Lying for Jesus is wrong, even if you use a fancy word like ‘abortifacient’

* * * * * * * * * * * *

So, my dear evangelical brothers and sisters, can we please stop lying for Jesus by saying that emergency contraception is “an abortifacient”?

Jesus doesn’t actually want us to lie. And no matter how many times we repeat something that isn’t true, reality doesn’t change.

And pretending something is evil just so we can bravely oppose it doesn’t actually make us brave. Or good. Or helpful.

So let’s cut the crap, OK?


Lies make baby Jesus cry.


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LBCF, No. 190: ‘Something happens’

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  • Short, to the point and right on the money. Bravo Fred!

  • No, no, no! Lying is wrong, period, EVERYONE knows that. Even if it’s to Nazis. Even if it’s to save a life. Lying is a SIN, and JAY-Ee-zuz hates sin. So you simply Do. Not. Lie. Not under ANY circumstances. Got it?

  • Tricksterson

    Of course Fred you realze you lost them when they saw the word “science” in the title.

  • It perversely sounds like you’re defending mislabeling BC as abortifacient. I’m reasonably sure that’s not your intent. 

  • No, I’m just surprised the evangelicals would LIE about anything. As noted, LYING is a SIN, one of the very worse of sins. If they’ve been LYING about what is and is not an abortifacient, then shame, shame, shame on them!
    Of course then the Evangelist crowd will then have to go and redefine/reinterpret exactly what lying is, and whether it’s worse to lie or have an abortion. This may take a while.

  • If it were an abortifacient, there would be nothing wrong with it anyway. So, er, sorry, but this is a particular lie I don’t particularly care about, except that I guess it highlights what assholes the anti-choice crowd is, but I knew that anyway. Them wanting to keep women from having control over our bodies is what I care about. They seem to have succeeded in directing people to argue over their terminology, which has the side-effect of making it seem like if Plan B were an abortifacient, that would somehow be bad.

    I’m sick of people who want me to be an incubator being able to set the terms of the argument. Just opt out. We have more important things to argue. 

  • How the H E double hockey sticks does that follow from her post? It looks to me like she’s parodying some of the actual stances taken by some fundamentalists in the past.

  • WalterC

    It’s a legal argument. US law forbids federal funds from going towards abortion except in very limited cases; if the birth control pill were actually an abortifacient, it would mean that health insurance plans and groups that receive any subsidy or support from the federal government would not be able to provide birth control pills or risk losing that support.

    I would argue that it’s not a good idea to cede this debate to them. Not because abortion is morally wrong, but because if you let them (legally) conflate contraception and abortion, it would make it easier for them to dismantle all government support for family planing services and eliminate funding for these services to poor women. It seems like an unimportant and silly debate, and to a certain extent it is, but these people are successful at chipping away at women’s rights because they are good at winning unimportant semantic arguments like this.

  • Ben English

    It’s not even semantics. Abortion is by definition terminating a pregnancy. A ‘morning after’ pill  does not end a pregnancy, it prevents one from occurring. As Fred says, it’s a flat out lie.

  • Kirala

     *confused* I can recall only a very few ethicists of any variety who call lying an absolute wrong in every circumstance. In fact, lying seems to be one of the ethical stances where most evangelicals tend toward It’s Very Bad, But Not Always – dark gray, but *gasp* not black-and-white. I’m not sure what you’re saying, but whether as a parody or a serious point, it’s not making sense to me.

    Anyway, as a Christian, to other Christians I always point out that Jesus himself seems to have endorsed a situation where David shamelessly lied on the grounds that there was a greater good being served. So lying could be acceptable in extreme circumstances.

    Which is all an aside from Fred’s point, which is valid – even if we were saving breathing infants, the circumstances would not justify lying about what the circumstances are. The truth would serve as a far better tool than this petty, spiteful lie anyway.

  • Random_Lurker

    >>Jesus doesn’t actually want us to lie. And no matter how many times we repeat something that isn’t true, reality doesn’t change. <<

    I believe this sentence contains the explanation for why fundies are willing to lie.  They live in a culture that emphases faith- that if something goes wrong in your "Walk with God", it's your fault for not believing hard enough.  The cure? Believe harder.  The result is a sense, sometimes unstated and occasionally explicit, that belief itself creates truth.  They aren't lying! They're just saying what they BELIEVE to be true!

