Thursday, July 12, 2012

Headlines I Wish I'd Written: Fred Clark, "Flaccid 'Fortnight for Freedom' Fizzles for Fathers"

In the headlines I wish I'd written category, this from Fred Clark at Slacktivist: "Flaccid 'Fortnight for Freedom' Fizzles for Fathers."  


And here's what the article says--well, at least some of what it says:

This two-week extravaganza was supposed to redefine the political conversation, but instead it went mostly unnoticed and unattended. It was supposed to show massive grassroots support for the bishops’ contention that allowing women to purchase comprehensive health insurance constitutes an intolerable threat to the religious liberty of employers who wish to prohibit that. But instead it showed, definitively, that there is no grassroots support for that strange argument. 
The bishops declared themselves the grand marshals of what was to be a glorious parade, but no one showed up to march behind them and only a meager handful turned out to line the route as spectators. 
It was pathetic, really. A bunch of nuns on a shoestring-budget bus tour drew more enthusiasm and more support for their polar-opposite message. For all the millions spent and all the weeks of elaborate, top-down fanfare, the Fortnight for Freedom came and went almost without notice.

As Fred notes, at least the flaccid flop that was the fathers' Fortnight for Freedom elicited some good commentary.  And he points to that same Religion & Politics essay by Jessica Coblentz that caught my eye, too, and about which I blogged a bit yesterday.

What I didn't mention when I blogged about Jessica Coblentz's essay yesterday is that she's a Ph.D. student at Boston College.  And it strikes me as I think about her essay and Sandra Fluke's powerful and doughty testimony several months back, for which Rush Limbaugh and the political and religious right sought to shame her: one of the significant stories emerging from this faux religious freedom controversy is how powerful the voices of women who refuse to be shamed by the patriarchal fathers are becoming in the American political context.

A bunch of nuns on a shoestring budget.  A St. Joan figure from Georgetown University who refused to shut up even when she was called a slut and every other name in the right-wing book.  A bright doctoral student at Boston College who can write circles around any bishop I know about on matters of religious freedom.

They've lost the microphone, the bishops.  They're in the process of losing the stage itself.

And it's the very folks they want to consign to second-class citizenship, the ones they define as weak, irrational, and prone to temptation, who have assumed the position of moral authority now.  Sort of a parable in the making here, isn't there?

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