That Old-Time Religion…Again. And Again.

Oh, Mike! You’ve stepped in it again...

Gov. Mike Pence said his administration is looking into objections raised by religious conservatives after the Indiana State Department of Health sent letters to parents who haven’t vaccinated their children for a type of cervical cancer.

The letter was sent to about 305,000 parents of Indiana children with no record of having started the three-dose vaccine for human papilloma virus, or HPV. The letter encourages them to have their children vaccinated.

Indiana culture warrior Micah Clark received one of those letters (having evidently decided not to protect his own 14-year-old daughter against HPV) and immediately sounded the alarm–not against the disease, but against the “intrusiveness” of the Department of Health. How dare they advise about children’s health!

The vaccination prevents the most common types of HPV, a sexually transmitted virus that can cause cancer and genital warts. Indiana ranks 40th in the nation for how many girls between the ages of 13 and 16 have been vaccinated, with about 23 percent having received all three doses of the HPV vaccine.

State Department of Health spokeswoman Jennifer O’Malley said the letters were sent starting the week of Sept. 21 to parents of children with no record of having started the HPV series in the state immunization information system, which is called the Children and Hoosier Immunization Registry Program.

When the vaccine was developed, a number of fundamentalist Christians objected that it would lead young girls to become sexually promiscuous. (Don’t ask me–I don’t get it either.) Our pious Governor previously concluded that the vaccine “is a decision that’s best left to parents in consultation with their doctors.”

It’s hard to see how a reminder letter from health professionals usurps that parental prerogative, but Micah Clark sees a War on Christians behind every tree…or postage stamp.

I don’t know about others, but I am very, very tired of fundamentalists trying to impose bad history and narrow theology on the rest of America.

Recently, USA Today carried a story about something called the Congressional Prayer Caucus. Led by Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA), the Caucus, which is taxpayer-funded, is part of a  group called the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation, coincidentally headquartered in a building owned by Forbes that also houses his campaign office.

The CPC wants “In God We Trust” signs and Ten Commandments monuments in public places, they want prayer to be part of government activities, and they defend gay-bashing chaplains in the military. The CPC criticized President Obama for referring to E Pluribus Unum as the American motto, and advocates removing Establishment Clause cases from the jurisdiction of federal courts.

It isn’t a small group, either. According to David Niose, at one point the CPC had 100 members.

If that isn’t enough to terrify those of us who reside in the 21st Century, take a look at this recent poll, reported by Dailykos

Nationwide, more than a third of Republicans say that Islam should be illegal in the United States, according to a new PPP poll provided exclusively to Daily Kos Elections. Nearly half—a 44 percent plurality—say Christianity should be our official religion.

Those are the Republicans who elected Mike Pence, and those are the voters who will cast their ballots to retain him.

The American Taliban.

 

59 thoughts on “That Old-Time Religion…Again. And Again.

  1. To who it may concern:

    I understand that some here are bored or uncomfortable or distracted by confrontation and I’m sorry for rubbing those people the wrong way. I wouldn’t be involved in it if I didn’t think that it was important.

    Why is it important? The Tea Party for instance grew in popularity in the last decade primarily because polite Americans didn’t object to them claiming the high ground. Patriots. Freedom lovers. Constitutionalists. Supporters of America’s founding.

    Most people know now that they are none of those things. Their object pure and simple is to impose their beliefs on the rest of us. They are anti freedom, anti democracy, anti Constitution and I think that it’s time to make that all perfectly clear.

    2016 is a pivotal year in reclaiming democracy and the time for Americans to come back together and insist on what wars have been fought over. Our right to live the American Dream.

    Please join me in standing that important ground.

  2. To who it may concern:

    I understand that some here are bored or uncomfortable or distracted by confrontation and I’m sorry for rubbing those people the wrong way. I wouldn’t be involved in it if I didn’t think that it was important.

    Why is it important? The Tea Party for instance grew in popularity in the last decade primarily because polite Americans didn’t object to them claiming the high ground. Patriots. Freedom lovers. Constitutionalists. Supporters of America’s founding.

    Most people know now that they are none of those things. Their object pure and simple is to impose their beliefs on the rest of us. They are anti freedom, anti democracy, anti Constitution and I think that it’s time to make that all perfectly clear.

    2016 is a pivotal year in reclaiming democracy and the time for Americans to come back together and insist on what wars have been fought over. Our right to live the American Dream.

    Please join me in standing that important ground.

  3. As you all know, I rarely “weigh in” to comments, but I am going to disagree with Pete–not on the importance of educating people about our constitutional system, but about the futility of trying to reason with people who are clearly wedded to an unreasonable worldview. I learned long ago that there are folks who are genuinely misinformed, but reachable; folks who simply see things differently, and may have insights we’ve missed; and others who–for whatever reason–are hostile and antagonistic defenders of a preferred reality that favors them who cannot be reasoned with. Our favorite troll is the latter, and it is not only a waste of time to attempt to engage, but–as you can see–it is beginning to annoy those who are interested in a civil and educational discussion.

  4. Wow, Sheila, I got on here this morning to add similar comments and primarily to point out that you provide a vital daily public service to your readers and some of us (can’t leave myself out) abuse the opportunity to add our opinions. Many of us pass on the information about your blog to others to give them a source of information we don’t get in the media. I am one who sometimes gets verbose, believing it to be profound observations on local, national and world issues. Mea culpa!

    The on-going, useless, off target, lengthy comments regarding an issue, or getting side-tracked, by lecturing and arguing serves no purpose and is distracting from Sheila’s in-depth observations, backed by her knowledge, on specific issues. Please; let’s all try to remember why we read this blog, learn from it, share our views but leave the vitriol behind.

    Thank you

  5. Fight on open ground, Sheila. Calling someone a “troll’ who regularly kicks your behind as an excuse for not defending your work or positions is intellectual cowardice.

    Your points are shallow; your reasoning shoddy and unsupported. You write a bit of snark most mornings to troll the Internet, and it’s a matter of public service to jump on your blog and set the record straight. Every post of yours is a fallacious appeal to the crowd, littered with ad hominem that is merely catnip to your fellow travelers.

    Here I am, Sheila. Heft your sword, and join the battle. I personally think IUPUI needs to conduct an audit of your classes to determine if your strident intolerance and political rigidity seeps into your pedagogy or grading.

    Governor Pence’s folks, are you reading this? Just what is going on at the state schools? What sort of future voters is the state manufacturing with its public dollar? Are the state schools presuming exclusive favored opinions and categorically flunking or punishing those who divert from the leftist orthodoxy? What are you doing to ensure the state schools are fair, Pence?

  6. Sheila, just so you know I will take your advice now knowing that among your readers any of those who are “genuinely misguided, but reachable” have been exposed to the bizarre basis for the extreme right wing ultimately anti American meme that has handcuffed progress here.

    Politics is a contact sport and we can’t afford IMO to let what is against American interests appear otherwise.

    I believe that I have accomplished that on your blog.

    For now at least.

  7. It’s her classroom, children. Play by her rules.

    Let the verbal bullies grovel in the mud alone. We will listen to the lessons and learn.

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