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Let's play a game. It is sort of a choose-your-own-adventure make-believe game. Costumes optional.


You are about to graduate from Thing-Doing School and apply for a job as a professional Thing-Doer, as one does after attending Thing-Doing School. You inform your potential employer that you are interested in the Thing-Doing job but will be unable to perform Thing-Doing duties because of your religious beliefs. Your potential employer tells you, "LOL, that's hilarious, but we are actually looking for a real Thing-Doer who is willing to perform Thing-Doing duties, because that is the job. Thanks but no thanks."

Do you:

A) Say, "Well, that is a very good point, I understand why you would want to hire a Thing-Doer who is capable and willing to Thing-Do, I shall now re-examine my goal of being a Thing-Doer but not actually Thing-Doing"? (Turn to page 132 and pat yourself on the back because that is a very smart answer.)

B) Get yourself some fancy lawyers and sue the unholy bejesus out of the no-longer potential employer because your unwillingness to perform Thing-Doing duties should not disqualify you from being hired as a Thing-Doer? (Turn to page 666 and die in a fire.)

C) Laugh and roll your eyes because that is SO RIDICULOUS it cannot even be real, what kind of moron would apply for a job that requires doing things to which said moron objects because JESUS? (Throw the book away and write a bad review on Amazon because this book sucks.)

If you chose "C," I don't blame you because in a just world, that would be the correct and only option, but sorry, you lose because this IS real, and there IS such a moron who would do such a thing, and her name is Sara Hellwege and yes, she is suing SO hard. If you haven't already choked on your own vomit by now, keep reading.

It probably will not surprise you to learn that Wannabe Nurse Sara, who does not seem very S-M-R-T if you know what I mean, did not come up with this lawsuit on her own. No, she is the willing pawn of the Alliance Defending Freedom -- which describes itself as (don't laugh, I am not kidding) "a servant ministry building an alliance to keep the door open for the spread of the Gospel by transforming the legal system and advocating for religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family." If it sounds kinda hinky to you that an organization claiming to support "religious liberty" wants to transform the legal system to better spread the Gospel, you get a gold star, because it is TOTALLY hinky and is sort of exactly in contradiction of the First Amendment, under which the ADF is now suing because, well, because everything is wrong and fucked up and yeah, this is another one of those this-is-why-we-can't-have-nice-things moments, thank Jeebus it's Friday, who needs a drink?

The ADF claims it has filed this lawsuit, for Sara wink wink, against the Tampa Family Health Centers "for refusing to consider an applicant for employment as a nurse because she is a member of a pro-life medical association and has a faith-based objection to prescribing some birth control methods that could lead to an abortion."

Oh, poor Sara, let us weep for her, persecuted merely for believing that birth control is sometimes abortion because she missed the class at nursing school that taught her how birth control is NOT abortion, it is like this whole other thing because it actually IS this whole other thing.

You can read the entire complaint here if you are some kind of legal nerd who gets off on reading complaints. But in case you do not have the time, or you are more a tits-and-ass type than a civil complaint type, I shall point out a few interesting details for your eye-rolling vomit-inducing amusement, which come directly from Sara's very own complaint and yet somehow do not make a very good argument on her behalf, maybe, just maybe, because she does not have one.

  • Sara "possesses beliefs against prescribing hormonal contraceptives in certain circumstances,

    which she believes have the potential to act in a manner potentially threatening the lives of embryos after their conception/fertilization." That's nice. It has no basis in actual scientific fact, of course, but who would even want a health care provider to rely on dumb science instead of "beliefs"?

