Sunday, November 3, 2013

Another Radical Right flat learning curve.... and more right wing efforts to dictate to everyone else

cross-posted from MNPP
Whether they officially admit it or not, the radical religious right seems to recognize that they can't put the toothpaste back in the tube, they can't UNring the bell; gay rights are here to stay, same-sex orientation has become widely normalized.

But they still keep trying to interfere in other people's sex lives and family relationships, instead of tending to the health and success of their own marriages and families -- which are disintegrating at a higher rate for conservative Christians than for other groups. That is not a new trend, it has been documented for over a decade.

As an article yesterday in Salon noted, simply dictating to individuals and couples that deviation from conservative religious teachings will send you straight to hell (AND in some cases claim it will cause natural disasters) DOES NOT WORK, not on those who don't share conservative religious beliefs, and not on those who DO share those beliefs:
In 2008, Barna again [ten years after a similar Barna survey] sampled Americans about divorce rates. The numbers fluctuated a bit, but once again atheists came out painfully good from a prays-together-stays-together perspective. Thirty percent reported ever being divorced, in contrast to 32 percent of born-again Christians. Slicing the U.S. by region, the Bible belt has the highest divorce rate, and this has been the case for over a decade, with the institution of marriage faring better in those dens of blue-state iniquity to the north and west.

What is going on? Even some secularists are puzzled. Churches provide strong communities for families. Many offer marital counseling and parenting classes. Love, they say, is a commitment, not a feeling. God hates divorce. They leverage moral emotions in the service of matrimony: a righteous sense of purity rewards premarital abstinence and post-marital monogamy—replaced by guilt and shame when nonmarital sex is unveiled or a marriage dissolves. Couples who split may find themselves removed from leadership positions or even ostracized. On the face of it, even if there were no God, one might expect this combination to produce lower divorce rates.

The reality, however, appears complex. Churches do honor and support marriage. They also may inadvertently promote divorce, especially—ironically—those churches which most bill themselves as shining lights in a dark world.

To prevent that greatest-of-all-evils, abortion, such communities teach even high school students to embrace surprise pregnancies as gifts from God. They encourage members to marry young so they won’t be tempted to fornicate. But women who give birth or marry young tend to end up less educated and less financially secure, both of which are correlated with higher divorce rates.

After marriage, some congregations, such as those in the “quiver-full” movement, encourage couples to leave family planning in God’s hands. Leaders echo the chauvinistic beliefs of Church fathers like St. Augustine and Martin Luther or the Bible writers: Women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety (1 Timothy 2:15). Such teachings grow congregations, literally, from the nursery up, but the very same attitudes that help to fill church pews can erode marital bliss. Ample research shows that for couples under age 30 marital satisfaction declines with the birth of each child. (Parenting tends to make couples happier only after age 40, when kids become more independent, and only in countries with comparatively weak social supports for aging adults.)

Secular couples tend to see both marriage and divorce as personal choices. Overall, a lower percent get married, which means that those who do may be particularly committed or well-suited to partnership. They are likely to be older if/when they do formally tie the knot. They have fewer babies, and their babies are more likely to be planned. Parenting, like other household responsibilities, is more likely to be egalitarian rather than based on the traditional model of “male headship.” Each of these factors could play a role in the divorce rate.

But a bigger factor may be economics, pure and simple. In the words of some analysts, marriage is becoming a luxury good, with each partner, consciously or subconsciously looking for someone who will pull their weight financially and declining to support one who won’t. “The doctor used to marry the nurse,” says Brad Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia. “Today the doctor marries the doctor.” Sixty percent of college educated women get married, as compared to 50 percent of women who hold only high school degrees or lower. Couples who stay married also tend to be wealthier than those who divorce. In Barna’s 2008 sample, couples with an income of less than $20,000 a year broke up almost twice as often as those earning $75,000 or more (39 percent vs 22 percent). Advocates who want to promote traditional marriage might do well to foster broad prosperity.

Unfortunately, the unpleasant reality is that red states, which are by every metric more conservative in their policies (especially in taxation and corporate welfare, and in union busting, low or no minimum wage, state budget-cutting  and low state spending, those states are also typically economically unsuccessful.   Typically, they have the greatest wealth and income inequality, redistributing money to the rich.  They have high uninsured rates, especially for children; they defund contraception and health care for women, making reproductive choice difficult if not impossible.  They tend to grossly underfund education and have chronically bad economic outcomes.

