Part II: Is the Handmaid’s Tale Coming True?

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The Handmaid’s Tale is a novel and a movie about the United States after a totalitarian Christian theocracy has overthrown the government. It is led by Godly men who apparently prefer their wives also to be Godly, detest sin, and are basically incapable of fathering children. Yep, it sounds like today’s version of the GOP, or what it is rapidly becoming. It is basically science fiction based on what will happen when Christian Reconstructionism takes over the nation.

“…Beginning with a staged terrorist attack (blamed on Islamic extremist terrorists) that kills the President and most of Congress, a movement calling itself the “Sons of Jacob” launches a revolution and suspends the United States Constitution under the pretext of restoring order. They are quickly able to take away all of women’s rights, largely attributed to financial records being stored electronically and labelled by gender. This allows the new rulers to freeze women’s bank accounts (the story also takes place in a future of a cashless society utilizing electronic money which leaves them with no funds after this), then outlaw employing them. The new regime moves quickly to consolidate its power and reorganize society along a new militarized, hierarchical, compulsorily cult-Christian regime of selectively skewed Old Testament-inspired social and religious ultra-conservatism among its newly created social classes. In this society, almost all women are forbidden to read….”

The object is to take away all rights from women, force them into being breeders or Godly wives. That’s about it.

“...Serena Joy: A former televangelist, she is now a Wife in the fundamentalist theocracy she helped to create. All power and public recognition have been taken away from her by the state, as for all women in Gilead, and her past as a television personality is covered up as much as possible by the regime. Assumed to be sterile (although the possibility is raised that it is the Commander who is actually sterile, as Gileadean misogynistic laws dictate that sterility is solely the fault of women), she bears and resents the indignity of having a Handmaid and being present every month during a fertility ritual wherein the Commander has intercourse with the Handmaid while both are lying atop the Wife….”

This is basically what the far right wants to do to women today.

“…“Now remember, the goal is that these women have to be independent. The goal is lots and lots of birth control. The goal is lots and lots and lots of fornication. The goal is abortion. The day-after pill will help. And it will help a lot. Remember, the goal is to get that girl a job because she needs no stinkin’ husband, she’s got the fascist corporation and government-mandated insurance programs and socialist welfare that will take care of her womb to tomb. Who needs a cotton-pickin’ husband? Who needs a family? That’s pretty much the worldview that’s dominating, my friends. That’s what the college is all about.”…” Kevin Swanson

If your read what Kevin Swanson has to say about feminists, then what a Handmade’s Tale says about them, the comparison is chilling.

“...Unwomen are sterile women, widows, feminists, lesbians, nuns, and politically dissident women: all women who are incapable of social integration within the Republic’s strict gender divisions. They are exiled to “the colonies”, areas of both agricultural production and deadly pollution, as are handmaids who fail to produce a child after three two-year assignments….”

In The Handmade’s Tale having babies is the most important thing a woman can do. In the world of the far right, having babies is the most important thing a woman can do. If not – there’s something wrong with those of us who don’t want children. Now, it is my opinion that I decided, long ago, that I didn’t want to put up with a squalling, stinking, vomiting, puking, screaming, monster. I don’t like kids. I don’t care about babies, and don’t want to be around them. Why should I ruin my life with one? What happens when I say I don’t? There are some who think the only purpose we have in life is having children. There are others who have them to take care of them when they get old. No thanks. I’m taking care of my parents. I think it is a privilege to so so, but I refuse to destroy a person’s life that way. I know what has happened to my life, and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. I don’t mind, but I sure don’t want someone ending up the way I am. And so, we must put up with shit like this:

“…God has actually given us some rules, regulations, commandments. Some of these have to do with women, and what He would like them to do. He actually has even given reasons why He created women. And it is a basic foundation stone of Biblical morality that we are to do what He asks us to do.

