Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Answering "Choice" (who describes herself as "intolerant of intolerance, and proud of it")

This is long, but bear with me.


To understand what you are about to read, first go here and here. After Calah posted the shocking yet hopeful story of her first pregnancy, a woman named "Choice" came on to challenge her. So far so good. But it took a turn, and I have secured permission from Calah to respond here to some of Choice's comments, which I have reprinted below. Choice's words are in black, with my thoughts in blue italics:



My primary goal here is not to insult all of you [judging from what follows, might it have been your secondary goal?]; it is to provide a dissenting viewpoint that is too frequently lacking in these types of blogs. [What types of blogs are "these types of blogs"? Calah's blog is a personal blog, with her personal thoughts. She has lived both sides of the cultural divide, and she has come down on the side of Catholic wife and mom. As for dissenting viewpoints, we faithful Catholics live in a country that dissents from our viewpoints. Heck, even most American Catholics dissent from Church teaching. So, please don't worry that we are not exposed to dissenting viewpoints, as it's orthodox Catholic viewpoints that we rarely hear.]

If our deepest-held convictions go unquestioned and unchallenged, then we may as well forfeit our reasoning minds and walk this earth on autopilot. [If you are familiar with Catholic patrimony, then you know we adore questions, challenges, and reason. In fact, we believe that faith and reason are "like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth". We're the folks who founded the university system, after all. And we relish in philosophy, both pre-Christian (Socrates, Plato, Aristotle) and Christian (Augustine, Aquinas, Pascal, Newman, Chesterton, et al.). We also love science; it was from the heart of the Christian culture that the natural sciences were nourished and then flourished. Given all this, I can only imagine that you are confusing Catholics with anti-intellectual sects.]

Leila: Either life is sacred or it is not. Your distinction between human creations of God and non-human creations of God is arbitrary. [Actually, it's not arbitrary at all. There is a definite line between humans and other creatures. It's so clear and obvious that even my four-year-old can tell the difference between a human and a pig, or a human and a dog, or a human and a mosquito, or a human and a plant. Nothing arbitrary about it. To say it's arbitrary is like saying there is an "arbitrary" distinction between a horse and a tree.]

Why would God populate the earth with creatures, and decide that one species is sacred and others can be tortured and killed? (If you don't believe that the animals you eat for food are tortured, educate yourself and your loved ones on factory farming). [First, God does not want his creatures to be "tortured"; in fact, my Church teaches that animals are to be treated humanely. But yes, animals are here in the service of man. Man is the only creature on earth made in the image and likeness of God, with an intellect, a will, and an eternal soul. By the way, do you eat fruits and vegetables? If so, what right do you have? Why is your life superior to theirs?] 

I’m sure several of you will want to cite the Bible to disprove that argument, but save your breath. The Bible is not a source of evidence. It is a work of fiction [Do you have evidence of that?] written to influence the lives of religious constituents, in the pursuit of power and money. [Really? Who was pursuing the power (since most of the early Christian leaders were martyred during the time the New Testament was written and compiled; dead people don't have a lot of earthly power), and who's got the money?] I could no more sanely cite a Mother Goose tale as evidence for my arguments. [Thank goodness your primary intent is not to insult us. ;)]

In my opinion, the entire religion of Catholicism has served much more as a tool of imperialism than a guideline for moral living. [Then why does the Church have no army, and why does she still insist on teaching the highest moral code in the world, while the world mocks her for it?]

Have you ever wondered why the use of contraception is so strongly discouraged by the Catholic faith? [Why yes, I have! In fact, I've studied and taught that very subject for 15 years now, so I've gone past "wondering" about it.] It is not to respect the “sanctity of life,” or to keep intact the “holy act” of intercourse. [It's not?] Those are the feel-good reasons they have instilled in you to cover up the true and original intent of these rules. [This is new to me: A liberal claiming that Catholic sexual doctrine is couched in warm fuzzies? I thought your line about Catholic sex was that the Church is cruel and oppressive?] This stipulation of your faith was designated to increase the Catholic population. Think about it. [Because clearly I've never thought about any of this before...] A group of people [can you specify the group of people?] set out to utilize a religion to amalgamate and brainwash [!!!] their constituents.

But how to increase the likelihood that your religion and your brainwashing will be as effective and as widespread as possible? Simple. Teach them that they need to reproduce as many times as possible, and that any prevention of reproduction is a sin. Ta-da! Your numbers grow stronger and you gain more power. [Ah! The "breeding minions for the Pope" argument! Well, bummer, that's not been an effective strategy, since most Catholics use contraception happily and scoff at Church teaching (if they've ever even heard of it).]

If the Catholic church truly believed all human life to be sacred, would the Pope have sanctioned the Crusades? [To which of the eight crusades over hundreds of years are you referring, and do you know the differences among them?] Would it continue to wage war against homosexuality [Wait, "waging war"...you mean teaching that homosexual acts are sinful, but that homosexual men and women must be treated with full dignity?] when those efforts could be spent saving lives in third world countries? [Do you not realize how many Catholics are saving lives in the Third World and all over the globe? Who will fill the void if the Church goes away? Whose "efforts will be spent" running the soup kitchens, hospitals, homes for the dying, medical clinics, relief agencies, orphanages, schools, etc.? Will you and your friends give up your lives and step in if Catholic charities disappear?] 

There are so many holes in the Catholic ‘sanctity of life’ argument. “Life is sacred…unless it’s a different species…or a different religion….or people who think differently than we do. Then it’s okay to torture and kill.” [Can you please cite some official Church teaching on that? I've never seen it. It seems like you have very little information about what Catholicism actually teaches, but a lot of opinions.]

The bottom line is that this earth is as we see it. [Well, except for the parts that we don't see.] There is a lot of love, there is hatred, there is pain, and there is beauty. But we shouldn’t need some imaginary man in the sky or some sexually-repressed, oddly-outfitted man in Rome to tell us to live our lives as good people. [How do you know the pope is sexually repressed? Do you publicly say the same of celibate Buddhist monks, by the way? "Oddly-dressed"? This is the level of discourse you want to bring to the blogs of those you are trying to reach? I think Papal vestments rock, by the way.] Our relationships with others, our empathy, and our nature as human beings should encourage us to do so. [And yet somehow, humans still act barbarically.] Not because we fear eternal punishment or strive for eternal reward, but because being a decent person is the right way to live. [Says who? I thought godless evolution was about survival, not virtue or decency. Sometimes to survive, we must cheat, steal, lie and kill, correct? Besides, who defines what's "right"?] 

We are animals, just like any other, who reproduce because it is written in our genetic code (which there is actually proof of). [Yes, Catholics believe that God hardwired us to reproduce. With the added bonus that we can freely love, as an act of our will.] Life can be a beautiful thing, babies can grow up to be presidents or researchers or peacemakers. But life can also be painful and horrible. Babies can grow up to be criminals and rapists and serial killers. [True. Sin is a horrible thing, and we deal with the ugly effects of our own and others' sin all the time.] 

What about the millions of children starving and dying of preventative diseases all over the world? Why are you not campaigning to save their lives if life is, in fact, sacred? [What evidence do you have that I and my Church are not?] Why is your primary concern to get as many children into the world as possible [umm, it's not my primary concern, nor is it the Church's], when welfare programs are already spread too thin, there are already so many children living in squalor and poverty, and there are parents who abuse their kids? [Are you saying that because poverty and sin exist, we must agree that unborn children can be killed and discarded? How does that follow?] 

Why the focus on quantity, not quality? [I'm focused on "not killing innocent people" not "quantity". And sadly, "quality of life" has become a liberal buzz word for abortion, euthanasia, and eugenics in general, which deserves its own post.] How about instead of bringing more souls into the world, you adopt and care for those that are already in existence who desperately need love and assistance? [Clearly you don't know your audience. In the name of fairness, I invite you to read this recent post, which will teach you more about Catholic pro-lifers. Oh, and aside from what you will learn there, it's worth noting that conservatives are also consistently more generous than liberals in charity donations as well].

I would assert that your allowing these souls to suffer [I'm allowing it?] in order to produce children genetically related to you is just as disrespectful to the sanctity of life as a woman who chooses not to carry a pregnancy to term. [If you are equating the two, you are morally confused. You also don't realize how many of those in the "Catholic Bubble" have adopted children.]

If some superior being had wanted us to reproduce endlessly, he or she would have made the resources of this earth limitless to satisfactorily provide for all of those lives. [The resources of this world are plenty abundant to provide for all of humanity. Sin, corruption and misguided policy keeps resources from people.] But they are not, and we cannot all pop out one child after another without society and the earth at some point caving under the weight of this ceaseless breeding. [For more on the myth of "ceaseless breeding", go here for a quick primer.] This does not make me loveless; this makes my definition of love one based on reality rather than religion. [What is your definition of love? Go here for what other atheists told me about what love is for them.]

So go on living in your bubble and feeling all warm and fuzzy about the way you conduct your lives. [Actually, the lifelong struggle to live a virtuous Christian life requires great sacrifice and entails great suffering. However, the interior peace and joy is worth it.] Go on crusading [for] the thousands of unborn children who aren’t brought into this world every day [you mean, who are willfully killed by abortion], while you pay thousands of dollars every year to companies who torture and kill other of God’s “sacred” creatures for the sake of your taste buds. [First, we've covered that the Church does not sanction torture of man or beast. Second, animals are not "sacred". Third, humans are meat-eaters. I don't know if I can apologize for that?]

Keep telling yourselves that sex before marriage is okay as long as you hurry up and get married before the baby comes [I've never told myself that, and neither has the Church], that divorce is okay as long as you pay the church an adequate sum of money to pretend the marriage never existed [clearly you don't know the difference between divorce and annulment; even civil authorities make the distinction], that parts of the Bible are necessary for everyone to follow but others can be swept under the rug if they inconvenience you [Evidence? Examples? Make sure you know what you are talking about, or this could turn into a whole new post], that torturing and killing is okay as long as it’s a member of a species or a thought doctrine other than your own. [What's the obsession with torture? Sigh. Speaking of "sweeping under the rug" (or dumping in the trash) and "torturing and killing", could you go here and be the first pro-choicer on this blog with the integrity to defend what you see?] 

In short, keep living in your Catholic bubble if it’s too painful for you to think outside the brainwash that comes prefabricated in the neat and tidy package of religion. [Glad you are not trying to insult anyone. By the way, are you aware that most of the people you are talking to have already lived the life you advocate, and have come to the Church after living the Planned Parenthood way? We don't actually live in a bubble, but judging from the vast ignorance of all you've said, you just might.]

But keep your brainwash to yourselves and let the rest of us live as we see fit as well [except the innocent unborn, right?]. I will never protest your right to live your life as you please [Can the unborn have that right, too?]. Stop protesting my right to do the same (and yes, 'my life' includes my decision whether or not to bear children) [translation: "my decision whether or not to kill children". And FYI, my right to protest is protected under the First Amendment. Why do you demand that I stop protesting? I don't believe you have that right.].

+++++++

Choice, it is my hope that from here on in, you will speak less from ignorance and more from knowledge and truth. You claim to be "proud" of your "intolerance of intolerance", but to some of us it seems more like a convenient way of excusing your anti-Catholic bigotry (which is nothing new or enlightened) or your (willful?) ignorance about facts which are easily known if pursued. 


To my fellow Catholics and others of good will, I put Choice's words out there to show you, once again, the cultural divide. 


And though Choice called the following "vitriol", I will once again post the words which summarize exactly what you see going on here:





"The Church is intolerant in principle because she believes; she is tolerant in practice because she loves. The enemies of the Church are tolerant in principle because they do not believe; they are intolerant in practice because they do not love." -- Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, OP



Read a follow-up conversation with "Choice", here.




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457 comments:

  1. Excellent, Leila. It seems to me that "Choice" is proud not only of her intolerance, but of her ignorance as well.

    I hope she will be willing explore some of her beliefs with the information you've provided so she can understand what the Church actually teaches instead of what she thinks it teaches.

