Unholy Trinity: The Iron Triangle of Big Religion, Big Business, and Government

The Past 30 Year History of the War on Poor Single Mothers:

Poor women/single mothers are poor and downtrodden because of a legacy of ongoing discrimination in a patriarchal capitalist system. Long before this “second Great Depression” was even acknowledged, the middle class was on perilous ground.

It began with the multi-pronged attack on women’s most basic human and civil and Constitutional right to have control over their own bodies with birth control and abortion (which in many cases, saved women’s health and lives — something “pro-life” males care nothing about since women are nothing but breeder chattel solely for male exploitation in their patriarchal worldview) and Big Business support of Reagan undermining workers’ living standards — beginning with Reagan firing the air traffic controllers.

It was barely a decade after women FINALLY won the right to advanced educations and career opportunities as lawyers, doctors, professors, etc., after the Roman Catholic Church and The Moral Majority-influenced patriarchal assault on women’s most basic human rights began in earnest — starting with the Hyde Amendment.

Today, even access to affordable contraception and voluntary sterilization and early term abortion are largely unavailable for women in most rural/semi-rural communities across the US.

Another prong attacking the poor and working class was what Mimi Abramovitz calls the “Feminization of the Underclass”, which drew on the stereotype and gender-oppressive ideological notions of women’s “proper roles” narrowly defined as wives and mothers only. These gender-discriminatory stereotypical ideas fueled theories on poverty that demonized women and popularized the idea of an underclass as “less than”, as undeserving of the same rights as rich or middle class white Christian males in our capitalist society which is inherently patriarchal — justified, normalized and legitimized by the Bible and the Roman Catholic Church’s prolific political influence.

By treating women punitively, especially poor women, according to their value based solely on their sex appeal to alpha males (who have all the money and liberties they frequently seek to deprive others of) which determines their abilities to conform to the terms of “the family ethic”, welfare safety net programs have always been able to regulate women’s lives in ways that support the dynamics of capitalism and patriarchy.

"Divine Right: The Truth is a Lie", by Jacqueline S. Homan

The “family ethic” says that women belong in the home, married, economically dependent on and subordinate to the male breadwinner. Noncompliance (for whatever reason, whether or not within the locus of any given woman’s control) meant penalties for stepping out of role.

But this “family ethic” failed to account for the realities faced by battered wives, poor white unmarried women (whose opportunities to marry middle/upper class men were zilch because of classism), immigrant women, and poor women of color whose life circumstances prevented them from being able to comply with patriarchal religion-justified terms and definitions of women’s “proper places and roles.” The “family ethic” is one defined by, and viewed through the lens of, middle/upper class white Christian male privilege. It failed to remotely consider the needs of poor women. White Christian male dominated society — rife with the political and wealth influence of the Roman Catholic Church — not only refused to recognize the needs and rights of poor women (especially poor women of color), but in accomplishing its own greed-driven imperialistic ends, routinely politically assaulted the families of the poor, of poor women of ALL races.

The general premises of the “family ethic” are deeply ingrained in social welfare programs. Welfare programs defined white married women with disabled husbands or white widows as more “deserving” of aid than poor single mothers, abandoned wives with children, and women whose male breadwinner failed to provide steady secure support.

Welfare, as meager of an entitlement as it was prior to Slick Willie’s evisceration of it in the 1996 Welfare Reform Act, was not only a vital component ensuring that poor women and children could survive; it also served to buttress the wages and living standard of the middle class.

With assaults on women’s human rights to have control over their own bodies regarding abortion and contraception access, the war on poor welfare mothers was simultaneously racheted up throughout the Reagan, Bush, Sr., Clinton, and Bush Jr years. This jihad against women was really a jihad against the middle class and the poor whose tactical primary targets were (and are) women.

In garnering voter support for eliminating welfare (as miserly of a benefit as it was even in its heyday); the rich — backed by the Roman Catholic Church and other Christian organizations — stigmatized poor women on welfare as “bad mothers” unable to raise their children properly. In reality, poor single mothers on welfare should have been valued (and paid adequate compensation!) if not praised for protecting their children from unlicensed childcare workers, the absence of medical coverage, abusive fathers and pedophile priests.

The Weaponized Language in the Marriage of Misogyny to Classism:

"Classism For Dimwits" by Jacqueline S. Homan

Poor families on welfare were defined as disorganized by virtue of the absence of a male breadwinner. The truth: poor families suffer disorganizing impact of endless poverty fueled by racial, gender, and class discrimination in a shrinking pool of middle class jobs in our Serengeti economy.

The uncertainty that accompanies irregular poverty-wage employment, the risk of losing badly needed Medicaid and food stamps disproportionate to any paltry earnings, and the threat of utility shut-offs and homelessness — what could possibly be more disruptive to organized family life than constantly worrying if you will have enough money to feed, clothe, and house your family?

