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Because the president decided to interfere on the side of liberal Catholics in their internal struggle with their rigid, anachronistic, patriarchical church hierarchy, he has inserted the right wing focus group tested “religious liberty” meme into election year politics.  It *will* affect women who have to now go around their employer to get birth control, kind of like people who are forced to brown paper bag things that are naughty.

But, of course, this is not going to satisfy the red beanie boys of Vatican Inc.  They insist on making their 4th century code of conduct relevant.  And who can blame them?  Their own adherents don’t follow their teaching on birth control.  Overriding them makes them look irrelevant.  Religion based on a biblical worldview is already being supplanted by reason.  Oh sure, Mary Mother of God church is busy 24/7 but if birth control is any indication, those parishioners are going for something other than moral guidelines.  My feeling is that if the bishops push this hardline too hard, they’re going to accelerate their own demise.  There’s an envelope out there and they are pushing it.

If EJ Dionne and the other “liberal” Catholics had had the courage of their convictions, they would have told their church to back off.  But for them, it is easier on their consciences for women to take another bullet for the team.  And predictably, the beanie boys said that the compromise wasn’t good enough:

Reporting from Washington— Catholic bishops say they remain opposed to President Obama‘s plan to require insurers to provide free birth control, even if religiously affiliated employers such as Catholic hospitals and universities aren’t forced to pay for it.

“The only complete solution to this religious liberty problem is for HHS [the Department of Health and Human Services] to rescind the mandate of these objectionable services,” the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said in a statement.

The statement, issued late Friday, makes clear that the bishops’ opposition goes beyond the “religious freedom” dispute that had riled Washington in recent weeks. The government’s decision to guarantee women access to contraceptives “remains a grave moral concern,” they said.

A reasonable question would be, whose morals are we talking about?  Is the American population required to follow Catholic moral values?  Fundamentalist christian moral values?  Says who?  On what basis?  What if you don’t believe the God of their Bible exists and that their moral code doesn’t apply to you?  What if you believe in reason and commit to doing what is right instead of what is written?

Well, alright then.  Everybody is now clear where the lines are drawn.  The bishops are not going to be happy with anything less than a Plan B solution, ie complete capitulation to the Vatican.

Digby wrote a nice summary of Obama’s reasoning. Suffice it to say that he’s following the advice of political strategists who think it’s a bad idea to upset the religious.  Upsetting more than half your population?  That’s OK.  Just give in to the teensy, tiny slivver of a constituency that reports to Rome and everything will be fine.

Now is the time for Obama to treat women like adults capable of making their own decisions on matters of conscience.  Now is the time for him to protect their civil rights and to prevent discrimination on the basis of sex.  Now is the time for him to act like a leader.  I don’t really expect any of this, given his history.  But now would be the time to say, “Ok, you didn’t like my compromise so, no deal on any of it.”

Meanwhile, now is the time for the rest of us to get together and promote reason over religion.

There is strength in numbers.

One final thing: Amanda Marcotte does not speak for me, a feminist. I have zero patience with so-called feminists like Amanda Marcotte who is a reliable apologist for everything Obama.  She was wrong about John Edwards, she was wrong to support the DNC and Obama the first time around and I’ll be damned if I let her represent me to the rest of the country. I can’t trust her judgement or her motivations.  She is writing from a script.

This liberal, feminist Democrat in Exile is appalled and angered by the attitude this president has towards women and has no intention of cutting him a break because the Republicans will be so much worse.

Plus: Better a PUMA/emoprog than a Doormat Democrat.  (You’ve got no leverage, asshole.)


15 Responses

  1. If Democrats In Exile decided to form a real political party with a real Democrats In Exile agenda, what would they call it? What would parts of its platform and agenda-requirements and so forth be? Has anyone begun overtly New Party long-term thinking about this?

