Posts Tagged Planned Parenthood
Beyoncé pisses me off. She is such an out of touch, overprivileged and pretentious puke who rarely seems to be taking the time to examine her privilege, such as when she said this:
”When I gave birth, that was the first time I truly let go and surrendered. And it taught me how amazing that feels… Giving birth made me realize the power of being a woman. I have so much more substance in my life. And expressing that excitement and that sensuality and the connection I have with my husband—I’m a lot more comfortable with that now. I actually feel like my child introduced me to myself.”
Yes, because that is totally what womanhood and being a woman and empowered is all about: giving birth. In fact, that is our entire raison d’etre as women…to give birth because otherwise we are nothing but unhappy, sloppy, weak, man hating, disgusting, bitter wrecks who don’t know themselves and are lost in a sea of meaninglessness just killing the time in between giving births.
I am so glad B is totally not validating the view of every misogynist, Right wing, Republican nut job who has worked long and hard to reduce a woman’s entire being and diminish her rights accordingly, based on her birth giving abilities and willingness, even going so far as to place the existence of a bunch of cells in the gestation period above the life and choices, autonomy, humanity, dignity and wishes of a woman.
Thanks Beyoncé, you privileged Oreo, for proving once again that women are, more or less, uteri attached to a female body with the added bonus of a fuck hole; thank you for making being a woman and empowered all about reproductive capacity – especially adding salt to the wound of those who are reproductively challenged or experience some other health issue that makes giving birth hard or impossible and who are made to feel incomplete because of notions you perpetrate; not to mention those who simply may not want to be mothers because they do not define their happiness and sense of fulfillment and worth as a human being by whether they had a child or not.
Thanks for not only making them all feel like worthless, incomplete human beings and women, but for also essentially validating the views of all who reduce a woman’s personhood and humanity to her reproductive capacity.
Given such enlightened sentiments, I am totally surprised at the onslaught of legislative attacks on reproductive rights with law makers believing that they have every right to control and dictate and legislate a woman’s reproductive choices by, in fact, taking away those very choices they allege women have, forcing them to do something with their body they do not want to do, and thus without their consent – much like a rapist who uses physical force to force a woman to do something she does not want and thus without her consent – even going so far as to declare a child resulting from an actual, literal, act of rape divine providence; legislators who assert that a woman’s personhood is debatable and that she has little rights if she doesn’t use her body to give birth.
I am not the word police here or trying to blow things out of proportion. I just really would like to point out how deeply entrenched patriarchy – and all of its adverse consequences for some – is in our society and that such sentiments say a lot about how these issues, especially women, are viewed and are viewing themselves. I know Beyoncé is deeply religious so that might definitely have something to do with her attitude of wholeness connected with motherhood. Religion, after all, was born out of patriarchy, male dominance and misogyny.
This is also not a judgment on women who are parents and who made that choice. This is about a culture that works hard on many levels – subtle or obvious, direct or indirect – to take away the choice from women who do not want to follow the traditional path; a culture that devalues and judges women, seeing them as less than or lacking in some way and thus being incomplete if they exercise their autonomy and choice, to not be a parent; a culture where women have to constantly justify and explain their private, reproductive, family and lifestyle choices to strangers and law makers who look at them with astonishment and even a sense of pity for not being or not wanting to be a mommy; this is about women being socialized, encouraged, cajoled, and coerced into childbearing from the moment of birth.
So, Beyoncé, get back to never, never land with glitter and diamond encrusted pacifiers for the daughter whom you are going to teach all about the virtues of human and woman hood, namely giving birth.
Self determination and autonomy have rarely, if ever, been touched upon really in terms of actual policy formulation aimed at granting and protecting and enforcing those rights until the second half of the twentieth century when notions of human rights were formulated after World War II.
Even the Founding Fathers of this nation did not believe in human autonomy for all, which is why women got to vote some 150 years after the foundation of this nation and thus after the Declaration of Independence. When that document reads “all men are created equal“, it really does mean all males. The Founding Fathers, in all their wisdom notwithstanding, did not recognize that women were part of mankind.
One of our – as human kind – most fundamental rights – which is a human right and something inalienable, irrespective of culture and country of origin – is the freedom to be autonomous and make decisions based on that autonomy. This is a very fundamental and important right that often does not get the important attention it deserves. Way too many people are comfortable with having that autonomy diminished or taken away from them.
