Posts Tagged “pro-choice”

Matthew 7:23 (And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.On the heels of proposed legislation in South Dakota that might place abortion providers in jeopardy, another proposed law, in Georgia, would outlaw abortion and make any miscarriage — even a spontaneous one — automatically a criminal matter. As with the S.D. bill, it’s Mother Jones reporting on state representative Bobby Franklin’s attempt to legislate Georgians’ obedience to his fierce religionism (WebCite cached article):

Georgia State Rep. Bobby Franklin [cached]—who last year proposed making [cached] rape and domestic violence “victims” into “accusers”—has introduced a 10-page bill [cached] that would criminalize miscarriages and make abortion in Georgia completely illegal. Both miscarriages and abortions would be potentially punishable by death: any “prenatal murder” in the words of the bill, including “human involvement” in a miscarriage, would be a felony and carry a penalty of life in prison or death.

Criminal investigations into all miscarriages in Georgia would be required, and this is problematic for any woman who happens to miscarry:

Under Rep. Franklin’s bill, HB 1, women who miscarry could become felons if they cannot prove that there was “no human involvement whatsoever in the causation” of their miscarriage. There is no clarification of what “human involvement” means, and this is hugely problematic as medical doctors do not know exactly [cached] what causes miscarriages.

In other words, a woman who miscarried carries the burdon of proving she did not cause the miscarriage … and if she cannot do this, she must be prosecuted.

Christians’ hatred for women is beyond belief. We have chaplains who think rapes are “God’s will”; a Religious Rightist who approves of a sexual assault on a woman because she works for the mass media; and the Roman Catholic Church thinks pregnant women are obliged to die if an abortion is needed to save their lives. What the fuck is wrong with Christianity in the US? Seriously!? Are you people so far gone that you have no conception of the evil you’re promoting in the name of your deity?

Here’s a warning to you Christians, which comes straight from the gospels you revere:

Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:21-23)

Hat tip: Mark at Skeptics & Heretics Forum at Delphi Forums.

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It's not Fascism when Christians do it! Christian Fascism in America: If Fascism Comes to America, It Will Come Wrapped in the Flag & Carrying the CrossThe blogosphere has raged over the past few days over the remarks of former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum’s comments about abortion. Naturally, he’s against it — even when the mother’s life is in danger — which follows his Catholic religion’s teaching that women’s lives are forfeit the moment they become pregnant. His remarks that have sparked controversy came in an interview with CNS News, where he said the following, as Huff reports (WebCite cached article):

A conservative Republican from Pennsylvania, Santorum has signaled he’s mulling a run for the White House in the next election cycle. During the interview, he voiced his staunchly pro-life stance, as well as his belief that when life begins “is not a debatable issue,” before going on to criticize the president.

“The question is, and this is what Barack Obama didn’t want to answer — is that human life a person under the constitution?” he said. “And Barack Obama says no. Well if that human life is not a person then I find it almost remarkable for a black man to say ‘now we are going to decide who are people and who are not people.'”

Video of his remarks is courtesy of Youtube:

The buzz that’s erupted around the Internet is that “Santorum is a racist!” Well, I’m no fan of Santorum. He’s a ferocious Christofascist who probably has not had an original thought in his head for the last 3 or 4 decades; he’s only capable of continuously spewing religious and ideological doctrine told to him by others. So don’t think I’m defending him … I’m not. But really, I’m not sure this is evidence he’s a “racist.”

His comments are actually an indirect, implied version of the fallacious reductio ad Hitlerum, a reprehensible propaganda device I’ve blogged about on many occasions already. Now, Dear Reader, if you’re the critical thinker I hope you are, you must be wondering where I got that from … and you’d be 100% right to ask how I could draw such an inference. So here goes.

Santorum’s remark suggests that abortion is used to control the population of “undesirables” or as a tool of discrimination. This is, basically, eugenics. As such, this alludes to the Third Reich and its various policies intended to eliminate “degenerates” and — supposedly — improve the “Aryan race.”

I concede that Santorum never mentioned Hitler or the Nazis, however, the Religious Right frequently states explicitly that abortion choice equates with eugenics, which equates with Hitler. Here is one example of what Santorum is alluding to, and here’s another, and here’s yet another.

There is no way that Santorum’s intended audience would have failed to recognize his reference.

Isn’t it time for this kind of baseless, fallacious, personal demonization of others to stop? It’s childish at best, and disingenuous at worst. I don’t care for the reductio ad Hitlerum when the Left uses it, and find it still less appropriate for the Right — which prides itself on having upstanding morals — to engage in it.

