Don talks about the Christian slant of the Texas legislature and where they go with their bills and laws.
Matt and Jen talk about the ACA Position Statements and how they arose.
Technical note: This video is not clipped at the beginning due to YouTube technical difficulties.
Starting December 19th, 2016 in the State of Texas, aborted fetuses must be buried or cremated. The new rule is just another way to penalize the poor and women who are unable to care for a child. The law was the brainchild of Gov. Greg Abbott, one of many Christian ideologues currently running our state. The allegedly secular “reasons” for the law are to promote public health and safety yet we don’t have to hold burials or cremations for amputated limbs or even diseased tissue. The law does not apply to miscarriages, despite the result being no different than an abortion.
This law has been called a “Trojan horse“, and is clearly part of a larger initiative to restrict access to abortion. The law seems to be the Republican response in the state to the Supreme Court striking down another Trojan horse law that would have closed most family planning clinics in Texas. Texas also publishes a propaganda piece to try to scare women into not having abortions. Clearly. there is a coordinated movement at work here.
The Guttmacher Institute has an impressive body of research that shows that restrictive abortion laws does not have much effect on the incidence of abortion. Lest you think this is propaganda, look at this World Health Organization study. Such laws do have the effect of making abortion and bearing children less safe. Anyone who has studied the issue can look at Western Europe and how they have lax abortion laws and relatively low rates of abortions. The magic ingredients are contraceptives, sex education, and a non-Puritanical attitude toward sex. Note, too, that in Western European countries, women who choose to raise children are given adequate health care. The State of Texas, by contrast, seems to be motivated to lie and coerce women into having children and either standing in the way of their health or actively trying to sabotage it by meddling with medical procedures. Childbirth is a risky undertaking and Abbott and his fellow religious nuts should not be the ones making such decisions on behalf of any woman.
This fetal remains law and so many other attempts to control reproduction in Texas is clearly driven by the Christian “pro life” movement. For his part, Abbott touted the burial law in a fundraising letter to his Christian base. Christians in Texas elected Abbott to do their bidding on this issue and he is clearly working them for more money to continue in this vein. He is up for re-election in 2018. Onward, Christian soldier!
What does the Christian “pro life” movement tell us?
Christianity has proven itself to be a thuggish and manipulative fraud. Churches amass money while actively making social problems worse. Christians have just proven themselves to be dicks of the highest order. And yes, my apologies, I’m just speaking about those Christians who are making a difference in Texas.
Topic is the Genesis story of Eden which casts human agency as villainous, and how this is reflected in some fundamentalist ideologies regarding the “sin” of asserting one’s own agency–resulting in objectification becoming normalized and even idealized. The Eden story begins the repeated theme of subjugation of one’s own agency and will to that of another–of total subjugation and, consequently, objectification (the denouncing of that which makes us human, rather than object, the will or agency).
Examples of modern agency-denigrating comments by such brands of Christian include statement such as:
“You just want to sin and not be held accountable.”
Since “sin” is not about what causes real harm, but about simply acting in a way that is antithesis to what god would have you do, this comment merely condemns the act of asserting one’s own agency as somehow wrong.
“You worship yourself” (variants may include putting yourself in the position of god in some way).
Again, this is simply asserting that you are holding your own agency as being as important as the agency of what god would have you do, or even more important. So, it boils down to denouncing the assertion of one’s own will or agency as haughty and incorrect.
“You trust your own judgment (rather than what god tells you to do).”
Clearly viewing the person as foolish and wrong for, again, the act of simply asserting one’s own agency.
Objectification of a human being (often conflated with sexualization–although I believe it’s important to differentiate between the two, as they are not synonymous) means denying their agency and treating them as a “thing” by holding their will/agency as irrelevant or less relevant than one’s own–thereby making them nonhuman or less human, and more object-like.
The Christian religion–and especially the fundamentalist branches not only downplay, but vilify agency as wicked, evil and “sinful.” And this carries out in modern conversations with regard to issues such as abortion where analogies are often used comparing women to objects in order to show cause for why a woman’s agency can be disregarded in the equation of conflict of rights between mother and unborn. Terms like “consent” are distorted and used in ways we would not use in any other context. A woman who has consented to sex is often said, by such people, to have “consented” to gestation and childbirth, whereas we don’t say that people who consent to drive have “consented” to die in a fiery car crash–and if the crash occurs we understand why the driver would attempt to escape their death, and we would help them escape by offering whatever assistance we could to avoid the negative consequences of that risk event occurring.
By subjugating human will and agency, and undermining concepts like “consent,” Christianity has created a (sub?)culture of dehumanization and objectification that considers itself morally upright compared to other cultures where respect and regard for human agency are promoted.
Don and Matt discuss some troubling theological questions and athests’ responses to them.
Russell and Phil talk with author Darrel Ray about Recovering from Religion.
As I mentioned on the show several times in the last few weeks, the Atheist Community of Austin is a non-profit group and we don’t endorse political candidates as a matter of policy. We do encourage political engagement though, and there is a big difference.
Donald Trump won the election a week ago today, and will take office in two months. Everyone is entitled to their own thoughts about Hillary Clinton, but at this point they are pretty much irrelevant. The question is no longer “Should we vote for Trump?” but “What will a Trump presidency look like?” That is a hard question to answer decisively, because one of the main features of Trump’s campaign was that he was incredibly erratic and unpredictable. When you come right down to it, who the hell knows what he will do?