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Gay Marriage, Abortion, and Open Mindedness

Abortion and gay marriageSenator Rob Portman (R-OH) now supports same-sex marriage, a reversal he recently made public. What caused the turnaround was his son coming out as gay two years ago.

Portman’s record against homosexual issues was pretty consistent. He voted for the Defense of Marriage Act, he supported the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, and he voted to prohibit gay couples in Washington, DC from adopting.

He said about his change of heart:

What happened to me is really personal. I mean, I hadn’t thought a lot about this issue. Again, my focus has been on other issues over my public policy career.

Dick Cheney had been a closet supporter of gay marriage for years because of his lesbian daughter but in 2009 he also came out on the issue.

Why the delay? Republicans are hesitant to do the right thing on gay marriage because it’s politically inconvenient? Since when do you put what’s best for the party in front of what’s best? Still, they have company. I’m sure that was behind the Catholic Church pedophilia cover up—doing what’s right for individuals took a back seat to what was best for the Church. But that’s a side issue. It’s a step forward, and let’s celebrate politicians who take a potentially unpopular stand.

Imagining it vs. living it.

Here’s my question. I see that having a relative makes the issue one you can’t just push away, but why does it take that? Isn’t one of humanity’s super powers the ability to imagine themselves in new situations? Why couldn’t Portman or Cheney speculate, “Gee, what if this issue hit me directly? What if my own child was homosexual? Would I still not budge on ‘traditional marriage’?”

The tide has turned, and many conservative legislators who are now against same-sex marriage will change their minds in the next decade, but why must it take so long? Why can’t they mentally put themselves in Portman’s position and change their minds next week? (And when they finally do change, will they think back on Portman’s example and wonder why it took them so long?)

I guess it’s harder than it looks. Speculating about something must be a poor substitute for it actually happening, and Portman and Cheney would probably still hold their old positions if not for the push from their children.

How does this apply to abortion?

Let’s broaden this observation. One of my recent posts on abortion received nearly 1000 comments, and I argued there with several pro-life advocates. I’m guessing they were older men (related post: Why is it always men advancing the pro-life position?). Their positions were pretty simple: a fetus is a human life, and it’s just wrong to kill a human. That’s it—no nuance, no exceptions, no consideration for the harm of not having an abortion. And why should there be? It’s murder—end of story.

It seems to me that these antagonists are like the pre-enlightenment Portman or Cheney. They’re smart, and they can marshal arguments to support their position. And their position isn’t insane—abortion does kill a fetus.

It’s the tunnel vision that’s the problem. Let’s broaden the view, Senator Portman, and imagine that your own son were gay. Let’s broaden the view, Mr. Pro-Life, and imagine that your own 15-year-old daughter had an unwanted pregnancy. All the plans that you and your wife have for your daughter—graduating from high school, then college, and then a satisfying career and a family—are in jeopardy. How much school will she miss? What teams or clubs must she withdraw from? What commitments will she have to cancel for decorum or out of embarrassment?

It will be an enormous bump in the road if she places the child for adoption. But girls in that situation almost never do—just two percent of premarital births in the U.S. are placed for adoption. Now we’re talking about, not a bump in the road, but a fork to a completely different life, a life with her as a 16-year-old single mom living at home trying to make a life from the constrained options available.

Problem one is that Mr. Pro-Life can’t put himself in this situation, or at least can’t do it successfully. Imagining it is a poor substitute for actually hearing his daughter sobbing in her room and finding out what the problem is.

Problem two is where the lesson from Sen. Portman fails. Portman understands that he can’t make his son un-gay, but Mr. Pro-Life can encourage his daughter to become un-pregnant. He could cite extenuating circumstances in his situation, take care of the problem, and then return to his pro-life dogmatism.

We see this situation in the stories of women picketers of abortion clinics who, being human, have their own unwanted pregnancies. Or their daughters do. They’ll slip in the back door, have the abortion, and then be back on the picket lines days later. When asked about the hypocrisy, they say that other women are sluts. They, by contrast, had a good excuse.

For this reason, pro-lifers may never be able to understand the difficulty facing the nearly one million American women who choose abortion each year. And perhaps we will never have a reasoned conversation on this divisive issue.

I was always looking outside myself
for strength and confidence,
but it comes from within.
It is there all the time.
— Anna Freud

Photo credit: Cafepress

About Bob Seidensticker
  • Niemand

    It will be an enormous bump in the road if she places the child for adoption.

    It won’t be a “bump”. It will be a fork either way. There isn’t a lot of literature on the effects of placing a child for adoption on birth mothers, but that which there is suggests that it has a devastating effect on their mental and physical health. A review of the subject. That’s assuming that the pregnancy doesn’t give her diabetes or hypertension or cause her to have a stroke or go blind or simply kill her.

    Being pregnant and having an abortion at 8 weeks is a bump. Raising a child is a fork. Placing a child for adoption is a fork where you take the short tine. Don’t underestimate the damage that placing a child for adoption can and does do to a woman or girl.

  • Richard S. Russell

    It isn’t just gay marriage or abortion, either. I’m continually struck by the number of people who are convinced that homeless people are just shiftless bums or the elderly are worthless drains on society. Some people just seem to be born with reduced capacity for empathy.

    I suppose we shouldn’t be unduly surprised. A million years of evolution conditioned us to think of human beings that we hadn’t known personally from birth (that is, our own tribe of 20-60 hominids) as likely enemies, or at least rivals for our own ecological niche of scarce resources. Indeed, it may be a wonder of civilization that we’re able to tolerate strangers at all, let alone look forward to meeting them.

  • Niemand

    I’ll give Senator Portman credit for managing to reflect and change his mind when he did find out that his son was gay. There are plenty of people who would have rejected their son instead. Teens who come out to their parents or whose parents find out that they’re gay accidentally are at risk of being thrown out of their homes.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Niemand:

      Agreed. Any politician who does an about-face and bucked his party’s stand has taken a bold step for what, at least in their mind, is the right action.

  • http://nw-politics.blogspot.com/?spref=fb Virginia Fitzpatrick

    I don’t know but I have always wonder if there are ulterior motivations for punishing abortion (rather than preventing unwanted pregnancies) than just protecting the fetus. The hypocritical picketers increase my suspicion.

    • Kodie

      I may be overly sensitive to the clues, but I would say and have said this is about supplying white babies to adoptive Christian parents. All signs (from cutting welfare to opposing marriage equality) point to their position to hoard as many infants as they can. None of their arguments really go together. At once, they would argue that women just would love their baby if they had it and wouldn’t trade the experience, and then turn around and call it a consequence they have to live with. Nobody wants to pay to feed and clothe these sacred children, nor prevent them from being born, and they sure have a problem being in competition by legitimizing marriage between partners of the same sex; should people get the right to marry, no one can contend they are unfit parents on the basis of their “sin”. Shaming women is not the goal here, it’s a strategy. I can’t help but think lately that they fully expect women to have sex and have no intention of actually stopping it. Making an unmarried pregnancy easy to get (no birth control info or access) and as impossible to undo as they can make it, and as impossible to support financially as they can make it, what options are left for a lady in trouble? It seems like they have orchestrated a great social trap. Not only that, but their huge propaganda machine puts adoption on a pedestal as the greatest loving gesture a young woman can give her child – a family who can take care of it. There are no other options but adoption isn’t, like, well what else are you gonna do, it’s not the lesser of three tragedies; it’s the ONLY option, and it’s AWESOME.

      • Virginia Fitzpatrick

        Sounds like a concerted effort to make women into baby factories. But if they only want white babies, why deny non-white women access to sex education, birth control, etc. In my darker moments I imagine the far Right social policies to be a conspiracy by the very upper class to provide themselves with a continuous supply of cheap labor and cannon fodder.