  • Sara is a member of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists

    (AAPLOG), which, shockingly, is a real organization of medical providers who base their "medical" practice on the belief that every sperm is sacred and if a sperm is wasted, American Jesus gets quite irate. Sara informed the Tampa Family Health Centers that she is one of these cult members, which is kind of a problem, because Tampa Family Health Centers provides health care instead of sermons. Which is why the human resources director, who obviously has the patience of Job (that's some Biblical shit for you right there, BOOM!), asked Sara if she even wanted the job, on account of how she believes that doing the job is wrong. Also, a reasonable person who is not a total idiot could probably understand why the Tampa Family Health Centers might be a little concerned about hiring someone who thinks its services are bad and wrong and evil and blah blah blah, because that could be sort of, ya know, awwwwwwwwwwkward. Who would want a co-worker who is all, like, "I brought in some muffins, and just so you know, what you're doing today kills little BABIES!!! and you're probably going to hell, hey, you wanna be my potato sack race partner at the company picnic this weekend?"

  • In a series of email exchanges between Sara and the Job-like director of human resources, Sara explains that "due to religious guidelines," she cannot prescribe all forms of contraception, even though prescribing contraception is part of the job for which she is applying, but she thinks she's so special or something that maybe she can just not do that part of the job, if that is okay, and is the Tampa Family Health Centers maybe looking to hire someone for "antepartum & laborist only" because then she can do health care to women without violating her "religious guidelines" by doing health care to women?
  • The director of human resources very politely emailed Sara that because the center provides family planning services, and Sara belongs to a group that does not believe in providing family planning services, and no, sorry, there are no positions for "antepartum & laborist only," buh-bye, good luck, fuck off. (Actually, he did not write "fuck off," but don't you wish he would have? I would have. So would you, come on, be honest.)
  • Instead of taking the hint that there was no opening for a health care provider who objects to providing health care, Sara got all "I WILL NOT BE IGNORED, DAN!" and kept emailing anyway because although she can totally believe that ovulation is abortion, she could NOT believe that a health care clinic would not jump at the opportunity to hire a health care provider who refuses to provide health care.

    To clarify, I am not merely seeking a position that encompasses antepartum & laborist care only. I was asking about that option only so I would know if it was available. I would still desire to apply for a position that includes postpartum & well woman/preventative care as well as antepartum & laborist care, within the religious and moral parameters I stated previously. With that clarification, is it still possible for me to move forward in your application process?

    P.S. If you say no, I will boil your bunny. (Okay, I made that part up, but I BELIEVE she was probably thinking it, don't you BELIEVE it?)

At this point, the human resources director stopped bothering to even respond, probably because he got tired of wasting his time explaining that there is no need for a women's health care provider who has "moral parameters" about providing women's health care, and maybe he had, like, a real job to do, and shit, Sara, take the hint already and go join a nunnery if that's what really matters to you.

Sara did not take the hint. Instead, she is suing because she has "suffered and continues to suffer injury and irreparable harm" and also it is just SO UNFAIR that she was not even interviewed for a job she openly admitted she would refuse to do and also RELIGIOUS LIBERTY!!!! and also the ADF apparently thinks she's a convenient poster-child for its mission to transform the legal system FOR JESUS and also because WAAAAAAH.

Are you wishing you'd chosen option B and set everything on fire now because everything is terrible and WHAT. THE. FUCK? Gregory M. Lipper, senior litigation counsel for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which is sort of the anti-Alliance Defending Freedom because it fights to preserve the actual First Amendment instead of destroying it with "Gospel," lawsplained it like this:

This lawsuit distorts the noble cause of religious liberty in an effort to further advance the Religious Right's assault on birth control. The plaintiff wants to work at a federally funded women's health center, yet refuses to prescribe any form of hormonal birth control. The lawsuit equates prescribing birth control with performing an abortion, without even the slightest scientific basis. For the Religious Right, it's not enough that women's bosses can strip them of coverage for contraception -- now, they want to allow women's healthcare professionals to withhold contraception too. And they want to force the government to subsidize a healthcare worker who refuses to do her job. Even after Hobby Lobby, this lawsuit retires the trophy for chutzpah.

Because I am not nearly as polite as Greg, allow me to summarize: This is some seriously fucked up repugnant bullshit right here. The Religious Right, which is neither religious nor right -- DISCUSS! -- is basically trying to infiltrate women's health care and then refuse to provide women's health care, so if you have the misfortune of being a woman, instead of a regular person, and you go to your women's health care provider, your women's health care provider can say, "Sorry, lady, I can't actually give you women's health care because of my religious beliefs. Here, have a lollipop and an unwanted pregnancy."

