Why Some Women Still Vote Republican and What Can be Done About It

by Valerie Tarico

Cross-posted from ValerieTarico.com

Republican women 2Lists of crazy comments about women by Republican men have been an internet staple for years. If the party agenda were to alienate as many females as possible, they should be doing quite well.

Worse yet, from an impact standpoint, the policy priorities of Republican electeds match their expressed attitudes. Equal pay? Contraception? Abortion? Paid family leave? Childcare support? Forget it.

And then there’s behavior.

As Leonard Pitts Jr. put it, here is where we stand:

After supporting senatorial candidate Roy Moore (a credibly accused child molester) President Donald Trump (a confessed perpetrator of sexual assault) has nominated to the Supreme Court Brett Kavanaugh (a credibly accused attempted rapist) who would, if confirmed, serve alongside Clarence Thomas (a credibly accused sexual harasser).

The Grand Old Party isn’t much of a party for women; it’s more like a frat party—a power-drunk letch-fest. The Grand Old Boys Party.

One might think by now that Republican and woman would be a contradiction in terms. Granted, college-educated women are trickling away from the GOP; that should be no surprise. The head scratcher is that any stay. WTF. Before you decide that all female Republicans must be brainless or bad, and therefore hopeless, consider the following:

Dominance Hierarchies—Left-leaning activists often want to upend traditional power structures, but all of our nearest animal ancestors and many other social species are hierarchical—most often with dominant males at the top. Hierarchy is adaptive for them, and the preferences that create it are rooted deep in evolutionary biology. There’s reason to believe that we humans carry some of the same instinctive social dynamics. That is not to say we have no alternatives, either as individuals or as societies. One of the awesome things about our capacity for higher-order reasoning is that we don’t have to live according to instinct. But it should come as no surprise that some not-brainless women find traditional power structures efficient, familiar, comforting, or otherwise attractive.

Religion—There’s a reason that devout religionists are fundamentally conservative. Religion takes instinct and transmogrifies it into immutable rules and rituals. What may have started out as a biologically-based inclination or simply a practical part of life at a given time and place (like gender roles in the Ancient Near East 2500 years ago) gets locked in as self-perpetuating, inflexible dogma.

Religious ideologies can arouse powerful moral emotions in believers so that protecting traditional religiously-sanctioned social structures feels good and righteous. For religious women, this can make ideas like gender equality and reproductive freedom feel wrong. As is clear from stories of those who have left conservative religious communities, no other force in our society so strongly organizes women against women. Even if you think that religions are mind viruses—essentially socially-transmitted infections, some worse than others—(as I do), one can still concede that bad kinds of infections can happen to people who are otherwise decent and healthy.

Tribal Identities—None of us are as independent in forming our political opinions as we like to think. Our sense of reality is socially constructed, and one of the most powerful forces shaping our beliefs is the kinds of reactions we get from people around us. Secularists point out that religious belief is geographically distributed—that most born-again Christians have simply acceded to the beliefs of their childhood communities and if they had been born in India would most likely be Hindu or Muslim. But once we belong to a tribe, no matter how we got there, the worldview of the tribe feels right and righteous.

The same is true of political tribes. About 7 in 10 teens say their political views are “about the same” as their parents. A similar percent say they follow the same religion as their parents. These two facts are not independent. As testimonies of former Christians show, when people change their religion, their politics often change too. Whether this is primarily because their internal world gets reconfigured or because their external world gets reconfigured, we don’t yet know.

Information Silos—One of the ways that tribes maintain separate identities is by regulating information flow—by sanctioning some written texts but not others, elevating some authorities but not others, promoting some information channels (literally) and encouraging insiders to associate with insiders. The Christian New Testament puts it this way: “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” But even without the encouragement, we tend to gravitate toward people who think like us and reinforce our existing biases and points of view.

The end result in an age that offers thousands of media channels, some of which adapt content to our individual likes and dislikes, is that Republican women on the whole are living in a very different narrative universe than the one Democratic women are living in. The Donald Trump they voted for is not the Donald Trump you voted against. The Brett Kavanaugh they think they support as a Supreme Court Justice is not the teenage sexual assailant or slippery ideologue you think should be no-where near the nation’s high court.

