Monday, June 26, 2023

Zealotry is never satisfied.

Julius Gari Melchers, "Mother and Child" (Art Institute of Chicago)


     Religion is supposed to be voluntary, right?

     I mean, imagine that a particular sect — say the Jews — found a way to force one of their idiosyncratic ritual practices on the general public. Let's say Kosher food laws.
     That wouldn't work well, would it?
     What if cheeseburgers were suddenly illegal in half the country, due to judicial decisions? Pork chops, banned in 20 states. 
     Even though it wouldn't be all that inconvenient. Yes, plain old burgers are never quite as good. But nobody's life is going to be severely altered. 
     And they'd have reasons: it's healthier! Morally superior! No risk of boiling calves in their mother's milk. Billboards along the highway would go up, showing plaintive calves, begging not to be boiled.
     Still, it just wouldn't fly. People would rebel.
    Because Jews are an extreme minority. And their rituals are unfamiliar. And not many people care much about cattle.
    So why ... why why why ... when it comes to arcane Christian practices — Christian sexual practices — is somehow forcing a particular religion on others is okay? Maybe because they struck upon a really good metaphor — not calves, but babies. Warm cute cootchie cootchie coo babies. And convinced themselves, and others, that these entities — in reality unborn fetuses — were babies, and had to be protected. Car seats. Fuzzy blankies. And an abortion ban. A ban that went into effect in half the country a year ago, on June 24, 2022, the day Roe v. Wade was reversed. 
    You know the story. Yet it doesn't seem to enrage you. Or anybody else. Women haven't risen up. Because some buy the fiction, and others are cowed, or complacent. Though what has happened is that American attitudes have shifted. Abortion, which is supposedly murder, is now more popular than ever — about two-thirds of the country think it should be legal in the first trimester. Where it is illegal, no women or doctors are finding themselves in jail (because the zealots behind it don't really think it's murder, generally. That's just words they say when imposing their religious practices on others by law). Plus, having finally got their way, zealots move to the next step in their dance back into the imaginary past, going after contraception. And gays. Because zealotry is never satisfied. Repression of unbelievers is the end, not the means. 
      Which is another reason the democratic system of voting and elective representation is under attack. It isn't just about worshipping Trump. He's a symptom, remember, not a cause. A symptom of an extreme minority trying to impose its will on the majority of non-believers. Welcome to America, 2023.

24 comments:

  1. I really want to see the forced birthers defend making a ten year old that was raped go through a pregnancy, which has a very real chance of destroying her body & mind.
    They're pure evil!

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    1. Good luck, when it comes to hearing their defense! I have yet to hear any "Pro-Lifers" offer a defense. They just pretend the cases don't exist, and I suspect they'll continue to ignore those cases, which probably would bother them if they did indeed think about them. Life is much easier for them if they just pretend those cases don't exist. However, if we want them to change, I don't think it's a good idea to call the "Pro-Lifers" evil. Instead, we need to find a way to reach them to get them to confront those cases and realize how complex the issues are.

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    2. Nope, they're evil, PERIOD!

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    3. And they would say, "You're evil." Thus, this "debate" ends.

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  2. How about that autocorrect! transforming baby cattle into litigants! Now we know where you stand on the debate on whether animals have legal standing...

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    1. No autocorrect, just author error. I fixed "plaintiff" to "plaintive." Thanks for pointing it out.

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  3. Taking away women's right to control their body, allowing religious zealots to refuse service to gay people, demonizing trans people, banning books, banning the discussion of history, violently attacking congress, trying to overthrow an election, worshipping at the altar of a lunatic demagogue - Why are we not marching in the streets at these subversions of our democratic ideals? Sigh . . .

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  4. Well said, and so true. As an aside, a copy of the art you chose has hung on my own walls for 45 years. Love the woman’s calmness, the size of her protective hand, the child looking forward and beyond. The essence of loving care.
    I had to leave formal Christian affiliation in order to find a similar peace.

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  5. Vote! That's the power-vote them out. Maybe when they outlaw birth control or interracial marriage or gay marriage people will finally throw them all out.

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    1. That would work fine in a national referendum, but Senators and US Reps are elected in individual states and districts, and the way it's set up is wildly disproportionately in favor of the small-population hyper-conservative states and districts. This is not going to be an easy fight.

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  6. I regularly drive by a women’s health facility and last week for the first time I saw pro-choice volunteers there. They were there to make sure women could enter promptly and safely, to counter the threat of the woman-hating anti-choice stooges who gather on the surrounding sidewalks, some wearing yellow safety vests to look like some sort of official. I think this is a good idea.
    I spoke to one of the protesters (and I know it’s hopeless) and he smugly said, “We have Jesus.” In his malfunctioning brain that is the end to any and all questions.

