Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Short Interlude: Why I'm Annoyed with the Contraception Debate

Ok, so I know that this is kind of breaking up the flow of my last post. But I kind of just want to voice my entire ambivalence to the arguments that I have recently seen regarding the contraception "debates" that have been going on recently. Mainly two things that I've been thinking.

First: are we seriously at this point where we are arguing about whether people should be allowed to use birth control? I mean... if someone thinks that that's a winner for politics, then ok. But I think that is shows how ridiculously terrible the entire political scene is right now. We've been ceding ground to people who want to take away sexual liberties for the past 40 years, and now we're at the point that condoms and birth control are being debated. That is so messed up that it kind of makes me want to scream. Also, the fact that some religious beliefs may not like birth control, doesn't mean that it's something that they don't have to pay for. I wish I could work for the Quakers and not have to pay taxes that go to war because of my "religious conscience," but I'd still get put in prison.

That is one that goes without saying. The second feeling I have on it is a bit more complex. I'm not Roman Catholic, and I disagree with the Roman Catholic Church on a lot of things, but I'm getting really frustrated by the rhetoric that is going on around this.

I don't think people quite realize the societal level that anti-Catholicism runs in this country, and there have been a lot of comments that I've heard from ostensibly "Progressive" (I hate that term, but it's a self identification) people have given into it. There is kind of the same thing going on for Mormons because of Romney, but I would talk about that later if necessary. But there have been a lot of people spreading rumors and general comments about Roman Catholics, or the Church that I think are pretty suspicious. Insofar as they have a long history in American Anti-Catholicism.

What I mean is, that I've heard plenty of people say things such as "The Catholic Church controls all the Catholics in Congress", or that Rick Santorum would answer to the Pope if elected President, or calling Catholics 'papists'. I've heard that the Catholic Church was why George W. Bush won his second term, because of their massive influence and money. Never mind that those people don't get that Catholics are generally more leftist in politics than the average person. Look, we've heard all of this before, and it was when we had JFK running for President. We can say that Rick Santorum would be a terrible President without falling into rhetorical conspiracy theories that were prominent 50 years ago.

The other thing that pisses me off is the recent mentioning of Catholic child abuse scandals. Now, there are a couple of different reasons for this. One of them is that almost all of them are done in the context of joking ABOUT CHILD ABUSE. Scoring cheap political points by making jokes at the expense of children who have been abused (even if the joke is intended for their abuser) is gross, and the people who do it should think twice before doing it. You're still joking about rape, even if you "mean it for good reasons". The second is that it follows a lot of the unfortunate trends of talking about Catholic child abuse scandals. The emphasis on Catholic priests' sex abuse over other faith traditions echoes both the American idea of priests as homosexuals, but of homosexuals as child molesters. From what I've been able to find, The John Jay Report on Catholic child sex abuse notes that the prevalence of abusing priests is about 4%, which is about the same amount as pedophilia across demographics.

What I'm not saying is that that is alright. But I think the obsession with Catholic priests is one that echoes a long history of messed up attitudes. We don't bring up teachers abusing students every time that they disagree with us, so why do that with priests? I think it comes both from American prejudices of the Catholic Church, along with homophobia, since the abuse is statistically more homosexual than places like schools.


  1. You know, it's probably not homophobia so much as it is the contrast between the ideal of religious purity and the act of molesting children. When people supposedly acting in the will of God molest kids, it creates a longer lasting impression than when a random teacher does it. Teachers don't go around judging your immortal soul most of the time.

    Also, I've got to ask, why do you use "sex" and "violence" as labels for this blog post? If you ask me, a more fitting label would be "ivory tower bitching", you damn college kid! People have more important things to worry about than the delicate semantics that offend big crying babies. Do you remember when you scolded Hitler in London?

    That wasn't funny Joel. Hitler was vry srs business and vry srs caused a lot of people to be vry sad. Your sense of humor was hitlerphobic, and that's wrong. You should be like Superman. He is a nice guy. He saves the people but would give Hitler a hug so he stops accidentally the Jews. I know it's true b/c I read stories about Superman and that's what I think, and I would not think wrong things if I were smart because smart means you are always right if you feel strongly enough.

  2. I'm not exactly certain that the last paragraph had any content there.

    Regardless, complaining about 'ivory tower bitching' is the same as complaining about 'modern art'. Both are wasting more time than the thing they are complaining about.

    I would say that my opinion on the matter is that people are more pruriently interested in male-male child sexual abuse because of societal homophobia. I agree that the priests hold themselves to a higher standard, but looking at it sociologically the outside interest in the matter seems to be sexist in nature (insofar as it doesn't care about abuse of girls). 20% of children abused by Catholic priests are girls, but you never hear about them, which even further proves the point.

  3. I don't know. Creating modern art must take at least thirty minutes. Complaining about it only takes like two.

    Generally, I don't hear about the girls because they refer to it all as "child molestation" most of the time, without specifying gender. Plus, teachers get fired for molesting children rather than promoted. I don't think homophobia plays as big a role in it as you think.