Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory!

A new report announced that better sex education, along with increased access to free and affordable contraceptive services, have helped reduce abortions by a whopping 33% - most significantly, amongst teenagers (who are experiencing fewer unplanned pregnancies.)

Now, you'd think the conservative Christian movement would be thrilled at this - if this trend keeps up, it's possible the number of abortions performed can be cut down even further, perhaps to negligible levels.

This would represent a real victory for the anti-abortion crusade - actually ending abortion, instead of merely implimenting an utterly meaningless constitutional ban that would merely drive abortions underground.

But NO. No sooner had this report been produced than members of the religious right started criticising it.

Vice President of Concerned Women for America Wendy Wright complained that this report was 'designed to get more funding for contraception and education about contraception.'

*faceslap*

Yes, this silly woman (who works for an organisation that strives to 'bring Biblical principles into all levels of public policy,' which should tell us everything we need to know about her) is actually complaining that this report proves that proper sex education (teaching kids not to get pregnant) is helping reduce abortion rates.

So abortion rates are down, but that's not good enough for her?

No, of course not. I've long argued that some of the core anti-abortion crusaders aren't fighting to reduce abortion - that's merely a ploy.

Their real agenda is to mandate their narrow minded, old-fashioned 'Christian morality.' They want America to adopt 'old fashioned Christian values' like no sex until marriage, no 'recreational sex' with contraceptives... In fact, any type of sex that isn't for procreation (and performed in the missionary position, with the lights off.)

If they had their way, any sexual activity that didn't immediately result in the production of a good, white, Christian child would land you with a fine or a prison sentence.

It's idiots like Wendy Wright who give sane, principled, rational Christians a bad name...

23 comments:

Reverse_Vampyr said...

Good points.

I'm against abortion but I totally disagree with the far right's aversion to contraceptives. Unless one is a staunch Catholic and has a dogmatic disagreement with the concept, there should be no problem with those who engage in sex doing so responsibly.

GL said...

Opposition to contraception should have nothing to do with being "a staunch Catholic" as all Christians considered the use of contraception to be gravely sinful until about 80 years ago. That is simply a fact. (I am not Catholic, by the way.)

Now, I am not in favor of imposing a government ban on contraception (for reasons discussed by Sts. Augustine of Hippo and Thomas Aquinas, both of whom also taught that contraception is gravely sinful), but I would hope that Christians would return to the teaching firmly held by our ancestors in the faith for its first 19 centuries that men and women not have sexual intercourse until they are married and that every marital act be opened to life. On that issue (and many others), we Christians need to pull the log out of our own eye before even attempting to remove specks from the eyes of others.

As to the rest of your remarks, they represent the worst sort of bias and race baiting, the very things of which you accuse those with whom you disagree. You might actually find you could engage in constructive dialog on this matter if you refrained from mischaracterizing those who disagree with you as rubes, theocrats and racists. Not all Christians believe Caesar is Lord and not all Christians have forgotten that our Lord's kingdom is not of this world.

I, for one, oppose all the things you apparently support, but I'm not looking to Caesar to impose my beliefs on you. I am in favor of Caesar protecting the lives of innocent unborn children from murder, but that's because I believe with Jefferson that government is instituted to protect certain inalienable rights, the first of which is the right to life. If government can't do that, it has no legitimacy; if government lacks authority to that, then it lacks authority to impose any restrictions on individual behavior and, as such, ceases to be anything but an illusion.

Roland Hulme said...

GL - I'm not lumping every Christian in with the likes of crazy old Wendy Wright. I'm just pointing out that people have premarital sex - they always have, they always will and there's nothing wrong with that.

So if Christians like her want to stop abortion, they have to face up to the reality of the situation and accept that SEX happens - and work out how best to prevent sexually active people from having unplanned, unwanted pregnancies (which is to provide them with accessible contraception and the education to use it effectively.)

Instead, Christians like Wendy Wright try to control the lives of every single sexually active person and make them live in some delusional fantasy world in which her narrow minded view of sexual morality is the only acceptable one.

She's a nutjob, plain and simple.

Christians like her (which isn't 'all Christians') need to sit down and shut up - before working out what's REALLY important to them.

