My latest blog for skirt.com.
This will probably be one of my more emotional posts for Skirt. So I apologize in advance if I offend anyone as it is not my intention. My opinions are my own.
Few things upset me more than injustice, religious bullying, intolerance and complete ignorance. Today the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight conducted a hearing on birth control and how the Executive Branch of our government may have overstepped its bounds by compromising with religious groups regarding the Affordable Care Act. Basically the men of the GOP and the hard right religious groups believe the Obama Administration is “declaring war on religion”. And this is where I became enraged. Not because it’s the GOP vs. Obama…again (boring, get a life) but because our government and the people running it for us are continuing to abuse the First Amendment of our Constitution, in particular the Separation of Church and State. I believe in this whole-heartedly, and as person of Faith wish that both sides of the aisle as well as our “religious” institutions would LEAVE IT ALONE! Faith and politics do not play well together. They are like two children on the playground fighting for the same swing. Someone is going to get hurt, in this case “We the people”.
The First Amendment in regards to religion reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”. In laymen’s terms, it basically means the government will not impede upon the rights and freedoms of or endorse religious groups. Simple, right? Keep it separate. It’s not that hard. Yet repeatedly through our short history as a country this basic premise of our constitutional Bill of Rights is repeatedly violated by the very people sworn to uphold it and the fear-mongering religious organizations seeking the ear of the government to push their agendas. What part of that amendment do you not understand? Oh, I get it, just as the Bible can be interpreted to mean what you want it to, so can the Constitution. Ah. Sorry, my bad.
I am usually the voice of reason when it comes to religion and politics. I am the silent majority. The one that just wants everyone to shut up, get along and do their jobs. The one that loves God but doesn’t go around talking about it but actually lives the words I believe. Talk is cheap and so is the shot that the GOP and these so-called men of God are taking at the First Amendment and birth control. I do not want a bunch of men who do not possess the ability to have a baby because they are missing a key component, a uterus, deciding how I should choose to avoid getting pregnant. It’s my body not yours! Choose to cover the pill because it has other medicinal purposes including regulating hormones and a woman’s period. I took the pill for years for cramps long before I began having sex. My doctor recently wanted to put me back on the pill to regulate my period. There. A medically necessary reason. Boom. Healthcare. Problem solved. Yet five clergyMEN and a bunch of men who care nothing about the lives of millions of women much less the Constitution they are interpreting for their own political agendas are speaking on behalf of women because this new law would infringe upon their “religious liberty”. HA! Where are the women on this laughable panel of witnesses? Where are the political hardliners now to protect our beloved Constitution? Our country has become all about hidden earmarks, political infighting and religious fanatics screaming in the ears of the Washington elite. Thomas Jefferson would be cringing if he were alive today. But back to the latest religious political debacle.
Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) had this to say about the female college student brought forth by two Democratic women to give another perspective on this issue, “As the hearing is not about reproductive rights and contraception but instead about the Administration’s actions as they relate to freedom of religion and conscience, he believes that Ms. Fluke is not an appropriate witness.” Rep. Issa went on to say that she also did not “have the appropriate credentials”. Right. Ok, sure. Really he just didn’t want his committee tainted by the opinion of a person this Act would actually affect or hear that she might be a person of Faith with a different perspective.
Religion does not belong here. If you don’t believe in sex before marriage, contraception or abortion, don’t participate in it. Don’t buy condoms, the pill, or have an abortion if you get pregnant. What’s it to me if you choose not to do these things. No harm, no foul. Just like what’s it to you if I choose otherwise. Who am I hurting? Me? That’s my right, my human right, protected by both the laws of the Constitution of this nation as well as by God. I don’t feel hurt or ashamed because I had sex before I was married and use birth control. Maybe my view is simplistic. Maybe I am naïve for thinking that the Constitution should be honored and respected, not interpreted like a piece of literature to fit the needs of those in power. If there is a question of legality, take it to the Supreme Court. That’s what they are there for, to interpret the law, weigh right and wrong.
Separation of Church and State, learn it, remember it, live it. The nation would be a much more productive place if religion was simply not in the equation when it comes to the government. This is not to say that a moral code should not be followed, but let’s not confuse the two. When put together, religion and politics have caused wars, the Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials, and the Holocaust not to mention a whole host of other insurrections and ethnic cleansings in the name of God and Country. Who suffers? The majority. In this case, women and those who believe in the First Amendment and all it stands for: religious freedom, separation of church and state, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, peaceful assembly and the right to protest. So get your act together, Washington. Mind your place, intolerant religious groups. I am the silent majority, a majority starting to make their voice heard. I am a strong woman, a religiously tolerant Christian, a party of one, the voice of many.