Conservatives are not opposed to contraception.  They’re fine with me using contraceptives, as much as I want to.  They just don’t want to have to pay for them, either with their tax money or increased insurance premiums or whatnot.  But as long as I’m paying for them myself, it’s all good.  Or so they tell me.  Because they’re all about freedom for everybody.

So then why does every conservative rant about insurance coverage of contraception inevitably end with the suggestion that I shouldn’t be having sex?  There was Foster Friess joking that I should stick an aspirin bottle between my knees, the way the good girls used to in his day.  I’ve listened to endless talk radio hosts discussing this issue and somehow, it always comes down to “What about just being abstinent?”  Sure, I guess that’s an option–it’s not as if I need to enjoy my life.  While I’m at it, I could also spend my free time flogging myself for my many sins, but I think that custom is as passe as celibacy.  It also doesn’t help that the guys promoting virtuous behavior get caught trying to pick up men in airport bathroom stalls.

There’s an answer to all of our problems, an answer which can bridge our partisan divide, and that answer is oral sex.  Both liberals and conservatives love it.  It will not cause an abortion, it will not have to be paid by anyone else’s insurance premium, and it doesn’t give me the horrible side effects of the pill.  It can be gay or straight.  If one so wishes, it can take place within the bounds of a traditional religious marriage.  It might keep Catholic couples from trying to use that silly calendar method.  It’s an experience of pure beauty and ecstasy, and it unites all of us, no matter who we are, in that one happy moment of orgasm.

So if conservative talking heads wanted to prove to us that they are not, in fact, prudish killjoys, they would promote oral sex.  Instead of advising women “Maybe you should stop having a love life,” how about “Find a boyfriend who will give you head.”  But they will never say that, because contrary to what they claim, they are uncomfortable with women enjoying their sexuality.  Deep inside, they’re still stuck on the idea that sex for women is only okay if the goal is baby-making.

But I’m always open to the idea that I could be wrong.  It’s possible–Tea Party Patriots For Head can happen!  It could be the most powerful pro-life movement of our new century.  And it’s one Tea Party organization that I would be glad to join.

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There has been much doubt and questioning of President Obama’s religious faith, even though he has professed many times to be a believing Christian.  According to some critics, he doesn’t go to church often enough, doesn’t flaunt his religion enough, and has made the serious mistake of not using the phrase “born again”.

As far as his Christianity goes, I will have to take the President’s word for it.  But I have to say that I’m okay with having a man in the White House who is uncertain about his beliefs once in a while.  And as someone who also worships the Divine, I’m grateful to God for saving us from those who are too confident about their faith.  I fear the people who think they have a personal phone line to God, those who are so sure that God shares their opinions, they believe that anyone who disagrees is lost and has to be forcibly rescued.

So thanks be to God for protecting us from those who are too sure of themselves.  Those who are so sure of what a woman’s place in this world should be, they are willing to tell women to surrender to their nature.  Those who are so sure they know that life begins at conception, they would put their signature on a bill which would outlaw even certain forms of contraception.  Those who are so sure that love can only exist in one form, they would forbid any other kind of it.  Those who know that this world was meant to be a special gift from God just for them, so that they are free to bomb people in other countries, kill off animals and use up its resources as they wish.  And of course, those who are sure that the poor and sick and weak are guilty of some sin which caused them to be in that situation–not being confident enough, perhaps?–so they have permission from God to be completely merciless to them.

President Obama is by no means perfect, and I’m not always happy with his policies.  My own liberal views turn out to be flawed and incorrect sometimes.  And that is why I would rather have someone in office who is imperfect and realizes it, than a perfect believer who doesn’t realize the size of the beam he’s got in his own eye.

After the Republicans got their butts kicked in the election, they were supposed to search their souls and re-examine their message, or so we were told.  After all, a lot of voters had clearly found that message unattractive.  But while the GOP leadership has made some noises about changing course, that’s not the reaction I’ve seen so far from the conservative rank and file.  Rather than ask “Why don’t the voters like us?” they’ve been busy discussing the many reasons why they don’t like the voters.  Or voting, for that matter–at least, not too much of it.

Women were understandably repulsed by the bizarro Republican stances on issues like rape and contraceptives.  So now I’m hearing the familiar chorus of voices suggesting that perhaps, just perhaps, it had been better if we had never given women the right to vote.  And this chorus includes some Tea Party women, who think their fellow females are simply not smart enough to vote correctly.  As far as I know, nobody’s been so dumb as to make the same type of comment about African-Americans and their voting rights, but Paul Ryan did mention those pesky “urban districts” and their high turnout this year.  You can bet that there are Republicans in local governments right now working on figuring out how to make voting even more difficult in those districts by 2016.  And speaking of urban areas, there are lawmakers in places like Ohio trying to change the way electoral votes are apportioned, so that they are divvied up one per congressional district, as opposed to winner take all for the state.  This would benefit more conservative rural areas and strip the cities of their population advantage.  As one angry Glenn Beck fan declared on The Blaze, “We gotta stop letting the blind masses in the cities control our fate!”