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    1. I went to a flag store. Why? My Ohio flag (the only state flag shaped like a burgee...a pennant) wore out.The clinic next door was under siege..The sidewalk was blocked by anti-choice protestors, which did not make me happy. It made me angry (A confession, and a digression: In 1987, I armed myself, to assure my first wife unhindered access to her procedure. Yes, I was...and still am, that militantly pro-choice).

      Somebody said something to me (I forget what) about Jesus. My reply: "If you don't like abortion, then don't have one." The look of complete and utter horror that appeared upon her smug face? Priceless. My anger dissolved. I went home happy.

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  7. Oh, it all enrages me, believe me, I’m enraged everyday! Now I want to be enraged about boiling calves, it I knew what that was.

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  8. Well said. However, I must take issue with one part in your piece: that it doesn't enrage people and that "women haven't risen up." Blaming women for somehow not responding appropriately according to what you want or expect REALLY doesn't sit well with me at all. I am absolutely enraged, and furious, and devastated to see what is happening in those many states passing horrific. draconian laws against women. Am I supposed to quit my job and my family care to move to Alabama or Texas or Missouri to organize futile street protests at their state capitols?? What would be the point of organizing (and huge amounts of time, money, effort are required for public protests) here in Chicago where women's rights actually are protected?? So men can be convinced we really are upset about this?? Are my monetary donations to women's causes not adequate because I'm not marching with a sign or chaining myself to a building?? Maybe ask why every single man who claims to care about any woman isn't "rising up" too.

    There are a helluva lot of amazing women in red states fighting back about this against a stacked political deck, and many in blue states doing what they can from a distance to assist. Please don't pile on by calling women complacent about this.
    Yeah, you hit a nerve this morning. :-/

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    1. "One swallow does not a summer make." Nobody's blaming anybody. I'm just observing that the country does not seem roiled over this. More like a gradual shift in opinion.

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    2. Channel your anger into action, Work on the new underground railroad, all the livelong day. Earn a pilot's license.

      Sell your car and buy a van, for camping trips. Learn where the campsites are, and the roads you need to travel to cross state lines, to access them, preferably in the boonies.

      If people have a sudden need to go camping, offer to take them there. No questions asked. Without ever discussing it. With anybody.

      As for myself...well...this Chicago expatriate knows his hometown well. And he just bought a new car

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  9. On this particular goddamn day you nailed it.

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  10. I'm 78, was part of the second wave that won the battle for autonomy, and have watched as mostly Christian zealots chipped away at what we fought so hard to attain. We're tired and disheartened but we're still enraged.

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  11. As Carlin said religion is the biggest BS stories in the world. If you have never seen his monologue just google George Carlin religion. And George Carlin on abortion. “Pro-life conservatives are obsessed with the fetus from conception to 9 months. After that, they don’t wanna know about you. They don’t wanna hear from you. No nothing! No neonatal care, no daycare, no Head Start, no school lunch, no food stamps, no welfare, no nothing. If you’re pre-born, you’re fine, if you’re preschool, you’re fucked.” This never gets old and the full video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K98TQJ5ldW0

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    1. Sadly, so many of George Carlin's commentaries still hold true to today's issues with more being added to the mix. I often wonder what he would have to say about the "more being added to the mix" that are currently occurring...I miss his voice.

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  12. Not enraged or roiled? From what what I’ve been reading it seems that there are protests galore going on all over the country, and public sentiment has measurably shifted toward the pro-choice view (two different stories about this in the Trib by way of the NYT just yesterday). It’s also widely accepted that the Dobbs case is what stopped a red tsunami from occurring last November. Are people supposed to storm the state capitols in Texas and Wyoming and demand that officials be hanged?

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  13. "Are people supposed to storm the state capitols in Texas and Wyoming and demand that officials be hanged?" I dunno, sounds like a plan to me.
    paul w, roscoe village

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  14. My quick $.02 on this matter and similar ones: I think most laws (at least those on hot topics) can be divided into two groups: those that impose a restriction and those that enforce a freedom. In either case, look to see what the purpose is and who might suffer as a result.

    It's all very well to crank up emotions by marching in the streets, but of course either side can and does do that. What matters more is the ballot box, and we have not had any major elections yet since that Supreme Court decision to see what the popular mood is (though I have my own predictions on that outcome).

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