The Benedict Option.

Youtube screenshot.

Youtube screenshot.

Oh, a book on how Christians can hide from all the icky queer folk! Not only hide, but build shadow societies until they can take over, proper like. Think Progress has a fun and informative Atheist and a Christian Review…

ZF: I mean, that’s not even the most extreme outcome! Dreher specifically calls on those who are committed to Benedict Option communities to sacrifice educations and careers to avoid having to function in environments that might require affirming LGBT people. “A young Christian who dreams of being a lawyer or doctor might have to abandon that hope and enter a career in which she makes far less money than a lawyer or doctor would,” he writes. “An aspiring Christian academic might have to be happy with the smaller salary and lower prestige of teaching at a classical Christian high school.” I’m not really surprised by the indoctrination mentality of limiting one’s education to a Biblical framework, but how can anyone argue that having fewer doctors is a good thing for any community?

JJ: Yeah, I think this is all wrapped up in Dreher’s dream of creating a sort of shadow conservative Christian society. As he puts it: “Rather than wasting energy resources fighting unwinnable battles, we should instead work on building communities, institutions, and networks of resistance that can outwit, outlast, and eventually overcome the occupation.”

Head on over to read about the latest Christian scheme.

The Fuck You Fuck You Fuck You Care Plan. UPDATED.

The Message to Women Everywhere.

The Message to Women Everywhere.

As most everyone now knows, the bill was withdrawn before a vote. Yes, be happy. That said, go ahead and read all the following, and remember. Remember just what they wanted to do, and still want to do. We cannot afford to forget.

 
This post brought to you with a leaden heart sinking in a simultaneous sea of fury and despair. It’s going to be a roundup, because I just can’t. I can’t.

Trump budget boss: If you want insurance to cover maternity care, lobby your state legislature. Trumpcare: Giving you the freedom to purchase health insurance that covers nothing.

On Thursday, President Trump and the House Freedom Caucus tentatively worked out a deal: Trump would agree to remove mandatory coverage of “essential services” from his health care bill in order to win the far-right caucus’ support for it.

Essential services include maternity and newborn care, pediatric care, emergency services, substance abuse treatment, and prescription drug coverage. Under the Affordable Care Act, every health insurance plan sold in the US must cover them.

White House says maternity care won’t be more expensive for women —if they’re on a family plan: A story of male priorities on women’s health care, in two acts.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on Thursday that women wouldn’t have to worry about paying more for maternity care under Trumpcare, as long as they’re on a family plan.

The exchange came as a reporter pressed Spicer on reports that the GOP is considering repealing Obamacare’s 10 essential health benefits mandate — a requirement that all insurance plans cover services such as hospitalizations, prescriptions, preventative care, and pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care.

Spicer called the furor over these benefits a “philosophical discussion,” and argued that repealing them was a way to bring premiums down.

The White House may have skirted federal law to try and save its failing health care bill: Several official Twitter accounts lobbied Congress in support of the AHCA bill.

On Thursday morning, as the Trump administration frantically tried to save its deeply unpopular Affordable Care Act replacement bill, White House social media director Dan Scavino Jr. tweeted out a message to Trump’s dwindling pool of supporters urging them to call their congressperson in support of the American Health Care Act.

Hours later, similarly worded tweets were sent from the official @POTUS account and Donald Trump’s personal account.

But as some people were quick to note, directly lobbying Congress in support of (or opposition to) a bill using federal dollars—including White House staff who earn federal salaries—is strictly forbidden under 18 U.S.C. § 1913.

The Trump White House seems confused about how pregnancy works: Let me teach you about the birds and the bees.

The House is expected to vote Friday on a bill that, if a faction of the most conservative House Republicans gets its way, will eliminate the requirement that insurance plans cover certain essential health benefits. These benefits include maternity care, a fact that the Trump White House views as an opportunity to pit men against women.

It’s a common joke among the Affordable Care Act’s opponents. Why should a man pay for women’s health care? Hilarious!

At least with respect to maternity care, however, there’s a very simple answer to this question. Because of the unusual nature of pregnancy, either everyone must pay for pregnancy coverage, or no one will have pregnancy coverage.

The reason why is a problem known as “adverse selection.”

In last ditch effort for votes, Trump says goal of Trumpcare is to end Planned Parenthood: Trump quite literally plays politics with women’s health.

A photo of the House Freedom Caucus and Mike Pence went viral on Thursday, and for good reason — it showed that in a discussion over the future of women’s health insurance plans, the only people in the room were white men.