Most, if not all, conflicts throughout human history leading up to today, in not only this very country but all around the world really, have been about controlling others by taking away their autonomy to choose for themselves how to live their lives, what to believe in and subsequently what choices to make.
Eric and Ruth Brown were not those people. They had a choice and the freedom to exercise that autonomy to make a choice.
Deformity and Suffering as the Creator’s Will
The couple from Nashville, Tennessee, believe that the genetic disorder that created a cleft in their daughter Pearl Joy’s upper lip and caused her brain’s development to stall in the first weeks in the womb, to be god’s will.
“Things didn’t go wrong,” an apparently delusional Eric Brown said. “God has designed Pearl the way he wanted, for his glory and our good”.
This delusion has sustained the Browns ever since ultrasound revealed that the couple’s third child has alobar holoprosencephaly, a rare genetic condition that’s almost always fatal. The Browns never considered abortion. They believe that Pearl is “fearfully and wonderfully made,” as Psalm 139 puts it, and god alone should decide when she lives and when she dies.
Pearl’s brain never divided into two hemispheres during her development in the womb, which means she is basically a crawling vegetable. ”We don’t care about those things. She is here, and her brain is telling her how to live“, says Eric Brown.
The Browns are holding on to dear life, literally, as they delude themselves into believing that as long as their girl is basically still warm she should live and that her life is wonderful and a blessing, even though she has seizures on a daily basis, has a weakened immune system and has been back to the hospital at least five times in the past three months. A simple cold could kill her but “that day hasn’t come yet“, her mother says. The Browns not only insist she is god’s gift, they also think Pearl is actually fighting.
Fighting for what is unclear. Is she fighting for a miracle? Is she fighting for growing up being normal after all with this disease poofing out of existence much the same way this Earth poofed into existence according to the Bible?
Even skeptical neighbors, friends and acquaintance have bought into the delusion, applauding the Brown’s decision.
Kristina Guisler, a friend from the MOMS Club of East Nashville, met the Browns in 2009. When she first heard about Pearl’s condition, she said she wasn’t sure the Browns had made the right decision by continuing with the pregnancy. She wondered what kind of life Pearl would have.
But seeing the love that the Browns have for Pearl has changed her mind and strengthened her own faith.
“It’s reaffirmed my faith in humanity and in the power of prayer,” she said.
The Browns aren’t the only ones suffering from serious delusions, Nancy and David Guthrie of Nashville faced the ordeal twice: in 1998 and 2002 when their son and daughter both died in infancy from a fatal genetic condition called Zellweger syndrome. In Gabriel’s case, the Guthries learned he had Zellweger while he was still in the womb.
“One of the things we learned is that great sorrow and great joy can coexist,” she said. “Because life in the image of God is so precious, there is great joy in having this one you love with you, even while there is great sorrow in knowing that this child might not grow old with you.”
I have read and seen religious people talk themselves into a whole lot of bullshit and delusions to make it through their lives, but this sure takes the height. What I find particularly disturbing is this:
“God has designed Pearl the way he wanted, for his glory and our good.”
So god, in all his wisdom and love, would afflict a child with disease, deformity and suffering? And being born with a horrible genetic disease that renders you nothing but an animated doll trapped in a painful and torturous existence at the verge of death is something god did for his glory? There is glory to be had from this? And said disease and deformity is for the good of the parents.
All the credit, but none of the blame, huh? Hmmm maybe god is a Republican after all
But there is a broader canvas here. The above statement by the Browns is disturbing and akin to Indiana Tea Party Senate candidate Richard Mourdock’s comments that pregnancies stemming from rape, however horrible, are “something that God intended to happen” – as if rape wasn’t a crime and heinous act but just something in god’s secret and elaborate plan for all of us lemmings and for “his glory and the victim’s good.”
Does that mean rape itself is part of god’s plan? And genocide? And mass killing and child rape? Most religious people would say “no” (or maybe yes), which creates all sorts of contradictions because what they are saying is that the act of rape is not god’s will but the resulting child is. In other words, god would never orchestrate a rape, but would definitely exploit a rape to impregnate a woman.
