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Women are not simply the sum of their parts

Linda, a breast cancer survivor, explains where the body starts and politics end and where the Komen foundation got it so wrong by deciding to defund Planned Parenthood:

The problem, as I see it, is that the religious right has been extremely successful at reducing women to a collection of parts which they claim to have dominion over.  They’ve been successful because *both* parties have used Roe as a political football going for three downs before they punt it back to the other team.  Lately, the Republicans have been able to commandeer the airwaves to persuade clueless religious voters to vote against abortion in order to slip in legislation that is devastating to the social safety net.

As we saw a few days ago, applying peer pressure tactics can alter a person’s perception of reality.  People who care intensely about being with the group can not tolerate the “pain of independence”.  They aren’t even aware of how they’ve changed or how much they have been willing to swallow.  Personally?  I think appealing to religious voters to knock it off will have zero impact.  While they are surrounded by so much messaging, they are as remote and untouchable as Mars.  They are going to do what they’re told when they march into that voting booth.  I suppose you could attack their messaging machine but we’ve already tried that.  What we might expect is that many of them will meet their maker in the next couple of election cycles, thus reducing their numbers. Yeah, sure there are younger religious wingnuts but television starts to become less important the younger you are.

While we are waiting for nature to take its course, expect the Republicans to redouble their efforts.  It’s going to get ridiculous from now until election day.  But I think they only have a few more election cycles to affect the kind of permanent change they’ve been hoping for since FDR.  And Komen may have backfired on them.  This one is a bridge too far for most women who have been under constant attack ever since Obama and the Democrats pandered to the religious during the 2008 election cycle.

By the way, ladies, if you are ever given a choice to vote for a reasonable female politician again, even if she is not 100% perfect, tell the blogger boys to go Cheney themselves and vote for her.  No man, no matter what his ethnicity, is worth putting your own needs second.


More on the religious right, this time in the area of counselling.  How would you like to go to a counsellor for a troubling personal matter with elements of sexuality only to find out that your counsellor was a born-again, evangelical, fundy who is going to tell you *exactly* how she feels about your immoral behavior?  Relax.  Julea Ward would never do that to you.  She would refer you to another counsellor before she would subject herself to the professional obligation to treat you with compassion and respect.

Unfortunately for Ward, her faculty supervisors didn’t think she understood what her future job entails and they filed disciplinary actions against her.  They expelled her:

A federal court dismissed Ms. Ward’s claim of religious discrimination. But on Jan. 27, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ordered the lower court to rehear the case, finding that Eastern Michigan “cannot point to any written policy that barred Ward from requesting this referral.”

According to the Sixth Circuit decision, written by Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton, Ms. Ward counseled her first two clients without incident. But when she “reviewed the file of the third client, she noticed he sought counseling about a same-sex relationship.” Ms. Ward asked her faculty supervisor, Yvonne Callaway, “(1) whether she should meet with the client and refer him only if it became necessary — only if the counseling session required Ward to affirm the client’s same-sex relationship — or (2) whether the school should reassign the client from the outset.”

Professor Callaway reassigned the client, but then began disciplinary proceedings against Ms. Ward. During the proceedings, professors challenged Ms. Ward’s interpretation of Christianity, with one, Perry C. Francis, wondering if Ms. Ward could not give gay men and lesbians “the same respect and honor that God would give them?”

The Sixth Circuit decision turns on how common it is to refer patients to other counselors. Ms. Ward argues that one’s religious beliefs are a reasonable reason to refer a client, while the university argues that it has to train students to work with all kinds of clients. The American Counseling Association filed a brief asserting that to habitually refer gay clients would violate its ethical canon.

Ms. Ward referred questions to her lawyer, Jeremy Tedesco of the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal advocacy organization. Mr. Tedesco said that “if referrals are acceptable, including for many nonreligious-based reasons, they can’t deny someone who has a religion-based need to refer.” He said that Ms. Ward was not singling out gay men and lesbians, and that she would also refuse to affirm heterosexuals who sought counseling about their adultery.


This reminds me of the pharmacists who don’t want to fill contraceptive prescriptions.  It becomes a real problem when there is no other place to get the services or products you need.

I shudder to think about what would have happened to Ward’s patients when they went to see her about a non-marital relationship they were in.  Extra marital and pre-marital sex are absolutely verboten to the evangelical Christian.  There are no exceptions.  In fact, to some fundies, you shouldn’t have any physical contact at all before you’re married not even so much as a chaste kiss.  Maybe Ward could give out a little card describing her views before the first session and then the patient could decide which one of them was more emotionally disturbed.

What puzzles me is just what it is she was going to do during her counselling sessions.  I guess she could help people with phobias or work related issues.  But imagine how weird it would be if the patient came to her complaining of her nutty, religious fundy family who can’t think logically anymore and is extremely persistent about pushing their over the top religious beliefs down her throat and it’s driving her crazy.  Technically, it’s not a sexual matter.

Expelling her was a public service.