Religious Freedom Division in the Federal Health & Human Services Department

religiousfreedom_gb

What in the heck is “religious freedom”, and what does it mean to your health?  Here is a definition of “religious freedom” from the people who want the legal right to “practice” it.

“… is the right to use religious beliefs as a license to discriminate, and to provide special protections for Christians that fly in the face of the First Amendment.”  https://newrepublic.com/article/140645/trump-republicans-redefining-religious-freedom-favor-christians

So, now that we have the definition down, what is going to happen to you, if you need to go to a health provider?  Well, the following may happen to you if you are the following:  the child of a gay couple who needs health care; a LGBTQ+ person in need of health care; another religion, including but not limited to: Muslim, Hindu, or something other than Christian.  How will you be denied care?  Well, if your health care provider does not “believe” in contraception, he/she need not offer it to you as part of your health insurance, because their beliefs are more important than your care.  The same holds true if you need the “morning after pill” regardless if that is because of rape, incest, or another reason – no need for you to take it, since an unwanted pregnancy is a “silver lining”, or even an “unexpected gift from God”.   Because this is the “belief” of the health provider, you don’t get a choice.  Another problem with this new law is that if a woman needs an abortion, and there are a variety of medical reasons for this, including a dead fetus, the hospital or doctor can deny them the choice, leaving them with a) having to endure an induced labor and a still birth; b) carrying a dead fetus and hopefully not dying herself due to a septic womb.

Another item to take note of here, this “religious freedom” is used to control women and their health decisions along with anyone who is not a cis man.  I don’t see anyone worrying about prescriptions for Viagra, or even prostate examinations.

However, the most interesting question is this – whose religion is it that we must worry about with this freedom of religion?  Is it only the Christian religion, or does this also include:  Hindu, Muslim, the Church of Satan?  Is there a line, and if so where is it?  This opens a huge legal can of worms, and it will be interesting to see where it leads.  I’ve left some links for you if you want to know more about this subject.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/trump-administration-could-narrow-affordable-care-acts-contraception-mandate/2017/10/05/16139400-a9f0-11e7-92d1-58c702d2d975_story.html?utm_term=.8d7198460d17

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-healthcare-religion-legal/trump-move-on-healthcare-religious-freedom-prompts-discrimination-fears-idUSKBN1F800L

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/2/6/1737656/-A-Trump-official-wanted-to-forcibly-reverse-an-unaccompanied-teenager-s-medical-abortion?detail=emaildkre

quotation-barack-obama-freedom-live-force-religious-mean-meetville-quotes-119736

Advertisements

Unity

c74a61c7b56dd0cd7ed4bd4117099e7b

The only way to fight injustice in the world is make sure that we fight for all who are in need of it.  That means that we need to stand up not only for ourselves and our own concerns, but we must stand up for all the others who are marginalized.  We must stand and resist together.  It’s the only way change will occur.

 

So-powerful-is-the-light-of-unity-that-it-can-illuminate-the-whole-earth.-Bahaullah

What’s Wrong with being a Social Justice Warrior?

1173919584-fcb70654dc2e2f511e326b93a6240e2e

I have to admit that I’m extremely confused here.  A few months ago, I started to see strange memes on Instagram which were all very anti-social justice warriors.  Since A, I had no clue as to what this is, and B, it looked like typical back-lash to me, I decided to finally look up the whole thing.  This is what I found:

“‘Social justice warrior’ (commonly abbreviated SJW) is a pejorative term for an individual promoting socially progressive views,[1] including feminism,[1][2] civil rights,[1] multiculturalism,[1] and identity politics.[3] The accusation of being an SJW carries implications of pursuing personal validation rather than any deep-seated conviction,[4] and being engaged in disingenuous social justice arguments or activism to raise personal reputation, also known as virtue signalling.[5]

The phrase originated in the late 20th century as a neutral or positive term for people engaged in social justice activism.[1] In 2011 when the term first appeared on Twitter it changed from a primarily positive term to an overwhelmingly negative one.[1] During the Gamergate controversy, the negative connotation gained increased use, and was particularly aimed at those espousing views adhering to social liberalism, cultural inclusiveness, or feminism, as well as views deemed to be politically correct.[1][2]