Here’s my personal rule when it comes to this propaganda device, paraphrased from a saying used by the character Salvor Hardin in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation: “The reductio ad Hitlerum is the last resort of the intellectually bankrupt.”

My final note is that people like Rick Santorum — who would like to turn the US into a Christianized fascist regime — are hypocritical to accuse their ideological opponents of being Nazis. Of course, no Religious Rightist ever fails to disobey Jesus’ own explicit, clear injunction against being hypocritical … but hey, what can you expect from irrational militant religionists like Santorum?

Photo credit: Austin Cline / Atheism/Agnosticism at About.Com.

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Jesus Facepalm: He gave up too so please stop this foolishness… if their lives are threatened by pregnancy complications. That’s right: Roman Catholic doctrine holds that pregnant women’s lives are forfeit. Proof of this insane doctrine comes in the form of an Arizona hospital losing its affiliation with the Church because it chose to save the life of a mother. The Houston Chronicle reports on this travesty (WebCitation cached article):

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix stripped a major hospital of its affiliation with the church Tuesday because of a surgery that ended a woman’s pregnancy to save her life. …

“In the decision to abort, the equal dignity of mother and her baby were not both upheld,” [Phoenix bishop Thomas] Olmsted said at a news conference announcing the decision. “The mother had a disease that needed to be treated. But instead of treating the disease, St. Joseph’s medical staff and ethics committee decided that the healthy, 11-week-old baby should be directly killed.”

Unfortunately, the hospital staff didn’t really have this choice. They had no time. The mother was fading fast. For what it’s worth, the hospital is not apologetic about this, and even in spite of this institutional excommunication, they’re standing by what they did:

Linda Hunt, president of St. Joseph’s, said doctors performed a necessary procedure on a patient who was getting worse by the minute and was in imminent danger of death.

“If we are presented with a situation in which a pregnancy threatens a woman’s life, our first priority is to save both patients. If that is not possible, we will always save the life we can save, and that is what we did in this case,” Hunt said. “Morally, ethically, and legally, we simply cannot stand by and let someone die whose life we might be able to save.”

Hospital management considered the bishop’s demands extreme and would not give in:

Dr. Charles Alfano, chief medical officer at the hospital and an obstetrician there, said Olmsted was asking the impossible from the hospital.

“Specifically the fact that [Bishop Olmsted] requested we admit the procedure performed was an abortion and that it was a violation of the ethical and religious directives and that we would not perform such a procedure in the future,” he said. “We could not agree to that. We acted appropriately.”

The reason the bishop was so incensed about what St Joseph’s did? It was the “scandal” produced by it:

“They have not addressed in an adequate manner the scandal caused by the abortion,” [Olmsted] said.

That’s right, folks. The bishop didn’t cut off the hospital over the abortion per se, but over the “scandal” it produced.

Well, Bishop, may I suggest you’ve already got your hands full of one major multinational scandal already … you might consider resolving that in a candid, upright, and moral manner — before demanding any other scandal be dealt with.

And this is a lesson to any expecting mothers out there … beware of being treated in a Catholic hospital, should you have any problems before birth. Not all of them will be like St Joseph’s and fight the Church to save your life.

Photo credit: Demotivators.

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PC290954OK, so perhaps this isn’t exactly “news,” in predominantly-fundamentalist thinking, majority-Mormon Utah. But a law was passed there, and signed by the state’s governor, which effectively pushes the state backward in time, closer to the Dark Ages than it had been previously. The New York Times reports on this development (WebCite cached article):

The origins of Utah State House Bill 12 lie in an act of dark and desperate violence.

Last May in a small town in eastern Utah, a 17-year-old girl, seven months pregnant, paid a man she had just met $150 to beat her up in hopes of inducing a miscarriage that would resolve her crisis. He obliged, taking her to a basement and kicking her repeatedly in the stomach.

The fetus survived the assault and was born in August. The attacker went to jail. And the girl, whose name was never released because she was under age, became the center of a legal debate — and the piece of legislation now awaiting the governor’s signature or veto. The bill would formally criminalize what she did, that is, to seek an illegal abortion.

This law effectively raises the possibility that any woman who has a miscarriage, might be prosecuted:

“Prosecutors have a lot of discretion, and miscarriage is a sad but common event in connection with pregnancy,” said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, a nonprofit advocacy group for birth control and abortion rights. “This bill would cast suspicion, potentially, on every single miscarriage.”