In a bid to get the far-right Freedom Caucus on board, President Trump and GOP leadership (again, all men) offered to repeal Obamacare’s Essential Health Benefits provision, which mandates that health insurers offer coverage for basic care like hospitalizations, prescriptions, and notably for women, pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care.

According to reports, however, the Freedom Caucus still doesn’t think the bill goes far enough. And on Friday, Trump took to Twitter to levy one more threat at its members, dangling women’s health coverage in front of them as bait:


The irony is that the Freedom Caucus, which is very pro-life and against Planned Parenthood, allows P.P. to continue if they stop this plan!

There’s many ways in which Trumpcare would disproportionately affect women. It would price abortion care out of reach for many women, even some on employee-sponsored plans. It would roll back Medicaid and charge seniors more for health insurance, hurting two populations that are predominately female. With the new revisions, it will roll back maternity coverage.

And, as Trump alludes to, it would federally defund Planned Parenthood —which in practice, actually means preventing low-income and rural women and men who depend on Planned Parenthood for cancer screenings, STD testing, and birth control consultations. In 105 counties, Planned Parenthood is the only birth control clinic. Annually, 2.5 million women and men seek care at Planned Parenthood clinics.

Trump knows this.

Ware Christians Offering Cake.

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While perusing Right Wing Watch yesterday, I came upon a story, told by one Lance Wallnau, about a magic cake. This cake was so gosh darn magic, it completely changed someone’s sexual orientation.

While streaming a video over Periscope last weekend, right-wing pastor Lance Wallnau received a message from a viewer saying that she needed prayers that would help deliver her son from homosexuality. That message prompted Wallnau to recall an incident he heard about recently in which a gay bar owner was supposedly delivered from his life of sin after eating a cake which had been prepared and prayed over by Christians.

As Wallnau told it, there were some hookers who used to hang out at a bar who were saved by a fellow patron who had found Christianity. Together, Wallnau said, these individuals “baked a cake for the owner of the bar, who was gay and very adamantly anti-Christian” and prayed over it that he would leave homosexuality.

They didn’t pray for him to lose his adamantly anti-Christian views? Oh, what am saying, of course praying away the gay was much more important. Anyway, on with the magical cake!

“It was an anointed cake,” Wallnau said, “and they made the cake and gave it as a gift. And when he ate the cake … the power of God hit him.”

The “presence of God” fell upon the bar owner, Wallnau recounted, and he then got baptized, at which point “the spirit that was working him got broken off,” thus freeing him from his life of homosexuality.

Aw, I’m disappointed. No recipe? How are you supposed to concoct the special anointing oil? I grew up Catholic, that shit’s serious, you have to have the magic recipe! So, ware Christians bearing cake. Now I’m wondering, is there a special cake us atheist types can make and offer? Perhaps a really good magical cake recipe for republicans?

Via RWW.

Oh, the Stupid. Too Much.

Sean Spicer speaks about health care benefits (CNN/screen grab).

Sean Spicer speaks about health care benefits (CNN/screen grab).

See that list in the photo? Those are all things we are about to lose here behind The Gold Curtain. America the Fucked Up. CNN tackled Spicer, who was going with full out bluster, in an attempt to defend this monstrousness. I’m just going to remark on a bit of the stupid, I’m close to overdosing on it already today.

According to Spicer, “older men, older women” who had “gotten passed [sic] maternity age” were being forced to pay for maternity care, driving up the overall cost of insurance.

When, exactly, do men get past maternity age? There are men in their 70s who have very young children, under the age of 5. Also, a lot of women don’t have children until they are in their 40s, so can we at least define this “passed the maternity age” business? Then, if you don’t mind, would you answer as to why you think any of this is your fucking business? Also, y’know, lot of people out there, older ones, who have children who are now having children, and they have a vested interest in them having good healthcare. That sort of thing is called family. You should look it up.

“People who were at the younger end of the age scale were buying end-of-life benefits,” he added.

What, I wonder, do you mean by that one? It’s not in the least uncommon for younger people to make plans for the end of their life, that would be why people make wills, have insurance, and so on, you stupid dipstick of an idiot. What in the fuckety fuck makes you think being younger automatically rules out catastrophic health problems? Accidents? Terminal illness? Not everyone dies at the age of 100something. Most of us won’t make it that far. At your age, Mr. Spicer, I’d think you’d know just how fast it flashes past, and before you know it, you aren’t 25 anymore. Trying to have some safety nets laid out in front of you is one way to prepare, so you can have a good life that isn’t completely wiped out by one unforeseen complication.

The people in charge of the Fuck You Care Plan, now with added Fuck. You.!

Via Raw Story.