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  2. Wow -- love your blog and especially love this post. I'm de-lurking here to say that I find one of Choice's arguments especially ridiculous and I'd like to address it with two follow up questions:

    "Choice": If the Catholic Church was only interested in increasing its own membership, then

    1) Why does the Church uphold teachings that are unpopular and counter-cultural? I have ridden the CTA enough times to see ad campaigns from churches who ARE interested in gaining membership, and as such they try as many different ways to appeal to people as they can. They show two men holding hands or ballerinas leaping about their stages, and their billboards proclaim incredulously, "THIS is CHURCH?" They're doing this because buzzwords like "tolerance" and "inclusivity" are things that modern Americans want to hear. These Churches want followers, so they will appeal to whatever is popular to get them to come to church. I don't think I need to point out how vastly different this is from what the Catholic Church does. I'd wager it would be a whole lot easier to get people to attend Catholic services by saying that it's OK to use birth control and do whatever you want as long as you feel good about yourself -- but that's NOT what the Church does. It stands by some pretty hard-to-swallow doctrine and in doing so, risks that people will disagree and stop attending. Wouldn't it be easier for them to say, "Use birth control, don't have children, do whatever you want" if all they really cared about were getting as many members as possible?

    2) Why doesn't the Church promote things like IVF, surrogacy, and IUI? Logically, if the Church were only interested in gaining power and creating new members, wouldn't it make sense to encourage baby-making by any means possible? After all, if methods like IVF, IUI, etc., were acceptable to practicing Catholics, then that would give them more people to "brainwash," as you put it. Right? Instead, you'll find that ANY practice that separates conception from sex is considered immoral and not allowed; furthermore, the Catechism instructs Catholics to "prayerfully discern" whether or not to have children, while remaining "open" to the *possibility* of creating new life. In other words, if I had a boss that desperately needed me to do a job, I'm pretty sure he wouldn't instruct me to "prayerfully discern" coming into the office and then be "open" to getting my work done.

    Perhaps the church does not teach these things because standing by truth -- and respecting the sanctity of life -- is a higher prerogative than simply filling its coffers every Sunday.

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  3. "There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be."
    — Fulton J. Sheen

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  4. I'm not sure I've ever read anything to ridden with error. I'm blown away. Wow. Just wow.

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  5. Um, wow. Great response Leila. And "Choice" - the church you seem to despise here and want to discredit isn't the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church does not teach that we are to produce as many new babies as possible (so that kills the whole argument that they are just trying to increase in numbers). In fact, the Church advocates for many to choose lives of celibacy (wow, they must be really confused about their supposed mission to populate the earth with Catholics as fast as possible, especially since that weirdly dressed, power hungry pope can't even have kids if he lives according to his faith).

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  6. And the idea that Catholics are in favor of torture (or neglecting people - or even the environment) is just... wow. So many misconceptions here. I recommend "Choice" read what the CC actually teaches in the catechism before making such claims again.

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  7. Leila---you are a much better person than I am. This person's reality is so distorted, I would not have even bothered. She backs NONE of her arguments up. It is purely hyperbole. You keep fighting the fight, Leila, because I can't deal with such ignorance with as much grace and patience as YOU can!
    God Bless you!!

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  8. Wow. That was just awful...I'm sad for "Choice", and I'm praying for them. :(

    God bless you, Leila!

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  9. Bravo~! Thank you!I, like the commenter above, have not the patience, but thank God that you do!

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  10. I debated and then admin'd the Facebook Pro-Life page for a few years and I have heard SO many similar arguments. They are the talking points, including that an unborn human is not alive (but all other species are alive before birth). It's not totally these young people's fault, it's the education system. They teach them false information. I posted here about a College Developmental textbook that teaches that fertilization is the beginning of a new organism, and then asks the question about what it means to be human, is a human embryo alive? Then it says the Catholic Church has not always been against abortion! For crying outloud!

    I've email the professor who wrote it. Still waiting to hear back for an explanation.

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  11. And another one bites the dust! :)

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  12. Such a frustrating, bumper-sticker, thoughtless mentality! Great responses, Leila! Hope "Choice" comes back, but I'm not holding my breath!

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  13. Let's all pray for Choice. Especially because many of us, as Leila stated, have lived and believed, to varying degrees, many of the misconceptions Choice outlined. I'm glad that Leila responded to Choice as she did and do believe that calm discourse is important to defend our beliefs. Ignorance should not be allowed to stand but it's not something we should condemn people for. We are all ignorant in one way or another. I think Leila did a great job and more of us piling up on Choice doesn't demonstrate the charity we want people to see in the Church. Happy people at peace with their choices and beliefs don't respond to a post like Calah's the way Choice did. Let's recognize her response as coming from a place of anger, hurt, and ignorance and pray for her.

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  14. Wow! I'm so glad thoughtful & articulate Leila responded to "Choice"! What a great response. Bravo!

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  15. Oh man Lelia, I hope you'll come to my aid if I ever write a post that's as controversial as Calah's. (I'm actually thinking about writing about my *gasp* sexual past. Just trying to work up the courage!).

    You blew this one out of the water.

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  16. I couldn't read this all because I don't have the patience. I've spent so many hours debating people over doctrine and pro life issues that I've burned myself out. I am so happy that there are people like you out there that are able to handle it all with such grace and educational resource, because that's certainly not a strength of mine. I recently found your blog and I really just wanted to say hi. :)

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  17. EXCELLANT Leila....
    several years ago when my mother was in a nursing home,,a converted catholic hospital, I somehow got into a deep conversation with one of the RN's who had been at the nursing home for several years. On one of the floors there was the ward for those individuals (mostly men) dying of HIV/AIDS. These men had been abandoned by their lovers, their friends, and their families. They received very few visitors. But the visitors who came to the wards mostly were the clergy, the catholic priests at the REQUEST of the dying patient(s).She also mentioned that they had a list of telephone numbers for non catholic christian pastors, or Jewish Rabbi's another faiths, because as the end drew near the patient would be asking to see someone from whatever his/her religious affiliation from his/her youth.

    Dear Choice, may I be so bold as to suggest a book for you to read?? "Won by Love" by Norma McCorvey...who the heck is SHE I hear you ask, well most people know her as Jane Roe, as in Roe VS wade.

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  18. Wow, I'm kind of embarrassed for Choice.
    Um, Choice, some Catholics are Vegan. My husband is one of them. We've seen Food Inc. How is the Catholic Church responsible for the torture of animals? That doesn't make any sense.

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  19. Leila, you haved the patience of a saint. ;)

    I want to be like you when I grow up.

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  20. Yes, Leila, definitely your patience is what's shining in this post. Poor "Choice" sounds like the clinic escorts we used to encounter while prayer at Planned Parenthood in Washington, DC. Like some other commenters, my patience and ability to even read--much less answer--people who are so mired in misinformation and hate is just gone. I'm tired of debating! I'm so happy to read your responses and see someone with energy and hope in the fight. :)

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  21. Ditto. Leila, I think you are awesome - you have the patience of a saint. Just reading Choice's comments gets my "Irish" up because of so many misconceptions (and I've heard them all before!)and I don't like debating. I think the best thing to do is pray for Choice. Choice, if you are out there, I've raised my own babies, and I've taken in and "mothered" others. God and my Church aren't telling me that I have to go forth and populate the world....I'm also a scientist - there's a lot we can talk about there! Listen to Leila - she's a pretty smart lady! Take care and God Bless to all of you out there!

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  22. OK...Leila, I thought much of what you said was very good and respectful. BUT....I am guessing that Choice is one of those people (or influenced by people) who look around and find sincere cause to worry about our environment. The links you link to about population are from one source that is not staffed by scientists. Everyone in the Catholic Blogosphere that I have encountered points to that site. Please read the other sites I have pointed to and comment. http://www.paulchefurka.ca/Population.html

    I believe MANY people who are misinformed about the Catholic Church would welcome a reasoned position from the church regarding energy and population discussions from an ecological position. The silence is unsettling.

    Also, I know I am going to rile people, but the lines are blurring between the difference between people and animals. I thought your comment about vegetables was a bit less than stellar. Vegetables do not have brains, but higher animals do. See: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2008759,00.html

    I think it informs and enriches all Christians to question and explore about the possibility that we are more connected to animals, and all of ecology than we might think.

    I have thought long and hard about the poor wording in: "God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." I have long pondered what kind of Christianity we would have if the wording read, "increase in number within natural limits, and respect the earth and her systems"

    But...I do think Choice is totally off-base with many of the other points. The torture stuff is puzzling.

    Hats off to the woman who has the vegan husband. I try to move in that direction, and come up short every week...but trying.

    Thanks again,

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  23. First of all, I want to thank you for taking the time to respond to my comments so thoroughly. Looking back, I said several things a lot more brashly than I would have had I waited a few days before posting. That's isn't to say that my posts didn't represent my opinions, but that they expressed them more harshly than was called for. For that I apologize. For my opinions, not necessarily (I hope you'll all still read on).

    For the sake of (relative) brevity, and everyone's sanity, I'll address a lot of points from your response, but not necessarily all of them.

    First, for the simple ones:
    What "types of blogs" do I mean? Blogs that are written by someone of a certain opinion or set of beliefs, and most often frequented my those of the same opinion or set of beliefs. (I meant no malice there).

    Why do I eat fruits and vegetables but not animal products? Because animals have been proven to be highly cognizent, physically- and emotionally- sensitive beings capable of feeling fear, intense pain, and a range of emotions and intelligence levels similar to humans. I imagine how terrible it is to be constantly fearful and in immense pain and suffering, and I cannot bring myself to cause that to innocent non-human animals for the sake of something as frivolous as my taste buds. Fruits and vegetables, until now, have not been found to possess this level of consciousness. It has never been shown that a celery feels fearful and afraid and screams in pain when you cut it from the stalk. If this is ever proven, I guess I'll turn to rocks? Not sure. Something to think about.

    Sexually-repressed/oddly-dressed Pope: Priests and the Pope are not permitted to participate in sexual relationships, right? So their natural sexuality is repressed? And as far as the garments, I've just seen some silly outfits and some goofy-looking headware changes during the Catholic masses I've attended. Makes me chuckle, because whatever those stand for aren't real and relevant to me. Probably should have saved that comment for other people it's not relevant to.

    As far as the "quantity not quality" argument, I recognize that some within the Catholic religion do great work in third world countries and fighting poverty and suffering. It just doesn't seem to be NEARLY on the level of effort put forth against abortion. If an innocent life is an innocent life, regardless of blood relationship and geographical proximity, then equal effort should be put into preventing abortion and preventing death and suffering of those human lives I referenced in my posts. That's just an area where I see hypocrisy in a lot of people's pro-life arguments. As you said, there are plenty of fantastic Catholic families out there doing great work and adopting those children in need, but there are also a lot of staunch pro-lifers who aren't dedicating themselves to those other efforts, and for someone who believes the sanctity of all human life is of utmost importance, that's hypocritical.

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  24. Mary - have you ever read Catholic teachings on social justice? One is as follows:

    Care for God’s Creation

    We show our respect for the Creator by our stewardship of creation. Care for the earth is not just an Earth Day slogan, it is a requirement of our faith. We are called to protect people and the planet, living our faith in relationship with all of God’s creation. This environmental challenge has fundamental moral and ethical dimensions that cannot be ignored.


    Also, animals have brains, and even higher brain functions, but that does not make them equal to human beings. In a Catholic context, animals don't have rational souls. Humans do.

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  25. Now for the tougher issues:

    As Monica touched on somewhat, it's become clear to me that what I hate is not necessarily the doctrines of Catholicism, but the practice of Catholicism I've seen my whole life. I've met a lot of Catholics and had a fair share of experiences in Catholic environments, and the VAST majority of those I've interacted with have been hypocritical and morally questionable. From these experiences come my views of Catholicism (they're not just random thoughts I made up, they're not TOTALLY clueless, but they are based on my experience rather than sitting down and reading catechism or the other defining texts of your faith). Believe it or not, I'm really happy you (and presumably others like you) exist, Leila. I'm glad to know there are a lot of people living the Catholic religion and life and being 100% dedicated to it and doing it for the right reasons, that not everyone is like the Catholic people I have come to know personally. So thanks for showing me that. I've definitely learned that many of the strong oppositions I have to the Catholic faith are to those people who seem to be practicing it in a deplorable way, not necessarily to the religion as a whole. You probably get pretty upset at those people too.

    Like you, I am deeply passionate about something, and when people are hypocritical regarding that subject, I get fired up and go on the offensive. That subject is animal abuse and mistreatment. You responded to my assertions, but I don't believe you truly addressed what is at the core of the issue. When I said your distinction between human and non-human animals was arbitrary, I was not referring to the physiological and genetic distinctions between different kinds of animals. Of course a four-year-old can tell the difference between a horse and a human. I was referring to the ways in which you believe they are intended to, and deserve to be treated. You are SO passionate about the dignity and sanctity of human life, yet you seem to brush off the seriousness with which the torturing and mistreatment of these animals should be addressed (to respond to your question...why the preoccupation with 'torture'? Because millions and millions of innocent, defenseless animals are killed every year for food. But they are not JUST killed, they are tortured for their ENTIRE lives, and THEN killed. They are forced into crates so packed with other animals that they can't move or turn around; they are made to stand and eat and sleep in their own piles of excrement; they are pumped so full of hormones that their bodies grow in garish, unnatural ways that prevent them from functioning normally.)