Left-Wing Excesses—Republicans aren’t the only ones who live in intellectually-gated communities. One of the accusations hurled against progressives is that we like every kind of diversity except diversity of thought. When we isolate ourselves from people who don’t think like us, the stories we tell ourselves about class, race, gender, immigration, the environment—and hated Republican ideologues—become more and more streamlined, less nuanced, and—if we are honest—less reflective of the complicated realities that govern our lives. The robes of our heroes get bleached; those of our opponents get blackened—until we find ourselves in a satisfying world of saints and epic villains. Small wonder, with the narrative world split like this, that there are conservatives who play up our excesses, and middling folks who can’t see past them.

Multifaceted Political Priorities—Even setting aside these factors, identity isn’t as neat and clean as our intersectional grid of oppressed and oppressor identities would have us believe. Yes, women have been subject to men for millennia, with our subjugation sanctified by religion and culture. And yes, women who adhere to this worldview are disproportionately Republican. But even for women who have unshackled from conservative culture and religion—who prefer real gender equality—there is no reason to think that gender issues should dominate their political agenda.

I spend much of my time writing about how Abrahamic religion denigrates women, turning us into literal chattel. I feel so strongly about reproductive autonomy that I once wrote an article titled, “Why I’m pro-abortion and not just pro-choice.” But I think that climate change is the core moral issue of our time; and if I had to choose between a political candidate who would do something about climate and one who would protect abortion rights, I would choose the former. I’m grateful that I haven’t faced this choice. But we need to recognize that women who vote Republican may have to make equally tough choices when their values are in conflict. I need to grant them the same complicated individuality that I grant myself.

So, Simply Accept This Ridiculous State of Affairs?

No. That is not what I’m saying. The Republican Party has become a haven for sexists to the point that hostility toward women predicted Trump support better than authoritarianism and as well as racism.  Some things need challenging, and this is one of them.

People do change, less than we previously thought—and we don’t fully understand the process—but they do. Also, a meaningful shift in policy priorities or candidate preferences may not require much change at all. Because we all contain a myriad of values and priorities, sometimes it’s just a matter of what grabs our emotions or is front of mind. Remember, it’s not always a matter of winning someone over to your point of view or your tribe. Shifts in priorities within the Republican Party are consequential. So, it’s worth doing what we can.

Be appealing. When you encounter a Republican woman online or in real life, imagine that you might end up neighbors or co-workers—or even (radical thought) friends. Comport yourself as if this were the case. Listen, be respectful of what there is to respect, show your own humanity, challenge selectively and carefully within a context of relatedness. You’re never going to complicate the perspective of someone who you don’t like and who doesn’t like you, and a steady diet of disagreement is a formula for dislike. Marital therapists say that we need five positive points of contact for every negative. Even Evangelicals—who are bound by their religion to be constantly on the make—have figured this out and have cultivated expertise in what they call “relational apologetics” and “friendship missionaries.” And who knows? Sometimes even missionaries learn a thing or two.

Challenge the power of religion in society. The gloves come off when it comes to institutions, and to my mind the corrosive power of religion in modern life signals that it’s time to stop genuflecting and start fighting back. As the Catholic pedophilia cover-ups, the political “Moral Majority,” and the emergence of ISIS demonstrate, religion doesn’t deserve the free pass it has gotten for so long.

Because the Church claims to be a fount of truth and goodness, one of the most powerful ways to fight back is to expose the complicated realities that belie these claims. The Freedom from Religion Foundation has long published a “Black Collar Crime Blotter” as part of their monthly newsletter. They also fight in court to prevent aggressive religions from imposing their theologies on the rest of us.

The ACLU has dedicated staff working on the problem of Catholic hospitals, which are more than 90 percent funded by public dollars and patient fees but deny patients the full range of care based on religious theologies. Support their work. Advocate to end the tax-free status of religious institutions, which allows them to rely on public services they didn’t help to fund. Support survivor groups and lawsuits against religious institutions and leaders that engage in bad behavior. The wealth of the Catholic Church, one of the world’s richest real-estate owners, has given them particular undue political influence.  Some of that wealth should be going as restitution to address the harms they have done.