The term has entered popular culture, including a parody role-playing video game released in 2014 titled Social Justice Warriors.[6][7][8]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_justice_warrior

WOW!  So, other people presume they know what these individuals think and feel, and ridicule them for supposedly trying to improve their own social standing through fighting for the rights of minorities.  Cool.  Apparently working for others isn’t really a thing anymore.  I mean, seriously, if you believe this, then all the people who work at places like:  soup kitchens, food pantries, for United Services, NAFI, Habitat for Humanity and the like, are really only volunteering in order to make themselves “look good”.  Of course, oftentimes others go to help out in the aftermath of a hurricane or tornado.  So, these people also are only working in such a way to make themselves look good.

a-philip-randolph-activist-a-community-is-democratic-only-when-the

This, of course, is an attack on human and civil rights.  In this way of thinking, no one really believes in helping others, they only do it to make themselves look better.  Apparently, we’re just a collection of individuals who couldn’t care less about each other and only want to inflate our own egos.  According to this logic, the following individuals really didn’t want to change anything, their motivation was to “look good”:  Jane Adams (better housing for the poor, founding member of NAACP); Louis Brandeis (defended labor laws, etc.); Florence Kelley (fought against child labor); John Dewey (founder of NAACP, fought for freedom of ideas, etc.); Eleanor Roosevelt (advocated for worker’s and civil rights, etc.).  I could go on and on, however, I’ll stop here.  Many of the individuals who have worked for social justice have done so at their own peril.  As it is, many people are arrested every day advocating for social justice.  Yet, the logic of those who denigrate social justice warriors is that they only do so for their own social advancement.  This is said in order to negate any good that comes out of working for the poor, downtrodden, and ignored in society.  After all, if you’ve got yours, why bother helping others?

74931726

So, my take-away from this whole thing?  I feel sorry for those with this kind of belief system.  To spend your life making fun of others whose purpose is to make life better for everyone is just sad.  Too sad.

 

 

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2015/10/07/why-social-justice-warrior-a-gamergate-insult-is-now-a-dictionary-entry/?utm_term=.3ebc48e08622

 

Keeping Depression at Bay

e352152421a9520c4bbea82683590ddc

Here are some quotes for those of us who sign petitions, write letters and still feel depressed about the way the country is going.  Keep up your chins, hold love in your hearts, and keep on hoping for a new day.

 

10830724_10152703262179472_8182716514586936974_o

I’m Just a “Little Bit” Broken

alittlebitbroken

For years, I’ve been having heart attacks on a pretty regular basis.  Of course, I’m not speaking about actual heart attacks, but I’ve been upset on many occasions by the state of the world, the environment and the actions of a few people with a lot of power.  I spend probably a few hours a week signing petitions against this or that; or even for this or that.  Things that really have integral value such as clean air and water, wars and poverty.  That kind of thing.

However, as time has gone on, my stress level has skyrocketed to the point where after the election on last Tuesday I was afraid that I would have an actual heart attack. When I calmly, nicely and quietly questioned some people I know who voted for Trump, they didn’t really actually like (or even know) what he was running on, they simply liked the things that he said.  When asked specifically what things it was that they liked, the response was invariably the hateful things that he said.  Sadly, my experience didn’t seem to be much different from the videos and articles I’ve seen and read regarding the reasons people voted this way.  The most upsetting part of this exercise in futility was in regard to the sad realization that none of the people I spoke with had a clue as to exactly what would be the out-come of a Trump presidency.  They had no idea of what he was going to do – other than “build a big beautiful wall.”    So, I’ve had to ask myself is this the America that I thought it was?  I have to say that I had no idea that so many of my neighbors and acquaintances felt the way they do in regard to race, religion and gender.