ETA: In the comments, I included a link to yet another callous rethuglican, who made a very nasty remark about mammograms. The tweetstream following his notpology is very long, and a good many people brought up a very important point: men also have breasts, and yes, they can get breast cancer too. This is not brought up enough, and men, seriously, if you find you have a lump, get your self to a doctor, immediately! Ignoring such a thing leads to one place: death. Also, manhandle your breasts every month, have a check for anything suspicious. If you have a partner, it can be fun to check each other!

The Male Breast Cancer Coalition.

The ‘Working for Women’ Award Goes To…

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Mike Pence! Aww, here ya go, you walking meatsack of sexism and hate:

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…Naturally, he’s being honored with a “Working for Women” award by the “Independent Women’s Forum,” a conservative non-profit for which Kellyanne Conway is a board member. Ah, it all makes sense now.

A press release sent to the Cut describes the…honor…thusly:

“The award recognizes an individual who values free markets, works to create a more dynamic and innovative work world, and celebrates the valuable contributions women make to society.”

According to its website, the mission of the IWF is to “improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty.” Just to be clear, an award from a group that celebrates “personal liberty” is going to a man who is working feverishly to curtail the rights of women to control their own bodies. This is like giving Idi Amin a Nobel Peace Prize for his humanitarian efforts.

Jesus Christ. Every time I think they just really couldn’t sink any lower, they manage it. Pence is someone who has spent his whole career trying to destroy women. He certainly has no use at all for them as actual autonomous, thinking human beings. Of course, this “award” is coming from a group which does not view other women as full human beings either. It scares me to think of the near to insane level of cognitive dissonance ringing in the brains of women like Carrie Lukas and Kellyanne Conway. That might explain the inability to actually think, that ringing has got to be awfully loud.

Via Jezebel.

Bad News for Women, a la Trump.

Austin Ruse speaks at 2015 conference on sexual orientation and gender identity in international law.

Austin Ruse speaks at 2015 conference on sexual orientation and gender identity in international law.

The Trump administration this week named representatives from two intensely anti-choice and anti-LGBTQ groups, C-Fam and the Heritage Foundation, to be part of the official U.S. delegation to the session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, which began on Monday and runs until March 24.

The State Department’s press release announcing the delegation calls the session “the most important annual meeting on women’s issues at the United Nations.” But just last week, in an email titled “Seven Days to War…Meet the Enemy, Learn Their Names,” C-Fam called it “one of the most dangerous meetings of the year.” On Monday morning, C-Fam sent out an email calling the session an “assault on life and family” and begging for money, portraying themselves as a “small and relatively weak” organization pitted against the “rich and powerful” forces such as the U.N. human rights office; now they are part of the official U.S. delegation.

C-Fam, formerly the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, and its leader Austin Ruse are so committed to enshrining “traditional” ideologies about gender, marriage and family in international law that they have teamed up with many of the world’s most repressive regimes to carry out their fight at the U.N. The Heritage Foundation is at the heart of a massive Religious Right coalition pushing to give business owners a broad legal right to discriminate against LGBT people and families as well as single parents based on their holding traditional religious views about gender, marriage and family.

As you can see from the wiki links, neither C-Fam or the Heritage Foundation are “small, relatively weak” organizations. They are both powerful, and they both have unfettered access to the Trump Regime, whereas previous administrations restrained them somewhat. The rise of the Religious Reich has been ongoing, but now is the time for alarm, because the current regime has no problem at all with crushing tank of Christian oppression running ramshod over everyone and everything they don’t like, and that’s a considerable list. The mere fact they have been designated representatives to such an important session is not good news. These people are anything but interested in the status of women and girls, outside of a determination to make sure all women and girls are ground well into the dirt, under the boot of patriarchy.

Trump’s massive expansion of the global gag rule already made it clear that his administration was willing to target some of the world’s most vulnerable people in order to meet the demands of his Religious Right base. Ruse recently complained about efforts by other nations and nonprofits to mitigate the harm of Trump’s policy on public health efforts in poor countries. The official appointments of C-Fam and Heritage effectively remove any lingering doubts about the Trump administration’s abandonment of what has been important U.S. advocacy for reproductive health and LGBTQ human rights around the world.

OutRight Action International, a human rights group active at the U.N., decried the appointments. Fundamentalist notions about how women and girls should behave should never be the basis of advising or negotiating US foreign policy,” said Executive Director Jessica Stern in a statement. She also called it “a bad sign that two organizations that have tried to delegitimize the United Nations and human rights internationally now sit on the official US delegation.” Stern held out hope that even in the face of these appointments, the U.S. might be willing to support Commission on the Status of Women conclusions condemning discrimination.

