Cue Fundie Head-Explosion in 3...2...1...

Last summer, I decided to face one of my fears by taking a public speaking class.  The final project for the class was a persuasive speech.  I, loving controversy as I do, decided to argue that the National Day of Prayer should be abolished, a position which I took not only for the fun of arguing it to a not-terribly-receptive class, but because I genuinely believed it to be true, and still do.

Well, I got my wish today.  A Wisconsin federal district court held yesterday, in a suit brought against the President by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, that the law requiring the President to declare a National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional under the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment.  The NDoP will still be held this year; the judge added a 30-day stay on his order to allow time for appeals, as is customary, and that extends past the first Thursday in May, so President Obama will still issue the proclamation this year.

But this?  Is still a huge step forward for non-believers in America, or those who do not "pray" in the traditional sense of the word, or just those who understand the concept of separating church and state and would like to see it upheld.  And it deals a hefty blow to the dominionist types, who are forever arguing that America is a Christian nation, to be told outright that even a non-sectarian and inclusive (for some value of "inclusive", which pointedly does not include atheists or agnostics) Day of Prayer, when mandated by law, is unconstitutional.

Of course, since the right-wing Christians in charge of the National Day of Prayer Task Force were upset over just the scaling-back of Obama's first declarations of the NDoP, from Bush-style prayer breakfasts and public events to a quiet signing and no events at the White House at all, you can bet they are going to flip. their. shit. over a judge declaring the whole thing unconstitutional.  The judge, forseeing this, added this explanation to the end of her judgment:

I understand that many may disagree with that conclusion and some may even view it as a criticism of prayer or those who pray. That is unfortunate. A determination that the government may not endorse a religious message is not a determination that the message itself is harmful, unimportant or undeserving of dissemination. Rather, it is part of the effort to "carry out the Founders' plan of preserving religious liberty to the fullest extent possible in a pluralistic society." .... The same law that prohibits the government from declaring a National Day of Prayer also prohibits it from declaring a National Day of Blasphemy.
It is important to clarify what this decision does not prohibit. Of course, "[n]o law prevents a [citizen] who is so inclined from praying" at any time.... And religious groups remain free to "organize a privately sponsored [prayer event] if they desire the company of likeminded" citizens.... The President too remains free to discuss his own views on prayer.... The only issue decided in this case is that the federal government may not endorse prayer in a statute as it has in §119.

Will this stop the Dobsons and their NDoP Task Force from claiming this as religious persecution?  I highly doubt it,  but at this moment, I don't care.  I just know that I, as an American who does not pray in the way most people mean the word, and who definitely does not recognize some kind of supreme authority-deity that might reasonably be represented by proclamations urging Americans to ask for God's blessing or offer thanks "to God", am grateful that a court has recognized the marginalizing power the National Day of Prayer holds over Americans of non-deistic faith or no faith.  We are Americans too, and there is no reason to have a law require the President once a year to insinuate that we're less so because we don't join the rest of the nation in prayer.

Thank you, Judge Crabb.  Thank you for standing by the Founders' true intentions (both James Madison and Thomas Jefferson spoke about the problematic nature of government urging religious expression) instead of the revisionist history that would create America as a nation of faith, and to hell with the rest of us.  Thank you for refusing to dismiss the case when the Obama administration asked you to.  From the bottom of my godless heart, thank you.

And Again, I Don't Exist

Yes, it's another abortion bill post.  I can't help that they are a dime a dozen right now.  Blame the antis.

This time, it's Missouri passing anti-choice, anti-woman legislation.  But this time, it's not the content of the bill that's noteworthy.  It's your standard chipaway bill, with requirements that the local prosecutor be notified any time a woman under 18 even seeks *information* about abortion - ostensibly to aid in prosecution of statutory rape and/or incest cases, but it's more of a shaming than anything else - rewriting and tweaking the brochures and "educational" information clinics give out so that they prominently feature ideological claims about life beginning at conception, and requiring that clinics "prominently display statements encouraging a pregnant woman seeking an abortion to contact agencies that help a woman carry an unborn child to full term" (from the official bill summary, in case anyone thinks I'm exaggerating that).  It also creates a felony offense "coercing an abortion", which, if they're so worried about people influencing pregnant women about abortion, makes one wonder why they're so determined to influence women themselves.  

However, as I said, the worst part isn't the bill itself.  It's a statement made during the debate on the House floor, by one (absolutely-unhinged, anti-contraception, anti-sex, anti-everything) Rep. Cynthia Davis. 

“...women don’t naturally want to kill their offspring. Women who are loved, cared for and supported don’t mind having their own child.”

And just like that, I and other women like me, childless by choice and willing to enforce that choice with abortion if necessary, am erased from existence.  

How dare she?  How dare that presumptuous fuckwit talk as if she's some kind of monolithic mouthpiece of women, as if all women are made from the same mold?  Oh, that's right, I forget.  For misogynists, the rule is and always will be: By the transitive power of the uterus, all women are interchangeable.  Well, fuck that.  I am loved.  I am cared for.  I have a great deal of support, both now, and four years ago when I had my abortion.  You know how the important people in my lives (those who I let in on the decision at the time, anyway, cause honestly, yeah, it can be a private thing) showed that they love, care for, and support me?  By helping me have my abortion.  By not making a fuss.  By understanding that I was making the best choice for me and my life.  By accidentally running into me on my way out of the health center when I got hit with a positive pregnancy test, and refusing to let me go home to brood, instead taking me out to lunch and hanging out until I'd regained my equilibrium enough to be alone safely (my dear friend, who knew me very, very well).  By making a 2-hr drive at 5 AM on a weekday to go to the clinic with me for my appointment (my mom, and the same friend offered, though I told her to get some sleep instead).  By shooing my brother out of the house for the weekend and hanging out and taking care of me during the actual abortion weekend (mom, again).  By sending the money I'd need to pay for it, and offering to fly back out, despite the couple hundred dollars it would take to do that, if I felt I needed him there with me (my boyfriend at the time). 

So I dare you, Rep Davis: Go ahead and go tell my family and friends and loved ones, to their faces, that they didn't "love, care for, or support" me, and that if they had, I would have had a baby instead of an abortion.  And depending on their temperaments, you will alternately get hit upside the head, ignored/eyerolled at, laughed at, or treated to a scathing lecture on your idiocy.  Because they know me, and trust and believe when I tell you: I very much DO mind having my own baby.  I could have armies of servants catering to my every whim, hordes of devoted fans and friends and lovers worshiping me as a Goddess, and I would still mind having my own baby.  This is not a situational thing.  To set it up as if it is, and assume that all women want babies, they just don't know it yet, is ridiculous, rude, disrespectful, dishonest, insulting, and frankly, stupid.  

I know strawwomen are much easier to control (and let's face it, that's the real goal of the anti-choice movement), but howsabout you try actually, I dunno, talking to other women outside of your tiny personal circle, before you make sweeping proclamations about women's reproductive desires?  I am a woman.  I do mind having my own baby, I will always mind having my own baby.  I do not fit into your idea of "women", and I sure as fuck never authorized you to speak on my behalf.  So don't. fucking. do it.


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