iceberg here, and many of those telling women to go fly a kite for contraception are the same folks who fought tooth and nail to stop the Affordable Care Act. Their solution for women is the same solution they offered all of us in the years leading up to the ACA, let the market run its course. Pay for your own insurance or pay for your own medical care; that’s what apple pies and supply curves are all about! That folks would say this knowing that medical bills in the U.S. have long since become prohibitive for large sections of the working public is irresponsible in the extreme. It isn’t just governments that skew the market; corporations (and particularly insurance corporations) do that too, but don’t tell the free market fundamentalists. They’ll call you un-American, …or maybe a slut or something.
In any event, the ACA is law now, warts and all, and the present battle is a classic exercise in scapegoating. It turns out that health-care for women is more complicated than it is for men, and when it comes to sex and its consequences, women are more vulnerable than men. So, Hobby Lobby and its pious supporters have risen to the occasion, leading the right wing to its scape-goat. We may have to accept this abortion of a law, they seem to be suggesting, but at least we can leave the sluts out in the cold.
And if they don’t like it?
Well then there are always mansplaining culture warriors to put them in their place. You can’t help but notice the pleasure some of these folks take in explaining the issue. For some, it’s a kind of theatrical moment, a chance to play the role of the stern father or maybe the soup Nazi.
No sex for you!
Ah well! Let’s give Matt the last word here:
And, seriously, in case I forgot to mention it: pay for your own birth control.