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Feb 10 2011

Onward Christian Thugs

This week in Texas, State Senator Dan Patrick proposed a bill to require women seeking abortions to undergo a mandatory sonogram, see the image of the fetus, hear its heartbeat, and hear a mandated description of the fetus by the doctor. The only purpose of such a bill is to coerce women into making a choice that Dan Patrick and his fellow Christian thugs think is the moral one. These sorts of bills have been proposed and many approved all over the country. Fortunately for Texas, some of the most odious parts of this particular bill have been softened in committee, leaving only the doctor-supplied fetal description mandatory.

The number of things wrong with this sort of effort are astonishing. Let’s see if we can list a few of them:

  • A major objection would have to be that these sorts of bills are a transparent (and often successful) attempt to use the government as a tool to further the lawmaker’s Christian beliefs. The supposedly “secular” purpose of the bill is education, but that’s a ruse (but we’ll get to that.) If freedom of religion means anything, it means freedom from religion — freedom from transparent con games.
  • They might also claim that they’re trying to reduce abortions, but that would be framing the issue wrongly. They are trying to create more people who can be coerced into their religion. You never see these Christian groups promote birth control, mandatory waiting periods or mandated doctor intervention for the MEN who are impregnating these women. You do see Christian groups working to remove an honest teaching of the responsibilities of parenthood in high school health classes. Christians feel that they’ve gotten the process this far with their efforts. They have to “close the loop” and get the baby born. See “God’s Little Rabbits” for more about their success.
  • They (and we all) know there is no God to whom they can pray to make more human beings. Only a moron would believe such a thing, right Dan? Matt. 7:7, Matt. 17:20, Matt. 21:21, Mark 11:24, John 14:12-14, Matt. 18:18 all have Jesus claiming that prayer works all the time. Gen. 1:26 (and others) has God creating humans. Christians don’t believe that stuff. Christians know they have to co-opt as many uteruses as they can (there’s plenty of sperm to go around — just make masturbation taboo).
  • Dan and his fellow Christians know that God and the church have failed to enforce their edicts on their flock. The absolutely must use the real power of the government to achieve their end.
  • After the baby is born, they lose interest. Christians know that the evolution-engineered motherhood hormones will kick in. While Christians want to have the power to make these decisions, they never step up to the plate when it comes to the responsibility for the child. If they ever did, you’d see Christian organizations make deals with women where the deep-pocketed Christian group would fund the child through college in exchange for the mother bringing the child to term. Christians instead use coercion and thuggery, which are their time honored tools.
  • Christians claim to care about poverty, but efforts like this have the effect of creating poverty. Again, the marketing doesn’t match the actual behavior. Their only “solution” here is to encourage single mothers to get married. “Family values” apparently means the creation of families by coercion. No wonder the divorce rates of evangelicals and fundamentalists is higher than that of atheists.
  • Christians like Dan don’t think the mother has the intellectual capacity to make the moral decision to keep the child, but they seem to think that she is perfectly capable of raising it. Ironically, the women seeking abortion are the ones that know their limitations. I’ll trust a woman’s decision about her abilities over Dan Patrick any day of the eternity.
  • There is often some claim of the “sanctity of life”, but Christianity is a religion that teaches our bodies are little more than soul traps whose natural use is to release the soul so that it can go meet the Christian god. The god of the Bible is a murderous thug who has also commanded the murder of children and the unborn. The “sanctity of life” is a complete fabrication incompatible with Christian dogma.
  • Dan Patrick is not a doctor, nor are any of the law makers (that I know of) creating laws like this. They have no business interfering with medical procedures.
  • Dan and his ilk clearly don’t believe in the golden rule, such as stated in Matt. 7:12. If they did, they would welcome others to insert themselves in their own medical treatments. I would encourage those of you who do believe in the golden rule to make Christians aware of this fact. If you can find someone who advocates Christian interference in medical practices, teach them a practical lesson in Jesus’ moral teachings.
  • Supposedly, women seeking abortions need education. I have yet to see a bill mandating education about the cost and responsibility of raising a child or the risk of child birth. There are no bills forcing women to see pictures of women who died in child birth. There’s no education about the emotional risks of postpartum depression and the risk of the mother harming the child or herself. The “education” that Christians propose is one-sided.
  • Christian efforts to slow abortion have failed. According to this article, countries with strong religious belief have higher rates of abortion. We might make more progress taxing religions and using those funds to support unwanted children.
  • Finally, I don’t see anything resembling compassion in Dan Patrick’s bill or other efforts by Christians to prevent abortion. These people clearly care more about their invisible friends (their concepts of god) than the women they seek to manipulate.