Inoculate your children against fundamentalisms. Your children will be voting sooner than you think. More importantly, they are going to face the challenge of living well in our complicated world. But as they come of age conservative fundamentalists will be targeting them for conversion, offering a simplistic set of answers to life’s big questions. (See Katherine Stewart’s book, The Good News Club, or related articles.) To understand our world, your kids will need to understand how religion works and how science works and why only one of them helps us to understand and solve real world problems. Don’t assume that raising them in a free-thinking or liberal religious mindset is enough. Even good people can fall for bad ideas—and for girls, traditional religious ideas can lead them to loathe their own curiosity and independence, or to support institutions that do.

Create space for flexible men. Right now the left is telling white males that there is no place for them in our aspirational future. You’ve had your turn on top, we say, as if one man were interchangeable with another—as if the son of an unemployed Appalachian coal miner were somehow one of a kind with the coal baron who employed his grandfather. As if he were, consequently, more privileged than the daughter of an Indian doctor with a Harvard degree, and more worthy of our compassion. Roles for men are changing and, yes, some have reacted by retrenching into contempt and arrogance and attempts to reassert old race, class, and gender privilege. But what alternative are we offering them? We’ve spent almost two generations now telling young women that they don’t need to abide by traditional gender roles; that they can be anything they want. But young men haven’t gotten the same message. A lot of young men are trapped in traditional roles, with the culture at large saying those roles are obsolete. Trapped animals fight to the death; those that have other options often take them.

What might it mean to invite both women and men into a flexible future in which they can picture themselves with dignity, respect, and opportunity?

Capture territory. The Right gained a lot of power in the last 30 years by being intractable and irrational, by acting as if the world were black and white. Anyone who’s not for us is against us. At first, the Gingrich strategy of hyper-partisan obstructionism caught sensible people off guard. Think of Barack Obama patiently trying to court Republican support for what had been their own version of healthcare reform. Later, many of us on the Left decided we had to fight fire with fire. We amped up our own rhetoric and intransigence and built communications outlets that—even if they couldn’t out-crazy Breitbart or Infowars or Fox—at least created a counterweight. But the middle couldn’t hold, and that has left some people feeling politically homeless despite the fact that they consistently vote for—or even fund—one side of the aisle.

This leaves a lot of territory—policy priorities, constituencies, and rhetoric—wide open. Who, for example, puts the interests of the middle class above both rich and poor? Who speaks for people who both believe that capitalism improves lives and also believe in market failures—or that greed is destructive? How about those who believe that polities should manage immigration while also believing that our current system is cruel and unjust? How about those who value a social safety net and also worry about national debt? Our rhetoric has become so incendiary that someone espousing these positions is likely to be seen by each side as a member of the other. That’s a problem. It’s also an opportunity, because  family-friendly, woman-friendly economic policies can cross the aisle.

Support bridge builders. If Republican women are going to walk away from fraternity island and settle in somewhere else, they need bridges to walk on, and that takes bridge builders. Some people are trying to play that role, and they need your support or engagement. Van Jones and his work at Rebuild the Dream comes to mind as a smart example. Several smaller start-ups are explicitly working on helping people figure out left-right communications (especially the listening part).

We can write off Republican women if we choose. We can walk away with an incredulous WTF, a shrug, or a sigh of hopelessness. I’ve done this many times. Persisting in an attempt to reach out, either collectively or individually, can be harder than fighting the good fight. It’s viscerally less righteous, and it doesn’t always work. The only thing guaranteed is that we can’t make a difference if we don’t try.