In the mad rush to vilify welfare female-headed households (and poor unmarried women without kids who were “taking away men’s jobs” in order to be able to live) for their lack of a “good” husband; the majority of American voters forgot that as a social institution, the “traditional” family was also very problem-ridden, frequently violent, and historically structured on the subordination of women as second-class citizens with NO rights outside of their role as breeder livestock property owned by men.

The “traditional” family notion is centered on the Iron Age Roman pater familia system, which was (unsurprisingly) incorporated into the Roman Catholic Church’s teachings which promotes the subordination and oppression of women. Catholicism’s bastard progeny — Protestantism, Evangelical Christianity, and Fundamentalism — are also joined at the hip with Roman Catholicism’s treatment of women.

Poor women on welfare have always been regarded as “lazy” and “irresponsible” and unmotivated to work. They’re regarded as “free-loaders” without any work ethic who “only got pregnant for the money” so they can “live high on the hog” off the taxpayer’s backs  — rather than suffering from job discrimination, poor education, abusive economic policies, and limited opportunities.

Middle class married women who have additional children and get generous EITC payments are never accused of “only getting pregnant for the money” so they can “live high on the hog.”

Middle class men who get vasectomies reversed, or who routinely use Viagra and impregnate a woman are never castigated as being “irresponsible.”

Middle and upper class women who need to take longer work leaves than normal to heal and recover completely from pregnancy and giving birth are not accused of being “lazy” and “lacking work ethic.”

Calling welfare mothers “lazy” and pushing Workfare (more appropriately called “Slavefare”) requiring welfare mothers to work outside the home at ANY minimum wage job implied that women at home are NOT working.

But they were/are working: without ANY pay, they produce enormous benefits for their families and for the rest of society — especially for men.

They are enduring pregnancy and childbirth — at great personal sacrifice to their own bodies and health, suffering excruciating pain, even dying or almost dying — bearing children (rather than getting abortions “for convenience”) whom they raise. They are feeding, clothing, cleaning up after, sheltering and taking care of family members; keeping them fit for another day of productive labor. They are providing care for those who are unable to work due to age, illness, disability, or lack of a job.

All of these tasks are critical to the smooth functioning of the patriarchal capitalist society that has been our legacy, and vital to the smooth running of our economy. But these tasks are only counted as “work” and renumerated when they’re performed outside the home — and even then, as “women’s jobs”, they command very paltry wages.

Welfare mothers have been demonized for being dependent on the state, which sharply contradicts societal directives to other women to be economically dependent on men  — even though lots of men were/are selfish in keeping all their money from their “breadwinner’s jobs” for themselves instead of supporting women and children because in our patriarchal Christian-dominated, capitalist society, everything is always all about them and to hell with poor women and children.

Poor women and children go without health and dental care, nutritious food, proper clothing, and homes while middle class and rich men had plenty of money to blow in stripper joints, bars, and on expensive toys. Poor men who have been left out economically frequently end up in prison. (But ex-felons get more economic support and help with job placement in living wage jobs than poor women with clean records and educations). That’s where the Ponzi scheme of Biblical-influenced patriarchy, “traditional family values”, and capitalism gets us: fucked without kissed.



The Carrot-and-Stick Dominance of Double-speak:

While welfare mothers are subjected to routine social abuse and personal value judgments for relying on the crumbs of what remains of the tattered and torn welfare safety net, the media celebrates well-off professional women who “give it all up” and return to home and husband — implying that this is where they really belong and it’s about time they realized it.

While media and many church-supported campaigns funded media’s and government’s assault on poor women, over-privileged Ivy League scholars formulated the “dependency argument” of welfare being the cause for family break-ups, illegitimate births, teen pregnancy, crime, and inter-generational reliance on welfare as a way of life.

The idea that welfare is a “free ride” which produces character flaws and poor personal habits that are transmitted from mothers to children — perpetuating dysfunctionality —  had been challenged long ago (and many times since) by the findings of a massive longitudinal study undertaken by Greg J. Duncan, Martha S. Hall, and Saul Hoffman and published in 1988. [“Welfare Dependence With and Across Generations“, Science 239 (January 29, 1988) pp. 467, 469]

This study examined the economic status of poor families over the span of 19 years. It found that the majority of daughters raised by poor welfare mothers never applied for welfare at all. It also showed that daughters from middle/upper class families were least likely to need financial assistance as adults. The results also suggested that the few cases of inter-generational welfare dependency related directly to the difficulty of escaping poverty due to systemic classism,  and also because of discrimination, lack of enough jobs for everyone who needs one, and lack of access to education and other social resources — not the welfare program itself per se.

Life During the Better Times Wasn’t Good For Poor Women:

Even before the massive American jobs exodus due to “free market” deregulation free-for-alls, NAFTA, GATT, and globalization, the job market was very hostile towards poor women — especially poor single mothers. Lack of childcare, lack of accommodating employers, and lack of equal pay for equal work (or even an equal opportunity for a good paying “man’s job”) was the norm for poor women.

Another problem unmarried women (whether they’re mothers or not) face is a lack of the safety net of a spouse’s employer-provided health insurance and the safety net of a spousal income in the event the woman loses her job and suffers prolonged unemployment.

