In the Heart of the Culture War

If more proof were needed to show we are in the midst of a culture war in America, take a look at what conservatives are trying to do with women’s reproductive rights and science education in American public schools.  Taking advantage of the notoriously short American attention span, dedicated conservatives are plying away at whatever facsimile serves as the separation of church and state.  Interestingly enough, in their hubris to return America to a cult-nation of god-fearers, if they are successful in their charge, they will do more to destroy this country than “Obamacare” or any other government program conservatives have claimed will be the death knell of the republic for the last 50 years.
State assaults on Roe v. Wade and women’s reproductive issues in general are bordering on obscene – no, strike that, it just obscene.  While a case can be made that federal funds should not be provided to Planned Parenthood and that the government should not endorse abortion as a rule, the zealotry that drives the pro-life agenda is fueled by religion and represents nothing more than an infringement of church on state at the expense of women – which shouldn’t surprise anyone as the historical religious texts of the Bible, Qur’an, and Torah are misogynistic to the core and hold women as nothing more than property (always wondered why women are such proponents of this system…).
According to Planned Parenthood, if Congress were able defund the organization, the consequences include 
     Planned Parenthood’s 84 affiliates operate more than 800 health centers nationwide, providing health care to three million Americans a year — including men, women, and teens. Planned Parenthood health centers help women prevent an estimated 612,000 unintended pregnancies and 291,000 abortions every year.
     Planned Parenthood plays a critical role in providing health care to low-income women. Six in 10 patients who access care from a women’s health center like Planned Parenthood consider it to be their main source of health care — including routine gynecological exams, STD testing and treatment, and lifesaving cancer screenings. For many women, especially those in rural areas and underserved communities, Planned Parenthood is the only source of health care.
    Many of these women would be forced to go without health care if Planned Parenthood were defunded.  Source Link
Abortion aside, American’s would be up in arms if, say, the government of Iran enforced laws that denied millions of women access to routine gynecological exams and cervical cancer screenings.  
My biggest pet peeve with the conservatives’ desire to end abortion in this country is that they’ve never put their money (or more appropriately, our money) where their mouth is.  Considering that a child that will be born rather than aborted is yet another unwanted baby in this country, conservatives have never offered additional funding for orphanages, foster care, or any other social safety net that protects the rights of the child once it leaves the womb!  When conservatives show they care as much about life post-birth as they do in vitro, then I’ll listen to their case.  As of today, it’s obvious they’re not serious as they continue their march to defund programs such as Head Start.
On the flip side is the continued push to introduce “Intelligent Design” into the public school classrooms as a way of pushing Biblical creationism en lieu of actual science.  As if our children are not already handicapped for a for a future job market that depends on strong foundations in science and math.  As long as they are confident, that should overcome those deficiencies right?
It’s interesting to note that “creationism” has fallen out of the public vernacular – this is hardly by accident.  The Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture has been the leading advocate for changing the dialogue and spearheading the effort to ensure Intelligent Design is the dominant perspective in science.  [Source ] While Intelligent Design has the backing of many religious scientists, actual (read real) scientists have expressed, repeatedly, that Intelligent Design has no basis in science.  The Council of Europe’s Committee on Culture, Science and Education stated in 2007 that “Creationism in any of its forms, such as “intelligent design”, is not based on facts, does not use any scientific reasoning and its contents are pathetically inadequate for science classes.”
The Council went on to report:

 “Creationism, born of the denial of the evolution of species through natural selection, was for a long time an almost exclusively American phenomenon. Today creationist theories are tending to find their way into Europe and their spread is affecting quite a few Council of Europe member states. . .The prime target of present-day creationists, most of whom are Christian or Muslim, is education. Creationists are bent on ensuring that their theories are included in the school science syllabus. Creationism cannot, however, lay claim to being a scientific discipline.” Source

A 2006 Pew Research Center poll on American’s views on religion and public school shows that “despite [a] series of court decisions, polls show that large numbers of Americans favor looser, not tighter, limits on religion in public schools. According to an August 2006 survey by the Pew Research Center, more than two-thirds of Americans (69%) agree with the notion that “liberals have gone too far in trying to keep religion out of the schools and the government.”And a clear majority (58%) favor teaching biblical creationism along with evolution in public schools.”  Source
Why this should be of immediate concern to civil libertarians, which in my opinion are the true “patriots” in this country, is that for all the rhetoric of wanting “less government” it is actually a facade.  Conservatives don’t want less government – they simply want to pay less for it. In reality, they advocate for a significantly expanded role of government in our private lives while providing less governance on corporate regulation.  If I were a conspiracy theorist, I think the case could be made that there is a deliberate plan afoot that ensures the American public is made less intelligent every day, appealing to their emotional love of God, Jesus, and guns while removing (or defunding) any regulatory apparatus responsible for protecting the environment or market from insider trading and corporate malfeasance.  
How else can one explain how millions of Americans self-identify themselves as conservatives, earn on average less than $50,000 per year defend and support keeping the Bush Tax Cut rates on millionaires.  I’ve written extensively on the need to cut government spending, but cutting spending alone does NOTHING to lower the deficit without a corresponding rise in revenues.
As America continues to swing more conservatively, both socially and politically, we are destined for a future that will feature the dismantlement of the Great Society of the LBJ era and significant changes to the FDR New Deal program.  Both have been sources of consternation to conservatives since the 1930’s and beyond.  While it’s taken 80 years to challenge the progressive agenda, conservatives now have most elements in place to overturn and eradicate government safety nets for the poorest of Americans while ensuring the wealthy and captains of industry will hold dominant sway in the next century.  The masses will be appeased as long as the story of Adam and Eve can be taught in public schools across the land and more children are added to the rolls of god and country, like sheep to the slaughter…
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One Response to In the Heart of the Culture War

  1. holly says:

    Why is it that America the Great can't afford things like equal education for all and quality health care for all but we can afford things like the Womb and Bedroom/Sex police? I find it totally shamelessly hateful and hypocritical that Republicans will fight to the death to be involved in my (and my daughters) uterus(s), but after birth they will fight to the death to remove and limit rights and assistance for that very same entity–abolishing help for WIC, any type of welfare, Head Start, food stamps, coverage under parents health coverage… etc., etc., etc. Thankfully birth control is available and easy to access for today’s girls, more so than when I was their age. I pray to FSM that it will continue to be so. Stop trying to control my uterus.

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