    Also, there's the usual scumbags at the top that pass this stuff down to their flock in order to scare them into being fleeced for power and/or money.  Blind trust in authority is another way to generate and keep wrong beliefs.  Of course, these guys are lying and actually know it.  I don't think, however, that the average Christian is lying on purpose.  Obstinately holding to a world/social/theological view that inevitably results in not caring about reality? Sure. But intentional deception is usually not involved.

    Not that that excuses them much.  They still refuse to accept correction and education, which is just as bad IMO.

  •  @openid-122622:disqus “Abortion is wrong” is a moral judgment, and as such it does not have a simple truth value; it is neither true nor false in the simple senses of the words.

    “Emergency contraception causes abortions” is a statement of measurable fact about the world. It is false.

    They are allowed to have their own opinions. They are not allowed to have their own facts.

    That’s what I won’t concede.

  • I understand what you’re saying, but we’re talking Fundy Evangelicals here. Anything that’s not expressly black&white is for them, therefore *GASP* wrong.

  • OK, just where do you see the word “science” in the title, or anywhere else in this post for that matter??

  • Kirala

     Born, raised, and former fundagelical here, still a self-defined moderate evangelical who regularly encounters current fundies at her church and on her FB page. And lying simply isn’t something I’ve seen or seen preached as black and white. Sexuality, politics, and religion, but not honesty.

    Which is not to say that my subjective experience is representative. I’m just saying that you’re portraying territory that’s very familiar to me in a very unfamiliar light. Have others had different experiences?

  • Sircool2320

    This used to be my e-mail signature for quite some time, and I think it pertains heavily to this post:
    “A lie in the name of Jesus Christ wins brownie points with Satan.”

  • AliciaB

     I thought Ann Unemori was referring to the absolutist school of Christian morality, which would condemn Corrie Ten Boom for lying to the Nazis in order to conceal Jews from persecution. It got some publicity in the States a while back when Christine O’Donnell, Republican candidate for the Delaware’s Senate seat back in 2010, told an interviewer that she would never lie, not even if she lived during the Holocaust and Nazi officials came to her and asked her if she knew where any Jews were. She doesn’t say that she would actually turn over any Jewish people to the Nazis, but she does say that deception is always wrong even in that horrific circumstance, and that good Christians should always find an alternate path.

    So it’s a perspective that’s out there. I doubt it’s the experience of a majority of Christians, even conservative Christians, but it does exist outside of this blog.

  • Tapetum

     Back at a job I held about 15 years ago, I replaced as a receptionist, a Christian woman who held that extreme a view on lying. Her views on lying were so strict that she wouldn’t, for instance, say that one of the associates was “working on a file” unless she knew that they were actually at their desk, with that particular file, at that exact moment. Which she never knew, because she didn’t have cameras in all the offices. If someone was in the bathroom, or on a coffee break, or anything else, she would always tell the person she was talking to exactly what they were really doing – not even saying “I don’t know” unless she really didn’t.

    She didn’t last long as a receptionist. I think she thought it was because everybody in the office were sinners who couldn’t bear God’s real truth, rather than just not wanting any random stranger who called to be given the exact details of what they were doing every second of the day.

  • This view gets more traction than people may think.  Hell, it is used in the LB series repeatedly: people either fudge over direct questions just because they don’t feel like answering them (Bruce refusing to acknowledge to a parishioner that he believes Nicolae is the Antichrist) or circumstances intervene that allow Tribbles to get out of lying (David Hayseed being taken ill just before he is supposed to swear allegiance to Nicolae) or the unSaved are just plain stupid (Chang Wong being incredibly uncooperative and evasive when questioned by security, but nobody seems to care).

  • EllieMurasaki

    …I don’t think it is at all untrue to say that I am working on a file if I have been working on it today and will continue to work on it today, even if I happen to be in the bathroom at the moment the question is asked and therefore not working on anything right that moment. Nor do I think it is at all untrue to say that I am working on a file if it is in my to-do pile even if I have not got to it yet.

  • Still, it amuses me to wonder how diligent that receptionist was about reporting exactly what people were doing.

    Customer: Good morning, I have an appointment with Mary.

