Bravo, Randal Rauser


Randal Rauser is a Christian apologist who has written a book with John Loftus in which he defends Christianity. But to his great credit, he has no desire to defend the warped priorities of so many fundamentalist Christians who are outraged about gay people but unconcerned about actual moral evils. Writing about the horrendous freakout brought on by World Vision’s decision to not discriminate against gay people in their hiring (which was quickly rescinded due to the uproar), he points out what is being ignored:

Just in the last few days, at the very same time that conservative evangelicals have been rallying to punish World Vision, reports have been flooding out of a developing genocide in the Central African Republic. According to reports from the United Nations and several NGOs, the last few months have seen several thousand people murdered and more than one million displaced. Yet, I am quite sure that the average North American conservative evangelical is not even aware of this horrifying situation. (Genocide? Africa? Meh. Pro-gay policy at a North American evangelical NGO? Argh!!!!)

Why is it that “homosexuality” causes a tidal wave of protest among conservative evangelicals, while “genocide” does not even create a ripple?

He also points out that 29,000 children a day die from entirely preventable causes like malnutrition and says, “What strikes me is that there is no outrage among conservative evangelicals about the preventable deaths of thirty thousand children a day which is comparable to the outrage that sweeps like a raging Aussie brushfire at the very mention of homosexuality.”

The answer seems obvious enough to me: A whole lot of Christians — certainly not all of them, of course — have completely messed up priorities. Their primary concern is for punishing what they perceive to be sin, not in reducing human suffering.

Comments

  1. Kevin Kehres says

    Well, it’s perfectly obvious to me…those are post-born children. Fundamentalists care only for the pre-born.

  2. Reginald Selkirk says

    If he’s said a good thing, fine. But I am not impressed with Rauser in general. He has his head up his ass on Intelligent Design Creationism, where he likes to take every press release from the Disclaimery Institute and label it a “fact.”

  3. Glenn E Ross says

    Their primary concern is for punishing what they perceive to be sin, not in reducing human suffering.

    Since they believe that everyone is born into sin the only way to reduce human suffering is for those that are suffering to accept their sins and repent. Life is supposed to be filled with suffering until those conditions are met. Their goal is to get everyone to accept their sin and repent, not to alleviate their suffering.

  4. raven says

    Their primary concern is for punishing what they perceive to be sin, not in reducing human suffering.

    Worse than that.

    Much of fundie xianity has been hollowed out. It’s just right wing extremist politics with a few crosses stuck on for show.

    After suffering a few decades of Republican jesus, we now are in the era of Tea Party jesus, the misbegotten spawn of Ayn Rand and a roll of tinfoil.

  5. Scott Hanley says

    From the quoted message that triggered Rauser’s post: “We sponsor five children. Today we have deactivated our account and committed those children to the sovereign grace of God.”

    Which demonstrates another reason why religious moralists are worse than even other types of moralists when it comes to solving problems: they don’t feel responsible for outcomes. Why should they, when God is all-powerful and will work his will regardless of what you do? Their only responsibility is to clearly demonstrate whose side they’re on, consequences be damned.

  6. D. C. Sessions says

    Well, it’s perfectly obvious to me…those are post-born children. Fundamentalists care only for the pre-born.

    It’s not so much that, it’s a matter of which response each requires. Up until birth, the only thing that needs to be done is to punish the slut or her doctor — that’s inexpensive, it only requires threats and extensions of police power over those people, and besides it’s fun.

    After the little grubs start sucking up oxygen, food, medical care, etc. in competition with us, though, they get expensive. Which is a whole different thing. At that point, if they deserve to live God will provide.

  7. dingojack says

    I might point out to Mr Randall ‘Rebel’ Rauser than the ‘Black Saturday’ Bushfires (which burned out over 450,000 hectares [1.1112 million acres or more] and over 4000 structures between the 7 Feb and 14 Mar 2009) was a natural disaster that killed 173 people.
    This is a much, much worse entirely man-made disaster.
    Dingo

  8. donkensler says

    There are a whole lot of Christians in this country who are way more comfortable with the god of the Old Testament, punishing sin and punishing those who countenance sin, than they are with the Jesus of the Gospels. Of course their Jesus totes an AK and a few grenades …

  9. says

    Kevin Kehres,

    Well, it’s perfectly obvious to me…those are post-born children. Fundamentalists care only for the pre-born.

