It Isn’t Men Against Women, It’s Theocracy Against Democracy

In the current debate concerning the proliferation of anti abortion laws, I keep hearing how men want to control women’s bodies. But this argument is belied by the number of women who support these bills including the governor of Alabama who signed their bill into law almost as soon as it was passed by the legislature.

As a woman, albeit one who is no longer capable of baby making, I can’t help but wonder if the issue isn’t so much about men controlling women, but is instead a matter of those who want to see a theocracy established in the US. For years we have been hearing the claims that America is a Christian nation. This claim is ridiculous since the Constitution prohibits religious oaths and guarantees freedom of religion. Mere facts, though, cannot trump faith among these zealots.

Here in Georgia, our governor is not impressed by demonstrators. He has publicly expressed disdain for such efforts. He and the rest of the Georgia GOP, men and women, have the power to impose their will on the rest of us through voter suppression tactics reminiscent of Jim Crow.

The push toward theocracy is why I think impeaching Trump would be a bad, even dangerous, move. With zealot Mike Pence as president, I fear we could move even closer to what fundamentalist Christians, like those I knew in a homeschool group, have been hoping and praying for.

We can’t be distracted by issues that are not at the heart of things. We could lose our freedoms to people who claim to worship freedom as long as it’s their freedom to control others.

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TheOtherMaven's picture

@thanatokephaloides

There's a St. John's Lutheran Church, of which I have heard nothing blameworthy, just over the ridge in Mountain Falls. http://www.stjohnslutheranwinchester.org/

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There is no justice. There can be no peace.

@thanatokephaloides was afforded so much respect.

One can easily read contemptuous comments on this site and other liberal sites about religion.

Not that the criticism is undeserved, but you can say the same thing about any group that adheres to a strong belief and wants to impose their ways of life on others.

IMO it is better to believe in complete freedom of religion (like the Consitution says) and freedom from religion (like the SC says) in order to live peaceably with one another. Or, put another way, your rights end where someone else's nose begins.

Otherwise, it is all a slippery slope to isms and violence.

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dfarrah

Centaurea's picture

@thanatokephaloides

Let's treat religion, and religious groups and organizations, with the respect that each one earns. You know, just like everybody else.

One way we could start to do that is by removing tax-exempt status from churches and other religious organizations. There's no reason why they shouldn't pay their fair share of taxes. In fact, I think it should be contrary to the 1st Amendment to give religious organizations special treatment on the basis of religion.

For just one example, Scientology deserves no respect at all. 

And yet the IRS granted tax exempt status to the con artists calling themselves the "Church of Scientology" several decades ago.

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4 users have voted.

"Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep."
~Rumi

"If you want revolution, be it."
~Caitlin Johnstone

@Centaurea

churches and other religious institutions. There are lawyers who specialize in advising religious organizations on how to avoid paying taxes.

Ben Franklin said that churches should support themselves completely, and if god won't support them and they need help from the "civil power", then that is a sign of a bad religion.

The tax situation with religious institutions is nothing more than massive welfare that forces higher taxes for the rest of the community.

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"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

thanatokephaloides's picture

@Centaurea

For just one example, Scientology deserves no respect at all.

And yet the IRS granted tax exempt status to the con artists calling themselves the "Church of Scientology" several decades ago.

That's a perfect example of what I'm talking about! Why should these con artists get any respect at all? And yet, there are indeed religious individuals and groups who do things (help the poor, agitate for peace) to earn those tax exemptions.

There is no rational reason to treat them the same. None at all.

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

@thanatokephaloides

who deserves the respect and who doesn't and criticizing religion. The religious right uses the bible to back up their POV. As an atheist I feel that the bible is an immoral source for guidance on life or as a basis for political opinion. Therefore, their positions are not morally based, have no respect for our secular Constitution and ignore or reject freethought and human rights.

Now if I criticize the bible as I think it should be I am also criticizing those people and churches that you are pointing to. And the fact that they revere the bible puts them in the position of enabling the religious right and their interpretation of the texts. It actually all comes down to interpretation. One side sees Jesus/God as benign, inclusive and loving and the other sees Jesus/God as aggressive, exclusive and judgmental. Both are in the texts. When I re-read the whole bible as an adult, I mostly saw the harsh judgmental side. Salvation in and of itself is judgmental and exclusive and makes no room at all for freethought. Jesus made it clear how ones gets to the kingdom, and it's not by being an atheist!

