The Catholic Church and Barack Obama

A lady attending a Catholic Church says the priest “expelled her from Mass because her vehicle sported painted signs in support of president-elect Barack Obama.”

So reporter Ryan Chalk of the Vacaville Reporter went to talk to the priest in question, Rev. Sebastian Meyer. He asked Meyer if the allegations were true. The priest said they were not and the reporter went on his way.

I’m just kidding.

Actually, the priest attacked the reporter:

“He became very agitated,” Chalk said. “He told me, ‘No, we’re not writing that. I did not touch her. I did not talk to her.'”

Chalk said Meyer then threatened to file a lawsuit if any story were written and told him it was “illegal because it’s none of your business.”

“At that point, I took my notepad out and asked what was illegal,” Chalk said.

Meyer became more agitated and lunged at him, Chalk said, clawing at his arm and reaching for his notepad.

Stunned, the reporter turned to run out the door as Meyer continued to grab at him.

He’s not the only Catholic priest reacting to Obama’s victory last week:

The Reverend Jay Scott Newman said Thursday that church law doesn’t allow him to refuse parishioners the sacrament at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Greenville [South Carolina].

But, reports CBS affiliate WSPA, Newman said his congregants shouldn’t take communion until they do penance for supporting the man he called the most radical pro-abortion politician ever to serve in the United States Senate or to run for president.

So, I’m sure Rev. Newman asks for penance from those Catholics who are pro-war and pro-death penalty, right?

Right…?

Anyway, this is a pretty apparent breach of church-state separation — giving preference to church members who voted a particular way — and this church deserves to have its tax-exempt status revoked.

This isn’t just an issue for individual priests.

U.S. Catholic bishops are asking Obama to think carefully about his abortion policies:

“The recent election was principally decided out of concern for the economy, for the loss of jobs and homes and financial security for families, here and around the world,” Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said in a statement issued on their behalf.

“If the election is misinterpreted ideologically as a referendum on abortion, the unity desired by President-elect Obama and all Americans at this moment of crisis will be impossible to achieve,” he added.

“Aggressively pro-abortion policies, legislation and executive orders will permanently alienate tens of millions of Americans, and would be seen by many as an attack on the free exercise of their religion,” George said.

They’re not listening to Obama at all, are they? This is the same Obama who said in a debate:

… But there surely is some common ground when both those who believe in choice and those who are opposed to abortion can come together and say, “We should try to prevent unintended pregnancies by providing appropriate education to our youth, communicating that sexuality is sacred and that they should not be engaged in cavalier activity, and providing options for adoption, and helping single mothers if they want to choose to keep the baby.”

Those are all things that we put in the Democratic platform for the first time this year, and I think that’s where we can find some common ground, because nobody’s pro-abortion. I think it’s always a tragic situation.

The man’s not even in office for another two months and they act like he’s going to kill a fetus during his inauguration address. He’s not for abortion. He’s for protecting the rights of women in a safe and responsible way.

(Thanks to Stephanie, Larry, and everyone else for the links!)

  • Daniel H.

    He’s not for abortion. He’s for protecting the rights of women in a safe and responsible way.

    I’m not for the holocaust. I’m for protecting the Nazi’s right of expression and for safe building codes to be observed at the camps.

  • Awesomesauce

    I’m not for the holocaust. I’m for protecting the Nazi’s right of expression and for safe building codes to be observed at the camps.

    Wow, to birth full-grown Jews, those must have been some huuuuuge nazis.

    You realize the difference is that the fetuses don’t know that they exist yet, right?

  • llewelly

    He’s not for abortion. He’s for protecting the rights of women in a safe and responsible way.

    If these vocal anti-choicers leaders were genuinely concerned about reducing the number of abortions – they would have no reason to mischaracterize the compromise-seeking position taken by Obama and so many others. Instead, they would focus on condom distribution and education. They lie about his position in order to deceive their followers, many of whom are genuinely concerned about reducing the number of abortions.

    The reaction of a number of vocal anti-choice leaders to Obama’s position clearly demonstrates that they are in fact primarily opposed to women’s rights.

  • Awesomesauce

    Actually, in hindsight, there are quite a few differences between the Holocaust and abortion. It’s to the point where comparing them is pretty useless.