        • Kodie

          They don’t actually care about babies or children living in poverty or whatever. Healthy white newborns are rare to adopt and take a long time to wait for. I don’t think they can obviously come right out and say it. If they make their goals known, then I don’t even think a lot of Christians would be on board forwarding their propaganda, their illogical scheme of arguments that do not make coherent sense. They can’t come right out and say to women, without being susceptible to scrutiny, non-white women or white women pregnant with biracial fetuses need not apply. They will be sorted, but not in a way that people would compare their experience with other women.

        • Virginia Fitzpatrick

          Kodie – you may be right – but I would rather go into denial that white women are being used this way. It would be better for the country to become darker skinned. However, most African Americans I know want to plan their families also. Teenage pregnancies among Asians if relatively low in this country. What is their secret?

      • Bob Seidensticker

        Kodie: But almost no one puts up their baby for adoption. If the goal is a baby machine, it’s failing.

        • Virginia Fitzpatrick

          Bob: If Kodie is right about the goal of white adoption, that would explain why they are anxious to cut off social services.

          When I was young, adoption was common and out of wedlock pregnancies less so among whites. I only vaguely know why that has changed.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Virginia: 2% of premarital women who have their babies give them up. Years ago, it was 4%. I don’t think it was super common (maybe decades ago?).

        • Virginia Fitzpatrick

          I am talking about the 1950s. There was a huge stigma to having an out of wed lock baby so it was common to be sent out of town during the pregnancy then the child was given up for adoption or there was a shotgun marriage and the new couple lived in the basement.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Virginia:

          You could be right, but I’d encourage you to research the stats before you take this point much farther. The rate is basically 0% right now, so I’d be surprised if it was more than 50% (say) in the 50s. Here’s one place to get started (though their stats may only be current ones).

        • Virginia Fitzpatrick

          According to “The Adoption History Project” at the University of Oregon:
          “A total of approximately 125,000 children have been adopted annually in the United States in recent years, a sharp drop since the century-long high point of 175,000 adoptions in 1970.”
          http://pages.uoregon.edu/adoption/topics/adoptionstatistics.htm

          (Now back to writing my own blog on Food Distribution in Skagit County).
          Obviously I haven’t figured out how to create indented quotes and links on the blog?

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Virginia:

          OK, thanks for the historical perspective.

          Obviously I haven’t figured out how to create indented quotes and links on the blog?

          I wrote a summary of how to do that here.

        • Kodie

          If they can get someone to a crisis pregnancy center, then they are halfway there. I’m sure they are not getting all the babies they need to supply, but they are getting more than they would have. When I read accounts of what happens there, I started to understand what I think is a larger pattern. They start with the simple idea that a pregnant woman who is fraught with the choice of having to get an abortion because they want to find some way to keep their baby can be manipulated in the first stages to believe that is possible. A woman with no other support system for herself and the child she would like to raise will find kindness there. Later, they turn on her and break down her resolve as reality sets in. She will never be able to afford it and she has no one to help her. Christian couples are not kindly doing anything for the woman or the child she cannot afford to take care of. If they find out the father is not white, you are on your own. These places do not seek to save “lives” or “souls”, or keep a child with its mother if that is her choice.

          Also, in nearly every abortion debate I’ve gotten involved in, forced-birth proponents will say adoption is so kind and the best. If you are being realistic, it very well may be one better way to go. I do not think there is anything wrong with getting an abortion, and many women do not either. But even if there is nothing wrong with it, anti-abortion people will make up lies about it, and that there’s something you have to make sure, you have to wait and make sure because you can’t undo an abortion. You can’t undo a pregnancy if you wait too long either. I said this last time, adoption to me is abortion Plan Z. You have waited too long to get an abortion. Anti-abortion people will lift up adoption as a great idea, a loving choice. They will not say that is something you have to spend a long time thinking about. It’s not something you can undo. But past a certain point, if you are being realistic, while before a certain point if you are being realistic, abortion is ok. If you are being realistic later on, if you had to wait and think about what you should do, and you can’t afford the time or money to raise a child right now, it has to go somewhere. The last time this came up, someone even said there weren’t enough babies to adopt and people who choose abortion were depriving the world of infants to adopt. That is true. Few women choose adoption, and there is a shortage – if you are on the end that wants a baby to adopt, there is a shortage of the right age and color. Still, they do what they can to increase the supply. They don’t really expect anyone to stop having sex and they are not paying for people not to get pregnant.

        • Virginia Fitzpatrick

          Kodie – your theories about adoption are very disturbing. It would explain why Santorum and others are starting to test the waters about prohibiting contraception. On her MSNBC morning talk show about a month ago Melissa Harris Perry claimed that the pro-life movement was a program to increase the white population. I have a hard time accepting that people could be that rabid about race, but to find the truth, one must avoid both paranoia and denial.

        • smrnda

          Given that a lot of anti-contraception people explicitly state concern about *who* happens to be reproducing more, it’s definitely a perspective with its share of racists.

        • Kodie

          I am just making an observation based on what I know:

          1. They block birth control
          2. They stigmatize unmarried sexual activity. If a pregnancy or child is a complaint for you, then you should have thought about the consequences. This seems awfully bitter.
          2a. They do not want to help people who “choose life” to pay for the consequences.
          3. They make believe that abortion is about saving lives.
          4. See 2a: They do not care about their lives. See 3. They only care about fetuses.
          5. They run all the crisis pregnancy centers. I have read disgusting stories of what goes on there. Under the protection of their religion (remember most people think religion is benign and charitable), I think a lot of people have the wrong idea what happens. For example, if you were confronted by people who believe abortion is wrong, the crisis pregnancy centers seem to have at least put their money where their mouth is and help women in need who would like to choose to keep their pregnancies to term who would otherwise abort.
          6. I have never heard a single anti-choice person say a bad thing about adoption and what should happen to the woman in that case. Again, they believe abortion will devastate a woman – that is one of their arguments that they pretend to be pro-women – but having a child or putting it up for adoption is “something she should have thought about earlier” if those consequences are disturbing. They glorify adoption.
          7. The sorting process – orphanages are full of non-white babies and children older than many people desire to adopt. I don’t hear a lot of anti-choice people worried about those children. They only care about fetuses, and they have to pretend to care about all fetuses.
          7a. They also care apparently about what people will say. Why not adopt a different child you might have to explain to people? Why not adopt a child who you may have to explain to him or her? Some might do, but I don’t think that is the popular option. What this says to me, despite all their enthusiasm for adoption, is that adoption does carry a stigma. If people can tell your children were not made by you, it might create awkward situations, and that you might care to avoid. They just prefer their children match and avoid stares and gossip. That is a racist attitude, but I would qualify a difference in personal taste from being a coward. It says to me that adoption is not ideal for the adoptive parents unless they can fool people, and that’s a problem of another kind that nobody is really addressing, certainly not the anti-abortioners who keep telling everyone that putting your baby up for adoption and giving it to a loving couple who have the means to care for it is the best “choice”. They care little what happens to babies who aren’t adopted or mothers who don’t really like that choice but got backed into a corner.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Virginia:

          It would explain why Santorum and others are starting to test the waters about prohibiting contraception.

          Let’s not get too paranoid. Support for abortion has never been higher in the US (source).

        • Virginia Fitzpatrick

          Every day I change my mind on how paranoid I will be. There is nothing you can do to stop me from being paranoid (and sad) this week. My daughter was robbed of all her furniture last Friday. The police have put the robber in jail – a young unwed mother with a boyfriend who beats her. The police were kind and helpful to my daughter. I have long thoughts about the mother. It makes this blog’s whole discussion about childbearing more urgent.

          I am just puzzled about how polls show public opinion favoring one direction (abortion, gun control, job creation) , while our legislatures go in the other direction. One common answer is the influence of money but I can still ask question about that too.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Virginia:

          I’m sorry to hear about your family’s bad luck. I’m not trying to be a Pollyanna about society’s ills.

        • Virginia Fitzpatrick

          If you were pollyannish about society’s ills, you would not be so patiently adamant about religion leading us astray.

