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A ponderable about bombing in Turkey and Contraceptives

A suicide bomber killed two at a US embassy in Turkey today.  It looks like the carnage was limited to the area around the security check point.  Kurdish rebels or Islamic militants are suspected.  But I got to wondering, would the world be a less violent place if so many people weren’t convinced of an afterlife?

Just think about all the suicide bombers who might have second thoughts, about all the so-called Christians who might be nicer to women and children and less forgiving of badly behaved rich people, if they thought that this life was all there was and they wouldn’t get anything extra after their death.  For all we know, God might have intended this life to be the ultimate thrill and it doesn’t get any better than this.  It might make people more careful and kinder.

Like I said before, God needs a major rewrite.

Oh, and it looks like the Obama administration has caved to the Red Beanie Boys and will offer religiously affiliated employers an opt out on contraceptive coverage:

The administration is expected to detail how it will handle two of the more controversial situations, said a source familiar with Friday’s announcement.

“Religiously affiliated organizations will be given the option of exempting themselves from the requirement of providing their employees with contraceptive access or service that they are morally opposed to,” said the source.

A spokesman for the Health and Human Services Department refused to comment on the expected policy announcement.

If an institution opts out of paying for contraceptive coverage, individual employees will get coverage through a third entity. That separate exchange, said the source, would be paid for by the insurance company.

What??  The Obama administration is caving to the religious right on contraceptive coverage in insurance policies??Whoa! Didn’t see *that* coming.  Oh, sure, it’s just a technicality and there will be a workaround.  (For women, just the first of many workarounds to overcome in the years to come, no doubt)  Still, it very much feels like there is something distasteful and unsavory about contraceptives now that the Obama administration has caved.  Yep, and somehow, I think the religious right has won this round.

And how is this going to work anyway?  Will the option to go to the insurance company directly be clearly and explicitly spelled out to each female employee at the time the policy commences for her?  Or will the employer ask for another exemption specifying that they are under no moral obligation to provide the female employee with the details?  Because you know some asshole representative from a red state is going to want to put that into legislation somewhere.  Oh, heck! This exemption has opened the floodgates to all the Republican dominated state legislatures around the country to go on a free-for-all extravaganza of gag rule legislation. (Ahhh, I see that Texas got a head start)  It will be like the Mexico City rule for all American women.  So, technically, a female employee would have the right to full contraceptive coverage from the insurer but not be aware of it. Maybe if she wants contraceptives, she has to approach her human resources department and make a direct inquiry.  Now, the company knows that’s she’s a slut and in this job market, character counts.  Hiring managers want to see your facebook account these days.  Lovely.   See how this works?

Funny, I’ll bet these kinds of scenarios never crossed Obama’s mind.  Thus we see the true value of a Harvard law degree.  Or maybe he just doesn’t give a shit.  Or at least not enough of a shit to actually, you know, stand up for women, who stupidly just handed him the presidency for four more years without demanding anything in return.

Now, to my completely untrained eye, it looks like people who believe in supernatural beings and 3000 year old bronze aged texts, who are under no obligation whatsoever to provide any evidence for their beliefs, have more freedom and are more equal than women who can now fight on the front lines for their country but are forced to abide by the supernatural and unverifiable belief systems of male dominant institutions.  If she were black back in the 50’s, she could still ride the bus.  She’d just have to sit in the back.  Why is she complaining?  The bus is still going to take her where she wants to go, right?

Is that what’s happening here or am I just seeing things?

Anyway, have a nice day, Obama ladies!  God knows you need a rest from all the stress the campaign put on you.

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15 Responses

  1. The best that can be said for the red beanie boys and the true believers is that they are reacting to a simplistic story designed (by God?) to appeal to people with limited knowledge and understanding. It is like the difference between early grade school and college or graduate school.

    And that is the best spin.

    The comparison between the Old Testament is Homer, which like the Old Testament was at the time considered a mix of history and religion. The gods in Homer act in human life and human history on a personal level. Mostly unlike the Old Testament, these gods are human beings with great power and child-like impulse controls and they often act badly.

    For a long time, people thought Homer was merely a well told story. Then, a true believer named Schlieman spent scads of his own money and excavated what was the city of Troy in the late 1800’s proving that the story at least had a basis in fact. By then, nobody believed the religion part.

    Following this rationale, if you want, we have more recent, more humane versions of the old religion designed to appeal to a somewhat more understanding group of listeners and readers. Jesus and Buddha and Mohammed. Call it, for the sake of the metaphor, junior high school science.

    Paul and some of the islamic interpretations are probably a half step or quarter step back. I’m not too familiar with Islam. Once I read part of the Koran to get a feel for it but it failed to communicate beyond a level of seeming silly.

    Science itself is a belief system and another 2 or 3,000 years from now our current knowledge will probably seem limited and foolish as we progress to the high school level.

    Do the red beanie boys react to the best of their available teaching (Jesus in the light of more modern science). Nope.

    Personally, I find myself torn between some form of belief and some form of rebellion against the red beanie boys. It is probably less comforting but some small step closer to the truth. But who knows.

