Abortion, GLBT, the Bible, and Cloaking

I’ve written recently about conservative arguments that having abortions causes post traumatic stress disorder and ruins women’s lives, and that being gay means leading a destructive “lifestyle” that elevates your risk of suicide and depression. In each case I’ve pointed to self-fulfilling prophesies – if you can convince women having abortions that they are murdering babies, then of course they’ll have problems afterwards, and if you continually tell gay young people that homosexuality is an abomination and a depraved “lifestyle,” then of course those gay teens will be at a higher risk for depression and suicide. But there’s another point to be made here as well.

At the core, evangelicals and fundamentalists, along with their conservative Catholic and Mormon kin, believe abortion and homosexuality are wrong because the Bible says they’re wrong. Have you ever seen those bumper stickers, “God Said It, I Believe It, That Settles It”? Well, that’s what’s really going on here. This other stuff about abortion and homosexuality leading to depression and worse? It’s all just extras, but extras that serve a very important purpose.

If you could prove that abortion did no damage at all to women (wait – that’s what studies already say) or that being gay does not in and of itself make someone predisposed to suicide or depression (ditto), do you really think evangelicals and fundamentalists would change their minds? NO. Because that’s not actually why they’re against abortion or gay rights. They’re actually against abortion and gay rights because they believe the Bible condemns both.

Why aren’t evangelicals and fundamentalists honest about this? Well, quite simply, they know that condemning abortion because “the Bible says it’s wrong” or damning homosexuality because “the Bible calls it an abomination” isn’t going to get them very far with today’s public. They know that if they want to succeed, they have to appear to be against abortion and gay rights out of love and compassion, not out of the dictates of their Holy Book. They know that winning the rhetoric war will take more than Bible thinking.

Think I’m stretching here? Let me offer some more examples.

Answers in Genesis is quick to tell anyone willing to listen that the theory of evolution has led to racism, genocide, and despair. There’s a whole section of the Creation Museum depicting the results of the theory of evolution, complete with rebellious teens, promiscuity, homosexuality, and suicide. Evolution, they argue, tells people that their lives have no purpose, that they are no different from animals, that they are nothing but an accident, and that there are no moral standards. They even link Hitler and Stalin to Darwin, striving to show the harm caused by his theory. But the leaders of Answers in Genesis don’t actually reject evolution and embrace creationism because of any of this. Rather, they reject evolution and embrace creationism because of what they believe the Bible says. God said it, they believe it, that settles it. In fact, even if you could somehow argue that the theory of evolution did the opposite of all that, that it saved lives and improved morality, Answers in Genesis would still be against it.

Have you noticed that abstinence only sex education programs generally focus not on remaining abstinent because God commands it but rather on remaining abstinent because the alternative is dangerous to your health and emotional well being? For instance, one exercise involves giving each child two tin foil hearts and telling them to crumple them together and then find a way to untangle them without ripping one. Another involves taping two kids’ arms together, and then ripping off the tape and having one of the kids switch for another and doing it again, etc. The point is that every time you have sex with someone it creates a bond, and the more times you create that bond and then end it the weaker your next bond becomes. Yes, these exercises take place in public schools. Teens are told that having sex increases their likelihood of dropping out of school, dying of sexual diseases, or becoming unwed mothers. They’re told that casual sex leads to higher risks of depression. Advocates of abstinence only education, though, don’t actually believe sex before marriage is wrong for any of these reasons. They actually believe that sex before marriage is wrong because God said so. If there were no such thing as STDs and it were proven that having premarital sex didn’t cause any harm at all, heck, even if it were proven that premarital sex made people healthier and happier, these evangelicals and conservatives who champion these abstinence only education programs would still be against premarital sex.

I’ll stop here, but I bet you could think of some more examples without any trouble.