How Seattle police aided the neo-Nazis in the anti-Sharia protest

Multiple credible sources have reported that the Seattle police harassed counter-protesters but protected anti-Sharia marchers participating in Saturday’s anti-Sharia law march in Seattle.

https://patch.com/washington/seattle/seattle-anti-sharia-protest-counter-protest-15-pictures

http://komonews.com/news/local/anti-muslim-rally-counter-protests-expected-in-seattle

I got permission to copy the post of a friend of  friend, below.   My apologies for the anonymity and “hearsay” nature of this evidence.  Someone at my work attended the counter-protest and says that the post below is accurate: the police were aiding the neo-Nazis.

From a friend’s post:

“Report on Seattle events today. Multiple times fascists attacked a peaceful protest and were released by police each time. Cops arrested the peace keepers. The fascists were belligerent and picking fights in a totally peaceful crowd. Don’t believe the hype that antifa and the left are instigating violence. These guys were looking for a fight and we tried to not give it to them. (PS to join these so-called Proud Boys you are REQUIRED to attack people)

“Regarding the “anti-Sharia” action organized by a hate group and counter protest today [in Seattle] :

I was a part of the marshal team for the counter protest today and feel it is critical that I get my perspective out there on what happened. The marshal team was comprised of individuals from the Greater Seattle General Defense Committee as well as numerous folks from other organizations from the coalition that organized the action.

Our job was to facilitate the counter protest’s march to and from City Hall Plaza and help work to de-escalate situations and keep participants safe throughout the duration. We had two fantastic, designated police liaisons who before the march started, went to City Hall and spoke with multiple SPD commanders regarding our intentions to keep the rallies separated and safe. They were told by SPD that if the fascists wanted to march, they could, and that we would be expected to keep a block away from them which was in accordance with our own intentions anyways.

Unfortunately, the fascists were NOT held to the same standard by SPD.

While at City Hall Plaza, I personally escorted multiple groups of alt-righters, Proud Boys, and even Joey Gibson himself with his violent motorcycle club buddies through our crowd and helped them safely get to their rally without causing a scene on our end.

One particular group, mostly comprised of Proud Boys, crossed through our lines multiple times. I personally witnessed one of them unplug one of our speakers and violently push multiple people out of his way. During their last foray into our crowd, people moved to stop them from coming in and starting a fight and were immediately hit in the face by two of the Proud Boys. This all happened mere feet from at least 2 dozen SPD officers.

As a marshal, I immediately went to them, identified myself as one of the marshal team, and asked that they help get the assailants away from us. I was met with a response of “If you aren’t letting them march through your crowd, then we can’t stop them from hitting you.” The assailants were both pulled to safety by SPD and allowed to wander off. It’s safe to say that if any group of counter protestors would have tried to shoulder their way through the fascist rally, SPD would NEVER respond in such a manner.

In fact, just last week Portland Police Bureau and DHS officers cooperated with far-right militia members in arresting peaceful anti-fascists for merely being in the vicinity of their rally space. It is clear that they have no actual interest in free speech or peaceful engagement.

Around 12-12:30, we began assembling to escort our community members from MAPS and CAIR who were running an “Ask a Muslim” booth at the rally safely to our dispersal point at Occidental Square. As our march departed, the opposite direction from the hate rally, SPD allowed a group of around 20 of them (including the same Proud Boys, Joey Gibson of Patriot Prayer, and “Tiny”, a violent biker) to stalk our march a block away. This group then went to the Central Saloon and began drinking.

We arrived at Occidental Square and had a few more speakers before we began dispersing. While this was happening, a group of about 10 of the fascists attempted to come down and into the park. While this situation was arising, another group of them led by the same assaultive Proud Boys from before came from the other direction, walked by SPD officers, and went straight into the park and began attacking people. During this altercation, 3 members of the General Defense Committee were violently arrested while the SAME INDIVIDUALS WHO HAD ALREADY ASSAULTED PEOPLE EARLIER IN FRONT OF SPD WERE ALLOWED, AGAIN, TO GO FREE”.

SPD needs to be held accountable. The individuals who assaulted our people, who were part of a beautiful, rowdy, yet very peaceful protest need to be held accountable.

