Always under

Finally, says Patricia Miller at Religion Dispatches, an unvarnished pro-patriarchy argument in all its glory.

Republican State legislator Paul Wieland filed suit requesting that he and his wife be allowed to opt out of the requirement under his coverage in the state health plan because it “violates their religious beliefs as Catholics and parents of three daughters,” says the National Catholic Reporter.

Wieland’s lawyer argues that if a closely held corporation like Hobby Lobby is allowed to opt out of the mandate, so too should individuals with objections to contraception. “If the corporations don’t have to do this for their employees, certainly Mom and Dad don’t have to do it for their daughters,” said Timothy Belz of the Thomas More Society.

Because Daddy is paying for it, you know! Gummint can’t make him pay for contraception for his daughters because he’s Daddy.

These groups simply don’t want any woman who works for them to get contraception through any kind of scheme linked to their insurance—even if they have nothing to do with it—because it undercuts their moral authority as men to regulate the reproductive behavior of women under their purview.

Women who can do that for themselves are made into sluts. Good women are always under the control and protection of a man. They’re too feeble and too slutty to manage without it.

According to social anthologist Jack Goody in his book The Development of Marriage and Family, the church’s insistence on policing the sexual morality of everyone in the society around it goes back to the earliest days of Christianity. From its founding as a sect within Judaism until well into the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church imposed it rules regarding sex and marriage on society in order to weaken pagan practices and t0 capture inheritances (that would have otherwise gone to family members) in order to strengthen the church. “By insinuating itself into the very fabric of domestic life, of heirship and marriage, the Church gained great control over the grass roots of society itself,” he argues.

Well of course it did. So would I, if I could do that, but I’m not a church, so I can’t.


  1. R Johnston says

    . From its founding as a sect within Judaism

    We all know that there’s no actual evidence that Jesus ever existed, or even any widely accepted definition of what a historical Jesus would be that we might look for in the historical record. Without a historical Jesus, what reason is there exactly to believe that christianity ever was a sect within Judaism? The Jesus myth really doesn’t align well at all with jewish messiah myths, and so many of the fundamental tenets of christianity seem designed to appeal specifically to non-jews. Christianity has always struck me as a cult established by traveling con-men out to make a buck that drew upon elements of judaism and many other religions people of the region would have been familiar with at the time from the very beginning. Christianity seems to me quite badly designed to ever have been directed specifically at jews; rather it reads as designed to bilk the rubes of all brands of disaffected persons including jews, but not in any way ever limited or even concentrated on them. If the con men were most likely lying or bullshitting about the existence of Jesus from the beginning, then why believe them about anything else anyway?

    Was christianity really a sect within judaism, or is that just one of these things that everyone “knows” for which there’s no evidence, like the existence of historical Jesus? Is there actually any kind of strong evidence in the historical record, as opposed to the non-evidence in the writings of Paul or the gospels, that would support the notion that christianity was a sect within judaism? There’s certainly nothing about the religion itself that necessitates christianty to have begun within judasim rather than to merely have drawn upon judaism as one of many sources at its initiation.

  2. Kevin Kehres says

    @1: The religion started somewhere. It didn’t just pop up whole.

    The writings in the New Testament are pretty clear in this regard. There was a disagreement among early church leaders as to whether Christianity was for Jews only — or those who would convert to Judaism (and follow the commandments and the law) — or whether Gentiles could also join. They settled on “y’all come, no circumcision needed”.

    So, yes, the religion started as a Judaic sect. It was a mystic cult initially. Jesus was seen as a heavenly intercessor because a mere man was not worthy enough to ask Yahweh for anything and Joshua was already up in heaven with “the father”. Only later did Joshua (Jesus) become “humanized” in the post-Paul era, when the “gospels” were written.

    You see the jazz riff on this with the Catholic Church’s insistence that people can get miracles granted if they pray to god through saints. Because the saints are approachable through prayer, whereas god is way too busy and important otherwise (which destroys the whole omniscience and omnipotence things, but, whatever).

  3. Sili says

    Without a historical Jesus, what reason is there exactly to believe that christianity ever was a sect within Judaism?

    Paul, deutero-Paul, the Pastorals, Hebrews, the Catholic epistles, Mark, Matthew, Luke, Acts, John, Revelation.

    The entire New Testament is steeped in Judaism and the Septuagint.

    Nothing in early Christianity makes sense except in the light of second temple Judaism.

  4. =8)-DX says

    I’m happy never to have met a woman who needed a man to do her contreceptin’ for her. Yes, we men participate, yes I’ve personally had quite some responsibility in that regard in the past: but women generally know what’s what and don’t need us men to explain the intricate inner workings of their reproductive system or tell them X is moral, Y is not. The past be gone, the only way I’m going to “do it for my daughter” is to ensure she has all the information and contraceptive access she needs. She’ll choose.

  5. Katydid says

    If you think Catholics are concerned with women’s sex lives, you’ve never looked into Jewish requirements (just one abhorrent example; women have to show the rebbe their used underwear), or even Fundamentalist Protestant requirements as to what makes a good woman (hint; it closely resembles the Fundamentalist Muslim ideals).

  6. culuriel says

    I think Wieland’s in for quite a shock. Let’s say his argument prevails: he gets to fill out a form stating that some or all forms of contraception violate his religion, so he’s eligible for insurance that doesn’t cover it. Well, in that case, according to Kennedy’s written opinion, the government could then come in and offer his daughters, probably all of them (maybe not the underage one), government-funded contraception insurance. So, Wieland will pay either way, through taxes that fund these programs, or his own pocket.

    Let’s say the ACA (I don’t know, but I hope) mandates insurance coverage for vaccinations. Can parents then sue the US Government for mandating they pay for vaccinations they refuse to get for their kids?

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