In addition to offering a new strategy for gaining a sympathetic public ear, these sorts of extras also offer evangelicals and fundamentalists a further assurance that they are right, that the Bible is true. No matter how many studies show that there is no real link between having an abortion and suffering subsequent depression, evangelicals and fundamentalists will continue to believe and argue that there is. And the same for the other issues. The reason is that believing in these extras allows them to buttress their belief in the Bible’s dictates and to see God as truly kind and wise. After all, if God said homosexuality was destructive and sinful but gay people’s lived experiences showed that it wasn’t, that would make God look like a bit of a dick. But if God called homosexuality an abomination and, low and behold, gay people have higher suicide, depression, and disease rates, well, God’s just that smart and compassionate. Believing in the negative consequences of things like abortion and evolutionary theory backs up evangelicals and fundamentalists’ belief in the Bible and paints God as a knowing father rather than a dictatorial power-grabber.

Growing up, I was told that scientific knowledge has shown that pig meat was especially prone to be disease ridden during the time of Ancient Israel, and that this explains God’s prohibition of pork. In other words, God commanded the Israelites not to eat pork because it would keep them from sickness and poisoning. I have not looked into this issue since, so I have no idea whether ancient pork was more dangerous than ancient beef, but I do know that this was used as an example of God’s wisdom, and as a reason why we should trust God even if we don’t understand his prohibitions at the time. Further, this understanding of God’s prohibition of pork backed up our belief in the amazing truth of the Bible.

This leads to another point as well, though. My parents taught me that the Israelites at the time did not know why God prohibited pork. Rather, they simply had to trust and obey. Even if evangelicals and fundamentalists could be made to believe, say, that being gay is not destructive or depression-inducing, the words of the Bible would still be there. Believing that homosexuality is destructive may buttress one’s belief in the Biblical prohibitions, but it is not the core. At it’s core is “the Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it.” At it’s core is trusting God, having faith, and obeying the Word.

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09921433991972562829 Joy

    If it were just about the Bible…the Bible never mentions abortion. Ever. It isn't about the Bible.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10562805251128821984 Libby Anne

    But they believe it IS what the Bible says. The Bible says murder is wrong, that every life is sacred, that God "knits people together" in their mothers' wombs. What the Bible actually says becomes less relevant than what they think and say it says. And I'll be discussing this in an upcoming post, but the main thing is that they believe that God gives the embryo a soul at the moment of fertilization. It's that belief in the embryo/fetus's possession of a soul, rather than whether abortion harms women, that dictates their actions. And they think they believe this whole abortion-is-wrong-because-the-fetus-has-a-soul thing based on the Bible, but again, you're right, the Bible doesn't actually say that. I think it really all becomes self-reinforcing, a circle. They interpret the Bible as saying homosexuality is an abomination, and that affects how they view gay people. BUT, they are also very put off by gay people because of ingrained tradition and prejudice, and that affects how they interpret what the Bible says about homosexuality. So it's sort of mutually self-reinforcing.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10562805251128821984 Libby Anne

    Ack, now I feel like I need to write a whole post just on this! How a person interprets the Bible is affected by his or her preconceived ideas and beliefs, but his or her preconceived ideas and beliefs are often shaped by what other people have told him or her the Bible says. In other words, I grew up believing that abortion was murder because the embryo had a soul from the get-go. Where did I get that idea? My parents and church told me that that was what the Bible said. When I read the Bible, I found that view confirmed by verse like the one about how God plans all your days from before you are born. The same was true of gay marriage and premarital sex. Where does that mean the ideas come from originally, if not the Bible? Perhaps older cultural norms, say from the Victorian era, that became interpreted as being Biblical dictates? Perhaps when the culture began to change, fundamentalists and evangelicals, being more conservative and traditional, wanted to hold onto these things and used the Bible as a tool to do so, claiming that the Bible supported what were actually cultural norms? But the question of "where did these ideas come from" at some point becomes irrelevant. My opposition to abortion and gay marriage honestly did come from the Bible – or rather, what I thought the Bible said. For me as a layperson, it wasn't about taking what I wanted culture to be and putting that into the Bible. I honestly did think that it all came from the Bible. Therefore, even if someone could prove that gay people were happier than straight people, I still would have said homosexuality was wrong, based on the Bible. Etc.