  • http://avoiceinthewilderness-mcc1789.blogspot.com Michael

    Virginia, as many people have pointed out, if the real issue was opposition to abortion, opposing birth control, sex education or welfare makes no sense. Unless, at least subconsciously, the distaste is really for women having sex outside marriage and taking control of their reproduction, with the rest deriving from that. Some opponents are open about this.

    • Virginia Fitzpatrick

      Well of course, why in the world did I not think of that. However, I think they apply the abortion prohibition to married women too.

      I think the Mormons had the best program for lessening wanton sex i.e they turned their temples into basketball courts during the week and kept the guys too busy or tired to do anything else. I like watching men in motion more than being still – so the basketball probably kept the ladies amused at a safe distance.

      • http://avoiceinthewilderness-mcc1789.blogspot.com Michael

        Well yes, they apply it to all women, but their ire seems especially focused on the unmarried. They do not bring up the fact that married women make up many of the abortions. In many cases, they already have children, and can’t or don’t feel able to care for more. One then sees why they don’t bring it up that much-the welfare part again. If people were truly “single-issue” anti-abortion, they would focus on contraception, sex education and welfare, resulting in fewer unwanted pregnancies, thus abortions.

        • Virginia Fitzpatrick

          WA state still supports planned parenthood because they have found it saves the a lot of money in social services. From what I read in the headlines, Texas is now learning that the hard way.

      • JohnH

        The chapels are the ones that have basketball courts, temples are something else entirely and never have basketball courts. Chapels can be used for a very wide range of activities including community activities that have nothing to do with the church upon approval of the local church. Temples are the house of God and are used solely in the performing of sacred ordinances, and are a lot rarer then chapels.

        Furthermore while we do have a very strong prohibition against sex outside of marriage and are not in favor of abortions (except in cases of rape, incest, endangering the life of the mother) we believe the issue of contraception in marriage is between the couple and God, and sex education is between the parents and the child. The church is not in favor of government sponsored welfare as we believe it creates a culture of dependency and lessens the self esteem of recipients, but we do have our own welfare system run by donations and volunteers which requires the recipient to do some work in order to receive the benefit (based on the determination of the local bishop).

        • Virginia Fitzpatrick

          Thank you for the clarification. In the Congregational church in which my parents raised me, the Chapel was for worship and then we had a multipurpose room for community activities which often included teen dances chaperoned by a least 4 adults – so no drinking or funny business. So I was confused about Mormon structures. Rumor has it that teen parties have changed since then? For the most part the mormon and Congregational standards seem similar with regard to what you listed – although I don’t know the Congregational Church’s current stand on abortion. Has the mormon church been successful in keeping teen and out of wedlock pregnancies below the national average?

          As for welfare – I read a book about the Medici family in the 13th century published by the Harvard School of business. Although the Medici made most of their fortune off of currency trading they maintained a wool manufacturing empire for the purpose of providing employment for their countrymen. The wool company broke about even. It is a great example of secular benevolence for our age which seems to worship maximizing profits no matter what it does to the community.

        • JohnH

          Mormons don’t drink in the first place and dances are always well chaperoned when held in the chapel.

          Utah has the fewest single parent families by percentage, Idaho is a close second. In terms of out of wedlock births Utah is the only state in the teens and Idaho is #3. Both are good proxies for the LDS population in general, especially when they agree on a statistic. Given that the average age of first marriage in Utah is 21 for females (possibly 22 now) there is a slight skewing of the teen rates with the inclusion of births by married mothers ages 18-19, but it is still well below the national average.

        • Virginia Fitzpatrick

          That is a significant accomplishment by the Mormon community. I would not be surprised if that lowered legal and once illegal abortion rates among Mormons.

        • http://avoiceinthewilderness-mcc1789.blogspot.com Michael

          There are completely selfish reasons for their actions too. In those days the Medicis were constantly struggling for power both in and outside Florence. Being generous thus insured loyalty from their countrymen which they dearly needed.

        • Virginia Fitzpatrick

          So why are the captains of industry not more generous to the proletariate in this country. Is our democracy is so weak we don’t have as much power as our medieval counterparts or are our captains so blinded by profit they are unaware that generosity is in their long term self interest?

        • Virginia Fitzpatrick

          So why are the captains of industry not more generous to the proletariate in this country. Is our democracy is so weak we don’t have as much power as our medieval counterparts or are our captains so blinded by short term profit they are unaware that generosity is in their long term self interest?

        • http://avoiceinthewilderness-mcc1789.blogspot.com Michael

          We have to remember not all of them are that way-one such is Warren Buffett. As for why others don’t, my theory is that it’s because they’ve had it good for too long, at others’ expense. Short-term gains have blinded many captains of industry, as you said. Long term, it’s a dead-end strategy. Consumers need disposable income, which means jobs and less costs such as health care. Social safety nets were once advocated, even created by said captains of industry, because they knew all this. As Leo Tolstoy said in his Parable, the foolish farmer mistreats his cattle and works them too hard, the smart farmer takes care of them as it’s in his own interest. The cost in the long run would be less.

        • JohnH

          Michael,
          I think you are right; except it is largely investors that drive this. The stock market is set up as a very ruthless short term profit focusing engine; if a publicly traded company could make a penny more in a quarter by sacrificing first born children on idols with potential penalty being destruction of the earth by gods angered at the human sacrifice then we can be certain that most companies would quickly engage in the practice and the rest would get punished in terms of stock price for not engaging in it. The only part that is an exaggeration is that I think it would need to be more then a penny.

          That is, the shareholders are the farmer and instead of mistreating the cattle they slaughter them and sell the meat in order to maximize profits that quarter, with the intent of selling the inflated stock before the next quarter hits and the farm is revealed to be broke with no way of making money.

        • Kodie

          That is a significant accomplishment by the Mormon community. I would not be surprised if that lowered legal and once illegal abortion rates among Mormons.

          The downside is you have to be a Mormon.

          In all seriousness, this only matters if your goal is to lower the abortion rate at whatever cost. In this case, the cost is guilt and adherence to a cult’s rules in which there is such a thing that can be measured as “married mothers ages 18-19″. The same thing could be said of purity culture Christians, who think if everyone just did everything like they did it, the world would be perfect. They also probably don’t have a lot of abortions, because they have been indoctrinated against it, and against having sex unless married, which contributes to couples marrying young and bearing lots of children.

          There should not even be so much wrong with abortion, or sex, or birth control. If your only goal is to decrease abortions, premarital sex, teen pregnancy, or use of birth control, you pretty much have to get people on board with the strict rules of your club. In the real world, not a lot of people want that and don’t need that. Marriage is a primitive form of birth control in which pregnancy is nearly inevitable, so waiting to be provided for was all that matters. And to read accounts, that still seems to be the concept that holds these religions together.

        • Virginia Fitzpatrick

          Very few groups are purely good in their actions, we all need improvement. Still I think being involved with you children and keeping them out of trouble, as many Mormons do, is a good thing. That doesn’t mean you have to accept all their beliefs and join the organization. I am not Catholic by a long shot, but I appreciated the nuns who walked with me in Peace Marches. I also admired and donated to their efforts in creating children’s gardens in Philadelphia for kids who had fallen on hard times. They worked very hard and cheerfully and never asked me if I believed in God. They just thanked me for my help. There is a Mormon woman here in Stanwood who has helped me campaign for local candidates ( often Lutheran) who would improve our government. The candidates did not give me a religion test and I will do likewise. Queen Elizabeth the First is famous for saying she will not judge peoples beliefs – just their deeds because she herself barely escaped religious persecution.

        • http://avoiceinthewilderness-mcc1789.blogspot.com Michael

          Well she was a hypocrite then: Under Elizabeth I, it was a crime not to attend the Church of England services or harbor Catholic priests (to perform mass). The Act of Uniformity was among the first laws she had passed-hardly religious tolerance.

