If you’ve been following this non-starter of a controversy over President Obama’s commencement speech at Notre Dame—and I say non-starter, because the students, faculty, and staff all want it, with the exception of a small minority of right wing wankers pretending their objection is religious in nature—you’ve been witnessing a first class example of how religion is used as a rationalization for whatever you wanted to believe in the first place. Former Vatican ambassador Mary Ann Glendon is turning down some big award from Notre Dame to protest the fact that they’re honoring President Obama, as they have every other President since Eisenhower. The ostensible reason that Obama is being protested is that he’s pro-choice, and that implies—quite falsely—that Notre Dame is changing some tradition of rejecting pro-choice Presidents, even though they’ve done it before. It does make you think about what it could be that’s different about Obama that is causing this reaction, but of course speculation of this sort will just result in a bunch of pearl-clutching faux outrage of the sort we’ve seen from Donna Barstow or Byron York.
Anyway, the direct claim, however facetious, that Notre Dame has some sort of obligation to shun pro-choice Presidents starting the day that we elected a
black Chicago-based Democrat in the era when most Notre Dame students first came into the age of the majority doesn’t make sense even by the stated standards of the protesters. As many people have pointed out, Notre Dame honored President Bush, and the Iraq War was singled out specifically by the Pope as a violation of god’s will. Cathy Lynn Grossman pointed out this huge and obvious error in consistency that makes the protesters look, at best, like they’re motivated by nothing more than base misogyny (true enough), but also like they are, to use Pam’s awesome coinage, easily race-aroused. Which is somewhat surprising, because fetus worshipers tend to be mindful of putting up a consistency front to obscure that loathing for female sexuality motivates them by acting like they just really, really, really love microscopic life. But of course, if you make it clear that you love microscopic life more than the lives of human beings who have brains and skeletal systems, then people are going to be skeptical of your claims to be “pro-life”. She’s just trying to help, nuts!
But of course, the first rule of wingnuttery is to boldly refuse to realize how much you look like an idiot. With that in mind, “pro-life” conservatives wrote in and explained that women controlling their own bodies is a million times worse than blowing up countries and killing hundreds of thousands of people. This, despite the fact that the Pope expressly condemned the Iraq War.
People who keep attempting to somehow equate Obama’s support of abortion with Bush’s decision to invade Iraq are missing one key point. Abortion is clearly defined by the Catholic Church as an “intrinsic evil” with no redeeming qualities and no room for negotiation. War and the death penalty do not fall under this category and heads of state are given some leway in these matters. War, good catholics can and do disagree on. Abortion has no such status, according to the Church.
Of course, even if you do think that fetuses are morally superior not just to women, but all sentient life, you have to admit that fetuses die during war. So why is that okay? Is it because the pregnant woman usually dies along with her fetus, making it okay? That doesn’t make sense—after all, anti-choicers get behind laws increasing penalties for people who kill pregnant women, so clearly they think killing a woman in the process of killing a fetus actually doesn’t make it okay.
I’m forced to conclude that the rule is that It’s Okay If You’re A Patriarch. Of course, being a Republican is now a bare minimum for being a patriarch. But if you’re a Republican President, you’re the biggest patriarch of all, and you get to kill whoever you like, fetal or not. I’m forced to conclude that it’s irrelevant if you think it’s “life” or not in the womb—whether or not it’s right to terminate it depends entirely on your social status, and women aren’t accorded enough to even control their own bodies.