  • Anonymous

    Gah. I keep on reading your posts, but sometimes it's kind of like looking at a car wreck. I just hate hearing how you were raised. I hope you have realized by now that your parents' brand of Christianity isn't representative of all Christians. My church is such a place of healing . . . we have groups to help addicts, groups for those who have been sexually abused, and free counseling for those who are uninsured, and women pastors, among other things. Bad teaching is bad teaching (when people say a holy book says something it actually does not say), and I'm sorry you were subjected to it. I am pro-life, but not for the reasons you've stated your parents taught you. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here.

    • http://www.dissectinglife.com Elle

      Churches only “reach out” to people so that they can prey upon hurting people who are easily swayed so that they may “save” them. LOL!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00629727123135969063 Nome

    I agree with your post… I still don;t know how religious Christians can bear to wear cloth made of two different fibers…seems like that is an abomination too!

  • http://www.misterwoodles.com Neal

    On the Pig Meat point, that was the argument I attempted to make during the very first discussion that planted the seeds of atheism in me. Pigs were eaten in other cultures at the time the ancient Hebrew laws were being written. The two hypotheses I've heard about the prohibition of pigs were:1. If the Israelites were truly wandering in the desert for some long period of time, pigs would have been an inconvenient livestock because pigs don't herd.2. In "God is not great", Hitchens has a chapter called "a short digression on the pig" where he speculates that pig meat is hard to differentiate from the meat of a human, and that in cultures that had practiced or experienced human sacrifice but no longer did, pig meat was considered taboo because of that similarity.I don't have sources for either of those ideas (other than the Hitchens book) but they both make a lot more sense than the "unhealthy" argument.(Also, the pig meat was not the point of your post at all, but it's actually something I know a little about ^_^)

  • ScottInOH

    We should also remember that the Bible doesn't hold the same pride of place in Catholic theology as in fundamentalist theology. Fundamentalists may see the Bible as the sole source of truth, but Catholics (or at least formal Catholic teaching) believe truth continues to be revealed, particularly to Church leaders. The Bible doesn't say Mary lived without sin (and fundamentalists usually think Catholics are blaspheming when they say she did); that's a tradition that developed within the Church and has achieved the same acceptance as Scripture.The "ensoulment" of an embryo is likewise something that's not clearly stated in the Bible, but a lot of Catholic teaching has grown up around it, especially in the last century or so.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09921433991972562829 Joy

    I agree that the anti-abortion position is cohesive with the Catholic theology of life, but it probably originates with the same impulse behind Patriarchy and Quiverfull, old school style. Every sperm is sacred, and a woman's value lies in her womb. You can force a Bible verse to support an anti-abortion position (that one in Jeremiah, where it says ""Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations." which does not seem generically applicable to non-Jeremiah non-prophets, but I digress), but the very effort of the forcing reeks of taking your conclusion and then looking for evidence.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13195112449945205248 Angelia

    I always heard the pork prohibition was basically because of trichinosis. And to be fair, premarital sex DOES lead to unwed pregnancy and shotgun weddings. That part isn't false.I never understood the "embryo has a soul, so we can't kill it" reasoning. Why not send the child straight to heaven (by their belief) rather than let it suffer, and possibly end up in Hell?In at least one case, the Bible COMMANDS administering an abortifacient. Numbers 5:11-31. the Bitter water test for Adultery. Basically, a man takes his accused wife to the temple, the priest makes her drink water that has been mixed with ashes (weak lye solution!) and if she miscarries, she is guilty of adultery.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10562805251128821984 Libby Anne

    "And to be fair, premarital sex DOES lead to unwed pregnancy and shotgun weddings. That part isn't false."That's why we have birth control. Premarital sex absolutely does NOT have to lead to unwed pregnancy or shotgun weddings. Unless, of course, you keep birth control information from your teens and then force them to get married if they get pregnant.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01203599277658229843 Resophonic

