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George Tiller: Death by Propaganda

In today’s Austin American-Statesman, there was an editorial that included a photo of a church marquis letting us know that George Tiller died the same way he lived. I believe the inferred connection there is intended to be “murder.”

The first article I read about this was in the June 1 edition. President Troy Newman of Operation Rescue responded to the murder by saying he was “shocked” and that “Operation Rescue has worked for years through peaceful, legal means, and through the proper channels to see him brought to justice…We denounce vigilantism and the cowardly act that took place this morning.”

In fact, Tiller was, actually, “brought to justice” where justice, it seems, acquitted him of charges that he had illegally performed late term abortions without a proper medical second opinion.

In addition to seeking peacefully to bring Tillman—a man who was found to be breaking no laws—to justice, Operation Rescue also featured a “Tiller Watch” at their Web site. I guess now they can take it down. It’s work here is done, as the saying goes.

It didn’t get done right away, though, because it turns out that Tiller was actually the victim of a similar shooting in 1993, when another life-affirming, anti-choice, protestor—a woman—managed to get within range. I wonder if “Tiller Watch” was up back then as well to inspire her—or if it was put up after the first attempt failed to achieve the goal?

When I read Newman’s comments about his “shock”—I was, ironically, shocked myself. I turned to my friend and said, “If you go around screaming that someone is mass murdering babies—what do you think will happen?”

And this was before I had read down to the part of the article where Operation Rescue Founder Randall Terry had actually called Tiller “a mass murderer.”

Everyone has a breaking point. I don’t care who you are. You have one. Seriously, let’s say you sincerely believed your neighbor was mass murdering children in his home. You call the cops, frantic, and explain to them that he’s torturing and killing young children—you’re absolutely sure of it! But the dispatcher just says, “Yeah–that’s totally his right. We really don’t come out for things like baby killings.” You keep calling back. Surely they didn’t understand you the first fifty times you called? But the response is always the same. And here you are, on the phone, wasting time, while the monster next door is killing more and more innocent children! My god, man! What do you do?!

If this was actually happening, and you knew it, and nobody was stopping this killer, at what point—if out of nothing more than pure altruism (if there is such a thing?)—would you finally say, “I don’t care if I die for this or go to prison for the rest of my life—someone has to do the right thing and stop this monstrous freak!”

Groups like Operation Rescue consist of members (and apparently leadership as well) who make a point of publicly labeling these doctors, and their patients, as “baby killers”—literally mass baby killers. And maybe it’s just me—but if someone actually is going around mass murdering children—I don’t think I would be “shocked” that someone stepped up and killed that person. So, why is Operation Rescue expressing “shock,” if they know this man is a baby killer? Are they “shocked” that by labeling such a person a “baby killer,” that someone might think he should be stopped by any means necessary? I mean, would it shock you if you believed what they believe? What, exactly, do they think happens when you whip up masses of (often already emotionally driven) people with something like that?

We’re all supposed to play along, I guess, that they never expected anything like this to happen as a result of merely calling someone something so benign and harmless as “a mass murderer (of babies)”? Who would have thought people would be all “up in arms,” literally, and excited over something like that? Apparently not Newman. But I think most other people could have seen it coming light years away. And I can’t really bring myself to play along that Operation Rescue is “shocked.”

I have a saying when someone asks me to believe obvious bullshit. I say, “Either you’re stupid—or you think I am.” And like most people, I don’t appreciate it when someone, or in this case some organization, communicates to me like I’m an idiot. It doesn’t upset me, but I find it hard to play along. No, Operation Rescue, you’re not shocked. Please stop pretending, and have your victory celebration unapologetically.

I guess that would result in some really crappy P.R. But, still, how refreshing to see some noble honesty for once?

“Mass baby killing.” There’s the trigger. Pun not intended, but wholly (holy?) appropriate in this case.

Most people agree with rule of law. If they didn’t we’d have far more chaos than we do. But I don’t think there is anyone who does not understand that at some point, we would all be willing to defy the law in order to do something we consider morally necessary.

Yes, it’s cliche’, but I’m going to use an example from Nazi Germany until a better example comes along—which will, hopefully, be never. But, if I lived in Nazi Germany—I hope I would not turn someone in if I knew they were a hiding Jew. I hope I would, like I hope many of you would, end up breaking the law, and maybe even dying, myself, or potentially killing someone, to protect others from people I view as utterly wrong and dangerous. So, it’s no “shock” to me, and probably not to you, either, that if you whip up huge numbers of fundamentalist-thinking people with things like “godless baby killers!” you’re going to get not a few individuals (I’m surprised they don’t get more) who go ape-shit and fly completely off the rails in the worst way.

I don’t think Operation Rescue crosses a line against free speech—such as someone who might say, “Somebody needs to put a bullet in these doctors. Can I interest you in further details?” would be doing; but, when they try to divorce themselves from a natural—and, let’s be honest here, pretty predictable—consequence of their influence—that’s where I want to cry “hypocrite.” Not “foul.” Not “lock you up for what you said.” But “Don’t talk to me like I’m stupid—that did not shock you.” In fact, if it shocked any one of you, you don’t get out enough.

This isn’t a video game about killing doctors. This isn’t a music CD about killing doctors. This is a group of real human beings calling other real human beings “baby killers” and then saying they can’t believe that simply being consistently and publicly labeled as a “baby killer” would make someone want to kill you. I mean, he was just a baby killer—nothing to get all worked up about and start shooting people.

Really? Can’t imagine how an agenda of working nonstop to convince (many already deluded) people this guy was a baby killer, could result in someone getting hurt?

Are you stupid, or do you think I am?