143092-maya-angelou-courage-quote-gj2r

In the end, after all the hand wringing, wondering, and intense depression, there is one question that I feel I must ask myself.  What do I do, knowing what I now know?  There are a lot of people, who, because they feel they have been short-changed (and I do agree, working people have been short-changed – I should know, I’m one of them), have decided to blame those who are just as powerless as they are.  A large segment of our society has blamed the blameless.  What about the banks that caused the 2008 financial crisis?  What about the corporations whose greed has broken down much of our society?  The CEO’s who have finagled ways out of paying any taxes, received many tax breaks and even receive subsidies from us, the working class, paying all our taxes (and then some).  Why have they not been held accountable?  Bernie Sanders, who tried to bring this knowledge to light, was right.

So, again, where do I as a person go from here?  What is the way forward and how do I find it?   My reaction has been the realization that I’ve got to learn how to deal with stress in a much better way.  I’ve got to keep myself busy working on creating a better world around myself.  I’m making a list of some of the things I can do just in my little world.  Of course, I’ll keep signing petitions, writing letters to the editor and voting with my dollar.  I intend to work with the marginalized (whom I feel will become even more marginalized); volunteer work is a great way to start.  However, another one of my goals will be to make my own house a shelter, a peaceful place to retreat from the craziness that those of us who did indeed read the Republican Platform know is coming.  Keep safe, find peace somewhere in your own lives and keep fighting the good fight.  Love each other and have courage!

f74b450a374e8acc502ae5a9643aa6ba

http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/trumps-america-racism?akid=14867.302291.KMX_93&rd=1&src=newsletter1066971&t=18

American Renewal Part 3b in Social Issues Series

ar1

This is a continuation of my post from last Wednesday regarding the list of American Renewal achievements from the RNC.  Here is the list from the RNC regarding the American Renewal goals stated.  In this post I’m writing about the last five achievements, since I wrote about the first six in my post from last Wednesday.

CONSTITUTION – Our Constitution should be preserved, valued and honored.

ECONOMY – We need to start growing America’s economy instead of Washington’s economy so that hard-working Americans see better wages and more opportunity.

BUDGET- we need to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, make government more efficient, and leave the next generation with opportunity, not debt.

HEALTHCARE – We need to start over with real healthcare reform that puts patients and their doctors in charge, not unelected bureaucrats in Washington.

VETERANS – Our veterans have earned our respect and gratitude, and no veteran should have to wait in line for months or years just to see a doctor.

SECURITY – Keeping America safe and strong requires a strong military, growing the economy, energy independence, and secure borders.

EDUCATION – Every child should have an equal opportunity to get a great education; no parent should be forced to send their child to a failing school.

POVERTY – The best anti-poverty program is a strong family and a good job, so our focus should be on getting people out of poverty by lifting up all people and helping them find work.

VALUES – Our country should value the traditions of family, life, religious liberty, and hard work.

ENERGY – We should make America energy independent by encouraging investment in domestic energy, lowering prices, and creating jobs at home.

IMMIGRATION – We need an immigration system that secures our borders, upholds the law, and boosts our economy.  https://www.gop.com/principles-for-american-renewal

Education-quotes-1

The next achievement is that of Education.  The RNC claims that every child should have access to a “great” education.  Except when they shouldn’t.  The Republicans have voted to cut the budget for education at every turn.  They also don’t believe that students should get loans for higher education.  There is also the issue that “charter schools” are for profit; they educated far fewer students than public schools for more money, etc.  Here is a link regarding these and more problems with charter schools.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2014/05/20/a-dozen-problems-with-charter-schools/ and  http://democrats.budget.house.gov/fact-sheet/fact-sheet-republican-budget-cuts-education and http://www.usnews.com/opinion/knowledge-bank/2015/06/25/why-the-gops-education-funding-bill-gets-an-f

Poverty-Quotes-16

As far as poverty is concerned, the RNC claims that their goal is to lift people up out of poverty and put them to work.  Again, look at their record.  How do people get lifted up out of poverty when their wages are at or below poverty levels?   As I stated earlier, there is also the issue of the Republicans continuing the tax breaks on corporations that ship American jobs overseas.  http://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/03/04/republican-hypocrisy-on-the-minimum-wage/ and http://www.politicususa.com/2014/03/15/republicans-dream-nation-wage-slaves-obama-overtime-pay-rules.html

