Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Consequence-Free Sex

I still have some residual thoughts about the Hobby Lobby decision--especially since the decision is open to including other forms of contraception, and because using a basis of religious conscience is now likely to be used regarding LGBT discrimination. (I do not care for the title of The Atlantic's article: this has less to do with Obama than with the Constitution). Part of my objection to this decision is that it seems to me to be giving a corporation the right to take away something an employee might otherwise be able to access from another employer--I don't see how a law regarding insurance is different from a law regarding requiring a minimum wage or requiring withholding taxes or subjectivity to FICA. It really is nothing personal (not in the least because corporations are not people, even if they may be run by people).

But another part is because I reject the premise that a woman's reproductive system is something alien and apart from any other part of her body, and I can not fathom how sexuality is seen as the "consequence-bearing" burden of women alone( one could call it "Eve's burden"), when our birth-control using women are, in fact, having relations with men.  In my litany of hypocrisies regarding Hobby Lobby's acceptance of some medical interventions, some times, including pharmaceuticals they regard as abortifacients and companies that hail from abortion-friendly regimes, I may have omitted that they also have been covering and I presume, will continue to cover, vasectomy and Viagra.

As any wag might tell you, "vasectomy means never having to say you're sorry."  But the assumption that women's birth control is something else, and that the methods a woman might require to enjoy "consequence-free sex" are somehow beyond the conscience of good moral people, is rot.  One might as well deny condoms to men, and tell them also that the tale of Onan means they can't pull out--and then enshrine that thing in law.

But there are consequences and then there are consequences. Women have been fired for being pregnant. Oh, it isn't legal currently, but I think exceptions could be made if one's employer were really morally opposed to women being employed when they should be taking care of their families. This is a slippery slope. Just because this case "only" pertained to a limited view of Hobby Lobby Inc. (when they were put up to it by the Becket fund--and who will rid of these meddlesome trolls?) doesn't mean it won't and can't be pressed on. 

(And women have been deleteriously effected by pregnancies--it is safer to be pregnant than it was in ye olden days, but it is still a travail.)

But in the meantime, I don't see this as a right/left issue so much as an "anti-creeping theocracy" issue. Conservative women use family-planning and birth control, too. Women of faith use family planning and birth control, too. I don't like what this implies for any woman's health care options. The provision in the ACA only made these methods more affordable for the people who used them, and I do not see where a burden was created for the employers through which the insurance paying for them was obtained.


Formerly Amherst said...

Hi Vixen,
"anti-creeping theocracy".

OK, Vixen, the Supreme Court has spoken, and so we're just talking here.

You are aware of my feelings about religious fundamentalism, whether it's al Qaeda or Jimmy Swaggart. You also realize that all Tammy Faye Baker would do to you is try to convert you. All these people would probably burn me at the stake, even though my views are ultimately more charitable toward them than yours are.

The Hobby Lobby case, to the best of my understanding, was an attempt to answer the question of whether a privately held corporation had the right to make some decisions based on their religious conscience.

Frankly, a group that says they are perfectly fine with 16 kinds of birth control doesn't strike me as being fundamentalist in their orientation. Most hard-core fundamentalists would be objecting to birth control altogether. So at the moment, I just don't get fundamentalism out of this group.

I may get some post-Catholicism from your point of view. When I was a kid growing up in a Protestant household, we were always surprised that the Catholics were always talking about sex. Kids had to run down the to priest and confess masturbation. (Our Fathers and Hail Marys for that one..)

Wives constantly had to go to confession and beg for permission to use birth control. After Vatican II the priests got off their cases a little, but still it was a hard line demanding that sex was only for procreation.

You had this whole celibacy requirement for priests and nuns who would then be in authority over people who were married, and the celibate class made the rules for the non-celibate class, which of course led to every conceivable kind of charge and inflammatory denunciation and questioning. In a movie once, Robert Mitchum said, "Any man who's a celibate, wears skirts, and wants to be called Father, has an identity crisis."

And then there was the whole business of divorce -- having to be regarded as valid by the church. I knew a gal who divorced her Catholic husband after they had children. The church then allowed the man to remarry by deciding he had never been married in the eyes of God anyway. So his daughter was then faced with the idea that she was some sort of a spiritual bastard or something. Weird!

Well, as this was all going on, in the Protestant world there was the general rule of not having sex before marriage. Of course everyone understood there was going to be some fooling around. People were not encouraged to talk about their private matter publicly, and certainly not with the clergy unless some specific problem arose. In the Protestant world, we were blissfully unconcerned about other people's sexual practices unless they became public or scandalous in some way.

Your post suggests to me a kind of carryover from a Catholic perception of all this that regards sex as something to be part of the public sphere for the sort of vicarious possibilities of the subject.

Of course religion is the opium of the people.

A character in Hemingway summarized it when he said, "Religion is the opiate of the people... and now economics is the opium of the people; along with patriotism... what about sexual intercourse; was that an opium of the people? ... but drink was a sovereign opium of the people, oh, an excellent opium. Although some prefer the radio, another opium of the people, a cheap one..." -- from The Gambler, the Nun, and the Radio, in The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories

As I say, we're just talking here, but I must say when you consider Hobby Lobby easily went for 16 kinds of birth control, it seems to me that your post is more about channeling the concept of "other" in Simone de Beauvoir than "anti-creeping theocracy."

Vixen Strangely said...

This particular iteration of the SCOTUS has spoken, and although a lot of my family are Catholic--I never was baptized and never professed--I'm either a witch or an atheist. Tammy Faye Bakker would cry over me and that's just sad. But Pat Robertson? Rick Santorum? Rushdooney? There are some people I think, lately, might consider heretics not just unchurched, but unchurchable and unclubbable. Hobby Lobby wouldn't allow for four kinds of contraception--Eden Food is going for more, and the SCOTUS ruling is for denying any or all of the above. I am not just against Hobby Lobby's hypocritical ideal that some kinds of birth control are more permissible than others, but the law's idea that women's biology is different and therefore, our biological determinism is to be disputed by law, not ourselves.

Women are the "other" sometimes in Catholicism--which is why I rejected it even though social justice Catholicism is relatable to my interests. I stand against making my biology a condition of my practice of morality. There is six years between my birth and my brothers'. That is by design.

No church calls my momma anything because of it without my obligation to repudiate their bigotry. Any woman--no matter her background, is the decider over her fertility. It is not her employers' place to decide.

Don't misunderstand me--if Hobby Lobby has an understandable limit--well, so good for their conscience if they can pretend they are, to some extent, a friend of reproductive-aged women. But to my understanding, they are saying they understand better than women or doctors what acceptable birth control is--and incidentally, are wrong according to current science--

Therefore, I give them very little credit. What prevents anyone from making any absurd claims, and calling it a matter of "conscience"?