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Sunday, June 23, 2013

The truth is the truth

I don't understand it.

Really. It confounds me.

This just in from Emily's List
Last week, Rep. Trent Franks stated, "The incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low..." And Sen. Chambliss opined that military sexual assault is caused by "hormones found in nature."

Todd Akin, anyone?

And not to be outdone, this past week, a few other "thought leaders" decided to share their wisdom:

And the dubious honor of Absolute Most Crazy Utterance of the last week goes to our good friend Rush Limbaugh, for: "[Abortion] is at the root of our cultural rot and decay."
It's easy enough to dismiss all this as "right wing extremism".

But, is there something more going on here?

I think so.
Bishop EW Jackson
Listen, for example, to what was said by EW Jackson said:
In an interview Monday, the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor of Virginia, E. W. Jackson (and bishop in his local church), defended controversial comments he has made about gays and comparisons he drew between the Klu Klux Klan and Planned Parenthood.

“The main similarity, which I will continue to propound is that the moral dilema that both pose is very similar,” Jackson told conservative talk radio host Bryan Fischer.
“The justification for slavery is in a sense the same as the justification for unfettered abortion, which is, the victim is not a real person, he’s not a human being and therefore has no rights that we are bound to respect.”

Later, Jackson declined to back off his views of what Fischer said was “the normalization of homosexuality.”

“Part of this is really an attempt to deny us our First Amendment rights of freedom of religion,” Jackson said.

“Look, sure, people could debate about whether I’ve always said things as artfully as I might have. As a minister I say things to have an impact on people. To have them confront the truth which doesn’t always work unfortunately in the political sphere but the truth is the truth,” Jackson said.

Hear that? "The Truth is the Truth". Hold that thought for a moment.

Rep. Michael Burges, MD
Now, give a listen to Republican (of course) Representative from Texas (of course) Michael Burgess (unbelievably, an actual OB-GYN MD), said:
“Watch a sonogram of a 15-week baby, and they have movements that are purposeful,” said Burgess, a former OB/GYN. “They stroke their face. If they’re a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs. If they feel pleasure, why is it so hard to believe that they could feel pain?”
That observation led Burgess to say he had argued for the abortion ban to start at a much earlier stage of gestation, 15 or 16 weeks. (This is less than halfway through a pregnancy.) He appeared to liken Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, to the 1893 Plessy v. Ferguson decision that formally legalized racial segregation, and was not fully reversed until Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Okay, first thing to remember: This is not a story from The Onion. It's an actual news report of an actual statement made by an actual elected official who is a physician.

Second thing to remember: 50% of all doctors graduated in the lower half of their class. 

So, now that your mind is cleared up, are we paying attention here? The whole thing about the fetus masturbating in the womb is creepy beyond the limits of creepiness (and, notice, please, that it is only the male fetus who masturbates in the womb), but did anybody notice the link both of these men made with Civil Rights and the idea of personhood?

Hold that thought and fasten your seat belt, because the ride is about to get bumpier.

Ken "Manly Man" Fredette
Up in Maine, House Minority Leader, Ken Fredette (R-Newport) said this:

"From the other side of the aisle I hear the conversation being about 'free this is free, we need to take it and it's free and we need to do it now' and that's sort of the fundamental message that my brain receives," Fredette said.
"Now, my brain being a man's brain sort of thinks differently, because I say, well, it's not if it's free is it really free because I say in my brain there's a cost to this."
And, there we have it, friends. It's where The Truth lives. On Mars - not Venus. In a man's brain. And, only in a man's brain.

Well, those who have one.  Which would immediately eliminate anything said by Rush Limbaugh, whose opinions, I believe, are "at the root of our cultural rot and decay".

It matters not that major medical bodies in the United States and the United Kingdom have refuted the claim of fetal pain before the third trimester.

The 20-week abortion ban, if passed into law, would set up a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, which allows abortion up to the point of fetal viability outside the womb, and mandates exceptions for abortions in the case of pregnancies that threaten the life or health of the woman.

Which is The Truth - the whole truth, and nothing but the truth - of this ridiculous rhetoric. 

It's all about overturning Roe v. Wade. 

Which is really about returning "personhood" to some men who think that any diminution of control over women - abortion, contraception, rape, domestic violence - robs them of the fullness of their status as a person.  

And, homosexuality? Well, everyone knows that "real" men don't eat quiche. Only homosexuals do. And, real men, of course, aren't homosexuals.

It's all so silly - when it isn't disturbing. Because it's dangerous.

