If you are like me, you have had enough of all this crying and gnashing of teeth, all about religious freedom, particularly when it concerns women’s bodies. I am not in the least religious, so it seems the height of ridiculousness to be expected to conform, in my personal life, to the standards and preferences of the faithful. Why should I refrain from my pursuit of happiness to satisfy someone else’s religious doctrine? I thought we were guaranteed religious freedom, that to persecute an American citizen for religious grounds is unconstitutional. I don’t try to stop anyone from practicing their own religion, and I expect the same courtesy. I happen to express my religious freedom, by living a life FREE FROM RELIGION. It’s been a happy enterprise so far.
But plenty of ‘faithful’ legislators would like to impinge on my religious freedom. Am I suffering from paranoia, when I feel my right to live the way I choose is under constant attack? Look at what is going on around us. Here in New York, in Orthodox neighborhoods, we have got folks who want my gender to cover ourselves to save men from temptation, sometimes to the point of hiding faces, operating businesses who will not accept patronization from women who don’t observe their religious dress code. On an even darker note, reports of honor killings by the families of young Muslim women making the local broadcasts, much too often.
On the national scene, the Pro-Life, largely Christian arm of the GOP is busily working on trying to federally dictate when and how women decide to become pregnant–or not. Chipping away at Roe vs. Wade, Planned Parenthood, invitro-fertilization, and insurance coverage of contraceptives dictated by the conscience of employers, and frightening gains made against women’s liberation are glaring when you consider Personhood amendments, wherein they take rights away from women, and transfer them to children who don’t exist yet.
Ask yourself; How the hell are they able to do this when the First Amendment clearly states: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
I suspect the backers of such Personhood laws are the same people that cast a suspicious eye on any rape victim, because they really don’t think much of the female gender in the first place. The comments Rep. Todd Akin made this year to his detriment, clearly highlight this prejudice. We know how little the religious right value the basic civil rights of lesbians and gays, they have made that abundantly clear, often citing the Holy Bible as foundation of their argument that same sex marriage should not be legalized. Relegating women, and the LGBT community to a status that does not enjoy the freedoms, rights and protections that the rest of the American population enjoys is based on religious belief, and therefore unconstitutional. This whole idea that groups of the faithful are allowed such control of our personal lives, that they can, with the backing of state and federal laws, control the very activities that make us human– who we can love and marry, when and if we start a family– all this interference into American lives, seems highly immoral, illogical, and ought to stop.