The Religious War on Women Continues

It must be a terribly confusing time to be a member of the Vatican hierarchy. In an effort to stem the accelerating exodus of Catholic laypeople, they've been cracking down on suspected heretics left and right - on nuns who help the poor too much, on priests who want to change the rules of ordination, on politicians who don't vote the way the bishops tell them to, on groups that fight bullying of gay teenagers, on ordinary churchgoers who've been divorced or who don't attend Mass every week - … [Read more...]

Notes on Pregnancy and Privilege

In a previous thread, again buried in a huge pile of comments, there was one I wanted to highlight:Now you talk of pregnancy as a real life threatening thing to do like crazy acrobatic motorcycle tricks. Pregnancy is natural, women's bodies are prepared for it.I'm bringing this remark to the forefront because it reveals an attitude that I think is common among anti-choicers, and because I have some relevant knowledge that bears on it. As I mentioned before, I just recently turned 30, … [Read more...]

The Bishops Versus Birth Control

I don't think I've ever written this sentence before, but here goes: There's been so much good news on the pro-choice front lately, it's hard to keep up! Since my last post, developments have come so rapidly that they demand a follow-up. First, an update on the Komen story. As you've probably heard, the Komen Foundation withdrew its policy barring grants to Planned Parenthood after a firestorm of criticism. This is great news, but the cherry on top is that Karen Handel, the anti-choice … [Read more...]

The Religious War on Reproductive Health

When it comes to reproductive health in America, progress often seems like a one-step-forward-two-steps-back kind of situation. But let's start with some rare good news: in January, the Obama administration announced that most employers would have to cover birth control in their employee health plans with no co-pay - enraging religious groups, which had hoped for a broad exemption for church-run businesses. This rule is a straightforward application of anti-discrimination law. Churches, which … [Read more...]

New on AlterNet: Teaming Up with Liberal Theists

My latest article has just been published on AlterNet, Why Is America's Most Progressive Voting Block Often Overlooked? In it, I discuss the strong progressive leanings of American nonbelievers, what we could accomplish if we worked together with liberal religious believers on causes we held in common, and what the obstacles to that alliance are. (It's also been reprinted on Salon, if you'd rather comment there.) Read the excerpt below, then click through to see the rest:In America, … [Read more...]

Birth Control Can Save the World

The world population, by U.N. estimates, has just surpassed seven billion, and it's growing even faster than demographers' predictions. Nicholas Kristof has an insightful column (though I depart from him on one major point, as explained below) on what this means for humanity's future. "Overpopulation" is a taboo word in some circles, not entirely without reason, but the simple truth is that an extremely large population makes every other problem worse. It accelerates the depletion of natural … [Read more...]

Take Action: Speak Out on “Conscience Clauses”

The other day, I got this action alert from FFRF that I thought was worth passing along:As you may know, on August 1st, 2011, the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Labor, and Department of Health and Human Services jointly announced new guidelines for access to preventative care. The new regulations greatly expand access to preventative care under the new health care act, particularly for women. One of the most significant changes is the provision that all FDA-approved contraceptives … [Read more...]

Tax Breaks for Ignorance

As you doubtless already know, America is suffering through an unprecedented economic disaster. With millions of people jobless and millions of homeowners underwater, the economy is stagnant and its prospects are dim. Which is why, in these hard times, nothing is more important than shoveling more taxpayer dollars into the gaping maw of the fundamentalist carnival sideshow:A group of private investors and religious organizations is hoping to build a Bible-themed amusement park in Kentucky, … [Read more...]

Dispatches from Future America: Nation Ratifies Reproductive Rights Amendment

[Editor's Note: The last dispatch I received in this ongoing series was particularly bleak. As if on cue, I got another message the other day, this one apparently originating from a very different, and much rosier, future. I get the strong impression that these two possible worlds are, in some manner, competing against each other.]JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI (August 6, 2037) — The Thirty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified today after passing the Mississippi state … [Read more...]

The Natural Law Argument Against Procreation

"Nobody has the right to harm others. Yet, homosexuality is a harmful behavior. It is obviously harmful to its practitioners — the clinical evidence for all manner of psychological and physical problems created by acting on homosexual impulses is well established. Homosexuality is destructive to self because it uses the human body in ways that it simple [sic] was not intended to be used by nature and nature's God."In the above quote, religious-right columnist Tim Dunkin argues that we know h … [Read more...]


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