THE BLOG

Slut-Shaming for the Righteous

07/01/2014 08:29 pm ET | Updated Aug 31, 2014

I suppose the good news is, more women are flocking to the Democratic party than ever before.

I suppose the good news is, the vast majority of young people -- who are, on the whole, always more progressive/less uptight than their elders -- are either completely repulsed, if not outright infuriated, by the idea that women's rights are still under such antiquated duress, as exemplified by how any half-brained company that happens to be owned by fundamentalist zealots can now deny vital health benefits to women (and only to women, tellingly), simply because the owners have a pinched, regressive view of God.

Did you know the owners of Hobby Lobby -- which, by the way, is one of the most depressing, third-rate retail dystopias you'll ever visit and you should avoid their stores at all costs, now more than ever -- did you know the owners, being evangelical billionaires, have spent hundreds of millions trying to turn the nation into a cluster of regressive, Bible-thumping literalist simpletons? True.

Did you know they have done this because, as history shows, basing a nation's core values on a childish reading of a violently outdated book written by highly neurotic old men many thousands of years ago has worked so well in the past? Also true.

2014-07-02-deviluterus.pngBut never mind that now: The (potentially) good news is that sometimes, when a demoralizing shocker like the Hobby Lobby decision comes down the wire, the end result isn't always what you think. Sometimes the end result can, in fact, turn toward a powerful positive, a potent boomerang counter-effect in exactly the right direction. You think?

But wait, let's not be too quick to whistle past the cultural graveyard. It's downright appalling to learn that, in 2014, five out of the nine wisest legal minds in the land wouldn't laugh off a fundamentalist challenge to the Affordable Care Act's birth control mandate as blatantly offensive to the integrity of the modern era. The fact that we're still stuck with this old, male SCOTUS majority telling us that evangelical misreadings of the Bible trump modern science and basic women's health (not to mention how birth control coverage is actually great for business), well, it makes every woman I know cringe in deep cervical pain.

But as Amanda Marcotte over at Slate smartly points out, the Hobby Lobby decision is likely a short-lived victory indeed for the Christian Right. The extreme narrowness of the decision, which almost fetishistically focuses on sex (and which spawned a truly epic dissent from the awesome Ruth Bader Ginsberg), congeals the entirety of the Right's ideology around a single, panicky obsession: sexually active females.

Oh, Christians. Still with the vagina obsession? Could you be more predictable?

Put another way, by expending so much effort attacking women WRT a very narrow slice of the Affordable Care Act, the entire fundamentalist movement becomes even more trite, shrill and historically irrelevant. You can bet on it.

Don't believe me? Just observe how badly the Christian right lost the battle -- and soon the war -- over gay marriage, the defining cultural issue of the last 30 years, and perhaps the last core American civil liberty. The epic Prop 8 fight left the GOP's extremist base tattered, fragmented, furious that their leaders failed to stomp out the evil "gay agenda" (AKA "love").

To make amends and shore up the "angry bigot" vote, the GOP quickly made the (very bizarre) decision to jump back on the warpath against their once-timid old nemesis, an enemy that has now become, much to their confusion, the most potent foe imaginable: women.

Open threats to Planned Parenthood, forcing abortion clinics in numerous states to close, limiting access for the poor, forcing women in regressive (southern) states to go across state lines for abortion services, or resort to DIY abortions (already happening, in Texas)? The GOP has done it all. They've attacked Wendy Davis, savaged Hillary (eternally), mocked Sandra Fluke and openly hated upon, with all their might, Obama and his birth control mandate. Just for starters.

But here's the bottom line: It's a tactic, and a platform, that's as hostile as it is doomed. Here's why:

Read the rest of this column by clicking here.

Mark Morford is an award-winning columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle/SFGate, the author of The Daring Spectacle: Adventures in Deviant Journalism, and the creator of the Mark Morford's Apothecary iOS app. He's also a very well-known ERYT yoga instructor at San Francisco's Yoga Tree, and the creator of the Yoga for Writers series of workshops and retreats. Join him on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or email him.