Michele Bachmann, Rick Warren telling lies for Jesus that hurt poor women

“Let’s love people,” Rep. Michele Bachmann said, “let’s care about people.”

The Minnesota Republican said this, perversely, in support of the 39th attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Igor Volsky of Think Progress provides a fuller context for Bachmann’s odd remarks:

While the main coverage expansion provisions will go into effect in 2014, the ACA has so far saved seniors over $6 billion on prescription drugs, reduced administrative overhead, deterred private insurers from requesting double digit premium increaseskept millions of young people on their parents’ health care plans, and provided 34.1 million people with Medicare preventive services without additional cost-sharing.

Moments after calling for the complete repeal of a law that will extend health care coverage to 30 million Americans, Bachmann claimed that her belief in Christ inspires her to care “for the least of those who are in our midst.”

Bachmann, in other words, is arguing that we should “love” seniors by transferring $6 billion from their pockets into the coffers of pharmaceutical companies and by denying 34.1 million of them access to preventive health care. She wants us to “love” working people by charging them higher premiums for health insurance. And she wants us to “love” millions of young adults by kicking them off of their parents insurance plans.

Can’t you just feel the love?

Bachmann went on to argue that increased access to affordable health insurance “literally kills women, kills children, kills senior citizens.”

But perhaps the weirdest moment in Bachmann’s speech — amidst the blasphemous misquotations of scripture and the whole-cloth fabrications of bogus statistics and “death panel” lies — was the moment when she asked, “Where are poor women supposed to go?” for health care.

I’m glad she’s at least asking that question, even if she’s not interested in finding out the answer. For tens of millions of poor women, that question will have a new answer once the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented, but for millions more the answer will remain the same as it has been for years now in America. Poor women will go to the one place poor women have always gone for affordable, reliable access to the health care that is otherwise denied them because they are poor and because they are women: They will go to Planned Parenthood.

This is not a secret. Planned Parenthood has more than 750 centers throughout the United States that serve more than three million people every year. One in five American women has gotten medical care from Planned Parenthood at some point in their lives.

And most of that has nothing to do with abortion. Abortion services account for only 3 percent of what Planned Parenthood does. But then it’s not really accurate to say that the other 97 percent of the care they provide has nothing to do with abortion — that care, from family planning to prenatal care to preventive and nutritional care for pregnant women and their children, means that Planned Parenthood does more to prevent abortion than any “pro-life” organization, maybe even more than all of them put together.

So how is it that someone like Michele Bachmann doesn’t know this?

She doesn’t know this because she doesn’t want to know this.

Neither does the Rev. Rick Warren, who recently tweeted this bit of pastoral malpractice:

Planned Parenthood is the McDonalds of abortion. It’s the #1 baby killing franchise.

No need to play “stupid or evil?” with that one. It’s both. The stupid and the evil are mutually reinforcing.

Warren is supposed to be the pastor to a congregation of 25,000 people. About half of his “flock” are women. Granted, Warren’s Saddleback church isn’t a working-class congregation, and many of its members are wealthy enough that they never have to worry about relying on any place with the word “clinic” in the title (unless it’s the Mayo Clinic). But it’s still a statistical certainty that the congregation of Saddleback Church includes hundreds of women who rely on Planned Parenthood for health care they cannot afford to get elsewhere. And that congregation likely includes thousands of women who have relied on it in the past.

But if punching down at the less-wealthy women in his congregation is the price of indulging in smug self-congratulation, that’s a price Rick Warren is happy to pay.

If telling himself that he’s a good person requires him to treat others badly, then he’ll enthusiastically play the role of anti-pastor to hundreds of members of his flock.

After all, what’s more important? To do good and be good? Or to reassure himself that he’s better than the Satanic baby-killers?

Warren, like Bachmann, chooses the latter every time. That’s evil. And it makes Warren stupid in that it causes him to be more ignorant than he otherwise would be or could be or should be. It guarantees that hundreds of women in his congregation who know things he does not know — things he ought to know and needs to know — will never share that knowledge with him. He’s made it clear he doesn’t want to hear it.