Please, if you can, start contacting your city council members, mayor, and police chief demanding accountability for allowing these assaults to happen. Help get the story of what actually happened today out to all of the standard bullshit media outlets. We all need to be strong and support the folks who got hurt and arrested today while taking action against hate in our community by violent thugs from out of town”

Image #1 from the anti-Sharia rally in Seattle on June 10, 2017
Image #2 from the anti-Sharia rally in Seattle on June 10, 2017
Image #3 from the anti-Sharia rally in Seattle on June 10, 2017
Image #4 from the anti-Sharia rally in Seattle on June 10, 2017

Another source, my coworker who said the facebook post was accurate, shared the above pictures from the rally and commented:

After the white supremacist rally dispersed, we marched back to Occidental Park, where we started the last part of our counter-protest, a set of speeches. Soon afterwards, I saw groups of white supremacists coming into Occidental Park, and starting to assault the counter-protestors. They had no business to be there because the counter-protest had obtained a city permit to rally in Occidental Park. The police had no business to let them come there, but they stood by and allowed the white supremacists to approach the park, and actually enter. These guys were definitely looking for trouble, and they knew exactly where to find it. I was busy with the speeches, so I missed the early part of the action, but as soon as the speeches ended, I headed out to where trouble had broken out, and took some pictures, which I’m sending you.

Descriptions for the 4 pictures:

1. Picture of two counter-protestors, who were part of the safety committee, being arrested by Seattle Police

2. On the left you can see the arrests in progress. On the right you can see that the two policemen have removed their pepper spray cans from their holsters, and are ready to use it on counter-protestors if “needed”

3. See how heavily armed the police were. They had 4 magazines each – over 50 rounds – on them, in addition to pepper spray, and they were probably carrying flash bangs in those pouches hanging from their uniforms

4. Seattle Police formed a roman-style phalanx, and literally pushed us back, away from the site where they were making arrests and using pepper spray. Can you believe this s happening in Seattle?

 

God corrects some misunderstandings

Hi, I’m God the Almighty, Creator of the Universe, also known as Jehovah, Allah, and Brahaman. Pretty cool, eh?Actually, it’s not so cool. I have to listen to a lot of tiresome prayers. Don’t you people realize that I already know what’s best for you? Lord knows: I don’t need to be reminded.

Secondly, the so-called Holy Books majorly misrepresent my teachings and contain all sorts of material added for political reasons. For example, all those threats about me sending people to hell for failing to believe or follow some religion? Total B.S.

And the bit about “Be fruitful and multiply”? I never said it.

The only thing I really care is about is that people should be kind to each other and take care of Creation.

See ya around.

Progressives oppose Islamic extremism but oppose war even more

In the video Winning the War of Ideas, Sam Harris interviews author Sam Harris.  Both agree that progressives are making a serious error by failing to oppose Islamic violence and misogyny.

Harris and Maher don’t sufficiently acknowledge that progressives are indeed critical of Islamic repression.  But progressives are even more concerned with stopping a Holy War against Islam.  War lovers in both major parties are using the threat of terrorism to justify military spending and endless war.

After all, Muslim radicalism is largely a result of decades of war waged by the West against Muslim countries, and by U.S. meddling in the Middle East.   The U.S. created Al Qadea in Afghanistan in an effort to eject Russia.

The U.S. waged war against secular Iraq but has protected theocratic Saudi Arabia. Mostly, the U.S. should stop trying to be the policeman of the world. In reality, the motivation isn’t to save them from repression. The motivation is to get their oil.

 

How to Use the Bible against Abortion Protestors

It’s time to confront conception obsessed Bible-believers on their own terms, with language they understand.

Imaabortion-obama-jesusgine if we turned the Bible and Christianity’s highest values back on the Religious Right. This Saturday, February 11, the most conception-obsessed members of the Religious Right will be gathering at Evangelical and Catholic churches, loading teenagers into busses and cars, and surrounding Planned Parenthood with protest signs. Some will pray and sing church songs or shout Bible quotes or carry pictures of the Virgin Mary. But most will carry signs that say things like “abortion stops a beating heart” [so does oyster-eating] or “aren’t you glad your mother didn’t have an abortion?” [Yes; glad also that she didn’t have a headache that night] or “it’s a baby” [an acorn is an oak tree?] or “one life ended, one destroyed” [actually, factually not]. Some may carry “fetal squish” pictures—not  images of common early abortions but of the rare fetus that dies or is aborted late in gestation. In other words, they will try to sway the rest of us by speaking our language—the language of science, human rights and secular ethical values; and they will appeal to our moral emotions: compassion, love of life, and disgust.