Christians claim to care about “sin”, but overlook the issue of responsibility. Christians seek to try to make their god happy by coercion and manipulation of vulnerable people. The atheists I know, focus on responsibility. How can we educate people so that the understand the consequences of their actions? How can we provide them with tools to mitigate harm? How can we help people who know they are in over their head? Abortion is not a good thing, but why don’t we start using reason, responsibility, and compassion to address the problem?

38 comments

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  1. 1
    Weasel

    Amen

  2. 2
    Gods_misled_children87110

    "Christian efforts to slow abortion have failed. According to this article, countries with strong religious belief have higher rates of abortion."A lot of christian's believe children and babies will automatically go to heaven if they die. There have been several cases of women killing their kids to spare from a bad life and to automatically send them to heaven.

  3. 3
    DavidCT

    People like Dan Patrick seem to enjoy using their positions to bully people – especially women. They rarely favor spending public money to help with the expenses of unwanted children since that would be Socialism. They usually scream loudly about too much government control but never hesitate to use the government to push their religious beliefs.

  4. 4
    Martin

    In fairness, I am aware that there are some anti-abortion Christian groups who try to steer young mothers towards adoption as an alternative. But I don't see this as a serious agenda item among the current crop of pandering anti-choicers. They claim to be all about "life," then propose bills that could literally kill women. And they seem far less about the welfare of the baby they claim to be saving, than obsessed with simply punishing women for sexin' outside sanctified Christian mawwiage.There is an easy way to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies before they happen: free condoms everywhere! But the anti-choicers won't support responsible contraception either. It's not about saving babies, it's about "No sex till you walk down that aisle, ladies!" And yes, it is exclusively the female half of the equation towards whom this shaming is directed.

  5. 5
    Gods_misled_children87110

    " It's not about saving babies, it's about "No sex till you walk down that aisle, ladies!" And yes, it is exclusively the female half of the equation towards whom this shaming is directed."Under christian belief women are made to believe they are whores if they have sex outside of marriage or anything short of being in love. Also, I think in this context women are made to believe love implies there is a god.

  6. 6
    Giliell

    Well, this is the stance of a "pro-lifer" I ran into on youtube:"My choice, is to fight "FOREVER" to change this law back where it should be, that is illegal! Nobody, has the right to take a life, and it sickens me to the core, how somebody can actually justify "MURDER" of their own child! How sick is that? If, you are so desperate to terminate your pregnancies, you will, no matter what the law says, but, I, should not allow Doctors, to take the life of the unborn child! I should not have to pay taxes on "GENOCIDE"! "The woman clearly doesn't care about about the lives of women or even the unborn, she just wants to make everything as nasty as possible.Not to mention that the only murder I can see here is poor punctuation. And also their big flaw in the "no sex before marriage and therefore no sex ed" is that married people need to know about their bodies, too.

  7. 7
    Skeptimus Prime

    @GiliellHey don't you know that when people get married they magically become knowledgeable about all forms of good Christian sex. God magically gives it too them so no need for all those nasty secular teachers filling students heads with sex talk. :)

  8. 8
    Giliell

    @SkeptimusSorry, I've travelled far, but never into Christianity. I only got the good secular sex ed and that baaaa-ha-had secular sex

  9. 9
    John K.

