We’ve all heard of bizarre little towns who want to outlaw the most common things, dancing being somehow always on the top of the list; other recent bans include flip flops, children under a certain age in upscale restaurants, baggy pants, the wearing of pajamas in public. We’ve also heard of small towns who want to do other strange things, like make the 10 commandments the basis, sometimes even the only legal code. Obviously the last one doesn’t get very far for practicality reasons; however, looking at the viewpoints by ultra-conservative republicans personified by the tea party, you have to wonder how long it is before someone does try to make religious law the law of a large city, tries to make it the law of the nation. Coupling this with the CBS interview of Mitt Romney where he detailed some of what he would cut in order to shrink the deficit, balance the budget, cuts that include slashing education, removing the endowments for both arts and humanities, government funding for PBS, you also begin to understand the question by a commenter why the republican party fears and educated populous and better understand the reasoning behind the title of this piece, a warning call to every citizen who doesn’t want us to become a version of theocratic based countries marred by religious boundaries robbing people of human rights and basic freedoms.
They fear an educated populous because an educated populous understands that absent current national education standards, absent preschool programs available to every child, things like PBS are needed. The educated populous can see both the reason and the reality of the only way we are going to compete globally is to have everyone on the same page, not this give control of education to the states hodgepodge. They shy away from an educated populous because it’s easier to convince uneducated persons the negatives of things like women’s rights, easier to win people over to the idea the best place for women is in the home barefoot, pregnant, minding children should be their dearest ambition if you can also sell your audience a nostalgia for the1950’s. It’s easier to sell the we don’t wanna pay for it so we’ll call it unconstitutional line, if people don’t understand the constitution was a document written to be fluid with the current times, a document written to be changed as needed, or don’t understand the modern application of constitutional principles. It’s easier to rile up the limited’ly educated masses talking about the brown people taking their jobs if they’ve been out of high school 20 years plus and therefore not been in a 1950’s to present social studies class, have no desire or compunction to attend a college sociology class that talks about how immigrants pick the vegetables we eat, fill the jobs many of the poorest among us refuse to take. It’s easier to sell such concepts to blue collar workers who that’s all they understand of the job market, they want their son to go on to be a 4th generation auto worker, steel or construction worker as a matter of pride, tradition, family heritage as opposed to college. Our existing crop of political/religious outliers don’t want an educated society because they can better conceal their wealth be it old money, luck, investments or dubious means of acquiring stocks, real-estate, oil exc. if they can sell the idea, you can be as rich as I am if you work hard, manage your money wisely, whether that’s the truth or not.
Similarly an educated populous knows an outright war on women when they see one; they know when people are trying to nullify rights given to women for 40 odd years, that giving all health and reproductive care to women via their employers insurance plan isn’t just a green light for abortions. Likewise they can tell the difference between abortions and other types of female gynecological care; none of them, Christian or otherwise, need to be told birth control is not an abortion. At the same time those same Christians, having read even a small portion of the bible, can conclude God and Jesus weren’t/aren’t so ignorant as not to understand the pitfalls of having more children than you can afford; relatedly if God was willing to allow divorce in the old testament to prevent the abuse of women, reason and logic, to say nothing of compassion, dictates neither God or Jesus is against birth control to prevent the abuse, poverty, neglect of children by taking measures not to have then in the first place. Statements backed up by what Jesus said later in the new testament, better a man cast a stone about himself and throw himself into the river than harm one of these little children; a passage nearly everyone is familiar with: let the little children come to me and don’t prevent them, for of such is the kingdom of heaven. There lies your evidence even if the Catholic church preaches said birth control is wrong, a sin. Forgoing any number of things churches, regardless of denomination, used to preach against civil rights and interracial marriage being two things now long widely accepted. In that same vein well and duly educated people recognize a reasonable stance on abortion when they hear one; they recognize that exceptions allowing abortions in the case of rape, incest or life of the mother take into account the imperfect and tragic world we live in, where sickos and crazies do exist. In both cases logical people conclude just because birth control is now available doesn’t mean they have to use it; just because abortion is allowed doesn’t mean you have to use it, but it should at least remain an option for those most dire situations. Not discussed in the last 20 odd years is what could be called the secondary war on women employers who no longer offer maternity leave, employers, despite the legal consequences who openly state they don’t hire mothers, ask obtrusive interview questions to determine the likelihood of the applicant becoming pregnant, having children, employers who refuse work agreements like flex time allowing women to still be an asset to their job but drop their kid off at preschool, pick them up from school, handle a sick child, career women who take off the 3-5 years to spend with their child before preschool, starting kindergarten. But the republican party insists there is no war on women while simultaneously supporting business deregulation