    What is perfectly obvious is that you are in idiot. Fundamentalists, regardless of what you say about them, also adopt (in some cases adopting severely handicapped), provide foster care, support orphanages and third-world medical clinics . Only an ass feels self-satisfied with such a sweeping, over-used canard. You’re a dipshit.

  10. Sastra says

    Their primary concern is for punishing what they perceive to be sin, not in reducing human suffering.

    It’s possible that the primary concern behind that concern is their perceived need to establish their identity as specifically Christian.

    All the religions and even the atheists can express the same concern over genocide. It’s too obvious. If you focus on reducing human suffering per se it won’t mark you as different or distinct from the unsaved. But find a problem which isn’t a secular problem too and then you, they, and God will KNOW you must be a Christian.

    They’re marking identity.

  11. martinc says

    a raging Aussie brushfire

    Sorry to be a pedant, but if it’s Aussie, it’s a bushfire. ‘brushfire’ is an American term meaning literally “a fire in low-growing, scrubby trees and brush” and hence figuratively “a relatively minor crisis” [both American Heritage Dictionary], which is hardly the connotation intended given the adjective ‘raging’.

  12. says

    DJ,

    Heddle – Show me the data (relative to non-Christian adoptions).

    No. Someone says a completely general statement “Fundamentalists care only for the pre-born.” No exception allowed for. As general as “Black men abandon their families.” And you don’t ask a datum. I make a statement that is manifestly true (some fundamentalists adopt, some I know personally who adopted two handicapped Ugandan orphans who would have, in all likelihood, otherwise died.) And you ask me for data. So, no. Finally I didn’t make any relative statement, that they adopt more or less than non-Christians, I merely pointed out the asininity of saying the care only for the pre-born. Bugger off.

  13. Al Dente says

    shorter heddle @14

    You want evidence but I’m not going to give you any because I’m having a big snit. So there! NYAH!!

  14. says

    Equivalent Al Dente: @15

    Al here. I am dumb enough to try to portray (in my usual chuckles manner) a refusal to provide evidence-on-demand for something that obviously happens as an admission of defeat. Then I’ll sit around and wait for the usual gang of idiots to slap me on the back. Because that’s how it would work on Pharyngula.

  15. colnago80 says

    Re dingojack @ #12

    Don’t you know, those born agains who care more about fetuses then live babies aren’t real Christians. The blogs resident physics professor and math department chairman once again brings forth his patented no true Scotsman shtick.

  16. ragarth says

    @heddle #16

    No heddle, you’re pretending to be superior than others by arguing a point that nobody is really making. Yes, dingojack’s statement was absolutist, but nobody would realistically take it as absolutist. He was exercising the flexibility in language and assuming that those reading his statement has this thing called a ‘brain’ that allows them to make logical inferences from what they read.

    Language is flexible, absolute statements manifestly have flex to them. Take for instance my earlier statment: “Dingojack’s statement was absolutist, but nobody would realistically take it as absolutist.” This is also patently false because idiots trying to make themselves feel superior to others by pretending that language has no flex would take an absolutist statement as inflexible.

    So what dingojack is asking for when he asks for evidence is not evidence of a *single* fundie adopting, but evidence that more than trace amounts of the adopt.

    Essentially, “Your statement was absolute, therefore I’m going to prove myself better than you by pointing this out and ignoring the reality of the obviously intended meaning.” does nothing more than show that you are incapable of reading the english language with… wait for it… flexibility.

  17. says

    colnago80, @17

    You really are boring. You’re big claim to fame (other than advocating using nukes) is to predict when other people will comment. But if you had an ounce of cleverness you would have predicted: “heddle made a comment. So soon colnago80 will be here to charge him with a “No True Scotsman” violation.” And then posted your nonsense a few moments later. At least that would have been a little interesting.

    ragarth

    So what dingojack is asking for when he asks for evidence is not evidence of a *single* fundie adopting, but evidence that more than trace amounts of the adopt.