He’s made it clear that it would not be safe for them to tell him the truth they know. And thus it guarantees that he will never learn from them.

I’m sure that Warren’s first reaction to all of this would be to deny that any woman who attends Saddleback would ever go to Planned Parenthood and to assert that the women of his congregation surely all agree with his flippant dismissal and condemnation of that vital lifeline for poor women. After all, he likely thinks, no one has ever told him otherwise. And I doubt he can be made to understand why that is. I doubt he will ever realize how he has made it impossible for anyone to ever be honest with him, or to ever tell him anything he clearly doesn’t want to know.

That is not a good place to be. You have to take quite a few wrong turns to end up in the situation Rick Warren has created for himself — a situation in which being cruel to others boosts his self-esteem, a situation in which ignorantly condemning hundreds of people in his own congregation makes him feel like he’s being a better pastor.

“Where are poor women supposed to go” for pastoral care at Saddleback? Not to their pastor. He’s made it crystal clear that he’d rather shame them than listen to them. He’s made it abundantly clear that he isn’t interested in understanding them, in learning about their lives or learning from their lives. He’s made it clear that if they ask for bread he will give them a stone, if they ask for a fish he will give them a snake.

“Pastor” Warren offers them only condemnation — and not even because of anything they have actually done wrong, but only because condemning them is his preferred shorthand for praising himself and his own presumed righteousness.

Not good. Not smart. Not something any decent pastor should ever do.

The better way, the most excellent way, would be instead to love and care for people. And I’d say exactly that — I’d say, “Let’s love people, let’s care about people.” But thanks to folks like Michele Bachmann and Rick Warren, those words have become much harder to understand.


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  • The_L1985

    Any god who wants women to die in childbirth, leaving her other children without a mother, is far too cruel and atrocious to be worth worshiping.

    I’ll stick to Artemis, thanks. She was identified as a mother figure by the Ephesians, so I’m pretty sure she understands the whole “sacrifices of motherhood” thing a lot better than your male deity does. :)

  • The_L1985

    As for the DNA argument: Cancer is caused by genetic mutations. (We’re still not sure how to stop or prevent these mutations, or we’d have a cure for cancer already.) Thus, cancer cells have unique DNA that is different from that of the person who has the cancerous growth.

    Does that make cancer a new person? If not, explain why that is different from the not-yet-aware-but-human-shaped life form that survives through a parasitic relationship with its mother while it’s in utero. Because that’s what a fetus is. Most mothers consider it worthwhile to essentially harbor a human parasite for 9 months, then forcefully and painfully expel it through an organ that’s usually much smaller than the baby’s head, in order to have the experience of raising a child. However, not all women want to be mothers, some women know that they shouldn’t be mothers, and some women have medical conditions that will kill them if they become pregnant.

  • The_L1985

    Wow, broken record. I’ve seen that movie. I’ve read the appalling Margaret Sanger: Father of Modern Society by Elasah Drogin. I’ve seen pictures of the results of every kind of abortion that’s ever been performed legally, most of which haven’t been performed since the 1970’s because it was discovered that they were dangerous.* I know every single sentence of your rhetoric, and I have come to the conclusion, based on facts that I have learned, that your conclusion is wrong.

    * Saline, prostaglandin, and D&C are generally not performed anymore. D&X has been banned in the US. Pretending that any of these are current methods of abortion in order to scare people out of it is lying.

  • The_L1985

    And what about all of the married women who have abortions? Since the 2008 crash, 72% of women who had abortions had already given birth, and were loving mothers to, other children. I’m pretty sure a large number of those women were also married.

    The reason cited as the reason they had an abortion was because they could not get a well-enough-paying job to support both the children they already had, and the one on the way. So to prevent their other children from starving, they made a sacrifice. A sacrifice that you don’t seem to understand.

  • The_L1985

    Yes, we’ve all seen the link. You post that link every other comment you make. We know that that execrable film exists, already.

