I Had Hope For The World- Then This Happened……

Posted on July 2, 2012. Filed under: Abortion, Atheist Ethics, Parenting, Personal, Politics, Pro-Choice, Pro-Life, Religion, Science, Social Justice |

The Catholic Church wants to party like it’s 1399.  Seriously.

There is a new ad campaign launched by a Catholic blogger that wants to make birth control “like,

Yes, HYSTERICAL- and by “hysterical” I mean an attitude causing a disturbance of the uterus

so lame” to the hip, impressionable young Catholics (and your kids, too!) out there.

Speaking as a parent, this is infuriating.  Speaking as a humanist, it is disappointing.  Speaking as a skeptic, it is indefensibly dishonest.

Here’s the scoop, from Claudia at Friendly Atheist:

Fellow Patheos blogger Marc Barnes over at Bad Catholic has realized why the Catholic mandate against contraception enjoys such pitiful support amongst American women.

It’s not because it’s an archaic, unrealistic standard that turns couples — and particularly women — into slaves of their own biology despite the existence of readily available alternatives. The actual problem is that it hasn’t been sold in a sufficiently attractive package.

Enter the new website 1Flesh, which seeks to sell 19th century ideas (12th? 1st?) in a 21st century package, Facebook page and all. According to Barnes, its purpose is “documenting the silliness that is artificial contraception, a grassroots movement promoting great, natural sex to the entire universe.” He then cites a list of “facts” that range from outright false to outrageously misleading.

Read on….

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What’s That? You Thought “Pro-Life” Meant Concern For The Unborn?

Posted on March 16, 2012. Filed under: Abortion, Atheism, Atheist Ethics, Pro-Choice, Pro-Life, Religion |

Many atheists I know, myself included, will from time to time express some empathy for the absract goals of the pro-life movement. 

  • They are trying to save lives, right?
  • Their “value judgement” is noble, if myopic.
  • The ultimate goal of a “pro-life” advocate is not entirely dissimilar to many pro-choice proponents.

I have at one time or another defended all three of these propositions.  What makes them true is that “the primacy of life” is a good thing to value.  Unfortunately for the greater “Pro-Life” movement, valuing life (and the primacy of it) is far from a forgone conclusion.

Surely there are those within the pro-life movement who think that the debate is only about the lives of unborn children.  There must exist those people.

Ahh, to be young and innocent….

Don’t be fooled though.  For the vast majority of pro-life supporters abortion is just one more extension of a religious culture war.  Do they support contraception? Not always.  Do they support social programs aimed at making pregnancy feasable for underpriveledged women?  Not necessarily.  Do they support arming women (and men) with the knowledge necessary to make informed decisions about their sexual health?  Rarely. 

If you are not against unwanted pregnancy then you are not pro-life.  You are anti-abortion.

It becomes even harder for me to believe that the real issue is the ultimate primacy of life if the lives you are so desperate to save are tools to forward a religious agenda.

I submit for your examination this “pro-life” article that appears on “LifeNews”, a “pro-life” website. The article is titled “Godless and ‘Pro-Choice’- So Happy Together For Abortion“, and as you can imagine, it is a clear and moving defense of the lives of unborn children.  Note how central the life of the unborn is to the authors argument.  Note  how the author puts the “priceless lives of children” above any kind of alternative agenda.  An excerpt:

Godless. Apparently, it’s a growing trend these days. In the 60s, America was fighting godless racism within our borders and godless Communism overseas. We were also fighting a godless, drug-filled, narcissistic sexual revolution refusing to accept transcendent morality, that found a leader in famed atheist, Madalyn Murray O’Hair.

As an attorney, she led a public crusade against what she regarded as society’s most potent evil—prayer. In the 1963 case of Murray vs. Curlett, she successfully convinced the Supreme Court to ban prayer from public schools. That’s not where the story ends. She spawned a movement that would get publicity like never before, thanks to her provocative obscenity-laced PR, and a media establishment that was growing more antagonistic toward religion. She founded American Atheists, an organization hell-bent on proclaiming God doesn’t exist.

Wait a second!  I didn’t read anything in there about unborn children, let alone how valuable they were.  Maybe I need to scroll down some…..

 We are a country, contrary to many atheists’ historical impairment, founded upon biblical principles that are infused throughout many founding fathers’ writings, including the Declaration of Independence. The AHA’s Humanist Manifesto I and II attempt to excise our country’s Judeo-Christian underpinnings and replace them with their recycled religion of humanism.

Advisory: No babies have been mentioned in the making of this message. 

Planned Parenthood’s history and present is rife with animosity toward Christianity unless the abortion giant can use religious folk to justify the mutilation of human life. American Atheists and the AHA believe that modernity is better served without religion. In fact, the AHA’s motto is “Good Without A God”.

No thanks. I’m an advocate for the marriage of reason and faith in a world where moral absolutes still exist.

Fun fact:  In the French language the words “reason” and “faith” are both feminine.  So at least this guy is for same-sex marriage….

 if only rhetorically. 





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The Problem With The Abortion Debate Pt. 2: The Hopeless Analogy.