That is amazing. Where do I sign up to worship this excellent decision-maker?
It is great that believing that there is a higher purpose to their suffering has allowed the Brown’s to not only justify their choice but also live with it this long.
Remember people believe in all sorts of stories and even lies for self preservation and to make it through the day and their lives. That is why we have religion in the first place. It is called cognitive dissonance, which is the term used in modern psychology to describe the state of “holding two or more conflicting ideas, beliefs, values and emotional reactions simultaneously. In a state of dissonance, people may sometimes feel surprise, dread, guilt, anger, or embarrassment. The theory of cognitive dissonance in social psychology proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance by altering existing cognitions, adding new ones to create a consistent belief system, or alternatively by reducing the importance of any one of the dissonant elements.”
The Brown’s are engaging in precisely that. They are people of faith who believe that the deity they believe in does all things for a reason. Such a notion is an especially opportune world view when good things happen. When something horrible, such as the birth defect of their child happens, on the other hand, said believers are suddenly left in shock, asking themselves where the good is in having their own child be afflicted with such a condition. Suddenly, painful reality and the tenets of their faith are at odds. If god is all loving and all caring, how can he let this happen? That is where “filling in the gaps” comes in becasue the Browns are human beings who can only take so much pain before losing it.
How do they cope with it? They cope with it by attempts to reconcile the reality of their situation with what they have been taught god to be. Thus, they tell a lie to themselves. But they do not know it is a lie. It cannot be. If it was, that would bring down their entirely worldview and the reality they have created for themselves. Their self delusion in that regard is quite sincere. The Browns have to believe that this is all part of a grander scheme. This, in turn enables them to go through life without feeling hopeless and without loosing their faith and feeling let down by their grand and loving creator.
Delusion is a wonderful thing and nothing deludes more than religion.
The truth, of course, is that this baby will be confronted with a myriad of painful medical procedures that she will have to endure but not understand the need for. There are limits to the amount of painkiller an infant can be given. The question really is whether the child is having a quality of life that satisfies the child’s nature, or whether being kept alive on IVs, feeding tubes, oxygen and other meds is the truly loving and wonderful alternative.
And can you say this is what the divine intended when the only thing keeping the child alive is medical technology, not god? The parents might enjoy the love and care they are giving, but what about the infant?
Ultimately, the Browns are doing this to make themselves feel better. They think they are doing this child a favor, but they aren’t, they are only doing themselves a favor and justify their decision by making appeals to the grand schemes of a higher power.
The only victim in this process is Pearl. Her family is holding on to delusions to prolong the life of a vegetable. For Pearl living or not living does not make a difference. She doesn’t even know what and who and if she is. Her brain didn’t part into two hemispheres for cryin’ out loud. She is nothing but an animated doll and for her there is no difference between living and dying, becasue there is no “her” there. She is just a breathing shell.
The idea that you have emergency oxygen standing by makes one wonder about whose will we are talking about, god’s or the ego’s. Her family’s understandable efforts to cope with her condition by putting a pretty spin on it only trivializes her suffering. And theirs.
Not Just Faith But Choice
The delusion of the Brown’s view on this aside, the bigger question here is that of choice. The beauty of freedom is that people, including the Browns, can choose to believe in any number of lies to make it through the day and their lives. And their decision, whether I agree with it or not, is ok.
As long as the Browns do not say to someone else that this is why their child has been blessed with a deformity and death. they can believe in hob goblins as far as I – and reality – are concerned. Sure it is naive and ignorant to attribute any condition onto god, and I mean naive in the sense of immature, unknowing as it relates, but if that is what they need to make it through their lives, who am I, or anyone, to argue with that?
Only that the delusions of religious people are rarely confined to their own personal realm
And therein lies the fundamental problem with letting faith guide your decisions. Religious people place their emotions before their intelligence. The problem is that when people make important decisions based on a fantastical belief system rather than facing unpleasant realities that they’d rather pretend don’t exist, it can leave a lot of collateral damage that affects others. Just look at the recent assault on women’s reproductive rights callously championed by Republicans and conservatives based on their religious beliefs.