    It’s like the leftists who compare abortion to the death penalty or war. None of these things are at all like abortion because they all involve non-parasitic, thinking humans.

  • llewelly

    I’m not for the holocaust. I’m for protecting the Nazi’s right of expression and for safe building codes to be observed at the camps.

    It’s not enough for you to make the typical – and unjustifiable – comparison between abortion and murder. You’re driven to compare it to one of the worst monstrosities of human history. You can’t win based on ethics, or reason, or logic – so you default to crazed distortions, hoping to deceive others into agreeing with you. As you’ve attempted to do in the past.

  • Gadren

    I keep seeing examples of churches violating church-state separation. But has there ever been a case where the church actually lost their tax-exempt status for it?

  • mikespeir

    How many people can attest to Chalk’s story?

  • Richard Wade

    Whether they are a physically dangerous fruitcake like Rev. Meyers or control freaks like the U.S. bishops, they will continue to make themselves increasingly irrelevant in twenty-first century society. Fine. Nothing is so self-defeating as taking draconian measures to control people’s thinking.

    Some of the branches of U.S. Christianity seem to be devolving into one-issue churches: the Church of Hate Gays and the Church of Anti-Abortion. They seem to be focusing on these societal issues and losing sight of older concerns, such as God, Jesus and all that old-fashioned stuff about love of your fellow man. PACs masquerading as religious organizations should not enjoy tax exempt status.

  • Jen

    I always wonder why the Catholics are, of late, so into the Republican party when abortion rates go down when the Democrats are in charge. It makes me think, perhaps they do not care about women having good lives, merely about controlling them and disallowing them options without offering them solutions to the things that make them want to have abortions in the first place.

    While I suffer no delusion that abortion rates will ever be zero- and I personally don’t think they need to be- I think that a better economy does more for abortion rates than laws and demands ever will.

  • http://aboutkitty.blogspot.com/ Cat’s Staff

    I agree… However another thought… I think more denominations/religions should practice excommunication/disfellowshipping/expulsion/etc. They have a way to get rid of people that are doing things they don’t like, but they would rather keep them in and tyrannically control them. Why not just kick them out? They act as if they have no other means of enforcing their will on people, so they want government to do it for them. They rarely exercise the power they have to control their own people by threatening to kick them out… instead they want to use the government to control everyone else.

  • Anfractuous

    llewelly Says:

    “It’s not enough for you to make the typical – and unjustifiable – comparison between abortion and murder. You’re driven to compare it to one of the worst monstrosities of human history. You can’t win based on ethics, or reason, or logic – so you default to crazed distortions, hoping to deceive others into agreeing with you. As you’ve attempted to do in the past.”

    This is the best answer I’ve ever heard. We should all memorize it and repeat it every time one of these nuts answer in this way. There is no use in trying to reason with them. They seem to be immune to logic.

  • Daniel H.

    It’s not enough for you to make the typical – and unjustifiable – comparison between abortion and murder. You’re driven to compare it to one of the worst monstrosities of human history. You can’t win based on ethics, or reason, or logic – so you default to crazed distortions, hoping to deceive others into agreeing with you. As you’ve attempted to do in the past.

    Ok. The Jews were out of the womb, the babies are inside.
    The Nazis were race specific, abortion is not.
    Killing Jews was government policy, abortion is government sanctioned.
    Concentration camps were dirty. Abortion clinics are sterile.

    The problem is not that we make bad comparisons, the problem is that abortionists make themselves feel better with euphemisms like “women’s rights” and “pro-choice”.

  • Cathy

    Here’s a website with actual images of fertilized eggs http://www.firstivf.net/laboratory_tour.htm Anyone with any sense can tell that those are not the equivalent of an adult human being. Do some research into fetal brain development, it is only around twenty six weeks that the average fetus starts to develop higher level brain waves, though some develop at 24 weeks, so it is not until about six months that the “which person’s rights argument” is even in consideration and very few non-medically nessecary abortions are performed that late. 88% of abortions in the US are performed before 13 weeks. 52% of all abortions occur before the 9th week of pregnancy, 25% happen between the 9th & 10th week, 12% happen between the 11th and 12th week, 6% happen between the 13th & 15th week, 4% happen between the 16th & 20th week, and 1% of all abortions happen after the 20th week of pregnancy. (http://www.abortionno.org/Resources/fastfacts.html)
    BTW, over 30% of women who get abortions identify as Catholic.