Single mothers are also faced with having to do the work of TWO adults. Raising and taking care of children plus financially supporting them are two demanding jobs that even many married mothers have difficulty pulling off.

Even though many married mothers work out of economic necessity (especially if hubby lost his job), most are employed only part time so they get to spend more time with their kids than single mothers forced to work two minimum wage jobs and spend two to four hours each day commuting by buses since many can’t afford a reliable car. They also have a spouse who is occasionally willing to help pitch in with housekeeping and childcare — a benefit single mothers don’t have.

The Feminization of Poverty:

By linking poverty to the rise of female-headed households suggests that a person’s gender and marital status makes them poor.

Being female does not cause poverty; discrimination against women does. Facing job discrimination, education discrimination (especially in the “hard sciences”), low-wages, higher health insurance premiums than men get charged, lack of access to contraception and abortion, plus having full responsibility for children DOES make one poor.

These are economic and social problems that disproportionately harm women because of our patriarchal capitalist social arrangements centered on a Christian/Biblical patriarchal system, flavored with traditions from ancient Roman paternalism.

Reserve Army of Labor:

The threadbare rug of meager welfare support as an entitlement was pulled out from under poor women’s feet. The women thrown off of welfare after exhausting their 5 year lifetime limits have not been absorbed and welcomed into the middle class job market. In fact, many have been denied even the low-paying dead-end menial jobs, too — because of lack of reliable childcare and transportation.

But the rich, who own the means of production, orchestrated (with the backing and complicity of the Church) attacks on women’s right to birth control and abortion — while simultaneously dismantling of the meager welfare safety net — grew poverty by creating a larger pool of desperate workers. And the pro-forced birth policies will only exacerbate this.

Between that and a steadily shrinking pie of good paying jobs because of “free trade” agreements and globalization, the ground on which the middle class once stood eroded.

Employers began requiring Bachelor degrees for lower-middle class (and often dead-end) entry-level jobs that only required a high school diploma 30 years ago. At the same time college degrees were increasingly required by employers, need-based student aid was slashed by the Gramm-Rudman Bill under the watch of Bush, Sr. while college tuition soared and outpaced inflation. Grad school, med school, law school, etc., was put totally out of reach for those in poverty and the lower-middle class. Student loans used to be dischargeable under personal bankruptcy. Not anymore. That changed in the 1990’s.

And the dismantling of further protection under the bankruptcy laws has caused more middle class people to fall into poverty and destitution (mostly from medical bills). The 2005 amended bankruptcy law is for the middle class what welfare reform is for poor women (particularly poor single mothers). And it was the same bunch in Congress who passed both.

Simply put, the rich got richer by taking from the middle class and the poor by attacking and undermining the few hard-won rights and gains women finally managed to get only one generation ago — after centuries of oppression, abuse, enslavement, and discrimination promoted by the Roman Catholic Church and its spin-off denominations, justified and legitimized by the Bible.

All of this has led to the impoverishment of the majority of Americans of both genders, all races, and all ages. Our power of the vote has been dwarfed by the most recent anti-American SCOTUS fig-newton folly of granting corporations full citizenship status so they can use the 1st Amendment right of “free speech” through use of their wealth and lobbyists to determine America’s geopolitical landscape in terms that favor them, which necessarily and patently disenfranchise the rest of us. Things are only going to get worse for everyone not in the top 1% club — the super rich elite.

As of 2004, a US Dept. of Labor report stated that for every job opening, there were 100 jobless applicants looking for work. If we only include full-time jobs that pay a living wage with health and pension benefits, that ratio is very similar to that recently seen in Massilon, OH (one hour’s drive from where I live) where 700 desperate job-seekers applied for ONE job opening — a janitorial job with the Massilon School District.

For the one applicant who got lucky and got the job which pays a living wage and health benefits plus pension, 699 job-seekers got sent home poor and empty-handed.

Due to the collapse in the housing and financial markets, the fate of America’s poor and jobless got a hell of a lot worse. The economic top 1% of the population now owns 70% of all financial assets — an all-time record. To be clear, 400 people have more wealth than 155 million people combined.

2009 was a stellar year for Wall Street executives’ bonuses as firms gave $150 billion to their executives — 100% of which are directly from our tax dollars.

Rich men at the helm of corrupt, ruthless corporations, insurance giants, and banks got generous welfare benefits — money that dwarfs the paltry TANF welfare benefits doled out begrudgingly to all the poor single mothers in the US.

If that welfare for America’s rich on Wall Street had instead been used to create jobs rather than for the unjust enrichment of a handful of executives, we could have paid an annual salary of $30,000 to 5 million jobless poor who certainly need the money more than Wall Street’s economic cannibal class — who have produced nothing except corporate bankruptcies, corruption, and consumer and taxpayer fraud.

Not one penny of the welfare given to the rich has gone to create a single living wage job for a poor jobless person — 6 million who have NO income at all and are only getting food stamps.

