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home : opinions : commentary September 24, 2016

8/30/2012 1:05:00 PM
My Turn: Religion, politics and women
Barbara Mayer
Barbara Mayer
Barbara Mayer

For years the same advice on gaining and keeping friends as well as getting ahead in all areas of society has carried the same message: “Don’t talk about religion or politics and you’ll be just fine.” The result of that insipid statement follows the shallow line of thinking that – in order to feel accepted by others and secure in career, friendships or social standing -- one can never stay true to one’s own authenticity.

Another result is that in those two very areas – religion and politics – the same issue has reached a boiling point in America in this important year of 2012, when “business as usual” just isn’t working any more.

The issue? The advancing role of women in today’s growing consciousness in an ever-changing, ever-evolving world.

The facts?

* Women have now advanced beyond the glass ceiling to leadership roles in corporate business, national governments and other societal and culture -changing venues throughout our global community.

* American religious women have also far surpassed the loyalty and respect of the American people over American Catholic bishops, who still have not adequately addressed the scandals of child abuse and dictatorial pseudo-religious pomposity.

The result?

As the Catholic Church now witnesses the Vatican’s attempt to stifle and force women religious to kowtow to their own stagnant view of a living God among all the people, Americans are asked to pass their judgmental vote on the heavily anti-woman budget proposed by the Ryan/Romney campaign. (And yes, I know who is running for president, but I also know which man’s ideas would have the most impact if this ticket is elected.}

In the Ryan budget, for example, despite his recent comments of the last few days, Medicare with its adjunct, Medicaid, would be abolished as a federal program and, if states chose, they could – or could not – adopt it as an individual state program funded by individual persons’ own voucher monies. This in an era when most states are already either in or near bankruptcy. This, in what we would like to still call the United States of America.

The Ryan/Romney budget would also-- while increasing already high tax breaks for the super rich -- pay for those additional tax breaks by drastically reducing funding for Social Security, food stamps, desperately needed funding for education and other programs designed to help minorities and women as well as other minority small business owners. Funding for all the positive programs of Planned Parenthood -- which help women of all societal levels in many different ways such as breast cancer awareness -- would also be immediately abolished. And despite Romney’s and Ryan’s recent speeches trying to assuage these issues, these still remain the facts.

Also, what can any intelligent woman or man say about Senatorial GOP candidate Todd Akin’s recent remark about what he calls “legitimate rape” and how that kind of rape won’t get a woman pregnant??? Is anyone out there still holding the American woman in serious, compassionate and responsible concern? Are these candidates actually thinking American voters can be so easily deluded to vote against their own and their neighbors’ best interests -- as well as those of their grandmothers, mothers, sisters, wives, daughters, friends and co-workers?

There are many well-meaning Republicans as well as independents who would like to vote for the Romney/Ryan ticket. Here I also attest that when he ran for the presidency, while living in the Midwest and never even having traveled west of the Mississippi, I voted for Arizona’s own Barry Goldwater. But now do we need to be faced with such a divisive and anti-egalitarian choice which hurts women, the elderly and other minorities on so many different and drastic levels?

What part of Jesus’ words “Love one another as I have loved you” do the Catholic Ryan and the Mormon Romney not understand?

Yes, Virginia, I have now written about religion and politics. And this is still the United States of America.

Barbara Mayer is a former Catholic nun, an interfaith minister, author, teacher and poet who lives in Sedona, Arizona.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, September 2, 2012
Article comment by: Who Can Run Congress?

I don't care who the president is. We need to elect someone who can RUN CONGRESS. The Pres. takes the heat for the all the missteps Congress takes. I can't stand Obama and I don't think I trust Romney. Doesn't leave me much of a vote. And for all of you who keep touting Obama as Black, he isn't. He is half or molloto as we grew up knowing. I think for the next 4 years we are damned if we do and damned if we don't regardless of who we vote for.

Posted: Saturday, September 1, 2012
Article comment by: M J

Why are liberals such gloomy sad depressed folks? Could you imagine an evening out with people like this? Talk about a bunch of downers... wow!

