Posts Tagged ‘abortion

29
Nov
11

Lack of Focus

Or, perhaps, the title of this post should be “The Wrong Focus.”

Some of the most fervent people pursue their missions from entirely the wrong standpoint, and so it is with many conservative, fundamentalist Christians, because they aren’t really as focused on the fundamentals as their descriptor would suggest.

See, my problem with the “fundies” isn’t so much that they want to promote biblical ideals and Bible-based behavior as it is that they put at the top of their agenda subjects on which Jesus didn’t really focus and/or that are only hinted at vaguely in the Bible…while also putting at the bottom of their priority list those things on which Jesus spoke most clearly and directly.

So, on the one hand, they’ll pick out a Bible passage about ancient punishments for hitting a pregnant woman in the belly and killing her unborn child, along with God’s words in the Book of Jeremiah “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” and say, “See! God hates abortion! Let’s go have a huge campaign against women controlling their own bodies and hijack freedom of choice and science while ignoring more pertinent issues that affect more people.”

Never mind that causing the death of a woman’s fetus in an act of violence or irresponsibility was a crime because it assumed the woman wanted to give birth and you took that away from her (i.e. took the life that she had charge of). Also never mind that the quote from Jeremiah is about foreknowledge and foreplanning on God’s part, not about when life begins. Never mind that Jesus never once mentioned anything about fetuses, and his words are the ones Christians should focus on most.

And then, on the other hand, with poverty rising, kids and adults going without food, healthcare becoming increasingly inaccessible and the rich hoarding more and more of the money just because they can (even though they don’t need that much), you’ll see fundies cringe at any notion that even hints at socialism or talks about fairness and sharing, even though Jesus spent huge gobs of his time talking about economic fairness and taking care of the less fortunate.

Not to mention the fact the early Christian church essentially practiced communism, or something very close to it.

But they’ll ignore that and point to his parable of the talents and claim Jesus was a free market capitalist even though the parable is talking about spiritual growth and responsibility, not wealth creation.

Shaking my damn head…

03
Jun
09

God Don’t Like Psycho

OK, I realize I’m late to the party on the murder of Dr. George Tiller, a controversial provider of late-term abortions, allegedly by 51-year-old fundamentalist Christian Scott Roeder.

Partly, I’m just distracted. But a smaller story out my way sparked me to write about this. You see, there is, in my neck of the wood…or, rather, was…a topless coffee shop. The owner was making plans to expand, and then suddenly an arsonist burned the place down. I know nothing about the arsonist. I don’t even know if they have a suspect in custody. But as my wife said, “I guess the crazy fundamental Christians are coming out of the woodwork.”

Perhaps they are. Let’s sample a couple quotes about the murder of Dr. Tiller…

Prayer and Action newsletter publisher and anti-abortion activist Dave Leach: “To call this a crime is too simplistic. There is Christian scripture that would support this.”

Founder of Operation Rescue Randall Terry: “(He) was a mass murderer and, horrifically, he reaped what he sowed.”

My late and much-missed grandmother-in-law often said, “God don’t like ugly.”

I’ll ammend that a bit: God don’t like psycho.

We do not get to choose to burn down someone’s business or kill someone because of the Bible. We just don’t. For one thing, it wasn’t the kind of thing that Jesus condoned. But also, we are told in the Bible to follow the laws of our lands. The laws of our land, here in the United States, says that an unborn child is not always considered a full life. But a grown-ass man is definitely alive, and killing him over ideology is murder, plain and simple.

I defy any fundie who supports or turns a blind eye to this murder to show me a single passage of scripture that defines an unborn child as a life and thus establishes that ending the existence of that fetus is murder. The first person that does will most likely pick a single passage, and I’ve seen it before, and I will likely rip your argument to shreds if you do.

Furthermore, without establishing that a fetus is a viable life in the Bible, all we have to go on is the law of the land, which says it is not. And frankly, even you can prove to me that the Bible protects a fetus’ life as much as a child outside the womb or an adult, that still doesn’t give you the right to flout the laws of your land and take vengeance. Vengeance belongs to God. It’s one thing to snap and kill someone because they hurt or killed someone close to you…people snap over such things…that’s not generally cold-blooded murder. Killing someone for something that doesn’t impact you directly is cold-blooded murder.

And finally, Dr. Tiller didn’t perform late-term abortions for mothers who just decided late in the game they didn’t want to be pregnant. Late-term abortions are almost always in the interest of preserving the mother’s life or in cases where the fetus is so unviable that it faces death upon entering the world anyway.