Oh, I wouldn’t be holding my breath on that last. We are in dark days here, the Gilded age is back, and women don’t hold much of a place, as far as being considered full human beings, who are, in every way, the equal of men.

The delegation will be led by anti-choice U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley and her deputy Michele Sison. Joining them as Public Delegates will be Lisa Correnti, C-Fam’s executive vice president, and Grace Melton, Heritage Foundation associate for social issues at the U.N.

When it comes to social issues in regard to women, it’s quite plain where the Religious Reich is concerned: women belong under the thumb of a man, must be virginal until placed under said thumb, no, no contraception, absolutely no choice, because no autonomy, and certainly none of that queer business!

Via RWW.

McCrory: Sweet Schadenfreude.

Pat McCrory

Pat McCrory.

There are times schadenfreude is ever so sweet, and this is one of them. Pat McCrory, that eternal bigot, is now whining that his bigotry is interfering with him finding a job. It turns out that a lot of people aren’t terribly interested in hiring an attention-pandering bigot. Who knew?

In an interview with the Raleigh News & Observer, McCrory complained that his decision to champion HB2 — the infamous “bathroom bill” that banned transgender people from using the bathrooms of their choice — was hurting his career prospects.

“People are reluctant to hire me, because, ‘oh my gosh, he’s a bigot,’” McCrory explained to the newspaper. “Which is the last thing I am.”

Unfuckingbelievable. He still clings to this insistence that he’s not a bigot, oh no, why he’s a champion superhero, protecting peeing people!

McCrory said that while he’s been considered for part-time teaching positions at some universities, campuses have been reluctant to hire him over fears that he might spark a backlash among students, who would then respond with disruptive protests.

“That’s not the way our American system should operate – having people purged due to political thought,” he complained.

Oh no, don’t be dishonest, Pat. This isn’t a case of thought crime. You did much more than have an unpopular, stupid, bigoted political thought. You drove the bigoted HB2 at any and all cost, even when your own constituents stood against it, and you were costing your state millions upon millions of dollars. That’s different from having a political thought. Our ‘American’ system should not be stuffed to the rafters with incompetent bigots, either, but it is, and people have the right to oppose them, which they did. You lost your job through your own actions, and you have not taken one step back on your draconian views.

McCrory’s complaints echo similar comments he made recently during a podcast interview in which he claimed that “if you disagree with the politically correct thought police on this new definition of gender, you’re a bigot, you’re the worst of evil.”

Oh For Fuck’s Sake! You godsdamned piece of shit masquerading as a human being! Such a fucking liar. This has absolutely nothing to do with political correctness, nor thought police, nor a ‘new’ definition of gender, and you are a fucking bigot, a terrible, toxic, venomous one, and yes, you are on the side of evil. Someone should have, at some point, taught you there are consequences to both speech and actions. There are *four* pages on Affinity, all posts about McCrory’s evil legislation, and yet all he can manage to do is whine about what a victim he is. And here I thought it was only us SJW snowflakes who did that. Tsk.

Via Raw Story.

Dudebro Is As Dudebro Does.

Via Twitter.

Via Twitter.

A wall street dudebro was caught on camera, humping the little girl statue facing down the wall street bull. Real nice, dude, getting happily rapey on a statue. I definitely don’t want to know what this asshole does with people. As The Mary Sue notes, the little girl statue was not universally liked by any means, but it seems dudebro was sufficiently threatened by an infantilized representation of women that it was necessary to do a hump grind.

…And yet, thanks to this Wall Street jerk, I find myself reevaluating the statue. Clearly, his masculinity was so threatened by the presence of this corporate-sponsored, deliberately infantilized depiction of female autonomy that he had to immediately establish disgusting dominance over it. Is this actually making Wall Street bros uncomfortable? Does it frighten them with a suggestion that women will one day overwhelm and unseat them from their positions of power? I mean, I can get behind that sort of thing!

More seriously, though, this statue and incident illustrate two equally essential requirements: we must demand and expect better from our feminism, while also anticipating and preparing for the worst from our patriarchal world.

The Mary Sue has the full story.

America Chavez.

Marvel's America Chavez, artist Joe Quinones.

Marvel’s America Chavez, artist Joe Quinones.

The ever fabulous America Chavez, Latina Lesbian Superhero, will have her own series this year!