    Since issues about children and babies are so emotional to people anyway, the emotional arguments around abortion are REALLY effective on a lot of people.One of the classic issues where you cannot reason some people out of an emotional position. There is hardly an argument out there against abortion that does not use the words emotionally provocative words MURDER and BABIES. Never mind that a fetus is not all that much more a baby than an egg/sperm pair is, and no one calls killing either of those things murder.Round and round it goes.

  10. 10
    Mamba24

    Wow it's not murder because if…at a certain stage in the pregnancy the fetus or embryo is like only a month or two in….they are like half an inch in length…without a fully formed brain to have consciousness, actually all potential organs aren't formed yet…so no it isn't murder. If it was such a clear case of murder then obviously abortion wouldn't be legal…which obviously isn't the case…Because it's agreed that before a certain point the women is justified in controlling her own body and making this kind of choice…because the human embryo/fetus isn't a human being yet. There are other factors in this issue of course but that's my basic understanding and opinion on it.

  11. 11
    MethodSkeptic

    Of all the claims in the post, the one I've never quite bought is the notion "They are trying to create more people who can be coerced into their religion."I just don't buy it. Control, I can understand. Social control, sure. I think the metaphor of The God Virus has a lot to do with it…making people feel guilty for behavior they instinctually engage in, providing religion to assuage the guilt. But I don't really see evidence there's more to it than taking them at their word. But, the whole "reproduction for future theists" seems like a bit too much to read into it. Frankly if you accept the fallacy [False Continuum] that a human being begins at conception, then that really seems to be necessary and sufficient to take any and all means available to combat it. I don't think we do ourselves favors to stereotype our opposition with potentially false motives.

  12. 12
    Gods_misled_children87110

    I think you people are a little behind the curve ball on this christian abortion issue. Christianity's new tactic is more about prevention in that if you wait to fall in love, get married than have sex you'll produce a baby that is wanted in this world. Under god's law the only women getting abortions would be the one's who didn't follow the proper church procedures. I live in Albuquerque and most younger women are following god's law that I've talked with.

  13. 13
    Kestra

    I wonder if they have any exceptions in the law for women aborting babies with horrific & deadly birth defects (anencephaly, Tay-Sachs, "mermaid syndrome") or pregnancies that are non-viable (ectopic) or that will kill the mother (pre-eclampsia) or if they force those women to hear descriptions of their doomed fetuses as well? I'm betting the latter, because most abortion opponents I've encountered don't even seem to be aware that a pregnancy *can* go wrong for legitimate medical reasons. In their world, pregnancy is nine months of rainbows and stretch-pants until "god's little miracle" arrives with nary a complication. I think this is mainly because they tend to be Christians who believe in a loving god, and what kind of loving god would create a reproductive system with such inherent and fatal flaws?Incidentally, it was learning about ectopic pregnancies that, among other things, really cemented my atheism.

  14. 14
    Harvey Requiem

    @MethodSkeptic:I think the reason for the "they are trying to make more theists" might come from the pressure some put on women to have the kid and give it to one of their Christian adoption centers–where they will ensure the child will be raised with a Proper Christian ™ indoctrination and be protected from being adopted out to any of those diabolical homosexual couples. Plus, there are those Emergency Crisis Center scams that try to delay/abuse/bully and otherwise coerce women into that decision–essentially adoption mills masquerading as Planned Parenthood-style clinics (false advertise much?) A lot of them seem to believe that they need to outbreed the unbelievers (who adhere to proven family planning methods), and of course one method to increase that output might be to try and commandeer the force-bred offspring of the "interlopers" for their own agendas. BTW, Honest_guy87110, the statistics have already proven abstinence only to be ineffectual and only ensures that safe sex will not be practiced, while comprehensive sex education (ie: teaching kids how to protect themselves against unwanted pregnancy outside of "keep your knees together or make Jesus cry") has proven to be effective. The only place abstinence-only actually works is in the wish-fulfillment fantasies of those in godly denial.Seriously, it's hard for me to believe there are still people making this long-debunked argument.