Almost any kind of activity might be deemed sufficiently “negligent” or risky, to justify prosecuting a woman who miscarries … even if she did not intend for the miscarriage to occur, and even if she had no reservations about her pregnancy.

The effort here, as usual, is not to protect the unborn, as the law’s proponents claim. It is, instead, to reduce women of childbearing age to second-class citizens, whose legal rights, freedom and even their lives are compromised by the fact that they might become pregnant and thus have their actions limited by law or be prosecuted for doing nearly anything. Christians — especially of the Religious Right and Roman Catholic varieties — do not view women as “equal persons,” and laws such as this are their intended means of getting the inequality they worship enshrined in the US legal system, which otherwise affords women civil-rights protections (such as equality before the law as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment among other places).

Photo credit: B Evershed.

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It only took 37 minutes for the jury to reach a verdict in the case of Scott Roeder, the Christian terrorist who assassinated Dr George Tiller while he was in church (of all places!) in Kansas earlier this year (as I blogged about on a number of occasions). CNN reports on it (WebCite cached article):

A Kansas jury deliberated just 37 minutes before convicting an anti-abortion activist of first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of an abortion provider.

The jury found Scott Roeder, 51, guilty of gunning down Dr. George Tiller, who operated a clinic in Wichita where late-term abortions were performed. Roeder, 51, faces life in prison when he is sentenced on March 9.

Apparently Roeder himself sped this verdict along:

A day earlier, Roeder told jurors he had shot Tiller in the foyer of Reformation Lutheran Church as Sunday services began. Testifying as his only defense witness, he said he believed he had to kill Tiller to save lives. He said he had no regrets.

“There was nothing being done, and the legal process had been exhausted, and these babies were dying every day,” Roeder said. “I felt that if someone did not do something, he was going to continue.”

Of course, this trial was a magnet for exactly the kinds of marvelously tasteful, mature, rational and logical protests one expects of the pro-lifers and the Religious Right:

The trial drew activists from both sides of the abortion debate to the courtroom, and a van plastered with slogans and photographs of fetuses was parked in a prominent spot in front of the courthouse.

As I’ve blogged before, pictures of aborted fetuses are objective, logical proof of absolutely nothing whatsoever. They may be emotionally-compelling, but an appeal to emotion (or as I call it, an argumentum ad motum) is meaningless and even fallacious.

Roeder’s claim to want to protect “babies” from Dr Tiller, was refuted by trial testimony:

Jurors heard emotional testimony from church-goers who rushed to Tiller’s side and attempted to administer mouth-to-mouth resuscitation as he lay in a pool of blood. Others, meanwhile, followed Roeder into the church parking lot, where he threatened to shoot them.

If all Roeder had wanted to do was to stop Tiller, what reason did he have to threaten anyone else in Tiller’s church, once he’d killed the doctor? Answer: None!

Given the interest in this case, and the fact that Roeder has had many supporters, one thing is sure: This is not over. A lengthy and intensive appeals process will likely begin soon. The Kansas state bench is stacked with many conservative judges, and it’s conceivable this case might be retried, or the verdict vacated, or something else. The Religious Right is not likely to let this case die. Not only that … it remains to be seen if any of Roeder’s accomplices — such as Cheryl Sullenger of Operation Rescue (WebCite cached article) will be prosecuted for their roles in Tiller’s assassination. My own guess is that Roeder is the only one who will ever be charged.

Oh, and … memo to people who continue to insist that Christians are never terrorists … guess again. As of today, Scott Roeder is now a convicted Christian terrorist. See it right here (video courtesy of CBS News):

It’s time for Christians to stop acting as if the extremists in their own midst are somehow not quite as bad as other types of murderous extremists who belong to other religions. Are we finally clear on that?