Stopping abortion, even if it means advocating contraception.

Or spouting their idiotic moralistic religious bullshit, even if it means abortion continues.

Sadly, I think Wendy Wright and others like her would more like to rail against sexual morality than do ANYTHING positive to end abortion.

She's a disgrace.

ck said...

it's possible the number of abortions performed can be cut down even further, perhaps to negligible levels.

I'm going to pretend I didn't read that... how many innocent deaths are negligible ?

Roland Hulme said...

Rape/incest?

Sasha Sappho said...

Wow. Sometimes I just... wow. I have no words. Mostly because I'm following the "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." Not to you, Roland, of course, but to other commenters.

Regarding that - did I miss something? Has the US become a theocracy while I've been gone? Because last time I checked, that's what creating laws based solely on religious belief (which, of course, everyone is entitled to have and differ upon) kind of violats that whole separation-of-church-and-state thing. Minor detail, though.

And now I've gone and said something. Oh dear. Sometimes I just can't help myself.

But Roland, you make fabulous points, as always. I do so enjoy coming to read here for my daily dose of sanity and logic. :)

GL said...

Roland,

Well, that started off better, but it soon fell off.

First, I do not support contraception as a means of reducing abortion. It is no coincidence that the rise in the use of contraception has been mirrored by a similar rise in abortion. They both flow from the same sad mindset, that children are a burden, not a blessing. Once the mindset is established, acting out on that mindset is inevitable. As someone I know observed, we abort in the flesh because we first aborted in the mind and the heart. That is what the common use of contraception is all about. (I will not deny that many use contraception out of medical need and am not referring to them.)

Second, there is a great deal wrong with sex out of wedlock. I won't address them all. Sexual intercourse, even when contraception is used, will sometimes lead to babies. Those babies have rights. Among those are the right to live, to grow, to become educated, to make decisions about their own life. They also have a right to have parents to rear them and to love them, perferrably two parents, a father and a mother, each of whom can provide different perspectives so that the child has a well-rounded upbringing. No one, including the mothers and fathers of those babies, has a right to take that from those babies. Having sex is not a game, though it is enjoyable. It carries with it series responsibilities. Rejecting that is simply a sign of immaturity.

Christians are not unaware of the fallen nature of man. Indeed, our entire faith is based on it. Believe me, I know I am a sinner. In fact, before I became a Christian, I engaged in contraceptive, pre-marital sex. And the results were not happy, though the sin was fun for a season. I am still a sinner and I constantly confess those sins. "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." 1 John 1:8-10 (ESV)

One of the great heroes of our faith, King David, committed adultery and, then, to hide it, just like many who seek abortions, he used murder. He arranged for the death of Bathesheba's husband, Uriah, to hide his sin. The Bible is not a book of fairy tales; it tells it like it was. The consequencies for David and his family were tragic. Strife never left his house after that. One of his sons raped his half sister. Another son, the full brother of that sister, then murdered his half-brother when David failed to deal with the matter for a full year. That son, Absalom, then led a coup against his father, which ultimately resulted in his own death. Then, when David died, another of his son's, Solomon (the son of Bathesheba) became king and one of the first things he did was execute another of his half-brothers, who had vied for the throne and then, having lost, sought Bathesheba's assistance in procuring for himself the woman who laid by David to keep him warm while he was dying -- an act meant to humiliate Solomon. This is a clear picture, writ large, of what happens when sex is not practiced between one man and one woman in a committed relationship meant to last a lifetime (i.e., marriage); it causes heartache and tragedy all around. The Bible is repleat with other examples: Abraham and Hagar and their son Ishmael; Jacob, his two wives and his two concubines, and their many children (12 sons and at least one daughter), Er, Onan and Judah and Tamar. In every case, heartache and tragedy followed not acting responsibly as regards sex.

Finally, babies may not be murdered because their fathers committed a horrible act. Rape is about as bad a crime as can be committed. The baby which may result is not the criminal and the child should not be punished for the sins of his or her father. If incest is nonconsensual (whether by physical force, duress or lack of capacity to consent), it is rape; if it consensual, then I why is that different from any other act of consensual sex? In either case, how does that justify murdering the innocent child. The mother, of course, deserves and should receive full support and compassion. Advising her to murder her own child is not supporting her and it is not compassionate.