        • Virginia Fitzpatrick

          Yes, as long as you attended Church you were OK. Even today lots of non-believers attend church much to the consternation of the “true” believers. Elizabeth was a great improvement over her older sister “Bloody Mary” because she did not concern herself with investigating whether her subjects were “true ” believers. No mistake the Queen was a tyrant, but I prefer her to “democratically ” elected Dick Cheney.

        • http://avoiceinthewilderness-mcc1789.blogspot.com Michael

          True, Mary wasn’t called “Bloody” for nothing. One may say a lot about Cheney, but he didn’t force people to attend an established church, of hand, draw and quarter the priests of another. Good Queen Bess, on the other hand… Her wars against Ireland were also bad as or worse than his, I’d say. As for indefinite detention and “enhanced interrogation”, that was the rule not the exception for Tudor England.

        • Virginia Fitzpatrick

          I didn’t know she was fighting Ireland. I missed that. She kept send eager young dudes with a following of warriors off to France and then cutting off their funding. One historian criticized her lack of organization in doing that. HA. She did to get rid of local threats to her throne.

        • http://avoiceinthewilderness-mcc1789.blogspot.com Michael

          To be fair, they began prior to her reign. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tudor_conquest_of_Ireland

          Smart of her to get them away from England that way.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          JohnH: You’re concerned about dependency because of welfare. I share your concern. But you’re cool with welfare from the church? How does this make sense?

        • JohnH

          Bob,
          Reading comprehension is a good thing:

          “which requires the recipient to do some work in order to receive the benefit ”

          Meaning if you want to get food and clothing from the church it likely they will have you work at the cannery where some of the food is made, but that can change dependent on the circumstances. Also, the focus is on getting people into jobs by getting them the skills, experience, and education they need to get a job.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          JohnH:

          Thanks for your concern about my reading ability, though I’m not sure it’s relevant. I imagine that welfare varies by state, but I think that the focus of governmen assistance is probably also on getting the person off assistance and demanding that they learn the skills necessary to not need it again in the future.

        • JohnH

          Bob,
          Given that rent to own stores are a viable savings plan if one wishes to retain food, housing, and medical benefits from the government then not so much. As in if I wished to obtain those benefits I would have to spend down my savings and once on them I would not be able to have above a certain amount in savings; meaning the one of the few ways to “save” money would be by a negative interest rate in purchasing large consumer items. Then, as long as I didn’t make above a certain level every month, my family would have free health care, free housing, and free food (at triple our current grocery budget) indefinitely. In fact I know of a lot of people that think we are stupid for not spending down and doing that the last few years.

  • Rike

    My problem with Senator Portman is his religious reasoning. All these years he was against homosexuality because his religion forbids it. HIS religion. In my opinion, if your religion forbids something, then don’t do it. Don’t live a gay life if it’s against your beliefs. But don’t try to make the rest of the country live by your religious laws.
    Now all of a sudden, when his son turns out to be gay, Portman can read his same bible and find that homosexuality is allowed: we’re ALL god’s children. How come he couldn’t find that earlier?
    This is just another good indication that we should keep religion out of politics.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Rike:

      We should keep religion out of politics, but we can’t keep it out of decision making. Voters and senators could make decisions by flipping a coin if they wanted to … or listening to their religion muse. Maybe only social maturity will end this.

      But great point about the Bible being a sock puppet out of which you can read whatever you want.

  • http://www.hongkongudy.com Karl Udy

    Let’s broaden this observation. One of my recent posts on abortion received nearly 1000 comments, and I argued there with several pro-life advocates. I’m guessing they were older men (related post: Why is it always men advancing the pro-life position?). Their positions were pretty simple: a fetus is a human life, and it’s just wrong to kill a human. That’s it—no nuance, no exceptions, no consideration for the harm of not having an abortion. And why should there be? It’s murder—end of story.

    Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.

    There are plenty of women advancing the pro-life position. You can check out Megan Best (http://publicchristianity.org/library/life-and-faith-megan-best#.UUhUxtGSDms) and Madeleine Flannagan (http://www.mandm.org.nz/) for starters, but they’re by no means lone female voices.

    Secondly, I commented several times on the abortion post you mentioned, and you characterization does no justice at all to what I said. I’m sure there were some commenters who did comment as you describe. There were also some who were dogmatically pushing a point of view that if a woman wants an abortion then there can never be a reason that is good enough to deny her that option. There were those who lacked nuance and consideration on both sides, but to paint all pro-life as lacking nuance and a fair view of the situation, and by implication that pro-choice advocates have these things is an incredibly biased summary of the conversation.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Karl:

      There are plenty of women advancing the pro-life position.

      Agreed. That was hyperbole.

      you characterization does no justice at all to what I said.

      I had no intention of doing so. You weren’t who I had in mind.

      to paint all pro-life as lacking nuance and a fair view of the situation, and by implication that pro-choice advocates have these things is an incredibly biased summary of the conversation.

      I said “several pro-life advocates.” I think you’re reading more into it than was there.

      • http://www.hongkongudy.com Karl Udy

        I said “several pro-life advocates.” I think you’re reading more into it than was there.

        Maybe it was poor word choice on your part, but one would not guess there were pro-life people who did not argue the way your described from what you wrote.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Karl:

          What’s the deal? You’re normally a little more level headed.

          I said I was responding to several commenters, and that’s what I did. You weren’t one of them. I think you’re being oversensitive.

        • Kodie

          @Karl, there was at least one other guy and another one who showed up later (that I noticed) who were both not you, as well as a handful of others who may have started posting after you. To imagine a thread of almost 1000 posts and you might have posted 10 times there, tops 20, go read it and see other commenters that Bob might have been referring to. I can’t believe you think this is about something you might have said, although it’s not not about what you did say, since you did contribute, and I know I took some issue with some of your ideas.

          You are making a big deal about Bob generalizing the majority of posts of which you claim not to be represented and simply swept under the rug as the lone reasonable pro-life advocate?????? No, you are still not reasonable, but clearly you stopped posting before Wladyslaw set up camp.

        • http://www.hongkongudy.com Karl Udy

          Am I the lone reasonable pro-life advocate? I certainly don’t think so. But from what Bob wrote in his post you would think that they are all entrenched in a position which doesn’t allow for any nuance or complexity in the situation. Whether it was an intentional spin on the conversation or an oversight I honestly didn’t know. He said he didn’t intend it that way, and I can take his word for it, but it then means that what he wrote was very sloppily worded. Is it not level-headed to point out that something is badly written?

          Looking back I see that I didn’t actually post in that thread. I did make about 40 comments in the earlier post on abortion. But what’s interesting is looking back and seeing how many of the pro-life posters match this description:

          Their positions were pretty simple: a fetus is a human life, and it’s just wrong to kill a human. That’s it—no nuance, no exceptions, no consideration for the harm of not having an abortion. And why should there be? It’s murder—end of story.

          Just one.

          So, no, I’m not complaining that I’m the exception to the rule. I’m complaining that an exception has been made out to be the rule.

        • Kodie

          Your perspective is biased to believe your “nuanced” approach is how many think and few are unsubtle and fall into the gross generalization.

          Perhaps Bob should write an essay congratulating all the people opposing abortion how much thinking goes into their position. You’re still wrong, and you still did write a lot about how much you think women are forced to have abortions they don’t really want and not enough of them are sold on adoptions which you prefer and believe everyone should prefer. You do seem to fall into a category in which reason cannot get through, relying on your gut so much to tell you that there is no comparison between women who are forced to have abortions they’d rather not have and women who are forced to wait before they decide to have an abortion and then have little remedy for their condition besides adoption – a solution you still don’t seem to see a downside to. I still don’t understand what you think is so wrong about getting an abortion that you pretend that it’s about helping women make another decision. Being forced to wait when there’s nothing wrong with abortion is your preference. Being forced to think it over and over and over what she’s “really doing” before she makes the biggest mistake of her life! That is what you would choose and you see nothing horrific about ending up on that wrong choice, even if it means at the end, a woman has NO CHOICE but to hand over her child to adoptive parents. You are not as nuanced as you like to think you are. You do have a greater vocabulary than some of the other commenters.

