Sunday, July 06, 2014

Let me help you with that

A friend of mine posted this little picture to her Facebook page:
To which she added "That's my guy..."

I looked at this and my immediate thought was:

"But a real, REAL woman would kick him square in the 'nards for being a pushy jerk who won't listen to her, so a real REAL guy will smile and have a couple of stiff drinks for her when she finishes up doing it herself..."

And that seemed like a frankly nasty and uncharitable reaction to what was intended to be a sweet tribute from a very good woman to her loving husband. So I sat and thought about that for a while. And after thinking about it I realized what it was about that trite little picture that pushed my feminist button.

It was the word "let".

Thing is, I don't "let" my Bride do or not do anything. There may be times that she does something and I offer to help her and there may be times she takes me up on that. But "let her" do something she wants to do herself? That presumes that it's my choice whether she does something. Which assumes that I'm the boss of her. And assuming that would earn me a solid kick in the 'nards were I foolish enough to try and insist on that.

And that kinda brings us right back to the irritation that I've been simmering in since the Hobby Lobby decision and its implications; that your gender - or your religion - lets you make decisions for someone else about what amounts to their life or their paycheck (see Lance Mannion for a nice discursion on this aspect of the issue...) so long as you're a man (or a Christian of the bible-clutching variety) and I'm a woman or married or emotionally or financially attached to one or some sort of not-your sort of Christian.

I wrote a post back in 2012 called "Looking for FitzUrse" which I ended with:
"One of the truly fundamental principles of the United States is that you're only allowed to pester people with your whacko religious ideas to the degree and extent that your powers of persuasion allow. The U.S. government, by its constitutive documents, is forbidden from allowing - much less encouraging - one religion or other to enshrine its prejudices and preferences into civil or criminal law. For the good reason that the United States is supposed to be a land where the public forum is open to people of all religions, or none, and the moment you let the pope's nose into the lawbook that freedom is doomed.

This does not, has not, and will not prevent prelates of various sorts from trying to do this. Repeatedly, patiently, relentlessly, mercilessly.

Which is why the steps of the Capitol must, must always be guarded by fitzUrse with his naked sword in his hand.For that pious, humble, saintly man Tom Becket is the black enemy of public freedom and always will be."
And I see no reason to alter or retract that statement. You are free to follow your inner religious nut to the tip of my nose, and, in the public forum, are allowed to advocate for your religious nuttery and, if elected, let it guide your personal decisions.

What you're NOT free to do is use the levers of civil or criminal law to force ME to follow your religious nuttery.

This country has seen an explosion of magical thinking in its politics in the past thirty years. Belief is allowed to trump logic, desire commonsense, ridiculous ideas like "trickle-down economics" over fiscal experience, nonsensical opinion outweigh rational inquiry.

Like the idea that because I have external genitalia or a mystical inside line to an invisible magical sky wizard I have the power to "let" my inamorata "do something herself" or decide for someone else what they can or can't do with their money?

I'm really fucking sick and tired of people who think like that and, worse, who are trying to get me and those like me to think, or act, like that.

Just fucking sick and tired.


Ael said...

Hang on Chief. My weak understanding of the case is that Hobby Lobby didn't want to pay for the (legally mandated) contraception. As far as I know, they were not trying to force women to not obtain those forms of contraception (although I am sure that they would much prefer women not obtain it at all). Given that the legal mandate to provide the contraception was not struck down, this leaves it up to the insurance provider to either pay for it themselves (and presumably raise general rates for everyone to make up for it) or to negotiate with the government to pick up the tab.

Is this a fair summary of the legal ground?

If it is, then I don't see where Hobby Lobby has overstepped. Of course, that is no excuse for the Supreme Court to actually *agree* with Hobby Lobby.

oh, and I agree with you on the discourse about "letting" women do things.

Leon said...

An amusing illustration of the religious fundamentalists:

FDChief said...

Ael: No.

The Mannion piece is well worth reading in and of itself, but it lays out the essential fucktardry of the plaintiffs' position, which is simply that they lay claim to disposal of something which is not theirs, specifically, their employees' insurance.

By U.S. law the health insurance you get through your employer is a form of payment and recognized as such through the provision of a federal tax benefit to the provider. It's not some sort of largesse bestowed by the company, it's what you get instead of more pay, and by insisting that they get to choose how that pay is spent the plaintiffs are demanding something functionally indistinguishable from a Muslim company demanding that its employees not spend their wages on beer or a Jewish on on pork chops.

(And Mannion provides some lovely historical creepitude about how the Ford Motor Corporation actually did insist on that back in the Teens and Twenties, sending company snoops into its workers' homes to insist that they spend their wages this way or that way and generally conform to the Ford Way of Life...)