  • noodleguy

    WHO FRICKING CARES?

    Isn’t the WAR where adult members of society, not eggs are dying more important? Where innocent Iraqi and Afghani civilians our killed by our troops, every day due to faulty intelligence? Isn’t the economy which is ruining people’s lives and killing jobs more important? Where the entire financial sector is on the verge of collapse? Isn’t ANYTHING more important than abortion? Yes, Anything and Everything. If Obama were focused on abortion I’d be disgusted, since every single other issue is more important. I mean, literally. That is the bottom on list of things I actually care about. Sorry to be heartless but, whatever. The president has much bigger things to worry about.

  • Beijingrrl

    This is my problem with anti-choicers. If you read Obama’s statement he doesn’t even say “provide free or low-cost birth control”, which in my opinion is the best thing someone who really cares about preventing abortions can do. He just talks about appropriate education, whatever he means by that.

    Someone should do a poll: What’s more important to you: preventing people from having pre-marital sex (I know, not providing birth control doesn’t do this, but apparently some people think it does) or preventing abortions?

    These people just need to get real. I’ve never heard of anyone who was happy to get pregnant just so now they could have an abortion. When I was in college, I used to go to a clinic near campus for my birth control checkups. Almost everyone else there was getting an abortion. It was a very sad waiting room as you can imagine and the weight of their decision was very obvious in everyone’s face and demeanor.

    Easy access to free birth control and education which teaches girls how to be assertive in refusing to have sex without the use of birth control would have prevented the vast majority of those pregnancies.

    Of course, boys should also be educated and have a sense of responsibility in their sex lives, too.

    I can’t help but feel the anti-choicers position is really about trying to impose their morality on people’s choice to have sex and only tangentially about any resulting fetus.

  • Richard Wade

    Noodleguy is right. The U.S. Catholic Church’s priorities are ass backwards. I suspect that if the civilians being killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were Christians instead of Muslims they would not be so complacent about it. They have already waged nine Crusades themselves, what’s one more done by the Bush Administration?

  • http://feministblogproject.wordpress.com earlgreyrooibos

    If Obama were focused on abortion I’d be disgusted, since every single other issue is more important. I mean, literally. That is the bottom on list of things I actually care about. Sorry to be heartless but, whatever. The president has much bigger things to worry about.

    I am of the opinion that the President should be able to focus on multiple issues at once.

  • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com/ miller

    FYI: Catholics were one of the few pro-Obama groups in this survey. Not white Catholics though…

    Also, the Crusades are way old. I’ve always thought one of the worst ideas in the OT was the idea that people are held accountable for their ancestors’ sins. Are Catholics to be held accountable for the Crusades?

  • Aj

    These people equivocate every stage of human development. Notice that they use the term “babies” when talking about abortion, even though “baby” is the term for the stage from birth to one year. They believe in souls, and that a death just after conception is equivalent to an adult death. For them it’s as if the US government is sanctioning the murder of millions of adults. Even though the “reasons” they believe in souls range from the ridiculous to the pathetic.

    Obama’s position on abortion rights is not compromising to their position. When they say “pro-abortion” they mean “allow abortions”, because they tend to completely reject language convention, or accurate, even defineable terminology. Obama may dislike abortion like they do but when it comes to rights he’s in line with atheists who don’t have strong ethical arguments against abortion. The anti-abortion movement doesn’t care whether someone dislikes abortion, they just want it banned.

    I have some problems with Obama’s talk in the debate:

    a) There’s no pro-abortion like there is anti-abortion, I’ve never heard of someone advocating for abortion all of the time. Conditionally people advocate abortion for a variety of reasons.

    b) Should Obama be telling people what is “sacred”? I thought dictating how people live was the job of conservatives.

    c) It’s not always a tragic situation, sometimes it’s a solution that prevents a tragic situation, sometimes it’s a result of a tragic situation.

  • http://emergingpensees.com Mike Clawson

    Noodleguy is right. The U.S. Catholic Church’s priorities are ass backwards. I suspect that if the civilians being killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were Christians instead of Muslims they would not be so complacent about it. They have already waged nine Crusades themselves, what’s one more done by the Bush Administration?