    Receptionist: You’ll have to wait a few minutes–Mary’s in the bathroom.  Not sure if it’s number 1 or number 2, but I did see her eating an extra-large bran muffin earlier.  Hang on just a moment, and I’ll give you a definitive answer.  *pounds on bathroom door*  Mary, I need to know what’s going on in there…

  • WalterC

     Of course you wouldn’t.

    It takes a certain level of… purity and faith to apply the computer-like approach to honesty that this woman had.

    After all, didn’t St. Steve write in his Epistle to the (Times) New Roman Church, “10101100101110111110100101011101”? I think that says it all.

  • Kiba

    I must have been doing something wrong when I was a receptionist. I would just say that someone was away from their desk, out to lunch, or out of the office and leave it at that and offer to take a message or put them into voice mail. 

  • Lunch Meat

    What’s wrong with saying “They’re not available right now”?

  • Tricksterson

    Was referring to the title of the video “The Science of Plan B”.

  • Kirala

     Oh, I know candor-absolutism exists among Christians; I’m just bewildered by the stereotype, because I’ve encountered it so rarely, and no more frequently among deep-dyed conservatives of the sort who bewail contraception and science than among liberal sophists. I didn’t know whether someone else had seen a serious link between “never lie” and “fundie”.

    Although I think I may remember the O’Donnell thing, which would tend to create a connection. Geez.

  • Kirala

     Who knows whether the absolute-truth view holds true there? I also rigorously avoid lying (or at least factually false statements), partly because it’s usually wrong, partly because I’m a lawyer’s daughter and don’t want false statements to be used against me, and partly because I want to see how cleverly I can deceive without resorting to false statements. And partly because the above has rendered me terrible at lying outright. Though I like to think I would do my best to lie as necessary when confronting evil.  (And of course everyday lies as necessary – “That’s fascinating.” “I’ll think about it.”)

    And I don’t think that the Tribbles are taking the right path in being weaselly during the Apocalypse, but in a better series, they might play this game to Nicky’s face for fear that the son of the Prince of Lies might have a built-in lie detector.

  • Kirala

     That’s not honesty, that’s TMI. “I’m sorry, I can’t say” is acceptable in the last resort, if social white lies aren’t. You can’t give away that kind of detailed info to anyone who calls.

  •  Back when I worked for a startup, where everybody had far more to do than we had time to do it in, a common response I would give to requests to do something relatively low priority was “I’m not going to be able to get to that, but I can put it on my list of things to not get to.”

    Oddly, people frequently seemed to appreciate it… at least they knew whose responsibility the task was, I guess.

    By the time I left that job, I had a “to not get to” list numbering several hundred items, each tagged with who had asked me for it, when, and what projects the task was associated with.

  • Possibly I should refrain from posting until after my morning coffee. 

  • Truth

    I LOVE the phrase “anti-choice”!  It’s so wonderfully Orwellian!  It completely ignores what the “choice” is!  I mean, when it comes to rape, I’m completely anti-choice.  Same thing with murder, or stealing!  And it so wonderfully ignores the actual argument between the two sides–which is whether or not abortion is murder!  So, “anti-choice” is only correct if you realize it is actually shorthand for “anti-choice-for-what-I [pro-lifers]-believe is murder.”

    People like you–i.e., liars–are directly responsible for the pathetic state of the abortion discussion.

  • Truth

    Exactly!  Just like “Murder is wrong” is a moral judgment and does not have a simple truth value.  Or “Rape is wrong.”  Or “Stealing is wrong.”  Or “Pissing on a crying orphan is wrong.”

    “They are allowed to have their own opinions. They are not allowed to have their own facts.” — I do like this, however.

    What is with the font change?!

  • Ah, I see.  Or rather, didn’t see.  I don’t often watch the video clips, and use FlashBlock so I didn’t even see a preview with the title.  My bad.

  • James Probis

    Truth: anti-choicerrs gave up the right to call themselves ¨pro-life¨ when the first clinic was bombed. People who are actually pro-life don post lists of doctorś names with those whoǘe been murdered crossed out.

  • EllieMurasaki

    No, fuckwit, the actual argument between the two sides is whether people with uteruses (in particular people with uteruses that are occupied against the will of the person-with-uterus in question) have the right to CHOOSE what to do with their uteruses and the contents thereof, when they CHOOSE to do it, and without requiring anyone’s approval with the possible exception of anyone whose opinion they CHOOSE to invite.

