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.