“Why America needs to confront the Vatican”

@ the site, churchandstate.org.uk, they have reposted some parts of Dr Stephen D Mumford’s book, “American Democracy and the Vatican”. The book was first published in 1984 during the Reagan administration. In it, Mumford describes how the Vatican – the Catholic establishment – worked to influence public policy and public opinion. For example, prior to Reagan, people were becoming more aware and concerned about global overpopulation. During Reagan’s term, that all came to an end – along with concern for the environment and concern for women’s equality (the Equal Right’s Amendment was defeated in 1982).

A few paragraphs:

If the stakes are high for the Church as an institution, they are critical for all nations and people, including Americans. That world popula­tion growth poses a serious security threat has been well established.[2] Under the Carter Administration, the National Security Council first acknowledged this threat,[3] which was subsequently reaffirmed.[4] The election of President Reagan has introduced an administration that is the most Catholic in American history. His first National Security Advisor, Richard Allen, a Catholic, halted within the Council further discussion of population growth as a national security threat. His second National Security Advisor, William Clark, a Catholic, announced that the Carter council had “erred” in this determination and that this “error” must be corrected. Reagan’s CIA director, William Casey, a Catholic, ignores any intelligence that would indicate that overpopulation is a security threat. Alexander Haig, a Catholic who was Reagan’s first secretary of state, supported the Carter council’s position on this issue but, according to Haig, was drummed out of office by his Catholic colleagues. His replacement, George Shultz, a Catholic, remains silent in this regard.

Margaret Heckler, a Catholic, as secretary of Housing and Human Services, is responsible for the U.S. government’s support of domestic family-planning services. She is both anti-abortion and supportive of the administration’s restrictions on family-planning services. Attor­ney-General William French Smith, a Catholic, is responsible for the Immigration and Naturalization Service and for the execution of U.S. immigration laws. The attorney-general has chosen to give little atten­tion to this responsibility and to ignore the fact that our bishops and thousands of clergy commit a felony every time they aid or abet an ille­gal alien (90 percent of our illegal aliens are Catholic). The mathe­matical odds of this arrangement happening by chance are fantastically low in this nation which is only 20 percent Catholic. The Church has managed to cover all key highest level positions that would be con­cerned with the population growth and security issue….

The successes of the Church have occurred despite a large unsatis­fied demand for family planning. Among countries studied by the World Fertility Survey, typically one-half of the fertile married women who want no more children are not using any method of contracep­tion. On the Indian subcontinent these levels exceed 90 percent. As a rule, one-third to one-half of those interviewed reported that their last child was unwanted.[7] Worldwide, more than two in three women at risk of pregnancy (about 450 million out of 670 million women) lack access to modem contraceptive methods.

The decline of the world population growth control effort of the past couple of years has coincided with the activities of Pope John Paul II and his Vatican. Virtually every American is familiar with his position on family planning and population growth control: “The will of God and the law of reason demand an unrelenting fight against immoral contraception.” His position has been well covered by the American press. It is indeed unfortunate that the actions of the Vatican to intervene in our national affairs have not been equally publicized. This silence of the American press has given the Vatican enormous power to undermine family planning worldwide. The Church is completely candid about its implorable opposition to birth control and professes that it will do everything possible to accomplish its purposes.

The Vatican has called on its bishops, all of whom are completely loyal (though they may appear at certain moments to be otherwise) to thwart efforts for population growth control. The Church, through its two thousand years of experience, has learned that responsiveness to the chain of command in this truly monolithic organization can best be guaranteed by selecting persons for leadership positions who have an intense lust for power….

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On the one hand, this could read as a bigoted opinion. People are supposed to be tolerant of other’s religions, etc. The problem in that the Catholic religion is extremely powerful and adversely affects many inside and outside of their religion.

I have problems with their insistence on the superiority of men, and the adverse long-term effects on the planet of their anti-birth-control stance.

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.

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Gloria Steinem – 2012 Humanist of the Year

I had read, probably in some of my feminist literature, about humanism having been rather sexist – if not now then in the past. So I was seeing what I could Google and I found this article about Gloria Steinem getting an award from the the Humanists – 2012 Humanist of the Year  (see thehumanist.org) . It looks like a sign that Humanists are trying to make a bridge with the Feminists. The subtitle of the Sept/Oct edition is, “Here come the Secular Women” (as if we/ they have not been around all along? – did they just find us?)

While there were some very supportive comments about the Steinem interview – there was also this:

“Bestowing a humanist award upon a feminist? Feminism is not humanism. Feminism is part of the problem that humanism would resolve….”