Posted: Friday, August 31, 2012
Article comment by: John A. Bond

@ no wonder:

You said,
This rant is spiteful, intolerant, demonstrably false, and mean-spirited"

You are just too, too precious. How anyone could read the commentary and characterize it as you have is beyond me.

Yoy assert that Romney is a moderate but you provide no evidence of it. You think that the destruction of a woman's right to choose is "moderate"?

You believe that a platform with the goal of eliminating/destroying Social Security and Medicare that supports 55 million Senior Americans is "moderate"?

It makes one wonder what your idea of extreme is given your support for such radical goals.

Why won't Mitt Romney release his income tax returns? What is in those returns that he cannot afford to allow the voters to see before the election?

Only a neoconservative ideologue would trot out the tired old canard about "reinvigorating America".

Reagan used it and lacking any originality the Romney/Ryan supporters trot it out to try to whip up emotional support for what is essential a piece of toast in the persona of Mitt Romney.

Posted: Friday, August 31, 2012
Article comment by: No wonder she's an ex-nun

This rant is spiteful, intolerant, demonstrably false, and mean-spirited.

No wonder the writer is a FORMER nun. She sounds like a lost soul.

Sad. But not surprising that someone like this would fall hook line and sinker for the Obama campaign's divisive blame-the-other-guy rhetoric.

But for any other Democrats and all you moderates out there, rest assured the nomination of Mitt Romney, out of all the other choices, is a very good thing for our country.

Romney is a moderate, unlike President Obama, who is a far left liberal.

Romney has proven capable of bipartisan reform, capable of working with Democrats, and capable of forging effective compromise legislation. His record proves it.

He is our best hope of reinvigorating our country after 4 years of Obama's weak leadership, and countering the kind of pessimism and gloom that permeates Ms Mayer's rant.

Posted: Friday, August 31, 2012
Article comment by: John A. Bond

@ Much information here:

You say,

“Unfortunately, this writer has taken as fact misinformation, half-truths, and distortions.”


I take exception to YOUR characterization of the commentary. Since you are anonymously posting I have no idea who you are but clearly you prefer to remain anonymous as you attack the commentary.

You said, too:

“They are not.”


I agree, the facts in the article are founded upon TRUTH and they are NOTwhat YOU characterize them to be.

You then say:

“Americans are well aware that both social security and medicare are doomed unless they are reformed.”


That sir or madam, whomever you are partially true IF you consider eliminating the CAP [currently set at $106,800.00 of annual EARNED income] completely OR raising it to $250,000.00 or above on annual earned income. Google it and you will see that Social Security will remain SOLVENT by removing the cap on it.

Medicare should be provided to every US Citizen regardless of age and it should expand into Universal Healthcare for ALL Americans. These REAL and SUBSTANTIVE “reforms” will insure the solvency of both programs.

You also say:

“Ryan's proposal would not affect anyone over age 55. And it would ensure Medicare’s [sic] viability for future generations.”


Nonsense! Your support for the “Ryan proposal” reveals your political orientation and demonstrates your lack of understanding of what the Ryan truly represents. Either that or you are being deliberately disingenuous with us on this site because the Ryan plan is a plan to “privatize” both Social Security and Medicare, reducing benefits to seniors [transferring the funds to the MIC] with the eventual goal, [ala the Reagan Revolution] of completely eliminating that safety net for seniors.

It is a bogus plan that even the CBO calls, bogus”!

You then state:

“Meanwhile, the Dems are whistling a happy tune while these programs go down in flames.”


While admittedly Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat, as an Independent he has introduced legislation to remove the CAP on Social Security [under his plan it is raised to $250,000.00 of earned income], which is better than nothing BUT it, cannot make it to the senate floor out of committee because of GOP obstructionism.
The Democratic leadership of the US Senate does not want to bring it to the floor where a GOP filibuster [there have been 270+ filibusters since January 2009] will most certainly kill the bill.