    As a former Christian, I just hate hearing the "not a real Scotsman" agument from Christians. http://coffeeshopatheist.com/blog/2012/01/fallacy-friday-the-no-true-scotsman-with-a-spoken-word/About the only things that I hate hearing more than this are "you must not have really believed or understood," "I couldn't live such a hopeless life," or the variations on "only Christians can be moral and good people. These are topics that Libby Ann has covered in various ways (for which I am thankful to her).If I were a Christian, and if believed that my church has the truth and that those other churches were issuing bad teaching that hurt people this way–in my savior's name–then I would be working ceaselessly to stop that hurting from happening. As Jesus said, Take the plank out of your own eye, before you go looking at your neighbor's and such.If the Church is one body then that body had better police itself. Every time I hear the Scotsman argument, I think "then what are you talking to me (an atheist) about it for–go over there and talk to your fellow Christians about it!"Libby is one of my favorite bloggers percicely because she is working through all of this stuff in a public and, I think, in a healthy manner. She is a crisp writer (unlike myself), spot on in her analysis, shows a wonderfully big heart, and has much empathy and balance in her treatment of these topics. Her empathy is one of favorite parts. She shows deep understandings of the sides, their issues and complexities, and then goes on to state her position. If this is looking like a car wreck to you, then you might not be the intended audience. That is Ok. As to "bad teaching" where do you draw the line? Libby is quoting actual verses and real teachings of many Christian churches. She is attempting to show that "yes, they really believe this, here is why, and that is why they act that way." Variations on these beliefs are hugely influential in the US political system right now. She talked in another post about the fracturing of the church as being one of the things that led her away from theism. It was for me also.If there is truth there, why is it such a mess, so at odds with the observed world, and why does it harm so many people? I know it helps some people, but placebos also help people. Does the help outweigh the harm? Not in my life. Even if it could, how do you know good teaching from bad? What is left when you throw out all of the bad?Charles

  • http://bunnystuff.wordpress.com/ Jaimie

    I'm pro-life but not in a political way, if one can somehow separate conscience from politics. I just love children and think they are a blessing from God. I'm not quiverful by the way. Be responsible and use birth control for crying out loud. But I live in reality and abortion is a sad fact of being there. I do not think it is fair or constructive to use name calling on either side to prove a point. People are not stupid, unenlightened, or part of the patriarchal movement if they disagree with you. Just like you they have the right to believe whatever way their conscience moves and act on those beliefs. Hopefully you did not escape the homelife you endured to recreate it using the other side as a template.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17967070182847617840 kisekileia

    It also says "before I formed you in the womb", not "when I started forming you in the womb", which suggests that this knowledge was before conception.I became pro-choice after seeing Psalm 139 repeatedly cited as Biblical grounds for abortion being wrong, reading the psalm for myself, and realizing that the argument for that psalm being anti-abortion was really shaky. My logic was based on the bit about God knitting you together in your mother's womb. I'm a knitter, and I know that when I'm knitting a sweater, a few stitches or rows and an almost-completed sweater are two completely different things. If someone destroyed my knitting when I'd just knitted a few rows of a sweater, it wouldn't be that big a deal. What I have towards the beginning of the process of making a sweater is very different from a finished sweater, and destroying it is not as big a deal as destroying a finished sweater. I extrapolated from that to the conclusion that how problematic abortion is depends on the stage of pregnancy, because an embryo or fetus early in the pregnancy is really quite different from a baby. I'm somewhat more strongly pro-choice now, but that Biblically based logic was what took me out of the pro-life camp.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17967070182847617840 kisekileia

    Also, people do rip out their own knitting projects partway through, when they have sufficient reason to do so (e.g. they need the yarn for something else that is more important to them. And again, how willing people are to do that depends on how far along the project is.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17967070182847617840 kisekileia

    To be fair, Anonymous said "not representative of all Christians", not "not really Christian. The latter is a No True Scotsman argument; the former isn't. There is a difference between trying to deny that Libby's parents are Christian and affirming that Christianity is diverse and not universally toxic.

