Tuesday, November 09, 2004



Sharia, for those who are not aware, is the Islamic code by which all Muslims should abide. My (limited) reading says that Muslims abide by this code in varying degrees, just as, say, Christians abide by the Bible in varying degrees.

In some nations, sharia is being hard-wired into state law. In this way, thieves will have their hands cut off and adulterers will be stoned. As this is the way of the Koran (as interpreted by those in power), this is acceptable.

Now, especially in the wake of the election of George W. Bush to a term commencing in 2005, religion will play an even stronger role in American life. There is already debate about the future of the US Supreme Court and how any new justices may work to throw out the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. But the Bush Administration and the current Congress are working to enforce their view of Christianity in other ways, from requiring parental consent prior to abortions to withholding funding to nations that legalize abortion.

Now comes something truly frightening, even if you believe in options other than abortion. It is becoming more and more easy for druggists to refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control pills. Many women, not just prostitutes and teenage sluts, need access to birth control pills. Married women certainly should have access to them, as should women who need them for other reasons than contraception (and there are other reasons).

We're not talking about when life begins. I can be persuaded that life begins at conception and not somewhere in the second trimester. I myself have not been responsible for an abortion, and I don't believe I would have ever accepted that option were I presented with it (then again, I'm not a woman). Pharmaceutical birth control has been legal in the US only slightly longer than abortion (cf. Griswold v. Connecticut, 1965), but was what made the total freedom of women possible.

Whether this is revenge for Hillary Rodham Clinton's baking-cookies remark or Theresa Heinz Kerry's even more ill-timed Laura-Bush-never-had-a-real-job slight, it's clear that we are living in a country where our legislators are intent on returning women to living barefoot and pregnant and at home, where they aren't near the halls of any legislature, board room, or night club (especially the latter).

These laws all come from a desire to enforce the Bible -- and really, the New Testament -- upon a heterogeneous nation of 290 million disparate souls. It is the revenge of people who never understood why state money shouldn't be used to display creches or the Ten Commandments, who don't understand why the phrase "under God" should be optional in the Pledge of Allegiance, and who will throw a hissy fit if I begin to wonder why the phrase, "In God We Trust," is minted on our coins. And if I discuss gay people, well, Katie bar the door!

These people now control the government.

And even then, I could live with these people if they could only be consistent. When a man is beating his wife, let's actually arrest him. When some over-steroidized sub-intelligent jock is kicking a gay man to near-death, let's punish him. But let's not let them hide behind their white picket fences and fresh-cut green lawns and their lemonade socials. They want us all to be Christians, and if they can't convert us on missions or by force in catechism class, then they'll do it by threatening to send us to jail. Or, in this case, forcing women to bear unwanted children.

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