Friday, September 14, 2012

Hobby Lobby sues to deny coverage for Plan B

Hobby Lobby (a Christian company) and several others are suing the US Government to to try to restrict their employees access to Plan B contraception through their insurance.

"These abortion-causing drugs go against our faith," said David Green, founder and chief executive officer of Hobby Lobby Stores Inc, in a call with reporters. "We simply cannot abandon our religious beliefs to comply with this mandate." (source Chicago Tribune)

There is so much wrong in this one quote that I find it really hard to read the reports without face-palming several times.

Let's start by getting the first elephant out of the room and picking this apart.

Plan B is not an abortion-causing drug.  It does not terminate an existing pregnancy, it prevents implantation.   It is emergency contraception, often used if other contraception fails (condoms break, yo).  One of the other major uses is after a rape has occurred to ensure that the victim doesn't get pregnant.

However, many Christians believe that life begins at conception.  That is their belief.   As such, their belief should not dictate what others do according to their beliefs.

They are trying to dictate how and when their employees use their insurance.  Insurance is usually paid into (at least partly) by the employee, and it is also considered part of their salary.  No company has the right to control how employees use their salary when they are off the clock.  If they want to donate to a charity (religious or otherwise) fine, it's their money.  If they want to spend it on hookers and blow, knock yourself out, just be willing to pay the legal consequences.  If you and your doctor decide you need emergency contraception, nobody has the right to deny it to you.  Women need to be allowed to be in control of their own health and bodies, not to be controlled by what others deem to be right, moral, or acceptable.  

And that is what it comes down to, control.  

Replace Plan B with, oh let's say antidepressants.  Perhaps the company is run by Scientologists that don't believe that mental illness is real.  The insurance that they offer allows for psychological/psychiatric care and prescription drugs.  If Hobby Lobby is allowed to do this, would this company be allowed to do the same and restrict access to therapy and medication to those that suffer with mental illness?  I guess as long as it is a Christian faith it's reasonable right?

Wrong.  Oh so wrong.

And this one is a doozy.  Nobody is asking you to abandon your religious beliefs.  May I direct you to this fantastic document Is Your Religious Liberty at Risk?, particularly #3.  

Just because you cannot force others to adhere to your religious beliefs does not mean that your rights are being trampled on, quite the opposite, it is you doing the trampling.  Is anybody forcing the corporate big-wigs to use any kind of contraception (no matter how much some people would like to)?

No.  Don't believe in it?  Don't use it.  Don't like it?  Okay.  But as soon as you try to force your employees to follow the tenets of your faith, you are in the wrong. 

This whole debacle also brings to light how religion seeks to control others, particularly women.  Is Viagra and other boner pills covered under their insurance.  Most likely.  Is standard birth control covered?  Yes, because it is discriminatory against 50% of the population to deny coverage of a medication just because it is used exclusively by women.

Why don't they want to cover Plan B?  Because those loose women with shady morals shouldn't ever be having sex unless it is for the sole purpose of procreation.  Yet, from a financial standpoint, isn't covering contraception and Plan B a whole hell of a lot cheaper than covering 18 years of doctor's visits?

This is just one in a list of companies that are trying to overstep their authority, and I for one will not support it.  The best way to show my disagreement is with my wallet.  And before you think this would be easy for me, let me tell you that I am a knitter and crocheter.  I really like some of the yarn that Hobby Lobby sells, they have a great selection and their prices are usually noticeably lower than their competition.  For certain craft supplies, I feel that they are the best place to find them, but no longer.

I am sick and tired of the religious right acting as though their faith gives them special powers to lord over everybody else, and acting like crybabies when they are told that it doesn't.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

No Soliciting for Dummies

After the umpteenth time I have had someone that was not a local student try to sell me magazines I finally broke down and printed up a simple "No Soliciting" sign.  The students sell magazines as a school and booster club fundraiser, I don't really know where the hell my money is going with these other guys.

What really gets me is that they start off saying they aren't trying to sell me something then they...

...wait for it....

try to sell me something.

Not five minutes after I affixed the sign by my door, right by the doorbell so it can't be missed, I have a person I don't know ring my doorbell.  It is an older gentleman in a white shirt and tie.

Him:  "I noticed you have a 'No Soliciting' sign"
Me:  "MmmHmmm" (while telling myself I shouldn't have opened the damn door - what is wrong with me?)
Him:  "I'm not selling anything but I wanted to share something with you".  He proceeds to start handing me a Watchtower magazine.
Me:  thinking that he is most certainly trying to sell me something, and I'm not buying. "We're atheists"
Him:  "Oh, ok, have a nice day!"

In the past I would have never said this because I was so worried about the reaction I would get.  This time I was irritated that my sign was ignored and I'm getting my time wasted, so I spoke the truth instead of politely refusing like usual.

My husband wasn't happy with me but I assured him that it is probably the best way to get rid of them.  I wasn't rude, I didn't slam the door in his face, I just told the truth.  It's just one of many, many baby steps I have taken towards coming out.  Most of my family suspects I am a non-believer (not just non-religious), but it is the elephant in the room, and my family does a great job of ignoring and stepping around the elephant.  It's such a small thing but it felt good telling the truth instead of stammering some sort of weak excuse that kept them coming back.  As I get older, I no longer want to hide who I am in an attempt to protect myself (or the people I love).  I keep quiet because my husband isn't as strong as I am.  Or he thinks I am totally naive and fears major backlash should the bald truth be told.  So I've gotten more subtle about letting people know who I am.  When I am getting to know someone, I ask a lot of questions, try to get to know where they stand on certain issues.