What’s sad, though, is that if they were really shocked—then this man died for some mysterious agenda. “Shocked” means you don’t really think what he was doing was something a person might kill another person over. And that means you don’t believe he was a mass baby killer—because who wouldn’t expect a mass baby killer might be, himself, killed by someone one day? So, what is going on over at Operation Rescue, where they aren’t at all responding like they believed he was a mass baby murderer? What if they had some other, ulterior motive—and this guy died as collateral damage for some superficial propaganda blitz? That would really be hosed up, wouldn’t it?

But—other than their inexplicable, “shocked” reaction—why would anyone think Operation Rescue wasn’t since
re about their claims that abortion doctors are committing mass infanticide, unhindered within our own borders?

Well, here’s my theory: If they truly believed what they say they are convinced of, then abortion in the U.S. is probably the largest, mass infant murder movements in history. I’m going to assert that they’d all be shooting doctors. And, I would hope that if I really, truly, sincerely believed there was a mass child killer on the loose and nobody was stopping him or her—that just maybe I would courageously do the same thing—if I really believed it. Of course, if I just wanted to emotionally manipulate a huge bunch of people, and I didn’t really believe or care about what I was saying, then I’d be doing exactly what Operation Rescue does—taking my time in courts, standing on corners with signs, taking people’s money, telling them who to vote for, and watching them hang on my every recommendation as I play on their fear and hate.

The fact that groups like Operation Rescue stop short of reaching the, not only logical, but obvious conclusion of what needs to be done if their claims are believed—and human children are being slaughtered in droves—demonstrates to me, or to anyone, a lack of genuine belief in their own propaganda. I think, like most religious views, they “believe” it in some weird way on some odd, superficial level where it hits emotional response (and, I mean, come on, how easy is that?), but doesn’t ever sink down into thought centers, where it would normally ruminate and ferment into a more cohesive and fully formed “idea”—with actual implications and repercussions and consequences. But they obviously don’t believe it on that sort of level—on the sort of level where any real, proportional “action” would necessarily follow—as I would expect action to follow if any real, thinking human being believed unhindered mass murder was happening unabated?!

Where is the courage of conviction here?

Where is any conviction here?

What the hell do these people honestly believe?

And why did this guy really die?

Comments

  1. says

    Years back, as Gulf War 2 was spinning up and US troops were deploying to cross the Iraq border, I saw some a self-described 'Peace Activist' on a TV interview program calling Pres Bush, and I quote, "a fascist dictator who would stop at nothing, NOTHING!"Let's unpack this for a moment. There are countries in which stop-at-nothing fascist dictators actually DO rule. In those places, does one go around saying such things on camera, under one's real name? Come to think of it, it's a pretty sad day for fascist dictatorships everywhere when such a TV show can air right under the nose of one of their fraternity."Fascist dictator?" Stop at nothing? That would explain the hard-right, army-backed coup that prevented Barack Obama and the Democrats from taking the government back from the Republicans. Oh wait… that didn't happen.It's easy and tempting to write off Mr Peace Activist as another Leftard bozo – you know the type: Che t-shirt, kaffiyeh, Chomsky For Dummies book under his arm. But he seemed completely serious.Indeed, I've met people like him. The fever swamps of the Right have no corner on that market. You may have noticed a fair number of them crawling from under their various rocks onto the Web to explain how the 9/11 attacks were "really" about this, or that. I suppose we ought to be grateful that the majority of such people are so completely full of it. Because if more truly believed their craziness they might feel compelled to DO something about it…

  2. says

    It's not just calling them baby killers, the anti choice people also use the phrase stop the Holocaust. I mean seriously.I once had an anti-choicer follow me across my college campus trying to get me to argue with him because I threw away some of their pamphlets (which I only took because I'm just can't say no). Talk about harassment. I was *this* close to telling him to back off before I called campus security. Luckily I didn't need to because he finally gave up.And lest we forget the danger these groups put other women when they take photographs of those who enter and exit the clinics! Don't they take photos of their cars and license plates as well?

  3. says

    Tracie's argument that they [Operation Rescue] don't really believe that Dr. Tiller was a baby killer based on their actions brought to my mind the medical actions of believers. If a believer truly thinks that their god will heal them of any ailment as long as they ask nicely (and that their healing happens to be a part of this god's "master plan"), why do we see so many believers seeking doctors for treatment? If a believer is sick and decides to pray, but after praying does not heal them they seek a doctor for treatment, isn't that violating their god's will? The god did not heal them when asked, so doesn't that mean that the god wants them to continue to be sick, and possibly die from that sickness?I don't understand these hypocritical people who assert that their god does exist and can heal anything, but decide to see a doctor instead of ask their god for help. Maybe its because they say they believe one thing, yet they know, based on the reality of reliability and experience, that one of these methods of treatment is much more likely to be successful than the other.

  4. says

    "I don't think Operation Rescue crosses a line against free speech—such as someone who might say, "Somebody needs to put a bullet in these doctors. Can I interest you in further details?" would be doing"But of course you know that this is what they would say if they could get away with it.

  5. says

    There is another sign that the anti-abortion campaigners don't genuinely believe that a two-day-old zygote is equal to a baby or adult. It is this: they target Tiller as being particularly egregious because he performed late-term abortions. Why would this make him any worse than any other abortionist unless you believed that a fetus at 24 weeks was closer to being what you think of as a 'human being' than one at 4 weeks?

  6. says

    There was a video floating around a few months ago where they interviewed women picketing abortion clinics asking them if women who performed abortions should be tried for murder. A large number said no, that they should have counselling and promise they won't do it again.

  7. says

    I don't understand these hypocritical people who assert that their god does exist and can heal anything, but decide to see a doctor instead of ask their god for help.Well, Tyler, you know – it's cognitive dissonance. What does it really mean to "know" or "believe" anything?In any case, this is why I always say that they can't be reasoned with, and it's futile to try. All we can do (if we can do it, which is doubtful) is to attempt to seize power through number and restrict their involvement in public affairs as much as possible. It really is a matter of survival.