This should make every last over-privileged  welfare mother mugger too ashamed to live with themselves. Poor women and children have suffered first and foremost from the collective rejection of social and federal responsibility for the downtrodden.

Mean-spirited welfare cuts and reforms and attacks on abortion and contraception — women’s right to have control over their own bodies — over the last 30 years are neither innocent nor unrelated. It was deliberate: Poverty by design to create a Reserve Army of Labor to suppress wages and make workers too desperate and fearful to demand better pay and conditions because there’s a line of desperate poor people waiting to take your job.

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18 Responses to “Unholy Trinity: The Iron Triangle of Big Religion, Big Business, and Government”

  1. Jacqueline S. Homan Says:

    Testing

  2. Timothy Rake Says:

    What a big and lengthy post!Respect, it has been really heplful!

    Tim ~ Trade programs and issues of the modern society

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  4. Michael J. McFadden Says:

    Excellent points and well written and presented! You put forth a strong argument that change and improvement is needed. The question though is how to go about it. I don’t think the Obama-style government health plan will help things, and it could conceivably even make things far worse. We’re all aware just how badly government in general tends to run things: In almost any area you can think of, once government comes in to take over the cooking the prices skyrocket and the quality takes a nose-dive.

    To put something as important as our health care in their hands to potentially destroy is scary to say the least!

    – MJM

    • Jacqueline S. Homan Says:

      Well MJM,

      The first thing we can do is demand that the separation of church and state be upheld and demand a repeal of the recent SCOTUS ruling granting corporations the same “free speech” rights as individual citizens because it was corporatism that got us into this mess.

      The second thing we need to do (if not the first on the list!) is repeal these Church-influenced “fetal personhood” laws and “conscience clause” laws which have resulted in women being increasingly denied access to abortions and and contraception — even in the event of rape, incest, or danger to the woman’s health. (Please read my other blog post about the clash of religion, laws, and medicine regarding access to Plan B).

      Let’s do some comparing: Greece is forecast to have a gross government debt of 125% of its GDP. But the world’s most socialist and secular countries — Finland, Sweden, and Denmark — have forecasted gross government debts of less than 50% of their GDP with Denmark doing the best at 35% debt to GDP. Now these three countries have socialist systems and their governments do the following:

      1) Provide health care to every man, woman and child from cradle to grave

      2) Provide a government-backed pension to every individual. There is no employer-sponsored pensions or 401(k) schemes. Their government-backed pension system is healthy and strong.

      3) Make everyone pay their fair share in taxes by making sure that everyone pays taxes — and significant ones at that.

      4) These countries are able to do #3 because they have a strong wage policy and equal rights for women — foremost the right to an abortion and contraception; that all serves to prevent an underclass from developing. And because of these policies, everyone pays taxes.

      Would any “free-market” economist seriously claim that any of those three Scandinavian countries aren’t prosperous? Now, compare those countries’ laws and policies to our failure to have a serious discussion about how we structure economic power. We have:

      1) A government that allows private insurance companies to drain tens of billions of dollars into a few private hands and saddles industry, municipalities, and individuals with unaffordable health care costs. Our quality of health care is one of the worst among First World nations with infant and maternal mortality rates on par with poorer countries like Mozambique.

      2) A non-Social Security system that, as it destroyed more secure traditional defined benefit pensions, is a travesty — forcing millions of people to gamble on their own (if they had enough income to begin with) with the Wall Street linked 401(k) system that has now bankrupted the retirements of tens of millions of Americans and left millions more with NO hope for support in their old age.

      3) A tax system that, from payroll tax to income tax, puts a huge burden on the middle and working classes; while allowing the top 1% to pile up a larger share of the wealth in the country so that we now have the largest gap between rich and poor in 100 years.

      4) A wage system that encourages poverty as a way of doing business. There is no other way to describe a country where union-busting is accepted, the minimum wage is a poverty-level wage, and 1 in 5 Americans does not have a good paying job and 1 in 8 have NO job [US Dept. of Labor 2008 reports]. So millions of Americans cannot afford to contribute to the public good — other than with their slave labor that contributes only to the corporate bottom line.

      Three final notes:

      First, it is a stain on both parties in government that given the crisis we are facing, there is a deafening silence when it comes to a serious debate about the military budget — a 2011 proposed budget of $708 billion. The Scandinavian countries do not have that burden.

      Second, it is also true that Scandinavian financial managers (though they got burned by some unwise investments) on the whole, have had great returns and were not over-exposed to the imperialistic greed virus that has overtaken much of the world. Why? Lack of greed as a cultural imperative.

      Third, these are also secular countires where women enjoy more equality with men and are not deprived of the fundamental human right to have control over their own bodies. They enjoy access to contraception and abortion as a matter of a basic right. They’re not forced — due to laws shaped by religious zealots and a heavy Roman Catholic Church influence — into the fertility dhimmitude of childbirth chattel slavery at peril to their health, wellbeing, personal liberty, and lives.