    So to hear so many devout Catholics express their belief in the sanctity of life (even if they are only referring to human life), and then literally fund these horrendous acts with thousands of dollars of their own money every year, is infuriating and deeply saddening to me. I'm sure you are familiar with those concomitant feelings. (To those of you who mentioned it...at no point did I ever say I think the torture of animals is Catholicism's fault, or that the religion ENDORSES it, but I DO think that as people with the goal of working toward a more compassionate and loving earth that honors rather than destroys life, if you're ignoring and supporting this cruelty, you're missing out on a HUGE area in which you need to practice what you preach. Every time you buy a bag of chicken breasts or a pound of beef, you are paying money for God's creatures to be tortured and killed cruelly, and that is no less true than the fact that every time someone has an abortion, they are paying for their child to be killed).

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  26. Choice -

    Thanks for being willing to dialogue.

    Regarding your reasons for vegetarianism, I am very puzzled by how your beliefs reconcile with one another. You say, "Because animals have been proven to be highly cognizent, physically- and emotionally- sensitive beings capable of feeling fear, intense pain, and a range of emotions and intelligence levels similar to humans."

    Unborn children are ACTUAL humans, and yet you feel it's acceptable to kill them. I don't see how it can be wrong to kill animals but perfectly okay to kill human beings.

    This blog post might give you some food for thought: Should We Treat our Close Genetic Siblings the Same?

    "Priests and the Pope are not permitted to participate in sexual relationships, right? So their natural sexuality is repressed?"

    1. No, that's not correct. In the Western rite of the Catholic Church, most priests, clergy, religious sisters and brothers, etc. voluntarily choose to live a celibate lifestyle. In the Eastern rites, and occasionally in the Western rite, there are married priests (some converts from other faiths have been allowed to be ordained as priests even though married -- this is known as the pastoral provision. There is a wonderful priest in our diocese who is married with six children.)

    2. As I said above, priests et al voluntarily choose to be celibate. Believe it or not, no one has ever suffered spontaneous combustion from not having sex. :)

    More later... those pesky children of mine need food. :P

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  27. And there are those of use who still eat meat but who try to buy animals that were raised on smaller more local farms where we know that they were allowed to graze and range free....Have you read Barbara Kingsolver's book, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle"?

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  28. Quickly, I should clarify my #1 above... Eastern rite priests are allowed to marry prior to ordination. This is not the case in the Western rite, but the Church through the pastoral provision has allowed a few married converts to be ordained as priests.

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  29. Hey everyone...sorry, my last part of my response didn't post for some reason (JoAnna, I was reading your response and thinking wait...I addressed that! And then saw it wasn't there). Here it is.

    You will likely cite hypocrisy between my view on animal cruelty and my view on abortion. I recognize that, but I do not think it is any more or less so than your hypocrisy on the same subjects in the reverse order. Our discussions definitely have me re-evaluating why I am pro-choice (I still am, but I'm challenging why and forcing myself to answer a lot of hard questions about my stance). So my request to you, and all of your readers, is to please learn about animal treatment in the food industry, please educate yourselves on where your food comes from, please think about why we owe these innocent, defenseless creatures so much more than what we are currently giving them. Ask yourselves the hard questions about animal mistreatment and the food industry, as I ask myself the hard questions about abortion. Let's both pursue a more loving and compassionate world and world view, and take a step further than we've comfortably taken thus far. I think we're both being blind to our hypocrisies if we don't fully explore these topics.

    Here are some places to start:
    http://articles.sfgate.com/2004-02-02/bay-area/17410162_1_vegetarian-diet-animal-rights-activist-christians
    http://www.farmsanctuary.org/issues/factoryfarming/
    http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/factory-farming.aspx

    Leila, you are an excellent spokeswoman for your cause. I've gained a tremendous amount of respect for you, and can see how we are similar despite believing such different things about life. I hope that's not an insult to you. We are both fighting against something that we know in our hearts to be wrong, against something that the majority of our society is ignoring if not downright dismissing, and that many people do not believe in. I am far from agreeing with most things you believe in, but you've certainly taught me to be more tolerant and understanding of you all for believing what you do. I hope some of you have maybe gained a little respect for me on some level, or at least have a little less disdain for us pro-choicers. We are all just people, going through this life, trying to do and believe what's right and true, and coming at it from different belief systems. As a secular, scientific person, I see no reason why human and non-human animals aren't deserving of the same amounts of dignity, value, peace, and freedom from torture and death. As Catholic individuals, you see no reason why it should ever be okay to end a human life.

    Anyway, I could ramble on for hours but I'll end here. Thanks for the intellectually-challenging discussions over the past few days. I hope they've been as beneficial to you as they have been to me. To everyone, I'm sorry for the misplaced anger I aimed at your religion rather than the people I've seen practicing it questionably. I'm sure I've pissed a lot of you off with my callous language, but if I gave you cause or opportunity to re-evaluate your beliefs (even if it made them stronger rather than changed them), then I'm satisfied.

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  30. "please think about why we owe these innocent, defenseless creatures so much more than what we are currently giving them."

    I'm sorry, Choice, but I just can't take this seriously knowing that you believe it's acceptable to kill innocent, defenseless human beings.

    For the record, I don't support the needless torture or mistreatment of animals -- but neither do I think they are on par with human beings. Read the blog article I referenced above. In that regard, I don't know how you can say I'm a hypocrite. Animals exist to be at the service of human beings. That's the natural order. Since human beings are rational creatures, we should of course treat animals humanely. But treating them humanely does not equate to treating them as humans.

    I'm glad you're re-evaluating your beliefs and I hope you stick around and participate in more discussions.

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  31. Choice, a question for you, if you're still around -

    Do you believe an animal should be prosecuted for murder if it deliberately kills another animal? Why or why not?

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  32. "Actually, the lifelong struggle to live a virtuous Christian life requires great sacrifice and entails great suffering. However, the interior peace and joy is worth it.]"
    Thank you for your beautiful, and sharply intelligent, defense of the truth.

    And btw, we are "so" kindred spirits.

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  33. Choice,
    I'm sorry that I misunderstood you on the Church and animal torture. I guess what I was trying to get at is that just because one is Catholic and passionately pro-life doesn't mean they have no problem with how animals are treated. Like I said, my husband is vegan because he doesn't like how animals are treated in the food industry and we try to buy local sustainable food and ethically treated animals. I myself eat mostly a vegetarian diet. So, you may find more Catholics that agree with you on some of the things you're passionate about and also be devout Catholics that are also passionate about saving the unborn. There's actually a group at the Catholic.com forum of Catholic Vegans.
    We're taught that we're supposed to be stewards of the earth and take care of it. BUT we're also part of a greater society and fall into the same bad habits and consumerism as anyone else. We're also sinners so yes, I'm sure you've run into a fare share of hypocritical believers. Honestly, I haven't found a single group of people no matter what religious, social, political back ground that DIDN'T have hypocrites among them. It's just easier to pin down the Catholics because we're a much larger group so law of averages, you'll find more hypocrites among such a large group. I think of the Church as a hospital for sinners and even the doctors get sick just like a regular hospital. That's why we belong to it. For spiritual and physical healing.

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  34. Choice, I will add that I hope you do re-evaluate your stance on abortion. I have to admit my husband,(the vegan,) who's interacted with other vegans gets perplexed that so many could be so passionate about saving animals but be fine with abortion. The unborn baby is just as helpless and has no say just as these poorly treated animals do.

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  35. Choice, first, I want to thank you for being brave enough to come into the "lion's den" known as the Bubble (ha ha). I am glad you are here, and I hope you will stay and be part of our little bloggy family (you are not the only atheist... you will find allies here!).

    Second, I am sorry your stuff went to spam jail! I was gone all evening and just now released some of your comments. I have tried to clean up the duplicates. Thanks for patience!

    Third, I hate animal cruelty. Hate it. I hate any creature made to suffer needlessly. A friend of a friend wrote a fairly well-known book called Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy--

    http://www.amazon.com/Dominion-Power-Suffering-Animals-Mercy/dp/0312319738

    I know many, many Catholics who have watched Food, Inc. and changed their habits. It's been on my queue on Netflix for months, waiting for me to stop blogging and watch. Also, the Church calls for humane treatment of animals, and I am right with them on that.

    My issue with the animal rights movement is that folks like yourself care more for animals than for human beings, in that most of them are staunchly pro-"choice" and for worldwide population control. It's as if humans are the cancer on the earth, rather than the stewards of it.

    While we agree on the need for kindness and compassion even to animals (hey, we revere St. Francis of Assissi as a saint!), there exists a big divide that cannot be bridged between Christianity and atheism: Humans are made in the image and likeness of God (with an intellect and a will) and have eternal souls. Animals do not. It's a truth of our faith, a truth of revelation (backed by reason), and it's not going to change, ever.

    So, we have a problem, because Catholics will never put animals on equal moral footing as human beings. There is so much more I could say on that, but that is the basic problem. So, whereas killing animals for meat or for clothing is not immoral (minus intentional cruelty), killing innocent humans alway, always, always is immoral. These are moral truths that we abide by as Christians.

    A big saying I have on my blog is from my favorite "thinker", Dennis Prager (a Jewish man): I prefer clarity to agreement. We may never agree, but I prefer, at least, to know where each of us stand, without misrepresentation. So, in that sense, I think this exchange is a success.

    More in a minute....

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  36. Choice, to continue:

    I am so happy that you get how much devout Catholics are bothered by dissenting or lukewarm Catholics. I don't want to be too hard on them (because I once was one myself), but it's hard to know that most American Catholics don't really represent the Church very well. Again, I'm not one to talk, since I was a horrible Catholic for decades. But yes, it's hard to fight the good fight in the culture, and have our Faith respected and understood, when most Catholics were catechized so poorly and are not at all "on fire" with the love of Christ and His Church.

    Thank you for understanding that, and if you could spread the word, that would be awesome! :)

    As for sexual repression: Well, all single folks are to be chaste. It's been perfectly acceptable for every age up until the sexual revolution. I am not sure when sex became like eating? That one will die without it? I read somewhere recently that secularists like to refer to all of us as "sexual beings", instead of merely "human beings". We are human beings whose sexuality is a precious gift. But it's a gift that's fully under the control of our reason. (See, we Catholics hold "reason" in very high regard. Our intellect and our will can rule our passions. We are not like the other animals who act on whatever urge comes their way.)

    If one day my husband should die or become incapacitated, I will then live a life without sex. It's okay. I won't become less human. One day, I want to do a post on the "sign" that is priestly celibacy in this sex-saturated age. It's good stuff. And it's not saying that sex is bad (on the contrary... we believe marriage is a sacrament, it's that good!), but that it's not the height of human existence.

    I would love the thing about Buddhist monks answered, only because I've never had anyone answer it for me: Do you think Buddhist monks are sexually repressed, and do you say it publicly? And do you think they are "oddly dressed" and do you say that publicly?

    Also, I am curious about what JoAnna asked:

    "Do you believe an animal should be prosecuted for murder if it deliberately kills another animal? Why or why not?"

    More coming....

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  37. I recognize that some within the Catholic religion do great work in third world countries and fighting poverty and suffering. It just doesn't seem to be NEARLY on the level of effort put forth against abortion. If an innocent life is an innocent life, regardless of blood relationship and geographical proximity, then equal effort should be put into preventing abortion and preventing death and suffering of those human lives I referenced in my posts. That's just an area where I see hypocrisy in a lot of people's pro-life arguments. As you said, there are plenty of fantastic Catholic families out there doing great work and adopting those children in need, but there are also a lot of staunch pro-lifers who aren't dedicating themselves to those other efforts, and for someone who believes the sanctity of all human life is of utmost importance, that's hypocritical.

