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.

Pantheism and the Vatican

“The Vatican gave Pantheism further prominence in a Papal encyclical of 2009 and a New Year’s Day statement on January 1, 2010, criticizing Naturalistic Pantheism for denying the superiority of humans over nature and “seeing the source of man’s salvation in nature”.

Einstein wrote, “We followers of Spinoza see our God in the wonderful order and lawfulness of all that exists and in its soul (“Beseeltheit”) as it reveals itself in man and animal.”

From Wikipedia – Pantheism

I think it’s weird that the Catholic Church with all of it’s power bothers to criticize Pantheism. Pantheists certainly don’t care what “the Vatican” thinks about what they think – except to be amused. If “the Vatican” did agree with Pantheists – he would not be able to say because it would undo their power. So he has to just keep being ridiculous no matter how little sense his ideas make.

It’s absurd to say that humans are superior over nature. We need nature / we are nature – just like the rest of nature. And there is nothing the matter with nature, anyway – for us to be so much “better” than. What a denial of reality. We are made up of the elements of nature. We are born and die just like other mammals. Sheesh.

“Seeing the source of man’s salvation in nature.”

Seeing as how dependent on nature we are (being a part of nature and all) – nature is all that can ‘save’ us.

The church – esp. the original sin nonsense would have us believe that animals (us) should live outside of nature – that we need to be saved from being animals – being mortal – being alive. Also absurd.

Sunrises, Gods & Goddesses, & Sex

Where I live, I have a good view to the east. I usually take a walk first thing in the morning – and it is often around the time the sun is rising. I’ve taken hundreds of sunrise photos. (My header photo is of a sunset I took while on vacation).

My religion has evolved to where it basically involves being happy to be alive and appreciating the awesome world that I find myself in. I count my blessings which include having wonderful parents, husband, & grown children. I try to live simply; I meditate and practice yoga.

My philosophy is partly based on a liberal understanding of Christianity (minus the divinity part), along with some Jungian, feminist, and other readings. I strive for a somewhat Universal understanding – I am interested in ideas from India, China, & Japan – especially as they relate to our relationship with the earth and with each other.

It has taken me awhile – but I have come to appreciate the way that sex is integrated into the religions of India. The idea of sex and especially the yoni (vagina) representing life, is so basic and sensible. Temples have at their core a room that is based on the idea of the womb. Carved, stylized yonis with a lingam (phallas shape) within the yoni – as a symbol of life are normal and everyday artifacts. And of course – what simpler way to represent life? The Egyptian ankh symbol was likely based on the same idea.

The more I have learned about this way of understanding the world, and the more the acceptance and appreciation of the symbols of sex as life become integrated into my mind, the more I see that Christianity and especially Catholicism is messed up.

I have enjoyed reading Elaine Pagels books The Gnostic Gospels (1979), & Adam, Eve and the Serpent (1988), which have helped put into perspective what happened early in Christianity. Basically that while there were people who embraced spirituality and equality with women, the ones who won were the ones who wanted to squash women’s influence. The ones who won were more interested in creating an authoritarian model that demanded obedience as opposed to a more inclusive model based on love and acceptance. Many ‘heretics’ were killed along the way.

To this day we have those who are interested in using religion to dominate and control – to keep men elevated and women subservient. That would include the fundamentalists who demand a ‘literal’ (cough) interpretation of the Bible as well as the Catholics with their Pope who has decided that birth control is evil. While the vast majority of Christian denominations adapted and made women more equal partners, the Catholics remain inflexible.

Many denominations in the 70s and 80s moved to have more inclusive language – such as describing God not as He – but as the creator. Five hundred years ago, various (non-Catholic) Christians began thinking of God as more abstract than physical. The maleness of God has remained important to the Catholic hierarchy – with the Pope saying that it would be a different religion if (the) God(s) were not male.

The fundamentalists and Catholics – while they may be saving the patriarchal nature of their religion – are becoming more and more polarizing as many of the rest of us see that the patriarchy is not the model we wish to follow. I think that where there could have been more liberal Christians, the effect of the extremists is to encourage people such as myself to abandon Christianity altogether and look for something more reasonable and women-friendly.

What women like myself are discovering is that there is a whole world of Goddesses that I, for one, grew up knowing little about. The Greek Goddesses we typically learn about had been made subservient (for the most part) by the Greeks as they imposed patriarchal concepts long ago – as well as in their retelling by an educational system that wanted to promote male power over women.

To find out about the Goddess(es) who were thought of as being the creator(s) of the world, etc. you need to find out about the Goddesses before they were dominated and recast as inferior beings.

Nearly all of the artifacts representing humans prior to about 6000 years ago were of women. It is no coincidence that 4000 BCE marks the time when fundamentalists say that the world began. What happened at the “fall” was that the Earth Mother, Eve (along with a symbol of the earth – the snake) were denigrated and demonized. Men asserted their power over women. Men also began taking credit for life, itself. Many men don’t want to give that up. (Santorum and Limbaugh to name two).

Rapists & Victims

Rick Santorum thinks that rape victims who become pregnant should have to “make the best of” it. That resulting children should be seen as “gifts from God”.

And sure, if any woman wants to think that – they are welcome to. That would, of course, be a religious point of view – not one that any woman should be expected or required to share.

To me – it is like saying that the rapist represents “God”. A person has to have an awfully obnoxious view of “God” to think of rapist’s sperm as “gifts from God”. I think any Goddess would say – that there are plenty more sperm in the world – we need not be sanctifying the rapist’s sperm as if is so precious, as if its loss would be missed.

The Pope and the Catholic church’s official stand is that abortion is always wrong and that pregnant women should die before an abortion would be performed. Their “logic” is that once you say that abortion is bad, it is always bad. (Nun’s have been excommunicated for saving women’s lives in such situations – see this).

These ideas are clearly fucked up.

It gives rapists more rights over the woman’s body than she has for her own self. That is clearly wrong.

If you want to make a stance and stick with it across situations – then the LOGICAL one is that woman are legally in control of their body. PERIOD. While a rapist may violate it temporarily – he should not be able to do so permanently. While a fetus may inhabit a woman’s body temporarily, it is the woman’s mind and body that should ALWAYS have precedence over any bodies that are trying to grow inside of her. Because she has been born already and as a living person has rights; because fetuses are not worth anything without her.

Of course – this concept is the law of the land. Framed as the right to privacy, guaranteed by the US constitution, it is known as Roe Vs. Wade – the law that upholds women’s rights.

There are women (whom I know and am related to) who think that the Pope and the Catholic Church (and presumably Santorum) are FOR women’s rights. But it is as clear as clear can be to me that there are NO women’s rights when women cannot have the legal say over whether she will or will not become or continue to be pregnant. Especially in cases of rape.

And the only person who has a right to decide if she was raped – has to be the woman herself. Not Rick Santorum, nor any judge, nor the Pope, or ANYONE else. Only her. Many men would say that a woman was not raped – she was merely coerced. Or whatever. There is too much possible nonsense for that.

Nor should she have to prove, as women did in the past – prior to Roe v Wade – that she would suffer from psychological damages. The woman should get to decide. And that is that.

All of these laws that Republicans are trying to implement to erode Roe v Wade (vaginal probes before abortions, etc., ad nauseum) are attempts to erode woman’s rights plain and simple, and should be described as such. It is mostly men who would take away from women the right to decide – without being harassed – the choices she will make for herself, for her future, for any future children she may have. And yes – that also means that any men in her life will have to live with the results of her decisions.

And then there is birth control, itself – a topic for another day.