  8. says

    You should see Bill O'Reily's take on this BS. Where he goes out of his way to say "I am shocked SHOCKED, and most definitly did not want this to happen" and then refers to the guy as Baby Killer and George Killer, RIGHT IN THE SAME SHOW, while interviewing someone. He then pretty much took the position that George "Killer" (his words) deserved to die. You stupid or do you think I am?

  9. says

    >I don't understand these hypocritical people who assert that their god does exist and can heal anything, but decide to see a doctor instead of ask their god for help.Wow. Well that is a really pathetic view of what a believers are. I guess people like Miamonides (a Physician in the 12th century) was also a hypocrite. >In any case, this is why I always say that they can't be reasoned with, and it's futile to try.Of course, because believers go around talking to trees, visiting witch doctors and eating their feces. None can be reasoned with. None. Not the doctors you go to. Not the scientists out there. Not the lawyers you seek not the teachers you entrust your children too. Not the cop that protects you. None.>All we can do (if we can do it, which is doubtful) is to attempt to seize power through number and restrict their involvement in public affairs as much as possible. It really is a matter of survival.Sounds almost familiar. I wonder what the next logical step to that would be.

  10. says

    Tracie,You provide a good defence for the shooter, and I'm certain you're right, he believed what he was doing was the right thing. Could the same defence be applied to Operation Rescue?BTW, I get your point, obviously they should not be 'shocked'. It's just their way of deflecting blame or criticism.

  11. says

    Tyler Olsen, Or for that matter, why get upset at all when a loved one dies or they themselves are sick? Why pray for healing? They're only going to go the "kingdom of heaven" which is a FAR superior place that this shitty joint!Honestly! I don't get it! If you REALLY BELIEVE that heaven is the ultimate goal, then why ever be sad? Because you'll miss them? It's only short wait until you're up there enjoying it with them! In the grand scheme of things, what 1-100 years out of ETERNITY?I just don't get it.Any HolyHyrax, Well YOU explain it then!

  12. says

    And for another example of wingnut dissonance, they like to hold up the movie 300 as an example of a great conservative movie, and yet they don't seem to be troubled that the narrator informs the viewer in the beginning of the film that the Spartans killed babies that were born deformed or sickly.

  13. says

    >Well YOU explain it then!What is there to explain? Are you denying that even a believer still remains a human being? I believe in God, so what, that means I don't shed tears when I lost my grandfather? You still miss the person.>and yet they don't seem to be troubled that the narrator informs the viewer in the beginning of the film that the Spartans killed babies that were born deformed or sickly.You're nit picking. The movie is not about that scene but about a small band of warriors protecting THEIR way of life from an aggressor. THAT is what they talk about (though I have yet to hear anyone claim that to be some pillar or a "conservative movie", but OK). It becomes disengenous in ANY discourse when one begins to pigeon hole such silly things.

  14. says

    Hyrax,The people on this site are used to dealing with Christian fundamentalists. When derogatory things are said about "believers", 99% of the time, that's who is being referenced. Most of them have no understanding (nor care to) regarding the various factions of the Orthodox world.[Everyone - Holy Hyrax is a Jewish blogger who is Modern Orthodox, as opposed to Hareidi, or ultra-Orthodox. Simply put, he doesn't wear a black hat, isn't as extreme in his views and doesn't think we're all going to hell (at least not in the Christian sense).]As for the latter part of your comment (which was addressed to an earlier remark of mine), I'll tell you what you told me last year on Jewish Atheist's (I think) blog – you're being ridiculous. It isn't even relevant to what I said. Really, HH, the little I've encountered you over the past year (I don't peruse the J-blogs much any more), it seems that you're becoming increasingly pissed off. I've never known you to go trawling outside of the J-blogosphere, looking to pick a fight. The fact that you're doing it with atheists – if we knew one another personally, I'd assume you were having some sort of "crisis of faith". As I don't know you personally, and we haven't even really addressed each other much over the years, I won't make that assumption – but I do wonder.

  15. says

    CypherI am not sure how you mean that it is not relevant. If I am wrong, then what is that you feel "they" can't be reasoned with? It's not like a Christian Fundamentalist and a a modern orthodox Jew differ when it comes to late term abortion. And Tyler's comment seems to be a general remark about faith in healing vs going to a doctor that if you believe in God, going to a doctor is hypocritical. This is something relevant to ANY believer, not just a Christian Fundamentalist. Hence, you are claiming that THAT proves one cannot reason with ANY believer.>it seems that you're becoming increasingly pissed off.I think you are right. But then again, so are you and a bunch of other people. Pissed off just means you have conviction to fight against what I feel are falsehoods. I am sure you would be pissed if people compared an atheist to some immoral crook.>The fact that you're doing it with atheists – if we knew one another personally, I'd assume you were having some sort of "crisis of faith":) I have been doing it for years. Nothing new. It doesn't come from a crisis of faith, it just comes from a sincere annoyance that some of the stuff I hear. Some stuff I agree with, and some stuff is just over the top.

  16. says

    BTWI defend Christian Fundamentalist because that term has become over used nowadays. It's become like a bumber sticker. You believer abortion is immoral? BOOM, you are a Christian fundamentalist.Look at this way, and though you will ultimately disagree, at the very least, there should be some clarity at least. A Christian, (whatever the disagreement comes is about) enters it from a POV of preserving something that is real and precious (ie. fetus, stem cells, sex etc.) It doesn't come from them wanting to screw you over. It doesn't come from a matter of them rubbing their hands together and wanting to harm you. It comes from a sincere yearning to preserve. Now you disagree with it being needing to be preserved. Ok, fine. But at the minimum, don't look at them as monsters.I don't necassarily agree with many things they say, but I at least understand that it doesn't come from a bad yearning but a good one.

