Exorcising Freedom Of Religion

When something’s strange and it don’t look good, who you goin’ call?

If you said, “Ghost Busters,” I’m sorry, you’re wrong. The correct answer was the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Ohio. That’s right boys and girls; the Catholic Church in Ohio is hunting ghouls.

I know this because last Sunday the Archbishop of Cincinnati approved an exorcism that was performed on a woman’s health clinic a few blocks from my home. Deciding that immigrants, the hungry, the poor, the sick, and the downtrodden could all wait a weekend, 300 some protestors gathered to try to expel “evil demons” from a building in Kettering, Ohio.

The massive demon-expelling was coordinated with the diocese’ ghost busting buddy, 40 Days for Life, a right-wing religious group dedicated to protecting the nation’s unborn. They also make a great spectacle to watch, signs in hand, picketing the parking lot of the health clinic, as I drive to the grocery store. Or I should say, they make a great spectacle when the weather is nice. Demon hunting and praying for the unborn is incredibly important, but it can wait when the weather is nasty.

Fortunately for the exorcisers, and unfortunately for the demons, the weather was beautiful last week and the protest went off without a hitch.

Our local newspaper, The Dayton Daily, covered the protest/demon chasing, and quoted one of the protestors as saying, “I think it does good any time you can get people out here praying. The devil doesn’t always manifest himself, but I’m sure it did some good, the exorcism.”

Yes, this random protestor is correct. The devil doesn’t always manifest itself in the most obvious ways. Sometimes the devil may appear as a red-skinned, horned prince of darkness. Other times though, he comes about in the form of a mostly white, elderly mob, harassing women in a parking lot for exercising their legal rights to determine how and when their reproductive systems are used.

I understand that this protest, viewed by itself, is nothing more than a small community event. But put into a larger picture, it is a bright point on a massive, alarming mosaic.

The GOP has, through its perpetual spinning of the wheel of fear, decided that 2012 is the year women, and the right they have to govern their bodies, will be put on trial. In past years it has been the civil and legal rights of gays, atheists, Hispanics, Muslims, and middle-class labor. Looking through these groups histories, it becomes apparent that those who stood up to the right-wing, and their ever constant ally— religious conservatism, were able to retain their rights. Those who ignored these agents of regression, hoping they would simply leave them alone, witnessed their rights assaulted and inevitably retracted.

Using Ohio again as an example, ask any Union member, “What happened when John Kasich was ignored in the 2010 mid-term election, and allowed to move into the Governor’s mansion?” They will answer that within a short time, laborers became the target of SB5, a bill seeking to drastically reduce the political rights of working men and women.

It was ultimately defeated, but only because ordinary people exercised their right to push back against bullies who use religions, economics, and politics to intimidate those they disagree with.

Women and those who do not favor a theocracy, have no other choice but to tell the GOP and theo-cons that it is not okay to equate their legal rights with Satan.

Any compassionate and rational person would agree, unless of course they are possessed. In which case, I happen to know a group that may be able to help…


Please, if you disagree with the use of religion to further anti-women political goals, contact the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and respectfully express your disapproval. They can be reached at (513)421-3131 or at their website http://www.catholiccincinnati.org

And if you think that the right-wing group 40 Days for Life is possessed by Satan, please exorcise them in the form of an email at  http://www.40daysforlife.com/dayton/