So let's go back to the beginning. Now that you have heard Sara's tale of woe, do you:

A) Feel sorry for her, gosh that is really too bad, why can't she just be hired to a job even though she refuses to actually do the job, that is mean and wrong, she should get a million dollars for that. (Punch yourself in the face, you have missed the point.)

B) Think Sara needs to find a new calling because obviously women's health care provider ain't it, and also, she should punch herself in the face.

The answer is B, obviously.

Follow me on Twitter, or I will sue you.

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Ever since Ruth Bader Ginsburg successfully underwent surgery for lung cancer, conservative sites and message boards have been trafficking in a ridiculous theory that she is actually dead and that there is some kind of Weekend at Bernie's-esque conspiracy to pretend she is still alive.

Now, one would think that her recent public appearance at a concert held in her honor would have put this to rest. Alas, it did not. Rather, the "researchers" (as they hilariously call themselves) determined that the concert was actually her funeral.

No. Really. That was a thing.

I admit that I gave this a lot more thought than I should have. Like, how did they think this would go? How long did they imagine this would go on for? Why would they risk having a full on funeral concert, open to the press? Wouldn't they just have not bothered to have a funeral at all? And what did these people think was going to happen when it was announced that she died for real? Or did they think that we were going to pretend that she is immortal and thus never announce her death? It's so confusing!

Being very up to date on the "RBG is secretly dead!" nonsense, I was very curious about which way the "anons" would go with this when they announced her return to work on Friday. They did not disappoint!

Keep reading... Show less
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Yesterday afternoon, 45-year-old Gary Martin of Aurora, Illinois was let go from his job at the Henry Pratt Company, a factory that manufactures water valves. In response, he took out a pistol with a laser scope and began shooting at random. He killed five people and injured six others who were just trying to make it through the day at the water valve factory, and then the police killed him.

His mother said he was "stressed out." He "seemed fine" according to the clerk at the Circle K where he bought his cigars that morning. His neighbor thought he was a nice guy. Some people were surprised, others were not.

This kind of thing used to be shocking, but it's a story we're used to now. It gets repeated at least once a month. It's just what happens now, and we can't do anything about it because we can't do anything about gun control. This is, the Right has decided, just the price we all have to pay so they can stockpile guns for funsies, and take sexy pictures of guns shoved in their pants. This is the blood that waters their special tree of liberty.

It's fucking exhausting. And stupid. We shouldn't have to live this way. No one should have to live this way. But we do. Why? Because some day some yahoos might want to overthrow the government, which is (of course) a completely legal thing to do, and their "right" to do that must be protected. So it's literally just never, ever going to stop.

Gary Martin, like most other mass shooters, also had a history of violence against women. In 1994, in Mississippi, he was convicted for stabbing one. He should not have been able to get a gun after that. I would like to know how and why he was able to get that pistol with the laser scope that he killed five people with yesterday afternoon. Maybe someone gave it to him. Maybe he bought it somehow. Maybe someone forgot to do a background check. Maybe he bought it from someone who didn't have to do a background check.

I am so goddamned tired of writing this article. I am out of things to say.

UPDATE:

Martin apparently bought the gun after successfully applying for an Illinois state Firearms ID. That license was revoked after he applied for a concealed carry license and was rejected due to his prior felony conviction in Mississippi, but no one bothered to see if he still had a gun.

Via USA Today:

"During the fingerprinting and background process it was discovered that he had a felony conviction for aggravated assault out of Mississippi," [Police Chief Kristen] Ziman said. "It should be noted that this conviction would not have shown up on a criminal background check conducted for an FOID card."

That seems like it might be a problem, no?

It has also since been revealed that Martin had a domestic battery arrest in 2008 in Aurora.

[Sun-Times]

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