  17. says

    "It doesn't come from them wanting to screw you over. It doesn't come from a matter of them rubbing their hands together and wanting to harm you.""I don't necassarily agree with many things they say, but I at least understand that it doesn't come from a bad yearning but a good one."Strictly speaking, you don't actually know that what you say here is in fact correct.

  18. says

    And Tyler's comment seems to be a general remark about faith in healing vs going to a doctor that if you believe in God, going to a doctor is hypocritical. This is something relevant to ANY believer, not just a Christian Fundamentalist. Hence, you are claiming that THAT proves one cannot reason with ANY believer.I didn't realize you were also referencing Tyler's earlier remark. Tyler's point is that Christian fundies always claim (and love to tell us) that God can and will heal them of all infirmities, physical, mental, spiritual, financial… . Then, then go to doctors. Tyler called it hypocrisy, I was saying that I see it as cognitive dissonance. To-may-to, to-mah-to.What I then went on to say, in a more general sense, is that you can't reason with fundamentalists, and they have to be dealt with restrictively when they attempt to commandeer society. My main concern (especially when talking with the good people here) is with Christian fundamentalists. Our own fundamentalists are maddening in their way as well, but, of course, they don't attempt to affect public policy outside of their enclaves, as the gentile world is almost completely irrelevant to them.I am sure you would be pissed if people compared an atheist to some immoral crook.They do it ALL the time!You believer abortion is immoral? BOOM, you are a Christian fundamentalist.No, no – getroyen mir, that isn't their sole criteria! It just happens to be the topic at hand. You're coming in on the middle of a conversation that's been going on for a long time.A Christian fundamentalist is someone who believes human beings to be inherently depraved, that without Jesus' atoning sacrifice they deserve nothing better than to be tortured unimaginably for all of eternity, and (much of the time) actually anticipates being allowed by God to observe that process in the afterlife – seriously. Millions of them believe it will constitute the large part of their "heavenly reward". I don't know how much contact you have with evangelicals, but I suspect you don't really understand how much genuine psychosis exists in those quarters. An evangelical isn't just someone who supports Israel and happens to think a Jewish carpenter was God.

  19. says

    >Strictly speaking, you don't actually know that what you say here is in fact correct.So you believe its the alternative? I am not an expert on Christian theology, but I would assume I am correct on their outlook on life, and its beginnning.

  20. says

    >Tyler's point is that Christian fundies always claim (and love to tell us) that God can and will heal them of all infirmities, physical, mental, spiritual, financial… . Then, then go to doctors. Tyler called it hypocrisy, I was saying that I see it as cognitive dissonance. To-may-to, to-mah-to.But Jews say the same thing. The God, is, ultimately, the healer of man. But I don't believe that in Jewish theology nor in Christian theology you do not "actively" do what it is you are supposed to do and go visit the doctor. It's never understood that God sprays you with pixie dust (though that would be cool too).>What I then went on to say, in a more general sense, is that you can't reason with fundamentalists, and they have to be dealt with restrictively when they attempt to commandeer society. My main concern…I think if all of us believed something to be precious (i.e. life) then we do what we have to do, with the confines of what the system allows us to do to protect that life. I believe 100% with all my being that late term abortion is so morally reprehensible, that if I would be given the chance to go to a ballet box and outlaw it, I would. But you tell me, how am I supposed to explain to someone that tells me I am trying to dictate public policy or create a theocracy? Well, I am trying to dicate public policy, because its just so horrific. But it doesn't mean its a theocracy. >They do it ALL the time!Nu, shoyn, so you understand me as well.

  21. says

    >A Christian fundamentalist is someone who believes human beings to be inherently depraved, that without Jesus' atoning sacrifice they deserve nothing better than to be tortured unimaginably for all of eternity, and (much of the time) actually anticipates being allowed by God to observe that process in the afterlife – seriously. Millions of them believe it will constitute the large part of their "heavenly reward". But what do you care? Seriously. I am here as a Jew, with a totally different view of reward and punishment, yet I have a very good friend that believes in Jesus and perhaps what you described. So what? I judge him based on his values, his actions, how he treats people and how he deals in business. I never judge him based on what he believes will happen after I die. >I don't know how much contact you have with evangelicals, but I suspect you don't really understand how much genuine psychosis exists in those quarters. An evangelical isn't just someone who supports Israel and happens to think a Jewish carpenter was God.No, I have no evangelical friends, but you were talking about Christians in general. And I think we all pick up here and their articles and know about their "hashkafic" outlook. But again, my above comment holds.

  22. says

    But Jews say the same thing. The God, is, ultimately, the healer of man. But I don't believe that in Jewish theology nor in Christian theology you do not "actively" do what it is you are supposed to do and go visit the doctor.Again – it's a completely different mindset. They aren't talking about you, they aren't talking about our Reform and Conservative kindred, and they aren't talking about liberal Christians – not in this context.I think if all of us believed something to be precious (i.e. life) then we do what we have to do, with the confines of what the system allows us to do to protect that life.This isn't just about abortion. As I said, this is a conversation that's been going on here for a long time. It predates my involvement.No, I have no evangelical friends, but you were talking about Christians in general.No, again – trust me. They're talking about the fundies. They don't have any use for religion as a whole, that's true (and I have to include myself among them) – but that isn't what's going on here.But what do you care? Seriously. I am here as a Jew, with a totally different view of reward and punishment, yet I have a very good friend that believes in Jesus and perhaps what you described. So what? I judge him based on his values, his actions, how he treats people and how he deals in business. I never judge him based on what he believes will happen after I die.Well, I was just defining it for you, but, if you ask why it bothers me personally – I'm at a bit of a loss. This is something I occasionally get into with theologically and/or politically conservative Jews, and we never understand each other.I become very distressed when Jews get into bed with evangelicals; I think it's completely inappropriate. I'm told that Israel needs their financial support and political clout, but I'm also told it doesn't. I really don't know what to think; I don't feel I understand the situation well enough to have a strong opinion about it (I don't think a lot of people who do hold strong opinions know enough, either!)If Israel does need them, I can understand the pragmatic necessity of it – but honestly, HH, no Jew has ever told me, "Yes, they're psychotic, and their beliefs are obscene – but we need them, so keep your mouth shut and don't make trouble!" Instead, all I ever hear is, "Well, we don't believe it – so why do you care?" This absolutely floors me. I don't want to have a cup of coffee with someone who thinks I'm going to hell; I certainly don't want to take money or favors from him.It's crossing a line, you see; it's an utter willingness to abandon billions of one's human siblings, for all of eternity, to a fate too horrible to even try to imagine. I can't think of anything worse. It's a psychopathology, a form of criminal insanity – and there are millions of them. It fill me with despair regarding the future of humanity. I see no way in which beings like this can solve their problems.I can't really explain it any better than that.

