Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The hypocrisy of the "pro-life" movement

I wrote a previous article "You Can't Be Pro-War And Pro-Life" in which we pointed out the philosophical hypocrisy of those who claim to be "Pro-Life". These are the people who protest abortions that occur here in the US and elsewhere, but then turn a blind eye to wars and excuse collateral casualties as unfortunate but part of the "cost of freedom". Some of these folks are also Christian fundamentalists that salivate at every Middle East conflict, thinking it'll be the one that fulfills their fantasies of Christ's return by triggering a series of events they believe that will bring that about.

For almost 40 years now, people have marched, protested, lobbied, prayed, bombed clinics, shot people, all in an effort which has been almost completely futile. Their "all or nothing" approach to demanding a ban on all abortions and even most forms of birth control has accomplished very little.

I've been asked "where do you stand on all of this?" many times. For starters, as you may know if you've been reading this blog for awhile, I grew up in a very conservative and religious family. On an almost yearly basis, we'd make the annual trip to Washington to march in the rally marking the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. I went not because I was concerned with protesting, I was far more interested in getting out of the house. Also, the stop on the way home at the Golden Corral or Ryan's for all you can eat shrimp was worth the march in the freezing cold and the continual droning of fellow riders as they clutched their worn rosary beads. When you're 12 years old and you only get the chance to eat at a restaurant once or twice a year, you'd jump on that opportunity as well.

Even as a kid, I was puzzled at the inconsistency of many of these riders on the bus. These were folks who would descend upon Washington from all around the country every year to demand an end to abortion. Yet, on war or capital punishment, they were either oddly silent or even vocally supportive. Many of them even, my own family included, mocked the members of the congregation who participated in protesting war or the death penalty.

Personally, I don't have a problem with taking a life when it is justified. In my mind, this is usually reserved for defending myself and/or others. In the matter of capital punishment, I am actually opposed to it. Not for some sense of morality, but because I feel that a life sentence with hard labor is a far worse punishment than execution. When it comes to war, if it involves intervention for protecting civilians only, I'm OK with that.

Now back to abortion. I have some issues with it and I don't think it is a matter to be trivialized. I don't pretend to know I have all of the answers but too many people think they do. In the case of the riders I shared a bus with every January in my daylong quest for unlimited fried shrimp and soft-serve ice cream, they were firmly convinced that life begins when a sperm meets an egg. Not only that, but they were also convinced that at that point, an almighty being stamps that fertilized egg with a soul and a master plan as if it was another miraculous product headed down another one out of the hundreds of millions of reproductive systems at any given moment. I understand that in religion, you have to attach some kind of magical, mysterious explanation to something but to get more upset about a fertilized egg than a civilian casualty in a war, that is just asinine. Even more asinine is that these folks also have serious control issues with sexuality and an even worse detachment from logic and anything involving reality.

Catholics are supposed to adhere to the teachings of a papal document known as "Humanae Vitae" which states that any attempt to prohibit or interrupt the "generative process" is a sin. Basically, if you want to have sex, you had better be married and it can't be with any type of contraceptive measures. Sterilization? Also a sin, and they want people outside of their religion to toe this line as well.

So what you have here is a group of people who not only think abortion is a sin, but any attempt to prevent a pregnancy which could end in an abortion is also wrong. They also want to force this belief on you even though we see it as not only ridiculous but also as an attempt to control sexuality out of a combination of centuries of sexual repression and an apparent abhorrence of a natural instinct. Even if you were to accept the strange notion that things such as sterilization or condoms are somehow a sin, are they still not a lesser evil when compared to something like a late term abortion?

This is especially astounding when you take into consideration all the real evils they've looked the other way on or participated in over the last 2,000 years. The Crusades, The Inquisition, collaboration with the Nazis and the sex abuse scandals. These are examples of evils that they've been involved with but somehow a vasectomy or being on the pill is a sin? Gimme a fucking break!

While I couldn't care less if they personally want to forgo birth control and reproduce like rabbits, who are they to force their warped sense of morality upon others? Even more laughable is when they bitch about having their religion being "under attack" when they can't make their employees and the rest of the public live under their rule. Imagine their outcry if I had a business and refused to hire someone who had 8 children or refused to allow them to place their kids on the insurance because I was morally opposed to large families? They'd be lying up to protest and sue. It would be on every right-wing radio and TV show about how I was forcing my beliefs on them.

Yet, that is exactly what they're trying to do to allow their employees access to insurance coverage that includes birth control. Not only are they doing that, but they're also doing very little to convince people not to have an abortion. Instead of supporting sex education which is proven to reduce pregnancies, they fight to take it out of schools. Instead of supporting social and charitable programs to help single or poor mothers, they vote for politicians and policies that will gut the social safety nets, and ban abortion at the same time. They're determined to make people "live with the consequences of their actions" which is the exact opposite of what they believe Jesus died on the cross for in the first place.

This is just twisted, bizarre and downright evil. Then again, considering the history of the religion, why are we really surprised.

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