    Choice, I'm going to have to disagree here. You may be plugged into a lot of political stuff that goes on in our nation, and being a staunch abortion-rights advocate, you may think that Catholics are waaaay more into pro-life activities than helping the poor. But I don't think that's the case. I think that there are more Catholics working with the poor and the sick and the children around the globe than are engaging in overtly pro-life activities. In America? We have a strong pro-life movement, thank the Lord. But if you look at the budgets of any diocese in the nation, the fraction that goes for pro-life support is still much less than the portions that go to help the elderly, the poor, the sick, the disabled, the schools, the homeless, etc. (Again, please check this post: http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/03/pro-lifers-love-fetus-but-they-dont.html )

    Still, there is a bottom line: If a human being doesn't have the right to life, then the right to food, housing, clothes, education, etc., doesn't mean squat. The right to life precedes all those other rights, because all the other rights are subordinate to that most basic right.

    I really want to thank you for being so humble to come here and offer the olive branch. I hope you will stay. We really are nice people and you will be treated well! (Challenged, for sure, but treated well!)

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  38. Hi Mary,

    I read the link you provided, but it left me still scratching my head, as the fundamental question of "how much oil do we have?" is unanswered. I googled the phrase and read the first few links that popped up, from all different sources. The answer is the same: No one knows how much oil we have. And since we can't test or drill in the vast reserves we have around here (thank you, leftist environmentalists), we know even less. But there is still a whole lot of oil. In the meantime, I have no doubt that mankind will continue to find new and amazing ways to solve the problem. God gave us the brains to figure it out, and there is no limit to the ingenuity and innovation of man. It's astounding just to look at how technology has leapt forth in the past century!

    So, let's keep at it, and let's also drill for more oil while we work on renewables. We can do both, and we have time. What we shouldn't do is limit oil drilling and coal plants (which provide cheap energy for the world, including the poor) -- If we do that, the skyrocketing price of energy that will result will seriously decimate the poor. And I thought that is what we were trying to avoid?

    Truly, I'm not sure what new "facts" your article brought to the table. He said that oil will one day run out. But we know that. He says we don't know when. But considering we haven't begun to tap the resources we could (ANWAR anyone?), for political and ideological reasons, not scientific or practical ones.

    Anyway, maybe I am missing the point of your source, and so I am willing to listen to you explain more.

    In the meantime, what facts in the sources that I provided do you dispute? I'm just curious.

    New topic, you said:

    Also, I know I am going to rile people, but the lines are blurring between the difference between people and animals. I thought your comment about vegetables was a bit less than stellar. Vegetables do not have brains, but higher animals do.

    But there are those who do believe that trees have more rights than humans. Check out this video of the Earth First folks, who, by the way, are vociferously pro-abortion:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElJFYwRtrH4&feature=share

    If you think that's an anomaly, check out the latest headlines about a U.N. document that proposes to give Mother Earth the same rights as humans (yes, you read that right):

    http://www.canada.com/technology/document+would+give+Mother+Earth+same+rights+humans/4597840/story.html

    You said:

    I have thought long and hard about the poor wording in: "God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." I have long pondered what kind of Christianity we would have if the wording read, "increase in number within natural limits, and respect the earth and her systems"

    I am sorry, but as a Christian who believes that the Bible is the inerrant, inspired word of God, I can't get over the idea that one of its seminal passages is "poorly worded". It's actually one of the most beautiful and deeply meaningful passages in the Scriptures. Your proposed modification sounds like something from an Al Gore documentary. ;)

    You know I love you Mary. but I just have to be honest at how it hit me. It's almost like you are asking Christians to cease being Christian and instead become modern leftist environmentalists.

    To wrap up, the Pope actually has spoken about the obligation to be environmentally responsible, more than once. It's not off the Church's radar by a long shot.

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  39. @ Choice

    If we are so willing to kill the weakest of our own, and in torturous, barbaric ways (dismemberment), what's to stop us from being cruel to a cow or chicken?

    It is undeniable that we should not be cruel to animals, but it is a backward priority to save them first. It is one that will never succeed. To put animals before other humans is to miss the point.

    You don't learn respect for ALL life by first respecting animal life. In fact, that often leads to hatred of human life. You learn resect for ALL life by starting with human life. If we cruelly kill our own babies as a society, why would we give two hoots about cruelly killing animals, as a society?

    Another way to put it, compassion for your own kind leads to compassion for all (ex: Just another suburban mom, another ex: all the free range meat eaters that you find all over the Catholic Church).

    Compassion for everything else before your own kind, will lead to hatred of humans. Why? Because you're looking at us through the lense of destruction and death and cruelty. If you first recognize the beautiful, and good among human society (life, love, kindness, and beer), then you can put everything else in the proper persepctive.

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  40. @ Choice about repression

    I encourage you too look up the difference between repression and sublimation. Wikipedia has articles on them. Sublimation for Freud (according to the wikipedia article, I've not read Freud but I have read about sublimation vs repression), "serves a higher cultural or socially useful purpose, as in the creation of art or inventions."

    Repression is stifiling the sex drive in a detrimental way. A way that will usually cause some sort of neurosis, possibly encouragine you to break your chastity in an extreme way at some point in your life.

    Sublimation diverts the energy of the sex drive by reapplying that energy. Instead, you go work out in the gym, you go for a run, play a sport, something to that effect.

    Repression is negative, it just buries something alive. It is treating your sex drive as a criminal that needs to be imprisoned. This, by the way = dangerous.

    Sublimation is positive, it is taking something alive and changing it into something more, or at least, something else, but keeping it alive. You recognize that the energy is something good, but that it can't be acted on in the way your body wants to act on it, so you funnel it into something else. For Freud, that's art (according to the wikipedia article), for me and most men, it' exercise.

    Instead of your sexuality being criminal, it is instead and integral aspect of who you are that merely needs to be directed properly. Easy? No, but few things worth working for in this life are easy to work for.

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  41. Choice, I sincerely want to thank you for being so open to dialogue! It's wonderful to see somebody who's willing to think about their stance on things. :)

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  42. Woohoo! I don't have anything to add to the already terrific dialogue.

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  43. Choice, I can contest . . . .this IS they lion's den, and I say that being a the runt lion in this den. I've been chewed up here myself.

    I have to ask though, why doesn't the pro-choice movement push for paternal consent? Where is the father's choice. Right now, a woman who hates her husband/boyfriend and wants to leave him can go get an abortion, and the father of that child has no choice in the matter. Lets face it -- a woman can't get pregnant and have an abortion alone. Others are involved. Where is their choice?

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  44. Choice, first, thank you for continuing to discuss these issues and to do it respectfully. It's not easy to be a minority anywhere!

    You identified yourself as "secular and scientific". Other's with viewpoints similar to yours seem to really like to identify themselves as scientific. It's used as a counterpoint to being "religious". I'm wondering how you reconcile that with the fact that many published, productive scientists are believers?

    Also, you said:

    "I see no reason why human and non-human animals aren't deserving of the same amounts of dignity, value, peace, and freedom from torture and death."

    The torture aspect has been addressed. Everyone agrees torturing any of God's creatures is not OK. As far as freedom from death, well, none of us are free from earthly death. If by "freedom from death" you mean "freedom from being killed by another creature" then you would have to agree that babies should be free from being killed. To take it further, as another commenter pointed out, if you feel creatures should be free from being killed by others, would you seek prosecution of animals who kill other animals?

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  45. "It has never been shown that a celery feels fearful and afraid and screams in pain when you cut it from the stalk."
    Well, it HAS been shown that a 12-week old baby feels fearful and afraid and screms in pain when you cut it from it's mother's womb. You can you tube it or watch the link Leila provided you.

    @the first Sarah who commented on this post: Great points! The Church's views are UNpopular to the world, and the world hates them---Just as Jesus Christ said it would, 2000 years ago! "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it." Matthew 7:13-14

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  46. Choice, I can contest . . . .this IS they lion's den, and I say that being a the runt lion in this den. I've been chewed up here myself.

    You say this without identifying yourself. How is Choice to know that your grievances are legitimate if she can't go to past posts and see how you were allegedly "chewed up"?

    If you could provide your real name and links to posts where you were "chewed up," that might give Choice (and others) a chance to confirm your claims.

    "I have to ask though, why doesn't the pro-choice movement push for paternal consent?"

    Do you mean the pro-life movement? I don't think the pro-choice movement really cares if fathers consent, given their whole "my body my choice" mantra.

    I for one do think that fathers should have to give consent (except in the case of rape or incest, in which case there should be a filed police report and/or a judicial bypass)*. I know of several cases where the father of the child was 100% against the abortion, offered marriage, offered support, etc., but the mother chose to have the abortion anyway.

    *Note that I am opposed to abortion in cases of rape and incest. However, these conditions would be an incremental step to that end.

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  47. Leila, I disagree with you on almost everything, but I'm on your side on this and glad you posted it. Choice made a lot of assumptions about Catholicism (and the specific Catholics she addressed) and she made some arguments that weren't very well thought out in her response to Calah. You did a good job confronting those issues--it's cool, too, that Choice came here continue the conversation.

    Also, thanks for pointing out Calah's blog--your links are always a pleasure to read.

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  48. Pedro, thanks!!! Hey, where'd ya go?? We were having a great conversation, and it was your turn! You left us hanging!

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  49. Choice -
    A little more about this comment: "I recognize that some within the Catholic religion do great work in third world countries and fighting poverty and suffering. It just doesn't seem to be NEARLY on the level of effort put forth against abortion."
    I think the reason it seems this way to you is because we have to "fight" for life here. We don't have to fight to do charity work and to help people who are already out of the womb. We have to really truly put up a fight for the unborn. So it seems like we "care more" maybe but it's really just that no one is fighting us in the other work we do, so we can calmly go about it. You see us being proactive and putting up this fight...but when we do charity work for the poor, sick, etc, we don't have to publicize it or try to convince anyone why we should be able to do these things, etc. So they are quieter actions, but they are still certainly there, as Leila mentioned.

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  50. Just got caught up on it all and WOW. What a great dialog. Thank you so much for posting this, Leila, and for posting the link to Calah's amazing testimony. And thank you to all who respectfully commented. It was an awesome read!

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  51. "If you think that's an anomaly, check out the latest headlines about a U.N. document that proposes to give Mother Earth the same rights as humans (yes, you read that right):

    http://www.canada.com/technology/document+would+give+Mother+Earth+same+rights+humans/4597840/story.html"

    Really?! The Earth gets the same rights as humans, including the "right to life", but unborn children don't?! WTH?!

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  52. I just have to say that it's great to see such respectful dialogue happening on this post, which could easily get very heated!

    Thanks for posting and not being afraid to speak out, as always, Leila!

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  53. Awesome, awesome, awesome, everybody! Every single erroneous statement has been countered intelligently, and: ....kindly. TRUTH + LOVE = effective apologetics. This is a bubbletastic post. I hope it gets much traffic. (Catholics rock---I'm so proud to be numbered among you!!!)

    Nina :)

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  54. This is a great dialogue! I can relate to many of Choices opinion's about Catholics. I understand while you, as Catholics may feel maligned. A lot of people don’t like Catholics and Christians, BUT it isn’t because of your faith or your god or even your opinions, its because people who pretend to be Christian derail the Christian cause!

    SO MANY people do bad things in the name of God. The Group "God Hates Faqs" is coming to the high school near my old house. Yes this group is actually run by a Baptist church and yes this same group has been protesting at the funerals of men and women who were gay. Yikes!! A very catholic friend of mine who attends mass weekly says that she hates abortion and that it should be illegal but said in the same conversation that if she were to become pregnant before marriage that she would get an abortion!

    It really isn’t that people (for the most part) are against doctrine or true Catholics like yourselves who truly strive to live out God's will and make the world better place. It’s that lukewarm Christians have hijacked your cause!

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  55. As for the father having a say in the abortion...this is a very bad implausible idea even from a pro-life stance

    Mandating that men must give their consent to end a pregnancy implies that men have just as much a say in the pregnancy as a woman. Is this problematic...very because using the same principle that "it’s half his baby and thus she can’t make a decision without him" she would also need his permission to give birth to the baby! And I think we all agree that a pregnant woman should be able to have a baby even if the father doesn’t agree.

    As Joanna said the reasoning behind having the mother alone make the final decision is because the pro-choice movement IS about the woman's bodily autonomy. Her bf/husband/stranger she met at a bar doesn’t have the right to use her body against a will so that he can be a father.

    A boy I was “dating” said he wouldn’t want a girl who was pregnant by him to ever have an abortion. sweet right? Not really. He wasn't saying this because he was willing to do 50% of the work in raising a child but because...he didn't have to do any of the work! he didn't have to gestate it births it, or be its primary caregiver. I know him he wouldn’t have said he would help and flake. In that case he didn't have a lot of loose, why not have a baby?