  23. says

    You know, re: defining a fundie as someone who is opposed to abortion – it occurs to me to add that a lot of the conflicts we have here with Christian fundies have to do with evolution and the teaching of creationism as science in public schools. The reactions of the Christians are in many ways reminiscent of the reactions of Hareidi rabbis to Natan Slifkin – completely impervious to reason.[Natan Slifkin is a young Orthodox rabbi who's written a few books defending evolutionary theory from an Orthodox Jewish perspective. He's been attacked viciously by a number of ultra-Orthodox rabbis, and, among those factions, his books have been banned.]

  24. says

    >Again – it's a completely different mindset. They aren't talking about you, they aren't talking about our Reform and Conservative kindred, and they aren't talking about liberal Christians – not in this context.Well then you have to be more specific as to what Christians they are talking about. Cause I would assume, if you use the term Christian, then the vast would fit as to what I desribed.>This isn't just about abortion. As I said, this is a conversation that's been going on here for a long time. It predates my involvement.I understand, but you can fit what I said into any past conversation as well. >I become very distressed when Jews get into bed with evangelicals; I think it's completely inappropriate. I'm told that Israel needs their financial support and political clout, but I'm also told it doesn't. I really don't know what to think; I don't feel I understand the situation well enough to have a strong opinion about it (I don't think a lot of people who do hold strong opinions know enough, either!)Well, I can quote you two people that I have heard speak about this. One is Marc Shapiro, who is no funadie, that sometimes, as Jews, you don't get to be too picky with your friends (think of something like America allying with Stalin during WW2, lehavdil between the two of course). The second is Rabbi Kravitz of Jews for Judaism who personally fights against the evangelical converstions, yet at the same time, understands the need to have them as allies. So as he said, we thank them for their support, but we draw a line in the sand.Another thing I thing that ties the two groups together is just a general conservative value scale that overlaps in different areas.>I don't want to have a cup of coffee with someone who thinks I'm going to hell; I certainly don't want to take money or favors from him.Fair enough, but then is there a need to show how dumb they are, or evil, or psycotic or whatever? There are many people I don't care to have coffee with, but their personal theology is hardly what decides that for me.>It's crossing a line, you see; it's an utter willingness to abandon billions of one's human siblings, for all of eternity,???>It's a psychopathology, a form of criminal insanity – and there are millions of them.And this is stuff I can't believe I read. Seriously. To make some moral, or physical equivilance that they are the same is beyond me. No different then people like Harris (or Dawkins) that thinks faith is a mental disorder. It's just nastiness.

  25. says

    "Fascist dictator?" Stop at nothing? That would explain the hard-right, army-backed coup that prevented Barack Obama and the Democrats from taking the government back from the Republicans."You mean like the Supreme Court coup that put Bush in office in the first place or the electronic coup with rigged voting machines that kept him in office in 2004? The military overwhelmingly supported Obama so they wouldn't have followed if Bush tried. Besides, they were too busy fighting Bush's wars. And why would he have wanted to stay in power? He'd already bankrupted the country and made all his friends super extra rich. To stay in power would've only meant either having to do the difficult work of cleaning up his mess or being the first head on the chopping block when the people finally had enough.I'm not saying he necessarily would've tried to stay in power if he HADN'T destroyed the country, but I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if he had. And trust me, if Dick Cheney hadn't been next in line and they both weren't so well protected, he would have been shot.

  26. says

    Holy HyraxA fundie or fundamentalist christian can be best described as a christian with a severe case of in-group bias. "You're either with us, or you're with the terrorists" mentality. They often hate people of other faiths if the other faiths have any influence politically or socially.They often have simple and biblical only beliefs that can go against a large mountain of scientific evidence. In the case of abortion rights fundamentalist usually agree with the anti abortion side. But why the believe in anti abortion is the key. It's not a legal matter to them, it's a matter of faith. They believe that the soul enters the cell as soon as conception is concerned. They believe that the "soul" is scientific fact or at the very least, biblicaly correct which counts even more then science in their eyes. They believe that since it has a "soul" that those, cells no matter how small, are just as human as us. Some even believe that these souls think which makes them even more human.It's not about government and women's rights for fundies. It's about what the bible says."God said itI believe itend of discussion."I'm not trying to make them out as bad people by the way. That's simply what they believe in even if they don't acknowledge it themselves.