    Keep in mind that these are a few isolated Catholic priests making these extreme statements, not the Church as a whole. The Catholic Church in general, including the Pope, has been very outspoken against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan from the very beginning (as have many, if not most other mainline Protestant denominations for that matter.)

  • bud

    Richard,
    Hope its ok for me to throw my 2 cents in. As an ex-catholic, I certainly do not feel impelled to defend that particular faith. There are a few beliefs that I would agree with, but not many.

    Catholicism aside, I disagree with you assumption regarding Christians and Muslims. Persecution of Christians just isn’t newsworthy somehow. This is not a “poor us” statement, but based on 3 facts. 1. There were 4,000,000 more Christians than Jews killed for their faith in and around WW2. 2. There were more Christians martyred in the 20th century than the previous 19 combined. 3. There have been estimates of up to 75- 100,000 Christians a month still being killed for their faith. Just because MSNBC doesn’t report it does not mean it is not happening, just that it is not newsworthy.

    Back to WW2 for a moment. In America, thousands upon thousands of American citizens of Oriental heritage were severely persecuted because of Pearl Harbor. I don’t think that anybody today would say that this was justified. The actions of the crusaders are not in any way justifiable. These atrocities are a blemish on all mankind. The fact that these assassins claimed Christianity makes me sick. But there is no way that this was done in accordance with our faith. They were done in opposition to the teachings of Jesus and the Christian faith. Blaming Christianity for the crusades is like blaming Oriental Americans for Pearl Harbor.

    Thanks.

  • Vincent

    of course they are upset. They made a huge deal of the issue and made it a big part of the campaign and it didn’t work. Now they are stuck in the ideological position, knowing full well they are in the minority.

  • Richard Wade

    To bud, Mike and Miller,
    I acknowledge that my evoking of the Crusades was not fair or pertinent, and you are correct that the worldwide Catholic Church as a whole cannot be characterized as complacent about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    I am simply perplexed by American Catholic emphasis on saving the lives of zygotes while ignoring the slaughter of fully grown soldiers and civilians in a war that was sought for greed, justified with lies, executed with cultural ignorance and conducted with incompetence.

    I just do not understand the silence of the American bishops about this tragic, futile, immoral war while they rant and rave about “the unborn.” Potential life taking priority over actual life makes no sense to me.

  • Fr. Terry Donahue, CC

    One of the reasons the US Conference of Catholic Bishops made the statement to President-Elect Obama is because of the following answer he gave to a question asked after a speech to Planned Parenthood during the campaign:

    “What would you do at the Federal level not only to insure access to abortion, but to make sure that the judicial nominees that you will inevitably be able to pick are true to the core tenets of Roe V. Wade?

    “Well, the first thing I’d do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That’s the first thing that I’d do.”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pf0XIRZSTt8

    Excerpt of Text of FOCA (introduced on April 19, 2007):

    “A government may not (1) deny or interfere with a woman’s right to choose – (A) to bear a child; (B) to terminate a pregnancy prior to viability; or (C) to terminate a pregnancy after viability where termination is necessary to protect the life or health of the woman; or (2) discriminate against the exercise of the rights set forth in paragraph (1) in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information.

    This act applies to every Federal, State, and local statute, ordinance, regulation, administrative order, decision, penalty, practice, or other action enacted, adopted, or implemented before or after the date of enactment of this act.”

    By establishing the right to abortion as a fundamental right, FOCA would subject laws regulating or even touching on abortion to judicial review using a “strict scrutiny” framework of analysis. The following laws would likely be overturned:

    State abortion reporting requirements, laws concerning parental involvement, laws on restricting later-term abortions and bans on partial-birth abortions that have no health exception, conscience protection laws for individual health care providers and institutions, laws on requiring counseling before an abortion, and laws concerning ultrasounds before an abortion.

  • Spork

    Anyway, this is a pretty apparent breach of church-state separation

    That applies only to the government establishing laws pertaining to religions. What you’re talking about here is something that is possibly against Catholic law/dogma, and the law can’t make the church do plenty of things…like force them to end sexual discrimination and make women priests, for example.

    You know better.

  • Bernard Kirzner, M.D.