    Look at the boys on 16 and Pregnant (if you've ever seen it) many of the boys who were against abortion still spent formula money on Nike Kicks. Their pro-life stance is sweet and all for five minutes but we need to teach young men to be actual fathers and not just be pro-life

    Lastly, it would be actually impossible to let men have a say in whether or not women had an abortion. Primarily because you cant determine paternity until way after the first trimester when most abortions are performed. And when you try to do a paternity test through amniocentesis it actually endangers the baby’s health. So without any evidence that the father protesting was indeed the father…the point would be moot

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  56. College Student -

    It's "God Hates Fags," not "Faqs." I'm pretty sure God is okay with frequently asked questions. ;) I've actually counter-protested against Fred Phelps et al because I believe that they are the antithesis of Jesus' commands to love our neighbor, love our enemies, and to pray for those who persecute us.

    For the record, the "Westboro Baptist Church" thinks all Catholics are going to hell -- they were going to protest at the funeral of the 9-year-old Catholic girl who was killed by Jared Loughner in Tucson in January. So I can say with confidence that Catholics don't like them much either!

    The WBC are an excellent example of the problem with using the "Bible alone" as one's authority. Fred Phelps is acting according to his own personal interpretation of Scripture, which Protestants claim is exactly what one is supposed to live by.

    You raise some fair points about the issues regarding mandating that fathers consent to abortions. I will have to think more on the issue. I just find it so terribly sad that a woman can kill a man's child and he is helpless to do anything about it.

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  57. @ College Student

    It isn't impossible to prove paternity if that woman's only slept with one man! :^)

    Dual consent for abortion serves two purposes, 1) it prevents that many more murders/abortions, and 2) it is an incremental step toward the elimination of abortion as a legal option. It would be a legal road block to make abortion that much more difficult to procure, and that much more of a hassle. It also opens the door for litigation against abortion clinics who decide to circumvent a law for dual consent.

    As a pro-lifer, I don't believe there should be any laws granting anyone the legal ability to consent to an abortion, because I believe abortion is murder and should be illegal!

    With that said, killing a baby is not the same thing as letting a baby live. There is no rational reason why a man should have to give consent to a woman to give birth, i.e. do something natural. Doing something unnatural, i.e. killing a baby in the womb, now that's a different story.

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  58. Giuseppe,
    Again we are talking about legality. We cant make a law saying fathers have to consent for an abortion when we cant legally know who the father is.

    If you passed that law it wouldn't really reduce abortions. Why? Because if the woman wants an abortion and the father doesn't want an abortion all she has to do is say the guy who doesnt want the abortion isnt the father! Instead she gets a guy, maybe a friend, to say he is the father, and he does want abortion. Without being able to prove paternity legally it becomes 'she said' 'he said' and the woman can still get the abortion....

    I get that you said everything you said as a pro-lifer, with an agenda...but you seem to be ignoring application of the law.

    If the man has the right to have a say in the abortion the principle there is he has a legal right in determining what to do with his unborn child and the mother cannot make a decision determining its life without his consent. It then does make PERFECT sense to say that no she cannot give birth without his permission.

    Also you forget many women do not know who the father of their child is, I know that you have an agenda but c'mon you can't make laws that don't take into account these very real and very possible scenarios

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  59. I agree with College Student that a law allowing fathers to block abortions would be unworkable.

    It's good for men to know, before they decide to sleep with a woman, that that women has the right to kill his unborn child according to her whim and convenience. Rather sobering.

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  60. It's good for men to know, before they decide to sleep with a woman, that that women has the right to kill his unborn child according to her whim and convenience. Rather sobering.

    That is exactly what happened with a young teen boy whose mom is a friend of one of the bloggers. He went against his morals, got a girlfriend pregnant, tried every thing to change her mind and yet she aborted his child. He is paying a heavy, lifelong price for his decision to have casual sex: A dead child.

    As Guiseppe said, none of this stuff about paternity and consent would be an issue if every human being had protection under the law and could not be killed. One more reason to be pro-life.

    college student, you are so right that lukewarm Catholics give faithful Catholics a bad name. I would also say that the general populace used to be more culturally literate than they are now, so they would know when they hear a bogus claim, or when someone was going against their own Faith. I'm glad you liked the dialogue. :)

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  61. Hi College Student!

    Actually we can establish paternity prenatally via amniocentesis. How does denying the father legal/parental rights before the baby is born square with forcing parental responsibilities on the father if the mother chooses to carry the baby to term?

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  62. @Leila: I got distracted by offline things! I'm not always great at finishing what I start. But the answer to the most pressing question from that last discussion is that the smiley faces just happened when I typed : and ) together. It might be a Mac thing, or it might be because I type my responses in Word and then copy-and-paste them over here.

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  63. Anonymous

    Amnio can prove paternity but not until the 14th week and not without risk to the child. 90% of all abortions are obtained before that stage.

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  64. golly...I like your responses to Choice...and I'll ray for her...but also I'm praying for Calah. She really put herself out there to tell her story

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  65. Leila

    I´ve read the whole discussion and Choice´s comments made me wince in several places, because they reminded me of comments I myself have made in the past.

    You hit the nail on the head. Liberalism is cold, ice-cold. I´ve been there, and I was cold. I know that Choice got offended by your use of the term, but what could be more true? Ideologies are cold because they dehumanize people, and ideologues who spout them do so at the cost of basic human decency. Case in point, Calah´s heartbreaking and uplifiting story sent most of us into nods of sympathy and understanding. All Choice could see was "choice choice choice...women must have a CHOICE" never mind that becoming parents allowed Calah and her husband to recompose the shattered pieces of their lives and find forgiveness and healing...no! CHOICE CHOICE CHOICE!...you Christian bigots want to take away women´s choice!"...That. Is. Cold! That is heartless, bloodless, bone-dead-stilled-baby-heartbeat-cold!.

    The fact that the choice she upholds involves the dismemberment, acid burning or brain-aspiration of a living child is cold. The fact that her heart isn´t stirred enough by the deaths of such children to say "enough! please! let´s find another way" but someone eating a hamburger causes her to weep, is...cold and frankly...messed the $&!up.

    It´s how ideology twists things so that human lives can be mowed over in the name of some perceived and distorted "good end". How Stalin could, for example, provoke the starvation death of millions of Ukrainians. Yes..some people may quote-unquote "die", but the good achieved by giving women a "choice"/bringing about the proletarian revolution far outweighs the millions of baby limbs tossed out in the biowaste bag/millions of emaciated starved bodies littering the Caucasus.

    I´m so gonna write an angry poem about this on my blog. Stay tuned. In the meantime check out a pro-life one I wrote a month ago.

    http://intimategeography.wordpress.com/2011/03/22/this-prayer-of-my-skin-a-pro-life-poem/

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  66. Wow Leila, you are so patient! I'm like almost everybody else in here and I'm just tired of having the same arguments with the same "open-minded" people. When I saw Choice's (why is it that pro-choicer never use their real name?)gazillion comments at Calah's blog I was like nope, not reading all that but Leila would be perfect for the job:) Keep it up!

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  67. Hey everyone, sorry for the delay in responding. Long day at work!


    There are SO many things I want to comment on/respond to! I don't really know where to start.

    I certainly agree that if I believe we are to treat animals with respect and dignity and fight for their right not to be tortured and killed, it's hypocritical on multiple levels to be in support of innocent and defenseless infant humans being killed (I acknowledged the hypocrisy there in my earlier post). Two points on this though...

    One, I am actually a vegetarian/vegan who doesn't believe it's fundamentally wrong to kill animals for food/sustenance/clothing/etc. I'm frowned upon in many "hardcore" vegan circles for that. It's the shocking and inhumane treatment of these animals during their lives that I hate so vehemently and that stops me from eating meat. This intentional cruelty that accompanies the killing of animals for food (even if you don’t believe the latter to be wrong) is what needs to be fixed! If America were still an agricultural society fed by small farms and we could all buy a pound of beef from farmer Bob down the street whose cows leisurely roam the pastures all day, I would never question anyone’s right to eat a burger! But over 99% of the animals raised for meat in this country are raised in factory farms, where they are deprived of sunlight, space, family, and their natural behaviors and are subjected to horrendous and unrelenting suffering. So it's not the killing of animals I'm opposed to per se, it's our treatment of these animals as they are being raised to be killed.

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  68. So JoAnna, I can totally understand where you’re coming from, that in the Catholic context humans are superior to animals. And I don’t expect that everyone believe that animals should be treated equally to humans; they should just be treated humanely. But I challenge anyone to watch video footage of a factory farm and/or slaughterhouse and tell me that that’s humane. And I’m glad you say you don’t support the needless torture or mistreatment of animals, but I hope by that you mean you either don’t eat animal products or you eat only those from small-scale, humanely-run farms. If you ever walk into a chain grocery store and buy ground meat or go to a restaurant and get a chicken salad, then you DO support the needless torture and mistreatment of animals. That’s a hard truth, but it is truth. (And if you’re participating in these things, then you aren’t really supporting the Church’s calls for humane treatment of animals.)

    Not to mention, there is a whole hell of a lot territory of between the senseless, disgusting cruelty to animals that goes on in factory farms and the notion of treating them ‘on par’ with humans. We could improve our treatment of animals a thousandfold and wouldn’t even approach being ‘on par’ with acceptable treatment of human beings. So I don’t necessarily advocate for human-animal equality, but our society’s current treatment of animals is so far from that, it hardly seems like much of a distinction anyway.

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  69. Secondly, regarding your question about an animal killing another animal, there are a couple of reasons I’m perplexed with this question. First of all, the idea of “prosecuting” an animal for killing another animal doesn’t really make sense, since this type of judiciary punishment for behavior is a human societal expectation, and I’m not sure it’s something that holds up in nature. Secondly, as I mentioned before, it’s not the actual killing I’m opposed to on a fundamental level (in nature, animals kill other animals and of course this includes humans as members of the food chain). This would be an animal killing another animal in its natural environment and in a natural way, which we are most certainly not dealing with when we talk about factory farming. In fact, pondering that situation just emphasizes the unnaturalness and repulsiveness of the food production system in this country. No longer do we as humans go out into the wild and hunt animals in their natural habitats, thereby allowing them to live their lives naturally and normally until we utilize them for food. No, we breed, raise, and genetically manipulate hordes of animals in unnatural and torturous conditions until we slaughter them in a mechanical and often inhumane manner. Seems cowardly, heartless, and disgusting, doesn’t it? It certainly isn’t the way that God intended us to be “stewards” and to watch over these animals even if (and perhaps especially if?) they are here specifically for our use.

    Those of you who’ve expressed that you either are vegetarian/vegan or take the time and the effort to purchase only humanely-raised animal products, THANK YOU. These are such huge steps. I realize that the transition to a compassionate diet is a tough one for many people, but being aware of the need to work toward that and taking the concrete steps to do it are important and significant changes. Even if you believe that humans are superior to animals and animals exist on the earth to serve us, you almost certainly recognize that the ways in which they are raised for our consumption are atrocious and unforgivable. And as compassionate and loving people, I hope this compels you to make compassionate dietary changes (and keep making them, for those of you already on your way).

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  70. First of all, the idea of “prosecuting” an animal for killing another animal doesn’t really make sense, since this type of judiciary punishment for behavior is a human societal expectation, and I’m not sure it’s something that holds up in nature.

    Choice, this intrigues me. Are you saying that humans and animals have fundamental differences? If so, what are they? What separates "animal rules" from "human rules"?

    Thanks!

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  71. What I meant by that is that the human societal judicial system is something that was developed by humans throughout history, not something that existed spontaneously in nature. So to "prosecute" something in the natural world with this judicial establishment doesn’t really make sense. It would be like trying to “prosecute” a squirrel for trespassing – sure, you could technically say that the squirrel is setting foot on property “owned” by someone else, but that property of legal ownership is a human creation, and doesn’t apply to components of nature who aren’t participating members of human society. The squirrel is just doing something it's naturally/genetically prone to do. Does that make sense?

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  72. As for the meat eating issue, I tend to side with Temple Grandin´s view. She was the autistic woman who worked to introduce a "cruelty free" approach to cattle handling (Check out the film made about her life starring Claire Danes, I totally recommend it). At no point does she claim that eating meat is morally wrong, since as a scientist she is aware that all organisms consume other organisms in order to survive. She does however advocate for treating food animals with kindness. Her thought was "nature is cruel but we don´t have to be".