In short, they do everything that makes broad economic prosperity impossible and individual success improbable.  The conservatives make conditions worse for their own marriages, and exert every effort to make life a misery for everyone else, and justify it on the worst possible sanctimonious grounds.

The same Salon article goes on to note:
In one of those peculiar twists of fate, conservative Christian obsessions with abortion and sexual purity may be accelerating this trend. Naomi Cahn and June Carbone, authors of Red State, Blue State, propose that Bible-belt opposition to abortion has increased the non-marital birthrate and acceptance of single parent families:
The working class had long dealt with the inconvenient fact of an accidental pregnancy through the shotgun marriage. As blue-collar jobs paying a family wage have disappeared, however, so has early marriage. Women are then left with two choices: They can delay childbearing (which might entail getting an abortion at some point) until the right man comes along or get more comfortable with the idea of becoming single mothers. College-educated elites have endorsed the first option, but everyone else is drifting toward the second.
Conservative Christians thought they could have it all by promoting abstinence until marriage. But virginity pledges and abstinence-only education have failed. If anything, they have once again accelerated the trend, leaving Christian leaders fumbling for answers. Some hope that more flexible, egalitarian roles for Christian wives and husbands may be the answer. Others think that doubling down on traditional gender roles is where it’s at. Either way, gone is the bravado that once proclaimed marital salvation by faith alone. “Marriages and families within faith communities are no healthier than in the rest of society,” concedes Christian author Jonathan Merritt. “Faith communities must provide support systems to salvage damaged marriages.” Whether the institution of marriage itself can or should be salvaged is, perhaps, a question none of us are prepared to answer.

The radical right continues to push social issues relating to mainstream sexuality and gender,  in the hopes, apparently, of energizing their base in elections.  They haven't learned, the prudes and backward bigoted religious right are in a declining minority. They refuse to learn that sincere belief and intolerance is not the same as positive numbers.

One of their 'hot button' issues that increasingly is going cold is contraception insurance coverage under Obamacare / the ACA. The reality is that contraception access is hugely popular across the broad political spectrum, not a left/right issue. We have the Roman Catholic church pushing to undo the coverage that makes contraception affordable and available. But that is in the context where 98% of sexually active child bearing age Catholics USE contraception in spite of the dicta of their church. Tea Party radicals like Rick Santorum want to enforce no safe sex for you unless you are both married AND very intentionally trying to have children, like the sexual equivalent of the Seinfeld "soup nazi".  Ken 'the Cooch' Cuccinelli has come out against contraception as well.  The Cooch has tried to deny his position against contraception, but the facts of his past stance are clear , from the WaPo via msnbc:
In 2007, when he was a member of the Virginia Senate, Cuccinelli was co-sponsor of House Bill 2797, which would have added this line to the Virginia constitution: “That life begins at the moment of fertilization and the right to enjoyment of life guaranteed by Article 1, § 1 of the Constitution of Virginia is vested in each born and preborn human being from the moment of fertilization.”

The main sponsor of this bill was Robert G. Marshall, a member of the House of Delegates from Prince William County, and in 2012, the House of Delegates approved a version of it. This bill stated that “unborn children at every stage of development enjoy all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of the Commonwealth.”

At the time the House of Delegate took this action, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists denounced such “personhood” laws, warning that they could “deny women access to the full spectrum of preventive health care including contraception.” In talking points that accompanied the announcement, ACOG said that “some of the most effective and reliable forms of contraception – oral contraceptives, intrauterine devices, and other forms of FDA-approved contraceptives – could be banned in states that adopt ‘personhood’ measures.”

And now we have recent federal court decision invalidating contraception coverage under Obamacare,  and Bloomberg noted about other more contrary case decisions:
At least two other U.S. Courts of Appeal have addressed the constitutionality of the contraception mandate under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, with different results, as more suits over the rule have risen through the federal courts.

In July, the Obama administration defeated a challenge to the law by Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp., a cabinet maker owned by Mennonite Christians who argued the requirement violates their religious beliefs. The U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia in a 2-1 decision sided with the government.
Circuit Split
In June, a federal appeals court in Denver ruled that Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. would probably prevail with its argument that the provision violates the rights of the company and its owners under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

In the Washington case, the appeals court said a federal judge erred in not granting the brothers a reprieve from the rule while their lawsuit challenging it proceeds.