    People who want to make abortion illegal and/or harder to access safely and in a timely fashion, they are ANTI the ability of people with uteruses to make that CHOICE. People who want people with uteruses to be able to get abortions if they feel they need them and to be able to raise the baby resulting from any wanted pregnancy whether expected or not, they are PRO the ability of people with uteruses to make that CHOICE.

    Even if we concede that abortion is murder? (We won’t, because it’s not, because fetuses aren’t people.) It is self-defense against–well, if we’re conceding that abortion is murder, we might as well say ‘person’ even though it is flatly untrue–it is self-defense against a person who is capable of killing or permanently wrecking the physical, mental, and/or financial health of the person whose uterus they’re invading. Whether this invader has a right to live or has any idea that they’re doing something wrong is utterly irrelevant next to the fact that the person with uterus has the right to self-defense.

  • You are a pillock and an arse.

    Actually let me rephrase that.

    You are an arselumpish fuckmook.

  • I wonder if these guys would go away if we just stopped talking to them.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Probably not.

  • Tapetum

    The problem with “They’re not available right now.” is that she thought she was passing on someone else’s lie. I.e. they could talk to whoever it was, but weren’t going to for whatever reason. So she would say “They don’t want to talk to you right now.” Conveying the same information, but pissing off both the client and the associate a lot more.

  • EllieMurasaki

    …sometimes people are talking to other people and it would be more rude to halt that discussion than to make the new person wait, and sometimes people are doing work that can’t be interrupted, and and and ‘they’re not available right now’ regarding any such scenario is not terribly informative but it is not untrue.

  • aw/swpa

    I happen to be a receptionist. I say either “he is not in this office today” or “she is away from her desk right now.” 

    In some cases, absolute honesty helps. For instance, to protect employees working from field locations without security, I am not allowed to say where someone is except “here” or “not here.” So that’s what I say: “I’m sorry, but I’m actually not allowed to say where someone is except if they are in this office.” It’s a pretty final statement – there’s no working more information out of “I’m not allowed.” Whereas if I dance around that point I can get pushed into awkward spots: 

    “Uhhhh he’s working somewhere else today…” “Where? I need to talk to him!” “Well um, he’s in another office…” “Which office?” “He’s, uh working out in the field…” “Can you let me know where?” “Well, I’m actually not totally sure where he is…” “Can you give me his phone number then?” “That would actually require me to know where he is…” “Can I talk to someone who does?”

    It’s so much easier to just say it outright and then redirect them to something I can practically do: “He’s not in this office today. Would you like his voicemail?”

    That said, when they are in our office that day, vagueness is a necessity. Clients don’t need to know exactly what a person is doing right then. It just opens up a can of worms of what the client thinks is more or less important than attending to them right that moment. For instance, frequently a client will arrive very early for an appointment (sometimes in terms of hours). Some workers will make their best effort to see the client when they come in, but others will say “They’re really early. I’ll be out at (originally scheduled time).” They may or may not actually be in the middle of something else, or helping another client, or have another scheduled appointment, right then, but that’s still what I’m going to say: “They’re with another client right now/have an appointment scheduled soon/are in the middle of something at the moment. Can you hang out for awhile or do you want to come back at (appointment time)?” Again: redirect to something practical.

    Anyway, sometimes brutal honesty makes the most sense, and sometimes deceptive vagueness is more appropriate. The common factor in the best choices is shutting down avenues for argument by offering a practical action to be taken. When people are miffed that they aren’t the #1 priority right then and complain at you, the best approach is to let them get it all out and just give sympathetic noises: “Ohhh” “Ugh” “How frustrating…” until they’ve voiced their concerns and then, again, redirect to a concrete action. “Unfortunately she is not available right now, but I will let her know you stopped in. What’s a phone number she can reach you at?” 
    I find very, very few people who have a problem with this approach, and I’ve worked in a few offices with pretty difficult clientele.

    This concludes today’s Lesson in Proper Recepting. Tune in next time for “Appeal to Authority: When to Call a Supervisor” !

  • Baby_Raptor

    The argument may be whether or not abortion is murder to you, but to those of us who choose to base our thoughts in reality, not on religion or our heart-strings, the argument remains on bodily autonomy. Because we *know* abortion isn’t murder, and we *know* that taking birth control isn’t murder. 