You continue with:

“Democrats are piling up trillions more in debt every year, crushing future generations, and leaving these problems unresolved. It is pathetic they put politics ahead of country.”


I have repeatedly addressed this canard, too. However, if you care to research it, just google US NATIONAL DEBT UNDER US PRESIDENTS and discover for yourself which US Presidents are responsible for accruing the greatest increase in debt during their administrations. I think with your obvious BIAS towards “democrats” that you will be genuinely surprised.

For example, it is estimated the US increased it National Debt under George W. Bush [Bush II, the war criminal] by 3.5 to 5 million dollars during his eight year stint as POTUS. This accrued from borrowing for two unfunded wars, tax breaks for the wealthy elite and the adoption of Part D Medicare [without the ability of the government to negotiate with Big Pharma to lower the prices of drugs] and TARP, too.

Therefore, it was and is the GOP, the political expression of the MIC, who puts profit, [corporate [fascist] profit before people in an endless pursuit of GREED [Get Rich Eviscerating Everything Democratic]!
Your canard continues with:

“The writer unfortunately also parrots left wing canards about the rich and taxes.”


Unless, you live in a cave or have been living on a remote island without access to any media or other sources of information, virtually every economist generally agrees it on the planet, [conservative or liberal] that the Bush Tax Cuts created this egregious recession we are currently enduring.

Four hundred of the wealthiest Americans have more combined wealth than 200 MILLION other Americans combined. What does that tell YOU about the commitment of the wealthy elite to democratic government? The disgraced and infamous Reagan Revolution was all about CLASS WARFARE!

You accuse the author of “parroting left wing canard” [ignoring the facts] while you simultaneously “parrot” right-wing, neoconservative “talking points” sent to you in e mails that you accept at face value as truthful without benefit of any research.

The current GOP candidate Mitt Romney, refuses to realize multiple years of HIS income tax returns [a policy established by HIS OWN father] because he cannot be truthful with American voters. He pays barely 15% on his income because it is NOT like most Americans, based upon EARNED INCOME!

Romney exploits every tax loophole available to avoid paying his fair share of taxes. These were tax loopholes written into US tax law by GOP and Democratic congresses working against the best fiscal interest of America.

Then you state in your canard:

“Our tax code is already very progressive. The more you make the more you pay. Almost half pay no taxes at all. IRS stats prove this.”


Beginning 32 years ago with the election of the derange actor Ronald Reagan to the office of POTUS, the tax liability of the wealthy elite in America has declined precipitously. What do YOU think the Bush II, [the war criminal] TAX BREAKS for the wealthy elite were about, anyway.

Google tax rates during the Eisenhower administration and compare them to their current levels and then tell us how the Wealthy Elite are “paying their fair share” of income taxes. That is a neoconservative LIE!
More of your canard with:

“Don't believe the left wing, divisive rhetoric emanating from the Obama campaign, it's not true. Look it up for yourself and see.”


YOU have to be kidding right. Divisive rhetoric emanating from the Obama Campaign? This is surely meant as a joke, right. You cannot truly be serious.’

Unless, of course, YOU are engaging in psychological “projection”. Something addressed by others and me on this site ad nauseam because neoconservatives regularly engage in it in an effort to cope with the reality of your own negative, divisive and reprehensible ideations.
Your canard continues with:

“Ironically, Barack Obama is arguably the most divisive president in history. His whole campaign is divide and conquer, pitting one group of people against the other.”


Again, YOU are joking, right. Your projection just keeps getting more and more delusional does it not. Frankly, the “divide and conquer” mentality is demonstrably a product of neoconservative ideology. What do YOU think was the reason for the faux Tea Party “Movement” in America?

The neoconservative leadership that dominates and controls the GOP has engaged in divide and conquer since 1968 with the election of Richard M. Nixon as POTUS with his infamous and RACIST “Southern Strategy” [google it for yourself]!

The height of your arrogance is unlimited. The only thing “divisive” about President Obama the fact that he is the first Afro-American POTUS and his historic election so outraged the racist base of the GOP as to render them completely incoherent and incapable of lucid thought.

