Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


April 3, 2012

WE THE PEOPLE: Thank you, Mr. President

CROSSVILLE — Each year during Women’s History Month we remember and honor the gutsy women, both known and unknown, who have fought for any privilege women have today. This year I choose to honor a man, the 39th President of the United States, James Earl Carter Jr.

In 2009, upon leaving the church he had been associated with for more than 60 years, the former president released a statement titled “Losing my Religion to Equality.” The decision, he said, was unavoidable after the church leaders prohibited women from being ordained and insisted they be subservient to their husbands. “The truth is that male religious leaders have had—and still have—an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have for their own selfish ends overwhelmingly chosen the latter.”

We have abundant proof of that in the present assault on women. Religious zealots have waded into the political fray, claiming that contraception in health insurance plans violates religious freedom and that proposed laws to mandate medically unnecessary and physically invasive ultrasounds are just efforts to provide women with information. Both claims are bogus. There has been no attempt to restrict religious freedom, and mandated ultrasounds are just a means to shame and punish women.

Idaho State Sen. Chuck Winder made it clear that punishing women who have sex is the real motivation for his “double ultrasound” bill. After all, Winder suggested, women can’t be trusted to make a decision like seeking an abortion because they don’t even understand when they’ve been raped. Whoa. If the Senator spent some time in a prison cell with someone known as Big Bull, do you think he would understand what happened to him?

In an article on the ideological debates about abortion, one doctor said: “What I have learned from my patients is that violent, graphic descriptions or philosophical discussions about when a fetus becomes a person don’t sway their decisions. Whether or not they can articulate their moral, cultural, or religious beliefs, they already follow some internal creed that brought them to my doorstep. They come seeking a doctor, a counselor to guide them through a difficult, confusing choice because they have been inundated with political sound bites, folklore, and patriarchy. What they need are facts and a confidential, non-judgmental space to work out their apprehensions about pregnancy and motherhood.”

It seems that using the Puritanism club to shame and punish women isn’t enough. Although more than three women are, on average, murdered by their husbands or boyfriends every day, Republican politicians are balking at re-authorizing the Violence Against Women Act. If you need further proof that we are in the midst of a patriarchal religious war on women, Wisconsin lawmaker Don Pridemore is happy to provide it. He suggests that rather than divorcing an abusive spouse, you should remember the things you love about him. Right. While he is beating you up, think about the good times. Until he kills you.

Many men who claim to want smaller government seem to see no contradiction in promoting government activism on behalf of one particular concept of religious morality. They have a faith-based presumption that they know all that needs to be known about women’s healthcare. Sorry, guys, but if you can’t get pregnant and you are not a medical professional, then you have no credentials at the abortion/birth-control table.

Conservative politicians who choose to continue down this road should remember that they were all brought into this world by women, and can be voted out of office by women.

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  • LION AND THE LAMB: Four ways to demonstrate opposition

    Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan mention in their book, “The Last Week,” that Roman-occupied Palestine during the first century was under the control of Pontius Pilate who lived in the coastal city of Caesarea. Each year at the beginning of the Passover observance when Jews celebrated their liberation from Egypt, Pilate feared that they might be getting ideas about revolting from Rome, so he would come with additional soldiers on horses to beef up the Roman garrison in Jerusalem. 

    April 15, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: Is it (new) party time?

    The Democratic and Republican parties are toast, according to Joe Trippi. The Republican Party is coming apart at its Tea Party seam. Democratic candidates struggle to celebrate President Obama’s health care successes, while responding to criticism of his failed promises, e.g., government transparency.

    April 15, 2014

  • TIDBITS: I found it at the library

    I have such fond memories of going to my local library as a child, searching through shelf after shelf and finding a book that would make me a Little Princess in World War II England, or bring me along as Nancy Drew solved the Secret in the Old Attic.

    April 14, 2014

  • STUMPTALK: The reason words have meaning

    If words did not have accepted meanings we would not be able to communicate effectively and civilized society would not exist.

    April 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Do we really believe in democracy?

    The recent Supreme Court decision, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, is in a long line of debates about power in a democracy. Should power be in the hands of all the citizens or should it be in hands of those who have greater wealth and social position?

    April 8, 2014

  • We the People: Public education or business opportunity?

    A month ago, we followed the money trail left by a ‘think tank’ to the major sources funding an attack on our traditional, locally controlled public schools. We saw that a handful of billionaires provide major support to many organizations lobbying for change.

    April 8, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Just another government lie?

    There is a vault located in Fort Knox, Kentucky. It was built in 1936 and encased in 16 cubic feet of granite and 4200 feet of cement. The door is made of 20-inch thick material that is immune to drills, torches and explosives.

    April 7, 2014

  • GARY'S WORLD: The chance to speak your mind

    Are you tired of hearing people complain about the way things are run in Cumberland County? Or, do you like the way the county government is run and operated in our beautiful county?
    Are you happy with the way things are, or would you like some change?

    April 3, 2014

  • LION AND THE LAMB: Digging beneath the headlines

    Our media have been focusing on two important events that have taken place overseas during the last several weeks.

    April 1, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: SNAP, health and work

    A recent letter from Representative Diane Black to me states that she voted for the farm bill (with $8 million in Food Stamp (SNAP) benefit cuts) because she, like me, is a supporter of food stamp benefits for Tennessee families who qualify. That’s a lot of families, as most recipients are families with children and the elderly. Now, recall that there was already a major cut to the food stamp program back in the fall. But for some Republicans, that was not enough.

    April 1, 2014

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