It’s clear that many Americans claim to be highly religious and cleave to current conservative ideology. Many conservatives also want to inject their specific Christian religious beliefs into a secular American society. For most of these unwavering ideologists, religious freedom and freedom of choice are just nebulous concepts proffered by the Founding Fathers and should be discarded.
It is difficult to comprehend why so many Americans fervently believe that it is perfectly acceptable to meld their specific religious beliefs into today’s political landscape. Once, it seems like a very long time ago, what frightened Americans was the idea of communism. Today, the fear of communism has been translated into the potent fear of fellow American citizens. Fear has morphed into hatred and only hatred or derision is directed towards those whose beliefs are different from their own. Reasoned discourse is shunned. Red-faced, insulting diatribes are the only accepted ways groups with differing agendas communicate. Despite the fact that the government sends our young men and women from all races and religions to foreign lands to fight terrorism or promote democracy, we Americans are constantly judged with suspicion and fear by other Americans simply because we do not embrace their religious beliefs and ideologies. For those of us who believe that others, different from us, still hold to the fundamental beliefs that connect us as Americans - life, liberty, pursuit of happiness and free choice about who we love, where we live and if and when we decide to procreate - make us targets for those who feel they need to police how others choose how they live their lives.
The recently elected conservatives in most local, state and federal offices constantly decry the ills of big government. And yet, it is these self-same politicians who lobby against a woman’s right to choose whether, if, or when she chooses to bring a child into the world in spite of the fact she’s lucky enough to be in a loving, supportive relationship. Not only are these conservative-thinking politicians against abortion, but some also proclaim that they are against birth control.
The current topic of unrest in political circles is the Catholic fundamental concerning birth control, perhaps spurred by thecandidacy. Catholic institutions employ people of many different faiths in their hospitals and colleges, yet the Catholic Church wants to control the private lives of their employees by denying them access to insurance-covered birth control, something that would give non-Catholics reproductive choice.
As a Catholic and a woman, a mother and a grandmother, I heartily disagree with any institution or individual who thinks they have the right to dictate to me, my daughters, or to any woman for that matter, that we don’t have the freedom, intelligence or the maturity to make choices about our bodies. As a child, I attended Catholic schools. I saw the face of poverty up-close. Families with six, eight, and sometimes 10 children, struggling to feed and clothe an ever-growing brood while the nuns exacted their children’s self esteem every Monday morning because of empty tithing envelops.
So, when’s the last time in recent recorded history that any man was denied an insurance-covered vasectomy? Where are all of the religious conservative men and women supporters who want to remove a woman’s right to choose when it comes to advocating their lobbyists to ensure that child-support payments are withdrawn and remitted to mothers with underage children from those children’s fathers’ paychecks/pensions/annuities/investments