    You can constantly try and redirect it to where you feel you have the high ground if you wish, but you won’t win. 

  • > I wonder if these guys would go away if we just stopped talking to them.
    I often wonder this. My expectation is that if we didn’t respond, we’d get less than 10% as many posts from them, but they wouldn’t go away altogether.

    But I don’t anticipate us ever doing the experiment.

  • Wish there was a way to differentiate between those who honestly try to help a girl deal with her pregnancy, including persuading her not to abort and then give her real help on what to do, and the Xian terrorists who destroy abortion clinics, not caring how many other lives they ruin. It’s like shooting Dr. Mengele in the head, but making no effort to help protect the Jews.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Abortion != Holocaust.

    For many people, abortion is the best option, or at least the least-bad option. Unless you yourself are the particular person in question, you have no business so much as expressing an opinion on the matter, unless specifically asked by that person for your opinion, by which they need not abide. You certainly have no business attempting to persuade them to choose one way or another.

    You are welcome to make them aware of ways to support a child should they choose to have one, since not everyone knows about (for example) WIC and that’s the sort of thing that could make the difference between being able to afford adding one to the family and not being so able. You are free to silently hope that knowing about those options will influence them to choose giving birth. You must not try to convince them of what the right choice for them is.

  • All true. Still, I also muse on the flip side of the coin, infertile couples faced with knowing they will never have the child they seek, even as a young pregnant girl is anxious to end her own sad dilemma. No, I’ve never been in that situation, but that doesn’t mean I can’t think, and be concerned.
    No one is saying abortion is a good thing, and we are all better off if there is less need for them.For another side of the issue, check out these links:

    Mr. Wright could use some worthy opposition.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Shame there aren’t any kids older than infancy or browner than snow or with physical or mental baggage out there for the poor sad wannabe parents to adopt.

    (I sympathize with people who want children who are genetically related to them and who find themselves unable to produce such children in the traditional way. I do. But they start losing sympathy points in a hurry when they start saying that there won’t be any children for them to adopt unless people are forced or persuaded not to abort. That is an appalling thing to do to the children whose bioparents are either dead or with parental rights terminated but who are not sufficiently young, white, and undamaged to be considered acceptable adoption material, and that is an appalling thing to do to the people who do not want to be pregnant. It’s also bullshit, in that most people who are denied an abortion do not in fact put the resultant babies up for adoption.)

    What government measures do you support to maximize the chance that an unexpected pregnancy is not, due to physical, mental, and/or financial health problems, going to be an unwanted pregnancy, and to minimize the chance that an unexpected pregnancy will occur at all without implying that someone who does not want to be pregnant should not be having sex?

  • EllieMurasaki

    You know, I reeeeally don’t want to venture onto the turf of someone who thinks I fall into one of the following camps:

    Now it is possible that some intellectuals are merely sociopaths, and unable to make the simplest moral judgments about whether there is or is not something wrong with killing babies, Negroes, Jews and rape victims to achieve momentary pleasure or temporary convenience.

    It is possible that they worship Moloch, and to see babies sacrificed to the dim and bloody gods of remote pre-history gives them a drunken thrill in their jaded lives, a sense of power, and soothes their terror of the devils and trolls they think rule the chaos they opine the cosmos to be. Since they are moderns, one might assume they are as unaware of their own motives as they are of simple moral principles.

    The other possibility is that some or all of them are haunted by the tiny ghosts, crying for mommy, of babies never born, which number in the millions, and can be heard weeping along the moors on moonless midnights; and therefore the intellectuals seek to silence the voice of conscience which forms the only ears by which mortal hear the voices of ghosts.

  • In many of the LJ comms where I hang out, posting a link like that would require the note “personal journal; do not troll”. Discussing them is fine and if they come to the public comm where they’re being discussed it’s fair game, but even for raging asshats it’s rude to invade their space. 

    Especially that one; he’s well known for not being interested in anyone’s opinions but his own.

  • Incidentally, the “sociopaths” described in that paragraph appear to have a lot more empathy and human decency than the pro-life absolutists who are deaf to the anguish of (for example) rape victims, starving children, the neglected and abused living who they proudly abandon. At least the kitten-burning baby killers are haunted by their million unborn victims; these other guys don’t seem to feel anything at all for their living victims, as well as the ones whose lives they carelessly disregard.