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If you haven’t already figured it out by now, the Religious Right has gone insane. Completely, totally, and utterly insane. They were driven to this state by sheer frustration at having been voted out of control of Congress (in 2006 with further losses in 2008) and the White House (in 2008). They’re so insanely angry that they no longer even understand what they’re saying or doing. An example of their crazy outrage can be seen in their comparison of healthcare reform with Herod’s massacre of the innocents, as reported by Sarah Posner at Religion Dispatches:

Religious Right: God Should Kill Health Care Reform to Save America from Herod

It’s no secret that the religious right is opposed to health care reform (a.k.a. “death panels,” “government takeover,” or “Obamacare”) but as the Senate races to the winter recess with its bill that’s controversial even to progressives, the religious right is using new Christmas-themed rhetoric to rally the base to oppose it. …

The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, head of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference whom Sojourners’ Jim Wallis has labeled “one of the most hopeful young Christian leaders of our time,” led the charge for this narrative in last night’s “prayercast” co-sponsored by the Family Research Council and The Call. (For more on The Call and its leader Lou Engle, see my account of its spiritual warfare movement in opposition to gay marriage from last year.) Other participants on the prayercast included FRC’s Tony Perkins, Republican Senators Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Sam Brownback of Kansas, Reps. Todd Akin (R-MO), Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Randy Forbes (R-VA), and Mike McIntyre (D-NC); as well as Shirley and James Dobson; Bishop Harry Jackson, who recently led an unsuccessful crusade against gay marriage in the District of Columbia; and Pastor Jim Garlow, a leading proponent of California’s Proposition 8 who claimed last night the health care bill violates the Ten Commandments. …

In the prayercast, Rodriguez prayed:

Heavenly father, righteous God, in this season as we celebrate birth of our savior, the one who came to give us life, everlasting life abundant, we come in His name to intercede for that very gift of life. Father, the same spirit of Herod who 2000 years ago attempted to exterminate the life of the Messiah today lives even America. …

Get it? If you’re pro-choice, you’re like Herod, trying to wipe out an army of anointed ones, a battalion of Esthers — you’re a co-conspirator on a massive death panel for Christianity.

I hardly know what to say about this, except that it doesn’t surprise me. The Religious Right has been flirting with collective psychopathology almost since its inception. They have existed in a virtual state of denial about reality, for decades now. It only stands to reason that their electoral collapse, which began some 3 years ago now, has driven them over the cliff of emotion, and into the abyss of raging, sanctimonious, paranoid insanity.

As far as I’m concerned, they no longer can be reasoned with. There is no amount of rationality that can reach people who think this way. The Religious Right must be written off as collectively mentally ill and beyond redemption. We have no other choice … because we just cannot allow people this insane to be running our country. It just can’t be permitted any longer.

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For the last several years, Roman Catholic bishops in the US have pretty much taken marching orders from the Religious Right, which ironically is mostly Protestant evangelical and fundamentalist in nature. At least, that’s what I’ve been saying. And people have occasionally called me a fool for doing so. “The Protestants and Catholics hate each other!” I’ve been told. “The Protestants tried to derail John F. Kennedy’s campaign, claiming his election would put the Pope in the White House!”

It is true that Protestants and Catholics have been at odds since the Reformation, and even fought each other in Ireland through much of the 20th century. That the Catholic Church and the various Protestant sects are rivals, is incontrovertible.

Nevertheless, I have never doubted that the mostly-Protestant Religious Right and the Catholic bishops have been allied at least since the late 1990s — and finally some proof of this alliance has emerged. The New York Times reports on this now-overt alliance:

Christian Leaders Unite on Political Issues

Citing the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s call to civil disobedience, 145 evangelical, Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christian leaders have signed a declaration saying they will not cooperate with laws that they say could be used to compel their institutions to participate in abortions, or to bless or in any way recognize same-sex couples.

“We pledge to each other, and to our fellow believers, that no power on earth, be it cultural or political, will intimidate us into silence or acquiescence,” it says.

The manifesto, to be released on Friday at the National Press Club in Washington, is an effort to rejuvenate the political alliance of conservative Catholics and evangelicals that dominated the religious debate during the administration of President George W. Bush. The signers include nine Roman Catholic archbishops and the primate of the Orthodox Church in America. …

The document says, “We will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other antilife act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent.”

Of course, they’re tilting at windmills, because no one is currently talking about forcing any church or sect to marry gays if they don’t believe in allowing it. (In my home state of Connecticut, where gay marriage is allowed, the state Supreme Court stated clearly that this was not Constitutionally permissible.) There are also no efforts underway, and none even on the horizon, which would force (say) Catholic hospitals to perform abortions. There is also no plan to force euthanasia on anyone — anywhere — whether it be in a religious hospital or any other setting.

This document, then, and the alliance it enshrines, is based on a delusion.

That’s right, a delusion. Pure and simple.

At any rate, I’m not happy to report that my presumed alliance between the Catholic bishops and the Protestants of the Religious Right — along with the Orthodox Church, to boot — has finally been confirmed … but it is.

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