  27. says

    >A fundie or fundamentalist christian can be best described as a christian with a severe case of in-group bias. "You're either with us, or you're with the terrorists" mentality. They often hate people of other faiths if the other faiths have any influence politically or socially.Well then can tag this to many over the top atheists as well. I think I would rather sit through an Opera musical then sit in the same room with Dawkins.>They often have simple and biblical only beliefs that can go against a large mountain of scientific evidence. This is a very simplistic look at most of them. By far, the only thing this is referenced to is evolution. I think most of them simply want things to slow down and lets take a look at the ethics of some advancement of science.>In the case of abortion rights fundamentalist usually agree with the anti abortion side. But why the believe in anti abortion is the key. It's not a legal matter to them, it's a matter of faith. Well if they did JUST believe in a legal matter I would be troubled and so should you. When we discuss things like this they are typically about the morality of the situation, not the legality of it. Do you discuss the legality of raping or a woman, or the morality behind it? Most likely, you argue that it is an immoral deed, that through law, needs to be made illegal.>They believe that the soul enters the cell as soon as conception is concerned. They believe that the "soul" is scientific fact or at the very least, biblicaly correct which counts even more then science in their eyes. They believe that since it has a "soul" that those, cells no matter how small, are just as human as us. Some even believe that these souls think which makes them even more human.Right, ok, then at the very least, though someone might disagree entirely, you can step back for a sec and just understand that they are coming from a POV of preserving life. There is something virtuous about it, not about some selfish greedy desire.>It's not about government and women's rights for fundies. It's about what the bible says.Right and that makes sense. It comes from a moral outlook that life is life. Like I said, I am vehemetly against late term abortion…and lets say the gov't and womens right say its ok….does that make it right? So clearly, each of has a moral compass that will dictate our lives and if you believe in the bible (though it says nothing of when life starts), it will guide your morality. Afterall, since when does gov't dictate morality? I thin you will agree on that one.

  28. says

    It's a psychopathology, a form of criminal insanity – and there are millions of them.And this is stuff I can't believe I read. Seriously. To make some moral, or physical equivilance that they are the same is beyond me. No different then people like Harris (or Dawkins) that thinks faith is a mental disorder. It's just nastiness.They think you're going to burn in a lake of fire for all of eternity. I really don't understand how you can simply shrug that off and say, "Hey, it's what they believe", and then find what I say offensive – which brings me back to where I began. When I try to talk to politically/theologically conservative Jews about this, we simply fail to understand each other.Dialogue is, unfortunately, impossible, HH. We can't talk about this. We're speaking different languages.

  29. says

    >They think you're going to burn in a lake of fire for all of eternity. I really don't understand how you can simply shrug that off and say, "Hey, it's what they believe", and then find what I say offensive – which brings me back to where I began. When I try to talk to politically/theologically conservative Jews about this, we simply fail to understand each other.a) I understand youb) Even if they do have a believe/faith in burning in hell for committing crimes/sins or any other immorality, that is nowhere near criminal insanity in which case those that DO suffer from it end up committing unspeakable horrors. Moraly, they are just not the same. You can think its foolish. Fine, but its not some sickness.c) again, who cares what they believe will happen to their afterlife? I think it took me a while to come to this conclusion that I am by far more impressed/worried by peoples actual values/actions/morals in this life with real people.I think you are allowing peoples foolishness to distort the greater picture out there. I for one am not sold to the whole Jewish mysticism stuff, but that doesn't stop me from sitting down with some chabadnik for some tea.

  30. says

    Holy HyraxA fundie or fundamentalist christian can be best described as a christian with a severe case of in-group bias. "You're either with us, or you're with the terrorists" mentality. They often hate people of other faiths if the other faiths have any influence politically or socially.They often have simple and biblical only beliefs that can go against a large mountain of scientific evidence. In the case of abortion rights fundamentalist usually agree with the anti abortion side. But why the believe in anti abortion is the key. It's not a legal matter to them, it's a matter of faith. They believe that the soul enters the cell as soon as conception is concerned. They believe that the "soul" is scientific fact or at the very least, biblicaly correct which counts even more then science in their eyes. They believe that since it has a "soul" that those, cells no matter how small, are just as human as us. Some even believe that these souls think which makes them even more human.It's not about government and women's rights for fundies. It's about what the bible says."God said itI believe itend of discussion."I'm not trying to make them out as bad people by the way. That's simply what they believe in even if they don't acknowledge it themselves.

  31. says

    Holy Hyrax's proved himself an idiot to me. I don't see how he expects to gain respect from anyone when he comes here randomly ranting at people.

  32. says

    HH,I understand that you think they are not morally questionable (or that it's not a question of interest) whether they believe in eternal torture in hell. Put it that way and indeed it isn't.The moral question is that they believe that you and most of humanity deserve to be tortured in hell for eternity. Perfect justice – i.e. the only in any way possible outcome that can not be relativized or denigrated – is that you will be tortured for eternity, just like me and billions of other people. If you can say that this has no bearing on their moralitiy in real life, I just don't know what morality means.

  33. says

    >Holy Hyrax's proved himself an idiot to me. I don't see how he expects to gain respect from anyone when he comes here randomly ranting at people.Oh please. Get over yourself. I think I was having a very well, and respectable conversation with Cipher. All of a sudden that becomes a rant? I mean, what is this entire post and the rest of hte comments if not a rant? >If you can say that this has no bearing on their moralitiy in real life, I just don't know what morality means.Morality is based on your actions and how you treat your fellow man. It shouldn't be judged by what your inner beliefs are. This would be a sad barometer of morality had we had some "beliefo-o-meter" to see what people believe and base it on that. Being offended by their beliefs, or feeling it is wrong, is not the same as saying they are immoral.

  34. says

    For those who understand French, a text in our newspaper from a woman from Quebec who got a late abortion from Dr. Tiller. Hardly the picture of the greedy, unethical, amoral child-murdering abortionist made of him. She actually talks about him as he was a martyr, almost a Messianic figure:http://www.cyberpresse.ca/opinions/forums/la-presse/200906/04/01-862886-le-dr-tiller-a-sacrifie-sa-vie.phpLate abortions are controversial even among pro-choice (in Canada Dr. Henry Morgentaler refuses to practice abortion after the 16th week) and I cannot say I am too keen on them, but this text made me think that sometimes it might be necessary and indeed legitimate.