Link to article HERE

I thought this was interesting ->

2012 Humanist of the Year Gloria Steinem sat down with the Humanist magazine at the 71st Annual Conference of the American Humanist Association, held June 7-10, 2012, in New Orleans. The following is an adapted version of that interview recorded on Friday, June 7.

The Humanist: What do you think of the U.S. Catholic sisters who were reprimanded for not speaking out strongly enough against gay marriage, abortion, or the notion of women priests? They were actually faulted for focusing too much on poverty and economic justice.

Steinem: I was perversely delighted to see the Catholic Church and the Vatican go after nuns because I think they made a major error. People are quite clear in viewing nuns as the servants and the teachers and the supporters of the poor. You contrast that with the fact that the Vatican did virtually nothing about long-known pedophiles, and it’s just too much.

Their stance on abortion is also quite dishonest historically, because as the Jesuits (who always seem to be more honest historians of the Catholic Church) point out, the Church approved of and even regulated abortion well into the mid-1800s. The whole question of ensoulment was determined by the date of baptism. But after the Napoleonic Wars there weren’t enough soldiers anymore and the French were quite sophisticated about contraception. So Napoleon III prevailed on Pope Pius IX to declare abortion a mortal sin, in return for which Pope Pius IX got all the teaching positions in the French schools and support for the doctrine of papal infallibility.

There are also this article at Humanist.org that I liked, A Woman’s Place? The Dearth of Women in the Secular Movement by Susan Jacoby.

While some are happy to leave behind the idea of “God” – they still want to cling to the concept of the patriarchy / hierarchy. In my mind – the patriarchy is what most (organized) religion is all about. One hasn’t left religion behind until one can leave the patriarchy behind.

Another snip from the Steinem interview:

Jennifer Bardi: Do you consider yourself a humanist?

Steinem: Yes, a humanist except that humanism sometimes is not seen as inclusive of spirituality. To me, spirituality is the opposite of religion. It’s the belief that all living things share some value. So I would include the word spiritual just because it feels more inclusive to me. Native Americans do this when they offer thanks to Mother Earth and praise the interconnectedness of “the two-legged and the four, the feathered and the clawed,” and so on. It’s lovely.

The Humanist: So we need a more positive and inclusive term.

Steinem: Yes, because it’s not about not believing. It’s about rejecting a god who looks like the ruling class.

Earlier in the interview, Steinem said, “I believe in People, I believe in Nature” (as opposed to God). It sounds like she is essentially a Pantheist. I like the ideas of the the Pantheists (WPM). While there may be some sexism within the group – I haven’t seen it.

Morality – Public & Private

I noticed 2 articles today – one by Robert Reich

The Difference Between Private and Public Morality

and the other by George Lakoff

Why the GOP Campaign for the Presidency Is About Guaranteeing a Radical Conservative Future for America

(The Republican presidential campaign is not just about the presidential race. It is about using conservative language to strengthen conservative values in the brains of voters.)

Reich’s take is that there is public morality – that relates to the laws we are governed by and whether they are enforced or not. In the case of the US, Reich used examples where the excess and abuse by the rich created the need for the government to step in to fix the situation:

Twice before progressive have saved capitalism from its own excesses by appealing to public morality and common sense. First in the early 1900s, when the captains for American industry had monopolized the economy into giant trusts, American politics had sunk into a swamp of patronage and corruption, and many factory jobs were unsafe – entailing long hours of work at meager pay and often exploiting children. In response, we enacted antitrust, civil service reforms, and labor protections.

And then again in 1930s after the stock market collapsed and a large portion of American workforce was unemployed. Then we regulated banks and insured deposits, cleaned up stock market, and provided social insurance to the destitute.

Reich contrasts that with private morality – such as sexual orientation, birth control, abortion, etc. And, of course, the decision for Roe v. Wade was based on the right to privacy. So Reich certainly has a valid point. In this election cycle, like so many others in the past couple of decades, the Republicans act all preachy about private morality issues and ignore the public morality issues – as if they do not exist.

So while that is odd – it is understandable to the extent that we know that the rich are subsidizing the debate and they are happy to keep things off topic. Off of the topic of public morality as it relates to money and their excesses. The Republicans fabricate problems – this has become obvious to many liberals and progressives – but many Republicans fall for it. Bush and his terrorism colors was a big distraction – Obama’s birth certificate and the business about Obama being a Muslim (such idiotic non-issues). These things that are not worth spending any amount of time on – but the “base” gets worked up about it and distracted about actual problems and the role the Republicans have in them.

