I'm not going to be judgmental, I'm just judging you.

Australia’s Federal Health Minister, Tony Abbott, is one of my least favourite people. He’s been on an anti-abortion kick for the last few years, and the recent jewel in his attack is a government-funded pregnancy counselling hotline which allegedly aims to help women make informed choices.

This doesn’t sound like a bad idea, right? A big part of feminism is about making sure women have the ability to make informed choices, and the resources available so that ability can be utilised in the fullest manner. So why do I have an issue? Well, let’s talk about that. Continue reading

The War Against Non-Christians

By now, I’m sure y’all have heard about the so-called War on Christmas. Because, you know, Christians in America are an oppressed group. Unlike Jews, Muslims, pagans of various stripes, or atheists. It’s not like their God is in the pledge that children have to speak every day… oh, wait, it is. Well, it’s not like the majority of their religious holidays are national holidays… oh, wait, they are. Uh. Er. They’re oppressed, really! I mean, prayer in school has been outlawed, evolution is taught in science class, the god-given commandments are not allowed to be in public buildings, and now… now they have to put up with “PC” phrases such as “Happy Holidays” and “Season’s Greetings” being said alongside “Merry Christmas”. If this continues, people of other faiths (or lack of faith) might start thinking that their beliefs are equal to those of the God Warriors!

I, myself, became a casualty of this vicious war when I was dealing with a credit card issue just a few days ago.

I was on the phone with the representative and after we had resolved everything she said, “Ha… Merry Christmas.”

I replied, “And a Happy Holidays to you.” Truth be told, what I really had wanted to say was, “Where the hell do you get off assuming that I celebrate Christmas?” But, really, it might not have been the rep’s fault. From the way she started saying something else, it sounds like it’s company policy. And that, my friends, is just not cool.

In other related news, my mom was at Safeway today getting a bunch of stuff for dinner (we’re celebrating my sister’s b-day ’cause she’s in town and so mom is making the main course, I’m making soup, and my sister’s fiance is making her cake) and she wanted to pick up a nice holiday card for her friend. Safeway stocks Hallmark cards, by the way. Row after row had “Merry Christmas” but nary a “Happy Holidays”, “Season’s Greetings”, or even “Happy Hannukah” was to be seen. She searched and searched and searched and, just as she was about to give up, the person working that area (described as “a nice old lady”) asked her if she needed any help.

“Why, yes,” she said as nicely as possible. “I’m looking for a holiday card, but all I see are ones that say ‘Merry Christmas’.”

“Oh,” the employee said, “Let me help you find one.”

So, she searched and searched while my mom (in a still nice, but loud enough voice to attract attention) talked about how she was so surprised, since she’s never had trouble finding a proper holiday card before. After a little bit, the employee asked mom why a Christmas card wouldn’t just suffice.

“So you’re saying that I should give my Jewish friends a Christmas card?!” was Mom’s response.

Abashed at her suggestion when it was stated like that, the employee replied, “Oh, no. Of course not. We’ll find something suitable.”

At the point where she was venturing into the generic “Thank You” cards, my mom had to gently tell her that, no, she didn’t want a card that said “thanks”; she wanted a holiday card. When none were to be found, she told the employee that it was all right and she’d just see if she had any left over from last year. At that point, a few other customers had been looking over the shelves (as most of us will do when someone is having trouble with something) and coming up empty, as well. Thanking the employee for her help, mom checked out with her purchases and came home sans-holiday card. With any luck, the employee will tell her boss that they lost a customer because of the lack of appropriate holiday cards.

I’d just like to give a big “thumbs down” to Safeway/Hallmark for excluding me, my family, and our non-Christian friends with your Christian-only holiday cards. I’m sick of being excluded by the wingnut branch of Christians who think that inclusive language or policies are an “attack” on Christianity. No, idiots, the attack is on the groups you’re trying to exclude.

My Body, My Morals

Amanda over at Pandagon takes on the “morality” of the so-called “conscience clause” pharmacists. I’ve been trying for so long to explain that someone else’s morality should in no way trump my morality when it comes to issues of my body, but I think Amanda has really hit the issue at its heart.

As a staunchly childfree woman, I need to remember this one for when I start trying to find a doctor who will sterilize me:

Having baby after baby would be wicked of me. I cannot provide for one child, much less 6 to a dozen. And it’s not just a money issue. My boyfriend and I are both crazy busy people who barely squeeze in time to feed and play with our cats, so a baby would certainly suffer at our hands. I have strong beliefs that one should only have children if you are committed to raising that child up the best you can, and since I can’t do that for a child, I feel it would be immoral of me to have one.

Amanda’s right; it is, in my moral code at least, completely immoral to have a child you cannot and/or will not properly take care of. For someone like me, who never wants kids, I have the option of permanent sterilization (if I can find a doctor willing to perform it on a young, childless woman). For others, though, it’s not that they never want a baby, but that they don’t want one right now. For them, using birth control is the only moral choice. And I, for one, stand by that choice: children should be a product of an informed decision, not an accident due to negligence!

The religious right steps up and says, “If you don’t want children then practice abstinence, you immoral slut!” That’s all well and good for some people, but not for me. I may be childfree, but I’m not asexual. My moral code says that I need to do what it takes to keep myself, my partners, and my relationships healthy and happy. For me, that means that I will engage in safe sex as part of that happiness regimen.

And frankly, it’s stupid and immoral to expect me to prioritize the precepts of a religion I don’t follow that worships a deity I don’t believe in over the well-being of myself and my partner.

I could write an article on this line alone, but suffice it to say that Amanda has summarized one of my biggest critiques about the conservative government currently in power. I must say that I’m heartily sick of this so-called “moral” legislation which is “the only morals are my morals.” Really, it’s not so hard of a concept to say that “as long as my morals hurt no one, then they should be protected.” Don’t like BC? Fine, don’t use it! But stay the hell out of my way when I want it.