All around, this act was wrong. And no Christian should overtly or covertly support this murder of man. Much less murdering him in front of his family while in church. There’s nothing right with that picture.

22
Dec
08

Slippery Slopes

caution-slippery-slopeSo today’s topic…skiing? A sweaty pair of 36DD’s? Hilly streets that my piece of shit little Sentra can’t climb after a good snowstorm?

Nah, just going to talk about those proverbial slippery slopes where one thing “inevitably” leads to another.

I’ve been thinking about slippery slopes a lot because plenty of people are still talking about the passage of Proposition 8 in California, or Barack Obama’s decision to let pastor Rick Warren (who doesn’t anything nice to say about homosexual marriage) give the invocation at his inauguration. And because these things are being talked about on the blogs and elsewhere, myself and plenty of others have to address the real or perceived slippery slopes on both sides of the issue.

Mind you, I believe there are times in life where you have to draw a line, lest people walk en masse right down a treacherous slope. Don’t get me wrong. But in the end, I find the whole “slippery slope” concept to typically be questionable and often laughable. I mean, wasn’t our failed War on Drugs, which I believe Ronald Reagan initiated (and which still puts too many people in prison for too long for no good reason) founded on the idea that we needed to stop those drugs before little Timmy got a taste of pot and then went on to snort coke and then inevitably to shoot up heroin and then steal all the family’s belongings and perhaps rape his little sister Susie too? And haven’t we waged many a war on the idea that if we don’t stop [insert political system/ideology/group of your choice] here, it will spread everywhere, even to our own borders?

So, let’s talk about some of those slippery slopes that Christians get so bent out of shape about and why I’m sick to death of groups of Christians who raise up their standards and march off on an ideological war to put some grit on those slopes or, better yet, blow up the whole hill so no one slides into depravity.

Homosexual marriages. Because you know, we all know if we allow gays and lesbians to marry, next it will be the polygamists demanding their rights and then the incest-lovers, and then the pedophiles, and finally the people who are into bestiality and want to marry Fluffy. I mean, how can I argue with logic like that, right? Because people who commit incest just really want everyone to know, and there are soooo many of them. And of course, we’ll just forget about age of consent and maturity issues and abuse concerns and just let folks marry kids, right? Look, the only reasonable expectation in that list is that maybe, just maybe, polygamists will want their say. Well, let’s deal with that bridge then, eh? And let’s remember that multiple partners is a whole different issue than homosexuality with many more potential societal complications.

Abortion. Ever since Roe v. Wade, we’ve been on a Crisco-greased slide to murdering our babies, right? I mean, any day now, it will be legal to kill your full-term baby in the womb or on its way out the birth canal if you have second thoughts at the very end. In fact, we’re just around the corner from six-day “lemon laws” that will allow you to bring a baby back to the hospital to have it euthanized if you find it cramps your style too much. Give me a freakin’ break. No, I’m not a fan of abortion. And I know late-term and “partial bith” abortions are particularly gruesome thoughts for many people, myself included. But they do have a place for some people in the secular world, as much as my Christian soul doesn’t like it. Such practices are performed rarely and usually for very specific reasons, yet they are often wrapped up by zealous Christians in a package that suggests (a) the mothers are all irresponsibly doing this and loving it and (b) that somehow a viable, kicking screaming crying baby is being yanked out of a woman and hacked to pieces. To make a strong case, the truth is buried under a lot of visceral and bloody hype by many in Christian circles. And why not? It sure makes the slippery slope argument seem more logical, doesn’t it, so that you can go back and argue that any abortion should be illegal, right?

I’m not going to continue any more of that. You get my point. Slippery slopes are often overstated by Christians who wish to force their ethics into the law books for everyone else to follow.

But instead of decrying the illogic of some of the slippery slope mindsets, how about we imagine a world where Christians continue to have the kind of success they did with Proposition 8 in California, and imagine some of the slippery slopes for those successes?

OK, so we outlaw homosexual marriage. Now what? Hey, you know, let’s make it illegal not to have kids if you’re married. Or, maybe we prevent infertile people from marrying because, like gays, they can’t be fruitful and multiply. Or maybe we should allow a spouse to instantly and without recourse divorce the other spouse if that spouse is unable to provide a child. And hey, since we’re already at the bedroom door, let’s criminalize adultery. Or outlaw blowjobs and anal sex.