  • Anonymous

    Jaimie said: Just like you they have the right to believe whatever way their conscience moves and act on those beliefs. I agree. If you think abortion is murder, don't have one. But the second you try and force me to be pregnant, is when I get angry. I don't see anywhere that Libby Anne called anyone names. However, I see no problem in saying trying to force women to be pregnant is vile and misogynistic and cruel.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03935383254039552080 Rebecca

    Jaimie, that kind of person might not be stupid or unenlightened, but they are certainly misinformed and closeminded. Willful ignorance is one thing I cannot stand… there's just no excuse!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02548443939400031608 Glen

    @Jaimie: It's great that you love children and think that they're a blessing, but that's not a reason to force other people to have them. Some people might want children, but not want them until a certain time. Others might want and plan for a child, and then discover the child will be born with horrible deformities that will cause it to lead a miserable life. And, guess what, birth control does fail every so often. People are not stupid or unenlightened for disagreeing, but they are stupid and unenlightened when they repeat the same, illogical, unscientific arguments ad naseum because of religious belief. :)

  • http://jewelfox.dreamwidth.org Taryn Fox

    I'm afraid you're wrong …It's said that you can be sure that you've made God in your own image if he hates all thr same people you do.If they cared about what the Bible said, they'd be hippie pacifists like Jesus was. They just hate other people and want to hurt them.It may not seem that way to you because you did care about the Bible, and didn't think you hated anyone. You were just afraid of them instead.

  • Caravelle

    And I read that one possible reason was that pigs eat the same things humans do, so they weren't a good type of livestock in a food-scarce environments (unlike goats or sheep or cows, who eat grass and thus don't compete with people for food).To be fair, that same book I read that in (can't remember the title or author but I know it's fairly well-known – something to do with witches) said an important factor would probably be separating themselves from other cultures. Nothing discourages out-group bonding like thinking everyone else's food is wrong and disgusting. I don't think it's very elegant and it begs the question (why pick that over any other way of differentiating themselves ?), but it does have the advantage of actually incorporating a big effect that such cultural dietary restrictions have in practice.Anyway, the message being : there are tons and tons of competing theories out there and the evidence for any of them is scanty at best. That's a question that falls squarely into the "nobody knows, really" folder for now.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02548443939400031608 Glen

    @Taryn: Can you point to any Christians today who are "hippie pacifists like Jesus"? While there are some verses in the bible that may support that view, history has shown that Christianity isn't built on that attitude. And, just for argument's sake, Jesus wasn't necessarily such a sweet guy. What about the verse that goes "I am not come to bring peace but a sword, to set a mother in law at variance with her daughter in law"?

  • Anonymous

    My window into evangelical beliefs is mostly my mother, who became "born again" when I was in high school (too late for me!). The way she talks about it, if the Bible says it's wrong, it must be for a *reason*. Therefore, anything the Bible prohibits must be inherently harmful. Hence conservative Christian grasping for ways in which abortion, homosexuality, etc… could possibly have a negative impact on a person. They don't have to prove that these things are harmful, because the Bible already says they are, and anyone (or any study) that disputes their beliefs is flawed or has been manipulated for the sake of some political agenda.Common ground is so hard to find that sometimes I just despair of ever changing my mother's mind. And yet I cannot keep my mouth shut when she brings this stuff up (all the time). Stalemate.Skjaere

  • Paula G V aka Yukimi

    That's Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches: The Riddles of Culture (1975)by Marvin Harris, a very very interesting book. I remember I took my step father's in my first camping trip and ended up raining during the night and the book was outside… poor book. He wrote some follow up books about the topic.

  • Caravelle

    Yeah, that one. Thank you, I knew someone would helpfully come in with the title because last time I mentioned it on the internet in pretty much the exact same context with about as much detail, someone immediately recognized it too… it really is well-known :)I'll try to remember the title and author this time. And maybe get around to re-reading it, those things I quote from it I've been carrying around in my head since high school, it's getting a bit far back to be accurate…(also, it's like two decades older than I remembered, so the stuff in it has probably been superseded or better-supported since)

  • Anonymous

    @ Glen, I agree, however I can point to individual "hippie pacifists like Jesus." The culture of Christians that I grew up around very much fits that format. They generally follow the verses that promote peace and love for others and love, while using the other verses as more of a history and stories. It has elements of picking and choosing, sure, but I'd argue that a lot of Christians do that.