  35. says

    HH, let me put it this way – their beliefs are a barometer of their morality. They're perfectly content to see the vast majority of human beings, billions of their siblings, being tortured for all of eternity. Many, as I said earlier, anticipate it eagerly. I don't know how much more hateful a human being could possibly be.This isn't merely a difference of theological opinion – for example, they think it's possible for God to become incarnate in human form, and we do not (we'll leave Kabbalah out of this for the moment). They're convinced that 90% of humanity will exist in a state far worse than any gulag or concentration camp could ever have been, and that it will go on for all of eternity – and they actually derive pleasure from this. I have no problem seeing it as a form of criminal derangement. Indeed, I can't see it in any other way.I don't think you really understand this. I daresay it's completely foreign to any mindset to which you've been exposed. In fact, you probably think I'm exaggerating, or being melodramatic. Please believe me – I'm not. I'm older than you are, and I've spent decades "sojourning among the nations". There are things out there that it would be well nigh impossible for a nice frum boy to wrap his mind around. This is probably one of them.

  36. says

    >their beliefs are a barometer of their morality.If you say so. >They're perfectly content to see the vast majority of human beings, billions of their siblings, being tortured for all of eternity.They are perfectly content to first and foremost for everyone to accept the truth of Jesus. I mean they proselytize to everyone for gods sake. It's not like they hold the secret for eternal bliss all to themselves. But at the same time they understand (as any religion does) that if you don't do X (or belief in X) then Y is going to happen to you. How different is this then Judaism notion of the 13 principles?>and they actually derive pleasure from this.WIth any of my christian co workers and friends, I have yet to bump into that particular part where they actually derive pleasure that I will fry. They understand it as a consequence of my free will, but pleasure?>I have no problem seeing it as a form of criminal derangement. Indeed, I can't see it in any other way.Of course you don't. You create a red herring, then derive some moral equivalence to it when in reality, actual reality, this is plan not true. I think people here really need to sit with a criminal insane person and a christian in the same room, then come back and tell me if they are the same. If you truly believe that this is in par with criminal derangement, then i would say you should petition your representative to have them thrown in jail/mental facility and keep every christian away from children. This of course would be the logical step to your opinion would it not?>I don't think you really understand this. I daresay it's completely foreign to any mindset to which you've been exposed. In fact, you probably think I'm exaggerating, or being melodramatic. Please believe me – I'm not. I'm older than you are, and I've spent decades "sojourning among the nations". There are things out there that it would be well nigh impossible for a nice frum boy to wrap his mind around. This is probably one of them.I do think you are being over dramatic here and I have seen this typically with atheists lately. I think every since this explosion of "new atheists" there are a lot of angry people out there that, though smart, are way too emotional in this case and end up conflating way too many things together in a pursuit to smear an awfully lot of people.I think you conflate being offended by a belief with thinking they are immoral. I can't go any further than to state morality is about conduct, not beliefs. And age has nothing to do with it. I have met many stupid older people (not talking about you). And I am not sure how frum you think I am.

  37. says

    You're nit picking. The movie is not about that scene but about a small band of warriors protecting THEIR way of life from an aggressor.But killing babies not up to their standard was part of THEIR way of life! If you are going to have a society of top-notched warriors, then there is no place for the sick and the deformed.

  38. says

    >But killing babies not up to their standard was part of THEIR way of life! Fair enough. But you would be hard pressed to find a conservative that has any connection to that part of the film. But you may find an atheist. Perhaps you know to who I speak of.

  39. says

    Fair enough. But you would be hard pressed to find a conservative that has any connection to that part of the film. But you may find an atheist. Perhaps you know to who I speak of.":Hitler was not an atheist. Your attitude is consistantly insulting.Also…I DO know a Conservative who feels that way. Check out the Ultimate Warrior (yes he legally changed his name to "Warrior). My religion teacher in HS promoted him as a good conservative spokesman.

  40. says

    >Hitler was not an atheist. Your attitude is consistantly insulting.I wasn't referring to Hitler. I was referring to Peter Singer.BTW, you mind explaining the "consistantly insulting" part?Nu, and what did the Warrior say? That its ok to dump unfit children?>My religion teacher in HS promoted him as a good conservative spokesman.Ok. So does that mean I get to claim Ward Churchill is a good liberal spokesman?

  41. says

    "I can't go any further than to state morality is about conduct, not beliefs."Is this what your Christian friends believe? Then I'm afraid their precious Jesus disagreed with them. In his opinion, thought crime was real crime. Sounds like they probably ought to read that book of theirs more thoroughly.

  42. says

    >Is this what your Christian friends believe? Irrelevant to the people in this discussion. Then I'm afraid their precious Jesus disagreed with them. In his opinion, thought crime was real crime. Sounds like they probably ought to read that book of theirs more thoroughly.I am not knowledgeable in Christian theology to well. But in the very few places I have heard about certain beliefs of the heart, I would disagree with them entirely. I don't think lusting with the heart can be equated in any means to lusting with deed. It may not be a good thing, but I disagree with its moral implication.

  43. says

    I am not knowledgeable in Christian theology to well. But in the very few places I have heard about certain beliefs of the heart, I would disagree with them entirely. I don't think lusting with the heart can be equated in any means to lusting with deed. It may not be a good thing, but I disagree with its moral implication."Well bully for you, you're sane. Problem is that THEY DON'T AGREE WITH YOU. What you think is irrelevant to the topic.

  44. says

    >I'm also perplexed that HH seems to think that Political Conservative and Atheist are mutually exclusive.Not exactly sure when you go that from. You mean from my "you might find an atheist" comment? You realize that had nothing to do with political conservativness.