On the other hand, Lakoff sees that all of this private morality is a distraction – but he also sees how it keeps conservatives “conservative”. Lakoff likes for people to see the overall picture – the Conservatives and their predilection for the strict father figure model for the family and for how they like to see government run. And the Liberal model that encourages a shared authority between parents and the way government is run.

So Lakoff’s main point is this:

Liberals tend to underestimate the importance of public discourse and its effect on the brains of our citizens. All thought is physical. You think with your brain. You have no alternative. Brain circuitry strengthens with repeated activation. And language, far from being neutral, activates complex brain circuitry that is rooted in conservative and liberal moral systems. Conservative language, even when argued against, activates and strengthens conservative brain circuitry. This is extremely important for so-called “independents,” who actually have both conservative and liberal moral systems in their brains and can shift back and forth. The more they hear conservative language over the next eight months, the more their conservative brain circuitry will be strengthened.

So his idea is that there is more going on than Santorum and Romney being stupid about birth control. He is afraid that while Obama will be get re-elected the conservative mindset will spread allowing more Republican CongressMen to get elected.

The idealized conservative family is structured around a strict father who is the natural leader of the family, who is assumed to know right from wrong, whose authority is absolute and unchallengeable, who is masculine, makes decisions about reproduction, and who sets the rules – in short, the Decider.

You can see how the Pope would be popular. Even if someone was a Fundamentalist – the idea of the Pope as a Strict Father figure telling millions of people what to do is presumably appealing. But these ideas are extended to other areas of life:

…a view of the market as Decider with no external authority over the market from government, unions, or the courts; and strictness in other institutions, like education, prisons, businesses, sports teams…Control over reproduction ought to be in the hands of male authorities.

…Conservative populism — in which poor conservatives vote against their financial interests — depends on those poor conservatives having strict father family values, defining themselves in terms of those values, and voting on the basis of those values, thus selecting strict fathers as their political leaders.

While Lakoff writes that the Democrats need to talk more in a positive way about what they think instead of talking about what the Republicans get us talking about – he does it too – staying more focused on Republicans.

When it comes to the anti-women message that Republicans are promoting – even many Republican women are not liking it. Independent ones, esp. But I do think that Lakoff’s point should be well taken – a good amount of time needs to be spent on women’s equality and promoting liberal causes of the “private” as well as “public” variety. Because, like it or not, the private issue views affect people’s political views.

Patrinazis Vs. Feminists

This is how I see the Limbaugh Vs. Fluke rivalry. I expect that this is how Limbaugh, Santorum, Romney, Issa, and the rest would like us to see it (without the the Nazi part) – the restoration and elevation of Patriarchal values. They obviously think that patriarchal values are God’s gift to the world – which is no doubt how they see themselves. They would not dare suggest that this is about obnoxious men who like to see men dominate and control women’s bodies and lives – and to give men an advantage in work and with money.

Limbaugh has worked diligently to put women down – especially women who work to assert their rights. Anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to him knows this. He likes to refer to feminists as Feminazis. Feminists are not trying to force their power over others – but merely to claim it for themselves. So the nazi suffix to feminist is simply an absurdity. (Santorum brushed off Limbaugh’s remarks about Fluke as being “absurd”/ “entertainment”.

The thing about Nazis is that they did force their power over others – and it was white, male authoritarian power – based on Christian ideas. Hitler was raised as a Christian and while whether or not he was a Christian later in life is debated – he used Christian ideas to support his case. Hitler’s ideal that he was trying to establish was a Patriarchal, Thomas Kincadian, view of the world. He wanted to get rid of everything and everyone who did not fit his idealized patriarchal ideal. That included liberals, intellectuals, homosexuals, gypsies, Jews and physically handicapped and mentally ill people.

The Nazi regime was against the idea of helping anyone out who needed it such as those persons in nursing homes and asylums. Germans were encouraged to see them as a drag on society. They Nazis started with forced sterilizations and moved on to euthanasia once the war got going. (I included that because that is the attitude of many Republicans I know – the not wanting to help anyone – ignoring the fact that not everyone is self-sufficent).

(I didn’t intend to write about Nazis today, but Limbaugh’s reference to feminazis and my thinking about patriarchalism got me around to it).

The Nazis were also against abortion – but their argument against it was for the male dominated family. (Which is probably what Republicans are mostly after). Steinem noted: “Under Hitler, choosing abortion became sabotage; a crime punishable by hard labor for the woman and a possible death penalty for the abortionist.”