  15. 15
    Keith

    This is typical simplistic thinking on the anti-choice side. Of course, ALL women who would ever dream of having an aboriton just MUST be doing it because they had sex and don't want the 'responsibility of the children that come as a consequence.' Emotional eppeals like those proposed in the law must convince them that they have a real human being inside them.If these women are the cold-blooded murderers so many Christians make them out to be, why would they think this has any effect on them? And, since they do think it will have such an effect, they should respect a woman's right to go through with an abortion even after being subjected to all of these conditions.

  16. 16
    MethodSkeptic

    @Harvey– again, I just don't see fecundity as a needful explanation for anti-choice tactics. Preventing a "murder" pretty much covers it, seasoned with fear and revulsion over sex in general and a drive to see it straightjacketed into acceptable roles.It's the difference between thinking someone is wrong, self-deluded, even dangerous, but to me it is a bridge too far to posit a knowing reproduction conspiracy.As far as adoption goes, I'm sure they think they are saving the souls of the babies they helped ensure would enter the world and it's probably a delicious feeling. However, does anyone have numbers on Faith-Based adoption agencies versus ostensibly secular organizations? I'd want to see the data. Likewise, we know for a fact that there are "quiver-full" evangelicals trying to outbreed the infidels, and certain stripes of Mormonism like to lay their hands on as many foreign adoptees as they can manage. But again, does anyone have numbers? I don't get the impression that either is a broad movement, and the reason we hear about such ludicrous reproductive strategems is precisely because they're bizarre.

  17. 17
    libramoo

    I have suggestion, but I'm sure it is not an original one. Like Dan Stanhope said in one of his stand ups "you can't reason with an illogical person, it would be like kicking water uphill. It ain't going to happen" I say we start protests that are about bigger issues that Christians can get behind and should cause otherwise they would show how little they actually care about the kids that are being born.We need to start an awareness campaign/ protest about fixing the adoption & foster care system. Raise awareness of the issues in adoption and the bad things that are happening to these foster care kids. We need to expose the people who are abusing the system just to get a paycheck and could care less about kids.Maybe if we raise a big fuss about how bad things are handled after birth we can get people thinking about what they are trying to bring an unwanted child to.What do you guys think?

  18. 18
    John K.

    @ MethodSkepticI also would not go so far as to say there is some kind of reproductive conspiracy. I find it more likely that Xtians, Catholics in particular, more or less stumbled into beliefs that promoted large family sizes, which in turn feed the indoctrination machine that make it a dominant religion over time.Looking in there is little choice besides speculating about the inner motives of doctrine, but if you start from a position of "How can we get as many new believers born as possible?" a lot of the doctrines fit. No contraception besides abstinence, sex only in relationships sanctioned by the church, requirements for children to be baptized, ect.Before a catholic priest will agree to allow your marriage to be in his church, you must promise that the children resulting from the marriage will be raised catholic.We cannot really know any secret motives. Planned out or not, though, the effects seem to have a desirable effect for those trying to spread religion.

  19. 19
    Giliell

    @libramooI disagree.Even here over the pond, where adoption lists are a mile long and any child (unless black or disabled, you know) would be guartanteed to end up in an upper middle-class family that will love them like mad, pro-choice matters.And also it would kind of make them right in claiming that women really don't want to have abortions, but feel forced to have them because of outside (economic) pressure.

  20. 20
    french engineer

    Honest_guy87110 said… I think you people are a little behind the curve ball on this christian abortion issue. Christianity's new tactic is more about prevention in that if you wait to fall in love, get married than have sex you'll produce a baby that is wanted in this world. Under god's law the only women getting abortions would be the one's who didn't follow the proper church procedures. I live in Albuquerque and most younger women are following god's law that I've talked with. That's not a problem. Everyone is free to not have an abortion if their religion tells them not to. The problem is religious people trying to force women who do not believe in god and/or do not recognise the authority of the church to in effect submit to the church through legal lobbying.How would you feel if, say, proeminent jew lawmakers tried to ram a "forced circumcision law" on everyone? All for the (non-demonstrated) medical benefits of the procedure, of course.