Those of us who cherish the freedom to choose our own lives and families—and to live by our own moral values—could learn a thing or two from the more sophisticated of these protestors, both what they say and what they want to hide.

  1. They want us to think that it’s not about religion. Despite the smattering of non-religious opponents, it is. Ignoring this means we constantly fight a defensive battle on our turf, not theirs. Key take-away: Define this as a fight about theology, which is what it is. Use theological terms that are Christianity’s insider jargon and quote the Bible.
  2. They want us to think that they are on the side of women, that their stance against abortion comes from a deep place of love and concern. It doesn’t. Their conception obsession is deeply rooted in misogyny, and concern for women is a thin veneer. Here is what the anti-abortion movement would look like if it were driven by love. Key take-away: Expose the deep underlying religiously-motivated disdain for women. Quote degrading Bible verses, church fathers and modern pastors.
  3. By trademarking the term “pro-life,” abortion foes try to stake out the highest of the moral high ground. They don’t have it. Their crass indifference to the lives around them—to the wellbeing of both vulnerable people and even the whole web of life—shows their self-appointed title as defenders of “life” to be total bullshit. Key take-away: Shine a light on self-righteous hypocrisy. Expose the Religious Right’s indifference to Christianity’s own highest values, including compassion and reverence for life.

I said that abortion foes try to speak to us in language we understand, by appealing to our sources of authority, science and conscience. When we appeal to people who are on our side or neutral or secular, we should do the same. We must work to end abortion shame and stigma, to convey that abortion is normal and that family planning as a whole—including abortion until it becomes obsolete (we are headed that direction)—is a positive social good.

But when it comes to confronting and neutralizing abortion protests, we should attack the home turf of the abortion foes, not defend our own turf. We should speak in language of the protesters and convey that their position is a threat to their own core values. (Remember, this is what they do to move us.)

At the same time, they are playing to a broader audience, and we can, too. To outsiders, we can neutralize the tradition of incessant clinic protest by framing it as a theological dispute (most people want to keep theology out of healthcare), that is driven by archaic, ugly gender scripts (no thanks!), and that is being played out by people who have little moral credibility (everyone hates a mean-spirited, self-righteous hypocrite).

Here are a few examples of what the counter-protest signs might look like. *Some may make sense only to Christians and former Christians. **Thank you to all the former Bible-believers who offered suggestions on Facebook. ***If you have ideas of your own as you read the list, please add them in the comment section.

Define this as an insider dispute about theology

  • God aborts 60%. Who are you to judge the Almighty?
  • Fact checked: The Lord says he’s ok with it
  • God prescribes abortion potion – Numbers 5:22-27
  • Kill fetus, get fined – Kill woman, get death –Exodus 21:22-23
  • Infant becomes person after birth – Leviticus 27:6
  • Fetus fetish is idolatry
  • This is what bibliolatry does to people →
  • Conception obsession is a religious cult
  • Don’t say you follow Jesus if stopping abortion trumps love, truth, peacemaking, compassion, feeding the hungry, caring for the poor . . .
  • Life begins at ejaculation – Ask Onan
  • If the baby goes to heaven And the doctor goes to hell If the woman gets forgiveness What’s the problem pray tell!?
  • The Bible doesn’t define when life becomes “a living soul.” Don’t put your words in God’s mouth