Unsurprisingly educated people comprehend the merits of sex education, and comprehensive sex education at that, in schools, not only teaching proper, clinical names of body parts including sex organs, but giving young people a fundamental understanding of how their own bodies operate, what happens during sex, how babies are made. And yes that includes definitions of oral, anal sex and bestiality; why because from a knowledge, health perspective teens need to know that while oral and anal sex do not lead to pregnancy, they still constitute sexual contact, meaning it is something their doctor needs to be aware of if they have engaged in the activity. Why because oral and anal sex still carry the risk of disease despite the teen myth that oral sex, at least, is safer due to their being no chance of pregnancy. Another reason to fully disclose types of sexual contact to teens, specifically for teen boys, young men, they need to understand that male rape is a phenomenon that can happen, does happen and how it happens, not just unwanted touching, but the possibility of actual anal penetration; this is a matter of safety, protecting our young people from predators, traumatic sexual experiences. For either gender talking about types of sexual contact touching, the use of fingers, other body parts in a sexual manner doesn’t give young people ideas but instead gives information, lets young people be aware of what to expect out in the world, what an intimate partner may ask to do with them, potentially exposes predators and abuse. From a religious standpoint; teens need to know these are still acts that fall under sex in the eyes of God and are wrong outside marriage or in the case of oral, anal or other alternative penetration wrong and unnatural according to their particular religion’s view; enter the reason behind knowing the definition of bestiality, like the other nontraditional forms of sexual contact they need guidance, they need to know not only is it against the law, an act they could go to jail for but is against their religion’s moral code, is unnatural an constitutes cruelty to animals. They need to know when the boy they like, the girl they like asks them to try this to say no to it; religiosity aside they need to be well versed in the risks. Debates over sex ed. in school seem especially fool hardly considering you as a parent you still have to sign the permission form for them to attend the class, learn the material; you as a parent can quite easily ask for an outline of information to be coved on what day using that as a guideline to begin conversations with their adolescents about the changes in their bodies and yes about sex.
Should the religious community whether it’s Christian Jewish, Hindu, Muslim or another faction, ever wise up, they would implement their own version of sex ed. to be taught in churches, synagogues mosques, religious houses of worship all where they can teach chaste until marriage as the ideal, abstinence as a preference but also teach proper names for body parts, medical/scientific information of what happens during sex and how babies can result from the act, if for no other reason than to dispel the backward world view held by people like Todd Akin who actually thinks women can prevent pregnancy during rape. A concept unlike intelligent design that puts forth the possibility of God or an intelligent being having a hand in how the big bang came into being, or the theory of creationism asserting the earth is much younger than science thinks it is that could easily be proven with time, his claim about the female body has no medical or scientific basis whatsoever, is not the stance of any mainstream doctor in any branch of medicine and is physically, physiologically impossible. Yet instead of complete, clinical like information, imparting values in a practical sense, what you have is a lot of non-religious parents who don’t know how to talk to their kids about sex and so do not, possess no knowledge of what kids are experimenting with on a sexual front and at what age, view their child as the good kid and therefor don’t see the need to know or to talk about it; on the religious side several mind sets hinder parents from talking to their children about sex, many see it as a conversation for a soon to be married woman about what will happen on their wedding night, still more see it as a necessary evil, an act dirty and gross required to produce offspring, consequently not a topic for conversation if it can be avoided. When they do talk about sex it’s in terms of abstinence, STDs are seen as a side effect, punishment of immoral behavior not a lack of protection and safe sex practices, which usually aren’t mentioned; the only physical sex act discussed, if it is discussed at all, is traditional sex. penis to vagina. Adult religious conservatives tend to have a nostalgic 1950’s world perception where perverts are rare and certainly aren’t found in their religious community; rape and sexual abuse are things that happen on the wrong side of the tracks so there is no need to expose their kids to the ugliness in the world, despite some of the most heinous cases of sex abuse incest and other horrors coming out of religious cults.