  • Ursula L

    A general point on good manners.

    When you hear about someone’s death, the polite response is sorrow, not praise.

    If you hear about the death of someone’s relative or friend, the polite response is “my condolences” if the death is recent, or “I’m sorry to hear that” if it is more distant.

    Responding to news of someone’s death, particular a horrible and painful death that could have been prevented, with “Praise God” makes you look like an unfeeling jerk, because it is an unfeeling and jerkish thing to say, and it makes any god who wants to be praised for a painful and preventable death come across as a monster, because such a god is monstrous.

  • Isabel C.

    You are a twit and there’s no point arguing with you.
    So I’m going to copy (I think) Jessica R: for every post you make here, I donate $5 to Planned Parenthood. I believe you’ve gotten up to $50 by now.

  • pastorboy

    Well, I would, except they believe in the murder of women who do not dress according to their standards, as well as honor killing…so that is not very pro life. Repent and believe in the Gospel.

  • Isabel C.

    That’s another $20 to Planned Parenthood. Wanna shoot for fifty like your buddy?

  • pastorboy

    They can choose not to have sex, or there are medical procedures like vascetomies that take care of that issue. It comes down to personal responsibility, and a callous disregard for life and for God. http://www.180movie.com

  • pastorboy

    The evidence that God is good and loving is that you are here, and allowed to continue in your existence even when you blaspheme His holy name. You do not give him thanks for the air in your lungs, as you should. You do not thank him for your heart beating, the sun in the sky, the provision for your needs. It is this kindness that ought to lead you to repentance.

  • Ursula L

    Simply leaving me alive is proof of love?

    Or even simply leaving me alive after I’ve expressed some contempt?

    Because that is a very low standard of “love.” It doesn’t even reach the basics of kindness and good manners that is basic human decency. Let alone the care that my parents gave me, a wanted and chosen child, or the care I have for my neblings, or even for my next door neighbor, or a stranger I’ll go out of my way to hold a door for.

    You seem to give god credit for being “loving” simply for not being too much of a murderous monster.

    If any god wants my respect, they have to do better than that. Likewise, any human.

  • AnonaMiss

    Margaret Sanger: Father of Modern Society

    What, seriously?

  • Nothing says holy like damning people to eternal torment, right?

  • We have people in the US who would be just fine with doing those things. We have people who have called for killing anyone who doesn’t agree with their own very narrow-minded view of the world. Most of them are people who proclaim their Christianity very loudly.

  • AnonaMiss

    So, was I that difficult to understand, or are you completely ignoring my question?

    What protections should be extended to individual sperm and egg cells, which have unique human DNA, are living human cells, and may in the future become human beings?

  • EVERYONE has unique DNA, except, possibly identical multiples.
    Try an argument that isn’t ridiculous on its face – and take a real biology class, not one that’s Bible-based.

  • Carstonio

    That conspiracy theory has never made sense. It presumes that PP’s staffers have almost supernatural marketing abilities over minority women. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the folks peddling the conspiracy believe in the racist myths about welfare, claiming that PP threatens to get the government to withhold benefits if the women don’t agree to abortions.

  • Your god is a hate-filled monster. A truly loving god doesn’t kill people for its own amusement or because they weren’t sufficiently afraid.

  • pastorboy

    He did- despite your contempt for Him, He became flesh, dwelled among us, and laid down His life for us. We sinned against God, we deserved death and his Holy wrath poured out on us for all eternity, but He sent His son Jesus, who volunteered to take your place. All you must do is repent, turn from your sin and your own self righteousness, and turn to Christ. I pray that you will.

  • The_L1985

    Seriously. Complete with a Planned Parenthood waiting room that featured a framed photo of Sanger (with imagery from Nazi propaganda posters in the background of the photo) and a checklist on the desk that said: “Plans: Abortion (check) Abortion (check) Abortion (check)”

  • pastorboy

    Just because I proclaim in and out burger very loudly does not mean I work there. Even if I lived there, it would not make me a hamburger. People who proclaim Christianity loudly (like the ‘progressive christians’ here) and who live in opposition to the scripture are not Christians. Simple as that.

