Religion, particularly the Judeo-Christian religions, is now, and has always been about controlling human beings under the guise of worshipping a deity. If it was not about controlling the masses, why in dog’s name do those religion’s deity and holy books include death sentences for failure to worship an unseen deity imposed on all humanity? Pain of death, either immediate or in the bizarre concept of afterlife, is a powerful motivator and although there is not yet a threat of mass extermination of non-believers like in the Christian bible’s Old Testament, fundamentalist Christians still insist on imposing negative consequences for failure to comply with their edicts.
The idea that certain actions fundamentalist Christians oppose on religious grounds warrant immediate and life-long consequences is the driving force behind the religious right’s opposition to both abortion and contraceptive use. On the day the Supreme Court ruling in Hobby Lobby was announced, a Christian extremist, Erick Erickson, gleefully announced that now, “My religion trumps your (women) right to sex without consequences.” A similar concept drove the opposition to including contraception coverage in the Affordable Care Act that House Republicans believed warranted an all-male panel of clergy to testify that yes, women having sexual relations without lifelong consequences was an abomination their Puritanical sensibilities would not comport.
The inspiration for Hobby Lobby, and 71 other “religious” corporations, to sue for a religious exemption of the contraception mandate is not about abortion, but about controlling women and inflicting consequences for not adhering to their Puritanical belief that women in their employ, can not, and will not, have sexual relations without paying a heavy price. In fact, the idea of forcing women, on pain of harsh consequences, to adhere to strict religious and moral behavior defined by sententious and severe piety is why fundamentalist Christianity is every bit as harsh as Islamic Sharia Law’s control over women.
Controlling women’s morality was not always the Christian Right’s cause célèbre, but as is always the case, they did seek to control a large segment of the population and enforce another form of biblical purity. Prior to imposing their Puritanical morality on women, the “moral majority’s primary mission” was fighting for Aryan racial purity according to, like the Mormon Church, the biblical edict that “black skinned” people were accursed by god. The religious right shifted their outrage and fight against racial segregation to abortion and contraception when the Supreme Court decision in Green v. Kennedy in 1970 stripped the tax-exempt status from private Christian schools known as “segregation academies” that openly barred black students continued unabated despite the Brown v. Board of Education ruling.
It did not take long for the religious right to shift from enforcing biblical racial purity to imposing Puritanical moral purity targeting American women. Before shifting to control women’s sexuality, the Christian Right followed their god of the Old Testament’s issuance that there is NO living being until it breathes air. In fact, the official position of the religious right was that a woman’s choice to use contraception or abortion was a personal decision between a woman and her physician; the “pro-choice” position the religious right now opposes vehemently.
The concept of controlling women and imposing lifelong consequences for having sex was apparently settled in 1965 when Planned Parenthood of Connecticut won a U.S. Supreme Court victory, Griswold v. Connecticut, that finally and completely rolled back state and local laws that had outlawed the use of contraception by married couples. Indeed, the same Puritanical mindset that drives the religious right’s attempt to control women, and their sexuality, today erupted immediately after dependably effective birth control pills were made available. The argument that religion “trumps” a woman’s right to have sexual relations without consequence embraced by the conservative Christian Supreme Court and religious right today was rampant until Griswald, and then Green v. Kennedy, when the moral majority found abortion as a new means of political power. The election of an African American man as President, gave the racist moral majority an assist in marshaling racial animus against Obama to their cause to control women and the Court’s ruling is having a profound effect.
The High Court’s ruling on Monday is already inciting Christian organizations to exert their newfound control over the population as reported here when Catholic and Christian “faith leaders” issued a letter to President Obama demanding religious exemption to discriminate against gays. The faith leaders insisted that Hobby Lobby informs the President that he must now give “deference to Christian prerogatives” in any future Presidential action. On Thursday, yet another conservative Christian High Court birth control order sided with a religiously “affiliated” non-profit group after it appealed, and won, an exemption to provide contraception coverage in health insurance prescription plans. The former acting solicitor general in the Clinton administration said of the Hobby Lobby and most recent attack on women that “After today, it is clear that women’s access to contraception is by no means guaranteed given the administrative complexities the court has now imposed.” The High Court’s newest emergency ruling ceding control over women, their sexuality, and reproductive health to Christians and is a portent of the pain the Republican religious right is about to unleash in their indisputable and Puritanical war on women.
The idea of anti-contraception being an integral part of the Christian right agenda was implied in Justice Alito’s writing for the Hobby Lobby decision. And to no-one’s surprise, Justice Scalia’s wife is a “hardline anti-choice activist” that certainly influenced his vote to authorize Christian corporations to withhold contraceptive coverage from prescription drug plans. At the Right to Life conference, a featured speaker, Joy Pinto, mercilessly attacked contraceptives as “the real war on women” she claimed was “coming from the pit of Hell” comparing birth control to “when Eve bit the apple.” A preeminent Christian anti-choice website, Life News, could barely contain its glee at the prospect of Christians legally depriving women of contraception and stated, “Fertility is a natural condition of a woman” and that “stifling ovulation with birth control” is an abomination to god. However, the Christian opposition to birth control is not about fertility, but about controlling women’s sexuality by imposing harsh consequences unless they intend to give birth.
It is important for all women, even hardcore conservatives, Catholics, and so-called “good” Christians, to remember that the Puritanical religious right makes no distinction in their war on women who use contraception. Their goal is simply to exert their control and force every woman in America to either become celibate or perpetual birth machines; the consequence of having sexual relations without contraceptives. American women should never delude themselves that imposing their Puritanical morality is reserved for single women, because there was no special dispensation in the Court’s ruling to protect married women’s access to contraceptives. The Christian Right, including the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), makes no secret that their goal is ultimate control over all women, married and single alike.
Over the past five years, the preponderance of opinions among liberals was that religion cannot exert its will over the government or the people because “it is unconstitutional,” or they just did not care about religion, or that recent victories for gay rights proved the religious right was in decline and impotent. Well, now it is constitutional, and the recent victories for gay rights are being challenged on the grounds of the High Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling. It has not been four days since the decision was announced and religious “affiliated” groups quickly sought, and won, the right to withhold contraceptives from women’s prescription plans and the White House has been warned to give deference to “Christian prerogatives” in any Presidential action.
If anyone thinks this is not a monumental escalation in the religious war against Americans, particularly women, then why are men not being denied prescription coverage for penis pumps, erection-inducing pills, or over-the-counter condoms? This is a religious assault on women, and gays, that the religious right will expand according to Christian Dominionism to seize control over all aspects of American society. At a time when many Americans are expressing patriotic fervor, they should temper that patriotism with the reality that there is a powerful and constitutionally backed group expressing what is arguably the most dangerous threat to America; religious fervor. History shows when religious zeal is expressed by fundamentalist Christians, it is an existential threat that the Court just gave its blessing and constitutional authority to proceed with extreme prejudice. This is not going to end well for any American woman.
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.