  45. says

    I would like to revisit something previously mentioned and very briefly discussed above. While the point may seem trite, there is something to be interpreted by the fact that so many believers in an afterlife mourn so deeply the loss of a loved one. If it is in fact true that a person believes in an afterlife, where reunion necessarily approaches, it seems the melancholy of death should not occur to such a degree. Yes, we may and do feel sad when loved ones depart, both yet remaining alive. We “miss” them, as the response was given herein. But should merely missing a person, yet knowing you will one day be reunited cause such a deep sadness, that there has actually been established stages of death such as that of the Kubler-Ross model. And further, that within these stages, merely missing somebody can cause someone to never advance beyond certain stages of this paradigm.With this, I interpret that there is a great deal of doubt and fear in many believers, perhaps even repressed cognition of no afterlife.

  46. says

    With this, I interpret that there is a great deal of doubt and fear in many believers, perhaps even repressed cognition of no afterlife.I agree, and there's another facet of this as well. They believe these aborted fetuses have souls that go straight to heaven, without first having to suffer through life – what a deal! However, if these babies were born to liberal/secular parents (which one assumes they would be if they were considering abortion), chances are they'll grow up to be non-believers, and go to hell when they die. So, the parents who abort are actually responsible for sending their children to heaven, while those who oppose abortion would be condemning them to eternity in hell.This is the sort of logical inconsistency that seems never to occur to them.

  47. says

    "This is the sort of logical inconsistency that seems never to occur to them."That's because the majority of believers don't care to take the time to think about these things. But most of the people reading this probably already knew that. It's a great point you brought up by the way, cipher. I hope I remember it next time I have a discussion with a pro-life Christian.

  48. says

    If you go into a forum frequented by moderate evangelicals who are sort of detoxing from the fundie side of the fence (Jay Bakker's site is a good example), once in a while, one of them will bring this up, and others will say, "That never occurred to me!" This always floors me. They're obsessed with heaven and hell, and this is staring them in the face, but they don't see it; it has to be pointed out to them.

  49. says

    I think if you look at it in black and white theology then ya, sure abort away (same with Jews, I mean, if they don't accept the 13 principles, they should simply abort), but to a believer, a Christian and a Jew, life is also paramount, and so is free will. Nobody has simply said kill a fetus because they may not believe in Jesus. Also—for the sake of argument—simply going by your own example you say "chances are." That is not a certainty is it? Liberals also believe in Jesus and child can come out later to believe.

  50. says

    cipher,Based on your reasoning and assumptions, I would agree with you to a point.Of course this wouldn't be true if you believed death before baptism means the soul goes to hell or limbo. I also suspect there are, while minority represented, a considerable number of right-wing conservatives who in a desperate situation opt for abortion.When I said above I agree to a point, my reasons for not wholly agreeing are as follows. First I’ll restate the assumptions required:1. The Assumed Believer is evangelical, or desires to inform and help others get into heaven.2. Assumed Believer deems that the soul of an aborted child goes to heaven.3. Assumed Believer deems that the here-and-now material world pales in comparison to the importance of the afterlife.4. Assumed Believer (hereafter, AB) deems that anybody getting an abortion is liberal/secular in their perspectives.5. Liberals/secularists all eventually go to hell.6. All children of liberal/secular people necessarily become liberal/secular themselves, and as a result, also go to hell.The logical inconsistency stated was that from the AB’s perspective, the person having an abortion is sending their unborn child to heaven, whereas without the abortion, said child would unavoidably go to hell. In contrast, the anti-abortionist AB is forcing a soul into eternal damnation by failing to allow a last chance expedition of the soul to heaven via abortion. Therefore, the abortionist is saving the child from eternal damnation, while the AB is condemning it, the inconsistency being that the AB is supposed to be helping to get people into heaven, not hell.However, this construct fails to incorporate or allow that the AB considers abortion to be an act of murder. By allowing abortions, the assumed believer is complacent with the act, and thereby endangering themselves of hell. Therefore, the believer is caught in a Catch 22 situation, whereby whatever choice they take, someone is going to hell.All this said, some significant assumptions had to be made in order to allow for this logical construct. Whole groups of people are necessarily incapable of change, or unable to be saved. That in and of itself is a step far from reality. Furthermore, and not elaborated on much within the assumptions, is that the heaven/hell issue may not very important to the believer. Rather, they may feel that it is simply an issue of morality.I think the real angle to tackle this issue of abortion is more research and education. If the research is already there, then we need more and better channels of education and communication. How we get that, I have no idea, but I’m certain education and knowledge is the key.

  51. says

    By allowing abortions, the assumed believer is complacent with the act, and thereby endangering themselves of hell. Oh, I'm sure that would be the reasoning – if they took it that far. That's my point – they never do.In any case, according to their own belief system, they're basically robbing someone else of a one-way ticket heaven, in order to "earn" a place there for themselves (even though they're always telling us that salvation can't be earned).

  52. says

    I've discovered recently that the one thing I value above everything else is individual liberty, personal freedom. This puts me firmly on the 'choice' side of the abortion argument, because _nothing_ pisses me off faster than people who think they get to tell other people how to live their lives.

  53. says

    IMO that is the most brilliant "Theory" that I have ever heard, showing the hypocrisy of calling abortions "Baby Killers".In fact, I used it on my mother and I think it might have changed her mind about abortion. We hardly ever talk about religion or politics that we disagree on. Instead of hashing it out and, most likely, one of us getting upset, we just agree to disagree. But when the conversation turned to the death of George Tiller, I seized the opportunity and threw out your theory on her. At the end of that I asked her if she actually thought that babies were being murdered, wouldn't she do something about it? Her eyes kind of opened up and she reluctantly nodded. She then gave me a smile and a look as though she knew that I was right. She didn't actually say anything, but knowing my mom, I could tell she had just realized that she didn't actually think babies were being killed. I left the conversation at that. I didn't want to "push" her and possibly ruin her conversion to sanity.The ideas and opinions all of you have here, and on the show, are genius. I thank you for them.

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