So when some of those things we are supposed to do involves others, and we ignore what we are supposed to do for those others, and instead do something for ourselves, then that fits the definition of ‘selfishness’.

So, getting down to brass tacks, why would we, specifically I, say that not having children is ‘selfish’? Or, to be more specific, why is it selfish for people to get married and then deliberately not have children?

Marriage is a gift from God. And it is a gift with a purpose. Several purposes, actually, but for this discussion we have one purpose we need to focus on. God gave us marriage so that we might raise up ‘a Godly seed’. All of that fun in marriage: it has a purpose. Getting a wife, getting to sleep with her, all of that wonderful ‘companionship’… it has a purpose: a Godly seed….”

Vaughn Ohlman is one of those very little men who must control women. We must to submit to what he thinks Godly women should be, chaste, pure, modest, and forever pregnant. We are to scrape and bow to him. We must submit because God has told men like him that we must submit. We must do what we are told. We must dress as we are told. We must travel we are told. We must have the career men like Vaughn Ohlman wants us to have. We aren’t even free to choose who we are to marry. God will tell he and his ilk who He wants us to marry, and Vaughn Ohlman will tell us.

“...Our dress can and does reflect our heart, and our intentions. Some of our girls, walking around in their long skirts and dresses, may be doing so for pride reasons. Others out of a mistaken view of ‘modesty’. But I think that the majority of full-quiver girls have a better idea than most modern girls about what is sexually appropriate in a woman’s dress. There is nothing ‘Islamic’ about the way a Christian woman should dress; but there is something sexual. A Christian woman should dress in a way that is sexually appropriate for her audience. Thus her dress for her husband should be very different from her dress for men not her husband. There should be nothing dumpy or frumpy about the way a Christian woman dresses. But it should make it clear that she is a one-man-woman.

The second issue is one of ‘femininity’. Our modern world is doing its best, in the age old tradition, to break down the division between male and female. I believe that Scripture calls us to do the exact opposite: to emphasize these divisions, to promote them, to display them. One such division is in the issue of headcoverings [2]. Paul is quite clear, man and woman were created to be different, one difference should show on their heads.

In our modern society the WalMart bathroom doors give us a clue to this distinction. Men should wear pants, and women skirts. Not because that is set in stone from the beginning of time but because that is a distinction our society uses. Our first parents went naked. That certainly set the sexes apart, eh? Then, after sin, from the beginning of time until now, practically every society that has ever existed has had ways that set male dress apart from female dress. In our society that is skirts and dresses. When our boys and our girls go up to the WalMart bathroom door and we teach them which one they are to go into, no one typically asks ‘why?’. The boys and girls both know full well that boys don’t wear skirts, that that is the girls bathroom, and this one with the pants is the boys….”

In fact, Ohlman thinks that not having children is treason against God.

“…We see here that God counts it as treason against one’s wife when a Godly seed is not sought. He states that children are, from the beginning, part and parcel of marriage. Even before we read of Adam being given a wife he was (or, they were) given the command to be fruitful and multiply. Even before we read of God pronouncing the words ‘it is not good for man to be alone’ we read of the blessing of fruitfulness. And here in Malachi He repeats Himself: he made the two one that he might seek a Godly seed…”

This is how women in oppressive countries are treated. This is how the Taliban treats women. This is NOT the way women in the modern would should be treated.

“…This is wrong on so many levels. The legislation as explained by professor Susan Woods would effectively ban abortions. It would ban it for anything except rape, incest, or danger of death of the mother. There is nothing moral or ethical about these lawmakers taking complete control of a woman’s body. Worse is the attempt to justify this attempted coup as some sort of Republican job plan. Women in effect are forced to offer up their bodies to reproduce since it will ‘promote job creation’. They are to be made incubators. America has already outsourced much of its jobs. America has outsourced most manufacturing. It has done so to China. Imposing reproductive control on women is tantamount to outsourcing America’s ethics and morals. Let this end now. Women must not be some Republican job plan….”