Wee Mama is now a greeter at DKos. Her job is to make sure people feel welcome and know the rules. The irony of this is just too delicious. Her actual impulse is to shut down any questioning of religious beliefs, as she demonstrated in her diary suggesting that non-believer statements about religion be held to a separation flagging/banning system. She's a mess. And yet her church (she is the priest) and she would be seen by the community as liberal/progressive. She is seen as a leader at Kos, someone who is admired for her kindness, etec. So I can't buy your characterization of "good" churches.

Besides, I object to the financial support religious institutions are afforded by our government. I should not have to pay more taxes because they pay less. It is essentially forcing me to support religious opinions, which flies in the face of what the founders described as the meaning of separation of church and state.

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"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

thanatokephaloides's picture

@Fishtroller 02

As I pointed out to you above, we've discussed all this before and at length. What I would consider "good churches" are those which take the good things about the Abrahamic tradition and practice them, while leaving the less desirable crap at the curb. And I've experienced the same, often. Your mileage differs considerably. And I recognize your right to be what you are, even if drastically different from me in regards to our opinion of religion.

This is why I'm not Wee Mama. Wink

Personally, I see no reason why one cannot do the Bible as one would do Le Morte d'Arthur: take the good stuff to heart, and don't do like the dicks depicted therein. (The Introduction to Le Morte d'Arthur actually instructs the reader to do this.) And the good churches do it with the Bible, too, although most would never admit it.

I find less than no shame in this. But then, I'm just a Dirty Old Hippie Pagan; what do I know? Smile

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

@thanatokephaloides

for stories or passages or philosophies that fits one's own moral compass. However, that does not solve the other part of the problem. The bible still stands in western society as a revered book, which gives strength to the anti women, anti gay positions of the religious right. If you stood up, as a liberal christian and said, "hey, this book has some really bad parts in it and therefore can not be representative of any god", and you took that message public along with thousands of other liberal Christians, it would do a lot to pull the strength from the religious right. But that won't happen because basically you would be de-legitimizing your own faith.

So you are stuck with that book, and therefore also joined at the hip with the right wingers.

This is why I keep saying that we will not get rid of Christian dominionism in this country and be able to clean out our infested government until there are enough non-believers to tilt the political power see-saw.

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"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

thanatokephaloides's picture

@Fishtroller 02

This is why I keep saying that we will not get rid of Christian dominionism in this country and be able to clean out our infested government until there are enough non-believers to tilt the political power see-saw.

Owing to the urgency of several issues (ex.: climate change), we don't have the time it would take for the USA to become a majority atheistic country (if it ever will -- considerable reasonable doubt exists about that) before we clean out our Dominionist infested government. We need to do it now. And to do it now, we need the help of theists like me, who recognize Dominionism as what it is: evil. Indeed, a surprising number of believing Christians are coming around to that conclusion. And the ranks of the Pagan/Heathen theisms are growing at the fastest clip in their history, filling up with former Christians who just couldn't stomach the diet of Dominionist evil any more. (Again, like me.)

So it can and will be done. We can and will clean our institutions from this poison. And many who yet believe in God will help.

(Yet again, like me.)

I do know your mileage varies from mine, and I stand against any who would deprecate you or your ideas because you don't believe in any God. But if folks like you and me fail to work together on some of this stuff, we're fucking toast, believer and non-believer alike.

I remember when Wee Mama seemed to get the last sentence's point. I still want to know what the F happened to her. The Dominionist source cults -- the "non-denominational" fundagelical churches -- have some nasty psyops and associated agitprop going on, and Catholics often fall victim. (Still again, like me -- at 19.)

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2 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

@thanatokephaloides

actively for at least 15 years. I was on the national advisory committee for AU (Americans United for Separation of Church and State), an interfaith group, for 3 years. I know how to work with non-atheists and I done it. I'm also very active with the Freedom From Religion Foundation and have watched it grow from about 8,000 members to over 32,000 in only 7 years. As time has gone on and I have watched how these separation groups work, and the methods they use (these groups often join together in filing lawsuits), I have come to a current conclusion that the non-theist groups get more traction against the Right than the traditional interfaith groups. So that is what I based my statements on.... that religious beliefs cause those who try to battle the Right to be forced to fight with one hand tied behind their back.

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"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

thanatokephaloides's picture

@Fishtroller 02

that religious beliefs cause those who try to battle the Right to be forced to fight with one hand tied behind their back.

