Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The A word, revisited

I don't know that I have much to say about this subject that hasn't been said before, but Rudy Giuliani's travails with the so-called "Christian" evangelical movement have made it once again timely. Greg Sargent commits the bizarre sepuku of calling these people "pro-family" leaders, but whatever they are, it's obviously bad news for a would-be Republic Party candidate that James Dobson and his co-conspirators say they will refuse to vote for any candidate who does not pledge "himself or herself to the sanctity of human life."

Of course, these people despise human life. One of their followers is the founder and president of Blackwater USA (corporate motto: Who Would Jesus Massacre) and their favorite Big Government projects of late are invading Iraq and bombing Iran. Meanwhile, they couldn't give a stale communion wafer about sick and dying children in poor countries, or right here in the US of A where God's Representative on Earth has just vetoed a bipartisan effort to provide health care to kids whose families can't afford it.

The entities to which they impute "sanctity" are not human beings, but anything that's kind of like a human being, in having human DNA, but is otherwise unlike what most of us think of us being human in having no ability to survive independently, and no consciousness. And where do they get the idea that lives of microscopic balls of cells, fetuses with unformed cerebral cortexes, and former humans whose cortexes have been destroyed, are somehow "sacred"? They obviously don't get it from the Bible. There is not one word about abortion anywhere in the Bible, Old Testament or New, even though abortion, and for that matter infanticide, were widely practiced in the Biblical world. For that matter, the Bible certainly does not put forth any concept of the "sanctity of life." The Hebrews are commanded at various times to slaughter people, steal their land, rape their women, and enslave their children. God himself massacres innocent children in Egypt and elsewhere. God commands the Hebrews to stone a man to death for gathering sticks on the sabbath.

And of course, the Bible could not possibly assert that "life begins at conception" because people in Biblical times didn't have the slightest idea what conception was or how fetuses developed. In fact, if you believe in God, then you also have to believe that God is the most prolific abortionist in history, by many orders of magnitude, because something like 2/3 of "human lives" -- the zygotes created at the moment of conception -- never successfully develop. Most of the time, the woman is not even aware that she was ever pregnant. If abortion is murder, this is the death of tens of millions of innocent children every year. Should it not be the absolutely highest priority of medical research to save those babies' lives? But you never hear a peep from these people about it.

Christian prohibition of abortion is an entirely modern phenomenon, dating at its very earliest to the late 19th Century. And what happened at that time to suddenly provoke the concern of the Pope? It wasn't any scientific discovery -- understanding of the nature of conception and the zygote did not come until about 100 years later. No, what got the Christian fathers riled up was the women's movement. The idea that sex could be uncoupled from reproduction, or that women could choose not to become mothers, was appalling to the (putatively) celibate old men who ran the Catholic Church, and later to the Evangelical "Christian" conservatives who share their views on the semi-human status of women, although they otherwise think Catholics are heretics who God intends to torture for all eternity. And vice versa.

The reason I bring all this up, although you already know it, is because nobody in public life seems willing to take this issue on at the fundamental level of morality and logic. The most assertive anyone is willing to be about it, including NARAL, is to say that people differ in their views of the morality of abortion and that the law should not impose one view on everyone. I say it's time to get serious about this and expose the hypocrisy and fundamentally nonsensical basis of "pro-life" activism. Answer these lying bigots who would lead the world back into darkness. Explain to people why their views and public discourse makes no sense. Reveal their true agenda, to oppress women and for that matter all of humankind. To rule the world through terror and deceit.

Not a damn thing Christian about them.

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