To say that the recent kerfuffle over birth control is overblown would be an understatement. Rational people have no plausible argument against health care providers covering birth control, because there’s nothing about it that’s particularly offensive unless you find sex to be especially icky. But in their zeal to find something, anything, to claim as the “war on religion”, the right has latched onto it with the kind of fervor you’d think would be reserved for outlawing public prayer or having national Bible Burning Day.
The “religious freedom”, asI mentioned in another article, is one of the most feeble claims made in the right’s attempt to stir up the “liberals hate Jesus” war. One can make a case for taxpayer funded abortions (although one wonders why that doesn’t follow to taxpayer funded wars, say), but if anything, one would imagine that using taxes to pay for BC would be a good thing.
Quick, name two things that teabaggers hate. That’s right, abortions and welfare queens. Well guess what? Birth control can eliminate both of those problems.
Back to the religious argument. The only, and I mean only, way one can say that birth control goes against religious teaching is if you buy into the idea that any sex which is not intended for procreation to be sinful, a hardline style of religious legislation that few reasonable people actually stick to. And as for the religious freedom not to have to support such things, need I again remind you how many other things taxes can feasibly go to that are against someone’s religious beliefs?
No, this isn’t about religious freedom. This is about stoking the fire of a nonexistent Holy War now that the swords of gay marriage and abortion have dulled. Every election year, the right takes up the cause of Christ and tries to use it to court the Christian conservatives into beating the war drums against Democrats, such as the famous and fake robo calls used against John Kerry. The point isn’t the issue itself, it’s just the next in a long line of bullshit “controversies” that the right wants to get the base shrieking about in the months leading up to the election.
The problem is that this is the feeblest issue yet. Barely a quarter of people actually think providers shouldn’t cover birth control, and those that do can’t justify their objection beyond spurious notions like pre-marital sex and spilling seed. When it came time to fight against abortion and gay marriage, it was possible for the religious right to frame the debate outside of the Bible itself by referring to things like “tradition” and “a living baby”. In a country that emphatically does not legislate religious texts, being able to justify a religious conviction outside of religion itself is critical to explain why it should have an affect on our laws.
Not so now. Since there is absolutely no way to explain an objection to birth control outside of the Bible, the idea of “religious freedom” is coming out; it’s their hail mary pass (as it were). No one seems to mind a religious objection to actually killing human beings (be they in wars or the death penalty), but that’s probably because those are traditionally Republican ideas, and that means the religious right is cool with ’em. But now that it’s an election year and the right needs a way to flail and howl about how Obama hates Jesus, they picked the only thing available.
Which is rather peculiar, if you think about it. Odd time for this issue to pop up, and it almost certainly won’t end well for the GOP. The public is against them, and the rhetoric they’re using is so hyperbolic it’s legitimately offensive. One would almost think Obama threw a trap out there and they dove face first into it.