Despite Thomas Jefferson’s “immortal statement” in the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal,” America has never applied that sentiment to all its citizens equally from the nation’s founding up to the present. Obviously people of color have never been treated as “real Americans” because of rampant racism and white supremacy, but in 2014 despite a long-past feminist movement that secured a semblance of equality for over half the population; women are still treated as second-class citizens. In part, it is the patriarchal nature of American society, and also because the preponderance of Christians cling to the biblical proclamations that women are subservient to men and are best served knowing “their place” in subjection to a man; any man.
The mindset among a large number of Americans is that the only role for women was domestic where they must tend the home, care for their husbands, bear, and raise children. In the late 1930s, one man elucidated perfectly the mindset held by the religious right and Republican patriarchs that proffers “The granting of equal rights to women in reality does not grant equal rights … it instead constitutes a deprivation of rights, since it draws women into realms of society where they are inferior. Women are not equipped to survive the turmoil and pressure of workplaces, business or politics; women are the eternal companion of men and the triumphant task of women is to bear and tend babies.” The man articulating the only role that Republicans and the religious right contend is as applicable to American women in 2014 as it was in biblical times was Adolf Hitler, and although it is virtually verboten to compare Republicans, the religious right, and all manner of conservatives to Hitler’s Nazi Germany, the resemblances are just too blatant to ignore.
When Senate Republicans blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act this past week to keep women earning 77-cents on the dollar a man earns, the right was apoplectic that women, and men who advocate for their equal rights, were outraged Republicans were carrying on their decades-long practice of opposing any measure to treat women as equal to men. It led a plethora of conservatives, like the Heritage Foundation, to attack the idea of equal rights for women and openly publicize their push to drive women out of the workplace and where the religious right, Adolf Hitler, and many conservatives believe they belong; into marriage, tending the home, caring for their husbands, and bearing and raising children.
One such conservative, Phyllis Schlafly, who has built a name for herself telling other women they should not have successful careers, wrote an op-ed in Christian Post warning that if women enjoyed pay equity with men, marriage would vanish and it would signal the end for America. Schlafly feels so strongly that the country needs to take steps to save and force women into heterosexual marriages, she advocates imposing financial incentives in the form of penalties levied on women who choose not to marry. Adolf Hitler shared Schlafly’s religious belief.
In July 1933 the Nazi regime passed the Law for the Encouragement of Marriage that provided bonuses for married couples that produced offspring. Hitler’s Nazis also pioneered one of the current Republican and religious right’s ardent crusades and policy goals of banning abortion and contraception to keep women out of the workplace and into marriage producing children. The Nazis initially only restricted abortion and contraception, but by the late 1930s the Nazis outlawed contraception to force women into becoming birth machines. In fact, even discussing birth control was banned in Nazi Germany and although that is not yet the case in America, it is certainly an agenda Republicans and the religious right lust to implement. The Nazis provided a model for Republican Christians to restrict abortions by imposing harsh requirements for terminations that several Republican state legislatures have followed to the letter. Nazis also established the current Christian practice of using propaganda to describe abortion as a “crime against the body,” and unlike the religious right and Republicans in America, Nazi Germany never claimed it was founded as a Christian nation. The Nazi goal, like the religious right and patriarchs in conservative ranks, was to send women into domestic servitude married, serving their husbands every whim, and giving birth; Hitler used every means possible to “incentivize” single women into marriage.
Phyllis Schlafly claims maintaining the pay gap between men and women is an ideal American policy because it promotes and sustains marriages, and she asserts that if Democrats really want to improve economic prospects for women they will advance job prospects for the men in their lives by increasing the gender pay gap. Schlafly holds a common belief among conservatives and evangelicals that if women earned the same pay for the same job as a man, “half of women would be unable to find a suitable mate.” She said “that if a higher-earning man is not available, women are more likely not to marry at all because men prefer to BE the higher-earning partner in a relationship. This simple but profound difference between the sexes has powerful consequences for the so-called pay gap.” She ended her anti-women, pro-forced marriage screed warning women that “anyone unmarried by age 32 will never get married or have families,” and that marriage should be a contract between a man who makes a lot of money and a woman too financially strapped to turn them down or end a marriage.
It is unclear if Republicans and the religious right studied Hitler’s Nazi Germany and its push to force women into marriage as perpetual birth machines, but the parallels are indisputable whether it is forcing women to earn less or restricting their access to abortion services and contraception. Indeed, leading Republicans have argued vehemently that the solution to America’s poverty problem is more marriages, and they have went to great lengths, many of them unconstitutional, to restrict women’s access to family planning services, divorce, abortion, and contraception. Obviously marriage is not a bad institution any more than raising families and not working outside the home, but Republicans and the religious right are going too far in their crusade to force women into marriage by forcing them to earn less or restricting their access to family planning services. It may have worked in Adolf Hitler’s fascist Nazi Germany, but it is an abomination in America that is rapidly becoming a fascist state where Republicans and the religious right are following the Nazi model for women to the letter.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.