Recently this was quoted in an article on Alternet (and Truth-Out) by Mike Lofgren – A Conservative Explains Why Right-Wingers Have No Compassion

The preservation of the family with many children is a matter of biological concept and national feeling. The family with many children must be preserved … because it is a highly valuable, indispensable part of the … nation. Valuable and indispensable not only because it alone guarantees the maintenance of the population in the future but because it is the strongest basis of national morality and national culture … The preservation of this family form is a necessity of national and cultural politics … This concept is strictly at variance with the demands for an abolition of paragraph 218; it considers unborn life as sacrosanct. For the legalization of abortion is at variance with the function of the family, which is to produce children and would lead to the definite destruction of the family with many children.

So wrote the Völkischer Beobachter of October 14, 1931.

[The Völkischer Beobachter (“Völkisch Observer”) was the newspaper of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP or Nazi Party) from 1920. It first appeared weekly, then daily from 8 February 1923. For twenty-five years it formed part of the official public face of the Nazi party.] – note from wikipedia

From uspolitics.about.com:

Abortion has existed in almost every society…Today, almost two-thirds of the women in the world may obtain a legal abortion.When America was founded, abortion was legal. Laws prohibiting abortion were introduced in the mid-1800s, and, by 1900, most had been outlawed….
As it happens – the mid-1800s was when the women’s rights movement was starting up.
Antiabortion legislation was part of an antifeminist backlash to the growing movements for suffrage, voluntary motherhood, and other women’s rights in the 19th century. From Feminist.com
So basically – it should be easy to see that to be anti-abortion is to be for control of women.
ANTI- abortion (and birth-control) = CONTROL of women = Patrinazis
The people who want to control women are the most Patriarchal of Churches and white men (and women) who have grown up with the idea that to control women is normal and they like the privileges and status the Patriarchy awards them. These men (and women) don’t really care about the truth – or in trying to see the world through other’s perspectives – they are happy with things as they are they don’t want changes to the status quo.
Feminists and women like Sandra Fluke who stand up for the rights of women present a challenge to their status quo and so the role of people like Rush Limbaugh is to do what he can to try denigrate, demean and demonize these women and what they stand for.
Sixty-seven percent of the people in the country have accepted that fact that at least in some instances, women should be allowed to choose to have an abortion.
And, of course, it’s not just abortion anymore that is under attack – but contraception in general. It is difficult to believe that as late as 1965 contraception was illegal even for married couples. The Eisenstadt v. Baird case in 1972 opened contraception up to unmarried couples as well.
So essentially, this has been accepted by most people for 40 years – but not by Rush Limbaugh, or Rick Santorum, or Mitt Romney.
Pope Paul VI in 1968 declared birth control to be evil in his Humanae Vitae (the following is from wikipedia):
Paul VI does not allow for arbitrary human decisions, which may limit divine providence…
Every action specifically intended to prevent procreation is forbidden, except in medically necessary circumstances. Therapeutic means necessary to cure diseases are exempted, even if a foreseeable impediment to procreation should result, but only if infertility is not directly intended. This includes both chemical and barrier methods of contraception. All these are held to directly contradict the “moral order which was established by God”. Abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, is absolutely forbidden, as is sterilization, even if temporary.
The acceptance of artificial methods of birth control is then claimed to result in several negative consequences, among them a “general lowering of moral standards” resulting from sex without consequences, and the danger that men may reduce women “to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of [their] own desires”; finally, abuse of power by public authorities, and a false sense of autonomy.
One thing that the Pope and others do not allow for is the satisfaction of women’s desires. Women are not expected to enjoy sex. With the rhythm method that the Catholic Church recommends and allows – since they consider it natural  – women have to have sex when they are least aroused – not when they are naturally aroused (when they are ovulating). So it’s not natural at all.
And the thing with Limbaugh and his insults is that he is trying to return women to the dungeons of the Dark Ages when women were supposed to pretend that they did not care for sex. Any woman who suggests that she does enjoy sex has to be roundly ridiculed and denounced. (Do these people have any idea of how ridiculous they sound??? ) Because in the Dark Ages (before 1972) only men could be sexual beings – men were (are) allowed to enjoy and boast about how many partners they have had. Whether the partners were willing or not is not the issue. Whether the partners got any enjoyment out of it or not is not the issue.
Honestly – I think that the Catholic Church, Limbaugh, and the likes of Santorum encourage homosexuality. For men – women are demeaned and thought of as unsexual. For women – men such as these present men as assholes who don’t think that women should have a sexual life (and who would want to control them at best). Plus – with homosexuality – one need not worry about birth control. Problem solved.

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.