    STOP TRYING TO CONVINCE/CONVERT PEOPLE WITH WHOM YOU DISAGREE. Stop it. It doesn’t work.

    But the United States has a grand tradition of what to do with groups of citizens who disagree with each other and can’t convince or force each other to come over to their way of thinking.

    It’s in the first amendment, WE TOLERATE DIFFERENCES OF OPINION.

    The founding fathers understood that the Catholics and the myriad Protestant groups weren’t going to budge on which was right, but we could come together as a nation with tolerance.

    The religious differences on the issue of access to abortion and sex education (read that as use of birth control) should be handled the same way as many other religious differences.

    We disagree, but we tolerate your point of view as you should tolerate our point of view. That’s the American way, e Pluribus Unum.

    The Golden Rule never did apply to differences of opinion on moral issues. Religions don’t teach religious tolerance. Our government does.

    SO THE CHALLENGE SHOULD BE ABOUT TOLERANCE OF DIFFERENT RELIGIOUS POINTS OF VIEW, NOT ABOUT WHO IS MORALLY RIGHT.

  • Zar

    That nutty priest should worry more about his own congregation. Anti-choicers get abortions just as often as pro-choicers do.

  • MisterDomino

    The Catholic church has traditionally been against abortion for reasons of power; it has nothing to do with morality and everything to do with controlling women.

    Catholic priests, bishops, etc. want Catholic women to have lots of Catholic babies, who in turn grow up in the church to have more Catholic babies. The stereotype of the large Catholic family is in danger of disappearing if birth control is readily available to the public.

    They oppose abortion for the same reason they forbid condoms even in the face of an AIDS epidemic: they need bodies to fill the pews in order to keep their power base, and if they can achieve that at the risk of poverty and overpopulation, so be it. In fact, the poorer a people becomes, the more likely they are to turn to the church for help.

    Catholics can rationalize all they wish about abortion and the “sanctity of life,” but if the church really cared about that, they wouldn’t encourage people to have children that they aren’t able to care for. It all boils down to power.

  • Fr. Terry Donahue, CC

    The Catholic Church does not encourage people to have children that they are unable to care for.

    Rather, to the contrary, the Church in its official Magisterial teaching says that parents should exercise responsible parenthood which includes deciding not to have more children if they are unable to care for them:

    “With regard to physical, economic, psychological and social conditions, responsible parenthood is exercised by those who prudently and generously decide to have more children, and by those who, for serious reasons and with due respect to moral precepts, decide not to have additional children for either a certain or an indefinite period of time.”

    (Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae, 10, http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_25071968_humanae-vitae_en.html)

  • Aj

    Do you seriously think that anyone here was suggesting that the Catholic Church literally tells families who can’t support more children, to have more children? No, I didn’t think so, but responding to the actual meaning of someone’s message isn’t something that any religious person is inclined to do. Avoid reasoned arguments, hide in vagueness, and digress into jibberish.

  • Richard Wade

    To Fr. Terry,

    Rather, to the contrary, the Church in its official Magisterial teaching says that parents should exercise responsible parenthood which includes deciding not to have more children if they are unable to care for them:

    That is very good to hear. I looked over the link you provided but it looks like the only actual method for preventing pregnancy that the Magisterial teaching sanctions is the one that is notorious for failing.

    Forgive me, but it seems just a bit cynical and duplicitous to give permission for a couple to limit the number of their children, but to make them only use a method that is very unreliable.

  • Fr. Terry Donahue, CC

    Richard,

    You may be referring to the Rhythm method, a calendar-based method developed in 1930 which does have a high failure rate, and as a result is largely obsolete.

    Perhaps you are not aware of more modern symptom-based methods of Natural Family Planning: the Basal Body Temperature method (1930s), the Billings Ovulation method (1960s), and the Sympto-thermal method (1971) (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fertility_awareness).

    These methods use a combination of indicators of a woman’s fertility and do not assume a regular cycle.