This spring, young adult novelist Gabby Rivera (Juliet Takes a Breath) and artist Joe Quinones (Howard the Duck) continue the high-octane adventures of America Chavez. Marvel’s lesbian Latina powerhouse, Chavez punches her way through dimensions and faces off against an oncoming alien horde all while managing her social life and trying to attend various classes on alternate Earths. Since her introduction in 2012, Chavez has stood side by side with Marvel’s most powerful heroes, and this year she’s ready to take the world by storm in her new series, America. We asked Rivera about her new series.

You can read the full story at The Advocate.

“Why Should Men Pay For It?”

Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill. questions Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on the implementation failures of the Affordable Care Act, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington. CREDIT: AP Photo/Susan Walsh.

Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill. questions Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on the implementation failures of the Affordable Care Act, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington. CREDIT: AP Photo/Susan Walsh.

At a hearing markup on Wednesday, Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) suggested that one reason Republicans object to Obamacare is that men have to pay for plans that cover maternity services, such as prenatal care.

The heated exchange happened during a lengthy markup session for the GOP’s Obamacare replacement bill in the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Shimkus was responding to a question from Rep. Michael Doyle (D-PA), who asked a different colleague which mandates in Obamacare he took issue with.

“What mandate in the Obamacare bill does he take issue with?” Doyle asked. “Certainly not with pre-existing conditions, or caps on benefits or letting your child stay on the policy until 26, so I’m curious what is it we’re mandating?”

“What about men having to purchase prenatal care?” Shimkus butted in. “Is that not correct? And should they?”

Here’s a thought, you dimwitted dipstick – men are involved with the process of pregnancy. If you’re truly deadset on not paying for prenatal care, then perhaps you should propose a healthy penis penalty – everyone who is using one has to pay into a healthcare fund for reproductive care, including parental leave. After all, if you’re not going to pay attention to where you’re shooting that tarse, and refuse to take responsibility, I don’t see why women should have to bear the full cost. While you’re at it, increase that penis penalty by another ten percent – this can go into a fund providing accessible and affordable contraception, something else that really cuts down on costs, but you manage to be against that one, too. Oh, let’s tack on another ten percent – it could go to opt in sexual education classes, for everyone!

The fact that prenatal care, which results in healthy women and infants, is an excellent preventative act, and it’s certainly much cheaper to practice than the catastrophic costs involved when there is no care, and things go very wrong, doesn’t seem to matter to republicans. The most obvious practicalities can’t seem to penetrate the density of their ignorance and entitlement.

You can read about the whole mess, in-depth, at Think Progress.

Men, You Might Need A Pap Smear.

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No one likes the more invasive parts of a medical exam, but they are very important tools in preventing cancer and HIV. In this case, we’re talking Pap smears. Not just for women anymore. An anal Pap smear can be a crucial in both prevention and early detection. These are fairly new, so there aren’t set standards, and you might need to request one if you’re concerned. All gay and bi men who have anal sex should put this on their medical to do list, and so should women who engage in anal sex.

The main reason to get an anal Pap test is to determine if the human papillomavirus (HPV), a widespread sexually transmitted infection, has sparked anal cancer, pre-cancerous cell growth, or lesions on the tissue of the anus that make you more vulnerable to HIV and other STIs. Unlike HIV, which is transmitted through bodily fluids, HPV is spread through skin-to-skin contact, so using condoms is only partially successful in preventing transmission. HPV may be symptomless. Factors that increase the risk of anal cancer include multiple sex partners or use of drugs, alcohol, or tobacco. Being HIV-positive increases the risk of HPV infection and vice versa. According to the Cancer Network, 95 percent of HIV-positive men who have sex with men already have anal HPV, as do approximately 65 percent of HIV-negative gay and bisexual men. (Note: There is now a vaccine for HPV available.)

Standards aren’t yet well established, unfortunately, which probably means your general practitioner isn’t going to recommend you get one unless you specifically ask for it.

But there’s a growing number of physicians arguing Pap tests should be part of routine screenings for anyone who has anal sex. As with HIV, the receptive partners are at the greatest risk, but anal cancer is a rising cause of illness and death among all men who have sex with men, especially those who are HIV-positive. If a woman is having anal sex, she should also be getting a regular anal Pap.

The Advocate has the full story. Take care of yourselves!

Coming Out At 95 Years Old.

A remarkable story. You can read about it at Out, and the website for the forthcoming documentary is here.

There’s nothing more frightful than coming out for the first time, and it’s a fear that most LGBTQ people face early in their lives. But imagine spending more than 90 years in the closet. What does coming out feel like then?

In a recent video, Roman Blank sat down with YouTube darling Davey Wavey to talk about his coming-out as gay last year—at the age of 95.

“I told [my family] the whole tragedy of my life, and then they understood,” Blank said. “Can you imagine 90 years in the closet?”