Friday, March 9, 2012

Unintended consequences of 'war'

Are we in the middle of the war on women or the war on religion?

Actually, they're both related.

Since women are the backbone of most religions, a war on women also harms organized religion.

Most religions are patriarchal and the modern woman wants more from organized religion than the men who run those religions will allow.

Consequently, women have been leaving organized religion, including Catholicism, for years.

Samuel Johnson once said that "patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."

Could it be that religion is the last refuge of the sexist male?

The Washington Post religion writer offers her take on the religious battle of the sexes with a provocative essay.

She quotes liberally from a recent book titled, "The Resignation of Eve: What if Adam's Rib is No Longer Willing to Be the Church's Backbone?"

"Between 1991 and 2011, the number of adult women attending church weekly has declined 20 percent. The number of women going to Sunday school has dropped by about a third, as has the number of women who volunteer at church.

"In its pages, the author, an evangelical minister named Jim Henderson, argues that unless the male leaders of conservative Christian churches do some serious soul-searching — pronto — the women who have always sustained those churches with their time, sweat and cash will leave. In droves. And they won’t come back. Their children, traditionally brought to church by their mothers, will thus join the growing numbers of Americans who call themselves 'un-churched.' ”

Obviously, this isn't good for religions.

But, religions are pulling away from their communities who they disdain for becoming more secular.

Last year, the Catholic Church ended its affiliation with St. Charles Medical Center in Bend because the hospital allowed tubal ligations to be performed there.  The Church, evidently, wasn't concerned that vasectomies were also being done there.

The bishop who made the break with the hospital has been reassigned and a new bishop, appointed by Pope Benedict XVI, will take over the Diocese of Baker, which includes Bend.

Will the new bishop, as the last one did, require those Catholics wishing to participate in positions of leadership to sign a pledge that they adhere to the church's positions on abortion, contraception, the death penalty and gay relationships?

Apparently, such requirements are not common in the Catholic Church.

In California, "The Catholic Diocese of Sacramento no longer will fund programs at Francis House, a nonprofit agency that serves homeless people, because of its new director's views supporting abortion rights and gay marriage."

Read more here:

It is no surprise that the ones crying the loudest about the mandate that all women have access to contraceptives are men.

Bill O'Reilly, a Catholic himself, said that Viagra should be covered by insurance, but that contraceptives should not.

This naturally leads to this impertinent question: Do the health insurance plans of Catholic-affiliated institutions cover Viagra, even if a priest seeks a prescription?

It's these double-standards, which favor men over women, that rankles most women and many men.

The current Republican candidates for president, all men, have staked their positions: They're for religion on this issue and against women.

This not only hurts their elective chances as noted in a previous post, but it also fractures the GOP itself. 

A New York Republican lawmaker, who obviously is not running for re-election, says she'll vote for President Obama because the Republican candidates "would take women back decades."

This focus on religion also doesn't help the candidates because once you delve into Mormonism, the religion of the presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney, the less attractive he becomes. Women are definitely unequal, to put it mildly, in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Plus, in their rush to defend freedom of religion over the freedom of women, will these Republicans stand up for Islam, which condones "honor killings" of girls and women? I don't think so.

No one says that the Catholic Church, or any religion, has to change. They won't. 

Consequently, the U.S. is becoming a more secular society.

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