President Obama has bent over backwards to “co-operate” with the obstructionist GOP Senate [270+ filibusters in barely three and one half years] and has been met with nothing but obstructionism from the GOP!

More of your canard with:

“It is the policies of Obama that have hurt most the middle class, the poor, the minorities. This writer has it exactly backwards.”


This is sentence is a LIE! There is no other way to characterize you statement. President Obama has requested that congress eliminate the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy elite while simultaneously retaining them for the poor and middle class and the GOP controlled House of Representatives refused to co-operate with him.

The President, under the ACA, has enabled 32+MILLION Americans to have access to healthcare previously denied to them. The GOP wants to repeal the ACA it is a major part of the Romney Political Platform.

Only an ideologue committed to neoconservative ideology wherein the truth can be twisted into a lie would make such an obviously false statement.

You end your canard with:

“These are facts folks. Don't let ideology blind you.”


Once again I am forced to make inquiry of you, are YOU kidding? You must be kidding! If you are serious about YOUR “facts” [which amount to half-truths and outright lies] then you are relying upon ideological “blindness” to sustain your specious arguments.

It is very, very tiring to have to repudiate over and over again the falsehoods put forth by neoconservative lapdogs of the wealthy elite.

However, so long as people such as you post false comments on this site, or anywhere else, I encounter them, I will respond with the truth.

Speaking truth to power is the hallmark of liberalism. One is morally obliged to “speak truth to power” by repudiating the lies put forth by the neoconservative movement in America.

Liberalism is the countervailing moral force to neo-conservatism. Wherever neoconservative rears its ugly head with its dedication to transform America’s constitutional democracy into a corporate [fascist] one, liberals like me will speak out against it.

I believe in democracy! I support my constitutional democracy! I find your attack upon the author of this particular commentary reprehensible. Your words carry no moral force they have no spiritual power because they are driven by GREED [Get Rich Eviscerating Everything Democratic].

That is the “legacy” of the infamous and disgraced Reagan Revolution and Romney/Ryan are devotees of that revolution!

Posted: Friday, August 31, 2012
Article comment by: Mary Eichman

I have heard Barbara Mayer speak and have read two of the books she has written. She displays intelligence and devotion to God. I have not previously heard her mention politics which makes me believe that she has become concerned about the movement of the Republican party to the far right. From what I hear in the political speeches on TV, they would like to take the status of women back to the 1700's if not the middle ages. I think that all should read her serious comments and do some fact checking. As expected, I see that some of the either uninformed, misogynists or radicals have already started denouncing her comments. I suggest that everyone do some fact checking. I find her statements to be accurate. This election can very seriously affect the lives of all women in the future.

Posted: Friday, August 31, 2012
Article comment by: Much misinformation here

Unfortunately, this writer has taken as fact misinformation, half-truths, and distortions.

They are not.

Americans are well aware that both social security and medicare are doomed unless they are reformed.

Ryan's proposal would not affect anyone over age 55. And it would ensure medicare's viability for future generations.

Meanwhile, the Dems are whistling a happy tune while these programs go down in flames.

Democrats are piling up trillions more in debt every year, crushing future generations, and leaving these problems unresolved. It is pathetic they put politics ahead of country.

The writer unfortunately also parrots left wing canards about the rich and taxes.

Our tax code is already very progressive. The more you make the more you pay. Almost half pay no taxes at all. IRS stats prove this.

Don't believe the left wing, divisive rhetoric emanating from the Obama campaign, it's not true. Look it up for yourself and see.

Ironically, Barack Obama is arguably the most divisive president in history. His whole campaign is divide and conquer, pitting one group of people against the other.

It is the policies of Obama that have hurt most the middle class, the poor, the minorities. This writer has it exactly backwards.

These are facts folks. Don't let ideology blind you.

Posted: Friday, August 31, 2012
Article comment by: Very well said indeed

Tell it, sister! And I agree with Ryan Jensen in knowing the biblicans will now roll out all their tired fear based dogma to condemn you. But like him I can tell by your picture that it won't even touch you. You go!

