Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio chosen as Pope
March 13, 2013

Today, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, a Jesuit from Argentina, was selected as the new Pope, taking the name Francis I.  He succeeds retired pontif Pope Benedict XVI, aka Joseph Ratzinger.

We all know about the constant scandal the Church has been mired in with Benedict, who organized the cover-up of child rape worldwide, and we can only assume this will continue with Francis.  At least until the Catholic Church starts turning priests involved with child rape over to authorities.  In addition to this, the end of the cover up of child rape, I think there are several things people with any sense would like to see from the new Pope of the Catholic Church:

1. End Priests’ Vow of Celibacy.  Let’s face it: this was always a bad idea, and is a huge part of the problem.  Let Priests marry, let them have relationships, let them have sex with men, women, ANYONE except the children in their care.

Prospects: Pope Francis is a JESUIT.  Their order takes a vow of celibacy of their own, and he is unlikely to suddenly feel it is a bad idea at age 76.  Nope, this one is not going to happen under this Pope, so Catholic kids remain at heightened risk.

2. Integrate Women into the Priesthood.  The Church seriously needs to join us in the 21st century and take this step to end their millennia of discrimination against and repression of women and start letting women join the men in leadership.  I know the book of Timothy expressly forbids it, but come on, they’ve found their way to reinterpret and work around other Biblical goofs and they can do it again.

Prospects: Ah, no. Not happening.  Jesuits are a very traditional order, and no way in hell Francis is letting this happen on his watch.  Sorry, ladies!  Of course, if you’re a woman still in the Church, you’re blind to the way they’re treating you anyway, so…no harm done.

3. Stop Condemning the Use of Birth Control.  Not only is this just a backward way of thinking, it’s done incredible harm worldwide, keeping masses of people in poverty and dying of hunger, as well as propagating the deadly AIDS virus.  In Africa alone, this aspect of the Church is, in my mind, tantamount to acts of genocide.

Prospects: Dismal and dismaller. Francis has campaigned against the use of birth control himself.  He is, ironically,  lauded as a champion of the poor, while this key stance is a deadly attack against them. And keep reading, it only gets worse from here…

4. Stop the Church’s Anti-Gay Stance.  Again, join us in the 21st century, where LGBTs are people and deserve to be treated with the same respect and love as the rest of us.

Prospects: No fucking chance.  Francis has campaigned against gay marriage, saying it will “injure the family”, against adoption of children by gay parents (the irony of which, a Catholic protecting children from supposed immorality, is so ironic it smacks you right in the face with irony), on the basis that it would “deprive them of the human growth that God wanted them given by a mother and a father”.  Right, because they’re getting so much human growth in the orphanage with no parents at all.  Genius.  Basically, this guy is a one man anti-gay army.

Sorry, folks, but it doesn’t look like the new Pope is any better for the woes of the Vatican than the old Pope.  It’s the old Popemobile Shell Game, where you keep the audience distracted while you shuffle things around and hope they never notice the bait and switch you pulled, resulting in no change at all.

Only the names have been changed to protect the guilty.

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Knocked Up White Dudes: How Gender Inequality Can Be Defeated By Science
February 9, 2012

Somewhere, a bell just rang.

The recent controversy over regulations on insurance providers has again brought to light the issue of the availability of birth control. The Catholic Church, despite the fact that the vast majority of its membership (at least here in the US) use birth control, is against it, and doesn’t want to provide it to the employees it insures.

At the same time, the fight over abortion remains at a fever pitch, with a major topic in this year’s Republican primaries being the candidates’ stance on abortion rights. Rick Santorum, the current front-runner, is on record as saying he is against abortion even in the cases of rape and/or incest.

The persistent lie in these cases is that this is a moral issue, that these people and institutions are fighting against sin. But let’s look at this honestly. The Catholic Church (and let’s ignore for the moment the truly heinous things we know of it) still does not allow women in positions of leadership. Of course it advocates they not use birth control or get abortions. The more unwanted pregnancies women have, the more they will have to shift plans from careers, or getting an education and learning how to recognize that the Church itself has been keeping them down for centuries and doesn’t plan on changing that anytime soon!

These are clearly positions created by men and fostered by men. Men don’t like it when women are able to enjoy sex more, know more, or make more money than they do. In short, men don’t seem to want women to have the same opportunities that they do.

It’s about power.

They don’t want women to have the power that has been the exclusive province of men for thousands of years. And the fact of biology has provided them a major tool in their cause of keeping women beneath them. Women have the babies, men don’t. They are able to walk away from an unwanted pregnancy and go back to living their lives, where women are denied that privilege. And unless you’ve given up a child for adoption lately, please spare me the speech about how that is the solution to all life’s ills. That doesn’t erase the nine months of pregnancy, the time away from school, or work, or the judgment women face from those around them. And in most circumstances, its horribly difficult to give up a child. The parenting bond is strong, and most women will stay in poverty rather than abandon a child.

Men have also used the perception of women to leverage things in their favor, branding women as “sluts” for enjoying sex, and shaming them into accepting their status as homemakers, caregivers, and willing objects of men’s desires. And I am not saying that women choosing to be ANY of those things is wrong. I’m saying that the strategy of men is to make it the default position, so that women don’t end up there as a matter of choice. Women should have the same opportunity to choose that men have, then if they choose to stay at home, so be it, but they could also choose to be CEOs and Presidents and Archbishops, the same way men do. Right now, not all those choices are available to them.

Women have been trying to right this inequality for a long time, and on many fronts have succeeded in making great strides. After all, our Founding Fathers, about whom you often hear people talk as if they were deities to be worshipped, didn’t want women to have the vote. They didn’t want women owning property or holding political office. But women do all those things now. (Don’t often hear politicians talking about rolling that back to the way the Founders intended either, do you?)

The main way women have been fighting this is by attacking the financial responsibility of men for their children. That’s been largely successful, changing divorce laws and branding “deadbeat dads” as a major societal ill. These are important shifts in perception and policy, and should rightly be lauded. But it doesn’t solve everything. What about the fathers who can’t be found, or held to account?

Women have been gradually moving into more and more positions of political power, which is the main reason we have seen laws change. But they are still held out of positions of power within the Catholic Church, to name one, and many other religious institutions. Until they can reach those audiences, religious restrictions will not change, and that seems a long way out. Women dying in back alleys from botched abortions can’t wait that long.

I propose that women attack the problem from a new angle, one where they already have the needed skill to begin to see it through: science.

Figure out a way to get men pregnant.

I don’t mean to change their DNA so they have female reproductive organs, no. I’m talking about a way to surgically allow a pregnancy to be transferred to men and have them carry the child as women do.

I promise you, if men could be pregnant, the entire controversy would vanish. Every argument about sin would dry up and disappear. Companies would jump on producing birth control with the same fervor and television marketing zeal that they currently apply to Viagra and Cialis. You’d see morning after pills advertised during every prime time show. You’d see abortion clinics run in franchises like car dealerships and fast food chains. The day a copy of “Knocked Up White Dudes” is available at your nearest adult video store, birth control and abortions will be available at the gas station next door. One pregnant white man would change the worldwide landscape of gender inequality overnight.

Women are already working as scientists and chemists, operating labs and advancing the frontiers of the human race. I’m saying to all of you, take this struggle into your laboratory. Figure out a way to do this, and no one ever need worry that men and women will have unequal protection in this country again.

Politics started this fight, now science can finish it.

You heard that bell, right? Now fight.