Bethany Moreton on the creation of Christian free enterprise. Also, Texas health care news and anti-choicers reveal the anti-contraception agenda.
Links in this episode:
On this episode of Reality Cast, I’ll be interviewing
Bethany Moreton about her new book To Serve God and Wal-Mart: The Making of
Christian Free Enterprise. Also,
Texas news about health care and sexual health, and more progress is made in
exposing the hard right’s anti-contraception agenda.
Making fun of hypocritical family values politicians who
cheat on their wives never gets old, does it? So thanks, Jay Leno and Bill Maher for reading out loud Mark
Foley and Mark Sanford’s notes to their targets of harassment and amours, in
Note: The laughter of the audience is all their own. We at
RH Reality Check do not endorse or condemn any individual’s choice in language
for writing smutty emails, so long as everyone is consenting and you’re not an
enormous hypocrite who wants to ruin everyone else’s fun.
Last week, I had a little fun with a former school teacher
who showed up at a school board meeting on the history curriculum, and made a
speech about the importance of comprehensive sex education where she revealed
that she’s a virgin for no discernible reason. A refresher:
Well, I owe her an apology for mocking her unorthodox
methods. Because right after she
did that, Texas did indeed start to move away from abstinence-only programs
towards more comprehensive sex education.
Okay, not across the state, but just in some more liberal school
districts. Therefore, it seems
that the teacher’s impassioned and pointless reveal probably didn’t have any
positive effect. But it didn’t
hurt anything, and it had the added bonus of making the Texas school board,
which is a clearing ground for Bible-thumpers and wingnuts, deeply
uncomfortable. So carry one,
former Texas school teacher!
Perhaps instead of pressuring students to take an abstinence
pledge taken unconstitutionally straight from religious materials, and replace
it with this secular pinky swear put together by a group of humanists.
Okay, I know that’s way too much to ask for, but I do hope
that school districts that are moving in the right direction start thinking
long and hard about how to teach sex education in a productive, effective way.
In other Texas news, an annual free clinic held every year
in Houston, TX doubled this year as a protest for health care reform,
particularly when Dr. Mehmet Oz, who is the host of a medical show, decided to
join up. Which meant that CBS
covered it on the "Early Show".
clinic 1 *
This sort of event is really useful, because the opposition
to health care reform has leaned heavily on scare stories about how doctors
will refuse to work if they have to do so under a reform system. They imply, incorrectly, that doctor
salaries are in serious danger of being reduced. While price controls are hopefully going to be a part of
health care reform, I don’t think doctors have much to worry about. On the contrary, doctors and hospitals
will be facing far fewer situations where they treat patients that have
insurance, only to find out that they can’t bill the insurance company, because
the insurance company has found some small print somewhere to get out of paying
Doctors across the country will benefit from having their
constant headaches from dealing with insurance companies relieved. Polls show that a majority of doctors
support a public option. But Dr.
Oz is putting a human face on the doctor support for health care reform.
clinic 2 *
I will say that obviously the only way to make sure that
people get care for chronic diseases is to get them insured. People put off care until it’s too late
because they can’t afford it, full stop.
Nothing short of making sure they’re insured will change that. There aren’t enough free services to go
around. Doctors need to be paid,
facilities need to be paid for, drugs need to be covered. These things cost money. And so money is what it’s going to
cost. Without health insurance for
everyone, we can’t even start the conversation of finding ways to use group
power to get more effective, less expensive care.
A few news items about how the anti-choice movement is
having more trouble denying their long-standing hostility not just to abortion,
but to contraception, STD prevention, and anything else they think means you
won’t get punished for sex. Here
at RH Reality Check, Hunter Stuart took it upon himself to go visit one of the
clinics that’s getting protested during another 40 day hate-a-thon for women’s
reproductive health care. The antis
do these a lot; their main purpose is to set aside 40 days that will make it
harder for women seeking abortion, contraception, and basic gynecological
care. The excuse is that they
don’t like seeing fetuses destroyed.
But how well is that excuse holding up in the face of evidence? Not well, as Hunter discovered. The clinic that’s been targeted for
protests in Wisconsin isn’t exactly what the casual observer would suspect
would be a target for anti-choice protesters.
control 1 *
Of course, one of the official excuses for their antagonism
against female-controlled hormonal contraception is their completely
evidence-free belief that it kills children. There’s a long dissembling excuse for this that I’ve covered
plenty here, but in sum, I think they feel free believing this because what
goes on inside women’s bodies is invisible, and female-controlled contraception
is bad because it interferes with the magic that sperm would do when you can’t
see it anymore.
But it’s all excuses.
Birth control methods are coincidentally hated by degrees that match
exactly to how effective they are and how much control they give women. Therefore abortion, which men don’t
play a role in at all, is the most hated, followed by hormonal contraception,
which women don’t need male cooperation for. Condoms are also hated, but not as much, and surprise,
they’re male-controlled. But they
still allow women to escape unintended pregnancy, so they’re the object of
control 2 *
I sometimes wonder if people just play along with pretending
that the anti-sex brigade is just concerned with "life" because we don’t really
want to point out that they come across as bitter people who lose sleep because
they can’t stand that other people are having fun and they’re not invited. All this dreary talk about consequences,
and this bizarre fantasy where they can force people to cut the amount of sex
they have at least by half, but
it’s clear from listening to this dude that he’d prefer it if most people had
sex no more than 12 times in their lives to make sure you have a couple of
kids, and then stop completely.
There’s an extreme hatred of pleasure that’s hard to account for going
But it’s not just that anti-choicers are protesting birth
control clinics that have no abortion services. There was also a recent coup in admitting the truth about
the anti-choice movement when it was discovered that Bob McConnell, a
Republican running for governor in Virginia, wrote a graduate thesis where he
came out against not just abortion rights, but against the right of women to
use birth control, divorce their husbands, or hold jobs while married. As these are all popular behaviors with
Americans, and deemed necessary by most, it was a politically uncomfortable
moment. McConnell is trying to
play like he doesn’t believe this stuff now, but Chris Wallace caught him in a
lie on, believe it or not, Fox News.
control 3 *
He dissembled, but at this point, that’s what we expect when
so-called pro-lifers are faced with evidence that they’re radicals who see
banning abortion and birth control as part of a larger agenda to deprive women
of their status as full citizens, and instead install them in homes as
biological appliances that exist to clean up after men, praise and flatter when
required, and provide biological offspring as evidence of their master’s
virility. Luckily for us,
most Americans, both male and female, do not actually want to have a dozen
children, no real sex life to speak of, and loss of almost half the adult
And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, your mom edition. Often on this segment, I just play
something wingnutty that someone said, and leave it at that. But once in great long while, someone
will say something wingnutty and get the smackdown for it in public. This is one of those occasions.
The wingnutty statement was by Senator Jon Kyle, and the
epic smackdown was by Senator Debbie Stabenow. Senator Kyle’s stance is ridiculous, for what it’s
worth. I am pretty sure that his
insurance currently has maternity benefits, because that’s how insurance
works. Everyone pays into a
pool. At this point, opponents of
health care reform are resorting to arguing that there’s no such thing as the
common good at all.