    I see this as a very Catholic way to approach it, understanding that humans are stewards of animals and we rely on them to nourish us, but must realize that every creature comes from God.

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  73. Choice, yes it makes sense, but I guess my question is more specific: Why are humans different in that we do develop and set up judicial systems and other animals don't?

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  74. Well, clearly humans have cognitive abilities that other animals do not, and/or we express our cognitive abilities via different mechanisms.

    I see where you might be going with this, but human-level cognitive ability is not a prerequisite for freedom from suffering! There are human beings with severe cognitive deficiencies who don't have the mental capacity to design or understand a judicial system, but that certainly does not disqualify them from compassionate treatment.

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  75. choice, yes of course! I agree!! I am just saying that there is an essential difference (a big one!) between humans and other animals. Do you agree?

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  76. Choice - your words about animal cruelty hit me in the gut a bit. I do strive to buy my meat and airy from small, local and/or organic farms (which I've read tend to be be more humane), and it bugs me that I still have to wonder what the situation is when I order meat at a restaurant. I've avoided restaurants that serve the types of animal products I'm aware of being inhumane (in all cases), such as veal and fois gras. I even tell those I eat with to please avoid those things, and explain why. Animal cruelty is hard to think about, and often seems too big a problem to battle, when there's so much money to be made by the industries that profit so much by not taking the time to treat these lives with some basic decency.

    I could devote more time to to this. My heart really IS in it. However, my heart goes first to human life, which I see as sacres and made in the image of God - in whom I wholeheartedly believe. Alternatives to abortion - the pro-woman/pro-life message - the debunking of misinformation and encouragement of ignorance that Planned Parenthood puts out there - and organ donation, which is another life-saving issue close to my heart. I spend more energy on these issues than animal right issues because they seems more fundamental to the well being of society, and honestly - I can't take on every problem society faces while raising my daughter alone and working 2 jobs. I also feel more compelled to speak up on Pro-Life and organ donation issues because I hear so many people loudly and proudly saying things against these messages...that babies are just "blobs of cells" until their birth, that women do not suffer at all from abortion (which I know to be untrue), and that abortion empowers women. In regards to organ donation, I hear people say that doctors will let you die in order to get your organs for donation. I speak up on these issues because I *frequently* hear people say things I know to be untrue, and I know the message needs to get out there. With animal abuse, as much as I hate thinking about what is being done to animals, I also don't hear many people defending it, denying it's a problem, or admitting it occurs but saying it's actually a desirable or empowering thing for us.

    That said, I can be better at avoiding bad sources for my meat and dairy. I admit that. It's hard though - running to the store after work to buy something for dinner, and hoping they have the local small-farm, free-range chicken and grass fed, organic milk...I *think* that's the best I can do, and even with that info, I can't always find what I want, and it weighs on my conscience when I settle for less.

    I think that's the difference here. People who aren't pro-life aren't just silently backing off and feeling bad for not speaking up for the lives being thrown away. They seem to be actually celebrating it as a pro-woman issue, and demonizing those who say otherwise. This, in turn, compells me to speak to to the contrary. I have no ill will for women! (duh). That argument may make it easier to dismiss my point of view without giving it serious consideration, but it's fostering ignorance of a crucial "alternate view" that needs to be considered by those who truly seek "good". Just as animal rights advocates want to be heard by those who are contributing to the problem by just going along with the flow.

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  77. I type too fast and make too many typos. I'm sorry for any confusion my typos - above - may create.

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  78. When a child tests positive for Down syndrome in utero and the parents choose to abort (as about 90% of all Down syndrome children are today - http://www.cnsnews.com/node/37421), where do they fall on the scale of qualifying them for compassionate treatment? Would you say that the mother's "right to choose" to abort her child trumps over the child's right to compassionate treatment?

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  79. @ College Student

    First of all, everyone has an agenda, in the sense that you mean. Second of all, such a law does take into account those things.

    If you're going to kill the child anyway, the risks of amniocentesis are a moot point.

    What requiring a paternal consent would do, would be to eliminate the legality of having an abortion before paternity can be established. Reading up about amniocentesis, for it to be done relatively safely (1 in 1600 resulting in miscarriage rather than 1 in 200), you've got to do it around week 18. I'm sure that would be a provision of the law, doing amniocentesis when it is safest.

    Bottom line: More lives saved.

    And no, carrying the baby to term is not the same thing as killing it. A paternal consent law implies that you only need one parent (father or mother) wanting the baby to have the child brought to term.

    If you made an additional law saying that you need both to agree to bring it to term, then there'd be no reason to have a paternal consent law for abortion, because if the parents disagree about bringing it to term, then you can just kill the child.

    The two potential laws we have here, paternal consent for abortion and paternal consent for bringing the baby to life, are at odds. On surface they look like they are based on the same principle, they are not. At heart they are saying something completely different.

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  80. many of you have scoffed at liberals here for wanting to save whales over babies…. While it’s a cute slogan that effectively shows why you think liberals are crazy it incorrectly portrays liberals as out of touch…I’m assuming your aware of this on some level but in case your not…

    Environmentalism is not a wacky cause. Pro-environment IS pro-life. Why? because 99% of liberals don't want to curb global warming and protect endangered species because they cry over dead trees or even because they think animals are more valuable than humans (sorry choice) but because when we abuse the environment human beings suffer. I stand strongly against pumping cows with horrible steroids and antibiotics and making them live horrible unnatural lives because people are going to eat those cows! The mistreatment of the animal does not stop at the animals! When people eat meat that is diseased and sick, it will make them diseased and sick! By helping animals we help ourselves

    Same goes for why people don't want to burn coal, or destroy animal habitats. Its not because of the animals or the trees persay . Its because the trees provide oxygen for people to breathe and when we over pollute and cause sea levels to rise and hurricanes we screw and indirectly kill real live human beings.

    Like all of us Choice is entitled to her opinion. But she does not represent how most liberals feel. Most people who believe in environmental causes want to save the birds and the trees, yes, but they want to do so because it is in the best interest of humanity

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  81. Hi sweet jane. Glad to hear you're aware and care about this issue. I can totally understand your reasons for why the human battles take precedence in your life. You're only one person, and I don't think any one person can champion all the causes that call to their conscience and their heart (at least not without sacrificing jobs, family, etc., as you mentioned). That being said, you don't need to devote a huge amount of time to living in concordance with your concern for animal mistreatment. You mentioned how difficult and time-constraining it is to worry about whether your restaurants/grocery stores are selling you humanely-raised meat. How about substituting vegetarian meals for a proportion of the meat-containing meals you eat (perhaps 1/3 at first, then moving up to 1/2, you get the idea)? A quick google search will turn up some great recipes. Then you don't have to wonder and potentially feel guilty about what you're buying and consuming.

    And don't forget, this animal-mistreatment battle doesn't just benefit them. A plant-based diet is actually healthier for most people. Since going veggie 4 years ago, my formerly high cholesterol is now at a normal level, I've become way more physically fit, and my psyche isn't continually gnawed at for perpetuating something I know is morally wrong. And the environment is benefitting too. It's win-win-win. So even if you don't have the time to necessarily "speak out" on this issue, you can live in a way that doesn't contribute to the perpetuation of those atrocities. I think that's pretty darn good too.

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  82. College student -- aside from misinterpreting most of my "opinion" (when did I say animal's interests trump humanity's interests? I'm saying they need to make it onto the radar of consideration) -- why make it sound like we can't care about the effects of environmental destruction on all species equally? Very few populations and/or species live in complete isolation. Our well-being, animals' well-being, and environmental well-being are all intricately interconnected.

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  83. Giuseppe,
    Your missing pretty much everything.....

    You said "What requiring a paternal consent would do, would be to eliminate the legality of having an abortion before paternity can be established....you've got to do it around week 18"

    So instead of women having abortions during the 1st trimester when most of the abortions take place...you want women to wait later in pregnancy when the fetus is more developed to be able to have an abortion that makes so much sense...

    I get it you don't like abortion, you want to make laws which arent fooling anyone, to make abortions difficult to obtain until they become illegal..i get that. But you need to understand what you are proposing DOES NOT MAKE SENCE. It dismisses many many things including practicality and the very obvious what if the woman does not know the father.

    You think abortion is repulsive fine. But I the think the idea that a woman needs to beg the father for permission to get an abortion repulsive. If he gives you permission than its okay. That is not a paternalistic, sexist or unconstitutional law at all

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  84. And Leila, yes, I recognize that there are big differences between human and non-human animals (cognition, some mental and emotional characteristics, intricacies of communication, societal structures, among others). Those differences don't affect my knowledge of the immorality of animal mistreatment or my beliefs on what we should be doing about it. As an atheist/naturalistic pantheist, I don't believe that humans were made in God's likeness or that we are any more "sacred" than other animal species; rather, I believe we happen to be the highest-functioning mammals that populate this planet.

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  85. @ College Student

    Not going to get into the global warming debate. I perfectly understand that this current discussion is about something completely different. With that said, I nontheless encourage everyone to read this article.

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  86. For Pete's sake,
    Name me one non-human animal who knows right from wrong (and actually gives a hoot).

    I love animals. And we should respect them and treat all living things lovingly. But HUMANS ARE OMNIVORES. If you don't believe we were put here by God to rule over all other animals then just look at it from your secular, scientific point of view and realize that we are at the top of the food chain. I'm not going to apologize for eating bacon. It's delicious and my taste buds crave it because they were made to. STOP comparing ABORTION, the INTENTIONAL KILLING OF HUMAN BEINGS WHO REASON AND DEBATE AND LOVE AND MAKE LAWS AND DISCUSS GLOBAL WARMING with the killing of cows for human consumption.

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  87. College Student

    Just because you don’t agree with what I say, doesn’t mean I’m missing something.

    I'm not missing anything, I'm an incrementalist.

    The pro-life movement is not a group of hayseeds without Greek fighting against a medical procedure backed up by ample amounts of rectifying scientific evidence. It is a rational movement (with its share of the irrational), methodically attacking the abortion industry. Okay, we get setback because of weak politicians, c'est la vie. Our short term goals are not each isolated, they are all within context of each other.

    Let’s say, which I think is fair, requiring paternal consent raises the minimum age a baby can be before it is aborted. Let’s say 18 weeks gestation is the earliest you can now kill a child through abortion because you have to have that paternity test done.

    Well, with a law on the books that requires an ultrasound, now the parents are made to first see what it is that they are killing before making the decision. As everyone knows, by 12 weeks the baby is very much recognizable as a human child in an ultrasound image.

    That’s another success for pro-lifers because seeing someone recognizable as a human child will make it that much more difficult to make the decision. For people who are ‘pro-choice,’ this would also allow you to make a truly informed decision, rather than one simply based on a combination of immediate circumstances and emotion. After all, before almost any other invasive operation, don’t you see x-rays of ‘the problem?’

    This does not dismiss practicality, it takes it into account. You don’t know who the father is? I’m sorry, then with this law you can’t get an abortion. That’s the point.

    Besides that point, the fact that most women don’t know who the father is? You can’t make that claim from your personal experience of other pregnant women (or yourself). Saying 'most' makes a big step between experience and hard evidence. Most women I know do know who their baby’s father is. So our experience is at odds. Neither of us would be fair to make a claim from our experience without some other sort of objective statistical evidence to back it up.

    You think abortion is repulsive fine. But I the think the idea that a woman needs to beg the father for permission to get an abortion repulsive. If he gives you permission than its okay. That is not a paternalistic, sexist or unconstitutional law at all.

    You’re right, I do think abortion is repulsive. Very repulsive indeed.

    You’re missing the point, if he gives permission it isn’t okay. Requiring permission, however, is one more step toward ending abortion.

    How is it sexist or unconstitutional? Can a mother get a passport for her child without consent of the husband? (The answer is no). Then why should a parent be able to kill a child without the consent of the other parent? Taking a child out of the country is much different than removing it from this world.

    Again, bringing a child to term is not the same thing as killing the child. Bringing a child to term is quite natural, while killing it is quite the opposite

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  88. By much different, I mean, not quite so serious.

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  89. Choice- you're doing a nice job of discussing your views on animal cruelty. What I would really love to hear about is why you are pro-choice. I believe you briefly mentioned that you'll be thinking about it and I really respect your openness to do so; let's "think about it" here for a minute instead of constantly talking about how the animals are treated.