    • That’s a good question. I suck at organizing anything but would happily participate if we would wrestle up a posse to take one on. It’s been discussed on this blog since August 2008.
      I put a credo on a tab on the top of the page. I consider myself an FDR style Democrat. I believe capitalism functions best when there are rules to keep the playing field fair because that helps everyone prosper. I also believe in strict secularism. Very strict. That’s because I spent a lot of time in a fundy religion when I was a child and know just how irrational they can be. That is not to say that I am an atheist (I’m a panentheist) and I don’t want to shut down anyone’s personal belief system. I just want them to keep them *personal*. Secularism means reason rather than belief is the basis for the rule of law and that good citizenship should be the goal in the public sphere.

      Do you want to add to that?

      Oh, one other thing: I hate wordsmithing. I hate flowery statements. Simple, clear, direct.

      • No flowery wordsmithing? With a one day deadline till this thread times out, I can only mention a few things that would attract me to a party.
        Fairness requires trade-terms fairness between countries. Free Trade is designed to destroy that fairness. Abolish Free Trade. Abolish, abrogate, and/or repeal every Free Trade Agreement going all the way back to Truman’s GATT Round One if necessary. Punitive exclusionary tarriffs against imports from sub-wage sub-standards countries. Limit free trade to countries at or above our pay and standards level.

        Restore all the repealed NewDeal/FairDeal laws and rules.
        Repeal the law repealing Glass Steagall and impose a hard merciless Glass Steagall re-separation against the merged function banks. Repeal the so-called Telecommunications Reform Act. Repeal the so-called Commodities Trade Modernization Act. Repeal the so-called Bankruptcy Reform Act. Repeal all the tax code changes right back to where and what all taxes were during the Eisenhower Administration.
        Repeal the act which repealed PUHCA. Re-regulate the power utilities and forcibly break up the new merged utilities all the way back to where they were during PUHCA.

        I am sure I would like to see other things developed over time in a carefully considered platform, but any party unwilling to even do those few things is not worth my attention.

        • I like most of these. I’m not sure I would rescind NAFTA because Mexico and Canada are our two biggest trading partners. But I would like to see a lot more emphasis on fair labor standards and the right to collective bargaining in the trade agreements before we sign the suckers.
          BTW, the reason we automatically close the comments after two days is because old open threads attract nasty wasty trolls. Their not dangerous but they are a pain to clear out. They’re less effective than trolls actually. They’re more like gnomes in Ron Weasley’s garden.

          • Damn those trolls for showing up after only two days. It only they would wait for three days, or even four . . .

            I still have nothing to say about NAFTA unless and/or until I go find actual numbers about actual impacts. If I ever do, and the numbers say
            no impact was felt, I’ll come back here and admit that. If I ever do, and I think the numbers say “actual impact”, I’ll bring the numbers back here and argue it all over again. But unless/until then . . . not. And yes, in the wider scope, forced unfair competition erodes and degrades the economy and then the society of the target country. This benefits the OverLords who work the differential-standards arbitrage rackets and then hope to use their profits to buy the re-feudalization of America and other heretofor rich countries. I hope somebody more organized than me can start a party about that for me to join and follow.

  2. What’s wrong with this picture? How about the creepy fat guy in the red beanie telling women how to live their lives.


  3. Don’t you know their theology? The Catholic Church only cares about women who are virgins.

  4. This handling of the birth control issue is perfectly consistent with one of the pillars of Obamaism: the smoldering librul-dude resentment that women with their goddamn icky abortions keep losing them elections. If the damn whores would close their mouths and legs, so the rage goes, the Democrats could compete on real issues and win the White House for once.