    Gee, No shit. When He asked for a relative comparison I thought he meant 1 adoption to 0. Thanks for pointing that out that I was mistaken. What would I do without you? . (FYI it wasn’t DJ who made the general statement) OTOH I seriously doubt you’d let a blanket pejorative about atheists (All atheists…, atheists never…) get a free pass–“Oh but clearly it just means some” but perhaps I’m wrong and maybe you aren’t a hypocrite.) The bottom line (Do have to write slowly and be explicit for you?) is that it takes 10 seconds of googling to find fundie organizations that pump millions into assisting their members in adoption and foster placement and supporting orphanages and clinics. The SBC for example. Are all these potemkin programs? Furthermore it takes only a little work to discover that in some 3rd world nation ) the majority of rural clinics are run by missionary organizations. The statement “fundies don’t care about the pre-born” is stupid in form (being a gross generalization) and stupid given the benefit of the doubt. Where is the call for data to show that fundies don’t care about babies after they are born? (And if you want to trade anecdotes, I can do it all night.)

  18. laurentweppe says

    Why is it that “homosexuality” causes a tidal wave of protest among conservative evangelicals, while “genocide” does not even create a ripple?

    Cause the victims are Muslims
    and black
    and poor
    and don’t speak english

  19. imthegenieicandoanything says

    The continued use of many people of the phrase “Christian charity” has much the same effect on me as the old compliment “that’s mighty white of you.”

    When someone is identified as a Christian, I lower my expectations concerning their intelligence and sense of morality – because decades of experience have proven that the best policy. When someone self-identifies as a Christian, I wait to see if anything positive is to be found, then deal with them on that (usually very limited) basis.

    When someone is a Xian conservative, I try to find out what led them to their sad state, see if they are honestly ignorant (an almost impossible thing if American and educated) and generally steer clear of them entirely. Why talk to a self-baked brick?

  20. colnago80 says

    Re Heddle @ #19

    Truth hurts doesn’t it? Actually I haven’t called for nuking anyone for quite a while. Here’s a link to a post today by fellow physicist Mano Singham showing the hypocrisy of the Raping Children Church. By the way, are Roman Catholics real Christians in the Heddle bailiwick”?

    http://goo.gl/aJ4vsK

  21. smrnda says

    @heddle

    Though I will agree that anecdotes are not data, the murder of Hana Williams after being adopted by a fundamentalist family who adopted her makes me worry that, given their views of child-rearing, general insensitivity towards and ignorance of other cultures (or just other people for that matter) that fundamentalists adopting isn’t always such a great solution. Regrettably, fundamentalist adoption seems tainted by a ‘white man’s burden’ style mentality and I think a far better solution is to give kids aid in their own countries, keeping families intact if at all possible.

  22. Jordan Genso says

    Re: Kevin Kehres and heddle:

    I do think some of the commenters here are overly critical of heddle’s points, as I also agree that Kevin used the wrong word (“only”) when “more” would’ve been more appropriate for reasonable discussion. heddle would possibly still disagree with Kevin’s point had he said “more”, but at least it wouldn’t then turn into a rather pointless discussion about how much evidence is required to refute the “only” statement.

  23. sailor1031 says

    Why is it that “homosexuality” causes a tidal wave of protest among conservative evangelicals, while “genocide” does not even create a ripple?

    See the bible. Homosexuality bad – an abomination. Genocide good – approved, even commanded. Read your bibles; it’s all in there. Every question answered….

  24. says

    @10:

    I agree with heddle. I would just add the word, “Many” in front of “fundamentalists*”

    @18:

    “because idiots trying to make themselves feel superior to others by pretending that language has no flex would take an absolutist statement as inflexible.”

    I think I see what you did there–and I’m sure that I’m not the ONLY one. {;>)

    “Heddle – Show me the data (relative to non-Christian adoptions).
    Dingo”

    I’m not sure that would even be a good indicator. My sister worked with Catholic Charities as a volunteer social worker and I’m pretty srure that she and they would be terrified of the prospect of one of their innocent lambs being given over to GAYtheists (once you hate GOD, all of the other sinfulness is just the “jimmies” on a giant Satanist Sundae) . My guess is that people did not advertise that they were heathens and may have even (gasp) lied about having some religious affiliation. That would make them NOT True Christians (TM) , although their NOT True Christianity (TM) status would be the result of a different process where they might actually be atheists/agnostics posing as Christians to get one over on the (Holy) Man.

