Saturday, November 10, 2012

Separation of Church and State, and Women-Haters

Photo: Todd Akin's official 109th Congress photo, from his Wikipedia page.

And so this begins a long series of blog entries chronicling the recent election.  There's a lot I want to go over here, including, in no order, why Obama won, why Romney didn't, the election results, the nine or so boneheaded rich old white men who said incredibly stupid and insensitive things about rape, and why someone would marry and/or vote for such people.  I do not, and I will not, mean to offend; if I do, please feel free to send me a (polite) comment and let me know.

Having said that, I have to start with the boneheaded rich old white men who said incredibly stupid and insensitive things about rape.  But before I do, let me offer you a recent quote from a congressman, who said the following, and much more, at a banquet at a church:

U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, Georgia Republican (someone needs to tell me whether this guy was able to keep his job after the firestorm a few days ago):

The words below were taken from a video clip, distributed by the Bridge Project, which itself was taken from a longer version recorded on Sept. 27 during the 2012 Sportsman's Banquet at Liberty Baptist Church in Hartwell, Ga. Here's a transcript of the Bridge Project's snippet:

"God's word is true. I've come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the big bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell. And it's lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior. You see, there are a lot of scientific data that I've found out as a scientist that actually show that this is really a young Earth. I don't believe that the earth's but about 9,000 years old. I believe it was created in six days as we know them. That's what the Bible says.

"And what I've come to learn is that it's the manufacturer's handbook, is what I call it. It teaches us how to run our lives individually, how to run our families, how to run our churches. But it teaches us how to run all of public policy and everything in society. And that's the reason as your congressman I hold the Holy Bible as being the major directions to me of how I vote in Washington, D.C., and I'll continue to do that."

Now there's, of course, a lot wrong here, but what struck me the most was the last part, the part where he explicitly says that the Bible dictates how he votes in D.C., and how "it teaches us how to run all of public policy."  This part hit me hard because it is at the core of what is causing these guys to say such things about rape, about science, about their voting decisions, and about almost everything: they take it all from the Bible--or, at least, they say that they do.  (Though the Bible has a lot of rape in it, it does not say, as a politician recently did, that rape is just another form of procreation.)

The Republican Right, forever represented by George W. Bush, does indeed follow the Bible in every decision they make, in D.C. and at home.  While what they do at home is their own business (a concept they fail to realize, ironically, themselves), what they do in D.C. is not just their own business.  That's ours, too.  We need to know what makes these guys think and vote as they do, because they, more so than the President, shape America's social climate.  And these guys, apparently, have never heard of the Separation of Church and State.  If they had, Bush could not have started his Faith-Based Initiatives in his first five minutes in office.  And Mr. Broun certainly wouldn't admit in public (with an honesty rivaled only by Romney's now-infamous 47% speech) that he bases all of his decisions as a congressman and lawmaker solely on the Bible--which is, of course, an unconstitutional thing to do.  Their stance is simple: They place the Bible before the Constitution.  But in American politics, you can't do that.  You can, though, if you're already in office, and no one holds your hand to the fire when you screw up.  Bush and Broun should have been ousted from office immediately, the second they obviously held their Bibles higher than their Constitution.  We, the American people, have the right--in fact, the obligation--to throw them out of office, and we do have the legal power to do so.  But this never happens.  These guys are never held accountable for what they say--much less for what they do.

Which brings me to Mr. Todd Akin, in an interview with KTVI:

REP. TODD AKIN (R-Mo.): It seems to me, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's [pregnancy resulting from a rape] really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume that maybe that didn't work or something. You know I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.

Obama's response:


"The views expressed were offensive.

"Rape is rape. And the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we're talking about doesn't make sense to the American people and certainly doesn't make sense to me.

"So, what I think these comments do underscore is why we shouldn't have a bunch of politicians, a majority of whom are men, making health care decisions on behalf of women."

My comments, which are longer, and more in number, but perhaps not expressed any better than Obama's here, will follow in an upcoming entry...Stay tuned.


  1. Separation of church & state is there for a reason so these boneheads (as you so accurately described) do not shoot their mouths off about topics they have no business discussing in the first place such as rape. Saying it's another form of procreation is simply outlandish and offensive. And Todd Akin's statements about rape are just ignortant. The female body (which clearly he knows little about --no surprise there--) does not shut down when it feels like it. Rape is rape as Obama said. The End. Calling the product of such a voilent act a "child" is manipulative and changes focus from the true victim who is the attacked woman. Like we need more babies and children in this already overpopulated world. But hey of course it's God's will to give birth to the "child" no matter what the circumstances were.

    I do wonder if we the American people really do have the power to throw anyone out of office. I'm not so sure it's completely within our reach. I think these decisions are made regardless of what we think thus making us powerless.

    George Carlin says it best in this video clip: (not suitable for work)

    ps--Evolution always made more sense to me than most of what I was taught for twelve years in Catholic school. *shrugs*

    1. Diane, that's a great point--that these guys call the product of a rape a "child," thereby taking the spotlight off the person who is actually a full-fledged person, by definition, at that moment--the woman. This act of psychological warfare--using language as the weapon--is as old as racism and sexism themselves. All this clearly shows where the focus is for these rich old white men: birth control--literally, control of birth. Another quick point: when these guys (and let's not forget the women who vote for these guys) speak of "life," as in being "pro-life," they are clearly not talking of the life of the woman. She is clearly of lesser consequence to them.

    2. On another note, I have to respectfully disagree with you, Diane. When I said that we have the right and power to overthrow our government, I meant that literally, and perhaps ideologically. The Constitution gives us, in a democracy, the power, through voting in elections and through special votes in times of crisis, to overthrow the government, peacefully and without violence. That any leader in office would actually allow this to happen is a separate point, but then we wouldn't be in a democracy anymore, at which point he'd REALLY have to go. George Carlin was right on, sort of; though he's an authority on such mental issues, I have to bow to Oliver Stone, in his (and D.A. Jim Harrison's) movie JFK. The Constitution clearly gives the American populace the power and the right to do what I'm saying. It's never been done, of course, and probably never will be, but that doesn't mean that it CAN'T be done. It just HASN'T been done.

    3. Oh, and one more thing (since I've now dominated my own comment section anyway): after watching the George Carlin clip again, it seems to me that he and I are speaking of the same thing: willful ignorance. Again, democratic Americans have the power and the right to do what I'm saying--we're just too ignorant and lazy to do it. Obviousman, in the comic strip "Non Sequitur," said it best:

      The more ignorant the population, the easier it is to control.

      That's a statement practically right out of George Orwell, guys.