  5. why do women keep going to men asking them to understand, grow up and do the right thing for women? They do not understand because they do not want to, it is not convenient and they know that we are too gutless to take our power and vote them out, so they can do what they want, what keeps them in power, which is to cater to men, men in beanies among others. They know men will hit them with real consequences and women will just whine and try to explain slightly differently next time, about how men should do things a little different if they care about women.
    Forget about religion. It will always be with us. If Obama had to answer to us, to women, it wouldn’t matter what the the Beanie boys wanted. Our problem is our gutlessness. We still allow, and it is being discussed now, ourselves to be divided as women according to abortion and birth control. It’s a joke. I don’t even have a uterus anymore, haven’t had one for 27 years. I won’t vote based on abortion and birth control anymore. I will fight for them. But I refuse to vote for them because this is what you get….guys like Obama who care more about not pissing off the bishops than not pissing off women. Once again women are a great big bargaining chip.

    • I disagree with you on one thing, teresa. It is *all* about religion. I used to think we just had to put up with religionists and let them do their own thing. The problem is that what they.value so much, this Judeo Christian value system is 3000 years old.
      I don’t want to convert you to atheism, Teresa, but think about what a 3000 tradition means. Just take some time and think about it for a few days. I did this when I was an adolescent and came to understand that much of what we call “morality” made a lot of sense in 1300 BC but doesn’t anymore. This is especially true when it comes to rules on women’s conduct. We have genetic testing to keep everyone honest and birth control from ruining a family’s “honor”.
      Don’t even get me started on the creation myth or Noah’s ark or sodom and gommorah. The more I read that stuff the more absurd it is to expect me or any modern person to believe it. And then there are the catholic theologians like Augustine and Thomas Aquinas. They came centuries after Jesus and write their interpretation of original sin based on 4th century culture. Why are we supposed to pay ANY attnetion to them?
      There are countries out there where the vast majority of the population has dumped their belief in the bible. That’s not to say that their populations are immoral or don’t have values. It just that that book doesn’t have any more influence on them than any other book of scriptures written by ancient peoples. And those countries, especially in Scandinavia, are thriving. They have a much more compassionate attitude towards their citizens. We shouldn’t be using these writings as anything but historical and literature. Some of the books are more wise than others but the vast majority is just eye rollingly unbelievable and they shouldn’t be used to run a country or anyone in it.

  6. I just don’t get it. Why do these men have so much power over American public policy? The Vatican is steeped in all kinds of scandal and the Pope is an 84-year-old man who never spends time with a woman unless she’s cleaning his living quarters. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 98% of sexually active American Catholic women use or have used birth control. Why aren’t they inundating the media with indignant commentary about being told that they are committing a sin by looking out for the best interests of their families and themselves?

    I think that they’re ashamed to admit that they are violating the Church’s teaching in public. This is truly the dark side of religion. The use of shame to deny people any degree of self-determination is abusive. The Roman Catholic Church has branded women who use birth control murderers and those women are too ashamed to publicly challenge that ugly characterization of a practice that often keeps women healthy and out of poverty.

    That neither Obama nor anyone in his administration has made an impassioned defense of a woman’s right to protect herself from unwanted pregnancy is no more than can be expected from a man who suggested while campaigning that women women have late-term abortions because they have “the blues”.

    • If there is a findable link to Obama saying that . . . preferrably a you tube video-bit; that could be weaponised for use against Obama between now and election day. One hopes the link may yet be found. A statement like that could be just the political napalm needed to spray on Obama’s image and burn it down to the ground.

      • I remember seeing such a quote from Obama at the time, quoted in several credible media. I’m not sure the wording was quite what you’d need, though.

        • If the wording is close enough, then that’s good enough. Maybe someone will find it and unearth it, and the disenchanted ex-fans of Obama can weaponise it. Disenchanted ex-supporters can be the bitterest opponents. Riverdaughter has written that Matt Stoller was a strong early supporter of Obama, and his writing about Obama at NaCap has the potential to be some of the most damagingly weaponizable material I have seen in respectable print.
          So maybe Matt Stoller is a case in point.

          • (…I beleeeeeve that Riverdaughter has written that about Matt Stoller. My memory may be shorting out …)

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