The Browns – for better or worse – had a choice with respect to keeping this child alive and caring for it. Ruth Brown could have gotten an abortion, but due to her personal beliefs she decided not to. She had a choice.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the kinds of policies Republicans push for and have partially succeeded in when it comes to granting women autonomy and the freedom to choose what they believe to be the best decision for them. The Browns were lucky that they were able to make the decision to have their the child without threats and pressure to obtain an abortion.
At the same time, remember that simply becasue it worked for the Browns and was the best decision they could make based on their lives, it does not mean it is the only right and honorable answer. A couple choosing to get an abortion should be able to do so without facing obstacles and judgment and shame just as the Browns. In short, the Brown’s decision to keep the child is not more admirable than the decision of someone else in the same situation to abort it.
In the end, it is all about choice and giving people the freedom to make that choice. In this day and age, it’s a true luxury to have one’s autonomy respected and your choices be your own. I wish lawmakers everywhere would make note of this because nothing diminishes an individual more than stripping them off autonomy.
I cannot believe the extent to which I – as a liberal – keep overestimating Obama. And with that I mean overestimate his backbone and willingness - as well ability – to truly fight for his constituents instead of pulling his tail in and cowering into a corner, like he did during the first 2012 Presidential debate with Mitt Romney this past Wednesday.
If there is one thing I was sure of then it was that Obama would obliterate this plutocratic puke Mitt Romney at the debates; yet all he did was just stand there and nod like a school boy being dressed down by his principal. Obama did not even make an attempt to correct Romney who unloaded all these horrendous and shameless lies onto him and the American people. It was as if the past year – and specifically the past few months – just had not happened.
We all knew Romney wanted to reset the campaign, but why did Obama? During the debate Obama, ironically enough, became the proverbial empty suit Eastwood has mocked just a few weeks ago during the RNC. He was so bad, he made Romney look good. That is how epic-ly bad his comatose, cowardly performance was.
It is amazing. Romney has no tax plan, no health care plan, no jobs plan or any other kind of plan economic recovery plan for this country other than the busted “trickle down economics” myth and the “anything before Obama“mentality. His campaign consists of leaving behind a messy trail of lies, gross manipulations, gas lighting, flip flopping on issues and just a lot of foot in the mouth moments insulting our allies and adding fuel to century’s old rivalries while masking his real agenda of catering to the greed of the 1% at the expense of everyone else.
Will the Real Mitt Romney Please Stand Up
The 47% speech was the real Romney; that speech was from the heart – behind the cameras and behind closed doors, he was finally speaking the truth, showing his disdain for the American people and those who aren’t in the millionaire’s club. Yet he somehow managed to wipe the floor with Obama during the debate. And he did so not by presenting facts and making a strong case for his candidacy, but by telling shameless, boldfaced lies – which is something to be expected from a corporate raider who spent his entire life scamming people.
For example, Romney said that Obama does not like bipartisanship, that he does not reach out to Republicans. In reality, everytime Obama tried to work with Republicans, they went out of their way to obstruct him. In fact, after Republicans ended up with both the House and Senate majority in 2010, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell admitted that “the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”
Why did Obama not mention any of this?
Obama did not mention Romney’s supremely insulting and incriminating 47% speech - in which he was for once speaking from the heart, he did not mention Bain Capital at all – which says a lot more about Romney and his philosophy than anything else, he did not mention his 14% tax rate and he also did not confront him about his tax returns and his refusal to release them.
Finally, in a year where women’s reproductive rights have been under a vicious assault – from transvaginal probing of women who want to get abortions, to defunding Planned Parenthood, calling Sandra Fluke a slut for using contraceptives to Akin’s ”legitimate rape” and woman-give-off-certain-juices-when-raped-so-they-don’t-become-pregnant remarks, it was beyond bizarre, but mostly disappointing, that Obama just did not even mention anything in that regard. He looked like a school boy being dressed down by the principal.
The thing is that the above mentioned were issues that got a lot of undecided voters and those liberals who felt alienated by Obama’s repeated giving in to Republican demands, on Obama’s side. Yet he did not even mention them. And for that matter, he also did not mention same sex marriage and his support thereof.
What the fuck is wrong with this man?
Over 70 million people watched and this could have been an amazing opportunity for Obama to reach out and bring across the message and for once and all put an end to Romney’s lies and right out confront him and call him out in his lies. And he blew it. The man blew it. He did the same thing that both John Kerry and Al Gore did, fail to take the battle to Romney.