        • http://www.hongkongudy.com Karl Udy

          Your perspective is biased to believe your “nuanced” approach is how many think and few are unsubtle and fall into the gross generalization.

          Kodie,
          Go back to either of the threads on abortion and check over all the pro-life commenters and fine one other than Wladislaw who matches:

          a fetus is a human life, and it’s just wrong to kill a human. That’s it—no nuance, no exceptions, no consideration for the harm of not having an abortion. And why should there be? It’s murder—end of story.

          They may not all agree with me on every issue (I’m sure they don’t), but you cannot say that their positions have no nuance and no exceptions, etc.

          Perhaps Bob should write an essay congratulating all the people opposing abortion how much thinking goes into their position.

          That would be quite nice for a change. Keep asking and he might just do that. :-)

          You’re still wrong

          Actually, I’m still right :-)

          you still did write a lot about how much you think women are forced to have abortions they don’t really want

          I said it happens, and I provided documentation

          not enough of them are sold on adoptions which you prefer and believe everyone should prefer

          The only situation I can think of where abortion would be preferable to adoption would be when continuing the pregnancy would endanger the mother’s life.

          And I seem to remember that I got some agreement on that point, from someone on the pro-choice side as well. (Not you of course ;-))

          relying on your gut so much to tell you that there is no comparison between women who are forced to have abortions they’d rather not have and women who are forced to wait before they decide to have an abortion and then have little remedy for their condition besides adoption – a solution you still don’t seem to see a downside to.

          There is a big difference between saying a solution is preferable and saying it is perfect.

          I still don’t understand what you think is so wrong about getting an abortion that you pretend that it’s about helping women make another decision.

          How can you say I’m pretending? Reality check: just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t mean they are being dishonest.

          Being forced to wait when there’s nothing wrong with abortion is your preference.

          Whether there is anything wrong with abortion is what is up for debate. Saying there is nothing wrong with abortion to support your case is classic “begging the question”.

          Being forced to think it over and over and over what she’s “really doing” before she makes the biggest mistake of her life!

          There are worse things that can happen to someone than giving birth.

          That is what you would choose and you see nothing horrific about ending up on that wrong choice, even if it means at the end, a woman has NO CHOICE but to hand over her child to adoptive parents.

          Is it a good situation for a woman to be in? By no means. If she is able and willing to raise the child herself then she should be free to choose that option. But I believe adoption is less dehumanizing to the woman than abortion.

          You are not as nuanced as you like to think you are.

          Maybe, maybe not, but without you knowing how nuanced I think I am, you’re not in a position to call it. In any case, you could not characterize me (or any of the other pro-life commenters here apart from Wladislaw) as having a position with no nuance and no exceptions.

          You do have a greater vocabulary than some of the other commenters.

          Damned with faint praise. Yippee!

          And finally …

          You do seem to fall into a category in which reason cannot get through

          This from someone who can hardly seem to write a post without either begging the question, resorting to ad hominem attacks, or setting up a straw man.

        • Kodie

          There is nothing wrong with abortion. You have failed to state even what you think is wrong with abortion. You think there is something wrong with it, and then only care about (or pretend as I call it) women because you can see no way they would choose this option if they knew how wrong it was, according to you. Therefore your sole concern is reaching through to them and give them the other options they don’t know they have. In doing so, you do not regard the SIMILAR problems where women are confronted with only one viable option: adoption. You think it’s fantastic and what women should want to do. Your goal here seems to be to ignore reality and pretend that adoption is all the greatness you think it is, and do not care about women. That’s why I call your concern about abortion “pretend”.

          Putting yourself back on topic instead of dwelling on the last topic and how you were unduly lumped in with actual pro-lifers’ un-nuanced arguments, your opinion lies apart from the situation in which your decision would have actual consequences. It’s just in theory for you, what you think is best. I have actually had an abortion. I was coerced to make that decision on a number of factors. You are talking about me and insulting my intelligence. I have actually had contact with a crisis pregnancy center. I did want to have the choice to keep my baby. I was deluded because that was impossible. Abortion remained my best option and I do not regret it, given what my next “Abortion Plan Z” would have been. Do not talk to me about “straw men” – this is my life. My family was going to disown me if I did not have an abortion. If they would rather have said it was my choice, their grandchild, that they would help me, that would have resulted in a different decision. But realistically, there is nothing wrong with abortion, and realistically, there is nothing wrong with the choice I made at that time. The embryo that got aborted was not a real child that I could feel and love and count on. It is a projection of a child with zero qualities.

          I would be far worse off now to have remained in the care of the crisis pregnancy center and coerced to abandon my child to another couple who had the financial means. That was my only next realistic option, but I could have been fooled to believe I was in a good place who would make sure the baby I would bear would stay with me. THEY DO NOT CARE. Abortion is a responsible choice, and you are fooling yourself if you think you care about women.

        • Virginia Fitzpatrick

          Kodie – you were in a difficult situation. You made a thoughtful decision taking in the feelings and resources of your entire family. I was in the opposite situation when I gave birth to my daughter. My husband earned enough money so that with a bit of frugality I could stay home and take care of my daughter and participate in Girl Scouts, playground duty and PTA. Grandparents also helped out. However, motherhood was still strenuous. I found getting an advanced degree (once she was in school full time) and playing squash less physically and mentally challenging. I have no idea how women without my resources survive. I don’t think all these men against abortion realize what’s involved in pregnancy and motherhood. (Some home bound wives don’t realize the pressures of the office or factory on their husbands).

        • http://www.hongkongudy.com Karl Udy

          I have actually had an abortion. I was coerced to make that decision on a number of factors.

          I really do feel sorry that you were in such a difficult situation. And I can’t imagine what it was like for you to have to make that decision. And I wish that you actually could have had the freedom to keep your baby.

        • Kodie

          And I wish that you actually could have had the freedom to keep your baby.

          I think you are going about it wrong then. I can’t really go so far as to say that, all the way though. My family owed me nothing, just like a fetus cannot hold a pregnant woman hostage, neither should a family be on the financial hook for supporting a daughter’s “choice”. They help her make a choice, whether it is coercive or practical for their choice. Their choice also does matter here. Their choice happened to be to shame and deprive me of support and comfort. They were not against abortion, but still carried the social stigma of a child born out of wedlock and raised by a single woman without a husband. My boyfriend at the time was hugely in favor of abortion also. I was not against abortion, although that is how I remain: it is a personal decision.

          You do bring up a topic I don’t think a lot of pro-choicers like to acknowledge, but there are times when a woman has not as much agency in her decision as it would need to be to be perfect. Economic factors are still REAL in any case. If I wanted to adopt a dog but I could not care for it, it would not be a good choice. If I wanted to buy a new sofa while the old one still works and I don’t have the money to replace it, it would not be a good choice. Why single out having children, if you are suddenly faced with an eventuality of sorts, as something you have to choose to do? If you cannot afford it, you cannot. This is where I think there is nothing wrong with abortion. What is wrong is the social affliction of deliberating over this option with utmost care, as if having an abortion is irreversible but having a child is not. It depends on the person, and should have the due reflection necessary but not more than that. Like I said last time, I think people would do better if they were not so romantic about the idea and more financially responsible. If people are thinking they might get pregnant and treat that as a financial decision instead of hoping love will find a way, they might choose to be more responsible or calculate their options realistically before having sex. What I read about a lot is that women should have thought about it before having sex. Thought about what? We live in a culture that idealizes fairy tale marriages, motherhood, and children. We do not live in a culture where women have complete agency over their bodies. We like to think they do, and we are, but the blame and stigma only come after pregnancy. We do not value educating people on reality – what having children costs and how difficult having children is. So perhaps people are less responsible about their sexual behaviors in the way that so many young people are – they think “someday” and sometimes they can’t wait; they believe they are invincible and terrible things (like an actual pregnancy upsetting their plans) will never happen to them.

