I'm a little slow today. I just switched to Sanka. So...have a heart?

Monday, March 28, 2005

Where the hell...

Did all the Cadbury Creme Eggs go this year? I was looking forward to them since after Valentine's day, and they NEVER materialized! Instead we got Cadbury's Caramel Eggs. Not the same! I'm going to publish a diatribe on the "cookies n' creme" flavor tomorrow... be prepared. Those eggs are just revolting.

Get your morals off my body.

You don’t like abortions? You don’t like stem-cell research? You don’t like contraception? You don’t like any of the numerous medical advances that are available to patients nowadays to cure their ills or prevent an unwanted condition? That’s fine and dandy. Don’t get an abortion. Don’t rely on gene therapy to cure your diseases. Don’t take birth control pills. But lay the fuck off everyone else.

I read an article today in the Washington Post about pharmacists that are denying women access to contraceptive medications, and morning-after pills. And I became enraged. Who are these people who are imposing their moral will on someone else? Who are these people who are interfering with a patient’'s right to receive medications, prescribed by a doctor?!?

This is all part of a greater problem happening in the country; increased religious presence and influence in political life.

Here's my take on religion: Dear People, the Bible is not the word of God. Love, Rationalism. Religion, which began as a way to explain unexplained phenomena and give people hope, turned into Big-Business. Sorry. It's the truth. Have you ever been to a European Cathedral? Seen the gold? The jewels? How do you think they got the money for that gold? Charity? No. Plunder, colonialism, threats, coercion, etc.

The Bible, that you like to thump? Compiled by Constantine about 1,750 years ago. He put some books in, took some books out. The bible went through a few overhauls over the years, including a major tearing-apart by James I of England, around 1605. Bottom line? That book that you rely so heavily on, quoting phrases and twisting meanings? Jesus didn't write 'em. Neither did God. Byzantine scholars did in the decline of the Roman Empire, and it was then updated to reflect mid-Renaissance philosophy. Why else do you think so many passages begin, "Yea, and they dranketh from the well, and thus thine thirst went quench'ed?" Because your Bible is in early-modern English.

I'm not knocking religion, hell, I love aspects of religion. I like certain moral values - u'tshuvah, u'tzedakah, u'tfiliah, repentance, prayer and charity - all good. Loving your fellow man, forgiveness, and hope for the future? Great. Striving to make yourself and your world better? Fantastic. Traditions are where I, personally, find the most comfort in religion - smells, sounds, tastes, sights...all form a bridge through time. Anything outside of that is gravy. There comes a point, though, when you stop being religious. Where religion becomes a shield for contempt of your fellow man; where religion is used to explain biases, and where religion is used to deprive others of goods, services, rights and process to which they are entitled.

I don't know where the Christian Right or the Muslim Right (or the Jewish Right, but no one listens to us) comes off telling anyone else what to do with themselves, though. Think I'm going to hell? I'll roast happily, but that's my decision, not yours. Do I want to go out and bang 10,000 guys? My decision, not yours. You can hate it as much as you want, but does it affect you in any way? No. Your kid is going to grow up gay regardless of what he's exposed to. Crying about HIV medicine being subsidized by Medicare? Well, I don't like your mother being another drain on Medicare, because she needs chemotherapy, paid for by the State, because she smoked for 60 years and now has cancer. Why is she more worthy than someone with another disease? Piss off with the "save the children" and the "save the taxes" spiel. What if I want to have fetuses sucked out of my uterus? Does it in any way hurt your uterus? Didn't think so. In the alternative, if a mother has an unwanted baby, will YOU, who are so anti-abortion be willing to take the unwanted child, and raise it in a loving, stable and comfortable home? No? Then shut the fuck up about abortion.