The folly with Obama is that he does not want to fight dirty – if one can consider stating facts and confronting a liar as playing dirty – and in in some ill conceived sense for bipartisanship he has given Republicans everything they wanted. What he he needs to realize, however, is that you cannot play fair and nice when you swim with sharks. Obama is going to have to get dirty. He’s going to have to kick, bite, scratch, and claw his way forward. Republicans have no interest in working with Obama or the American people, as they have made abundantly clear in the past by categorically opposing policies that would benefit the American people for no other reason than making Obama look bad.
Of course that is something he should have been doing for the last four years yet failed. He failed to bring true health care reform to this country in the from of government run insurance side by side private insurance; he utterly and miserably failed in the Bush tax cuts issues – extending them for the richest people in exchange for nine months more of unemployment benefits; he did not go after BP; he did not go after Wall Street. He stayed mums on the Right wing’s audacious and callous attacks on women’s reproductive rights – only mentioning it as a talking point during his speeches – and he let Republicans hold the raise of the debt ceiling hostage in exchange of Obama budging in on budget issues – which is absurd because the debt ceiling is about money already spent while the budget is about money going to be spend.
There is a time and place for diplomacy and holding the moral high ground. And there is a time to fight. Trying to hold the moral high ground while being lied to and bullied, as was the case with the debate on Wednesday, is not one of those occasions where diplomacy will work. Obama can’t win on Hope and Change and Yes We Can this time because there is no longer any Hope, there was no real meaningful Change, and he may still believe that Yes We Can is possible but there are a lot of Buts after the slogan.
On Wednesday the President did not make the case for himself; he did not call out the lies or even make the case as to why we should vote for him. I could not sleep that night wondering what has happened to Obama and what a truly horrific future is to await all of us if Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan – two people who represent the cold side of humanity – were to become the leaders of this nation because of Obama’s lack of courage. I also kept wondering how Mitt Romney – with his horrible policies and the plutocratic, dystopian future he has in stow for all of us, - could even get this far.
Yet there is a real chance he may make it. I blame uninformed and “independent” voters. How can anyone think positively of a guy who in his heart of hearts believes that half of Americans are irresponsible mooches who view themselves as victims who are uninspired and unmotivated to improve their lives and irresponsible?
I also would love to know who taught Obama that checking your balls at the door is a sign of a competent and strong leader. It is one thing to get riled up confirming the stereotype of the ”angry black man”, it is quite something else to stand there and let someone bully and insult you in the face while you say nothing. Of course, this wouldn’t concern me if the American people weren’t intellectually challenged, but they are. The fact that Obama has this knack of regularly fucking up when it comes down do it is remarkable. That man has a sense for screwing up when his supporters count on him the most, it is amazing.
Last month, the News-Leader in Springfield, Missouri, published a reader’s letter asking voters to reject Mitt Romney because of his Mormon faith.
I have given much thought to Richard Stoecker’s letter (“Vote for Mormon against beliefs,” June 15). I am also a Christian and differ with the Mormon religion.
But I think any Christian should spend much time in prayer before refusing to vote for a family man with high morals, business experience, who is against abortion, and shares Christian conviction concerning homosexuality just because he is a Mormon.
Any Christian who does not vote or writes in a name is casting a vote for Romney’s opponent, Barack Hussein Obama — a man who sat in Jeremiah Wright’s church for years, did not hold a public ceremony to mark the National Day of Prayer, and is a liberal who supports the killing of unborn babies and same-sex marriage.
I hope all Christians give their vote prayerful consideration because voting is a sacred privilege and a serious responsibility.
Ah yes, religious people.
This is yet another piece of evidence, in a long list of pieces of evidence, of why religion is just bad for human kind. Bad, bad, bad – in every imaginable way possible. It is like a cult, no it is a cult, that has taken over like the fucking invasion of the bodysnatchers or something. Everyone is either doing it, for it, advocating it or apologizing for it (i.e. “but no not all religious people are like that“). Umm., yes they are. Some just aren’t vocal about it but they all believe the same kind of crap essentially.