          I still don’t think there is anything wrong with abortion, but to decrease abortion, not only does birth control have to be accessible, it has to be in line with reality. We have to get away from the idealistic thinking. Do you know I tried to have a discussion with my last boyfriend (in my late 30s) before we had sex and it scared him off. WTF is that about. It’s important for people to be able to communicate without fear of destroying this stupid shit called “romance” because they want to know if their potential sexual partner is responsible and wants the same things, no matter what should happen. Later, we got back in touch and he explained to me that I should never bring up pregnancy so early. I said then people have no business having or expecting sexual relations with me because that’s what’s real. I learned my lesson from experience that no one seems to understand without going through it, and that’s what Bob is saying in this post. Why are people attached so securely to their opinions without any empathy for others? Pregnancy should not be the first reality check in a relationship between two people having sex, and I am in favor of education with the notion that people protect themselves against pregnancy in the first place. Being able to afford a baby you can’t afford now is a delusion until you are confronted with a real situation in which a real baby is coming, and where your actual choice is to turn back time.

          Since that is impossible, there’s nothing wrong with abortion. Pregnancy does not magically create financial viability. Adoption is not everyone’s favorite. Here is where I would say that crisis pregnancy centers are weird. If your first choice happens to be adoption, you will be able to find an agency where you feel comfortable. What they do at CPCs instead is to delay abortions on the premise that women who seek abortions really want a way to keep their baby and yet have no familial support, until they can go over the rest of the options: one you still can’t afford, and the other thing.

          Wouldn’t it be better if we lived in a world where women aren’t cautioned to get married (and therefore, the thinking is, financially stable to raise a child) but instead to be financially responsible for themselves? If weddings and marriages (and all the babies they want) weren’t the ideal women were taught to be aiming for, and instead entered into partnerships with responsibility for themselves? Right now, it’s basically, “she should have thought about that before”. Thought about what – thought about finding a husband to settle down with as soon as she became sexually aware, and refraining otherwise? Or thought about her own financial stability, which doesn’t seem to be a great priority in our culture? Sure we have greater freedom now, women take more control over their bodies now. But we still live in a society that blames women for their own unwanted consequences or forbids them from making a decision they don’t agree with. Abortion is financially responsible. There is no way for me to have predicted that I would never have been able to afford myself + a child for the last 16 years. Why not? Why would I ever dream in a million years that things would not be ok for us together alone from any help or sympathy from the outside world? Why did someone else have to shatter my fantasy world and notify me that I was in no financial position to have a child at that time? Why did someone have to tell me that love does not find a way to make more money, especially once saddled with the responsibility for caring for a child? Pro-lifers make a huge demonstration about courageous single moms who dig deep and find a way to sacrifice for their child, but that is a romantic fantasy. That is only an emotional appeal and counts women as baby machines with nothing better to do. I was raised in a world of ignorance that I believe is largely the prominent one: women would do better to just wait and get married rather than have any notion that things actually cost money. And if you get pregnant, your life will be like a movie with a happy ending. Anyone who thinks that has not gone hungry for a single day in their life or had their bank account read $0.23.

        • Virginia Fitzpatrick

          Kodie wrote: “What If weddings and marriages (and all the babies they want) weren’t the ideal women were taught to be aiming for, and instead entered into partnerships with responsibility for themselves? …..
          We do not value educating people on reality – what having children costs and how difficult having children is. ”

          Your narrative is more thoughtful and cogent than what I read in magazines about women. My parents never put pressure on me to marry – quite the contrary. However, when I left my Berkeley bubble and got involved in politics, I was dismayed by how often I met vivacious intelligent women who were put under pressure to get married and have babies. I went on a fishing trip with one young women who loved her job as a PE teacher and was not anxious to get married soon. Yet her mother scolded her for breaking up with her boyfriend of six years and not having kids. Just what she didn’t need when she was already upset. Even at Berkeley, I knew a very talented math major who turned down a full scholarship from the Physics department in order to marry her Marine boyfriend. Frigging Crazy. She was from a small town and probably religious.

          I have always been interested in money, not only my own but also the State and Federal Government finances plus the stock market. I almost never met women around my age or older that would tolerate a conversation about any of this. I was looked upon as strange and even scolded for talking about anything other than children and pets. When I was much younger, other twenty something women bored me to death talking about nothing but their boyfriends. It seemed to be a status symbol. Fortunately, I knew lots of men who would energetically talk to me about these subjects. However, one must also be careful in this arena. Men are very emphatic and often wrong.

        • http://www.hongkongudy.com Karl Udy

          Kodie,
          There’s a lot I agree with in what you wrote. It is brave of you to admit a point that is more commonly used against the pro-choice position – that many women are coerced or forced to have abortions.

          Hypothetically, if a woman who had had an abortion later came to believe that abortion was wrong, how do you think she would view her earlier abortion?

        • Kodie

          I don’t know the answer to that question – I mean if you come to think abortion is wrong there doesn’t seem to be much leeway or forgiveness of one’s earlier commission. I do not really say I was forced to have an abortion – I was forced in the eventuality to recognize realistic conditions that should have occurred to me earlier. I still blame society for being largely clumsy over this fact. We like to think that females have freedom and agency, but I think in reality, that is curbed as much as possible in favor of the fantasy where every little girl grows up to get married and have babies. If schools are prevented from teaching them, and parents at home don’t educate them, where are they supposed to encounter the notion of personal responsibility? Abortion is a responsible choice when faced with the eventuality, and I wish it weren’t itself fraught with so much pandering to the romantic notion of “life” – life without financial means to be cared for adequately. The pro-life solution is that women should wait to be cared for by a husband and then have all the sex and babies she wants, but she may not even want them then. Their ideas in the majority do not seem to go further or deeper than that casual pass, except when they have to hammer down the consequences and blame. THEN, a woman ought to have known.

          If girls are raised in a culture that values them only as baby-makers, they do see themselves this way. It is detached from financial obligation because finances are tied to marriage in the same cultural socialization. To me, that is handling pregnancy and sexuality poorly with respect to pro-lifers. Their only solution figures to shame people and delay abortions as if it is too radical and unthinkable, surely a woman must want something else! Like a husband and the money that comes with that bargain? If you can’t have your own husband, give your baby to a woman who has one. That’s about all they endorse. I didn’t really want an abortion, but I was not being realistic beforehand and certainly needed to snap out of fantasy land afterward. It was like, hey woman, you have your whole future ahead of you. My mother was concerned when I went back to school, thinking I would not be able to (able to!) get settled down with a husband until after I finished another 4 or 5 years, and only THEN have babies (although that last was implied). It did not occur to her that plenty of adults going to school get married before they are finished, for one thing. I would have been over 30 by the time I finished school and this worried my mother for my prospects. My prospects! Ok? I was going to learn a career that made me happy, fulfilled me, and would have earned me a decent middle-class income (rather than the secretarial work I mainly do as a result of my first Bachelor’s degree), but she was worried this would get in the way of my marriage prospects, as I would be too old by the time I graduated to then seek a husband and sequentially seek to have all his babies.

          That was the level of conversation I had. I did not have a lot of outside influences, but I think of myself as more modern and liberated than my parents expect. You maybe can see the gap between my upbringing and how I perceived myself was knowledge about money and any effort toward personal responsibility. That gap needs to be filled with education and unemotional communication. Babies are expensive and difficult, and what a different world we might live in if they were thought of that way. Until one is shocked with an eventuality, and let’s just say how ignorant I was at that time, it was their responsibility to inform me that I was kidding myself if I thought I could do it by myself. It would have been nicer to me if they offered to help me out, but nobody has to do that. Even pro-lifers do not wish to encourage people to have babies they can’t afford by supporting them. This financial reality is not front-and-center when people talk about this subject at all.

