Thursday, August 19, 2021

In The Name of Religion

National Review columnist and forced-birth extremist Alexandra DeSanctis  has attacked MSNBC columnist Dean Obeidallah for "an absurd and tone-deaf opinion piece" in which he  "argues that Republicans must be insincere in condemning the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan because they themselves oppose 'women’s rights.'” DeSanctis writes that Obeidallah argues

that, while “nobody is saying the GOP and the Taliban are equally bad,” pro-life Republicans can’t sincerely oppose the Taliban’s egregious violations of women’s rights because GOP lawmakers themselves have voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act and joined in filing a brief asking the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.

It’s one thing to support legal abortion, as Obeidallah does, but it’s another entirely to compare the Taliban’s misogynistic policies — such as, for instance, forbidding women to show any skin or attend school or drive a car — to the eminently reasonable pro-life view that a woman’s right to bodily autonomy does not extend so far that she can end the life of the unborn child in her womb.

Presenting an argument neither updated nor refuted, Glenn Easterbrook, then of The New Republic, in 2002 wrote an article (subscription required) entitled "Term Limits," in which he summarized the scientific evidence pertaining to the beginning of life.  An objective analysis of the piece would lead the vast majority of readers to the conclusion that, according to most criteria, life as we know it does not commence until at least several months into pregnancy.

That's passive-aggressive, so more directly: pro-life advocates are dead wrong when they argue that life begins at conception. It does not, and a belief that it does is incompatible with holding blameless- as state laws invariably do- a woman who evidently has committed murder by seeking and procuring an illegal abortion.

Obeidallah maintains

Look, nobody is saying the GOP and the Taliban are equally bad. But in just the past few months, we’ve seen Republicans champion measures to deprive women of freedom over their own bodies, as well as oppose laws to protect women from violence and ensure that women are paid the same wages as men. And they’ve done so, at least in part, to impose their religious beliefs on all others.

They've done so, and for that reason.  Vaccination requirements are to be waived if an individual claims an exemption based on religious faith.   Thanks to the Trump Administration and the US Supreme Court, private employers and non-profits can opt out of the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act by waving a religious get-out-of-jail free card. Fourteen months ago, the Supreme Court ruled that the City of Philadelphia, even with has a strict nondiscrimination policy, must contract with Catholic Social Services, notwithstanding the latter's refusal to certify same-sex couples for adoption. The Establishment Clause gives way to a constitutional right to a government contract.

What individuals, companies, and non-profits claim as their religious beliefs allows those entities to be above the law, exempt from requirements imposed on all other individuals.  No one is above the law, except that some are.

Christians, Jews, and other religious groups don't impose punitive, almost lethal, punishment as the Taliban does. But if National Review's DeSanctis believes that there is no moral equivalence between the right-wing and religious fanatics in central/south Asia, she needs to explain this from the ethically defective Lauren Boebert:

While Boebert doesn't speak for the Republican Party, she is a GOP congresswoman in good standing. The (valid) premise is that the Taliban's policies are a direct consequence of their extremist Islamic beliefs, albeit a perversion of their religion.  Those beliefs are going to be imposed upon the entirety of Afghanistan as they implement Sharia law.  Lauren Boebert approves, no Republican has criticized her, and the entire Party is powerfully confirming Dean Obeidallah's point.


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