Jane Pitt is entitled to her opinion and she is also entitled to send letters to editors if she wants or, for that matter, use any other means possible to make her opinions known. This is a free country after all where even uneducated, ignorant women like her have the right to say what is on their mind.
But this isn’t about freedom of speech. This is about a bigot once again engaging in hate speech and advocating for the discrimination of a group of people (i.e. gays) she doesn’t know and who have not done her any harm, under the guise of free speech. This is bigtory and narrow mindedness at its height and the fact that she is the mother of a famous person is problematic because there is real impact associated with her name. In other words, people will listen to her bigoted shit and she is not someone anyone should listen to.
Being entitled to your own opinion does not mean you are also entitled to your own facts.
What exactly about her letter is ignorant, uneducated and hateful you ask? I find this particular passage quite revealing:
“[Romney is] a man with high morals, business experience, who is against abortion, and shares Christian conviction concerning homosexuality“
The truth is that Romney is not a man with high moral convictions. His company and business practices (corporate raiding) have rendered tens of thousands of people, if not more, jobless and destitute. Yeah sure, he didn’t pull the trigger on them, like the Unabomber – whom Harvard did not even want to mention in its alumni directory – but his actions have caused hardship, sickness and even death to thousands of people. Thus they carry weight and consequences far from that of a man with “high moral convictions. “ And I promise you they won’t take Rommey’s name off the Harvard alumni directory.
The only business experience Romney has is acquiring companies, loading them up with debt, pushing them into bankruptcy, then laying people off and canceling their health benefits. As governor of Massachusetts he did the same thing: his party ruined the economy, he cut education, raised fees on the middle class to benefit the wealthy and his state ranked 47 in job creation.
Mitt Romney is also not against abortion, nor could he cares less about the unborn or even born – as clearly expemlpified by his track record. Mitt Romney is a narrow-minded, religious bigot and misogynist who, in essence, has no respect for women and love for womanhood in essence. Sure, he loves his wife, as long as she doesn’t overstep her boundaries and knows her place I guess. But his support of cuts for Planned Parenthood -whose majority of work consists of disease prevention and health promotion and very little abortion – and his support of the recent anti-woman legislation including the transvaginal ultrasound probing of women who seek an abortion, speak volumes about him and his views on women.
So, this isn’t about abortion and he is using abortion – like all misogynists do – as a stepping stone for his political agenda. If he cared about the unborn, he would not enact policies or advocate for enacting policies that leave their parents destitute. Just being against abortion but fucking people over after they are born is not a sign of high moral character.
Finally, his “Christian” convictions on homosexuality are that gays should be treated as second class citizens and human beings and if he could he would round them all up – like that baptist pastor advocated a few weeks ago – and cage them behind electrified fences until “they die out.”
The fact that despite all the evidence supporting the contrary, Brad Pitt’s fucking mother – who is a stupid, uneducated woman apparently not knowing much of anything – thinks that Romney is just a great guy and faithful Christian with a high moral character is what is truly upsetting here. In other words, the ignorance is that woman’s letter is mind boggingly staggering. And the fact that she sends a letter to the editor scolding people who don’t want to vote for Romney based on the above mentioned criteria as bad people and bad Christians, trying to shame them, is what is even more infuriating. There certainly is nothing Christ-like about this woman.
When she puts something like that out there, people have every right – and in her case every duty – to speak up.
Furthermore, with celebrity and fame comes power and with power comes responsibility. Jane Pitt knows her credibility goes up when she uses her name that is associated to her A-lister son. There is no way she was not aware of this when she send in the letter. In the day and age of celebrity gossip and TMZ it is beyond naive to think that as a a celebrity or the relative of a celebrity, the things you do and say will go unnoticed.
Now the minions and faithful followers of her son in this country have a real dilema: do they listen to the mother of the hottest man alive and superb actor who’s about to marry the greatest humanitarian with a gold plated vagina and uterus of all times, or do they think for themselves?
Three things To Get Out of This
1) Religion is bad for people, no matter what. I present to you exhibit number 345,667,567: Jane Pitt
2) Brad Pitt should be seriously ashamed of his mother. I mean really…ashamed to the ground.
3) Now I really hope Shiloh is going to turn out to be either a full-blown bull dyke or transgender candidate to make her Christian grandmother with Chrisitan values and a high moral character very, very proud.