      So the problem isn’t “too much government.” It is not enough sane government. We have a government in bed with greedy, fascist corporate interests and well-heeled fascist religious organizations promoting an architecture of aggression of patriarchal capitalism that needs slavery, poverty, misery, and deprivation of half the population’s (women’s) basic human rights.

      We don’t have enough honest and sane government. We have a government bought and paid for by big corporate interests and the Roman Catholic Church (and all of its progeny of Protestant denominations) — all who have perverted the economy, the tax structure, and civil laws; making inefficient use of our nation’s wealth at a great cost to our financial stability and at the expense of the social, physical, and psychological well-being of “we the people.”

      The solution is not to cut government’s role in shaping a sane productive economy for its citizens — it is to roll back the corporate and church intervention in the passing of laws and policies that determine whether society is fair and just for everyone or not.

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  8. Klaus Herchenroder Says:

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  12. IrishEddieOHara Says:

    J: The Past 30 Year History of the War on Poor Single Mothers:

    Poor women/single mothers are poor and downtrodden because of a legacy of ongoing discrimination in a patriarchal capitalist system. Long before this “second Great Depression” was even acknowledged, the middle class was on perilous ground.

    IEO: Okay, let’s start with something that we can both agree upon – the Capitalist system SUCKS!! It is based on a greed that the Bible condemns and it brings out the worst in most of those who support it and live by it. It has been used by the Robber Barons of the 20th century to subjugate whole classes of people. This subjugation to a life of poverty is why the 20th century was the century of unions, strikes, riots, and general unrest between workers and business owners. Capitalists wished to make every stinkin’ cent they could, and were not above paying poverty wages to achieve this. This sort of behavior is against everything that the Bible teaches regarding the payment of fair wages and the treatment of others in a humane manner. This is why Catholics like Dorothy Day were opposed to Capitalism as an economic system.

    J: It began with the multi-pronged attack on women’s most basic human and civil and Constitutional right to have control over their own bodies with birth control and abortion (which in many cases, saved women’s health and lives — something “pro-life” males care nothing about since women are nothing but breeder chattel solely for male exploitation in their patriarchal worldview) and Big Business support of Reagan undermining workers’ living standards — beginning with Reagan firing the air traffic controllers.

    IEO: Where do you get this idea that women are nothing more than breeder chattel? If anything, the insistence of the Bible and the Church that sex should wait for marriage, and that husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it (in the sacrifice of the Cross) speaks against that. The Church insists upon marriage, which is a Sacrament which demands sacrificial love from the man to the woman to support her and meet her needs, and you rail against that also. It is making chattel out of women to insist that they have the “right” to be screwed by any man who is horny and “wants a little.” This is the majority reason that there are so many single women who are mothers – they did not exercise their right to say “NO!!” We have had 50 years of Playboy and Hustler teaching women that marriage is not a necessity and that sex outside of marriage is a good thing. You are properly against women being used, so I fail to understand why you cannot see that sex without marriage is the extreme of using women as sex toys.

    Secondly, if you are going to make an argument, you have to stay on target. Reagan and “women’s rights” are different subjects.

    J: It was barely a decade after women FINALLY won the right to advanced educations and career opportunities as lawyers, doctors, professors, etc., after the Roman Catholic Church and The Moral Majority-influenced patriarchal assault on women’s most basic human rights began in earnest — starting with the Hyde Amendment.

    IEO: How is it that you do not see the baby in the womb as worthy of the same protections of life as the woman in Africa who is forced by Muslim extremists to undergo FGM? This is a strange dichotomy, especially when at least half of the aborted babies are unborn women. Of course, there would not be a need for abortions if men would stop being told that women are just toys to play with like some plastic blow up woman.

    J: Today, even access to affordable contraception and voluntary sterilization and early term abortion are largely unavailable for women in most rural/semi-rural communities across the US.

    Another prong attacking the poor and working class was what Mimi Abramovitz calls the “Feminization of the Underclass”, which drew on the stereotype and gender-oppressive ideological notions of women’s “proper roles” narrowly defined as wives and mothers only. These gender-discriminatory stereotypical ideas fueled theories on poverty that demonized women and popularized the idea of an underclass as “less than”, as undeserving of the same rights as rich or middle class white Christian males in our capitalist society which is inherently patriarchal — justified, normalized and legitimized by the Bible and the Roman Catholic Church’s prolific political influence.

    IEO: You need to stop and think before you speak in anger. You make statements that lack reason altogether. If the Catholic Church had the political influence that you speak of, there would be no laws in this country allowing abortion at all, would there? In fact, if the Catholic Church had the kind of influence you claim it has, there would be an entire paradigm shift in this country.

    You should also read some history about how Catholics were treated in this and other countries around the world. For centuries people have been persecuted and put to death for nothing more than being Catholic. This fact seems to have escaped you. You think that the Church is an oppressor. The fact is that Catholics have been slaughtered like sheep for centuries. You need to widen your research and broaden your search to include these facts.

    J: By treating women punitively, especially poor women, according to their value based solely on their sex appeal to alpha males (who have all the money and liberties they frequently seek to deprive others of) which determines their abilities to conform to the terms of “the family ethic”, welfare safety net programs have always been able to regulate women’s lives in ways that support the dynamics of capitalism and patriarchy.

