Republican Men and Rape

Richard Mourdock, Republican Senate candidate from Indiana, has joined the club of Republican candidates saying really stupid things about rape. His contribution:

“I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

Said while debating Democrat Joe Donnelly.

From the Obama campaign:

“This is a reminder that a Republican Congress working with a Republican president Mitt Romney would (feel) that women should not be able to make choices about their own health care,” Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Wednesday morning.

The Republican platform calls for making abortion illegal – including in cases of rape and incest.

Other stupid remarks by Republicans include:

Todd Akin: “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways of shutting that whole thing down” – mid 2012 Senate Campaign

Rick Santorum: “I think the right approach is to accept this horribly created — in the sense of rape — but nevertheless a gift in a very broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given to you… rape victims should make the best of a bad situation.” – January, 2012

Paul Ryan: “I’m very proud of my pro-life record. I’ve always adopted the idea that the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life,” said during an interview with television station WJHL.

I, of course, agree with Obama:

“This is exactly why you don’t want a bunch of politicians, mostly male, making decisions about women’s health care decisions,” he told Leno, without mentioning Romney by name. “Women are capable of making these decisions in consultation with their partners, with their doctors, and for politicians to want to intrude in this stuff often times without any information is a huge problem. And this is obviously a part of what’s at stake in this election.”

The Republican candidates have clarified that 1) they don’t understand reproduction and should shut up about it and 2) that their ideas are religiously based and have no place being forced on the population.

If we have freedom of religion – then while Ryan and Mourdock might think that “GOD” intends to create babies through rape, women who believe that “GOD” does not intend any such thing OR who do not believe in “GOD” whatsoever, should not have to be held down by the other’s religious ideas and beliefs.

I don’t think that the Christian Republicans have thought this through. I would be pretty shocked if one of them were to say that “GOD” had a hand in creating the holocaust, for instance. What all horrible things do they think that “GOD” intended to happen. Plus, I’m pretty sure that these Republican Christians would not want to be forced to comply with Muslim (or any other religion’s) laws.

The idea that the intelligent, educated part of the population should be subjugated by the wills of the ignorant, superstitious part (that makes up nonsense to deny women control of their bodies) is absurd.

The Redemption of Sinead O’Connor

I’ll have to admit that while I knew about Sinead O’Connor tearing up a photo of the Pope – I did not understand the real significance. It’s been 20 years. Since then I have found out about the Magdalene Laundries and a lot of other information.

This article from the Atlantic explains what went mostly unsaid / not discussed:

banner_oconnor.jpg

(Snip)…Almost entirely overlooked in the controversy was the text of O’Connor’s protest—a Bob Marley song, “War,” with lyrics taken from a speech by Haile Selassie. O’Connor had replaced out-of-date lyrics about apartheid African regimes with the phrase “child abuse, yeah,” repeated twice with spine-stiffening venom.

Also inexplicably ignored were O’Connor’s own words, in an interview published in Time a month after herSNL appearance:

It’s not the man, obviously—it’s the office and the symbol of the organization that he represents… In Ireland we see our people are manifesting the highest incidence in Europe of child abuse. This is a direct result of the fact that they’re not in contact with their history as Irish people and the fact that in the schools, the priests have been beating the shit out of the children for years and sexually abusing them. This is the example that’s been set for the people of Ireland. They have been controlled by the church, the very people who authorized what was done to them, who gave permission for what was done to them.

Her interviewer seemed confused by the connection O’Connor was making between the Catholic Church and child abuse, so O’Connor opened up about her own history of abuse:

Sexual and physical. Psychological. Spiritual. Emotional. Verbal. I went to school every day covered in bruises, boils, sties and face welts, you name it. Nobody ever said a bloody word or did a thing. Naturally I was very angered by the whole thing, and I had to find out why it happened… The thing that helped me most was the 12-step group, the Adult Children of Alcoholics/Dysfunctional Families. My mother was a Valium addict. What happened to me is a direct result of what happened to my mother and what happened to her in her house and in school.

The interviewer remained skeptical of O’Connor’s characterization of Irish schools as playgrounds and training grounds for child abusers, and the interview moved on to different topics.

(Snip)

“The sheer scale and longevity of the torment inflected on defenceless children—over 800 known abusers in over 200 Catholic institutions during a period of 35 years—should alone make it clear that it was not accidental or opportunistic but systematic,” the Irish Times wrote upon reviewing the Ryan Report. “Abuse was not a failure of the system. It was the system.”

At age 15, Sinead O’Connor was caught shoplifting and was sent to an institution much like those investigated in the Commission Report, a Magdalene laundry full of teenage girls who had been judged too promiscuous or uncooperative for civil society. “We worked in the basement, washing priests’ clothes in sinks with cold water and bars of soap,” O’Connor has written of her experience. “We studied math and typing. We had limited contact with our families. We earned no wages. One of the nuns, at least, was kind to me and gave me my first guitar.” On the grounds of one Dublin Magdalene laundry, a mass grave was uncovered which included 22 unidentified bodies. These institutions have since caught the eye of the United Nations Committee against Torture.

After 18 months, with the help of her father, O’Connor escaped from this brutal system. Very quickly, her voice carried her to stardom. Her former captors were the “enemy” O’Connor spoke of when, as a 25-year-old with a once-in-a-lifetime live television audience, she tore the picture of the Pope and exhorted her viewers to “fight” him. The picture she tore, in fact, had belonged to her abusive mother, then already dead. “The photo itself had been on my mother’s bedroom wall since the day the fucker was enthroned in 1978,” she told the Irish magazine Hot Press in 2010.

______

Women as Priests

A slideshow posted at the New York Times site

Women as Priests

by JUDITH LEVITT

REFORMERS within the Roman Catholic Church have been calling for the ordination of women as priests. The Vatican, however, refuses to consider the possibility and uses its power to silence those who speak out. Catholic clergy in Europe, Australia and the United States who have voiced public support for female ordination have been either dismissed or threatened with removal from administrative posts within the church.

For those who disobey the prohibition, the consequences are swift and severe. In 2008, the Vatican decreed that any woman who sought ordination, or a bishop who conferred holy orders on her, would be immediately “punished with excommunication.” It went a step further in 2010, categorizing any such attempt as delicta graviora — a grave crime against the church — the same category as priests who sexually abuse children.

Despite the official church position, clergy and laity have been fighting for the ordination of women since the early 1970s, hoping to expand upon the Vatican II reforms. And according to a 2010 poll by The New York Times and CBS, 59 percent of American Catholics favor the ordination of women…. (snip)

I photographed priests and bishops of the Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement to alter my own deep-seated perception of priests as male. I tried to capture their devotion and conviction and pay tribute to their efforts to reform the church.