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Posts Tagged ‘boehner

When Your Body Violates Their Rights

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"Basically people that don't live like I think they should live are violating my rights." - Bishop William E. Lori, paraphrased.

“Religious leaders told a House panel Thursday the Obama administration was violating basic rights to religious freedom with its policies for requiring that employees of religion-affiliated institutions have access to birth control coverage.”

Ladies and gentlemen, but mostly ladies, I give you… the CULTURE WARS.

So President Obama pushed a policy a few weeks ago that would require religious institutions (schools, hospitals, etc, that are linked to a particular religious group, not churches) to offer female employees insurance coverage for contraception. It was an ill-conceived idea in today’s hyper-reactive climate where everyone wants to feel like their rights are being violated by everything, and was immediately met by a firestorm of complaints from religious leaders (note: not the religious masses, who support the effort), on the grounds that it violated their religious freedom.

So naturally, our president who has been said to be at war with religion pressed on undeterred, right? He jammed his ideological agenda right down their throats like the mindless Socialist he is? Is that what he did?

No, he made a compromise, and took all the responsibility out of the religious institutions’ hands, and put the onus on insurance companies to offer preventative care, including birth control, to women. Pretty anti-climactic for a battle in the CULTURE WARS, but at least something got done to protect women’s health and we can all go back to living our lives. Right?

Wrong.

The Republican party, in a gross miscalculation of the American public’s values, decided to keep browbeating the issue, and today held a committee before Congress to talk about the ramifications of this policy, complete with various “witnesses”. Who were these witnesses? Well, every one of them was a religious leader. Every one of them opposed the policy. And every one of them was a man.

Said former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, “The Republican leadership of this Congress thinks its appropriate to have a hearing on women’s health and purposely exclude women from the panel. I may at some point be moved to explain biology to my colleagues.”

"I don't know... I heard something about ovaries and whatnot. I wasn't listening because I assumed it didn't make sense."

Differences between boys and girls aside, what did the Republican-called witnesses have to say to the panel? Bishop William E. Lori, from US Conference of Catholic Bishops, compared the ruling to a law that would force all food providers, including kosher delicatessens, to serve pork. A powerful comparison… if the president were still asking religious institutions to provide the coverage. But, since he’s not, and insurance companies are the ones responsible for the coverage, a more apt comparison would be that all OTHER food providers would be required to allow their customers access to pork, even if those customers sometimes visit kosher delicatessens. Which, as it turns out, happens.

Lori went on, continuing to impress with his ability to dance around the issue at hand without ever actually stepping on it, “Does the fact that large majorities in society, even large majorities within the protesting religious community, reject a particular religious belief make it permissible for the government to weigh in on one side of that dispute?”

When the issue at hand is completely removed from the grounds of any religious institution? Absolutely. Some sects in Islam say women shouldn’t be allowed to drive. Our government disputes that. Some Jewish sects ban women from gathering together to pray on religious holidays, going so far as to call it illegal. Our government disputes that. It has over time become pretty standard practice for the laws of the land, laws for everyone of any religion, to disregard the archaic stance of any one religion.

Remember, nobody is forcing them to do anything against their religion. They’re just requiring that people be given -access- to certain health measures that they don’t even have to take advantage of if they don’t want to. But, nonetheless, there’s more to argue.

“… it is ironic that the religious organizations should have their rights crushed in the name of health care,” said Dr. Craig Mitchell, Baptist minister and head of the ethics department at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Because, to him, allowing women the right to preventative healthcare is crushing religious organizations rights to… what? Crush women’s rights?

Maybe it’s just showing my ignorance as a part of the unwashed masses, but I don’t see how anyone is being hurt by this policy. Women that don’t want to use birth control because of their religious beliefs don’t have to. Religious organizations can continue to rail against birth control in their services, and encourage their followers to stay away from it, as they’ve always done. The new policy does nothing to shift religious beliefs or practices, just makes sure women can have a certain kind of coverage if they want it.

Calling that a violation of religious freedom is confusing your own personal religious freedom with allowing your religion to infringe on the rights of others. Even if that’s what your religion claims you are capable of, I’m afraid the Constitution of the Unites States says otherwise.