But over and above that I'm just sick of various panty-sniffers and bable-bangers insisting that we all need to "respect" or, worse, conform to their various kinks. Look, folks; you want to please your sky wizard, fine, knock yourselves out. But when you enter the public square your religious quirks end at the tip of my nose, or the outside of my wallet, and you need to get the fuck over that or move somewhere that you can enact your sharia.

But try and enact that in MY country and we're gonna fight.

Barry said...

Ael, what has happened is that the owners of HL have succeeded in getting an exemption from labor laws, because the *owners* didn't like them. The employees were basically told to f- off.

In addition, the owners of HL got the exemption while keeping their status as a public stock corporation. If they had organized as a partneship, they'd have been unobligated under the law, but would have had difficulties expanding.

In short, they got to have the cake and eat it, too.

FDChief said...

Yeah, that's kind of where I am with these fucking people. You want a "Christian nation"? Move to the 12th Century.

Try as you want to make the deist freemasons who wrote the founding documents into your sort of Jesus-pesterers the U.S. was founded solidly on 18th Century Enlightenment philosophies...with some massive internal contradictions (liberty? slavery?)...that are entirely in opposition to the modern fundie ethos.

Which is not to say that the various states and local communities weren't identical to the modern Jesus freaks. But the federal Constitution, as well as the evolution of the U.S. since 1789, is informed by an entirely different spirit as well as being explicit in its refusal to sanction the sorts of doctrinal or sectarian authority these people want.

Ael said...

I'm even more confused now (I had a hard time parsing the Mannion piece)

Do employers get to choose insurance things like: dentistry services, how many new pairs of glasses per decade, whether you get a private hospital room?

Or is an employer only able to specify a dollar figure plan (i.e. a $100 or $200 dollar a month) and then everything else is between the insurance company and the employee?

Or are all company insurance plans the same?

FDChief said...

Prior to the ACA the employer went to the insurance company and bought a plan (or, often, plans). The insurers typically offer a range of coverage - some with dental, some without, some that would cover, say, contraceptives, some wouldn't.

Then the employee gets presented with this coverage as part of your "benefits". Often you can step up to the better (i.e. more fully covered) plan by kicking in some of your wages every month.

The ACA changed this to some degree, including putting the kibosh on "plans" that weren't really plans at all (i.e. that covered so little that you effectively ended up uncovered for anything worse than a hangnail) as well as requiring that ALL plans include certain things; contraception is one (and the Department of Health ended up developing a formulary of 20 specific brands or types that the ACA would require).

Some things are not and will not be covered; for example, I take a testosterone gel to kick my natural level up to within normal limits. My insurance covers this because of the combination of physical conditions it helps me with. But the specifically sexual one - getting an erection - is explicitly prohibited from my insurance plan.

So Viagra, Cialis, the so-called "boner pills"? Not covered.

In this case the Greens (the plaintiffs) objected to 4 of the 20 specified contraceptives required by law and demanded that (based on their "religious freedom" under the RFRA) that they be allowed to tell their employees "fuck you, go without these or buy them yourselves", because, well, those slutty employees shouldn't be fucking on the Green's dime, right?


Except it WASN'T their dime; it was their employees' dime, payed for with tax monies and part and parcel of their compensation for their labor.

Ael said...

Ok, I now understand the claim that it is no longer the employers money and thus they no longer have any right to govern its utilization.

This makes sense. However, a quick search suggests that this particular issue was not dealt with in either the ruling or in the dissents (I am not a lawyer, so I may have missed it).

Is that because the Religious Freedom Restoration Act allows them to dodge the issue, or did the court simply ignore the problem?

Syrbal/Labrys said...

Thing was, Hobby Lobby WAS paying for those contraceptives until Obamacare (as they call it came along) -- they wanted to kick a President in the balls AND put women in their "place."

Sadly. FDC, they want to move the 12th century to US. And poor tom Becket was many things, but I don't think he was pious or humble -- I think he was using the church to grind his axe against Henry for puttin him in that position, but that could just be me. And Fitz Urse was protecting the right of kings more than the right of the people...but I get the idea.

About this time of life, I am ready to strangle the last king with the entrails of the last priest. But we have more priests than, wtf, over?

Lisa said...

Yes, Chief, the "let" is the thing.

A woman is not a woman if she thinks she can impose a behavior upon another by virtue of her (his) sex.

Such a woman is a "player", and we need far less playing between the sexes. Just do what you can, ask for what you need. The rest is just silly.

Lisa said...

I reflected upon my reply, and realized that a woman to whom the graphic would appeal is ALL TOO MUCH a woman, in the mode we define it.

In that paradigm, a woman is designing. "I am woman, hear me roar", but you'd better not risk it. If mommy ain't happy, ...

Games. Imposing behavior on the other, defining correct behavior for the other, who must guess at what's needed, lest they risk censure or worse.