So what should be done to minimize abortions. Teach abstinence until marriage, model chastity within marriage, and provide love to those who sin and face an unplanned pregnancy, helping them in anyway you can, including in deciding whether to keep and rear the child or to place him or her for adoption and, if she decides to keep the child, having mechanisms in place to help her actually do that, including, if necessary and to the extent necessary, supporting her financial and otherwise in rearing the child.

That is the Christian response. There are no easy answers. Murder may seem like the easy way out, but it is actually the worse choice available. It just compounds the tragedy and adds to the victims of the sin that created the situation to begin with.

In the end, either you believe every human is a blessing and not an unbearable burden and that all humans have equal rights, including the right to live and be loved. Once you deny that, then no one's rights are safe.

GL said...

Sasha,

A laws have a moral basis. The idea that people shouldn't be held as slaves has a moral basis. The idea that all over a certain age should be permitted to vote has a moral basis. The idea that everyone has freedom of speech has a moral basis. The idea that discriminating against someone because of his or her race, ethnicity of religious faith has a moral basis. I could go on for a long list.

May I suggest that you read the speeches and writings of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. You will see that his entire justification for the movement he led was what was right and wrong, that is, what was moral.

Roland Hulme said...

"...model chastity within marriage..."

Oh WOW. SIGN ME UP! A sexless marriage sounds FUN FUN FUN!

Seriously - you think married couples shouldn't have sex? That's puritanical, Victorian nonsense.

Honestly, with opinions like that I'm surprised you're even able be online - I'd have expected you to hide under the table from the 'demonic box of flashing lights.'

PQG said...

gl,

My reading of 1 Samuel 15 leads me to believe that the bible actually supports abortion. Here read it for yourself...

15:3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

Embryos and fetuses are babies and therefore God would seem to have no problem with abortion. Pretty obvious when you read the Good Book with an open mind.

GL said...

Roland,

You don't even know what the word "chastity" means, do you? Chastity outside of marriage does indeed equate with celibacy. Being chaste within marriage does not. Indeed, St. Paul taught that married couples should not refrain from sexual intimacy other than for brief periods of fasting and prayer. Perhaps you should get a dictionary to look up the meaning of words with which you are unfamiliar before responding to posts.

pqg,

You might want to take a course in biblical exegesis before ripping verses out of context to prove a point which is entirely unrelated to the the passage in question.

With all due respect, there is a rather amazing display of ignorance of orthodox Christianity on this blog site. Again, if you want to engage in constructive dialog, it might help if you learned a little about what orthodox Christianity teaches and has taught for 2000 years instead of attacking stereotypes based on ignorance and erecting strawmen to then knock down.

May God bless you all and may He particularly open your eyes to the evil of murdering unborn human beings. Denying human status to others is as old as man. Roger Taney did it to Africans in the Dred Scott decision. Hitler did it to the Jews during the holocaust. And Margaret Sanger and her heirs have done it and are doing it to the unborn. In the end, those who recognize the humanity of all and who defend the rights of all are judged by history as being benefacators of humanity and those who seek to deny the humanity of others and to thereby deprive them of rights are judged by history as malefactors. One hundred years from now, would you rather be remembered as an Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas or as a Roger Taney when it comes to recognizing the humanity of the unborn?

Adiós.

(That is my prayer for you. Look it up in a dictionary.)

Roland Hulme said...

chaste /tʃeɪst/ [cheyst]

–adjective, chast·er, chast·est.

1. virgin.
2. not engaging in sexual relations; celibate.

It's called a dictionary, mon frere. I'd read one!

What you were advocating was a 'chaste' marriage, as in one in which sex is only for procreation. That sort of thinking is Victorian and has no place in modern, rational society.

As for this:

"there is a rather amazing display of ignorance of orthodox Christianity on this blog site"

Erm... Maybe you just don't AGREE with my (factual) knowledge of Christianity. For example, there was an EXTENSIVE post I made which explained how according to the Bible, an unborn baby is not considered life - in fact, is 'null' until it's 30th day of life.

http://rolandhulme.blogspot.com/2008/09/abortion-morality-and-bible.html

GL said...