Posted on August 3, 2011. Filed under: Abortion, Atheism, Atheist Ethics, Personal, Politics, Pro-Choice, Pro-Life, Religion, Social Justice |

This is a continuation of my thoughts on the abortion debate.  Part 1 can be found here.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of analogy.  I use analogies with great frequency, they are integral to my communication style.  The question is- Why do we use analogies at all?  I use them for clarity-to show the extension of my logic or the logic of others onto similar circumstances that might help elucidate my position (or theirs) on an issue.  But what happens when analogies go wrong?  There is no such thing as a perfect analogy, but some are definitely worse than others.

Sometimes analogies betray the reason why we can’t reasonably discuss a topic…..

Whether intentional or not, the analogies that I am encountering to argue against my position on abortion are misleading.  I say intentional or not because I am unsure whether they are crafted to purposely leave aside the point I’m driving at or if they betray the fact that the person I am speaking with has no real understanding of the topic at hand.

There is no other topic that I can think of that has as many interrelated interests and nuances, as many divergent definitions and concepts as abortion.  As such, this is not a discussion that lends itself to analogy- there simply are no analogies that suffice.  Yet the battlefield is littered with them, and each side feels they have won on the contingency of their analogy.  Each one feels they have won by exposing the fault of the opposing analogy.  Ultimately, what gets lost is a real understanding of the issue at hand.

Let’s start with the most common analogy I have encountered thus far. Spousal abuse.  The analogy goes that spousal abuse is wrong, we all agree to this.  I agree(though many pro-choice advocates do not ) that abortion is inherently wrong.  So why do I support laws that make spousal abuse illegal and not laws that make abortion illegal?

Let’s begin on those points I think are obvious enough.  We have (at least in Canada, perhaps America takes a more “the act is illegal, what more do you want?” approach) an entire infrastructure surrounding the protection of women from abuse.  We have Women’s Shelters, we have support networks, we have financial support, we have child services, we have legal protections- an entire network that takes away the most pressing concerns for a woman contemplating leaving their husband and reporting abuse.  As John Barron points out, we do this because women are worthy of being protected.  So why do we not offer infrastructure to take away the most pressing concerns of a pregnant woman contemplating abortion?  Are those children not worthy of being protected?  Are they only worthy enough of laws that protect society from perceived culpability in the immoral act- but not laws and policies that proactively seek to protect the victim?  Why the double standard?

So why not support both laws preventing abortion in tandem with policies designed to reduce the incidence of them?

Well, there is the matter of where the spousal abuse analogy falls apart.  Does an abusive husband’s abuse constitute some competing moral good?  Well, not that I am aware.  Does a woman’s choice to abort constitute a competing moral good?  If we value control over her body, true social equity with men, and personal liberty- then yes.  So our comparison falls apart unless we entirely set aside the unique issues that face a pregnant woman.  I don’t really care if you decide to value “the primacy of life” over these other considerations- so long as you acknowledge that there are other moral considerations.

If you realize that they exist, then perhaps you might begin by guaranteeing the financial and medical stability of the other human life involved, as well as the one you hold so dear.  Perhaps you might like to make laws that give some similar burden on the other 50% of the DNA donated at conception (and I mean meaningful, not just “yes, yes, he needs to give a token child support payment”).   That would be a good start.  If we did these things, I’m still not convinced that abortion should be illegal- but I can concede that I would find reasonable limitations on abortions more palatable.

So my offer is this:  Give me one worthwhile analogy that exposes the fault of my pro-choice stand.  Give me good reason to doubt that I’m holding to a reasonable position.  Every time you give me an analogy that ignores the bulk of the reasons to protect the right to choose at the expense of the very good reason to deny it, you tell me that you are either not listening or don’t understand…or worse still- you are committed to disingenuous dialogue.

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The Problem With The Abortion Debate

Posted on July 28, 2011. Filed under: Abortion, Atheism, Atheist Ethics, Canadian Politics, Internet Etiquette, Politics, Pro-Choice, Pro-Life, Religion, Social Justice |

Ed.-Read Pt.2 of The Problem With The Abortion Debate here.

Perhaps it is that me and my beautiful wife are going to be welcoming another member to our already large family this December (#5- if you’re counting)-lately I have been really getting annoyed with the tone of the debate over abortion.  There are the “pro-life” people- forever calling people who disagree “anti-life”, “pro-abortion”, “abortion advocates”, and the like.  There are those on the “pro-choice” side forever bringing up abortion clinic bombings as though every “pro-lifer” is a domestic terrorist– or the constant and droning use of the term misogynist at the drop of a hat.

There are words flying across both sides of the fence that make any reasonable treatment of the topic impossible.  It boils down to two very important and very reasonable positions.  On the one hand, we have the pro-choice camp who believe women need to have ultimate control over their bodies and be given the same opportunities as men.  This seems quite reasonable.  On the other side of the fence lies a group of people who believe in the primacy of existence- that once you create life there is no return policy.  Quite reasonable as well.  Both miss the point when boiled down to this kind of generalization.  Both miss the point when staring down the opposing position.

As  a Pro-Choice advocate, I am most familiar with what frustrates me when trying to explain my

This Graphic: Kind of True....Not Very Helpful.

position to people who have a laundry list of preconceptions, misleading talking points and bad logic regarding what it means to be an “abortion advocate”.  I know some Pro-Life people, and I can sympathize with their feeling that they are generalized and marginalized as well.  This post is meant as a treatment of what frustrates me most when discussing abortion- how I feel that my position is mistreated and misunderstood by the Pro-Life camp.  They surely feel the same, and I’m happy to make room for that conversation as well.

Conversation stopper #1:”You are anti-life”


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