          If you would imagine me with a 16 year old child presently, you might wish that child had different circumstances, but you might not change my circumstances to help that child – you would favor giving that child to different parents rather than not exist at all. Before I got pregnant, that child did not exist, so what is wrong with after? A choice has to be made in a certain window of time.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Karl:

          Am I the lone reasonable pro-life advocate? I certainly don’t think so.

          Nor do I. It is also not the case that every pro-life advocate is reasonable. That’s all I’m saying.

          But from what Bob wrote in his post you would think that they are all entrenched in a position

          You need to explain the all bit.

          what he wrote was very sloppily worded. Is it not level-headed to point out that something is badly written?

          It’s fine. Now go ahead and do so. Where is the very sloppy wording?

        • http://www.hongkongudy.com Karl Udy

          I don’t know the answer to that question – I mean if you come to think abortion is wrong there doesn’t seem to be much leeway or forgiveness of one’s earlier commission.

          Why would there be no forgiveness?

        • http://www.hongkongudy.com Karl Udy

          Nor do I. It is also not the case that every pro-life advocate is reasonable. That’s all I’m saying.

          You had one who was not reasonable, and you extrapolate that to statements that certainly appear to be talking about pro-lifers in general, eg

          For this reason, pro-lifers may never be able to understand the difficulty facing the nearly one million American women who choose abortion each year. And perhaps we will never have a reasoned conversation on this divisive issue.

          How many of the pro-lifers who commented were “older men”? KristeninDallas appears to be female, and David appears to be young. Wladislaw is admittedly an older man, Franz could be old, but his position did allow for exceptions. In fact, the only person who did not allow for exception sor nuance was Wladislaw, whom you seem to have taken as representative of pro-lifers. If you meant to critique Wladislaw’s point of view, then for clarity’s sake you should have mentioned that it was a pro-life commenter instead of “pro-lifers”, “Mr Pro-Life” or any term that would suggest pro-lifers in general. That’s what I think is sloppy wording.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Karl:

          I can’t imagine that you don’t understand my position by now. So I’m not sure what further arguing will do.

          You had one who was not reasonable, and you extrapolate that to statements that certainly appear to be talking about pro-lifers in general

          Is this really a big enough issue to keep wrestling with?

          I was trigged to write this by my memories of just a couple of pro-lifers. Not the many millions that exist in the world, just a couple.

          How many of the pro-lifers who commented were “older men”?

          Yeah, at least one. What’s the big deal? That I’m not certain that there were two or more older men who have represented the pro-life position? That’s a serious cloud of doubt that hangs over the entire blog?

          Are you going to get irate at typos in the future?

        • http://www.hongkongudy.com Karl Udy

          Are you going to get irate at typos in the future?

          When you typed “trigged” above, that was a typo, I assume you meant “triggered”.

          When you generalize pro-lifers from one extreme example (Find me another pro-lifer who says that abortion should not happen even if it means the death of the mother), that’s not a typo.

          And I’m not irate, but I will call you out on such misrepresentations.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Karl:

          When you typed “trigged” above, that was a typo, I assume you meant “triggered”.

          I won’t be able to get anything past you! :)

          And I’m not irate, but I will call you out on such misrepresentations.

          So let me see if I understand the problem. You grant that it’s fair for me to focus on a subset of a population. And you grant that I wasn’t referring to all pro-lifers in this post.

          I referred to pro-lifers that I’ve corresponded with, but in a thorough search of the comments from one post only provided a single name that seemed to fit the subset. So your quibble is about the number I used in my post. Is that it?

          I think that a faster approach would’ve been your saying, “Y’know, not all pro-lifers are like that” and I’d say, “Yes, that’s true.”

          You’ve had more relevant points in the past. This one was a waste of time, I’m afraid.

        • http://www.hongkongudy.com Karl Udy

          I think that a faster approach would’ve been your saying, “Y’know, not all pro-lifers are like that” and I’d say, “Yes, that’s true.”

          The point was that hardly any pro-lifers are like that. Making a generalization from an outlier is very close to being a straw man argument.

          And if someone you were arguing against argued the same way, I’m sure you’d call them out on it too.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Karl:

          The point was that hardly any pro-lifers are like that.

          OK, now you’re making a different point, and a very surprising one. Let me make sure I understand.

          You’re saying that the pro-lifers who are (1) men and (2) think that “a fetus is a human life, and it’s just wrong to kill a human” (quoting from my blog) is a very, very tiny fraction of the total. Is that right?

        • http://www.hongkongudy.com Karl Udy

          You’re saying that the pro-lifers who are (1) men and (2) think that “a fetus is a human life, and it’s just wrong to kill a human” (quoting from my blog) is a very, very tiny fraction of the total. Is that right?
          Those whose views can be characteried as “no nuance, no exceptions” are. And this is what I have been saying in my last few posts, so I’m not changing my tune in saying this.

  • smrnda

    Some people are genuinely self-serving – they only care about what an issue does for them. You see this in people who say, profit from sweatshop labor who oppose any sort of protections for workers. The only issue to them is their bottom line, and even thinking about the welfare of others is expending energy in a non-selfish direction, so they won’t do it.

    But there’s a lot less tangible benefits to be gained from opposing gay marriage. It doesn’t put much money in your pocket-book and it doesn’t take anything away. I think it’s a situation where a person follows a ethical code that isn’t based on harm or benefit, but more following rules because they’re The Rules, harm or benefit to anyone being irrelevant. You get this with religious people who can argue that something is the right thing to do no matter how much harm it causes, because the real purpose of morality is obeying laws of gods, not making people happy, a typical authoritarian view of morality.

    It’s probably easy to think this way until you’re forced to look at the damage your rules are doing. The problem is that a person who based their morality on allegiance to an authority has to find some way to reconcile a change of opinion with their obedience, so they have to ‘re-interpret.’ It’s clearly an highly intellectually dishonest cop-out, but it’s a way a person can both obey authority and change their mind, perhaps only because the social cost of being against marriage equality has increased for them.

    • JohnH

      Marriage is about having and raising children, making it about anything else devalues and harms children.
      http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/10/protect-the-children?lang=eng

      • Bob Seidensticker

        JohnH: That’s a pretty skewed view of marriage. If marriage for you is just about sex and children, that’s fine, but don’t impose that on the rest of society.

        • JohnH

          “just”
          You make the false assumption that because the primary purpose of marriage is society perpetuating itself (and hence the reason society promotes marriage) that is the only purpose of marriage in my world view

        • Bob Seidensticker

          JohnH:

          You make the false assumption that because the primary purpose of marriage is society perpetuating itself (and hence the reason society promotes marriage) that is the only purpose of marriage in my world view

          As a wise man once said, “Marriage is about having and raising children, making it about anything else devalues and harms children.” That’s what I was responding to.

          I’ve discussed this issue in more detail here.

        • JohnH

          Bob,
          Given that the first command given to a married couple in the Bible is to have children then your story is sill.. Marriage has been about the having and raising of children forever and the stability of the institution as well as the grandparent effect more then pays for the occasional infertile couple (many of whom end up having children despite science saying they can’t, and many more may be able to have children in the future as science progresses).

          In my faith the marriage ceremony that matters does in fact include the having of children and has since they were first given. Also in my faith married couples not being able to have children here is not theologically relevant as marriage is eternal, as is gender. “Neither is the man without the women, nor the women without the man in the Lord” as Paul says.

        • Virginia Fitzpatrick

          Oh pooey! The Bible says be fruitful and multiply. We’ve been there, done that. Now we should have a moratorium on babies until we take better care of the kids already born. ur institution of marriage is a mad mix of romanticism, religion and law invented by men i.e to be taken with a grain of salt. Marriage does inhibit what you do sexually and financially, which is good for children but it does not change what you think of anyone. I like a lot of men and women more than I did my former husband. Gay and lesbian couples can and do take care of kids in many ways. My Gay and Lesbian friends have told me that because of our legal system their families need the protection of marriage.