  • pastorboy

    I answered that question. An individual sperm is lacks the egg to make a human. An individual egg lacks the sperm to make a human. But you are a human, and as a human, will one day die and face judgement. What will you do on that day? http://www.needgod.com

  • The_L1985

    That sounds even more like a cruel god. “I MADE YOU,” says the image of God you are conjuring with these words. “I CAN UNMAKE YOU.”

    If allowing me to exist is a kindness in the eyes of your god, I’d hate to see His idea of unkindness.

  • Probably the boys’ youth group, judging by the names and the attempted arguments. They seem to hate their mothers and sisters, too, going by how much less they value women than fetuses.

  • Ursula L

    I don’t approve of torture and murder. Which is what crucifixion is. And I don’t approve of anyone being tortured and murdered on my behalf, or allegedly for my benefit.

    If the crucifixion is the best salvation plan that God can come up with, then God needs to do a better job. Because if you’re making a plan, and somehow someone being tortured and murdered becomes part of the plan, even incidentally let alone as a central part of the plan, you need to go back to the drawing board.

    I don’t require someone to be tortured and murdered in order to forgive them if they have harmed me. There is no reason to accept a lower moral standard from God.

  • The_L1985

    We agree that fetuses are human. We just don’t agree that they are people. My hairs are all human hairs, but they’re not all separate people. If I had a tumor growing inside me, it would be made of human cells, but it wouldn’t be a person.

  • The_L1985

    I can’t speak for AnonaMiss, but if I have to face judgement by your cruel version of the Christian god, then I’m going to tell him, to his face, that he is a cruel monster, and that I’d rather be tortured for eternity than spend one moment in adoration of a monster.

  • The_L1985

    And that is a textbook example of the No True Scotsman fallacy.

    Also, while Fred is a Christian, and Dierd and a few of the other commenters are Christian, a lot of us aren’t. I’m not. Ellie’s not. Sam’s not. And I’m sure I’ve left out a lot of others.

  • Ursula L

    That’s an assertion not an argument. If you want people to accept the Bible as right, you need to explain why, in a way that is not a circular “for the Bible tells me so” way.

    And, around here, you’d better do so in a way that accounts for all the horribleness from the Bible that Fred highlighted in his “Chick-Fil-A Biblical Family of the Day” series of posts.

    Christian or not, anyone who is a regular reader here is very familiar with the Bible, good bits and bad.

  • Ursula L

    You need to make your own arguments, here, not expect this many people to all waste hours of their time watching a movie so that you don’t have to show your work.

  • The_L1985

    Don’t forget protections to cancer cells! Those also have unique human DNA and are living human cells! And some, like the (unethically harvested) HeLa cells, have been alive for decades!

  • Ursula L

    And do those rights include using someone else’s body part against their will to preserve your own life or improve your health?

    Because I know people who could use one of your kidneys, and a section of your liver, and a pint of blood every couple months. And by your arguments, they shouldn’t have to ask your permission to take what they need.

  • Carstonio

    What’s missing in any of the replies Pastorboy has been making to you is what kind of world he wants to live in. There’s nothing right or just about a husband demanding that his wife sacrifice her life to provide him with a son. No, your grandfather had no such right. He sounds like a patriarch in a Pat Conroy novel. The irony is that we now know that the determinant of the sex comes from the father.

  • Ursula L

    I quite agree that my grandfather had no moral right to such a demand.

    But in patriarchal culture, he has a practical right to act on those demands, which is what killed my grandmother.

  • AnonaMiss

    Oh I believe all that. The part I have a hard time with is that they called her the father of modern society. What, was mother of modern society a bit too on-the-nose?

  • EllieMurasaki

    People who proclaim Christianity loudly (like the ‘progressive christians’ here) and who live in opposition to the scripture are not Christians.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_healing_the_bleeding_woman –Jesus healed at least one woman with what is most likely a gynecological problem. Why are you insisting on denying gynecological care to women in need?