    Secular medical studies show that, when used properly, these methods are as effective as the contraceptive pill:

    “Researchers have found that a method of natural family planning that uses two indicators to identify the fertile phase in a woman’s menstrual cycle is as effective as the contraceptive pill for avoiding unplanned pregnancies if used correctly, according to a report published online in Europe’s leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction today.” (European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology, February 21, 2007, http://www.doctorslounge.com/gynecology/news/contraception_natural.shtml)

    Because NFP methods are effective, virtually free and have no drug-related side-effects, there is growing interest from non-Catholic couples. Sympto-thermal: http://www.ccli.org Billings: http://www.woomb.org

  • Richard Wade

    Fr. Terry,
    Thank you for that update about modern contraceptive methods that are acceptable to the Church. I am glad to know that hundreds of millions of third world, poor and illiterate couples will be able to “properly use” the Basal Body Temperature method, the Billings Ovulation method and/or the Sympto-thermal method by carefully monitoring basal body temperature, changes in cervical mucus and cervical position, while keeping copious records of menstrual cycle length and watching vigilantly for signs like breast tenderness and mittelschmerz (ovulation pains.) They’re sure to all have easily accessible urine analysis strips known as ovulation predictor kits (OPKs), and microscopic examination of saliva or cervical fluid will help to reinforce their accuracy, augmented of course by those handy, ubiquitous computerized fertility monitors, so that one more hungry baby won’t find its way into their already starving, destitute family living in a shanty made of cardboard and corrugated aluminum.

    Sounds as easy as slipping a rubber onto a dick.

  • Diane G.

    By establishing the right to abortion as a fundamental right, FOCA would subject laws regulating or even touching on abortion to judicial review using a “strict scrutiny” framework of analysis. The following laws would likely be overturned:

    State abortion reporting requirements, laws concerning parental involvement, laws on restricting later-term abortions and bans on partial-birth abortions that have no health exception, conscience protection laws for individual health care providers and institutions, laws on requiring counseling before an abortion, and laws concerning ultrasounds before an abortion.

    Fine. All of this involves legislating morality, which is no business of government.

  • Aj

    Secular medical studies show that, when used properly, these methods are as effective as the contraceptive pill:

    One study, not multiple. Involving a book, a course, and an average of 169 days per annum of abstinence from unprotected sex. Non-randomized, i.e. cherry picked users. It’s also dubiously from the “German Natural Family Planning study centre” promoting “Natural Family Planning”, which suggests naturalistic fallacy, but “natural” as something not connected to any sensible idea of biology or natural history but the irrational fear of the tools of medicine such as pharmaceuticals.

  • Fr. Terry Donahue, CC

    Richard,

    Despite your rhetorically-barbed caricature of symptom-based methods, they have been successfully taught on a large-scale to the poor and illiterate.

    The Missionaries of Charity received expert training in the Ovulation method and how to train others to use them effectively. Over the past 40 years, they have taught it to tens of thousands of women (for the most part poor and illiterate) in West Bengal, India using agricultural images.

    R.E.J. Ryder did a study of these women in 1993, and found a very low pregnancy rate. In his article he also cites a 1981 WHO study of 869 women of diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds: “Regardless of culture and education, 93% of the women recorded an interpretable ovulatory mucus pattern. Of the El Salvador women, 48.1% were illiterate and yet recognised the mucus symptoms.”

    He concludes his article: “It might be argued that natural family planning being cheap, effective, without side effects, and potentially particularly effective and acceptable in areas of poverty may be the family planning method of choice for the Third World. The case for and against this may be argued and debated, but whatever the standpoint there is no doubt that it would be more efficient for the ongoing world debate on overpopulation, resources, environment, poverty, and health to be conducted against a background of truth rather than fallacy. It is therefore important that the misconception that Catholicism is synonymous with ineffective birth control is laid to rest.

    Understanding the simple facts about the signs of fertility confers considerable power to couples to control their fertility, for achieving as well as preventing conception. The widespread dissemination of these simple facts would be useful everywhere but might be of particular value in the Third World.”

    (Ryder, R.E.J. (1993). Natural family planning: Effective birth control supported by the Catholic church. British Medical Journal, 307, 723-726. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/587813/posts)

  • Richard Wade

    Fr. Terry, if it turns out that my skepticism is not warranted, then I will sincerely be very very happy to be wrong. I’m not interested in winning arguments, I’m interested in ending needless human suffering, and to do that I think we need an entirely new paradigm rather than new versions of the old viewpoints. Some groups just keep coming up with Space Age ways of perpetuating Bronze Age attitudes, and the bottom line is that widespread abject misery continues.