Or, let’s say abortion gets outlawed. Great! OK, so do we allow it in cases where the life of the mother is in danger? No? OK. Well, what if there are multiple kids in the womb and one kid is putting all the others in danger and removing that fetus, which might have minimal chance of survival anyway, will save two or more others? No? Or, maybe if a child is already dead in the womb we should remove it? No? Oh, yeah, because maybe there will be a miracle that causes it to return to life. Hey, and while we’re at it, let’s outlaw birth control methods, because aren’t they really just the same as abortion? And same for masturbation, too.

“But,” say the fellow Christians I’ve just offended, “those are ridiculous! Some of those assumptions would never happen. And we wouldn’t want them to nor would society in general!”

So, maybe you see my point now.

I’m not saying that Christians shouldn’t engage in causes in which they fervently believe. What I am saying is that the temptation to justify it by being so arrogant as to say “We know where this will lead” instead of simply focusing on the act itself that repulses you, is the kind of thing we cannot afford.

Nor, by the way, can we simply say “the Bible says so, and that’s why it must be outlawed.” This isn’t a Christian nation; only a nation where Christianity is the largest religious bloc. Our laws must be based on the societal good and on secular foundations, not religious ones. To argue that something should be prohibited by law, you must be able to provide a real argument as to why your way is the better way for society.

Because as often as I’ve read the New Testament, I still haven’t found that part where Jesus, the apostles or any early church leaders said, “Yeah, it sure would be cool if we forced Christianity on everyone else at the point of a sword…or under weight of law.”

10
Nov
08

His Name Isn’t Barack O’Bortion

stop-signI get that people are so passionate about their pro-life stance that they can actually exclude candidates as viable leaders solely for believing in a woman’s right to choose. I get it. I don’t agree with it, but I get it. They see fetuses as fully living, soul-filled beings who are helpless and are, sometimes, dealt a hasty and premature end with the aid of medical intervention.

What I don’t get is how many people in that camp can lose complete touch with reality in the process.

Mrs. Blue hangs out on some parenting boards online. Recently, she came across a doozy of a post in a thread that was celebrating Obama’s historic presidential win. A devout Catholic woman comes in, pretty much out of the blue, and pissed on everyone’s joy with a comment that went something like “I am sooooo glad that now I can kill a baby in my womb whenever I want to.”

In case you missed the sarcasm, she wasn’t really glad. (I wish I had the original text, because what Mrs. Blue read to me was amazingly dumbfounding, but the whole thread got pulled before she could do a copy-paste for me.)

I’m sorry, did abortions stop happening during eight years of Dubya? He’s pro-life. Do abortions go through the roof when a pro-choice leader is in power? I mean, it’s not like Obama is coming in to say, “Hey, one free abortion for every woman now!” It’s not as if he’s going to have a platform saying “abortion is good.” It’s not like he’s going to be requiring women to get them. And, again, what were the Republicans doing to stem the tide? Oh, yeah, promoting abstinence-only sex education in schools so that fewer teens will learn about birth control options and end up pregnant and maybe wanting abortions.

But I digress.

Because you see, the angry Catholic woman didn’t stop there. When a moderator called her out and mentioned how she was fanning the flames of misinformation like FOX News does so well, and noted that this is the kind of lying, inflammatory talk that can get a black president-elect assassinated before he even takes the oath of office, the woman came back with something like this:

“I can’t believe anyone could support a candidate who is in favor of letting women kill their babies at 40 weeks.”

If you’re paying attention and know anything about pregnancy and math, you can pick your jaws up off the floor now. Yes, she actually said that. She was, clearly, referring to Obama’s opposition to a bill in the Illinois legislature that would have required medical care for babies born alive after a form of late-term abortion called “induced labor abortions” or “partial birth abortions.” (for more on the hubbub, and why it really is just a smear against Obama, go here. The man isn’t for infanticide or suffering babies…Illinois law already requires medical care for those babies.)

But back to crazy woman. You cannot abort a child at 40 weeks. Normally, a woman delivers somewhere between 37 weeks and 40 weeks. If you induce labor at 40 weeks, or anything close to it, you are not carrying out an abortion. You are inducing labor. And as long as there are no complications, a completely live and viable baby will be the result.

But hey, why bother with facts when you can do fearmongering instead, and suggest that our next president wants to slay babies as soon as they come of the womb?

(With luck, assuming that no more idiots come to my attention with reckless Obama-hating, I will now stop yammering about political crap related to the presidential election for at least a week or two.)