  21. 21
    Tommykey

    This reminds me of an Onion article I saw that read something like "New law would require pregnant women to name the baby before getting an abortion."

  22. 22
    Leisha Camden

    I'm sure everybody in this discussion has read this: http://mypage.direct.ca/w/writer/anti-tales.html'The Only Moral Abortion is My Abortion: When the Anti-Choice Choose'. If you haven't read it already, make sure to do so, it's really interesting.

  23. 23
    Gods_misled_children87110

    @harvey I've seen christianity gain a lot of ground here in Albuquerque with the last 6 years(it didn't used to be like this). People seem to be deciding that abstinence of sex until love/marriage really is the best way to avoid all the problems of sin,guilt, stigmatization, abortion.,etc. It seems to be working out well for the people I talk with. Conservative christianity has re-emerged with a vengeance in this city but I dont' know about other places. But I suppose the idea is that if you wait to fall in love/get married than you won't have an unwanted child in the world so the problem of abortion never exists for the most part(it's a non-issue).

  24. 24
    Jeremy

    Hinest_guy87110 said: It seems to be working out well for the people I talk with.So you've talked to everyone in Albuquerque, NM about this or are you just trying to project your beliefs onto a larger population?

  25. 25
    Gods_misled_children87110

    @Jeremy. I'm an atheist but I stick up for christian beliefs that seem to be working because I can see some value in them. Just because a belief seems to work doesn't make the underlying premise of it true. And I never said, 'ALL' or 'EVERYONE' but just the people I talk with.

  26. 26
    James

    Don said: "While Christians want to have the power to make these decisions, they never step up to the plate when it comes to the responsibility for the child."Never say never. For instance, there is whole episode of "30 Days" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0853276/ in which a pro-choice activist stays at a Christian maternity home called His Nesting Place. While it's true that the home doesn't go do the extreme of financing the entire child's life, it does provide support and structure for the mother to try to give her the tools she needs to cope with raising the child herself.There is enough wrong with the proposed bill that it isn't necessary to resort to such extreme hyperbole. It just weakens the argument.Love the show, keep up the great work!

  27. 27
    Giliell

    @Honest guyAnd so you think they're honest with you? Do you think that the girls will tell you freely that although they took the pledge they had sex with their boyfriend and because they were "abstinence only" people neither of them had a condom to use and therefore they had an STD or she became pregnant and had an abortion?You are aware that the rates for STDs, teen-pregnancies and abortions are higher among the abstinence-only christians than among those who get propper sex-ed and don't see anything bad in responsible sex?Because that's what such a climate creates: ignorance, lack of contraception and since the shame to have a child out of wedlock would be too great, abotions.Abstinence doesn't only not work, it creates more problems than it solves.

  28. 28
    Jeremy

    Honest_guy87110:I'm an atheist but I stick up for christian beliefs that seem to be working because I can see some value in them. And? You've given us little reason to think this one works except to expect us to simply take your word for it. If all you have is self- report data, then you have no real data on which to base a meaningful conclusion. Especially if we further have to rely on you to have recount said data accurately. Is that why you felt the need to mention that you are an atheist?Just because a belief seems to work doesn't make the underlying premise of it true.If the underlying premise is likely false it should give one pause to wonder if they are actually seeing a real result. And I never said, 'ALL' or 'EVERYONE' but just the people I talk with. If your sample size was so narrow, then why bother to give your location? Are you trying to suggest that there is something about Albuquerque that allows this belief to be successful when it apparently eludes in all other locales where similar beliefs are popular?