We continue to see the radical right, especially the extreme religious right in Minnesota, opposing Obamacare over contraception, and also we see them pushing the notion that their religious rights are being violated if they can't deny contraception use to their employees under health care coverage, and also pushing the right of health care professionals - doctors, nurses, and especially pharmacists - to deny care, including denying honest medical advice (which in reality means lying to patients if they have a moral objection to a patient's possible choice).  They want your pharmacist to be able to impose his or her religious beliefs over your doctors in allowing you to buy medications or medical equipment they dispense.

Never mind what that does to YOUR religious rights or YOUR right to honest, trustworthy, competent and factually accurate medical care.  Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arizona have legislation that makes it legal, as a matter of conscience, to lie to their patients about medical decisions.  This is, of course, on top of the states which already have medically inaccurate information mandated in abstinence only sex ed, and in mandated medical misinformation that is required to be provided, even against doctor's wishes, to women who are pregnant regarding choice issues.  The radical right in Minnesota, and in neighboring states, would like to add to that growing list of ok-to-lie-and-deny-states, under the pretext of religion.

Arguably, for many of these objectors, it's more about the business entities just being cheap jerks.  The greater hypocrisy here is that they want to legalize their right to dictate medical care and sexual choices, but would be the first to scream bloody murder if anyone did the same to them.  The radical right is nothing if not massively hypocritical.

Out in California, having thoroughly and utterly lost their challenge over Prop 8, the new trend is to get their puritanical knee-length granny knickers in a twist over allowing transgender children, which is by any metric a very small number of individuals, to choose which bathroom and locker room and sports team to join.  It is fair to say that having lost against the LG of the LGBT, they are now turning their opposition sites on the T /trans-gender.

Most recently we see the CEO of Jelly Belly jelly beans  funding an attempt to repeal a law that protects the rights of transgender kids under the auspices of the same organizers of the Prop8 opponents.  Apparently, the Jelly Belly CEO hasn't learned the lessons of other food and food service providers, that involving your corporate or corporate officer in a high profile belligerent conservative position relating to sexual issues is a business loser, big time.

And rounding out the denial of having lost the culture war on gender, sex and sexuality, is the new effort to correlate marriage equality for same-sexually oriented individuals and polyamory.  Same-sex orientation is increasingly understood to be an innate characteristic, something one tends to be born with, like eye color or right or left hand dominance; there is a growing body of scientific evidence that supports that understanding (and not only for humans).

The latest from the Minnesota Family Council mass-mailing with their hysteria headlines in big bold type, calculated to get the conservatives agitated:
No Surprise--Polyamory Groups Now Seeking Social Legitimacy to Their Relationships as LGBT Groups Have

There does not appear to be a similar basis for polyamory, or for that matter, for monogamy, as an individual quality that is innate or natural.  There is little documentation for polyamory, polygamy or polyandry practiced in the United States, unlike the documentation and study of same sex couples.  There is certainly far less documentation for the stability of such relationships, compared to traditional heterosexual marriage and same-sex couples.  The notion that the legal recognition, which was soundly justified, for same sex marriage is not similar by any reasonable or logical basis to other relationships.  It is worth noting that despite the avoidance of the fact by conservative Christians, the Biblican texts and traditions are clearly all about institutionalizing polygamy.  Add to that what amounts to serial monogamy, or serial polyamory, depending on how you define it, we have in the United States, with multiple marriages by    percent of Americans, multiple marriage partners as normative.


Divorce Rate Statistics of 1st, 2nd and 3rd Marriages

Various studies on US rate of divorce show significant differences when a comparison is made in 1st, 2nd and 3rd marriage breakups in America. The marriage breakup rate in America for first marriage is 41% to 50%; the rate after second marriage is from 60% to 67% and the rate in America for 3rd marriage are from 73% to 74%. Reports also say that couples with children have a slightly lower rate of breakup as compared to couples without children. This is due to the fact that being childless is one of the prime causes behind divorce in America. Also, the children of divorced parents are prone to divorcing 4 times more than the children of couples who are not divorced.
Respectfully, or more frankly, it's time for the religious right to stop messing with other people's live, and to do a lot more work with what's wrong with their own, including changing their failed beliefs and assumptions. That goes for the Minnesota radical right, and for the regional radical right nationally.

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