  • http://bunnystuff.wordpress.com/ Jaimie

    Rebecca I would not say I am misinformed. I have the exact same information as you, yet have reached a different conclusion. Why is this so difficult to accept? How could I force someone to be pregnant? That question is a bit silly since abortion is legal and anyone can have one. Most of you have come out of a judgmental, narrow-minded background. Aren't you just switching gears to judge from the other side? People are allowed to have differing opinions. I just think they can be discussed in love without anger or condescension.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03820077215682328240 boomSLANG

    To be fair, Anonymous said "not representative of all Christians", not "not really Christian. ~ kisekileiaActually, to be totally fair, Anonymous' entire quote was…."I hope you have realized by now that your parents' brand of Christianity isn't representative of all Christians."[bold added]In my reading of Anon's post, the ever-tiresome "not true Christians" canard is at least implied. Moreover, I don't think any person, believer, or non', would deny that there is diversity in Christianity. Thus, at a minimum, I think it is fair to say that Anon' was implying that Libby's parents' interpretation of Christianity wasn't right, whereas, Anon' and his or her church's interpretation, is "right". After all, if there hypothetically exists One "Right" Interpretation of the Christian doctrine, then wouldn't the people who possess such a thing be the "True Christians"? I think so.

  • Steve

    Actually there is a paragraph in the OT about a pregnant woman being assaulted by a man. If only the baby dies, the attacker is supposed to pay her family a fine. If the woman dies, he is to be executed.That clearly tells you which one has the higher priority. Like much of Christian theology, the anti-abortion stance is a product of the early Christian church in the 2nd to 4th centuries. Most of which isn't Bible-based but pure politics

  • Steve

    Even if the health argument were true, today we have technology such as refrigeration. So there is absolutely no reason why those rules should still apply for that reason

  • Steve

    It does lead to pregnancies mostly in states and countries that have "abstinence-only" sex-'education'. The US has an embarrassingly high teen pregnancy rate and it's solely because Christians control the school boards and push their ideology on public education

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10562805251128821984 Libby Anne

    Steve – Yes I know, and during my years as a "questioning Christian" I found things like that fascinating. However, evangelicals have an answer to that, too. They say the Hebrew words mean something different, that it's been misinterpreted and mistranslated, etc. It's this crazy thing where they think the belief comes from the Bible, and then they only look at the Bible to confirm that.

  • http://jewelfox.dreamwidth.org Taryn Fox

    @glen: Yes, that's what happened to me when I started acting like Jesus and caring about other peiple. My family took up their swords.The moneychangers are always the people you're mad at. They're never you.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03820077215682328240 boomSLANG

    "I have the exact same information as you[Rebecca], yet have reached a different conclusion. Why is this so difficult to accept?"I can't speak for anyone else, but it's difficult for me to accept, much in the same way that it would be difficult for me to accept a scenario where we'd reach different conclusions when it comes to, say, the rules of the road. I mean, likewise, we all have "the exact same information"..i.e..the Driver's Manual. And yet, no one gets to pick and choose which verses of the Driver's Manual they like and which ones they don't; no one gets to "fudge" the language therein or throw it out altogether. True, we might not all follow the rules of the road all of the time, but all drivers, by and large, agree what's written therein. IOW, all of the vital aspects of driving are covered, yet, strangely, in "God's manual", not all of the vital aspects of life are covered, namely, at what stage of development living cells become a "person". Now, that might not be the best analogy in the world, but I think it makes the point well enough: 'Funny how we can all reach the same conclusions when it comes to a man-inspired document, but when it comes to a supposed "God-inspired" document, we reach different conclusions, and all of the sudden this shouldn't raise an eyebrow; we should just readily accept it. We should accept that a being who can presumably "think" an entire universe into existence(or however he/she/it did it), would leave something so important open to interpretation. 'Not buying it. "How could I force someone to be pregnant?"I agree that this choice of words isn't the best. But to give benefit of doubt, I think the person who said it simply means being browbeaten into staying pregnant, once pregnant."Most of you have come out of a judgmental, narrow-minded background. Aren't you just switching gears to judge from the other side?"No, because I'm not judging anyone. If anything, I'm judging the beliefs of some individuals."People are allowed to have differing opinions."Yes, of course. But when/if people's opinions lead to actions, those actions are not, and shouldn't be, exempt from criticism, especially when/if there is evidence that said beliefs cause unnecessary harm.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02548443939400031608 Glen