    The “family ethic” says that women belong in the home, married, economically dependent on and subordinate to the male breadwinner. Noncompliance (for whatever reason, whether or not within the locus of any given woman’s control) meant penalties for stepping out of role.

    IEO: Guilty as charged. Men and women are different. Feminism is your discontent with the role that God has given you and your anger that you cannot be a man. A man cannot bear a child. Men do not have the empathy that women have. We cannot tolerate pain the way that women can. Should we be upset that we cannot do these and other things that you can do? Women are nurturers. It is part of your wiring. This is basic psychology.

    I don’t think that you believe that there is such a thing as a “happy home” in which the woman is loved and cherished by the man. I do know that there are many lands in which woman are treated as chattel, especially in Africa and the Middle East. I am not denying that. But that failure does not negate the norm – woman protected and loved by her man and raising and nurturing children. Beyond any biblical injunction, just a look at your body should tell you that you were created with a certain purpose. All the drives of men and women point to this purpose – the bringing of new life into the world as a result of the love/union between two people. If your body shows you that you are created to receive the seed of a man and your psychology is wired to love and nurture that little one, then where do you get the idea that fulfilling that role your body was made for and your psyche was developed for is found in abandoning the k id to go to work?

    It is greed Capitalism which has so screwed up this economy so that women have to go to work because one income is not enough anymore.

    J: But this “family ethic” failed to account for the realities faced by battered wives, poor white unmarried women (whose opportunities to marry middle/upper class men were zilch because of classism), immigrant women, and poor women of color whose life circumstances prevented them from being able to comply with patriarchal religion-justified terms and definitions of women’s “proper places and roles.”

    IEO: And you don’t see this as the logical consequence of not following the Creator’s instructions, do you?

    The Christian response to poor white women should be to help those people who are in poverty. The demonic genius of Capitalism has been to take the warnings about loving money, which are in the Bible, and turn them around so that making money is a “godly thing” and a sign of God’s favor upon a person. This is really an offshoot of Calvinism. Max Weber wrote a good book about this called “THE PROTESTANT ROOTS OF CAPITALISM.” The lust for money, the greed, the desire for power, goes back beyond the 20th century Robber Barons. The Puritans were hardly the little angels that the history books make them out to be.

    J: The “family ethic” is one defined by, and viewed through the lens of, middle/upper class white Christian male privilege. It failed to remotely consider the needs of poor women. White Christian male dominated society — rife with the political and wealth influence of the Roman Catholic Church — not only refused to recognize the needs and rights of poor women (especially poor women of color), but in accomplishing its own greed-driven imperialistic ends, routinely politically assaulted the families of the poor, of poor women of ALL races.

    IEO: You cannot have read any of the encyclicals of the popes that spoke against the suppression of the poor by the rich. No way. Furthermore, you make statements like this without any sort of reference to source material. This is just your opinion, which is no better or worse than my opinion. You are just another human being with a grudge (where did it come from, pray tell?) against the Church. Many books have been written over the years that supposedly “prove” that the Church has some sinister connection to Satan, to paganism, to secret societies dedicated to the overthrow of the USA, etc. And they have all be found to be nothing more than lies after thorough investigation. Stories abound, lurid tales of monks and nuns meeting in secret trysts and then killing the babies born of that meeting and burying them in the basements of convents. Stories about being forced into being a nun and then held against the will for decades while doing servile labor.

    They are all false. But hatred knows no boundaries and there are always those people who will read rather than question.

    J: The general premises of the “family ethic” are deeply ingrained in social welfare programs. Welfare programs defined white married women with disabled husbands or white widows as more “deserving” of aid than poor single mothers, abandoned wives with children, and women whose male breadwinner failed to provide steady secure support.

    IEO: Have you ever looked into the programs that are run by Catholic Charities? There is no discrimination by race or marital status. We recently had the director of Lourdes House in Harrisburg come speak to our Knights of Columbus council. The question was asked about “recidivism.” The director acknowledged that about 30% of the women who are helped by Lourdes House keep doing the same stuff over and over again. They make the same decisions, and then come pregnant to the house. But they are never turned away unless the beds are full. When are you going to stop blaming the world for problems that have to do not with persecution, but with making bad decisions which are based on hedonistic feelings rather than reason. You seem to like speaking about reason….how about some of the women who are constantly going out and getting pregnant start using some reason and say “This is not the life I should be living. I’m going to change”.

    J: Welfare, as meager of an entitlement as it was prior to Slick Willie’s evisceration of it in the 1996 Welfare Reform Act, was not only a vital component ensuring that poor women and children could survive; it also served to buttress the wages and living standard of the middle class.

    With assaults on women’s human rights to have control over their own bodies regarding abortion and contraception access, the war on poor welfare mothers was simultaneously racheted up throughout the Reagan, Bush, Sr., Clinton, and Bush Jr years. This jihad against women was really a jihad against the middle class and the poor whose tactical primary targets were (and are) women.

