The true motivation for a war is not always clear in spite of proclamations by a nation or its leaders. The war in Iraq’s purpose is still a mystery to many Americans because of the ever-changing goals proffered by the Bush administration and there are parallels with the current conservative war on women. On the surface, it appears that evangelicals are on a tear to restrict women’s right to choose their reproductive health, and although that is one of their primary goals, there is another pernicious motivation many Americans ignore even though it is obvious to women. Over the past couple of weeks, there have been important clues to what the conservative’s endgame is and although contraception, abortion rights, and women’s health issues are at the forefront, it is male dominance that drives the assaults.
When evangelicals targeted the Girl Scouts for not being aligned with the message of the church and for a perceived, but fallacious alliance between World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) and Planned Parenthood, they were not just assailing contraception. One Republican from Indiana claimed Girl Scouts “promoted homosexual lifestyles” and although there is no truth to the Planned Parenthood connection or promoting homosexuality, it is stunning that the claims were made in the first place. It is sad, but an accusation from a male Republican carries weight with pathetic evangelicals and the effect was evident when a 10-year-old Girl Scout in Virginia experienced a woman who told her, “We don’t support Girl Scouts because they support abortion, which kills babies.” The young scout told her mother “Mommy, something creepy happened to me” and true to her age, had no knowledge of abortion and was upset to be associated with baby killers.
The assault on Girl Scouts shows the level extremist evangelicals and conservatives are willing to go to in their push to impose the church’s edicts on women regardless of their age. The false accusation against Girl Scouts started a movement among evangelicals to remove their daughters from Girl Scouts and enroll them in the American Heritage Girls Christian organization whose goal is the dedication of the adult leadership to Christian ministry through this organization with these girls. The group’s mission statement is character development for young women that embraces Christian values and encourages family involvement. Christian values is code for obedient women subservient to the male-dominant patriarchy that controls this country, and Republican’s record of restricting women’s role in society falls in line with Christian values. It is not coincidence that the assault on women starts with poor women and in the case of Girl Scouts, very, very young women.
The Republicans fighting to restrict access to contraception regardless of President Obama’s compromise giving religious organizations an exemption is aimed at lower-income women, but no woman is safe. This ridiculous movement to ban contraception for all women is more about control than imposing the Catholic ban on birth control. It is noteworthy that Rick Santorum promises that if elected president, he will embark on a preaching campaign to ban contraception to force all women to stay home, slave for their man, and produce more little evangelical extremists. It is bad enough evangelicals are promoting this Dark Ages philosophy, but the Republicans in Congress have allowed evangelical religious leaders to affect legislation controlling women.
When Republicans refused to allow women to testify on behalf of contraceptive coverage in the House, one glance at the all-male panel proves the controversy is not solely about contraceptives. The men on the panel were all male religious leaders or professors, including a Catholic bishop, and their goal was not protecting religious freedom or banning contraception even though creating a nation of subservient birth machines is one of their goals. It is about male religious leaders and their perception of American social order, controlling women’s private lives, and dictating what they do with their bodies as well as putting them in their proper place in society. It is why Rick Santorum yearns to return to a “Leave It To Beaver” era where women knew their place was in the kitchen, producing babies, and adhering to strict obedience to their men.
The male-dominated evangelicals’ goal is controlling all American women as written in the bible despite the rhetoric about abortion, contraception, Planned Parenthood, or Girl Scouts. This war is the result of women making advances in every field, their educational dominance, and independence that threatens the perceived superiority of male religious leaders and their lackeys in the Republican Party. The idea that males are dominant causes evangelical extremists in congress to presume authority to tell women how to be and what to do, and their beliefs are based on scripture, entitlement, and arrogance. Unfortunately for them, women do not subscribe to their perceived sense of dominance and Republicans will pay dearly for their complicit involvement.
Republicans miscalculate women and although their drive to deny women from receiving low-cost cancer screenings, maternity care, and contraception coverage is aimed at a specific demographic, most women understand that all that stands between their enslavement and independence is voting against Republicans and their religious backers. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that in 2010, there are 157 million women and only 151.8 million men and yet Republicans have done everything in their bible-backed power to alienate and dominate women in America. Attacking women’s healthcare, sexuality, Girl Scouts, and gender equality in pay has women angry that over 50 years after the Woman’s Movement of the 1960s, Republicans in Congress are expanding their war on women with their evangelical extremist allies.
There is one thing for certain; it is not just women who are furious at Republicans. The assault on women affects every man with a wife, mother, sister, and daughter and there are few willing to stand by passively while their women are assaulted. In an age where most families require two incomes to survive, it assaults decent men’s senses to think a few members of clergy and Republicans are intent on forcing all woman back into the kitchen giving birth every ten months. There are conservative women who support the idea that their sole purpose in life is birthing and serving men, but their stupidity is not epidemic in the entire population. Republicans have awoken a sleeping giant and she is furious, driven, educated and certain to put the evangelical male supremacists where they belong; out of power and out of their misery. They are not alone because for every woman who opposes the GOP’s religious war on women, there are sons, husbands, brothers, and fathers eager to exact revenge.