Okay, Roland, let me rephrase it. Find a good dictionary. I'll help you with this. Here is a better definition:

A confusion of the terms ‘chastity’ and ‘celibacy’ has long existed. ‘Chastity’ — deriving from the Latin ‘castitas’, meaning ‘cleanliness’ or ‘purity’ — does not necessarily mean the renunciation of all sexual relations, but rather the temperate sexual behaviour of legitimately married spouses, for the purpose of procreation, or the sexual continence of the unmarried. The Greek word for chastity, 'sophrosyne', means moderation, which in the ancient Greek world was the chief philosophical virtue. This entailed proper self-mastery for men, and the virtue appropriate to a devoted and child-bearing (or potentially child-bearing) wife. For both men and women this meant the avoidance of fornication rather than the avoidance of sex altogether.

I hope that helps.

And, Roland, your exegesis of the Bible does not match orthodox Christianty. Of course, I can hardly blame you for doing this as many otherwise conservative Christians appear to believe that they also can decide for themselves what the Bible means without reference to what the early fathers and other later teachers of the faith universally held it to mean until recent times. The universal Church has been clear for 2000 year in its condemnation of abortion and infanticide. Read the Didache, for example. The universal Church was also consistent in its condemnation of contraception until first the Anglican Communion (at the 1930 Lambeth Conference) and then almost the entirety of Protestants in the following three decades abandoned the teaching.

Let me be clear. When I speak of the teachings of Christianity, I do not mean what any Tom, Dick or Roland thinks the Bible means; I mean what the Church universal (Orthodox, Protestant and Catholic) held in common that it teaches for at least the first 1900 years of the faith. I do look to James Dobson or Pat Robertson or John Shelby Spong to learn what the Bible teaches. I look to what such teachers, preachers and scholars as Clement of Rome, Polycarp, Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Jerome, Augustine, John Chrysostom, Thomas Aquinas, and, yes, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley, Jeremy Taylor and others from the first 19 centuries of the faith held in common. Just because someone is a Christian does not mean that they hold to the orthodox Christian faith commonly held by all until the 20th century.

GL said...

That should have read: "I do not look to James Dobson or Pat Robertson or John Shelby Spong to learn what the Bible teaches."

Roland Hulme said...

Good addition! So I guess I should stop looking up "F__king Retarded Things Pat Robertson Has Said."!!

Not sure if you know my background, GL, but I'll tell you. I went to a theological university and studied a lot of religion as well as history, so I'm not 'ignorant' of the Bible or Christianity.

One of the most worthless things modern evangelicals try to do is tell us that the Bible doesn't say what it says in the Bible - as in: "That quote may SAY this, but it MEANS something else."

No, it doesn't. That's just what hundreds of years of introspection and justification have resulted in - the chuch's ability to keep a straight face when they gloss over the bits of the Bible that contradict their religion.

as for the chastity thing? Seems like I'd nailed the defininition. You were advocating 'temperence' and 'moderation' in a married couple's sexual relationship - basically indicating that there's something dirty and wicked about sex that's not to produce children.

I think that's absolutely potty and if you truly believe that, I think you have some pretty deep seated issues about sexuality and intimacy - probably as a result of brainwashing from Christians who consider themselves the 'moral authority.'

As far as I'm concerned, every Christian who rails about how they're more moral than I am are nothing more than 'Ted Haggards' desperately trying to fight their own insecurities through controlling other people's lives.

GL said...

Well, Roland, that's your opinion. You most certainly are a slave to the opinions of our age. That saints of the Church from all generations believed and taught otherwise is, apparently of no consequence to you. I take solace from the fact that long after you and I are dead and forgotten, their words, and not yours, will be preserved for some future Hilkiah to find.

As to your education in theology, I can only judge its quality from what I have seen here.

As to the formal, accurate definition of chastity, it is what it is and always has been, but if you want to play Humpty Dumpty, then it is your blog site.

Again, adios.

Roland Hulme said...

I'm a slave? You're submitting yourself to the mandate of a 2,000 year old cynical corporation, that has manipulated and exploited people's superstitions in the pursuit of money and power.

GL said...