  29. 29
    Tim

    I would ask the author, and the other readers of this blog, to also read another blog. It is found at http://timzstruggle.blogspot.com/2011/02/abortion.htmlThanks,Tim (ridn4fun)

  30. 30
    Griffox

    I saw this posted on facebook and it really drove the whole abortion thing home for me: "Lysa TerKeurst a New York Times Bestselling author, national speaker and the president of Proverbs 31 Ministries…Not only does Lysa speak about adventures in faith, she lives them! When Lysa’s family adopted 2 boys from Africa, it inspired her community to adopt over 45 children from the same Liberian orphanage. Her family’s amazing story captured the attention of national media, including The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, the 700 Club, USA Today newspaper, Woman’s Day magazine, and Focus on the Family radio. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and five children. To see a schedule of where Lysa will be speaking please visit her blog at http://www.LysaTerKeurst.com "it's funny how all these christians are so hell-bent on steering women towards putting their babies up for adoption, yet when good christian women want to adopt babies, they go to foreign countries to get pretty ethnic children. I've never heard any concern voiced for the thousands of American children who turn 18 without ever being adopted. They are simply sent out into the world without families. Before I'm hounded for generalizing, yes there are lots of christian families who adopt American babies I'm sure, but it's not enough now and certainly wouldn't be if abortion was made illegal. That's not their problem, though. However, if gay couples want to adopt – that is a problem they will be sure to stick their noses in.

  31. 31
    Rojaila N.

    Tim:Did you actually read the blog post, and the comments before pimping your own post of nonsense? Nothing on your post is anything most pro-choice folks haven't heard and refuted a billion times already.Try again.

  32. 32
    Jeremy

    Griffox- A lot of what is going on there probably stems from the missionary drive. Their message isn't hitting home here as much as they would like and they don't want to actually go some place else so they bring the mission field home. I wonder how eager they would be to take some African or Chinese kid in if they were not allowed to indoctrinate the child into the foster/ adoptive parent's religion? Granted, they may be elevating the child from a life of poverty and suffering but I wonder who's needs are really given precedence in that situation; that of the child or the foster/ adoptive parent's. Especially since their seems to be a bit of self- promotion involved.

  33. 33
    Ibis

    Only one thing in the whole post I'd like to take issue with: "Abortion is not a good thing…"Yes. Abortion is a good thing, as long as no-one is being coerced. Birth control is a good thing on an overpopulated-with-humans planet. Any woman who chooses to have an abortion has judged her own situation and determined that bringing a child (or perhaps this specific child in certain cases) into her life is not a good idea. I trust her with that decision. Period. The fact that she's free to make it at any point* before there's another citizen for society to worry about is a good thing.*This is the current legal situation in Canada. There's no law regulating abortion. The Canada Health Act requires that provinces fund abortions. However, the coverage isn't yet universal (e.g. with respect to clinics).

  34. 34
    Ibis

    More…Does anyone in the pro-choice camp prevaricate and say birth control pills or condoms or IUDs are not a good thing? Sure they have their problems, but overall? No. So why the apologies and defensiveness when it comes to abortion? It might be easier on the woman and more cost effective to take a morning-after pill (for example) than to have an abortion, but no birth control method (including abortion) is ever going to be harder on the woman and less cost effective than carrying to term, giving birth, and raising a child until its an adult. So sure, fight for better education and free access to contraception, but stop buying into the "we all agree abortion should be avoided at all costs and only allow it as a last resort" Christian-coloured BS.

  35. 35
    EagleDan

    And here I was thinking Don was the cuddly bear of the crew. Preach it, brotha!

  36. 36
    Winston

    Good grief. Let's hope this bill doesn't get any further. They certainly don't seem able or willing to sue their god for causing umpteen billion miscarriages.Isn't one state (Utah) with laws criminalising MISCARRIAGE bad enough!? Spare me! Violate me with a human-sized dildo.

  37. 37
    Griffox

    Jeremy, I think you are right about that. What's really worrisome is when crooks in those countries see the American demand for "their" children and capitalize on it by stealing babies and selling them to orphanages. In their case, there aren't enough orphans to meet the demand! Yet here in America, our own country, children have little chance of being adopted. I don't see how self-proclaimed righteous people can fight for children to be born orphans without also proposing solutions to aid the already failing childcare system. I suppose they're counting on the government funded faith based organizations to take in the surplus and train them up to be good christian soldiers.

  38. 38
    Stella

    What Ibis said.

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