    In the fifteen years since the study you have cited, we all have watched the “population bomb” continue to detonate, primarily in the Third World. Famine, infant mortality, poverty, ignorance, infectious disease, epidemic, pollution, environmental devastation, political and religious extremism and the resultant wars are all incubated by overpopulation, and despite the claims of success of natural family planning, the actual situation on the ground paints a very different and dismal picture. Talking about how effectively the programs work with X number of individuals while ignoring the ongoing disasters in the countries cited is like a doctor saying that the operation was a success even though the patient died.

    In the history of life on Earth, there have been many mass extinctions, with two really big ones. We are the third great extinction. Because of man’s impact, plant and animal species are dying off so rapidly that a clear boundary will be left in the fossil record of the future. It is forming in the rocks right now. If we do not choose to limit our numbers soon, nature will choose for us. The consequences of overpopulation that I listed above will cut our numbers drastically, and it is quite possible that the only thing we will leave as a legacy is a thin dark line in the sandstone and shale.

    Fr. Terry, we must set aside our mutual fears and rivalries, and work together. Our salvation is in our own hands in the here-and-now, and if we pass that responsibility to the hands of a concept in the sky, we will perish, and no one, no one will remember our loftiest aspirations, our most beautiful creations or our most ingenious ideas. There will be only the eternal mindless wind and the immortal mindless bacteria.

    Terry, I sincerely hope your life goes well and that your best root intentions are realized.

  • AnonyMouse

    Diehard Twilight fans = religious fanatics.

    I trust that both Stephanie and Mr. Meyer were appropriately mortified by this event.

    Even as a die-hard Christian, I could understand the need for abortion, even though I did not support it. I feel basically the same way now, but a few things have changed.

    Firstly, I realize that the world is incredibly overpopulated and already has an overflow of orphans. If abortion is to be stopped, someone has to step up and volunteer to take in the children. Perhaps the Quiverfull movement?

    Secondly, if a baby is the product of rape or incest, or suffers from a crippling medical syndrome – the sort that is liable to involve extensive surgeries, lifetime pain, or an inability to perceive the world around them – I wholeheartedly support the mother’s decision to abort. Sure, there’s the initial OMGBABY!!! instinct – and hey, yeah, you’re terminating a potential person here – but in the end it’s an issue of practicality. And, in the case of a rape or incest baby, there is a psychological issue. I can only imagine the level of damage it would inflict on the mother if she were forced to carry her rape-baby to term.

    Still, I don’t like abortion. As much as I remind myself that you’re not killing a person, it’s just a nonsentient wad of cells, the prospect of killing a potential person leaves me a little sick inside. (One of the side effects of agape humanism.) I have no such problems with contraception, which seems rather bizarre and contradictory, but there you go.

    But I hate the black-and-white, “abstinence vs. abortion” case that the church throws out. That’s a load of baloney and, deep down in their brainwashed little minds, they know it. Don’t get me wrong, I love abstinence. I think that sex is a very intimate (and risky) thing that should only occur between people who are very committed. (If sex didn’t have the potential side-effect of making babies, I would feel differently.) But religious individuals have no clue how to teach abstinence. Like everything else they support, they insist that you must do it “because the Bible says so” or for no reason at all. Their instruction methods are equally monochrome: “DON’T DO IT!!!” is the beginning and end of their abstinence curriculum.

    My mother had a much better method for instilling values (when she wasn’t resorting to corporal punishment, natch). She didn’t sit me and my siblings down and teach us about drugs. Instead, we heard occasional reports of her sister, who lived in the streets and was jailed repeatedly for her drug abuse. When she taught us about alcohol, she explained that it was unBiblical to get drunk and dangerous to drive while drunk, but she also taught us something else: it happens. And if it happens to you, you can call me and I’ll come and get you and drive you home.

    Churches delude themselves by pretending that extramarital sex doesn’t happen in an abstinence-only society. You wanna teach your kids that abstinence is the best? Super! But don’t end their education there. Contrary to popular belief, letting them know that mistakes happen is not the same as giving them lease to make mistakes. They’ll do that whether they have your permission or not. Teach them how to responsibly deal with their mistakes, and they’ll do much better.

    It may seem counterproductive, but if you want to end abortion, stop pushing abstinence.