    I just can't fathom why, with all your passion for treating animals humanely, you have never considered treating the pre-born "highest functioning mammals that populate this planet" humanely. I mean, what would your reaction be if you witnessed an unborn calf being dismembered in utero and then ripped out of it's mother cow's body in pieces or being mostly born and alive but then having it's brains sucked out? With someone of your passion and thought out views on the topic of animal cruelty, I'd imagine you'd find such a scene horrific (as I would hope, all of us would; animals shouldn't be treated that way), and yet, this is something that is happening to unborn humans every day. Thoughts?

    Thanks everyone, for the great dialogue. :)

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  90. I don't believe that humans were made in God's likeness or that we are any more "sacred" than other animal species

    I'm going to challenge you on that, because I do believe you know deep down that humans are more "sacred" than other creatures. If you were driving along a road and you were going to hit either a child or a dog, which one would you swerve to avoid? No other options in this scenario: You either hit and kill a child or a dog.

    Also, if you agree in theory that an animal can be morally (humanely) killed for food, why don't you also believe that a human can be killed and eaten for food? (I'm assuming, of course, that you don't think that is moral.)

    Thanks!

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  91. * Meaning a human killed and eaten by another human.

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  92. I don't know the solution to the paternity/abortion issue, but all I will say is that my heart really goes out to the fathers that have had their children killed against their will. For those that are quick to say that the father should have no voice in the matter, just think about the reality of that: What if your child was legally killed against your will?

    I'm friends with a birthdad who is 19 years old (we almost adopted his daughter). He loves his daughter so much. How horrifying it would have been if the birthmother had chosen abortion and robbed him of his little girl.

    I'm not trying to make a case here or anything, just trying to step into someone else's shoes for a minute. This is more than just "my body, my choice." Three people are involved, not just one.

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  93. @ College Student

    Some statistics can be found here.

    Those are birth statistics, which show an overwhelming propensity for births to be from inside the institution of marriage. Which would imply the majority of those who bring their babies to term do actually know who the father is.

    Now, in regard to abortions, you should go to the Guttmacher Institute. At the page linked to, it says that 56% of abortions are performed on an unmarried woman. That leaves 44% of abortions performed on a married woman.

    Combine that with the overwhelming propensity for married women to carry their babies to term, you can safely say the majority of women who get pregnant do in fact know who the father is.

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  94. Giuseppe,
    I am not saying most people don't know who baby daddy is. I’m saying any law requiring the consent of daddy would have to prove he's daddy. I am also saying that SOME people don’t know who daddy is or no longer know how to get in touch with him. You cant make a law against sluts just because they’re sluts.

    You clearly hate abortion; you've said it I get it. And because you hate it so much you want to apply some silly unfeasible stipulations to abortion that couldn’t pass into law for a lot of obvious reasons but okay, whatever

    Complicated Life and Leila, you have both said you know of young men who didn’t want their gfs to abort. Its hard for me to feel sympathy for them honestly in the same way its hard for me to feel sympathy for a young man who wants his girlfriend to get an abortion and she wont. There seems to be this 'pass for men' that they didn’t really know something was going to happen. We focus so much on women and how women shouldn’t open their legs if they don't want to become pregnant. But we don't say the same to men. If a young man is THAT pro-life and it is that important to him don't you think it’s his responsibility whether he’s 16 or 60 to make sure he is in a relationship where the woman would under no circumstances abort?

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  95. @ College Student

    Got it, some people don't know who the father is. Fair enough, but that doesn't mean the law would be a law against sluts because they're sluts. The law would be for the sake of protecting a baby from being killed because its a baby.

    The stipulations are hardly silly or unfeasible. The law would easily be emplaced. After all, do we have the technology to test for paternity? Absolutely. Do we all believe that informed choice is better than uninformed choice? I would hope so.

    You haven't really put up a solid rational counter-argument, other than that the law would be inconvenient. Calling my defense of it, and the theoretical law itself silly and unfeasible is merely ad hominem.

    You're right though, it is a moot point since the case where paternal consent was decided 'unconstitutional' by the supreme court, was decided in 1976, by the same court who decided Roe v Wade in 1973.

    That doesn't mean it is unfeasible or silly, though. It is only unfeasible and silly if you want abortion on demand.

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  96. Choice- the "pro-life" soapbox may never be your fight. That's ok. For many of us here, animal rights may never be our "cause". But you are right to call us to live authentically according to our beliefs. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has thought more about animal cruelty because of what you've posted, and will make changes to live more authentically according to my values.

    I now echo what was asked of your before- what thought have you now given to abortion, in light of this discussion? Can you continue to be pro-choice considering the "choice" you are fighting for is the choice to violently kill a child for his parents' transgressions?

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  97. JoAnna,

    Sorry, It's ChewSpam, but my firewall at work is trying to block "blogging" sites and won't let me sign in legitimately.

    I bring up the paternal consent, b/c if it were really about choice they should push for the father's consent. But by not pushing for paternal consent, it's obvious that it has nothing to do with choice. It's something the leaders of the movement hide behind to push their agenda while the majority are fooled in to believing it really is about choice.

    So here we go. Let's see if this lets me post as ChewSpam.

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  98. Ha. It did. Some days it works and some it doesn't. So my comment above was in reference to this:

    "You say this without identifying yourself. How is Choice to know that your grievances are legitimate if she can't go to past posts and see how you were allegedly "chewed up"?

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  99. I'll throw this info out because it seems relevant in paternal consent:

    They actually deal with unknown fathers in adoption situations and have a process whereby legitimate effort is made on the part of the adoption agency to contact the father before his parental rights are terminated in order to proceed with the adoption process. This is to make sure he is informed of the adoption and give him due opportunity to protest it should he prefer to take custody of the child (interesting that the bio father can protest an adoption and seek custody of the child, but can't protest an abortion, no?)

    I'm not intimately familiar with the process of trying to locate the father, but it usually involves newspaper ads that run for several weeks describing the situation in the paper that best serves his last known location and anyone who might fit the description is asked to contact the agency. This is a legal responsibility, whether the mother wants it or not. If this isn't done, the adoption happens and he shows up later, he can contest the adoption and seek custody because his parental rights never could have been terminated legitimately without the proper process. And all this before the child is even born. I'm just now realizing how ironic it is that the father is recognized as having parental rights in this situation, but not in the abortion situation...

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  100. College Student,

    Actually, the couple in my scenario didn't abort. I was merely using the young birthfather that I know as an example of how tragic it would be for a young man who loves his daughter so much to lose her against his will to abortion.

    But I'll comment a little bit:

    There seems to be this 'pass for men' that they didn’t really know something was going to happen.

    It seems to me there's a pass for women too...If we actually held people accountable for their actions at all, there wouldn't be abortion. Biologically, sex makes babies. If you have sex, you might end up getting pregnant, and the natural course of action for pregnancy is not to kill the child, but to deliver him/her.

    We focus so much on women and how women shouldn’t open their legs if they don't want to become pregnant. But we don't say the same to men.

    I say the same thing to men. Literally, I say this to high school and college students (male and female). Do you say it to... anyone?

    If a young man is THAT pro-life and it is that important to him don't you think it’s his responsibility whether he’s 16 or 60 to make sure he is in a relationship where the woman would under no circumstances abort?

    As we all know, many people have strong idealogies, but then go against them for various reasons once they are in a particular position. If you want to argue about the "practical" side of things (and I assume you do, since you haven't really addressed Guiseppe's points other than saying it's not practical) then I'll tell you that this isn't practical. There is no way for him to be completely sure that the girl won't choose to abort, no matter her views on it before the pregnancy. The answer is chastity. Beautiful, wonderful, chastity. :)

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  101. The thing with abortion is that because it's the choice of the woman it's automatically her responsibility whether she decide to abort or keep the baby. It all rest on her and it makes it a little too easy for the man to walk away. If she chooses to keep her baby, the guy can say
    "well, it's not my problem. You could have aborted it."
    But it IS his problem. He is party to a new life being created. So if we want men to get more involved in raising children, then perhaps they should be involved in the decision to keep the baby or abort. You can't have it both ways. The baby should be both the mother AND father's responsibility from the very beginning. They were both involved in making the baby. They BOTH should face the consequences.

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  102. Both Complicated Life and Giuseppe
    I believe I have said ad nauseam why I don’t think its practical for fathers to give consent: because paternity can’t be determined until well into the second trimester, because applied equally under the same principle a man’s permission would be required to give birth to the child and such a law is overwhemingly paternalistic giving the impression that abortion is bad if only you want it, but if your big strongly clearly more important man gives you his permission, well its fine ( I know you think abortion is never fine, but that is the impression the law gives)

    Chewspan,
    You said, “I bring up the paternal consent, b/c if it were really about choice they should push for the father's consent. But by not pushing for paternal consent, it's obvious that it has nothing to do with choice”

    Um no…pro-choicers would all be pro-life if women laid eggs. But they don’t, they have to gestate a baby for 9 months inside of their body an act which fundamentally changes and often worsens their health. Men don’t have to do any of this. It is about the choice not to expose yourself to high blood pressure or gestational diabetes amoung other things, if it isn’t about choice, what is it about?

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  103. Complicated Life,
    You and others have said its bizarre that men get rights with adoption and not abortion. But its not bizarre at all, it is very consistent. If a woman gives birth to a baby and abdicates her responsibility a man can assume all of her responsibilities, she can have nothing to do with the baby as she wanted and the man can be the father, as he wanted. But if a man doesn’t want his gf to have an abortion he does not do so by gestating the child so the woman doesn’t have to (as in the adoption case) he just tells her he wants something and that he should be able to use her body to get it…its really not the same thing at all

    Also there is some trouble with adopting, without the father’s permission. If the baby is adopted without the father’s knowledge the father can seek custody from the adoptive parents. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_Jessica_case

    “We focus so much on women and how women shouldn’t open their legs if they don't want to become pregnant. But we don't say the same to men. I say the same thing to men. Literally, I say this to high school and college students (male and female). Do you say it to... anyone?”

    No I don’t tell people this because I don’t believe it. I don’t think people should only have sex with people they want children with, unless that is what they wan to do.

    Just another suburban mom,
    You said “The thing with abortion is that because it's the choice of the woman it's automatically her responsibility whether she decide to abort or keep the baby. It all rest on her and it makes it a little too easy for the man to walk away.”
    I do understand what your saying, but your argument rests on the assumption that if abortion weren’t a legal choice men would be more inclined to accept their role a fathers. I don’t think we have any evidence to support this. A lot of men are with women in very pro-life circles and don’t want to be fathers not because of abortion but because they don’t want to change diapers. You also seem to forget that abortion doesn’t go away when it’s made illegal. Men aren’t idiots the same guy who is pushing you to go to the doctor is now just trying to make you drink more and punching you in the stomach.

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  104. Blogger just ate my comment AGAIN.

    "they have to gestate a baby for 9 months inside of their body an act which fundamentally changes and often worsens their health"

    Could you please give any evidence for this? I could say, and provide evidence for the following, "Having babies statistically improves women's health." Pregnancies actually significantly reduce a woman's risk of breast, cervical, and ovarian cancers. But ultimately, health is not guaranteed to anyone, pregnant or not.
    Believe it or not, pregnancy and birth are not like that TV show, "special delivery". It's actually pretty boring. So I don't buy the "Pregnant women SUFFER" argument for abortion... at all. Yes, I'm sure carrying an unexpected baby is very difficult emotionally. I'm not downplaying that. But I do wish we as a whole would stop seeing pregnancy as an illness. Women are made to carry and birth babies, and it's really only here in the first world where the "burden" of pregnancy has been so higly exaggerated and dramatized.

    Some women have difficult pregnancies and a very few have lasting problems due to pregnancy. Some women don't have children, and experience skyrocketing risks for female reproductive cancers. *Shrug*

    What matter is this: Does abortion take innocent life for convenience? 99% of the time, the answer is yes- abortion is done for convenience, either that of the mother, or that of the incredible number of people who might coerce her for their own interests.

    Really, nothing else matters beyond that simple answer. This really is SIMPLE. Should we be compassionate towards women in these situations? ABSOLUTELY! Should we let murder remain a "choice" out of compassion? No.

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  105. College Student,
    My whole point of bringing up the birthfather I know was to acknowledge how horrifying it would have been if his beloved daughter had been aborted against his wishes. Can you at least concur that if a man loves and desires life for his unborn child, and that child is killed against his will, it is an atrocity for him? Or is that very simple and obvious fact too taboo for a pro-choicer to admit?