You haven't dealt with many Pagans, it would appear. Smile

But then, I live in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the very metro in which Rousas Rushdoony built the Dominionist base camp. Under those conditions, my mileage will vary from yours considerably. Courtesy of the US Air Force Academy, we've had a taste of the Dominionists getting the control they want. And many of us find it icky indeed, believers and non-believers alike. (Ask Mikey Weinstein if you don't believe me!)

It's also proof that we need a real civilian foundational industry here. Being as dependent on the Department of "Defense" budget (and thereby Forever War) as we are is a Seriously Bad Idea for a host of reasons. But that's an issue which deserves its own essay. Wink

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

@thanatokephaloides

By the way, I know Mikey Weinstein well. He spoke at an AU conference, and we have had some personal email conversations. He's a great guy... just tells it like it is. If you've read No Snowflake in an Avalance, you'll know what he and his family have been through to fight for separation of church and state.

I give monthly to MRFF and every year when they give you your year end statement, Mikey writes a personal note of thanks on it. I don't know where he gets the time to do that.

Things are getting worse with the military/christian stuff every day.

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"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

That is correct in that the majority of the populace describe their religion as some flavor of Christianity. It certainly is NOT a Jewish nation or Muslim Nation or Buddhist Nation, nor even an Atheist Nation. It is not correct in the sense that they use it.
Was it Cheney who said, "freedom of religion means freedom to choose your religion, not the freedom to not have a religion"? Or as some rapper said, "Freedom of Speech, but watch what you say."

EDIT: NOT was inadvertently omitted.

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Granma's picture

Would be very unhappy if we did. Just among the Christians, there are enormous differences in beliefs, strongly held beliefs.

Many of the original settlers of this country came here because their religious beliefs differed from the national religion of their home country. Catholics left Protestant countries. Protestants left Catholic countries. Jewish people fled persecution. I suspect Muslims, Buddists and others did the same.

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Raggedy Ann's picture

than a shit show, to me. I was raised Catholic and couldn't get away from it fast enough. Control is all religion is. If folks don't have common sense to do the right thing, religion is built for them.

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“The trouble [with injustice] is that once you see it, you can’t unsee it. And once you’ve seen it, keeping quiet, saying nothing, becomes as political an act as speaking out. There is no innocence. Either way, you’re accountable.”
-- Arundhati Roy

Granma's picture

@Raggedy Ann but not everyone's experience with religion is like that. Many of the nicest people I've ever known were/are people whose faith meant a great deal to them, and many of them have been among the most accepting of others' differences. Not all churches have a rigid hierarchy.

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Raggedy Ann's picture

@Granma
You're certainly entitled to your opinion. My experience is vastly different. Have a lovely day.

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1 user has voted.

“The trouble [with injustice] is that once you see it, you can’t unsee it. And once you’ve seen it, keeping quiet, saying nothing, becomes as political an act as speaking out. There is no innocence. Either way, you’re accountable.”
-- Arundhati Roy

Raggedy Ann's picture

@Granma
to be even more clear where I stand on religion:

“I therefore hate the corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of the land... I look upon it as the climax of all misnomers, the boldest of all frauds, and the grossest of all libels. Never was there a clearer case of 'stealing the livery of the court of heaven to serve the devil in.' I am filled with unutterable loathing when I contemplate the religious pomp and show, together with the horrible inconsistencies, which every where surround me. We have men-stealers for ministers, women-whippers for missionaries, and cradle-plunderers for church members. The man who wields the blood-clotted cowskin during the week fills the pulpit on Sunday, and claims to be a minister of the meek and lowly Jesus. . . . The slave auctioneer’s bell and the church-going bell chime in with each other, and the bitter cries of the heart-broken slave are drowned in the religious shouts of his pious master. Revivals of religion and revivals in the slave-trade go hand in hand together. The slave prison and the church stand near each other. The clanking of fetters and the rattling of chains in the prison, and the pious psalm and solemn prayer in the church, may be heard at the same time. The dealers in the bodies of men erect their stand in the presence of the pulpit, and they mutually help each other. The dealer gives his blood-stained gold to support the pulpit, and the pulpit, in return, covers his infernal business with the garb of Christianity. Here we have religion and robbery the allies of each other—devils dressed in angels’ robes, and hell presenting the semblance of paradise.”

-- Frederick Douglass

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5 users have voted.

“The trouble [with injustice] is that once you see it, you can’t unsee it. And once you’ve seen it, keeping quiet, saying nothing, becomes as political an act as speaking out. There is no innocence. Either way, you’re accountable.”
-- Arundhati Roy

@Raggedy Ann MLK.

And Ghandi.