As the saying goes, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is believing that everyone thinks exactly the same way you do.

Once I find that our beliefs and stances match up in enough ways I start relaxing.  And you know what?  I have found several people like me.  My eldest child has found people like them, and I hope my youngest does as well.

Surround yourself with people that know you and love you anyway.

My coming out is a slow and tedious process, but I believe I will get there someday.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I’ll Be Post-Feminist In The Post-Patriarchy

Feminism and Omegle

A friend of mine decided to do a little social experiment.  She has asked questions that are relevant to feminism to see what kind of answers she gets.  I have no idea of the user demographics of Omegle, so it could be that it skews the responses.  But if you ever wanted to know what people think about these things when they are protected by anonymity, check out her blog:  Feminism and Omegle.

Check out this winner after just a few minutes of gathering responses:

So, according to this douchebag, rape isn't that bad.  

Stranger 1 just admitted that he would rape, no matter what they wore.  

When someone references rape culture, this right here is it.  Not only a culture that puts the responsibility of the rape on the victim, but also seems to give people the idea that rape is no big deal.

Tell me, how is it ok to think and/or behave this way?  Quick answer?  It's not.  Ever.

Interestingly, Omegle wasn't filled with trolls only.  There actually were some thoughtful, civil, and mature conversations that people had that did not make me weep for the human race.  Other questions included:  "Would you watch a superhero movie with a female lead?", "Do you consider yourself a feminist?", "Do you think the way female characters are portrayed in film/tv/video games...are treated with the same respect as male characters?", and so on.  She is on tumblr and has "Ask Me a Question" enabled, so if you would like to see her ask a certain question on Omegle, you could ask and she may post the results.

I could post more, but it is her blog, so if you are interested, pop over to Feminism and Omegle.

Joe Walsh tells Sandra Fluke to "Get a Job"

She is a law student, she will soon have a job.  And she just wants her DOCTOR PRESCRIBED drugs to be covered by insurance.  How does this translate to her being unemployed or wanting them for free?  It doesn't.  For a long time birth control pills hadn't been covered by a lot of insurance prescription plans.  But Viagra and other boner pills were.

Explain to me how this isn't patriarchal and discriminatory?

"No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother" - Margaret Sanger

Monday, September 10, 2012

Standing up and being heard

I read with dismay that a lot of feminist atheist bloggers have been getting increasingly numerous comments that are nasty and malicious and not adding anything to the conversation at hand.  They have devolved into rape and death threats and reveal a surprising amount of misogyny.

Because of these threats and the fear that they have caused, I decided to create this blog so I can speak my mind on feminist and atheist issues that I am not always free to express in real life.

Yes, I am still anonymous, but I show up in support of my fellow women nonetheless.  Over time, I hope I develop the bravery and strength to reveal myself and stand unwavering in my convictions.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Missing the Point Entirely

I've seen this little gem posted on Facebook a few times.  I know, I know.  For my own sanity I should just walk away.  Poking the crazy is such a strong temptation but I figured torching a friendship (or fracturing family relations) is not worth feeling superior over.  So instead I'm going to do it here.
Back to this not-funny cartoon:
Interestingly this comic touches on two things that  ZOMG!OppressedChristians! (TM) like to twist to make it seem like the evil atheists are trying to abolish or take away their enjoyment of their faith.
Most obvious is the War on Christmas (TM)!  There is no war on Christmas.  I don't give a flying fuck if you wish me a Merry Christmas, Happy Solstice, or Chrismahanukwanzikah.  When you say any of these to me, I assume that it reflects your beliefs and I usually will smile and respond "You too!".  I alternate between Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays depending on the person, and if I were working a customer service job I would default to Happy Holidays.  The reason isn't not offending, the reason is that I wish to be as inclusive as possible.   Religion isn't obvious, like blue eyes or red hair.  People choose religion, and sometimes even change religions.  I don't know if the person in front of me is Jewish, Christian, Atheist, Muslim, Pagan, or whatever.  I wish everyone happiness at this time.
So go have yourself a Merry Christmas.  Hell, say it as much as you want.  Just don't demand that I say it too, because it doesn't show how christian you are, it shows how much of an asshole you are and how insecure you are that you need sheep bellowing the same thing all around you.
The less obvious part of this is separation of church and state.  Once again, this totally misses the point.  Kids will not get in trouble if they express their faith in public school.   It's one thing to say "I'm Christian and I celebrate Christmas".  It's another to expect everyone else to do the same.  And if I recall correctly, teachers and administrators can get in trouble if they discuss religion in any way that promotes one above any others or with any intention of proselytizing.  However, if this little boy said to another child "You are dumb because you don't celebrate Christmas", then maybe a trip to the principal's office is in order.
Us Evil Atheists are not looking to take away Christmas.  I celebrate it as a secular holiday and as a time to share love with my family and friends.  Giving gifts makes me happy.  Other's celebrate it as Yule, or the solstice.  It is also a federal holiday.  Don't be a herd animal and post this drivel.  Spend that energy elsewhere, be a role model and use that energy to help others, not just in December but all year long.  Charities that have a glut of volunteers in December have a difficult time finding them in the summer.  Use those mouse clicks to spend $20 to help feed or immunize people in impoverished countries (or hey, your own country, we have plenty of hungry and homeless people here).  If you are privileged enough that all you have to worry about is this War on Christmas bullshit, rejoice and Happy Holidays!