Women are, in this brave new, Christian Reconstructionist world that the Far Right, and Ron Paul’s bots have helped put in place, nothing. They are to be submissive, quiet, and modest. Feminists are evil. Women who want to make something of their lives are to be harassed. Picture Rush Limbaugh and his abject hatred of any woman who isn’t a blond bimbo who giggles and submits, and you understand the problem.

Contraception is now murder.

“…It’s just plain wrong for evangelicals to murder their children. My coverage of the birth control pill this last year just about rocked the internet. I still uh . . are [sic] getting some feedback from that program. I said the womb is becoming a tomb for babies that don’t implant on the uterine wall and the birth control pill has that abortifacient quality in which it weakens the uterine wall. And any fertilized egg that makes it all the way to the uterus is not able to implant itself on that uterine wall and therefore the womb becomes a tomb from time to time. My guess it happens in tens of millions of cases across the United States, at least since the 1960s when the birth control pill was released upon this Nation and many other nations…”

One of the first steps is to ban all manner of contraceptives. If a woman has a C-section she is told not to get pregnant for at least two years. If she does, it is not safe, and she puts her life in danger. The far right wants to deny contraceptives for a woman like this, who could DIE if she were to get pregnant. Like a friend reminded me, there are a heck of a lot of women who use birth control pills for things other than contraceptives. I was to take them for my endometrosis, but I don’t believe in taking any sort of medication, unless I’m half dead, so I didn’t. The exam, at that time, cost $600. That was twelve years ago.

“…“I’m beginning to get some evidence from certain doctors and certain scientists that have done research on women’s wombs after they’ve gone through the surgery, and they’ve compared the wombs of women who were on the birth control pill to those who were not on the birth control pill. And they have found that with women who are on the birth control pill, there are these little tiny fetuses, these little babies, that are embedded into the womb. They’re just like dead babies. They’re on the inside of the womb. And these wombs of women who have been on the birth control pill effectively have become graveyards for lots and lots of little babies.”…” Kevin Swanson

There are many other uses for birth control pills. 95% of women who take the pill are doing so not for contraceptives but for other women. Nearly a million women who are on the pill have never had sex, and take it for other reasons. In fact, “…The world’s 94,790 nuns pay a price for their chastity: an increased risk of breast, ovarian and uterine cancers…” The Catholic Church should be requiring them to take birth control pills for their long-term health, not because of contraception.

  • Endometriosis
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
  • Amenorrhea
  • Damage to the ovaries from radiation or chemotherapy
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Premenstrual Syndrome
  • Metrorrhagia
  • Acne
  • Iron Deficiency Anemia
  • Reduces chances of endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer, ovarian cysts
  • Taking the pill after the age of 40 cuts chances of ovarian cancer in half
  • Treatment of Perimenopausal Symptoms
  • It Cuts Risk of Ovarian Cancer in Half
  • Helps prevent migraines
  • Ectopic Pregnancy
  • Functional Ovarian Cysts
  • Hirsutism
  • Uterine Fibroid Tumors

“…The UN considers violence against women to be “one of the most pervasive human rights violations in the world.” And obviously, India is hardly the only country where rape culture is an ongoing problem. The World Health Organization estimates that one in three women around the world is subject to sexual violence at some point in her life.

Here in the United States, rape is a crime that typically goes unpunished, and the victims who come forward to report it are often faced with significant violence and harassment. Just this week, President Obama announced a new White House initiative to combat the ongoing sexual assault crisis on U.S. college campuses, where students are not guaranteed the opportunity to obtain their education free from violence and victimization….”

According to Bryan Fischer, the reason we have contraception is for men to abuse women. Men like Fischer have prompted some Republicans in the house to demand that women who have been raped to be investigated by the IRS. A Republican out of Kentucky wants to classify abortion as domestic abuse. You see, abortion robs men of their fatherhood rights.

The series concludes tomorrow.

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