Posted: Friday, August 31, 2012
Article comment by: John A. Bond

On Thursday, August 30,2012, we experienced the face of the GOP.

It manifested itself in the persona of Clint "make my day" Eastwood.

He was clearly suffering from dementia and he was completely and utterly disrespectful of our POTUS.

Only a fanatic would talk to an empty chair while ad libbing [rather pathetically] about things he alleged President Obama was saying to him.

It was pathetic and tragic. This is what happens when you allow actors to ad lib going "off script"..

It speaks volumes that the most memorable event at the GOP convention will be remembered as the night Clint Eastwood disintegrated in full view of the American electorate.

Romney's speech is irrelevant. He was overshadowed by an 82 year-old, feeble-minded movie "icon" whose senses have left him enfeebled and anemic.

However, he is the perfect representation of the GOP in 2012! He symbolizes everything the GOP represents as a party and an ideology.

Posted: Friday, August 31, 2012
Article comment by: John A. Bond


Is it an accident that Ryan rhymes with Lyin'?

Posted: Friday, August 31, 2012
Article comment by: Peter, Yavapai County

Barbara is correct about the Ryan budget. When you check the facts (as Barbara has done), you will understand that voting for such a vision is a vote against one's own best interest - unless of course, your income is over $1,000,000 per year.

After having voted for trillions of dollars of deficit spending in the past twelve years, Paul Ryan now claims to be a fiscal conservative! Huh? Some folks will say anything to get elected - even if it is an obvious lie.

Posted: Friday, August 31, 2012
Article comment by: Lee Cali

You said it all. Thank you for these insights.Let us hope women vote in their own interest and stop shooting themselves in the foot with the anti- government, anti- choice, anti- women agendas of the Tea party driven right - wing Republicans.

Posted: Friday, August 31, 2012
Article comment by: Ryan Jensen

Very well said, Sister. Now brace yourself for the full wrath of the "good Christian Conservatives" who'll pounce at your throat for the audacity you show in voicing your learned opinion.

(The accompanying photo looks like you're up for a good fight! God bless and keep spreading the faith!)

Posted: Thursday, August 30, 2012
Article comment by: Like you, a recovering Catholic observes:

As a realistic cynic about politics, I appreciate your observations and attempt to alert women to the choices they face being part of the electorate.

However, as a male not a target of the oppressive, vindictive, controlling and out of date republicant war on women, I say this: women will get what they deserve based on how they vote.

Given that women are more than 50% of the population, they could really effect change.

Bubba redneck husbands notwithstanding.

Posted: Thursday, August 30, 2012
Article comment by: M. Mik

Thank you Barbara,
Barbara “tells it like it is” — truth to power. The American women religious have dared to speak the truth to power. Morality is not about following rules. It is about treating others with love. It is the rules set down by religion that most often get in the way of truly loving people. Religious authorities make it too easy to feel good about following those rules, regardless of love, and to frown on people who don’t follow the rules. True religion, should be about love.

I don’t know how people are seduced into voting against their own (and others’) best interests. It happened in 2010 when GOP campaigned for jobs (forgetting Bush was the cause of the Recession), and then legislated — in many forms — against women, and voting rights.

Fear and hatred and anger and ignorance and intolerance are all part of the problem. FOX “news” spreading GOP smears and lies and half-truths over and over again are also very, very, very culpable. I think it was George Orwell who penned the idea that loudly shouting something over and over and over will eventually get almost everyone to believe it, no matter how outrageous. Louder and Longer Trumps (pun intended) the facts and truth in the short term — and that’s what the Repugnants, er – Republicans, are counting on. Neanderthals are snarling from the “right wing.” Beware.

I have mentioned in the past that the “T” in T-party really stands for Taliban. Today’s absolutist Republicans (and they all seem to be extreme far out radical right wing nuts) are eerily similar to the Taliban, and extremist Islamic proponents of Shiria law, and Pharisees of old, and even some cultures in today’s Asia.
– Barbara, Thank you – M. Mik

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