The biggest reason the current republican, tea party members, political operatives and people who agree with them fear an educated public, want to turn our democracy into a theocracy is because they honestly believe imposing their moral code will make a better nation, make a better world. They want to slowly transform our democracy into a theocracy because they can’t reconcile the cognitive dissonance between facts in the real world and religious teachings they have been fed. Keep in mind this is a moral code not only eliminating abortion for any reason, outlawing birth control but conditioning women to avoid careers, avoid science, math, technology and pushes them toward motherhood as a moral duty, regardless of if they want to be a wife, want to be a parent or would be good at either. This is a moral code, depending on which faction, that says women shouldn’t wear pants, makeup, stating neither gender should dance, celebrating birthdays, watching television, a glass of wine at dinner, even caffeine, for Mormons, out on religious grounds. This is a moral code that says men should work, be breadwinners not say at home dads, regardless if the women in the home makes more money, has better health benefits at her job or if he is more comfortable being the stay at home parent, a moral tradition that discourages men from showing emotion, affection to those closest to them, causing a litany of consequences. Returning to the conflict between religious doctrine and reality; they want a government, a legal code based on theology rather than fairness, practicality, science/medicine when it concerns the health of citizens, because if women really can get pregnant during rape then allowing abortion in said cases makes sense. Because if date/acquaintance rape is something that can happen no matter how chaste the courtship relationship looks on the outside, no matter whose religious guidelines it follows, then maybe reasons behind it encompass something larger than a depraved society putting carnal lust before commitment, desire above morality, and thus blaming the woman with the revealing outfit, the woman willing to go beyond “decency” in said relationship isn’t it either. And, since it wasn’t her fault, she should be entitled to make the choice, or not, whether to keep the resulting child. Because if sexual abuse, sexual assault and incest are things that can happen to any kid from anywhere one, we have an obligation to protect them by arming them with age appropriate information that could be categorized under sex ed. and two, perhaps abortion would be better in those cases weighing the potential for serious genetic anomalies, providing people making the laws understand 10th grade biology; because if we looked around and saw women with 2-3 kids possibly dying with their latest pregnancy understanding the father of that child was killed in a car accident, died serving our country, and that’s how she got to be a single parent, saving that mother’s life becomes more important than a rigid prolife stance. If we understand that over half the women taking birth control are taking it to treat medical conditions like hormone imbalances, disorders that effect reproductive organs, many of whom aren’t sexual active or are post-menopausal and therefore past their childbearing years, rendering pregnancy prevention null and void then the religious rights of employers argument no longer stands.
Ultra-religious, political conservatives want this because it allows them to stick their head in the sand, clinging to the illusion we still live in, can go back to the 1950’s, because they can continue the mindset that the worst evils in the world are masturbation, birth control, unwed and single parenthood, avoiding larger issues to which they can find no answers either in society or their religious texts, traditions. They have no practical means to overturn Roe V. Wade, reengineer the social conscience, without reverting us to back alley abortion clinics that not only kill the child but maim the mother in the process. When it comes to financial matters, home ownership, disaster rebuilding, Medicare, Medicaid, social security, retirement, purchase of health insurance, they preach nothing but personal responsibility, accountability, yet on issues like abortion, birth control, gay/lesbian sex done behind closed doors where police can’t regulate, clothing choices, dancing choices it’s we have to outlaw that; we have to stand against that, because that’s the biggest problem in our world, not the economy, not the lack of jobs, not shrinking wages, rising prices, not whether Iran is capable of building a nuclear bomb, whether our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan all turn to nothing other than one more terrorist hot spot because we suddenly got tired of trying to give people less fortunate than us freedom. Extreme conservatives favor the proliferation of their world view because, it’s far easier to say of occupy Wall Street go take a bath, get a job and realize how lucky you are to live in this country than it is to face the long financial recovery our nation has ahead of it, than it is to acknowledge the corruption of the financial institutions that gave many of them their wealth. It’s easier to blame college students for the useless degree they got or pin urban poverty on laziness, no work habits and fatherless children than it is to address the culture of indifference when cities write off poor areas, police refuse to enforce the law in such places, than it is to own up to the discrimination of employers brought down on people from “that neighborhood,” than it is to truly look at what’s happening and come to terms with the changes in the employment market, the lack of opportunities for young people to work, the lack of internships, apprenticeships and on the job training that gave them their start and would make college degrees viable once more. They encourage such thought because it means replacing critical thinking with indoctrinating; it simplifies things to black and white no gray, no exceptions only rules.
And we see what happens with family values candidates; the political darling of 2008, everyone’s favorite hockey mom ended up with a pregnant teenage daughter no doubt in part due to how the family values set talks to or doesn’t talk to their kids about sex. We see family values candidates saying birth control leads to unnatural things- like families with only the number of children they can afford, mentally and emotionally care for. We saw a Delaware congressional contender admitting to experimentation with witchcraft as teenage rebellion, not on the campaign trail but in a former interview in addition to calling masturbation selfish as opposed to a normal part of sexual function, particularly for teen males, exposing profound ignorance in proclaiming condoms don’t prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. Once again railing against science and medicine failing to make the connection between curing disease, improving prenatal care, testing and the better lives we all get to lead at all ages; always failing to correlate presenting both the theory of evolution, creationism and/or intelligent design may inspire a scientist, Christian or not, to set about proving which one really is the truth once and for all, to the betterment of knowledge for everyone. We see family values supporters the very essence of hypocritical with capital letters in examples like Rush Limbaugh, a pill popping foul mouthed individual purporting themselves as a representative of the ideal value system. Unfortunately the slow, gradual replacement of democracy with theology has little resistance.