        • smrnda

          I’m sure you’re aware that there’s a *lot of evidence* that the Bible isn’t an accurate history of humanity. Marriage is a social construct which has evolved and changed over time. There was never a time where a god came down and said ‘listen folks, this is what marriage is and what it’s all about.’ If marriage, like many other things, is what people decide it is, then it can change.

        • http://avoiceinthewilderness-mcc1789.blogspot.com Michael

          The proof of this lies in LSD history. Polygamy was not only acceptable, Joseph Smith commanded it in the Doctrine and Covenants. Then, like the rest of Judeo-Christian civilization, that was ended by all but fringe groups. The Bible clearly makes references to polygamy being acceptable in the books of the Old Testament, while verses in the New assume otherwise. So over the centuries social construction occurred for marriage forms, or “God” issued new orders. In some parts of the world, it remains. We cannot get more “traditional” than polygamy, which is at least the same age if not older than monogamy.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          JohnH:

          Given that the first command given to a married couple in the Bible is to have children then your story is sill..

          I’m an atheist. I don’t care. And we’re talking about laws in a country governed by the US Constitution, which also doesn’t care. So this point is irrelevant.

          Marriage has been about the having and raising of children forever

          Just sex and making babies, eh? Ask around to some of your married friends and see if they agree. No soul mate? No care and nurturing? Not someone to grow old with, someone who’s shared much of your life with you? Not someone to love, not someone to commiserate with when times are tough, not someone to stay home from work when you’re sick?

          Sex is what makes babies, and parental instincts is what gives them the nurturing they need to grow up healthy. Marriage is a nice addition, a manmade institution that tries to help out nature. I like it. I’ve been married myself for 32 years. But let’s see everything in perspective.

          If it’s all about babies, let’s demand a fertility test for both parties before granting the marriage license. My wife and I aren’t having babies anymore–should our marriage now be annulled? Or are we still an honorary married couple since we had 2 babies for the team years ago?

          If in your mind, it’s all about the babies, OK. That’s your call. But don’t impose that on the rest of us, thanks.

        • http://avoiceinthewilderness-mcc1789.blogspot.com Michael

          Yes, by this logic, as many have said, an infertile couple, whether due to age or medical condition, should not be permitted into marriage. They are though, and many couples who marry never intended or wanted children, regardless of whether they’re fertile. Of course, that’s why contraception use by married couples was illegal in the past-to force them into the role, whether they liked it or not.

        • JohnH

          Bring up the Bible in the first paragraph is in direct reference to Bob’s story in the other posting and is to demonstrate that focusing on reproduction has a long history, that is it. The second paragraph (also a response to Bob’s posting) is on personal beliefs, not social issues.

          Michael,
          It is not commanded in the D&C as an ongoing thing. The giving up of polygamy was hardly as simple as what you make it out to be, it was declared illegal by Congress, fought to the Supreme Court, which upheld the law making it illegal and a requirement for statehood of Utah was that polygamy be made illegal at the state level and the church give up polygamy. Also, the church was legal dissolved and all assets seized, including the temples. At that point a revelation was received that it was better to follow the laws of the land then to lose the temples, but the doctrine remains as seen with multiple members of the current Quorum of the Twelve having remarried after the death of their wife and referring to both as ‘eternal companions’. Of course even if polygamy were legal it would require another revelation from God to re-institute the concurrent practice.

        • http://avoiceinthewilderness-mcc1789.blogspot.com Michael

          Doctrine and Covenants Section 132: 4 For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory.

          Everlasting sounds fairly permanent to me.

          I said nothing of how easily they gave up polygamy, but I’m well aware of the struggle concerning it. The very fact Utah was denied statehood over it and the church dissolved points to such a new revelation as somewhat convenient (hardly the first time, as D&C 123:54 shows). Article of Faith 12 says to obey the law of the land, creating a conflict with the Doctrine. Since it was an everlasting covenant, why did they not choose the FLDS route of taking one legal wife and then “spiritual” ones? Because Congress would have cracked down again, of course. Once more “God” decided to change his mind when the LDS church was under fire, just as in 1978 with black men being allowed into the priesthood.

        • JohnH

          Michael,
          The new and everlasting covenant is that of eternal marriage, of which polygamy is a part, as is clear if one were to read vs. 7-27 of section 132 in which polygamy is not mentioned once but eternal marriage is talked about as being the new and everlasting covenant and in vs 59 on word where polygamy is being talked about and never is new and everlasting covenant mentioned. As in, if we got rid of the doctrine of eternal marriage then you would have a point, otherwise actually reading what the section says proves your wrong, especially as it is laid out clearly that eternal marriage is defined as the new and everlasting covenant.

          Given that there was a revelation given then the route of the FLDS is contrary to what God has revealed.

          You have to be thinking of something else as there is no such thing as D&C 123:54.

          I don’t have any evidence that the priesthood ban was instituted by God, it appears to have been a matter of policy of questionable origin which became treated as a matter of doctrine, but not doctrine laid out in revelation just a particular reading of things common among certain other religious groups at the time, and was contrary to the previous policy and doctrine (and even still it was taught that it would eventually go away (most of the time)). It was moved once well before 1978 to be gotten rid of as a matter of policy, and nearly passed, but a certain member of the Twelve objected saying that it actually was a matter of doctrine and not policy and that a revelation was needed, which eventually led to the revelation received in 1978. Certainly there was a lot of racism involved in it, as some very offensive extremely poorly supported theories were created around the ban.

        • http://avoiceinthewilderness-mcc1789.blogspot.com Michael

          It not only mentions eternal marriage but polygamy. Does not this everlasting covenant encompass both? Verse 59 reads: “Verily, if a man be called of my Father, as was Aaron, by mine own voice, and by the voice of him that sent me, and I have endowed him with the keys of the power of this priesthood, if he do anything in my name, and according to my law and by my word, he will not commit sin, and I will justify him.” So you must be referring to somewhere else.

          You’re right-I meant D&C Section 132: 54. I seem to be a bit dyslexic.

          I don’t know, you may be right about the ban. Do forgive me-I’m going to stop arguing your theology with you. I seem to be getting outside my purview :)

        • JohnH

          vs 59 onward, meaning vs 59 is the start of the explanation of polygamy as it should be practiced.

        • Mr. X

          Whereas you imposing your own views is perfectly fine…

        • Bob Seidensticker

          X: Imposing my views sounds like a bad idea. Which of my views did you fear being imposed?

        • Mr. X

          Unless you want to either abolish marriage as a legal entity altogether or allow literally any people to get married to anyone or anything in whatever combination they like, you’re going to be potentially imposing your views of marriage on somebody. So don’t play the disingenuous “You’re just imposing your view 0n society” card, because it’s obviously false.

        • Helix Luco

          Say your favorite brand of popsicles suddenly starts to sell a brand new flavor that you don’t like alongside your old favorite. the existence of the new flavor doesn’t negate the existence of your favorite, neither does the fact that other people are happy with it, it has no effect on you whatsoever because you can just continue buying the same popsicles you always did. providing people in general with more options doesn’t force anyone in particular to choose a particular option, understand? broadening marriage can’t have any effect on your life at all.

      • smrnda

        Well, same sex couples can raise children together, providing a child with a stable, 2 parent family that would, at least from the article, be preferable to divorced parents.

  • edward killilea

    question !

    is there a universal law/truth.

    or does morality change with the times place culture

    some interesting oaths the olde v modern

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/hippocratic-oath-today.html

    nice article how the hippocratic oath has change

    it had too!

    why because today some in society have change all rules that were in affect for
    ~3000 years but who is counting

    why we can’t cut down a tree; hurt a fly: drink 20 oz or 32 oz gulps
    but we can hasten death; stop live births; have situational irony of sex

    all in the name of Freedom the real answer to all this hubris is: Balderdash
    most arguments are poppycock

    edward killilea
    kearny nj

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