    * For some reason, when I hear the word, “fundamentalist” I tend to think of a line written by Kurt Vonnegut** ( buried somewhere in his short story about voluntary suicide/assisted euthanasia in a future U.S. dystopia) that references “fisting” movies–which Vonnegut explains as being about men putting their fists up other men’s “fundaments”. I tend to think of the majority of KKKrazzeepants fundamentalists (I’m not sure what %age of the total they comprise, but I’m guessing it’s not a LOT less than 100) as people who don’t have to worry about having someone’s fist up their ass cuz they’ve already got their heads up there and there isn’t enough room for both.

    ** Okay, maybe I AM sick and demented, but I do win drinks at most trivia nights.

  25. dingojack says

    Hmm I read it vastly differently. To me the ‘Fundamentalist’ was a class, so the ‘only’ refered to that class in general. For example: ‘Baseball players only play for the enjoyment’ doesn’t apply to each individual player (who may play for a variety of reasons) but actually liking to play was the most common reason, not necessarily the common reason, for playing baseball, in the group as a whole.
    In that line of reasoning, if the non-fundamentalist adopters were statistically significantly exceeded by those who are fundamentalist adopters then, Heddle (#10), your hypothesis would be correct, if the contrary were the case then Kevin Kehres’ (#1) hypothesis would be correct. If there were no difference statistically then either could be correct.
    Yes, smrnda (#24), anecdote is not evidence, which is why I wanted to see the data.
    Dingo.

  26. says

    “Why is it that “homosexuality” causes a tidal wave of protest among conservative evangelicals, while “genocide” does not even create a ripple?”

    Because not very many them find the Wholly Babblical genocidal thoughts that enter their mind to be a sign of moral degradation but they’re scared shitless when they see a guy and think, “I wonder how he looks, naked?”.

  27. freehand says

    Heddle::
    “Men are taller than women”
    “Americans are richer than Ugandans”
    “Educated Americans are fitter than uneducated”
    .
    Most folks would agree with these statements. Most folks fluent in English understand that statements of this nature can be discussing averages rather than each individual, absolutely. One can clarify them by saying, for example, “Men are taller than women on the average, but their heights overlap to a considerable degree.” Etc. Such precision is needed when a scientist is preparing an article or paper for publication, or when the subject is not sufficiently well-known to be clear to the typical reader.
    .
    The other imprecise but well-understood usage of this simple structure is making a point, or saying something which is “true enough” but also generally understood to have exceptions. Hence some of us would say that “Too may cooks spoil the broth” and “Two heads are better than one” are both correct, even though they contradict each other. Most intelligent humans are nuanced enough to recognize that circumstances vary, and both bits of advice apply at different times.
    .
    This post discusses many people being killed by fanatical Christians who are obsessed with other people’s sexual behavior. Surely in this carnage there are “innocent (born not gay) people dying and suffering as well as the guilty (people born gay).. Kevin even specified Fundamentalists rather than Christians in general. Allow me to paraphrase him (and forgive me Kevin if I get it wrong.): “Internet outrage by Fundametnalist Christians at abortion is rampant, but strangely absent in the face of genocide, witch hunts, gay murders and tortures, etc. Why?”
    .
    Not as pithy, though, nor much of a sly reference to their attempts to redefine “Child”.

  28. says

    Look, here is the bottom line in my opinion. “Fundamentalists care only for the pre-born” is a stupid–in fact a horribly stupid comment– and should be called out as such by people of all stripes. It is not only stupid because it is a gross generalization–it is stupid in general. That excuse that “language is imprecise” is bogus. I understand that language is imprecise. “Fundamentalists care only for the pre-born”, standing on its own–with all allowances for language imprecision, is a dumbass thing to say, period. I can provide equivalently stupid canards about any group including atheists. And if I read or hear a Christian make a similarly stupid statement about atheists or Muslims, I call them out on it. I detect a lack of criticizing the manifest stupidity of “Fundamentalists care only for the pre-born” because of the target. I don’t think similar contentless assertions of favored groups would be given a “get-out-of-jail-free card.” And in questioning it, I’m the one asked for data. That’s just doubling down on the stupid.

    If I were the most hard-core pro-choice atheist I’d like to think I’d say: “That’s dumb. I wish you weren’t on my side of the debate.” And it wouldn’t be tone-trolling–if you want to say something that has content go ahead.

  29. Michael Heath says

    heddle writes:

    Look, here is the bottom line in my opinion. “Fundamentalists care only for the pre-born” is a stupid–in fact a horribly stupid comment– and should be called out as such by people of all stripes.

    I concur. I also regret not pointing this out earlier in the thread.

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