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dfarrah

@Granma
She attended many churches of many sects. When she died we had the service in our town's Catholic Church which was still decorated from Christmas. The Choir was wonderful and the Catholics do ritual with panache. My cousin, Right-wing Protestant, railed at me for having the service there. "My Aunt was not Catholic!" No, but that was the church she attended. When she lived on the other side of town she attended a Bible church. When we lived in Virginia she attended a Methodist Church. She was not doctrinaire. As my sister noted, "She always attended the closest Christian Church." I realized that was true. Sometimes Catholic, sometimes Lutheran, et cetera. She wasn't part of the petty sectarian bickering. She had a simple faith in God and Jesus and that was that. She was a Christian. I don't feel that my hate-filled cousin is, no matter what she says.

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Granma's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness and is missed by many. I'm happy you had her.

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@Granma people do seem to be devout to some religion or other. And they have an inner peace that others simply don't have. I guess very spiritual people, not necessarily connected to a formal religion, are similar.

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5 users have voted.

dfarrah

Granma's picture

@dfarrah as much attached to a particular church as they are to living, in all their actions, what faith is supposed to be about. For them, that is what religion is. In Christian religions, that would probably be the Sermon on the Mount.

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4 users have voted.

@Granma Absolutely, Granma. And he didn't deliver that message from the synagogue, either. He was just walking around talking to people.

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Earlier statistics had been based on reported miscarriages, but further research shows that the majority of spontaneous abortions occur before the woman knows she is pregnant. https://www.sciencealert.com/meta-analysis-finds-majority-of-human-pregn...

One might conclude from these statistics that fertilization is not itself a sacred, immutable act of God but rather nature's hit-or-miss way of continuing any given species. Spontaneous abortions occur when factors in the environment are not conducive to the continued development of the zygote or embryo or fetus. Patriarchs and some religions habitually refer to pregnancy as if the continuance of the fertilized egg were all that mattered to the outcome. The consent of the woman in whose body the fertilization occurs is given no consequence and bears no moral weight, or any other consideration, to the process. She may as well not exist as a sentient agent while she is pregnant.

However, it could easily be argued that the full consent and willingness of the woman to undertake gestation and birth and at minimum arrange for the parenting, and upbringing of a baby and child is, for human life, a necessary and vital factor for the continuance of a pregnancy. Human babies are not born into a vacuum; they are born into family arrangements, relationships with at minimum one dedicated caretaker, and they absolutely do need to be wanted and welcomed into those families.

To force women and girls to carry pregnancies against their will and to give birth to unwanted, unwelcome children is to reduce both women and babies to the status of cattle. This cannot be an optimal outcome for anyone -- not for the woman, not for the baby, not for the family, not for the society, and not, ultimately, for the civilization.

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9 users have voted.

@laurel
and giving a more accurate and precise measurement, but I've heard this reported as a fact for decades. It's quite clear that the majority of fusions of sperm and ovum produce something that is never going to be viable. It's hardly surprising -- the molecular biology is mind-boggling. It's actually surprising that it ever works, at all.

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7 users have voted.

The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01 a Boeing 757 (AA77) flew into the Pentagon.
AGCC is happening.
If you cannot accept these facts, I cannot fake an interest in any of your opinions.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

but just to be nitpicky: it's perfectly possible for women to support the idea of men controlling women's bodies, as we've seen everywhere from women in Europe wanting to sell their daughters to marriage or a convent a few centuries ago, to women in Africa wanting to give their daughters clitorectomies, to our very own Phyllis Schlafly. Or our very own Hillary Clinton, for that matter (did you see the deal she was willing to make with the Repubs on abortion? It looked remarkably like Republican abortion policy circa 1983).

Actually, I bring this up not just to be nitpicky but because it gets at a common fallacy among the left that goes back a LONG way: not everyone among an oppressed group is going to want to change the status quo; lots of them won't. The right loves to bring this up, btw. I mean, just look at all the working-class people in this country who still believe that we live in a meritocracy. That presents a difficult challenge for the left, in that we both want to pursue an idea of justice and want to empower the people on the bottom of various hierarchies.

However, the difficulty of that challenge doesn't change the fact that there are certainly men who want to control women's bodies, many of them holding positions in the government. As for the establishment of a theocracy, I think it's both/and: one of the many reasons they want a theocracy is so that they can control women's bodies; there are many, many other reasons why they want a theocracy, some of which are probably more important to them than controlling women's bodies.

I sense a great pleasure in being able to control and bully, full stop, regardless of the target, coming off of these people.

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

Scary bastard.

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5 users have voted.

Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

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