Archive for the ‘Blog Against Theocracy’ Category

Catholic bishops accept Obama compromise, reject insulin

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

In an abrupt tack from their previous position, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops announced today that they are willing to accept the “Hawaii Rule” compromise offered by the Obama administration, which will shift the cost of contraceptive coverage to insurance companies. However, they are now opposed to being forced to cover the cost of insulin, an artificial hormone used in the treatment of diabetes.

“The human body is wondrously designed by God to regulate all its internal systems,” stated Michael O’Toole, Bishop of Springfield. “In his encyclical Periculum Medicinae, the Holy Father clearly instructs us that interference in God’s holy creation is a grave error.” The bishops are also opposed to coverage of other artifical hormones, such as thyroid hormone, currently used by millions of Americans to treat underactive thyroid glands.  O’Toole added that using such hormones is a “matter of conscience” for Catholics, but that the Church could not be forced to be involved in something so morally repugnant.

Reaction to this declaration was mixed. “Surveys show that millions of Catholic Americans are diabetic and need insulin,” said Sen Online Blackjack. Spencer Bronstein (D-AL). “For the bishops to take this position is simply hypocritical. Whether a person uses insulin or not should be between them and their doctor.”

Others disagreed. “You know, if you don’t want to get diabetes, don’t shove a lot of sugar in your face,” said Sharon Mackenzie, a local business owner. “It’s pretty simple. Why should the Catholics have to pay for something they don’t believe in? If you want insulin, buy it yourself.”

Speculation was rampant on the Beltway about how the administration will respond to this latest move on the part of the bishops. “Obama can’t be seen as anti-religion,” predicted one aide, who asked to remain anonymous. “He’ll have to find a way to compromise on this.”

Others were not so sure. “Actually, the longer this goes on, the worse it makes the Republicans look,” said political analyst Bruce Bowes. “Americans are used to insulin, it’s been part of the landscape for a while now. Also, there are many diabetics whose condition isn’t treatable by diet alone. What are those people supposed to do?”

Old-Time Freedom

Wednesday, July 4th, 2007

batbadge.jpgIt’s Blog Against Theocracy time again.  I just got back from my home town’s 4th of July parade.  It was chock-full of local pageant winners, politicians, businesspeople, law enforcement and emergency responders, and even some people from Georgia Ghost Hunters (don’t ask — or if you must ask, click here).  And church members.  Lots and lots of church members, from different denominations, who wanted us all to know that God blesses America.  See?  They have the flag-draped floats to prove it.

Of course, church floats are a staple of small-town parades, and so is the unthinking allegiance to God and country that was on display today.  Not unthinking because it’s stupid; unthinking because it’s been ingrained in us since birth.  We’ve always done it that way, and most of us haven’t spent a lot of time pondering the implications.

I don’t believe there’s a majority of people in the US who want a Christian theocracy.  I do believe that there is a small but very committed and well-funded minority who would like nothing better and are actively working to make it happen.  Well, yeah, you say, but it’s just a few people.  We don’t need to worry.  Except…

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Respect for All Families — Including Mine

Saturday, April 7th, 2007

So.  Blog Against Theocracy.  I’m trying to think of something brilliant and profound to say, but right now my daughter is across the hall with my nephew and his boyfriend.  They’re IM’ing funny cat pictures to me, and I’m supposed to react to each one.  It’s hard to focus, but they’re making me laugh.

If the people who want to make America a “Christian” nation had their way, how would my life change?  Well, for starters, men like Roy Moore would be in a position to actually use that “power of the sword” that he wants to hang over the heads of gay people.  My brother, my brother-in-law, my nephew, and his boyfriend would all be considered threats to my children.  We wouldn’t have fun mornings, hanging out and laughing.  More likely, our house would be a stop on the Underground Railroad for gays and lesbians trying to get out of the country.

You think it can’t happen?  Only if we refuse to let it.  Those same people who want to make their interpretation of Christianity the official faith of the United States have been using gays and lesbians as scapegoats and fundraising tools for years.  They’ve fomented hatred and violence against those who are different.  It’s the fear of the “other” that is essential to authoritarian faith and government.

Right now, I live in a world where I can associate openly with my gay and lesbian friends.  No one can keep my daughters away from their uncles or from our adopted nephew, a young man whom they treat as a beloved brother.  Still, he’s part of our family because his parents disowned him — after the pastoral “counseling”, public shaming, and exorcism (yes, exorcism) failed to make him straight.  My brother and his spouse can’t legally marry; they can only breathe mutual sighs of relief that their families love them dearly and would never interfere in their life decisions.

The religious right has made common cause with political conservatives at the national level to say that the majority, on a state-by-state basis, should decide the rights of this particular minority.  And then they’ve followed up with the money and demagoguery to ensure that states like mine get busy re-banning gay marriage.  And not only that; there have been repeated attempts to ban adoptions to gay parents (despite the hundreds of Alabama children in state care waiting for loving parents), and two years ago one of our state Representatives introduced a bill that would have banned books and plays by or about gay people.  If the federal government had taken that approach during the civil rights era, we’d almost certainly still have some states with segregated schools, bans on interracial marriage, legal employment and housing discrimination based on race, and blatant denial of voting rights for people of color.

Gays and lesbians will never have the numbers necessary to win at the ballot box.  That makes it essential for allies like me to speak up, loudly and often, and insist that their rights be protected just as ours are.  We must stand up against those who use their particular religion as a basis for state-sponsored bigotry.  Remember, they need scapegoats.  If we don’t act now, we might find ourselves, somewhere down the road, with targets on our own backs.

First Freedom First — for all of us.  My family.  And yours.