Well, it’s easy to see the direction this is going, and it’s not one of deep reflection.  Other lovely right-wing responses to the election results have been “Young people are too stupid to vote!  Let’s raise the voting age back to 21” and “Stop letting all the immigrants in!”  And, of course:  “They’re Takers who want gifts!”  Not a single “Hmmmm, why is it that Americans are not excited about voting for us?”  I suppose that only benefits my side, but it would be nice to have a decent opposition party–it would give me more options.  However, that kind of change would take some soul-searching.

So, it’s Lent.  This is the time of year when, back when I was still a practicing Catholic, I would try to give something up.  I no longer attend church, but am thinking it would still do me good to do a little cutting back in my life.

So I think this year I’m going to give up Rick Santorum for Lent.  I have been obsessively reading, writing blogs and making Facebook posts about Rick Santorum, contraceptives and the Christian right.  All these topics need a break, before I lose my mind.  I’m sure that I am creative enough that I can find other subjects to write about.  While I’m at it, I need to give up Glenn Beck as well.  Glenn can be my bonus sacrifice.

In case I just can’t stop myself from blogging about Santorum—and the temptation will be difficult to resist—I have other Lent options.  Stop working so much damn overtime, so I have more time to blog.  And I can martyr myself with some serious hangovers.  It’s a hard sacrifice, but I may have to be the courageous Christian who is willing to do it.

Anyway, here’s to the official start of my Rick Santorum fast.  I’ll bash him again the minute Easter Sunday starts.

Here’s what really sucks about the Komen Foundation’s decision to cease their support of Planned Parenthood:  it forces women to take sides in a political conflict they don’t want to be in.  I have supported the breast cancer cause in the past and would like to continue to do so, without all this…excess baggage.  Most women would.  We all oppose breast cancer, no matter which side of the aisle we’re on.

Part of me says this shouldn’t matter.  The Komen leadership has a right to its own views and the cause of finding a cure is so important we should be able to transcend our differences.

But another part of me says this is just a small piece of a larger battle.  The Komen Foundation decided to withdraw its Planned Parenthood funding after getting consistent pressure from pro-life groups.  I can’t help but think that the effort to put us all in a time machine and take us back to the bad old days has been accelerating lately.  Rep. Cliff Stearns’ right-wing witch hunt against Planned Parenthood is one symptom of this.  State governments have been proposing a slew of anti-abortion bills, and we have Presidential candidates in the running who don’t even think the Pill was such a great idea in the first place.

So I think many of us feel we have no choice but to stand up against this—before it gets even worse.  Hence the head of Los Angeles County’s chapter of the Komen Foundation resigning, and the many protest posts to be found on Facebook.  The Komen Foundation is losing support from many women, and it is doing this damage to itself—unnecessarily.

I would love to be able to continue to wear the pink ribbon, and to have it stand just for that, pink and the fight against breast cancer.  But I suppose it’s a sign of the times:  our nation is so divided right now that even the most innocent cause is no longer innocent.

In the past few weeks, I have been hearing a lot about liberty.  The freedom to live one’s life as one wishes to live it.  And, of course, the government’s desire to take that liberty away.

I would like to add to that chorus of voices and say that I, too, believe in freedom.

First of all, I believe in the liberty to live my life without having twelve or thirteen children.  We’re not in the nineteenth century anymore and I don’t need to spend my existence as a woman pumping out kids and dying in childbirth.  I want the freedom to fulfill my goals and ambitions, to educate myself, to have a satisfying career and to be creative.  I don’t want that freedom taken away from me as I am reduced to the procreation role of a rabbit. 

Secondly, I believe in my freedom to follow a religion other than that of the conservative Christian church.  As far as I know, we are (still) permitted to follow different religious faiths in this country.  Therefore, I will plan my principles, my sex life, my marriage and my worship rituals around my individual spiritual beliefs.  I realize that there are conservative Christians in government who would like to take those liberties away, but all this means is that they don’t understand the greatness of this country.  I have my conversations with God too—they are not the only ones with that privilege—and the message I’m getting from Him doesn’t bode well for them.

I also believe in the freedom to use my brain.  I don’t think God would have given me an active, functioning, sarcastic mind if I wasn’t meant to use it.  I believe in the freedom we have as a species to use our intelligence, to make amazing technological and medical advances, and to make the world better this way.  I don’t think we should be ashamed of that, as if it somehow takes us further away from God or Nature.  I don’t believe in abandoning all the progress we’ve made so that we can return to the “good old days”.  Or the Dark Ages, more like.  Does anybody here really want to live in a world with no cancer treatments or high-speed Internet?  Moving on, then.

Finally, I would like to live my life free of fear.  Free of the fear that if I develop a serious illness, I will lose everything I have.  The fear that I will be swindled out of my retirement savings.  Or the fear that I will have to spend my life working for minimum wage, because all of our work will get outsourced overseas and there will be no other options for me.  But I forgot…I have already been born, so my well-being means very little to those in power.  Even less since I’m a woman.  If only I was a fetus, perhaps I would have better luck!