Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Right to Life? Really?

As I listened to news programming tonight, I learned that the bulk of what Republicans are doing amounts to doing everything they can to make the constitutionally protected right to reproductive care will be all but impossible for women to access, from cutting all funding to creating new taxes (I thought Republicans wanted to cut taxes!).  And the good old boys are at it again, talking blithely of medical procedures in their own twisted perceptions, without regard for truth or the feelings of their female counterparts in the chamber.

It's time the Right is forced to face the hateful nature of their attacks on women, and, by related attacks, on the rest of us.  Planned Parenthood is about  trying to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, and occasionally helping a woman obtain an abortion.  And all the good studies have said the only truly effective programs to educe teen pregnancies involve teaching our youth to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies - yet, the Right holds out their hope that by saying "Just say no!" works will make it so, even though it wasn't even effective as an anti-drug campaign.  So called promises to wait until marriage for sexual activity are easily made by youth in the heightened emotional moments in which they are sought, but not so easily maintained when the rising emotions are of a sexual nature in an entirely different moment.

And, if we are truly honest with ourselves, not many of us were celibate until we were married.  And down through history, that has been the case.  In some societies, it was, in fact, expected that a couple would actually seek pregnancy to prove the fertility of the couple for the good of the community.  Not only was there no stigma attached to the couple or the children, the community celebrated the new family and welcomed the child!  It's only in relatively modern terms that we have started branding children born outside wedlock ass bastards and shunning they and their mothers - notice I didn't say fathers, but that just didn't happen.  Even now, when we say we believe in an equality of the sexes, if a young man impregnates a young woman, she bears the stigma and the shame, while he simply moves on to another partner.

It has been said, offering a true assessment, that if abortion is banned in America, it will only prevent the poor and middle class women, for the rich will simply go to another country to have their abortion, then return home.  What isn't often said is that the horror stories of pre-Roe-versus-Wade will become reality again - young women turning up dead in dumpsters because of botched back-alley abortions, or from successful ones that had complications when no medical facilities were available to address them.

I still recall overhearing a conversation between a couple of farmers in a very rural setting, in which one told another they needed to support a legislative effort to ban abortions, and the second responded that if it were his daughter who was raped, or who had a severely malformed, he would not want to saddle her with having to keep the child, just because someone thought the procedure wasn't acceptable.  I already felt women should have the right to control their own reproductive abilities, but this really turned my thoughts completely in support of that.  There are those on the Right now that want abortions banned, period.  Even if the woman's life is threatened, no abortion would be allowed!  However, at the same time, the Right wants to cut the very public services that would help that mother care for her child.

It is time for supporters of women's rights, of true supporters of the constitution, to stand shoulder to shoulder against the violence of the radical anti-abortionists.  And let's be honest, so called Right to Lifers are plainly anti-abortionists.

Think about it, and stand up, to protect medical staff and women seeking care and help in desperate times!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Union Breaking?

As I listen to the news this morning, I'm hearing people from both sides of the political aisle talk about union breaking efforts by the Republican governor of Wisconsin.  One side says it is, the other side says it's simply management of issues on the table.  In my professional life, I've been exposed to the stories from both sides of the issue of unions - protection of workers' rights, and the abuses that allow workers who should be fired to retain their positions.  Where do I come down personally, without a doubt I will support the union ideal while speaking of the abuses, and the need to address those abuses.  It is not right for a worker to fail to do their job, yet retain that position over someone else who hasn't been there long enough but IS doing the job is fired or down-sized out of a position.  Neither is it right for corporate America to say to an older worker, you're no longer needed, and your pension and benefits are hurting our bottom line, so you and those benefits are out!

This is especially true when one considers how well corporate America is doing!  Business is doing better than ever, the wealthy are quickly moving to the point where modern America will become a feudal state again, with corporations instead of political royalty in the positions of power.  We all remember that following Hurricane Katrina, or after the British Petroleum oil spill, the multinational petroleum companies were pulling down 300 % profits, while the workers of America and other countries suffered under the unreasonable increases in prices - yet they told us they WEREN'T gouging, but only covering reasonable business expenses -- really, guys? 

It interests me that the Republicans who did all they could to kill stimulus and hurt the middle class, now want us to believe they are truly concerned about small business and the muddle class.  I guess that's why they want to break unions, and allow corporate America to continue to raise prices, cut benefits, and exercise unfair business practices that discriminate against older workers, and allow companies to walk away from contractual promises to provide retirement funds to workers who helped those same companies gain the financial status they currently enjoy.  Somehow, it appears the word "fair," needs to be revisited, so we can again understand that it means to be "fair" to workers.

Think about it!  And remember that there are companies are doing everything they can to keep unions out of their workplaces. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Michelle Bachmann

Michelle!  Get a life!

This woman, quickly becoming an icon of today's GOP, can't keep her feet out of her mouth!  Now, she's picking a fight with Michele Obama over rules that would allow new mothers to breast feed at work or to get breast pumps to help them keep their children growing on mother's milk rather than formula or cow's milk.  Hmm, Michelle, I've heard for decades that mother's milk is much better for newborns, improving their immune system and helping them have a healthier start to life - are you saying we should just tell mothers NOT to give the best start possible to their children, or that we should tell employers they can fire new mothers, because they "shouldn't" be able to breast feed at work?  Sounds like some of the backward people I new in the mid 70s!  People who said they wouldn't be offended if a new mother breast feed, then criticized her for doing so, in spite of her being careful not to subject them to the sight of her breast.