Update

Of course, it should be noted that the breakdown in the Fight the Smears link above is biased, as the site is actually a Web site of the Obama campaign. It’s still giving some pretty credible arguments, but in all fairness, here are some other sites that have some things to say about Obama’s stand on that legislation, both pro and con:

Fact Check

Moving at the Speed of Creativity

Catholic America – Washington Post

New York Times – Checkpoint

05
Oct
08

My body…Mine by Miz Pink

I understand why people find the very notion of abortion repugnant. I really really do.

I really especially doubly and quadruply understand because I’m very close to popping out a child I really really want. Third and final. The end of the trilogy. The finale of my baby-making career.

But at the same time, as I consider the wonder that is childbirth and feel the joy of the impending life that I will bring into the world I am reminded of something very very important.

It’s MY damn body!!!!!!!

Sorry if I was a little loud there. There’s a truck I see pretty frequently that is festooned with bumper stickers and signs and placards telling everyone how evil abortion is. Now I’m not saying it’s great and I’m not saying it’s bad. It’s not MY thing. But I’m sick of every person who wants to get into the face of every woman and tell her that she is an evil hellspawned twisted bitch for ever having considered or used an abortion.

I know alot of chick who have done the D&C thang thank you very much. I have yet to find one who used abortion as a “convenience” or as a “lazy form of birth control” (thinking oh if I get pregnant no biggie I’ll just go to the doctor and get my problem fixed) and I’ve never met a single woman who enjoyed doing it. I’ve known more than a few who felt relieved afterward but that doesn’t mean they felt good or didn’t wonder if they made the right choice.

Those who cry that it’s live at the moment of conception, well you might be right and you might not. God ain’t really clear on the status ya know. If it’s just a collection of cells with no brain, no organs to speak of and not a chance in hell of living outside of of a womb, it just might not be a full life yet. You can disagree with me that this is a gray area but I have to tell ya, it’s pretty darn gray.

Too many people are making voting decisions based on this one thing. Oh my god he supports a woman’s right to choose? He must LIKE abortion! He’s a heathen. So I’ll vote for the other guy who doesn’t have any of my best interests at heart and will make life worse for me and my children.

Wether right or wrong and whether God thinks life starts in the first trimester or the second trimester, I need you all to understand someting if you’re in the finger pointing crowd:

IT ISN’T YOUR BODY. IT ISN’T YOUR DECISION. AND GOD DOESN’T GIVE YOU THE RIGHT TO JUDGE!

You want to try to talk women out of abortion, fine. Do it gently and respectfully. And walk away peacefully if you can’t convince her.

And please don’t start on the “well, the other thing is that the man has a say in this too”

No he doesn’t.

I don’t mean to sound mean about it, but he doesn’t. In theory he should and in theory I’d like every father to have a say. But the dude has the easy job in making the baby. He doesn’t have to carry it, he doesn’t have to face the risks to health and life that come with the job and he doesn’t have to squeeze it out in the end. Asking a women to go through 9 months of something she doesn’t feel she can do because the guy says he’ll be there at the end to take the kid himself is asking a lot, particulalry if she couldn’t trust him enough to stay with him or have a kid with him to begin with.

Pro-choice is just that: Standing up for a woman’s right to make her own decision during a time when the life inside her is still at a stage where it’s ability to live on its own is nil. That don’t mean pro-abortion. I’ve yet to meet anyone who is pro-abortion. It’s pro-choice.

And if you call yourself pro-life, I sure hope you’re against killing someone in self defence and agaisnt capital punishment too or you are a damn hypocrite. If you’re pro-life, it’s your job to convince women not to choose abortion. Not your job to bomb clinics or threaten doctors or get Roe vs. Wade overturned. It isn’t your job to take choice away.

15
May
08

Pro-life, pro-choice…pro sport – by Big Man

I have another good guest post here from my brother-in-blogging Big Man from Raving Black Lunatic, this time on abortion. Whether by the grace of God or simple random fate, this means the second time that he will broach a thorny topic before I do (previously, it was a same sex-relations oriented topic), which will help grease the wheels when I get around to a full post on those topics myself. Yes, as bold as I am on certain topics, I’m coward enough sometimes to drag my feet on others. Thanks for taking a metaphorical bullet—twice—Big Man. I owe you. As for the headline for today’s post, hopefully it will make sense by the end—I’ll have a little after-post commentary following the words of our esteemed guest poster. Now, on with the post:


Big Man back for another post on another controversial topic among religious folks.

This time I’m talking the Big A, not adultery, but abortion. Yeah, I’m going there, buckle your seat belts and enjoy the ride.

