Every time I think sweet day of beauty, today I will sit down and compose something cheering on my blog, something to make up for the glooming achiness of recent ramblings—
I swear, every time—
I stop by Facebook and find something like this in my feed. Palm to face, people. You know how poorly I tolerate this stuff in general. And now not even remotely.
It was a former youth pastor this time, venting about how Obama is out to destroy religious freedom by forcing Catholics to violate their conscience and offer birth control coverage in their healthcare plans for female employees.
My general feeling is that people post things like this looking for a bunch of thumbs up from their like-minded friends (I mean, who doesn’t want a bunch of thumbs up? I love a good thumbs up), but my other general feeling is that when a whole bunch of people get together to encourage each other in being all riled up about half-truths, there’s nothing wrong with offering a little counterpoint to the conversation.
Naturally, I decided to be that counterpoint.
“I will speak up for the truth!”
Or, perhaps possibly:
“I will punch him in the face…”
Sometimes it’s best not to look too closely at personal motivations. I mean, which is worse: being motivated by irritation or completely deluding yourself that you’re acting on the best of intentions, thereby dulling your self-awareness for future outings? Let’s keep it real, people. This stuff ticks me off.
But we managed to have a nice, civil little back and forth about healthcare, and I offered a lot of reasons why, in my opinion, what’s really going on is that the government’s ruling that when the religious freedom of large (business) organizations conflict with the rights and freedoms of individuals, the individuals win. Personally, I don’t have a problem with that. (Remember: churches are still allowed an exemption for conscience, this is about Catholic-run businesses like hospitals, and did you know that 18-20% of all hospital beds in the US are under Catholic management? So we’re talking about a very significant number of jobs for healthcare professionals across the country).
But, more specifically, the way the argument is framed is frustrating to me as a Christian and a woman, because the double-standard of the “let God be in control of your womb” thing is just not working for me anymore. Because what they really mean is that you should let God be in control a) if you’re healthy, and b) if you’re female.
How do I know that?
Because Catholics have no problem covering Viagra for their male employees.
I’m not sure why Viagra is more moral than birth control. You can use it to maintain a good sex life with your wife of 30 years or you can use it for wild sex orgies. Really, it’s a choose-your-own-adventure. Kind of like the 1.5 million American women who use birth control for purely medical purposes.
And you are SO LUCKY that I’m not drawing pictures to illustrate this male/female divide, because I almost did. And then I remembered that my mom sometimes reads this blog. And since she’s planning to come and cook lasagna for me for a week after the baby is born, I’m willing to let the decision handed down in wild sex orgies v. lasagna stand.
(You can thank her in the comments.)
All this to say: Either you’re leaving it completely in God’s hands, or you aren’t. If you believe God specifically opens the womb for each pregnancy, then he must also close it every time a woman can’t conceive.
For some reason religious leaders are very comfortable with this kind of language, yet I’ve never heard a pastor talk about how God’s hand is evident in sperm count and erectile dysfunction. Really, it’s all very simple: we want God to have control of female reproductive organs, but we’re not so sure we trust God to get it right for men.
My pastor friend didn’t seem to share my enthusiasm.
This has nothing to do with gender, he said. And, for him, it didn’t. End of the road. End of the discussion.
It must be nice to be a pastor, I thought to myself.
It must be nice to wake up one morning and say, THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH GENDER, and just like that it doesn’t. I mean, I spent a lot of time in between our postings reading up on Catholic websites and the new healthcare laws and looking for statistics (some of which didn’t particularly help my cause, by the way. Apparently women in the US are fairly divided over the question of whether birth control has made women’s lives better. Only 8% think it’s made it worse, but only a slight majority (54%, if I remember correctly) think it’s a definite improvement). Anyway, when you’re a peon like me, it’s kind of important to do some homework and be very calm and rational and polite in times like these.
It must be nice to be a pastor and just decide that things like this have nothing to do with gender and preach week after week to an entire church full of people—at least half of whom will be female—and feel no need to address gender in issues like these because, after all, none of these things have anything to do with gender.
It must be nice.
And for a minute, it really seemed like the obvious answer:
“I will be a pastor!”
But, no. I looked around my table at the pile of Carl’s birthday presents that need to be wrapped for tomorrow, at the bag of diapers my sister-in-law dropped off, the baby clothes that need to be washed, the pile of tax forms that say we’re on our way to getting a more reliable car, the drift of notes from writing and work, and allowed myself a small, happy little groove because Paul Simon’s “Kodachrome” just came on and you have to be happy about a song that talks about the greens of summers and Nikon cameras.
And, I thought…
I care, but let’s not kid ourselves. I don’t care that much.
Pretty sure I know what I’m going to be:
“I will be myself!”
Because it’s way more fun that way.