    IEO: Medically speaking, the baby inside a woman is not part of her body. This is why there can be problems such as an RH conflict in the blood. The baby is a separate person.

    J: In garnering voter support for eliminating welfare (as miserly of a benefit as it was even in its heyday); the rich — backed by the Roman Catholic Church and other Christian organizations — stigmatized poor women on welfare as “bad mothers” unable to raise their children properly. In reality, poor single mothers on welfare should have been valued (and paid adequate compensation!) if not praised for protecting their children from unlicensed childcare workers, the absence of medical coverage, abusive fathers and pedophile priests.

    IEO: You continue to take cheap shots at the Church. It is impossible to have a conversation with any sort of reason in it if you are going to paint with a broad brush like this. The incidence of priests who abused children was about 4% of all the priests ordained worldwide. The incidence of children sexually abused in public schools by teachers and coaches, and those abused in private Jewish schools in NYC, is far higher. Your hatred of the Church has made you irrational and unable to process facts clearly.

    Furthermore, the Church has not stood against helping the poor. That is a gratuitous slap in the face that has no backing. There are literally thousands of orphanages, hospitals, homes for unwed mothers, etc. throughout the world that are operated by the Church. Again, I ask you to use a bit of that reason you are so fond of speaking about. If the Church hated women that much, why would they “waste money” on helping these people?

    J: The Weaponized Language in the Marriage of Misogyny to Classism:

    Poor families on welfare were defined as disorganized by virtue of the absence of a male breadwinner. The truth: poor families suffer disorganizing impact of endless poverty fueled by racial, gender, and class discrimination in a shrinking pool of middle class jobs in our Serengeti economy.

    IEO: Fancy sounding words in long sentences do not make truth either. Why don’t you talk about the fact that when young black kids in the inner city do apply themselves and study, they are called “Uncle Tom” by other black kids and beat up for their wanting to get ahead in life? Why don’t you talk about the thousands of blacks who have decided not to let poverty keep them down and rose above their circumstances to achieve success? Because it shatters your paradigm of hatred for people other than yourself. You revel in being a victim rather than doing what you can to better your situation, and you expect others to follow suit. I have no doubt that you have a great distaste for those who did not allow their poverty to stop them, but took the resources that were offered to them and changed their lives.

    J: The uncertainty that accompanies irregular poverty-wage employment, the risk of losing badly needed Medicaid and food stamps disproportionate to any paltry earnings, and the threat of utility shut-offs and homelessness — what could possibly be more disruptive to organized family life than constantly worrying if you will have enough money to feed, clothe, and house your family?

    IEO: I agree totally. That is why Christians are called to take care of the poor and be sure that they do not have these worries. We are not called as Christians to buy every little worthless trinket the Capitalists toss at us in their vile race to corner every dollar they can. We are called to be “my brother (and sisters) keeper” And lest you think I am all words and no action on this, I have done my share of this “keeping.” To the point that I am deeply in debt, and that is all I am going to say about it. We are told not to brag about our works of charity, but to simply do them and let God keep score.

    J: In the mad rush to vilify welfare female-headed households (and poor unmarried women without kids who were “taking away men’s jobs” in order to be able to live) for their lack of a “good” husband; the majority of American voters forgot that as a social institution, the “traditional” family was also very problem-ridden, frequently violent, and historically structured on the subordination of women as second-class citizens with NO rights outside of their role as breeder livestock property owned by men.

    IEO: Again, that is not the language of a rational person with whom one can talk. Your language is not based in reality. It is pure hatred and anger, and has the irrationality of anger and hate. It is the same irrationality that the Muslims have for Christians. Of course, you know that the first battle in any war is that of “dehumanizing” the enemy. Such emotion laden words are a perfect way to reduce those with whom you disagree to mindless, unemotional, and vile sub-humans who are not worthy of respect. But that’s your goal, isn’t it? You would rather not see Catholics as having any discussion points worth listening to, so you dehumanize us. It would shatter the world that you have created for yourself in which you can comfortably hate everyone.

    I do not deny that there have been injustices in the world. But woman have not been the only ones to suffer at the hands of others. My ancestors were Irish immigrants and they could not get work in New England. Catholics had their land stolen from them in this country by Protestant authorities. Blacks in Africa sold other blacks into slavery. It is a world that can be very harsh, or, as the Rosary prayer says “a veil of tears.” Indeed.

    J: The “traditional” family notion is centered on the Iron Age Roman pater familia system, which was (unsurprisingly) incorporated into the Roman Catholic Church’s teachings which promotes the subordination and oppression of women. Catholicism’s bastard progeny — Protestantism, Evangelical Christianity, and Fundamentalism — are also joined at the hip with Roman Catholicism’s treatment of women.

    IEO: What did the Catholic Church do to you as a child? Were you one of the ones who was abused by a priest and have kept quiet about it, only to be seething with anger against all Catholics and the Church? I can’t understand your anger any other way.

