The Widdershins

Posts Tagged ‘birth control

So we know that laughter won’t replace ACTUAL medicine, but sometimes it helps. A lot!

For example, you’ve got to love these women legislators who are trying to find ways to point out to the ignorant old white men who want to control them, exactly why what they’re doing is wrong, wrong, wrong. I wish I had half the creativity of these fine ladies. You go, girls!

• An Illinois legislator, Kelly Cassidy, proposed that men seeking Viagra be required to watch a video showing the treatment for persistent erections, saying “It’s not a pretty procedure to watch.”

• A Wisconsin legislator running for Congress, Kelda Helen Roys, proposed an amendment that any man seeking a prescription for Viagra have a cardiac stress test first.

• In Virginia, Senator Janet Howell proposed not just cardiac stress tests but rectal exams for men seeking Viagra. Howell’s amendment failed by two votes, part of the chaotic debate on the proposal to require transvaginal ultrasounds for women seeking abortions.

• In Missouri, Representative Stacey Newman moved to restrict vasectomies except for men at risk of death or serious bodily harm.

• In Ohio, a bill introduced by Senator Nina Turner would require men seeking Viagra to see a sex therapist and receive counseling about “pursuing celibacy as a viable lifestyle choice.”

• When a zygote-personhood bill came before the Oklahoma Senate, Senator Constance Johnson proposed an amendment that said ejaculating anywhere outside a woman’s vagina constitutes “an action against an unborn child.”

I think my favorite is the Ohio bill, because it captures so perfectly that queasy sense of 13th-century morality which permeates all these endless, hectoring condemnations of women for GASP! wanting to have sex without having children, or deciding not to GASP! carry a child to term when pregnant.

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Ask most Catholics and they will agree that the Church itself has become mostly irrelevant in how they manage their daily lives.

Most of us became “cafeteria Catholics”, picking and choosing among the many laws and decrees that framed our lives, and birth control was perhaps our primary reason in doing so. Freed from the constancy of an unplanned pregnancy, most Catholics in my generation eagerly sought the benefits offered by the Pill which put this anxiety to rest.

For those who took up this practice, “excommunication” hung over our heads.  But better to be excommunicated than to be burdened by multiple pregnancies that put pressure on our marriages and finances which led us to ignore the admonition that we were carrying out “god’s will”.  For most of us, god had nothing to do with it.

For those of us who had given birth to gay children, sitting in a pew each week and listening to sermons that told us our children were an “abomination”, the final straw had been broken.

When these “gifts from god” were being vilified by the clergy a line had definitely been drawn.  I left and never looked back.

Many of my Catholic friends found themselves doing the same. The irrelevance of some of these archaic teachings had lost all meaning. This is to say that though we may remain spiritual in our beliefs, the policies flowing from Rome were found wanting in an “age of enlightenment”. In exercising our “free will” we were also exercising our right to think for ourselves.

What some cling to is the pageantry. The music, the pomp, the glowing light from altar candles that accompany most services. One thing the church does well is in its tribute to “theater”. But ask most Catholics how they feel about the “infallibility of the Pope” in modern times and you are left with plenty of naysayers.  They no longer buy it, trust it, or believe in it.

The absurdity of the church hierarchy was in evidence during the 90s when scores of sexual abuse and the cover ups that followed burst upon the national scene. The revulsion toward the cardinals and bishops who refused to effectively deal with this atrocious epidemic was deeply felt.

Thousands of children had been subjected to sexual abuse and the answer was a continual transfer of these pedophiles from one parish to another in hopes that the allegations would be muted by the promise of money or the downplaying of the complaints. Criminal acts were hidden for decades and few were held accountable.

This led to multiple financial penalties against each diocese nationwide which also led to the closing of schools and churches due to the financial strain. Pews began to empty as congregations began to leave. Fewer men and women were entering seminaries and convents leaving many schools and parishes without staff. The weekly collections were drying up as the church scrambled to keep up the pretense of its “moral authority”.

The Church went further in the condemnation of condoms in countries like Africa that were suffering untold deaths due to the spread of AIDSs.  Babies were being born to infected women and the death toll was rising from the ignorance of this mandate.

The actions of the hierarchy had put the children at risk and few wanted any further association with the “partners in crime”.  As the church rushed these predators into various “rehabilitation retreats” many congregants were appalled at the sluggishness of bringing these perverts to justice.

For the Church to continue its ban on birth control and family planning is insane. From the standpoint alone of overpopulation, the loss of natural resources, and a planet bursting with unrest from having too many mouths that go unfed, you would think that this would be the one area in which to loosen the bonds of restriction for the good of all.  It’s commonsense.

Having this argument in the 21st century with an institution that has lost most of its relevance is astounding.  The Church itself will find it is totally out of step and will eventually lose the argument.

You cannot expect to forever be heard in expecting those you purportedly serve by demanding they return to an era of unfettered restriction when they have already left you behind.

Unless you are Rick Santorum.

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