A Dallas minister and the members of his religious community were outraged this past week about the national organization of African Americans for Humanism‘s plans to display an atheist message on a prominent billboard in Dallas, Texas. The billboard was proposed by the organization as part of their country-wide Black History Month campaign aimed at encouraging African Americans to look critically at their faith, according to KDAF TV. This, of course, resulted in a deluge of protests by community members who feel threatened by such “ungodly” messages that “[support] gays and lesbians” and else apparently constitute a threat to society and - according to one of the hate emails sent to the organization – “screw up lives”.
The World Through the Eyes of Religious Nut Jobs
I find Pastor Kyev Tatum, who is the head of the Fort Worth chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference who also calls himself ”God’s appointed leader” and who is one of the entities outraged by these ads, and his response quite symptomatic of the disease that is plaguing this nation in particular and the world in general: religion. He said: ”It’s a sad indictment on the state of affairs for us as a community. We got major issues going on within our community that we need to address, and this is an unnecessary debate.” He pointed to things like high incarceration and high teenage pregnancy rates in the black community, issues “that we could be working on that are more critical.” He went on to say that ”When you rely on freethinking, [<--- I really love that] “and you rely on your own individualism to make your decisions, you oftentimes make unrealistic and irrational decisions. It’s irrational, in my thought process, for them to put those kinds of signs up,” when they could be focusing on more pressing social problems.
He has a thought process? Doesn’t look like there is much going on up there.
I must say it is also quite amusing hearing someone like him, who essentially believes in the talking snake, a man walking on water and coming back from the dead, criticize anyone for irrationality. The fact that most people, including his deluded constituents, don’t get that, is disturbing.
Furthermore, what Pastor Tatum doesn’t realize in his deluded wisdom, just like most religious people I guess, is that those problems he recites, such as teen pregnancy, are a problem because of religion and the actions the church endorses. The Planned Parenthood and contraception debates of late are just two examples to the point. In fact, if it wasn’t for religion these teens would get actual, fact-based sex education instead of being taught abstinence, which we all know doesn’t work. It. Just. Does. Not.
Not only does it not work but by not teaching about contraceptives, such a policy often results in teens coming back with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HPV – which can lead to cervical cancer – as well as the very unwanted pregnancies Pastor Tatum complains about.
So, for this man to step out and quite ignorantly state that religion was the cure for the disease it and people like him create is not only ridiculous but, jokes aside, supremely ignorant.
That he finds “freethinking” a problem doesn’t surprise me at all. Religion is anti-intellectualism and independent thought that allows you to discover facts and learn about new ideas are abhorred. But it is always stunning to actually hear someone spew this much unfounded crap in one go. “How dare you do some thinking of your own instead of relying on fairy tales, anecdotes and hocus pocus essentially to guide your decisions“.
Let me just say that if god appoints someone like him as a leader, I am not sure if I would wanna have much faith in that god.
When Religion Becomes Part of the Problem
Reverend Tatum and his kind are part of the problem. This man is essentially endorsing and encouraging ignorance and has turned intellectual curiosity into a liability rather than a strength and an asset.
It also makes you wonder whether these “religious” folks are actually grounded in their beliefs much given how threatened they feel by some words on a sign. In fact, it often seems like religious folks try to convince themselves more than anybody else that they are right and their way the only way.
It is also ironic to see these nut jobs fear that their right to religious freedom is threatened in any shape by these billboards when it is in fact their faith that has been infesting the public sphere and with it public policy for centuries, making everyone’s life miserable. Attacks on Planned Parenthood, women’s reproductive rights in general, defunding stem cell research, prayer in schools, teaching intelligent design, abstinence and a myriad other public policies as a direct result of religious doctrine represent just some of the few issues that us non-religious folks have to endure at the hands of the religious Right or religion, period.
Insecure, evangelical Christians also seem to need constant visual and verbal reminders and validations. After all, that is why we have ”God” on our money and in our pledge and in our schools and public buildings.
It all somehow feels like they are hanging on by a thread, like children trying to keep believing in Santa Clause out of fear that they won’t get presents otherwise.
The same Constitution that guarantees these Churches the right to practice their faiths freely, also guarantees the right of atheists and non-believers to display that Atheist billboard.