    • I think it’s time we scrapped the new testament as well. Only a miniscule part of it had anything to do with Jesus, the original occupier. If anything, the whole focus of his followers on the resurrection made religion worse, IMHO. No doubt they did it so that followers wouldn’t be so afraid to buck the Romans but now we have to live with the consequences and it’s really not working anymore.
      At this point, the whole concept of the Abrahamic religions and their offshoots need some serious scrutiny and a cost benefit analysis. I’m not sure Buddha is an improvement.
      I’m calling for a major rewrite. Scrap all the old texts and rewrite it from scratch. This silliness is getting to be intolerable.

      • What if men had to go to their Human Resources Department to get their VIAGRA for approval…heck the Stock Exchange would come to a stand still.

        I guess women will find out sooner or later about the Obama Stupak Executive Order and what they lost via his signature while claiming to give them birth control pills for free. :-(

      • “I think it’s time we scrapped the new testament as well. Only a miniscule part of it had anything to do with Jesus, the original occupier.”

        Blush. Study the Bible WITHOUT faith or dogma, perhaps begin to appreciate the storytellers efforts (Iron age). Added bonus: maybe get laid.

        • Um, I don’t get it.
          And anyway, far too many hours, days, thousands of years have been dedicated to studying that book. Instead of seeing it as just the first attempts of human beings to put their campfire stories into writing, we’ve gone out of our way to treat them like some kind of inviolable holy texts that have some special magic and we refuse to see them in the proper context.
          Let’s move on.

    • Science is a belief system? I am just a layman, but I have understood science at its best-and-truest to be a material fact-finding method; a tester of hypotheses worked up from unemotional observations of phenomena and a crafter of theories worked up from
      combinations of disproved and non-disproved hypotheses.

      When science is degraded into mere “scientism”, that I supposed could be viewed with suspicion as a belief system.

  2. **** Or maybe he just doesn’t give a shit. ****

    In all probability you’re being too generous here. I’ve a ‘gut’ feeling Obama stands with the Religious Right on this and many similar issues. Press him on this one and I think he’d say he’s Doing The Right Thing. That may be wrong, but who can deny he’s been Playing To Lose on the issue from the very beginning?

    http://www.shrm.org/hrdisciplines/benefits/Articles/Pages/ContraceptiveMandate.aspx

  3. “Religiously affiliated organizations will be given the option of exempting themselves from the requirement of providing their employees with contraceptive access or service that they are morally opposed to,” said the source.

    “Contraceptive access or service?” What does “service” mean? Very vague – are they going to be able to object to and therefore not cover other medical procedures as well?

    • You’d think the legal braintrusts in the West Wing would have been more specific here. Vagueries are an invitation to all kinds of evil.

  4. This sort of thing will make Total Personal Privacy Medicare for All, or even Outright Canadian Single Payer, look more and more attractive.

  5. If human beliefs in gods and afterlives somehow suddenly vanished, some people would probably react in the commendable, quasi-Stoic fashion RD describes, but I suspect that many others would probably conclude that if this indeed be their one and only crack at existence, then they should do every last thing they can get away with to maximize their tangible and intangible “goodies” in this one and only life, and the Reaper take the rest. Religions may provide all-too-convenient frameworks for sociopathy, but it would exist even if they did not.

    As for fanatics, the Communists didn’t need any gods to inspire them to commit mass murder, and many individual Communists committed suicide without believing they would go anywhere else after death.

    Religions, even if they be genuinely inspired by one or more gods, are human intellectual constructions, and as such, will display the flaws of human nature (Lizard Brain, I’m looking at you).

    OTOH, I quite agree with RD about Obummer, and that the Red Beanie Boys have about as much to do with the teachings of Jesus as Mickey D’s has to do with nutrition.

  6. With the stroke of a pen, B0 has, yet again, said women have no right to make their own medical decisions. But he’s such a nice guy all they have to do is ask, and he’ll make sure they can get what they need.

    We’ve lost a right and gained the opportunity to beg for “options.” So long as we make sure to keep the “nice guys” in office.

    Progress!

  7. “But I got to wondering, would the world be a less violent place if so many people weren’t convinced of an afterlife?”

    Stalin’s Russia. Pol Pot’s Cambodia.

    People are going to behave abominably regardless of which myths they claim to uphold or disdain.

    • Just because a state might outlaw a religion doesn’t prevent people from clinging to old belief systems. If anything, conviction can grow stronger ala Poland. Besides, it was not lack of religion that made the USSR and Kampuchea so destructive. It was that both if them were ruled at one time by authoritarian megalomaniacs with a mean streak. Of course, the converse if that is Afghanistan where citizens were forced by the Taliban to be ultra fundamentalists. Again, the common theme was authoritarian megalomania with a mean streak.
      I’m referring more to the soft authoritarianism of the state that bends over backwards to kiss the religionist’s holy ass and even encourages a form of fundamentalism within a structure of religious freedom. That is very destructive as well and that’s what we saw with Waco Texas branch Dravidians and the militantly fundamentalists that suicide bomb. It also permeates right wing so called Christians who intentionally vote to worsen current economic conditions in order to bring about the second coming. There’s a conspiracy theory I can prove. ;-)
      And look at the countries that have pretty much abandoned religion even if they have official state religions like the scandanavian countries where almost no one identifies as a believer. Their treatment if people in the here and now is downright humane.

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