  • AnonaMiss

    If I die and “find” “myself” “facing” “judgment,” I will react in the same way I do to my occasional Christian-themed hallucinations: I will laugh and use my semi-conscious control over the hallucination to make them perform Thriller.

    (Once you’ve taught yourself to hallucinate at will, it’s hard for them to fool you again.)

  • Ursula L

    I think you need to go back to a good high school biology textbook and review stages of development. Zygote, morula, blastocyst, embryo, fetus, baby.

    The current wikipedia article on prenatal development is pretty good, if you don’t have a good text handy.

  • Carstonio

    I assumed that the “father” reference was simply sexist demagoguery, accusing all feminist of being butch lesbians who hate marriage and motherhood.

  • Ursula L

    To quote Huckleberry Finn, when he realized that according to the form of Christianity that he had been raised in, he would need to betray his friend Jim back into slavery if he was to be saved – “Fine, I’ll go to hell.”

    Salvation has to be worth the price, and if the price is oppressing someone through slavery, or abandoning people to die from treatable medical problems, or treating some people as second class, then the price of salvation is too high. Or at least, it is too high if you are interested in being a good, kind and decent person, rather than a selfish and self-serving person who doesn’t care who they have to hurt so long as they get saved.

  • VMink

    It’s just that the people who go on and on (and on and on) about how abortion is murder never, ever, ever answer that question. No matter if they’re a sincere believer or a drive-by troll, they always ignore that question. It’s actually kind of fascinating. They seem to know that ‘Stoning” is not an answer that will get them many allies.

  • Seraph4377

    Has the coward answered your question yet?

  • VMink

    What should the penalty be for a woman who gets an abortion, in a jurisdiction where abortion is illegal?

  • VMink

    The lack of context, anything specific, and even anything more concrete than ‘this article’ — and of course no followup — makes it sound like a troll version of ‘Great article, I agree with everything said here, please link back!’ spam.

    So bascially: “They have an autotroll!” That’s actually kind of impressive, bringing trolling into the mass-manufacturing era!

  • Ursula L

    I find the budget argument misleading – if you look at dollar signs, you overlook women.

    You overlook men, as well, who can go to Planned Parenthood for STD testing and treatment, education on safe sex and family planning, condoms, and men can also support the women in their lives by accompanying them to appointments if she desires, learning correct use of contraceptive methods so that contraception is a cooperative activity (e.g., knowing how to help position a diaphragm) etc.

  • sonottoosoon

    I would have thought pastorboy was a younger guy too going by his name, but no. He’s an older guy. His name and his social media accounts can be found easily if you wish with a little help from Google Reverse Image Search.

    Oh man. I just watched him preaching in his video “The Samaritan Woman Part 1”. It doesn’t contradict the way he’s represented himself here, put it that way.

  • SisterCoyote

    I s’pose at this point, I might well follow the example of the atheists here on Slacktivist, who turn up to tell the atheist-trolls to buzz off.

    You’re not expressing love, dude. You’re expressing contempt and anger, and you’re passing judgement by telling others to repent of sins that YOU have decided they committed. Your interpretation of the Bible is a narrow one, and not the only one, and before you go casting stones through this thread, can you tell me where in the Bible it talks about abortion? Anywhere at all?

    I am not a false Christian because I disagree with you. Fred is not a false Christian because he disagrees with you. (And, for the record, you might want to take a long look at your own comments here before you go accusing others of self-righteousness.)

    You, sir, do not hold the keys to the gospel – you are not a gatekeeper, and quite frankly, you’re not doing a very good job of lighting the way. Christ died to save us, to save all humanity, not to give an elite few the moral high ground with which to beat others into submission.

  • (nods) This is precisely the reaction I would expect if supporting anti-abortion legislation were seen primarily as a symbol with which to express one’s high valuation of fetuses, rather than as an actual change-in-the-world one attempts to implement.

  • You seem to have missed all the teachings of Jesus. ‘Do to others as you would have them do to you.’