"And, I say, won't it be fun to see how badly they misinterpret this one hundreds of years down the line!"

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Written by oobiedoo

February 16, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Accepting Ignorance

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Feel free to reject reality, and substitute it with your own.

President Barack Obama is a citizen of the United States. This is a fact. It’s a truth that can be proven. It’s not somebody’s opinion or open to debate in any way, shape, or form. It’s not a philosophical belief open to each individual’s interpretation. It’s a fact. Facts are facts, and facts are right. No matter how much you believe one and one is three, it’s actually two and you’re wrong and should be corrected as soon as is worldly possible.

Facts.

Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner has to know this. He does know the president is a citizen of the US; he said as much in a recent interview. However, when confronted about people that still hold to the belief the president was born elsewhere, he also said, “It’s not my job to tell the American people what to think. Our job in Washington is to listen to the American people.”

And my jaw hit the floor.

First, let’s just get it out of the way. He’s correct in that the US government shouldn’t be the thought police, going around to make sure everyone’s all thinking in the same line. Individuals should all think about things differently; that’s what makes them individual.

What doesn’t make people individual is blindly following propaganda, en masse, that is absolutely false. That’s the path to a belief that something is bad simply because you need it to be bad to justify your own bent ideology. It’s partisanship designed for no better purpose than to foster more partisanship, a sort of self-brainwashing that aids nothing but ignorance.

What doesn’t make a good leader is a man so spineless he can’t dare to suggest that people should not believe in something that is irrefutably not true. The purpose of a leader is to elevate those he leads, to inspire them to be better. Michael Jordan was the best player in the NBA not only because of his own greatness, but because of the way he made other players better. John Boehner doesn’t want people to be better than they’d otherwise be, and would rather just let people be as ignorant as they want to be.

And why? Politics. If people would rather be ignorant about this issue, if they would rather believe something that is blatantly false, then it makes the president weaker, at least in the eyes of those that choose not to see. If he appears weaker to anyone, then that will automatically make any Republican that challenges him in 2012 stronger. I’d be willing to bet not a single serious contender that emerges in the Republican field will ever make a strong statement about Obama’s unquestionable citizenship.

Second, if Boehner comes out and calls this situation what it is, ignorance for the sake of blind partisanship, then he’s just called a part of his base ignorant. And from what I hear, they don’t much like that. So, in essence, Boehner can’t make a stronger statement than he did, because then he would have little influence over his constituents down the line. He’s pandering to radicals that are inventing their own reasons to oppose someone, trying to toe a line so as not to insult the far-right (in this case, the far-FAR-right), and even to essentially give them a pass, to let them know it’s okay to look at a fact and decide if you don’t like it to just not believe it..

If it’s a person’s own prerogative to decide if President Obama is a United States citizen, to completely disregard the evidence that tells us he certainly is, then what other facts should we allow people to ignore as they see fit? Most of us know one and one is two, but how does it make you -feel-? Maybe if you’ve got a good reason why you think it should be three, we can make an exception for you. I’m just thinking out loud here. You and I may know a newborn baby has to eat on a regular basis, but hey, maybe it’s up to individuals to decide if they believe that. When I was younger, I was told girls can’t get pregnant the first time they have sex. Granted, my high school anatomy class informed me differently, and they had books that seemed to lend more credibility to their case, but maybe I’ll roll that one around in my head for a while, see which option fits me better.

Ignorance is dangerous. That’s why warning labels are mandated these days, to inform people, to protect them from not knowing the danger of what they’ve got in their hands, even if it seems obvious to most of us. There once was a day we were ignorant to the dangers of smoking tobacco, and millions suffered for it without knowing they would. It was once commonly accepted as truth that African-Americans weren’t entirely human, and that ignorant precept allowed people to justify awful practices like slavery, rape, and torture.

I wonder if John Boehner would have thought it wasn’t his job to tell people what to think in those instances. I suppose it depends on who he expected to vote for him. It takes great minds to penetrate the veil of ignorance and make this world better for it. Rep. Boehner made clear he has no desire to be one of those great minds.

Written by oobiedoo

February 15, 2011 at 5:48 am