The Best Way to Become an Atheist is to Read the Bible
Someone once said that “the best way to become an atheist is to just read the Bible” cover to cover. And it is true. The thing people don’t realize is that atheism, science, evolution or liberals are not the things that give religion a bad name: religious people and religion give religion a bad name.
Studies have shown that people who turn away from religion don’t do so because of atheism or evolution taught in schools, but because at some point they just get fed up with all the backwards, narrow minded crap they read in holy books and their applications in life. They are so appalled by the bigotry, hypocrisy and narrow mindedness of religion and its followers that they turn away. As one reader once wrote me:
“I turned away from religion because I got tired of all the prohibitions and self-censorship involved: don’t think this, don’t read that, don’t go here, don’t talk to those people, etc.
It was like trying to look at the world through just one tiny, limited, mono-colored lens. I knew the world was bigger, more beautiful, more interesting, more dangerous, more ugly and more complex than this little lens would let me see. I just couldn’t sustain the pretense anymore.
It was not until I was much older that I began to really see the dark side of religion and be glad that I left it behind.”
Should We Respect Other Views?
One of the things I often hear from religious people who don’t take kindly to being criticized about their faith is that one should respect other peoples’ faith, as if both views were equally valid and it just so happens that one person believes in Jesus and god while another doesn’t. Or as if this was a matter of taste, like preferring chocolate flavored ice cream over strawberry flavored one, or blonde hair over brown. The difference of course is that preferring one flavor over another doesn’t generally result in detrimental consequences for those who prefer the other flavor.
No one in their right mind should ever have to respect anyone’s fairy tales and backwards beliefs, however, as fact. Especially if those fairy tales and the beliefs that inform them have serious detrimental consequences for society and everyone living in it. And I am not even talking ancient history, such as the Crusades and witch burning. I am talking United States in the twenty-first century. Imagine how many lives could have been saved, for example, if our idiots-in-chief George W. Bush and Reagan before him hadn’t defunded stem cell research based on their….yes, religious beliefs.
Religious people also say that one cannot generalize from a small group of what they call “fanatics” or “extremists” to all religious people. As if their kind of religiosity was rational and made sense as opposed to the “zealots.”
But the truth is that if you are religious there is no grey area: you are automatically disqualified as a rational human being whose views on the subject ought to be respected. I don’t have to respect or accept your faith, I merely tolerate it and that only as long as it does not infringe upon my rights. But alas it does, so I judge you and dismiss you because frankly there is no acceptable level for irrationality, ignorance and bigotry.
Religious people are all insane – there is no difference between the “extremes” and moderates.
Everything about religion is extreme. If you believe in a man walking on water or Noah’s arc and that a woman was made by taking the osteopathic tissue of a man, not to mention the pile of unfounded crap to be found in religious scripture that just reek of bigotry, racism and misogyny, you are fucking insane and that is a non-negotiable. I don’t have to tolerate people believing in fairy tales and bigotry and then imposing it on others and this bad habit of being forced to give credence to peoples’ fantasies that have very real life consequences for the rest of us, is not something to be proud of strive for. It is stupid.
Preaching the Gospel of “I Don’t Know”
Only a fool claims to have all the answers. Religious people are fools.
Atheism is not a “religion” or“faith”; in fact, atheism is irreligion. It simply means that one does not believe in god any more than in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Pink Elephants, Bigfoot or the Healing Power of Crystals. There is no difference in believing in Jesus or in Santa Clause, only that we have been conditioned to believe the former to be true and the latter just a fairy tale. A child born to Catholic parents will grow up Catholic, while that same child, if raised by a Muslim family, would grow up being a Muslim.
Do non-believers have all the answers? No, but that doesn’t mean that the Bible, Koran or Torah are the truth. We may not be able to “prove” that god does not exist, but we don’t need to. The burden of proof is not on the skeptic. It is like saying, ‘there is a pink elephant in the room and if you cannot prove it, then it means it is real.”
The fact that one does not currently know what came before us, if anything, or before the Big Bang or how all the details of evolution work does not mean that one “must” believe in god or Jesus or Mohammed. I, for one, am perfectly willing to accept that I do not know everything and that some things are yet to be discovered by human kind.