Expose deep underlying misogyny

  • Wife is man’s property – Exodus 20:17
  • Girl babies twice as unclean as boys – Leviticus 12:1-8
  • Women should keep silent – 1 Cor. 14:34
  • Sell raped daughter to rapist – Deut. 22:28-29
  • Female? Cover your head or cut off your hair – I Cor. 11:6 [with picture of hijab]
  • Women will be saved through childbearing – 1 Tim. 2:15
  • Women make men dirty – Rev 14:4
  • Woman is a temple built over a sewer – Tertullian
  • Woman, you are the gate to hell – Tertullian
  • Man alone is the image of God – Saint Augustine
  • I fail to see what use woman can be to man, if one excludes the function of bearing children. –Saint Augustine
  • Woman has a faulty and defective nature – Saint Albertus Magnus
  • The production of woman comes from a defect – Thomas Acquinas
  • Women were made to be either wives or prostitutes – Martin Luther
  • The second duty of the wife is constant obedience and subjection – John Dod, Puritan
  • Women are made to be led, and counseled, and directed – LDS Apostle Herber Kimball
  • Every single book in your Bible was written by a man – Mark Driscoll

Shine a light on self-righteous (religious) hypocrisy

  • Pro-guns, pro-greed, pro-Trump = “pro-life” Hmmm. Woe to you, Pharisees, hypocrites! Woe to you, Pharisees, hypocrites Woe to you, Pharisees, hypocrites Woe to you, Pharisees, hypocrites
  • ”Pro-life” Trump Hypocrites =“False prophets, ravening wolves” – Jesus
  • Woe to you Pharisees, hypocrites! — Jesus
  • Pharisees →
  • Take the log out of your own eye –Jesus
  • Judge not that ye be not judged – Jesus
  • [picture of immigrant child] – Let the children come unto me—Jesus
  • Jesus focused on real people
  • Pro-fetus, against Child Protection
  • Pro-fetus, oppose rights for children
  • Pro-fetus, defend parent right to hit kids
  • Pro-fetus, against UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • I was hungry and you did not feed me – Jesus If a man says ‘I love God’ and hateth his brother, he is a liar- 1 John 4:20
  • Jesus supported healthcare for women
  • Jesus cared for women, no matter what [echoes Planned Parenthood motto]
  • The screwed-up priorities of “pro-life” Christians kill real children
  • Trump Voter? Don’t talk to me about choosing life
  • Voted for Trump? Maybe that’s not the voice of God you are hearing

Planned Parenthood doesn’t organize counter-protests, because they don’t want to escalate conflict and because they have a job to do providing contraceptives, cancer screenings, STI tests, abortions and other basic healthcare for their patients. They have no desire to get involved in theological disputes. But I think it’s time for the rest of America, meaning religious moderates and non-religious Americans, to go on the offense against the Religious Right. For decades now—really, ever since Roe v Wade–we’ve been playing way too nice.

At some point in the future, pregnancy almost always will happen by mutual consent of two people who want to co-create a child. But we’re not there yet, in large part because patriarchal religious conservatives have opposed sexual health literacy and better birth control every step of the way. Right now, we could make elective abortion virtually obsolete if the Religious Right had any interest in doing so. They don’t. That means, for now, the only way that young men and women can live the lives of their choosing and form the families of their choosing and stack the odds in favor of flourishing children—is to have access to abortion so they can end ill-conceived pregnancies.

The Left has been squishy and apologetic about abortion care—leaving providers unprotected, and allowing brave, prudent young women to be shamed for making the best decisions they could under difficult circumstances. We’ve let the Religious Right bully all of us, including moderate Christians, into doubting our own moral convictions.

Sometimes, the only way to stop a bully is to hit back. In the spirit of courageous, unflinching, nonviolent resistance, we need to figure out together what that means. So, don’t forget to share your thoughts.

Oh, and if you decide to counter-protest on Saturday, remember that while you are taking a stand on behalf of women and families, Planned Parenthood employees will be serving them. Don’t interfere with traffic, stay away from the entry, keep off private property, and silently let your sign do the talking for you. Don’t distract from the ugly behavior of the Religious Right by engaging in ugly behavior of your own. You are a role model for any children and teens who have been dragged along; be the change fundamentalist parents don’t want their kids to see in the world.

Originally posted at ValerieTarico.com