Even one of my Republican FaceBook friends from Texas (yes, I have them) said, "Alright, I'm embarrassed. Okay?" But, unless he's willing to stand up to his fellow Republicans and tell them to stop, this is going to continue unabated.

They have no shame. They only have their "truth" which lives in their "man brains." Which is going to get soundly rattled after the decision from SCOTUS (Supreme Court of The United States) renders its verdict - either Monday or Thursday of this week - on DOMA, Prop 8 and the Voting Rights Act.

I'd love to be proven wrong- I'd love to hear about all of these issues sooner rather than later - but I think we'll hear about Voting Rights on Monday and DOMA and Prop 8 on Thursday.

I don't think that those three issues being decided this week are a coincidence. It's the essence of "The Truth" that is at the core of this country.

I'm not a lawyer - and I don't play one on TV or anywhere - but I'm really uncertain what will happen to the Voting Rights Act. If statistics and demographics are the basis of the law, then the challenge of the change in current statistics and demographics seems to be a logical argument.

Truth be told, I'm very nervous about the decision of the Voting Rights Act - even more than DOMA and Prop 8.  I fear it could go very badly.

My hunch is that SCOTUS will decide positively on DOMA and Prop 8.

I fear, however, that it won't be the sweeping law that Roe v. Wade or Lawrence v. Texas were. These, I think, will have "states rights" as a fundamental operating principle rather than the "right to privacy" which guided the other two landmark decisions. 

We shall see. 

One thing I know for sure: This is not just about a really bad week for "Republican extremism".

Amazing as it may seem and despite what was said by my Republican friend from Texas, I don't even think the idea of a male fetus masturbating in his mother's womb will be the "tipping point" that will bring the Republican party back to its senses.

We'll also be debating the Immigration Act this week in the Senate. These folks have not yet begun to sputter all manner of stupidity and prejudice. They have no shame. They will say and do whatever they need to do to regain their sense of power and superiority.

I'm not sure what's going on right now in this country, but I think it has something to do with the bishop, the doctor and politicians.

Which is to say, it has everything to do with the propagation of deeply flawed theology, bad medicine, faulty science and flat out stupidity.

As the Bishop EW Jackson says, "The truth is the truth."

And, that, for me, is the truth.


Matthew said...

Just a question: If one thinks that fetuses masturbate, then wouldn't that be a natural law argument in favor of it? I don't understand how some churches (like RC)can teach that its sinful if fetuses are doing it? Perhaps someone should ask the representative if he thinks its sinful.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Well, see, Matthew, masturbation has to do with "wasting seed". Since a fetus hasn't yet "matured" to have sperm, there is no danger in "wasting seed" so, I'm assuming, it gets a pass.

Truth is, I have no idea. I think these guys make this stuff up as they go along. The operating principle is Truth by blatant assertion.

Sextant said...

Well let's hope today, Wednesday June 26, ends better than yesterday did. In a year following shenanigans in 19 states called Voter ID, the Supreme Court decides that election oversight is unconstitutional. Let us pray that they don't vote on NOAA's oversight on tornados and hurricanes...probably no need for that either.
Again, here is hoping that today ends better than yesterday.

Good luck, I hope we make some good history today.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Whatever happens today with SCOTUS - It can't be as bad as yesterday and whatever good will be diminished by yesterday.

How can anyone really celebrate in the face of this injustice?

Except, of course, I allowed myself a real cheer when "Ft. Worth Wendy" took down the TX legislature on reproductive rights.

Sextant said...

Elizabeth, you have to take your victories when you get them and you got two today. That said, I would have been happier if the court had thoroughly trounced DOMA, but at least we got the overturn on the taxes and Federal benefits.

I am in a dicey position here because I am disappointed in the court not completely overturning DOMA. To me the court is saying the states have the right to deny a basic human right of marriage to individuals. Yet it was the states right to define marriage, that allowed gay marriage to make the gains that it has. Kind of a rock and a hard place.

The other thing that I find very disconcerting in both today's and yesterday's opinions is that the court has been reduced to essentially one justice...Kennedy.

When you can sit back and predict with accuracy how 8 justices will rule on most any case, one must wonder if justice is really being served.

Yesterday was a travesty and today was a partial victory, but would it not be wonderful if we had some justices that surprised us every now and again.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Yes, you take your victories where you can and celebrate them when you can. It's far from over and, you know, that may not be the worst thing to happen. I think we'll need the next 5-7 years to continue to educate and raise awareness and change people's hearts and minds.

And, I think, we'll also begin to realize the there really needs to be 'separation of church and state' and marriage is a good place to start. This may well be the best gift LGBT people give to the church and society.