The Give Up

Everything is an exchange.  Everything.  And virtually everything is politics.  I’m not talking ’bout kissing babies and stumping at high school auditoriums once every four years.  What kinds of light bulbs do you use?  Do you send your children to private or public school?  How ’bout the air you breathe?  Latinas, what’s in there?

Notre Dame University and 42 other Catholic institutions such as the Archdiocese of New York filed lawsuits seeking to block the Obama administration’s health care reform mandate requiring most employer-provided health insurance cover birth control and sterilization.

For them, it’s a question of government trampling on religious freedom and Catholic teachings which view sex only in terms of making babies and without access to birth control, lots of them.

I don’t for one second ridicule someone’s faith.  In fact, this many-times-fallen but weekly church-going Catholic is offended by the poisonous criticism of New York Jet Tim Tebow’s decision to stay a virgen until he gets married (more on that in a min) or the condescending marvel used to describe New York Knick Jeremy Lin’s acknowledgement that God is responsible for his success.

But this is different.  With the election 6 months away, these Catholic institutions aren’t about to give it up– any political leverage they have over voting Catholics.  Thing is, this assumes that American Catholics are one.   We are as diverse a bunch as any–wayward, and if not soiled with sin, just human and desperately trying to cling to our beliefs in a complex and fast world.


La Virgen de Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas Courtesy: Liturgy House

It also assumes that Catholics will vote dogma over pocketbooks.  Can it happen?  Sure. But as long as the economy keeps dragging, the ability for someone to get a permanent job with health care and 401 K benefits here on earth, will trump whether birth control pills are offered co-pay free.

To be clear, birth control is offered, not forced upon–a college girl or a non-Catholic employee at one of the institutions.  Catholic male hierarchy, if you’re going to pick a fight, I have a few suggestions: the shrinking middle class, the growing gap between the ricos and the rest of us, and immigration.  The little guys needs you to stand up with your power, money, at Sunday homilies.

Which leads to giving IT up–as in virginity.  London Olympics hopeful Lolo Jones has the Twitterverse burning because of this 29 year old elite athlete’s very public statement on staying a V until she gets married.  In these times where making a sex tape (I’m talking ’bout you, Kim Kardashian) is a ticket to fame and fortune, I’m thrilled that Lolo is saying No No (hat tip Mary Kate).

Rad role model but here’s a secret: many women, virgin, no vírgenes are making similar pledges, maybe to God, as importantly, to themselves.  They’re tired of meaningless, hook-up/hangin’ with a generation of Peter Pans–men who never want to grow up.  They’re finding community: in quiet Friday and Saturday night dinners with amigas, the dog, or alone watching Sex in the City re-runs.  Maybe they’re focusing on career, maybe reading a good book because it’s quiet, maybe taking a vacation by myself.  Because.  I.  Can.

There’s no El Husband saying I have to visit my daughters this summer or Yunior saying what about science camp?

I’m pro-choice.  Pro-choice for women to have options, choose as they please.  And this has little to do with sex, everything to do with developing our minds, our personalities, enriching our souls with new vistas and experiences.  That’s lost in a polarized debate that paints us as saints or sinners.

We’re neither and that’s what’s so unnerving.

In this week’s Beauty Shop segment of NPR’s Tell Me More, I spoke with Michel, Danielle Belton of the pop culture and politics blog the Black SnobUS World News & Report’s Mary Kate Cary, and Detroit News TV critic Makeisha Madden Toby about these issues as well as Eva Longoria’s proposed TV series Devious Maids being cancelled by ABC.

To hear more hot topics on TMM‘s “Beauty Shop” with Viviana, Michel, plus smart and sassy ladies, click here.

What are some things you’ll never give up?



  1. says

    I can see you really have put a lot of thought into this issue, and have made your decision on it as based on real thought and reflection. I really admire that. It’s so easy to just agree and disagree because you fall under “Label A” or “Label B”. It certainly is difficult to be Catholic today. Most of us are neither saints nor sinners, but somewhere in between.

  2. says

    I’m not all that familiar with Catholic dogma or practices other than what media portray. I’m a Christian but of different faith. In the end, it’s interesting how people love to judge others without any real knowledge or personal experience with a person. Regardless of religious view or practice, to be kind and fair is just that — fair. La Biblia talks about being the first to cast the stone if you’re sinless. Haven’t met one yet. Great segment, as always.

  3. Carrie says

    Options. That’s all we want. Options. With nobody telling us we’re bad, we’re whores, we’re saints…Personal choice…and God loves us no matter what.

  4. says

    Great piece on what is really going on with the Republican War Against Contraception. My body and my choice. I prefer not to have a man that does not know my body to decide what options are available to me.

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