Oh, one other thing. I never said I was more moral than you. I'm a poor, miserable sinner. The difference is that I acknowledge my state because I accept the teaching of Scripture and the Church on what sin is. I don't delude myself that my sins are just life style choices with no impact on anyone but me.

And all of your self-lauded theological training doesn't change the facts, one of which is that abortion is murder and anyone who supports it is in league with Roger Taney, not Frederick Douglass. I have a fair amount of education myself, so citations to your resume don't really impress me.

Adios.

Roland Hulme said...

Why should the Bible dictate whether you're a sinner or not?

Morality is not a Biblical concept. All cultures revile murder, cheating and lying.

and just to clarify - nobody's advocating abortion here. In fact, we want to STOP abortion. But through practical means that actually get results, not by ranting against other people's sexual morality.

Wendy Wright and others want to control sexuality. They don't REALLY give two hoots about abortion. It's just a tool they use to further their Victorian moralising and social control.

PQG said...

You might want to take a course in biblical exegesis before ripping verses out of context to prove a point which is entirely unrelated to the the passage in question.

But it says as plain as day that God wants innocent babies dead! Are you trying to interpret the bible to suit your own 2008 western morality?! A morality that goes against what the bible teaches. A non-biblical morality that is opposed to infanticide (and genocide I might add)?! Ignoring what the good book says to suit your own needs is truly the Road to Perdition!

GL said...

Roland,

We disagree on the licitness of contraception and on the best means of minimizing abortion, but if you too oppose abortion, then we have some common ground.I assume you have studied the issue of the licitness of contraception.  If not, I would hope you would do so.  The late John Paul II wrote a great deal on the subject and C.S. Lewis had some interesting insights on the subject, as did T.S. Eliot.  Don't dismiss their thoughtful remarks out of hand.  Not everyone who holds more orthodox beliefs than you is some ignorant rube and not everyone who holds your views is doing so after careful consideration of all the implications involved.

If I needed any proof of the wisdom of that teaching, then the love I share with my four beautiful children would more than amply supply it. And love is what the teaching is all about.

Coffee Bean said...

oooh Roland! I've missed a couple days over here! Muy Caliente'!!!

I'm just gonna throw my 2 cents in (of course!)

#1 Ummmm... this Christian thinks sex within marriage is... ahhhh... a good thing (wink).

#2 It is a fact that people have always had sex outside of marriage.

#3 As believers we cannot expect to have all the laws in this country mirror our beliefs. However, we do have our own votes and the right to vote the way we choose and for those whose beliefs are lined up with ours.

#4 When a great number of people are deeply convicted about fighting for the rights of the unborn... who are deeply morally opposed to abortion... is it right to force those people to participate in those acts through government funding? What about sex education in the schools? I think most schools allow for kids to not attend with parental permission... but, some methods of birth control are not acceptable to those who believe life begins at conception because they do not prevent conception... only implantation. If you are paying taxes isn't your money going toward these programs? Wouldn't the right thing be to fight it if you are so opposed?

#5 Christian programs are not funded by the government. Programs such as Crisis Pregnancy Centers, Christian Adoption Agencies, Single Mother Support, Soup Kitchens, Homeless Missions, and Food Pantries. Neither is funding to help those throughout the world. World Vision not only has children you can sponsor worldwide... but they also are working to improve the countries they are in by advocating for the people within those countries... helping to educate, innoculate, feed, and help those to help themselves. We, as Christians, do not seek government support for these endeavors. This money comes from us... after taxes.

And, by the way, each state gives a certain amount of money per students to the schools each year. The count days are usually in October and if a kid is absent that day they don't get that money for him... so they go to great lengths to make sure absolutely everyone is at school on count day. One of the big reasons that those in education do not like homeschooling... they say it takes money from their schools. And a lot of money. Here in CO I believe the price tag per kid is to the tune of nearly $7,000. Did we get any kind of tax break by homeschooling our kids? NO. And on top of that we had to buy all of their curriculum.

If people want to have abortion clinics available at low or no cost... have those in favor support them. If people want contraceptive education... let them dig deep and pay for it. No, these people want the government to pay for it and they are digging into the pockets of those who don't believe in it.

Hmmmmm... taxation without representation is alive and well in this country.

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