Archive - Feb 2012

February 10th

No Conscience Whatsoever

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Memo to Catholics and their enablers: LET'S BE HONEST FOR A CHANGE.

Just when you thought American politics couldn't get any dumber, we're now in week two of a completely manufactured "controversy" over, of all things, birth control. A fake controversy led by Catholic bishops, followed by Republicans eager to pick a fight, and enabled by weak Democrats willing to sacrifice what's right for a few poll points.

Here's what's at issue. As part of health care reform, employer-provided insurance plans have to cover contraception without a co-pay. Since 2000, employer-provided insurance plans had to cover contraception, but could require a co-pay.

THAT'S IT. That's the whole fucking thing. That's the attack on religious liberty. That's the evidence of Barack Obama's hostility toward faith. That is what inspired Rick Santorum to new heights of hyperbole, as follows:

"What’s left is the French Revolution. What’s left is the government that gives you right, what’s left are no unalienable rights, what’s left is a government that will tell you who you are, what you’ll do and when you’ll do it. What’s left, in France, became the guillotine. Ladies and gentlemen, we’re a long way from that, but if we do and follow the path of President Obama and his overt hostility to faith in America, then we are headed down that road."

Yes, that's what's at stake here! If the people who work at Catholic-run hospitals have to pay twenty bucks out of pocket for their progesterone fix, that's how you get the guillotine. Rick Santorum, ladies and gentlemen, the man who got 45% of the votes and came in first in the Minnesota caucus this week. We are a stupid, stupid nation.

Can we maybe, just maybe, in the futuristic year two thousand and motherfucking twelve, at least fight for the idea that contraception is a good thing? It's politically safe. Everyone loves contraception. EVERYONE. The people who say they don't are lying. Women love it. Men love it. Liberals love it. Conservatives love it. Atheists love it. And the fundiest fundamentalists love it.

Even closeted conservative pastors love contraception, even though they're the ones who can't possibly get their extramarital lovers pregnant, because if they ever get caught, they're going to need a way to keep their child support payments below what they can afford. For fuck's sake, THE DUGGARS LOVE CONTRACEPTION. They don't use it, but they love it, because contraception is what makes them special. If the rest of us can get condoms and The Pill, then the Duggars get a reality show. Take away family planning, and they're just another bunch of hicks fighting you in the diaper aisle at Wal-Mart.

Being able to control when, where, and how many kids you have is one of the greatest things science has done for humanity. It's freed women from being womb-slaves and let them be people, with their own dreams, aspirations, and contributions to society. Contraception makes TV shows better. How many times has a TV show had to resort to a shitty pregnancy storyline? And that's with actresses CHOOSING when they want to have kids. Imagine if that happened constantly? Cable TV would have more waist-high walls than the Gears of War trilogy.

The Catholic bishops are allegedly pissed because Catholics don't allegedly believe in contraception. Of course, the rank and file church members, are, for the most part, wrapping their dicks and popping their progesterone just like the rest of us heathens do, so it's really just the celibates and boyfuckers who are holding firm, if you'll parden the expression, to that rule. And they're pretending to be cranky because, as employers of non-Catholics who receive government money to provide certain services, their money is sort of kind of paying for this thing that a few of them don't like and don't need.

Let's think about this for a second. A Catholic institution that doesn't qualify for the religious exemption (because they work with and hire the general public) pays a certain amount each month per employee in health insurance premiums, and, if they're like any other employer, also deducts some money from their employee's salary to pay for those premiums. Those premiums go to a big health insurance company, where that money mixes with the premiums of hundreds or thousands of other companies. A tiny fraction of that giant pool of money goes to buy monthly packs of birth control pills, which are eventually handed out to employees of that institution - employees who are either not Catholic, or Catholics breaking one of the dumbest rules in all of religion.

And what's different now from the last ten years is that instead of ALL of the money going from the Church to the health insurance company to the drug company, some of the money follows that route, and the rest of the money goes from the Church to the employee to the drug company by means of a co-pay. Yet the Catholics are acting as if the gold coins in the Pope's wallet are being transubstantiated directly into recreational boning.

It is beyond ridiculous. It's so ridiculous I'm sure the bishops don't actually believe it, and let's face it, Catholic bishops believe some pretty fucking ridiculous shit. This is a power play. This is a hissy-fit designed to show that they have relevance and power. It is a ginned-up tempest in a teapot designed to let the social conservatives make a big fuss during an election year. And it's because they're miffed that Obama, in a move that has been all too rare in the past three years, did what he thought was best for people, instead of finding a "compromise" that wouldn't actually stop people from hating him.

Oh, and to a lesser extent, it's making sure that only rich women have reproductive freedom. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"There has been a lot of talk in the last couple days about compromise, but it sounds to us like a way to turn down the heat, to placate people without doing anything in particular,' Picarello said. 'We're not going to do anything until this is fixed.' That means removing the provision from the health care law altogether, he said, not simply changing it for Catholic employers and their insurers. He cited the problem that would create for 'good Catholic business people who can't in good conscience cooperate with this. If I quit this job and opened a Taco Bell, I'd be covered by the mandate,'" - The bishops' general counsel, Anthony Picarillo, as quoted and paraphrased by USA Today.

Again, this is mostly power play. They want Obama to bend, so they're asking for a rollback of a 12-year-old policy that's already been ruled constitutional. But that doesn't mean they wouldn't be happy if they got everything, because their wives and daughters and mistresses still have fifty bucks a month to spend on the pill. And if the rest of you have to keep churning out babies to make your Taco Bell franchise owner good with his fake God, then tough.

Oh, and a special bonus FUCK OFF AND GO AWAY to Catholic Democrats like Joe Manchin, Bob Casey, Tim Kaine, and Dan Lipinski, for siding with the bishops, supporting their hyperbole, and pretending that the minor change is somehow a horrible crime against the conscience of good Catholics who just want poor women to breed and breed and breed. Fifty years ago, anti-Catholic forces tried to smear JFK with the idea that he'd be a Vatican puppet, more beholden to the Pope than to the American people. And today, you're making that fearmongering a reality. Good job, assholes.