Post 2.17 - The Clash

When I started writing the posts for this week, I had planned my usual diversity of articles discussing all the topics I usually do. But it's been a remarkable week politically.

Tuesday saw the resignation of Karen Handel from Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, after the defunding then refunding of Planned Parenthood. The Republican voters also handed victories to former Pennsylvania Senator and far-right conservative Rick Santorum (R), giving renewed life to his campaign.

Wednesday saw the Ninth Circuit of Appeals affirm the federal court ruling that California's Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriage, is unconstitutional.

And all week, the talking heads on the various networks have been discussing the Obama Administration's decision to require insurance coverage for birth control, even for so-called religious institutions who may believe differently.

Since this post is prepared in advance, who knows what today may bring?

But if nothing else is true, it is a fairly sure bet that the next and any future conflict will be conservatives trying to deny something to somebody. That is what all of these points have in common. And when is this nonsense going to end?

I guess it can't. Conservatives only seem to be happy if they get to tell people what they can and can't do, and they only cry foul if someone tries it against them.

I had Republican and conservative friends telling me that Komen had the right to give money to whatever ancillary organizations they wish, and that's true. Doesn't mean we (the public) have to like it, nor does it mean we don't have the right to speak out against it -- isn't that supposed to be what the Tea Party has been doing since Obama's inauguration? Oh right - I forgot, only conservatives can do that.

Plus, the issue was as much Komen hiring Karen Handel as vice-president of public policy, as she is an avowed opponent of a woman's right to choose -- making the entire situation all the more suspicious.

Now Republicans and conservatives, both pundits and my friends, are saying religious organizations should not be subject to the birth control requirements if it is against their beliefs. The problem is, if a religion decides to involve itself in other services, it is subject to state and federal constitutional authority. I've heard people say, "you don't have to go to a Catholic hospital" for medical care if you disagree -- but in some areas of the country, you do, because there are no other options available. People also do not have the easy opportunity in the current economy to change jobs to a more favorable/like-minded employer, and this flies in the face of being able to maintain health coverage from job to job if some coverage is offered and other is not. In the end, it is all part of the same argument involving Planned Parenthood and women's health in poorer communities, as well as same-sex marriage and spousal visitation rights. Where do these so-called "conscience clauses" end?

Additionally, involvement in health care and education means that religious philosophy and other teachings can be imposed on the public, rather than allowing individuals to make their own choices. (There is a great article here on the bogus "War on Religion" that the right is trying to get the public to buy).

Access to birth control doesn't mean you have to use it.

Access to abortion services doesn't mean you have to have an abortion.

The ability to marry a same-sex partner doesn't mean you have to do so.

And because this is not a theocracy, but a democratic republic respecting ALL belief systems, involvement in the public square providing public services means showing that respect even if it conflicts with what you believe.

I would not force nor prevent someone from using birth control if they did not wish it.

I would not force nor prevent someone from having an abortion if she did not wish it.

I would not force nor prevent anyone from marrying anyone else.

This is what personal liberty is about. This is what the pursuit of happiness is all about.

If you don't want to use birth control, then don't. If you don't believe in pre-marital or extra-marital sex, don't have it. If you don't want an abortion, don't have one. If you don't want to marry a same-sex partner, don't do it. No one is forcing anyone to do any of these things by giving people a choice.

As we head into this election, the Republicans are putting forth candidates who would work to curtail civil rights, either through legislation, policy, or who they nominate to the Supreme Court.

Please pay attention and keep these matters in mind as the election season continues to unfold.

Have a question or a suggestion for a future topic? E-mail me at facetsblog@gmail.com.

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