Friday, December 19, 2008
Conscience of a Conservative
In merely the latest outgoing outrage wreaked by the trasher-in-chief, George makes yet another move toward theocracy. In doing so, he -- and those into whose recti he's inserted his head (most especially his own) -- has once again revealed the hypocrisy that is the religious right.
"The Right of Conscience Rule," is what it's called. If your feelings are hurt, it says, or if you see something that offends your religious beliefs, you don't have to participate. Boo fricking hoo.
Evidently it takes 127 pages to codify such a thing, and I'm damned (no doubt!) if I'm gonna plow through the whole tract. Clearly it's an anti-abortion effort; but it evidently extends to providing birth control, or information, or, I'd assume, anything that might relate to premarital sex, gay relationships. With no obvious endpoint. In short, pretty much anything. Janitors? Sweep the floor of a classroom in which evolution is taught?? As if!!!!
Here's the hypocrisy (well, including, but not limited to...): when a soldier refused to go to Iraq because he believed the war was illegal, the right wing bloviators all but exploded on air. Exophthalmos. Aneurysms aplenty. "HE SIGNED UP FOR IT!!!," they ejaculated. "HE VOLUNTEERED!!! YOU GONNA BE A SOLDIER, YOU TAKE IT LIKE A MAN!!," they certaintated, from their non-volunteering, sand-free studios.
I respect religious beliefs. (Well, actually, there are many I don't respect at all: those that require a person to reject the most real of reality; and those that lead people to harm others. Which, sadly, are pretty inclusive categories. But I digress...) More accurately, I respect the right of people to have those beliefs, and, insofar as they don't harm the rest of us, to follow them as they choose. If eating meat offends me, I'd not work in a butcher shop. If I believed pigs aren't kosher, I wouldn't buy a ham sandwich.* If I were a pacifist, I'd avoid signing up for the military (although I could see doing so with a guarantee of not having to kill someone; maybe, say, in the medical corps.)
So, fine: don't wanna hand out BCPs? Don't be a pharmacist. Don't wanna clean up after abortions? Work in a bank, ferchrissakes! Because, where does it end? Does an evangelical firefighter not rescue a gay couple from a burning building? May a Christian cop refuse to protect them? Teachers opt out of teaching science? See, it's like I've been saying: to the extent that religion slops over into public life as policy, it's a pernicious influence that threatens to tear us down. When the line between personal belief -- which, by definition, is the cleaving to the unknowable and the unprovable and which, therefore, ought to be kept within one's breast -- and public policy is crossed, we are at risk of ceasing to function.
Conscience is one thing. (Notice the word at its heart: science.) I'd argue that we indeed have one, based on the evolution of the need for cooperation and community as elements of protection and procreation. I know right from wrong, and I didn't have to study the Bible to figure it out. This bill isn't about conscience. It's about religion, which is entirely different, and, in this instance, destructive. The thing is, even as it becomes more obvious, it becomes more prevalent. Christian cries of persecution to the contrary, they're taking over everything and everywhere, breaking us apart.
It must be nice to believe in the Rapture. They're gonna need it.
*Reminds me of one of my grandpa's (Jewish, need I say?) favorite stories: Jewish guy is traveling across the country from New York, stops in a cafe in Texas, sits at the counter. Cowboy type next to him says, "Howdy, stranger, where ya from?" "New York," says the traveler, a little nervous. "Well, hell, then, let me buy you a beer," handing him a bottle. "I'm sorry," says the Jewish guy, "I don't drink." "Well, okay. How 'bout having half of my ham sandwich?" "I don't eat ham," replies the poor soul. Now the Texan is getting annoyed. "Listen, stranger. Around here we don't turn down hospitality. Drink the goddam beer." "I'm really sorry, sir, but I can't." At which point the Texan pulls his gun and says, "Take the beer, you sonofabitch, and drink!" Hands shaking, the poor guy takes the beer and has a sip. "Well, then," he says, trembling. "As long as you have the gun on me, how about passing the ham sandwich?"