    J: Poor women on welfare have always been regarded as “lazy” and “irresponsible” and unmotivated to work. They’re regarded as “free-loaders” without any work ethic who “only got pregnant for the money” so they can “live high on the hog” off the taxpayer’s backs — rather than suffering from job discrimination, poor education, abusive economic policies, and limited opportunities.

    IEO: Some are….some aren’t. You act as if every person who is poor and downtrodden is so because of the “system” and the “oppression of white male patriarchy” rather than admitting that there are some who are simply lazy or evil human beings. It is evil to go out and pop out baby after baby that you cannot care for and expect others to pick up the costs. And there are many who use and abuse the system which is supposed to be a hand up out of poverty rather than a way to make poverty somewhat comfortable.

    We have a young woman with 4 children who was married to a lout of a man. She came to our homeless shelter and we provided for her and the children. Now she has earned her beautician’s license and is on her way to self-sufficiency. Who know? Maybe some day she will own her own place and employ others. But for every one of her, there are also others who simply abuse the help we offer. Stop acting as if every poor woman is a saint abused. It ain’t so!

    J: Middle class married women who have additional children and get generous EITC payments are never accused of “only getting pregnant for the money” so they can “live high on the hog.”

    IEO: And this shouldn’t be. They are taking money and resources from the truly poor.

    J: Middle class men who get vasectomies reversed, or who routinely use Viagra and impregnate a woman are never castigated as being “irresponsible.”

    IEO: And they should be. They should be publically disgraced for such evil behavior.

    J: Middle and upper class women who need to take longer work leaves than normal to heal and recover completely from pregnancy and giving birth are not accused of being “lazy” and “lacking work ethic.”

    IEO: Perhaps some do this. If so, it is reprehensible. There is no way that someone can be told to heal in a certain time frame.

    J: Calling welfare mothers “lazy” and pushing Workfare (more appropriately called “Slavefare”) requiring welfare mothers to work outside the home at ANY minimum wage job implied that women at home are NOT working.

    IEO: No, it is trying to make them start working rather than to abuse the system. You seem to have this idea that people should be cared for from cradle to grave rather than be encouraged to take steps to change their lives.

    J: But they were/are working: without ANY pay, they produce enormous benefits for their families and for the rest of society — especially for men.

    They are enduring pregnancy and childbirth — at great personal sacrifice to their own bodies and health, suffering excruciating pain, even dying or almost dying — bearing children (rather than getting abortions “for convenience”) whom they raise. They are feeding, clothing, cleaning up after, sheltering and taking care of family members; keeping them fit for another day of productive labor. They are providing care for those who are unable to work due to age, illness, disability, or lack of a job.

    IEO: I hope you someday find reality. When is the last time you heard of someone dying in childbirth? It is so rare in this country as to be almost nonexistent, mostly due to the quality of pre-natal and obstetric care available in this country.

    What separates our country from Africa, where women are treated much like cattle and the rate of deaths in childbirth are much higher? Could it be that we developed along the lines of a Christian ethos, even if it is not a perfect ethos? There doesn’t seem to be any other explanation. We certainly don’t practice FGM as they do in Africa. We have grown out of much of the slavery mentality of the first colonists regarding women and their place in the world. I lay that to the positive effects of the Christian Faith. I know you don’t, so tell me what made the difference between the two countries?

    J: All of these tasks are critical to the smooth functioning of the patriarchal capitalist society that has been our legacy, and vital to the smooth running of our economy. But these tasks are only counted as “work” and remunerated when they’re performed outside the home — and even then, as “women’s jobs”, they command very paltry wages.

    IEO: In marriage, the two are supposed to join together as to be one, even in the sharing of all the perks of the man’s wages, the benefits of his work or position, etc. Shared bank accounts, shared lives, shared joy of living. I think this is the goal of marriage as set forth in scripture, and I have met any number of couples who have this wonderful working relationship and share all the benefits and work of being married. Again, I think you have a very skewed view of the world and of marriage.

    J: Welfare mothers have been demonized for being dependent on the state, which sharply contradicts societal directives to other women to be economically dependent on men — even though lots of men were/are selfish in keeping all their money from their “breadwinner’s jobs” for themselves instead of supporting women and children because in our patriarchal Christian-dominated, capitalist society, everything is always all about them and to hell with poor women and children.

    IEO: I agree. There have been men who have not met the Christian mandate of self-sacrificing love which shares all with the spouse. And I think that you may be right about the Capitalist view of this as well, since Capitalism always breeds the sense “I worked hard for this, it’s MINE, and no one else has a right to this.” That attitude can easily bleed over to the family as well.

    J: Poor women and children go without health and dental care, nutritious food, proper clothing, and homes while middle class and rich men had plenty of money to blow in stripper joints, bars, and on expensive toys.

    IEO: Again, you are 100% correct. But the Church and the Christian Faith teach against such selfishness at the expense of others. “Get all you can, hoard it to yourself, and the wone who dies with the most toys wins!” is not a teaching of the Church or the Christ Whom we serve.

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