In light of reports that Obama is starting to cave on the contraceptive issue to the red beanie boys, it would be a good idea to show him and the Democrats (forget the Republicans, they’re a lost cause) that secularism is alive and thriving in America. I am amazed at the growing number of podcasts and personalities who have taken to online media in just the last couple of years. They’re scientists like Richard Dawkins, former pastors like Dan Barker, advertising executives like Jane Caro, and lively and beautiful people like Margaret Downey and Seth, The Thinking Atheist. They are changing the face of the non-believer, the skeptic, the freethinker. They have a sense of humor and a genuine concern for people and the planet. Something is happening here. Secularists are coming out of the closet in a wave. Just like women who have finally had enough after the Komen debacle, the secular are starting to push back.
Even if you are a believer, of whatever, but are adamant about the separation of church and state, consider going. If you think it is wrong that some old, celibate dudes from Vatican Inc can make decisions about your reproductive organs to preserve their job security, if you think it’s wrong that the religious get too many breaks, too much deference and have too much influence, if you think it is alarming that our government officials have to continually swear allegiance to a bunch of people who let a Bronze Age piece of literature run their lives, this rally might be for you.
March 24, 2012, the Mall, Washington, DC. Be there.
Speaking of The Thinking Atheist, he’s got a new episode up today on Religion and Sexuality, which seems quite timely. “We interview Dr. Marty Klein http://www.martyklein.com, author of such books as “America’s War on Sex: The Attack on Law,Lust & Liberty.” And we speak with Darrel Ray, Ed.D, author of the book “Sex and God: How Religion Distorts Sexuality.”
(Too funny, that podcast veers wildly from professional to profane and Seth turns out to be somewhat of a prude. Towards the end, it even made me squirm uncomfortably, which just goes to show that we’re not all the same and there are places even the ungodly won’t go.)
Santorum picked up wins in some states in yesterday’s Republican primaries. Veddy interesting. I think this is how it’s going to work out: Romney has the party apparatus and the financing guys all lined up but he’s going to have to take on Rick Santorum as VP to appease the mighty religious contingent. Come to think of it, the red beanie boys must have seen the numbers over the weekend and that’s why they’re pushing Obama to make compromises on the contraceptive front.
Everyone knows that the VP spot is largely ceremonial (which is why I want Hillary to stay clear of it, but I’m pretty sure she already knows this). But the “Christians” will like the idea of Ricky standing by in the wings and *counseling* the Mormon on what is morally right, like Mitt is going to spend the next four years tearing his garments over abortion and birth control. Am I right, rapture-ready people?
So, where is Rick Santorum getting all of his support? Beats me, I still think the country is evolving away from religion, which is why Vatican Inc is getting so panicky and pre-emptive. But Santorum did get the Duggar endorsement. I have relatives who are in awe of the Duggars. Recently, I forced myself to sit through some of their youtube episodes to see what the attraction is. I mean, one particular relative made it sound like Michelle Duggar was Mother Teresa and General Patton all rolled up in one. Her family is held up as some kind of example of perfection.
Ehhhh, I’m not feelin’ it. But I think I see what the problem is. Here it is: the people who admire the Duggars have somehow convinced themselves that modern women have been deceived into a unfulfilling life of hard work when they would be much happier if they stopped fighting the natural and godly order of things, got back into their houses and produced a lovely family full of clean, obedient and musical children.
I don’t know *what* makes them think this is a good thing for all women and children. It is held up as an ideal of Godly perfection but it ignores everything about human nature. And it’s not like this relative hasn’t seen this kind of lifestyle played out disastrously before in a different high control group religious cult. The Duggars are no different. The boys’ profile pages are full of their favorite subjects, like math and science (they’re all homeschooled). The girls’ pages are mostly devoid of subject matter. Girls have a father figure holding authority over them for all of their lives from father to husband to older sons. They don’t have careers outside the home and they are expected to leave their family size up to God. The whole family travels as a pack together. Or they split up into other reasonably large sized chunks. The children sleep in dorms. They rarely have a minute to themselves. There is always a buddy or a sibling to be a minder.
I see heartbreak in the Duggar family future. One boy says he wants to study science and cure cancer. Can’t do that without fully accepting the concepts of natural selection and evolution. He’s going to have to make a choice. For all we know, he might be the kid who can crack this nut but we’ll never find out if he doesn’t go to a rigorous college or university and if he stays within the family’s faith and circle, he won’t ever get that opportunity.
There’s a good probability that some of the younger boys will be gay. I’ve read about this before about large families and gay sons. (need citation) It’s either related to the size of the family or the number of older brothers. Evolutionally, it kind of makes sense. If you have a large number of siblings and your parents die, it’s good to have a couple of kids around who won’t have kids of their own who can provide resources and take on parenting tasks. I think that having a gay kid in a large family is a blessing, but I’m betting the Duggars don’t. And I’m preeeetty sure I know which one of these kids it’s going to be (betcha the Duggars do too).
Then there are the girls. One of them, Jinger Duggar, has a very expressive face and is frequently caught on camera rolling her eyes or otherwise having a “And that affects me *how*?” look. There’s even a couple of websites dedicated to freeing Jinger Duggar. But she’s not the one I would expect to be the rebel.
Nope, I’m placing my money on Jessa Duggar whose natural extroversion, wit and ambition are not going to be satisfied with a batch of babies. No, not Jessa. Jessa likes the Prayer of Jabez. Jessa wants prosperity. Her focus on the success of the family business makes her an excellent family spokesdaughter. I’d like to see her father try to hand her authority over to some fresh faced Christian boy who thinks he can guide and protect her. That’s a series I’d be willing to watch on TLC.
Then there’s oldest daughter, Jana. At 22, she’s unmarried and probably close to her expiration date. What’s up with that? Can’t they find some decent courtship material for her or is she holding out for a conservatory education so she can continue to play the harp in peace for a few hours a day?
That’s not to say their childhood is bad. They’re clean, well fed, well cared for and none of them appear to be stupid. Anyway, it’s all they know, since the most contact they have with the outside world in their childhood is with the production crew that follows them around and their own circle of like minded Christian families. But they are a herd and in this herd there are mavericks. Their world is highly intolerant of mavericks. It’s going to be very hard on some of them to lose the love that Michelle and Jim-Bob have spent so much time and energy creating. They either have to deny their faith and upbringing or they have to deny themselves.
And this is a choice that the Duggars would like to impose on the rest of the country. In the world of the conservative religious, the only grace you get is from Jesus. The rest of the country should not expect unconditional love under a Christan regime.