As our economy has begun showing signs of improving—the lifeblood of an incumbent’s candidacy, and poison to a challenger’s—the national conversation has (predictably) shifted, in part, back to the most esteemed of American hobbies, the culture war. Frankly, after watching the evacuation of Detroit and the debate about extending unemployment benefits, I am relieved that we can finally return to discussing that most vital and appropriate of subjects: who can do what with their junk.
Marital fidelity was the rage in the 90’s, gay marriage had its day in the spotlight in ’04, and abortion never really goes away, but this election cycle appears to be centering around birth control. The Obama administration’s mandate that employers make contraception available to their employees is facing resistance on all the usual fronts, from talk radio to the two remaining newspapers to dogwhistling politicians. While most opponents of the measure cite statistics about how often Catholics use birth control, or how great are the benefits of increased access, they are overlooking the larger argument. As Ross Douthat adeptly noted on his blog, a sizable chunk of the conservative resistance stems from the fear that the government is curbing the exercise of religious beliefs guaranteed by the First Amendment.
I was baptized Catholic by my parents as a baby, although I have since converted to another faith (the Holy Church of the First Man). My brother was married by a Catholic priest, and my father was buried by one. Catholicism in my family dates back long enough to have deep familiarity with the suspicions cast upon the Church in the United States (see: the presidential candidacy of JFK and rumors of his taking orders from the Vatican). On the issue of birth control, as with so many others, the Catholic Church has organized and mobilized its forces, fighting back against Obamacare and, more broadly, government overreach into religion. Although I disagree with the Catholics about birth control, as a strict First Amendmentist, I fully support their effort to prevent this egregious regulation of religious practice.
My own church has been involved in a number of legal battles regarding the practice of our required customs, and we Followers empathize with the Catholics and the Mormons (famously denied their God-sanctioned polygamy by Big Government). Followers of the First Man believe that, as the first recipient of the Word of the Lord and first steward of the Earth, upon his death Adam ascended to Heaven and sits at the side of the Lord, later to be joined by Jesus. Our Holy Testament of Faith is a careful translation of the discovered personal memoirs of Adam, and from this document we draw our spiritual guidance. As Adam noted from one of his conversations with the Lord, work is good, and so that one can appreciate his toils, it must be performed in the nude (C5,Verse1:5). However, just last year a respected teen social worker (and Follower) was fired from her position at a Phoenix agency and arrested for reporting to work nude on the Eve of the Naming Ceremony, as is our custom. The district attorney claimed that she was “indecent” (even though she appeared as designed by God) and she was heavily fined.
The attacks upon the liberty of Followers closely mirror those suffered by the Catholics. Just as they have struggled to implement the “conscience clauses” protecting Catholic pharmacists from dispensing RU-486, we Followers have been prevented from following one of our foundational beliefs. During his sojourn to the barren land of Nod, Adam faced extreme thirst and hunger. In desperation, he consumed his own urine and feces, which nourished him until he arrived. The lesson was heeded and recorded: “To waste is bad; all things from the Body the Temple are good, and should be used to their fullest.” (L2,Verse19:5). Although there have been several tabloid-fodder stories accusing Followers (including Alabama Governor Saxby Chambliss) of outrageous behavior involving the Fecal Sacrament, not one Follower has been charged or convicted. The practice of implementing excrement into meals prepared for guests in one’s home has not been practiced since the turn of the 20th century, contrary to persistent rumors. Modern and Reform Followers adhere to the same sanitary rules in the kitchen as every other American, instead using our shit to make crafts, gifts, and fertilizer.
Some will argue that laws promoting the availability of birth control or limiting the use of sterile urine in food preparation serve the greater good. “But won’t increasing access to contraception help prevent unwanted pregnancies, thus reducing abortions?” opponents of the Catholics might argue. That is, to a devout Catholic, a morally unsound selection of the lesser of two evils—the end justifying the means, if you will. Those same secular zealots have argued that certain beasts are not to be consumed simply because they are judged to be “domesticated.” Adam and his descendants, including you and I, were given dominion over this land by God himself, who did not draw distinctions between beasts, no matter how cuddly. I have yet to encounter a lawyer who can explain to me how outlawing our annual Shelter Harvest was not a gross violation of our Constitutional rights.
In the interest of protecting religious freedom in America, I propose an alliance between two chronically besieged faiths. As a First Man elder, I encourage cooperation between organizational heads of both groups, so that we can challenge Obama and any other president or government agency that threatens the sanctity of our church walls. In a show of solidarity, I have informed my girlfriend that she will be not be filling her birth control prescription, which will no longer be necessary, as we will not be having sex until we are married. In return, I call on Catholic presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum to cease the mindless waste of their sacred excrement product by literally flushing it down a “Porcelain Sinpot,” as we call them. Together, we can create a future in which Catholics and Followers can share an Ash Wednesday meal of Feline Picatta, hold the Ortho Tri-cyclen and accompanying trip to Hell.