First of all, let me get my stance on the issue out of the way before I start breaking down why I believe what I believe. I’m pro-choice, but anti-abortion. Basically, I believe women should have the right to have legal abortions, but, I really wish they wouldn’t use that right. I’m actually pretty conflicted about the whole situation.

To some people on both sides of the abortion issue, my stance is a coward’s way out. For those people, abortion is clear cut issue; either you’re standing with women, or you’re standing with God. There is no middle ground, no shades of grey. These people aren’t the majority of Americans, but they’re a vocal enough minority to wreak havoc on the rest of our lives.

And I call bullshit on that.

Seriously, I have no respect for anti-abortion activists who picket in front of clinics with pictures of aborted babies, and I particularly despise the assholes who think it’s ok to bomb or otherwise inflict violence on abortion clinics or doctors. Deciding whether to have an abortion is one of the most difficult choices any woman could make, and I can’t comprehend what type of moral deficiency somebody has to have to shout obscenities at a woman who is trying to go through with such a tough choice.

On the other hand, those pro-choice activists who paint anybody with qualms about abortion as being some sort of religion Nazi are also a problem. Just because I don’t think abortions are a great idea doesn’t mean I hate women or want to keep them in chains under the thumbs of men. You can support somebody’s right to commit an action without actually supporting that action.

The most disturbing part of the abortion debate, at least in my mind, is how important this issue has become to the religious right. The position of the religious right has been unfairly dumped upon all traditional Christians by many abortion supporters.

First of all, the religious basis for disagreeing with abortion does not translate into a justification for passing laws against the practice. It’s very close to the argument I’ve made in my post about gay marriage and holds true for most wedge issues. People have erroneously come to believe that it is acceptable to force every American to live according to Christian ideals, and that is just silly.

In addition, I don’t think any human can be truly certain when we are given souls and truly become human in God’s eyes. Those individuals who argue that this occurs at conception have no true religious basis for that belief.

Those people who argue that it’s wrong for anyone to play God and attempt to control procreation are also living in some sort of fantasy world where they have never heard of condoms, birth control pills or the rhythm method. Unless people staunchly refuse to practice any sort of birth control, their argument against abortion based on it stymieing God’s will seems hypocritical.

Ultimately, I believe that far too many Christians in this country have allowed themselves to be bamboozled into focusing their energies on issues that have nothing whatsoever to do with the true purpose God has for their lives. The abortion argument seems to be one of those issues because I don’t think most people believe that a woman’s right to have an abortion has a direct impact on how they live their lives. If your neighbor has an abortion, I can’t see how it affects your walk with Christ.

So why are you so angry about it?

Post-game commentary

OK, Deacon Blue back again to add some final words. So, why did I slap the headline that I did on Big Man’s topic today? Because I feel like both sides in the pro-life/pro-choice debate (the vocal and in-your-face crowd, that is) have turned this issue into a spectacle. It’s almost like a (bad) spectator sport now, and both the extreme ends of the spectrum insist that people pick a team (i.e. choose unyielding ideological sides on the issues). But the issue of abortion isn’t a sport, and shouldn’t be made into one. It shouldn’t be a way for us to clash on the field and jockey for better field position.

Yes, there are women who think nothing of having abortions and who would rather go without birth control and let the dice roll, and use abortion to solve their problem later if they end up with one. But those women are rare, probably even more rare than the “welfare queens” the right-wing politicians and pundits manufacture to convince us everyone is milking the system. And let’s be fair, the left-wing creates its own bogeymen, including trying to paint fundamental and evangelistic Christians as all wanting to overturn Roe v. Wade.

For most women, this is not an easy choice, and going to a clinic to get an abortion is not a goal-line they wanted to cross. I have personal experience in this. A woman for whom I cared a great deal once faced an unwanted pregnancy and decided—painfully—to terminate the pregnancy. For reasons I don’t need to go into, carrying the child to term and giving it up for adoption just wasn’t a choice she could pick. I was there for her. I took her to the clinic and I stayed with her for emotional support. I even helped her pay for it since she couldn’t do so alone at the time. That day did come up—very briefly and very rarely—in conversations we had in the years to follow, but we had a sort of unspoken pact that we wouldn’t re-open the wounds on this issue for either one of us. We both carried some heavy spiritual and emotional baggage from that pro-choice choice, and I know it still comes up for me at times. And I still have a great deal of conflict over what did I do right that day (if anything) and what did I do wrong (if anything).

Am I pro-choice? Yes. Am I pro-life? Yes. Like Big Man, I wish that no woman ever chose this route. But it’s not a path for any of us—man or woman, Christian or not—to choose for them.




Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley

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