Don't even get me started on Terri Schiavo -- okay. I will. What, besides the "value of human life" (which many of you didn't seem to be so bent on when you were lynching black people up through the 1960s) would be the reason for keeping her alive? Would you want to be bedridden, fed through tubes, turned every four hours, and in a constant vegetative state, for decades on end? What's the point? This was a tragic situation, and a heartwrenching decision for the courts, for Michael Schiavo and the Schindlers. However, the courts spoke. And then Fundamentalist Governor Bush overstepped his separation of powers boundaries, and signed a bill to get the tube reinserted. And then it got turned over, and over and over again. Finally, the Fundamentalist legislature passed a bill, a bill for Terri Schiavo. Once again, the legislature hooked upon an opportunity to thump the bible and stir up all the conservative crazies with the chants of "LIFE! LIFE! LIFE!" I'm so tired of this administration sticking its nose where it doesn't belong. Thank God that the Supreme Court seems to have wised up since the decision in Bush v. Gore and is now issuing rational decisions that keep the right-wing nutjobs in check, and furthers a more progressive social agenda, even if it means denying certiorari to stupid appeals, like age limits on abortion or, Terri's appeals...

What, besides the sheer joy of trying to control someone else, does the fundamentalist right get out of trying to regulate every facet of American life? What's the compelling government interest in keeping two women that love each other, and are raising children together, from filing joint tax returns, and being able to see each other in the hospital, without a complex set of legal documents? Why is it so important to some small-town drugstore owner, whether a Nicaraguan girl here in Miami has an abortion, because her boyfriend, who beats her, also impregnated her? You think this is wrong? Well, you're entitled to your opinion. I think it's right. Who should win? I argue that we should strike a blow for personal autonomy; don't like it, don't do it, but as long as it's not hurting anyone (and don't start in with "YOU'RE HURTING THE BABIES!") what's the harm? I was always taught to keep my nose in my own business. I'm happier that way, and my friends are happier that way. When did the country turn into a land of Alice Kravitzes, screaming "ABNER! ABNER!" every time, while peeping out the window, it notices something that doesn't fit in with the faux-nautical theme of the reading den?

Why is everyone getting so twisted about commercials that are on after 8 p.m. Since when are sports programs "Family Entertainment?" For those that want Family Entertainment, there's the PAX network, and early-television gameshows, not to mention the wide array of quality programming on between the hours of 7:30 a.m through 5:30 p.m. Isn't that when children should watch most of their television? And as parents, if the religious right is so concerned about the content of television, why not switch it off altogether? Why must a vocal minority, quite disconnected with the progress made, and the ideals of the rest of the Western World (I'm talking about Europe, here.) gaining such influence over the rest of us - the educated, the worldly, and the non-plebian.

I apologize if it sounds like I'm deriding overly religious people, who interpret the Bible overly literally, as stupid and uneducated, but that's exactly what I'm doing. It irks me to no end that some ignorant spoon-press operator is pressuring the FCC, and changing my television viewing options, because "the good book tole' him so." The good book done tole you nothing. You twisted meanings out of it, so you wouldn't have to adjust to change. Well, my friend, as the pendulum swings. The 80s were a time of good family values and plaid wallpaper. Then, Tammy Faye and Jim Baker were revealed, and faster than you could say "American Family" we had the Monica Lewinsky saga and Britney Spears. The pendulum seems to be swinging a bit further to the right this time, so just imagine what kind of Sodom and Ghomorrah type shit is gonna hit the fan once it swings back...and it will swing back.

I guess I have to turn around and address the initial article that really wound me up on this issue. Pharmacists not filling prescriptions and not returning the prescriptions so they may be filled elsewhere!!!!! As I thought about what I would do in a situation where I had impregnated someone, we had 72 hours to take a morning-after pill, and the pharmacist not only wouldn't fill the prescription, but would not give it back to me, I realized that I would probably be filled with such blind rage, that I would leap over the counter and pummel the pharmacist to surrender the prescription.

How dare anyone presume to tell me what the correct moral choice was in that situation? How dare anyone impose their moral views on my particular situation. Of course there are things that I believe are right and wrong in the world and if asked, I will give my opinion. However, unsolicited, I would never presume to tell anyone else what their correct moral choice should be. I realize that I am capable of independent thought, and I realize that anyone else I am dealing with should be capable of the same independent thought. We absolve ourselves of responsibility to act as human beings when we hide behind religiously imposed "moral beliefs" and stick blindly to the word of men, whose times do not even remotely mirror our own. Being good to our fellow man is a moral that I support. Beating our fellow man with our beliefs is not. Just as we do not use many technologies from 1603, because they have become obsolete and outmoded, so too have some of the philosophies to which many cling blindly.