    @Jaimie: People are allowed to have differing opinions, certainly, but that doesn't mean all opinions are equal. Imagine a conversation between a slaveholder and an abolitionist around the time of the Civil War. Abolitionist: We should have racial equality. Slaveholder: But I believe that blacks are inferior to whites, and so whites should have more privileges, and guide the blacks. Abolitionist: That's racist. Slaveholder: It's not racist, it's just a different opinion.Do you think the abolitionist in this hypothetical scenario would be narrow minded for insisting that the slaveholder's opinion is racist? The slaveholder might be a very goodhearted man, merely colored (pun intended) by the prejudices of his time – but what he's saying is still racist.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02548443939400031608 Glen

    @Anonymous: I'm sure such individuals exist, my question was meant to be more of a rhetorical implication showing that such Christians are a definite minority, in modern day and throughout history. When you find such Christians, it's usually an individual or family here or there, an anomaly; none of the mainstream examples of Christianity promote this view.@Taryn: I'm not sure I follow your last comment. Are you suggesting that atheists are being hypocritical (aka moneychangers) or are you just sharing your personal take on Christianity?

  • ScottInOH

    Jaimie,Are you thinking of particular places on this blog where people have engaged in much name-calling, rather than fair-minded analysis? I've been on a lot of blogs, and this one is EXCEPTIONALLY even-handed and calm in its discussion of issues.It is, by the way, the pro-choice argument that says, "You do what you want; I'll do what I want; and everything will be fine." The anti-abortion side is the one that says, "You must behave as I wish."

  • http://jewelfox.dreamwidth.org Taryn Fox

    @Glen: Christianity is an awfully big thing to have a personal take on. I'm not sure mine covers the whole of it.It's my belief that the sort of Christians whose God hates the people that they do are the hypocrites that Jesus preached against. I don't want to hear their excuses for why it's okay to hurt me. I don't want to hear my parents'. I don't want to hear conservative voters'. They are nothing like Jesus Christ, and everyone outside of their church knows it.Jesus went on and on about helping "the least of these," and said nothing about marriage equality (unless you believe that "the sin of Sodom" was consensual same-gender love and not gang rape). If today's Christians had rallied to alleviate poverty or actually help other people instead of hurting them, they could have done so much. They choose not to because their god is the devil.Jesus spent so much time comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable. The modern-day church does the opposite.

  • Anonymous

    I don't claim to have the one "right" brand of Christianity . . . but I hope that Libby Anne and her readers know that the Quiverfull/patriarchy are a small subset of Christianty, and one that has caused many wounds. Further, there absolutely *are* many readers of the Bible who read it without study, and know nothing of the times in which Jesus lived. If they did, they might begin to see that Jesus was a radical feminist who honored and esteemed women highly. I am old enough and wise enough to know that there are abusers and users in every branch of religion, and even among atheists too. That's why if I had in fact used the Scotsman argument, I would apply it to just about all organizations, religions, sports departments, Boy Scout troops, women's groups . . . etc.I was just stating my sorrow that Libby Anne's young years were filled with abuse in the name of Christ, as mine also were (though not of the Quiverfull/patriarchy type). In my adulthood, I've been blessed and fortunate to find healing in an amazing church. That's all I said.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14493852923455374220 Ava

    I totally agree with Libby Anne's post. Growing up with a similar background, I noticed that from the pulpit, it would be all about "God said so," but when it came to political action groups like American Family Association, Concerned Women for America, and others, suddenly it was all about how "traditional family values" help our nation and how allowing freedoms like the right to choose abortion or the right to marry someone of the same gender was harmful to individuals. When it comes to public politics, all but the most unbending conservative Christians will switch to a special rhetoric, replacing "Biblical" with "traditional," "abomination" with "destructive lifestyle," "murder of the unborn" with "harming women," "keepers at home" with "family values," "fornication" with "unwed pregnancies."

  • Pingback: yellow october


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X