With War on Women, Rick Santorum Seeks to Rollback Freedom and Turn America into a Theocracy

Recently, social conservatives, (i.e. Rick Santorum) have been promulgating policies that promote religious fervor in government and seem to reach for a kind of theocracy this country has never seen before. 

In fact, the theocratic rule and blending of religion and government reminds me of the kind of control exercised in A Handmaid's Tale.

Margaret Atwood wrote this book in the mid 1980s and it seems to be a response to the backlash of the women's movement. Roe vs. Wade had recently taken place and women were on the march for equality. The book, in almost satirical fashion, imagines a world where women are used for nothing but procreation. They must dress in robes, wear hats that allow them to look down so no one can see their faces, and if they cannot become pregnant, it is their own fault and are sent off to be executed or exiled. If anyone is caught doing anything "inappropriate" or "lewd," that person is sent to "the wall" to be executed.

Like this book, social conservatives seem to think that sex is for procreation alone, which explains the attack on contraception. If a woman should get pregnant, she cannot and should not think to get an abortion. Similar to the book, the baby must be raised and assimilated into the culture to do its duty for the group.

Another way that social conservatives remind me of this book is their approach to remove all things that might be considered lewd. Recently, Rick Santorum has called for banning pornography from the internet. Santorum seems to have a clear agenda that promotes, no, dicatates Christian values, forcing others to follow the tenets of a faith that they may not have. This leads to the closest relationship that social conservatives have with this book.

This nation was never meant to be a theocracy. Thomas Cuffe wrote a great article that deals specifically with this point. In fact, our founding fathers were mostly deists. Jefferson wrote the Jeffersonian Bible. And we have established a clear disconnect between church and state so that one does not adversely affect the other. However, like A Handmaid's Tale, social conservatives seem to desire that this country follow the tenets of a very specific brand of Christianity. The leaders in the book force all of the women to go to church, pray, praise God, and never talk to a man unless they are spoken to first. Any woman who disobeys these rules or tries to escape the confines of the compound is subject to public humiliation or even death. 

I am not saying that the social conservative movement would advocate killing as punishment, but the dictates, the strict adherence to their version of scripture, seem quite like the oppressive nature of this book.

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Danny Keener

My name is Danny Keener, and I am an English teacher at Santa Ana College and Chaffey College. My students ask me all the time if I am a conservative or a liberal. My answer is always the same: I don't think of myself as a conservative; I don't think of myself as a liberal; I simply think of myself as thinking for myself. And I ask them to do the same.

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