Traditional-Values-Quotes

The next achievement that I’d like to look at is values, which the RNC has stated as “Our country should value the traditions of family, life, religious liberty, and hard work.”  This definition is pretty vague, so I looked in other places for a more definite definitions of values. I found the following:  “Our country should value family, life, and hard work. This is why we insist that public policy – from taxes to education, from health care to welfare – should be created to strengthen and support, not hurt, American families. Individuals and families should be able to maintain their independence from government, raise their children by their own values and build communities of self-reliant neighbors.”  https://www.gop.com/issue/family-values/canonical/  Some of these same advocates for traditional family values also advocate:  hate against certain groups, including but not limited to:  LBGTQ+; persons of different ethnicity; persons of different religions; and persons of a different race. http://occupydemocrats.com/2016/02/18/southern-poverty-law-center-republican-party-is-now-a-hate-group-2/   Also, I would like to briefly bring up the point that in recent years the Republicans in Congress have been “caught” in affairs and scandals.  http://reverbpress.com/politics/republican-family-values-politician-caught-in-sex-scandal-forced-rep-to-resign/ and then there is this http://occupydemocrats.com/2015/09/30/republican-anti-gay-family-values-hypocrite-caught-cheating-on-wife-in-sex-tape-scandal-steps-down/

That’s enough for the sex scandals.  If we start to talk about other “values”, these would include:  greater poverty (or below) wages; healthcare for all, including women’s health; good public education; clean air and water; shelter and food. These, again are values that the republicans have fought against.   This article talks about these issues.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/philip-slater/the-real-meaning-of-famil_b_50006.html

Seattle-inherit-earth

Now we come to the issue of Energy.  The RNC says that it wants to help America become energy independent and keep jobs here at home.  Again this sounds like a valid and good goal.  What does it mean, though?  So far, the Republican candidates for President have said that we should use all sources of energy whether or not they are polluting.  They are there and we should use them.  Some of them oppose tax credits for solar and wind while at the same time are planning to continue the tax credits for oil, gas and coal. http://www.lcv.org/assets/docs/presidential-candidates-on-renewable.pdf  Not only that, but the Republicans have repeatedly voted against any form of clean energy.   https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/11/17/amid-record-global-temperatures-congress-to-vote-to-stop-obamas-clean-power-plan/  As far as keeping jobs here at home, once again we have Republicans giving tax breaks to corporations who send jobs overseas.  http://republicansexposed.org/republicans-support-tax-breaks-for-companies-sending-jobs-overseas/

No-Human-Being-is-Illegal

Now, last but of course, not least, there is the goal of Immigration.  This seems to be a hot-button issue in this election year.  The stated position within the American Renewal document sounds fairly valid and sensible.  “…an immigration system that secures our borders, upholds the law, and boosts our economy.”  However when we take a closer look at the rhetoric coming from the Republicans we see a different side to the immigration issue.  The Republican contenders for President have moved far to the right by vowing to deport millions of illegal immigrants, break-up families and deport children.  http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/jan/18/donald-trump-pulls-republicans-further-right-on-im/?page=all   Here you can read comprehensive statements by all the Presidential contenders regarding their stances on immigration.   https://ballotpedia.org/2016_presidential_candidates_on_immigration  While there has been a lot of verbiage regarding illegal immigration, at the same time there has been little in the way of policy on the subject.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-w-traphagan/the-gop-the-new-know-noth_b_9010454.html

8a61320f1e73c4a73fb2647709bf6862

So, American Renewal.  What do you think?  Where do you stand?  While I personally feel that these are good goals, I don’t really feel that given the information that I’ve found from legitimate sources that the Republican Party has either delivered on them, or in most cases moved to achieve them.  Let me know in the comments what your viewpoint is.

 

Did You Hear? Love is Love!

The Supreme Court ruled for equality!  I was so happy to hear it.  We’ve had such terrible news lately, South Carolina, churches being burned down.  I was beginning to despair.  But finally, something to celebrate!

I have never understood why so many people seem to have a problem with what other people do in their bedroom.  Not your business, I say.  I love equality.  After all, as a woman I’m a minority, too.  We need to see each other for what we are – more alike than different.  All needing love, respect and acceptance.

So, Yes!!  Love has won the day!