The GOP desperately needs to decide if they want to be considered a serious political party, and simply a gathering group for a wildly crazy group of people.  Limbaugh, Beck, Bachmann, and others simply are making the grand old party look wackier and wackier.  I can only hope some one's good sense starts to function, and soon. 

Monday, February 14, 2011


I am finding myself more and more incensed by the attacks of anti-abortionists on doctors who provide a legally recognized and acceptable procedure to women.  I vehemently disagree with those on the radically right fringe, BUT I do NOT encourage my friends or those who think like I do to go out and kill those on the RRF!  I do NOT post "Wanted" ads on my blog site or through email, asking others to plan and execute violence against the RRF.  So, why is it acceptable for those on the RRF, especially those in the anti-abortion movement, to do these things, and to brag about "successful fatal attacks as a means of stopping what they claim to be against.  I would defy any of those in the groups mentioned to show where the so-called Christian faith of their profession allows for this sort of violent attacks! 

Short of an Old Testament period when Israel's prophets and scripture writers were focused on the nation's ability to gain a land and build a nation, God hasn't been a God that says, "Hey, go kill those who don't believe as you do, because that's a reasonable way to effectively stop those things you don't agree with."  And, if they will look closely and with an open-mind at the New Testament, they will find that Jesus doesn't condone violence as a means to stopping evil - even when that evil was aim at his own death.

It was a lesson so powerfully learned by those closest to Jesus, that when THEY were faced with violence to stop them, THEY also stood against violence to protect themselves.

Yet, NOW, we have those who claim - claim, but don't show any real belief in the teachings of their master - the name of the Christ, say that it is "acceptable" to God, to the Church, and to Society to kill in order to stop those whose beliefs are different from theirs.  These people defile my beliefs, the foundations of this country, and the basis of a common faith in the God who is creator of all.

They exaggerate, politicize and ignore the truth about those people with whom they disagree.  Most who support a woman's legal right to an abortion, most, also would like to see abortion become totally unnecessary in our society.  How do we accomplish that?  Why, by respecting individuals - not raping children or unwilling women (even wives, because "No," means NO!), by making sure EVERY child is wanted, and teaching our children - who are doing the same things children have been doing for centuries - how to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies.  Midwives have, for centuries, known and made available plants and concoctions that would abort unwanted pregnancies; but a male-dominated society didn't want that to happen, because it meant they didn't have the power and control of their world as they thought they did.

I don't care whether you believe in abortion or not; I don't care if you are Republican or Democrat or Independent; I don't care if you are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or some other faith - it is time for us to stand together and say, "We WILL NOT tolerate violent attacks to show opposition to another's beliefs - but will in fact STAND TOGETHER to say each person in this country is allowed to determine their own belief system in a constitutionally protected right!  It is time for the wackos learn we won't tolerate this violent approach!

Don't be silent!  Think about it, and speak up!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Christian Hypocrisy

I drove by a sign today on the way from work, and had a rather strong momentary reaction that led to some deeper reflection.  The sign said, "Because God loves you, we love you."  Simply enough, profound if true.  The problem is that while Christians across the board profess to love their neighbors, far too many of them only love the acceptable ones.  Funny, having been a pastor for over 30 years, I don't recall reading where Jesus ever allowed for that condition.  The command was very clear, very succinct - Love your neighbor as yourself.  Period.  No qualifiers.  So, why do those who claim to follow the Master have such a hard time with it?

Perhaps the real problem is that we'd have to let go of our cherished prejudices if we honored that command.  We'd have to love and accept the presence of druggies, drunks, violent people, prostitutes; give up our homophobia, our racism, our religious bigotry toward Jews, Muslims, Liberals, and drop our deep-seated political prejudices as well.  Horrors!  Imagine it!  A church were all are welcome to come, pray, and worship God as they felt led to do - not forced into our own little mold.

Hm, maybe Jesus was on to something more profound in that little command than in nearly anything else he taught.  And recall that in his story to illustrate the neighbor, he chose a hated Samaritan - a mixed-blood who descended from those who refused the Jewish leadership's command to send foreign spouses and children away following the return of the Jews from Exile.  Hated, because they heard a deeper call from God, perhaps?  Imagine the "stuck in the craw" feeling of those who tried to trap Jesus, only to have him slip that little tidbit in on them.

Perhaps the church would find itself relevant, desirable, important and influential - if only they would listen to that command and act on it as presented.  Love your neighbor - all of them -as you love yourself.

Uh-oh!  There's another cherished belief challenged!  I grew up hearing the church say, you should love God first and foremost, others second and yourself last and least.  So, how do we love our neighbor as ourselves, if we don't love ourselves?  Does loving self mean we don't try to improve?  No, but it gives us the right motivation, and allows us to accept that if we aren't perfect, God still loves us.  Ow!  Two powerful lessons that just might start to transform the whole image and concept of church if actually accepted and practiced!

Think about it!