I am happy that I own a nice collection of music, so that I can get away from the parade of degeneration that has become the daily news. What we see is almost all political in nature, and since this is a religious column I do not feel called upon to comment upon it day after day. Anyone who is reasonable can see that the people of America have been written off as a liability to the corporate machine that owns and operates our elected officials, but if you doubted it you ought to be able to figure out the most elementary parts of the New Jersey bridge scandal.
The governor's lackey sends out an email that says that it's "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee," another lackey responds, "Got it," and the bridge is shut down in such a way as to create a four-day traffic jam. The people of New Jersey are of no importance in this scenario. You can miss a job interview, your first-grader can be stuck in traffic until you can get to her on foot, or you can miss a day of work. It doesn't matter. More important is the vendetta that called for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.
Now one of the Teabagger favorites has fired another salvo in what the media is calling a war on women. Rev. Michael Huckabee declares that women should not be forced to go begging to the government for their "monthly" birth-control prescription because they simply cannot control their libidos. What he meant in this word salad is not clear. We must try to unwrap it for ourselves; I choose to begin with basic reproductive health care.
Typically, a woman in her childbearing years will consult a doctor about birth control if she does not want to become pregnant as the result of an active sex life. Doctors tend to prescribe the least-hazardous of birth control methods, such as The Pill, if the woman is not willing to entrust her partner with managing his use of condoms.
Anyone who gets prescriptions from a doctor knows that the term is generally three to six months. After that, the doctor wants to see the patient and check some basics like a blood test, and at the time of the visit he renews the prescription. This seems to be something that Huckabee does not know.
Apparently Huckabee is in the same fog of ignorance as Rush Limbaugh, who seems to think that the birth-control pill must be taken every time a woman has intercourse, which would mean that a young wife would be taking a pill perhaps twice a day. It has already been pointed out that The Pill is taken one-per-day according to manufacturer's instructions, which may have been a revelation to Limbaugh if he took notice of the information.
So Huckabee apparently thinks that a woman goes to a doctor every month for a scrip--as if I had to go to my doctor every month for a scrip for Atenolol or Metformin. He does not seem to know that a pharmacy can contact the doctor's office and renew a scrip. Nor does he care; Huckabee is not in the business of knowing factual things. He is a preacher who has taken the position that science deserves no credibility and he believes in such things as parents in Kenya who telephone newspapers in Honolulu and place birth announcements some forty years before their baby will enter the political arena. Such a fantasy is perfectly plausible to Huckabee, who also thinks that women's libido is out of control.
This is what is causing hordes of people to leave the American Church: contempt for reality, willful ignorance and stupid racism. The reality of this situation is that as the generations pass, people who held power during and after the Second World War are now receding rapidly into the background of power politics. These "old white men" are also having libido problems--mostly of not having much libido anymore. Many of these men who could command the compliance of women they desired, can no longer summon up the desire to ask a woman to comply with, not even their own wives (if their wives have stuck around during the years of unfaithfulness and deceit).
The over-the-hill generation is still yanking the reins of power, with their resentment growing every day that they are no longer the center of attention and deference. They can be symbolized by Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, who had their last hurrahs during the administration of President George W. Bush and have now faded into insignificance. The only trouble is, they don't know it.
I have made the remark in this column: before America can undergo some much-needed and rapid change, a generation or two of politicians is going to have to die off. The generation of World War II is now barely alive, with former soldier heroes dying every day, with little or no fanfare. Now the next generation, the one the coined the phrase "Cold War," is going down, and they can't retire fast enough for the contemporary generation of Americans who see no great threat in the equality of LGBT citizens, nor do they object to an African-American president. Racism is dying along with the elderly former power brokers, and only the Bible Belt can claim proudly--more fools they--to be holding the line against blacks and gays.
But this is because their spiritual mentors are, unsurprisingly, old white men like Franklin Graham and Bryan Fischer. These repulsive individuals, true products of their times, will not live forever; Graham's father, the great Billy Graham, is on his deathbed and was no racist, it must be remembered. Billy Graham passed on a legacy of faith to his children, which they promptly turned into politics as they got into bed with the Republicans when they revolted against the Civil Rights Act. The Sixties saw the turn of the South, away from civil rights and into racism and fundamentalism that has not yet abated. But their misguided mentors will not live forever.
My attitude towards these ugly old men may seem harsh, but that is because I remember Billy Graham from the Tonight Show when he was interviewed by Johnny Carson. When asked if he would run for office, Graham replied serenely, "I was called to preach."
I remember my own father, who would be ninety-five if he were still living. He never surrendered to racism; he and my mother marched with Daddy King, the father of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in the streets of Chicago. My father's friends first taught me what it was like to take a side and stand up for people who are struggling for their liberation. I was actually behind their curve until I graduated from college and saw what life in the ghetto was like, teaching at the Westinghouse Vocational-Technical High School in Chicago until I lost my job in a purge of teachers and students--all the hippie teachers were targeted. But it doesn't matter anymore, because my days as a teacher are over. For others it is far more important, as Americans struggle to comprehend that Republicans are lying, that they are up to no good, that Americans are being thrown into the streets penniless by the House of Representatives that will do nothing because of their mindless racism as Democratic representatives try to do something to impede the ruin of so many America lives.
Meanwhile, Preacher Huckabee is strong and wrong. He has forgotten Jesus' words:
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did not do for me.’" [Matthew 25:34-45]