Since I am nursing a mega migraine today, instead of writing a post, I thought I would share an e-mail I received from the wonderful Catholic attorney, Helen Alvare, who spear-headed the “women speak for themselves” campaign (please visit their website) by writing President Obama a letter stating that his administration does not speak for all women in its promotion of a trumped-up charge of a “war against women.”
I responded to Helen’s e-mail with some observations of my own about modern feminism versus what true feminism could be. I hope to write a more organized post on this topic one day…when my head isn’t pounding : )
I hope many of your will get involved and at least sign Helen’s letter at Womenspeakforthemselves.com
Her e-mail follows my response and comments to her on this subject.
1) In response to requests from many of you, I’ve drafted talking points particularly to the claim that religion is waging a war on women. 2) I’m providing you with a few links to keep you up to speed on the USCCB’s “Fortnight for Freedom.” 3) I want you to have a look at some of the fabulous ideas I’ve been getting from many of YOU; these are mostly editorials from which you should feel free to take ideas and to write local editorials yourself. 4) I have a request for you regarding Marie Claire magazine.
1) “War on women” talking points:
- Religious freedom is significant value for women as well as men. For both sexes, the ability to pursue questions about the meaning of life and one’s obligations to a Creator and to fellow human beings – and to order one’s life in accord with the answers – are central to a life of integrity, freedom and happiness.
- Religious freedom may be of particular importance to women because of the crucial role religion plays in providing the rationale for the equality of every human person – made female or male. Historically and currently, the Old Testament’s creation accounts, and the New Testament’s celebration of women’s role in salvation history and of marriage as a sacred and mutual covenant, have provided the leading rationale for the legal and cultural imperative to regard women as fully equal to men, and equally made in God’s image.
- Data indicate that countries around the world which respect religious freedom are also more likely to recognize the equality of the female half of the human race. Brian J. Grim and Roger Finke, The Price of Freedom Denied, Chapter 7
- It is infuriating that the most recent attacks on religious freedom are launched in the name of women’s equality. There is no evidence that big government birth control programs are a boon to women, let alone that they should trump religious freedom. Interest groups currently shouting down religious opposition to the HHS “preventive services” mandate ignore the data showing that such government programs have corresponded with increases – not decreases – in unintended pregnancies, abortions and nonmarital births. All of these outcomes are borne nearly exclusively by women.
- The mandate covers contraception, abortifacients and surgical sterilization for women, but none for men. The government is facilitating only women’s ingesting chemicals which have some proven harmful side effects, placing the burden of pregnancy prevention entirely on women.
- The latest Health and Human Services notice indicates that rather than allowing female employees of religious institutions to seek contraceptive coverage, a government-approved entity will simply provide it to her and all her female beneficiaries, minor girls included, “automatically” – and without any co-pay to tip off minors’ parents. This isn’t freedom. This is coercion, along with the undermining of parents’ duties and rights respecting their children.
2) The following links offer great events and up-to-date information on our present religious freedom battle:
- Lead Bishops’ Conference Page on Religious Freedom Activities
- Some Diocesan activities (list growing over time)
3) Recent ideas from our own Women-Speak-for-Themselves-women:
- Editorial against notion of a Catholic “war on women” :
- Editorial against the idea of a “Republican” war on women:
- One of our women had some bumper stickers made saying “True Hope: Defend Religious Freedom” and passed a few around. Cool! It’s not hard to do. Here’s an online site that will do it for you after you decide the text and graphics:
4) Marie Claire magazine published a stupid and incorrect article on the unjust mandate in its May 2012 issue: http://www.marieclaire.com/health-fitness/birth-control-2012-election
Among its bloopers: “On February 16…[w]hen those five men testified about denying insurance for birth control, women weren’t laughing.” Correction: women testified too. Ridiculous that a women’s magazine wouldn’t report on the women who testified on behalf of religious institutions. Correction: the testimony wasn’t about denying insurance for birth control at all!! But about not forcing religious institutions to provide it against their conscience. Would you please flood the editor’s email inbox with letters to the editor???? Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to use our talking points!!
As always, please keep me informed of your observations and efforts!
My best to you, Helen