Updated: Sep 8
By Thomas Neuburger
A short piece on dealing with crazy right-wing plans. A number of these plans require people to enact them, and not "four guys in a smoke-filled room" type of people. Many of these plans involve whole legislatures or crowds of testosterone-fueled or God-drunk actors-out.
Outlawing Masturbation as an 'Act Against Life'
There's a rather simple way, which is almost never used, to end these plans. Call it "turning the right-wing tables" or "shooting them with their own gun."
Consider this from 2017:
If state Rep. Jessica Farrar has her way, men in Texas will pay a $100 fine for "unregulated masturbatory emissions" and undergo a digital rectal exam to get a vasectomy, a colonoscopy or a Viagra prescription.
Farrar's proposed legislation, filed last week, calls on the Department of State Health Services to explain the rules in an illustrated booklet titled "A Man's Right to Know." ...
Farrar's bill penalizes masturbatory emissions outside a vagina or a medical facility, describing them as "an act against an unborn child" that fails to preserve "the sanctity of life."
Fines collected under the measure would be funneled to the Department of Family and Protective Services for the care of children.
The lawmaker proposes that the state keep a registry of private hospitals and organizations that counsel men to stay "fully abstinent," offer physicians to supervise masturbation and store semen for future conception.
Men seeking a vasectomy, a colonoscopy or a Viagra prescription would first undergo a "medically unnecessary" digital rectal exam and magnetic resonance imaging of the rectum, per Farrar's bill. After the exam, men would have to wait at least 24 hours before they could get the procedure or the prescription they wanted.
This idea, an actual proposed bill, is right on point. It's only problem is that it can be ignored, since the legislature has to vote on it, and it won't. But many ideas like these can't be ignored.
Showing Up Armed at Republican Rallies — While Black
For example, during the early Obama years many Tea Party types advocated not just open carry at their own rallies, but open carry at all rallies, including those for Democratic Party office-holders and candidates. Some of these proposals may even have been carried out. All of these Second Amendment types were white, as were their rallies.
So, what would have happened if a tight and structured group of black citizens had brought guns carried openly, a mouthful of Second Amendment talking points, and a videographer to Republican rallies and town halls in those years? What if this had been done a dozen times, all within a week?
One hopes no one would have gotten killed, but barring that, the videos of racists abusing Second Amendment defenders would have been priceless — and gone viral, given the way Tea Party news was handled by mainstream outlets. This could — and perhaps should — have been done, tit for tat, until all open carry intrusions ended at non-Tea Party rallies.
For the bold (and risk-addicted), this could even have been done at major Tea Party rallies, like the big one in 2010 — in full New Black Panther uniforms.
Not these black Panther uniforms:
Trouble is, religious beliefs can cut both ways. It's just that most on the not-nuts side won't wield that knife.
Abortion As a Religious Rite
Which brings me to today's proposal. You can actually accomplish something with a focused, relentless and well-funded effort to end Texas's virtual abortion ban by doing this: Declare taking abortion-inducing drugs an act of religious freedom in a faith-based ritual.
These people, odd as they are, get the point:
Satanic Temple Floats Devilishly Clever Strategy To Dodge Texas Abortion Law "We will not be cowed into silence by an unjust law," declared the temple, which links reproductive freedom to religious freedom.
The always-thinking Satanic Temple has an intriguing strategy for women to escape the draconian restrictions of the new Texas abortion law: take an abortion-inducing drug as an expression of religious freedom in a faith-based rite.
A lawyer for the Massachusetts-based temple sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration earlier this week to request that the church be allowed access without prescription to the abortion-inducing drugs mifepristone and misoprostol as part of its “sacramental” abortion ritual. He compared employing the drugs to the use of peyote in certain Native American rituals allowed under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
For the temple, bodily autonomy and science are sacrosanct, and the abortion ritual is an important expression of those beliefs, explained temple co-founder Lucien Greaves.
“The battle for abortion rights is largely a battle of competing religious viewpoints, and our viewpoint that the nonviable fetus is part of the impregnated host is fortunately protected under Religious Liberty,” he added in a statement.
The temple website features a message to Texans seeking a way around the new state law that bans abortion after just six weeks, before most people even know they’re pregnant. The Supreme Court voted 5-4 Wednesday not to immediately block the law, which erodes constitutionally protected rights detailed almost a half-century ago in Roe v. Wade.
“The Satanic Temple stands ready to assist any member that shares its deeply-held religious convictions regarding the right to reproductive freedom,” the organization noted on its website.
“Accordingly, we encourage any member who resides in Texas and wishes to undergo the Satanic Abortion Ritual within the first 24 weeks of pregnancy to contact The Satanic Temple so we may help them fight this law directly,” it added.
The temple defiantly concluded: “We will not be cowed into silence by an unjust law or a tyrannical state government.”
The group would do everything necessary to assure the administration of the medication is safe, the temple lawyer assured the FDA, including a medical examination to determine that there are no “contraindications” to taking the drug.
The temple — which defines itself as “nontheistic” and its mission as confronting religious discrimination to “secure the separation of church and state and defend the Constitutional rights of its members” — is one of a number of actors emerging to battle the new abortion law, the most restrictive in the nation.
A TikTok activist has come up with a way to use bots to overwhelm a reporting system targeting women getting abortions in Texas.
The CEO of the Dallas-based Match dating-app company is establishing a fund for Texas workers who need to leave the state for an abortion. And Austin-based Bumble is funding six organizations fighting for reproductive rights.
From their demand letter to the FDA:
I serve as general counsel for The Satanic Temple, Inc. (“TST”), an IRS-recognized atheistic religious corporation. I write in regard to the prescription requirement in the risk evaluation and mitigation strategy (“REMS”) for mifepristone and misoprostol. NDA 020687at § 5.3; NDA 4228046. TST seeks a religious exemption for its membership to these requirements.
TST’s membership uses these products in a sacramental setting. The Satanic Abortion Ritual is a sacrament which surrounds and includes the abortive act.1It is designed to combat feelings of guilt, doubt, and shame and to empower the member to assert or reassert power and control over their own mind and body. The REMS prescription requirement substantially interferes with the Satanic Abortion Ritual because the Government impedes the members’ access to the medication involved in the ritual.
Based on the foregoing, it is my client’s position that the prescription requirement infringes upon its memberships’ religious liberty, in violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. See 42 USC § 2000bb et seq.My client therefore demands a religious exemption from the REMS program for mifepristone and misoprostol. However, consistent with my client’s doctrine of conforming to the best scientific understanding of the world, my client desires to adhere to medical oversight of the drugs. TST has every desire to ensure the health and safety of its membership, the issue is with governmental control over whether TST’s membership can obtain access to these drugs. ...
This could work. And any group could do it. John Oliver's church could do it.
But to make it work, it should be taken to the Supreme Court, which means, as I mentioned above, being focused, relentless and well-funded.
Only Fear Prevents These Solutions
There's no downside to this proposal.
If the Court affirmed the religious exemption as it did in Masterpiece Bakery (linked above), this or any similarly-intentioned church could open as many worship sites as it liked, at which ceremonies like these could be conducted, anywhere and everywhere in the state.
And if the Supreme Court denied the application, then it would have to define what guard bands and boundaries limited the so-called "religious freedom exemption" they so adore when crazed right-wingers are the intended exemptees.
A win-win, it seems to me.
The only problem is, a person well-funded who cares has to actually do it, and carry it all the way to the end.