    I understand your point re: paternal rights in abortion vs adoption. What I find intriguing is that in one case (adoption) the child is wanted (albeit not to raise, but wanted to have life) and therefore, the father matters and has rights. In the other, the child is unwanted and the father means nothing. The father's rights to his unborn child are inconsistent, essentially based on whether or not the child is desired by the mother. But he is a father either way, right? Sort of like the unborn child's rights as a human person: unwanted=murder in the womb is ok, wanted=murder in the womb not ok, which explains why a person who kills a pregnant woman can be charged with double homocide. It's not consistent; it's not objective.

    I don’t think people should only have sex with people they want children with, unless that is what they wan to do.

    This always happens. We're not suggesting that people "want children." We're suggesting that people accept the biological reality that sex makes babies and that no matter how much you try to avoid it, the possibility of pregnancy exists. Both men and women need to be held accountable for their actions. But, we don't hold anyone accountable for the natural, foreseeable, biological result of sex, and instead innocent blood is shed.

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  106. We're suggesting that people accept the biological reality that sex makes babies and that no matter how much you try to avoid it, the possibility of pregnancy exists. Both men and women need to be held accountable for their actions. But, we don't hold anyone accountable for the natural, foreseeable, biological result of sex, and instead innocent blood is shed.

    Complicated Life, thank you for this!! When I was growing up, I remember hearing that if someone has sex and gets pregnant, they have to assume the responsibility for that action, and not make the baby pay for the actions of the (irrepsonsible) parents. How is that not understood as common sense anymore? Are we that absolved of the responsibility for our actions (and we wonder why people are selish and slackers and users)? Have we lost the concept of being honorable and owning up (honorably) to our mistakes and sins? What a world!

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  107. But I do wish we as a whole would stop seeing pregnancy as an illness. Women are made to carry and birth babies, and it's really only here in the first world where the "burden" of pregnancy has been so higly exaggerated and dramatized.

    Monica, THANK YOU!!!!!!

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  108. You also seem to forget that abortion doesn’t go away when it’s made illegal.

    College student, this is where I get so frustrated. We know this. We don't "seem to forget it". You seem to forget that we have said dozens of times that you could say the same thing about rape and murder. "Rape and murder don't go away when made illegal." So what? Sin is real, it's true! But rape and murder should be illegal even though we know that some people will always rape and murder. Please tell me you understand, and please tell me you won't use that line again? Please? :)

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  109. College Student,
    Why does the woman get to decide where a man's rights and responsibilities as a parent begin and end? Why are the woman's rights more important than the man's? If you do not feel the man should have any say in the life of the child, why should he be forced to support said child if the mother decides against his wishes to bring the pregnancy to term? (for the record I think both scenarios are horrible) If it is solely the woman's choice, why isn't it solely her responsibility?

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  110. I had to post about the animal treatment thing----

    I am part of a small family farm. We have about 20 cows milking right now (30 by the end of the year!! =D)and we raise (or know personally the people who do) and eat our own chicken, beef, pork, eggs and milk. we ship our milk to Organic Valley and I personally guarantee you that the Organic Valley products you buy come from humanely treated animals who don't spend their lives in a cement lot.

    check out their website---

    http://www.organicvalley.coop

    and check out the Holms' story--I know the family personally and they are so passionate about farming and the health of their animals. =)

    http://www.organicvalley.coop/who-is-your-farmer/heartland/meet-the-holm-family/page-1/


    hehehehe---sorry about the ad. :P but really I couldn't just see all those comments and not say something about an issue I know about personally.

    Myn

    (I saw Food Inc too---scary, scary stuff. x_x Check out the movie "tapped" by the same people I believe---I've vowed never to drink bottled water again! =P ;D)

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  111. Myn, I don't mind that kind of ad at all! I hope people will check out the links! Thanks!

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  112. No I don’t tell people this because I don’t believe it. I don’t think people should only have sex with people they want children with, unless that is what they want to do.

    Why not? Are people entitled to their own pleasure to the detriment of the unintended, but perfectly predictable, consequence of a newly created person? Are we so entitled to enjoy sexual pleasure that unintended babies must be sacrificed? Why? We, as a society say that sexual pleasures that cause harm to an unwilling participant is wrong, and rightfully so. Rape is wrong. Sex with children is wrong. Bestiality and sex with dead people is wrong. Why is sex with no intention of carrying a pregnancy, wanted or unwanted, to term wrong?

    Susan

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  113. Susan, that is a brilliant point!!

    College student? Or anyone?

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  114. Whoops! That last line in my previous post should read, "Why is sex with no intention of carrying a pregnancy, wanted or wanted, to term not wrong?"

    Susan

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  115. actually I don't think it's by the same people...but it's very good (and similar) all the same!! =)

    http://www.tappedthemovie.com/

    Myn

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  116. heehee you're welcome. =) (and thanks for not kicking me out for turning the com box into an ad! =P XD )

    you know, that IS a knocksyoursocksoff point---I have never thought about that before Susan, but I shall now! and ask others the same question. =)

    Myn

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  117. Manda...I can't believe I'm going to legitimize your post with a response...but I just can't help it. First of all, "Name me one non-human animal who knows right from wrong (and actually gives a hoot.)" You're expecting animals to live up to your human concept of "right and wrong"? That's once again applying human ideologies and human interpretations of morality to non-human beings. However, despite not having done substantial interspecies research, I can assure you that the number of non-human animals terminating their pregnancies, treating each other like shit for selfish reasons, and displaying otherwise "poor moral character" (by our religious or societal standards) is infinitely smaller than the number of humans doing so. So perhaps they don't "know right from wrong," but from what I can see there sure seems to be a lot less hate, hypocrisy, and all-around deplorable behavior in the rest of the animal kingdom than there is in the human realm - so what species has the real problem with "right and wrong?"

    Secondly, you go on to say "I love animals. And we should respect them and treat all living things lovingly...[but]...I'm not going to apologize for eating bacon. It's delicious and my taste buds crave it because they were made to." I'll ignore this ridiculous oversimplification of an extremely complex issue and instead point that that even if, as you say, your taste buds were "made to crave" animal flesh, your humanity (and your church, if you're Christian/Catholic) certainly does not call for you to tolerate (and in fact support) cruelty to other animals. If you're letting your taste buds trump your moral values there, that's pretty damn sad.

    I understand that you deplore abortion. I'm not arguing with your reasoning for doing so. But why are you using your hatred of abortion to essentially justify your support and funding of animal cruelty, by saying that it's negligible by comparison? That seems EXTREMELY backwards to me. Your respect for the sanctity of human life is mutually exclusive to wanting to end the suffering of other living creatures? Those desires for love and compassion are along the same lines in my mind. I'm really confused as to why your concern for torturing and killing a living thing doesn't cause you to see and act upon the immorality in the factory farming industry. Talk about cold. You aren't bothered by torturing and killing unless it happens to be a member of your own species?! That reminds me of a time when "all men were created equal" unless they weren't Anglo-Americans, in which case it was alright to enslave them and treat them like property rather than people.

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  118. Monica, Leila, and the others who've asked me to revisit my stance on abortion via blog post, I promise I'm not ignoring you. As you can probably imagine, the process of re-evaluating my beliefs on this subject isn't an easy or fast one. I assure you I'll satisfy your requests, but before I do I want to make sure I take the time to really think about all that we've brought up throughout this discussion. Thanks for your patience. :)

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  119. That reminds me of a time when "all men were created equal" unless they weren't Anglo-Americans, in which case it was alright to enslave them and treat them like property rather than people.

    Wow, that is the exact same example we use when people try to justify the murder of defenseless human beings in the womb (who are essentially viewed as property by society)

    Of course, re-evaluating your beliefs isn't easy or quick, but I wish you'd dialogue with us about it-is there a struggle in your mind that is making it difficult? It's funny, because based on all of what you say in defense of animals, I can't imagine you NOT being pro-human-life too. :)

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  120. Choice, I think you might be telling yourself something here when you say "That reminds me of a time when "all men were created equal" unless they weren't Anglo-Americans, in which case it was alright to enslave them and treat them like property rather than people.".... Think of this now "That reminds me of a time when "all men were created equal" unless they aren't 100% fully out of the womb yet, in which case it was alright to kill them with no repercussions."
    Oh wait. That's NOW.

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  121. (didn't see Complicated Life's response before I wrote mine! :))

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  122. However, despite not having done substantial interspecies research, I can assure you that the number of non-human animals terminating their pregnancies, treating each other like shit for selfish reasons, and displaying otherwise "poor moral character" (by our religious or societal standards) is infinitely smaller than the number of humans doing so. So perhaps they don't "know right from wrong," but from what I can see there sure seems to be a lot less hate, hypocrisy, and all-around deplorable behavior in the rest of the animal kingdom than there is in the human realm - so what species has the real problem with "right and wrong?"

    Choice, you've stumbled upon my point. We are the only species that can sin. Why? Because we are the only species that can choose to be moral. We have an intellect and a free will. We can choose to love, or choose not to. I don't know of any lion who willingly chose to forgo his hunger and grant mercy to the gazelle he chased down. I also don't know of any lion who killed a gazelle out of hatred or malice.

    So, there is a fundamental difference between human beings and animals. We are not the same. Animals act on instinct. They are not moral beings with a soul. Humans are moral beings and they do have souls. And it is because of our ability to choose to live morally or immorally (virtue or vice) that we are set apart.

    Animals give glory to God just for being. They do what they were made to do. Humans give glory to God when they choose good over evil. We were made for good, but we are drawn toward sin. Ultimately, we choose if we want to act like a child of God, or if we want to act in darkness and sin. Animals make no such choice.

    There is a reason for this.

    The distinction between animals and humans are huge.

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  123. and ps Choice - You seem pretty intolerant of other people tolerance to meat-eating (in certain cases)... Just sayin'.... Sometimes when you stand up for what you believe in, other people view it as "intolerance" to what they want to do!....

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  124. Choice -

    That reminds me of a time when "all men were created equal" unless they weren't Anglo-Americans, in which case it was alright to enslave them and treat them like property rather than people.

    Coincedentally, I just wrote a blog post about that very subject on Tuesday. You might want to check it out:

    Slavery, Abortion, and Abraham Lincoln

    The similarities between the arguments used to justify abortion and the arguments used to justify slavery are chilling.

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  125. JoAnna, that also reminds me of the recent movie, Amazing Grace about the abolitionist movement in England. It was a phenomenal movie! It reminded me (and most pro-life activists) of the fight to end abortion that is going on today. So many similarities. It really is a parallel.

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  126. Monica,
    There are absolutely right, there are potential advantages to being pregnant. You named a few. But there are health risks associated with giving birth. My own mother almost died when she gave birth to me. As for evidence, here is a risk of risk factors associated with getting pregnant. http://www.thelizlibrary.org/liz/004.htm

    You said “Believe it or not, pregnancy and birth are not like that TV show, "special delivery". It's actually pretty boring. So I don't buy the "Pregnant women SUFFER" argument for abortion... at all”

    So I’ve never been pregnant as most of the women here. So if you are right, if delivery is in fact “boring” if it is not painful, if pregnancy does not fundamentally alter your body, if it doesn’t make you nauseous or depressed, or raise your blood pressure or tear and rip your vagina open, I concede! I am pro-life now, that was easy

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  127. Complicated Life,
    I must admit my views on this subject are VERY jaded right now. I am on a college campus and the idea that a man would ever want a baby that his gf didn’t want is so completely foreign to me, it seems very hypothetical. But you aren’t talking about it hypothetically, I respect that and I understand that. I am still very skeptical of the situation, a feeling that honestly keeps me from being compassionate but more because I don’t really understand and not because I shouldn’t be compassionate.

    I also DO understand what you are saying about adoption. “What I find intriguing is that in one case (adoption) the child is wanted (albeit not to raise, but wanted to have life) and therefore, the father matters and has rights. In the other, the child is unwanted and the father means nothing. The father's rights to his unborn child are inconsistent, essentially based on whether or not the child is desired by the mother”

    I get what your saying but I don’t think it’s about being desired; I think it’s about being created (which coincide on a number of levels.) A 2-month fetus is not yet a child (no its not a pro-choice blob of cells thing). I am not saying it isn’t a human life, I am saying literally it hasn’t yet been made into a child (enter 9 month gestational period) so you aren’t arguing over a child in both circumstances. You are arguing over a child and something that needs the mother’s body to be gestated into a child.

    As for the abortion vs. homicide thing. We recognize justified killings and non justified killings. If you shoot a man in the head just before he goes to death row you murdered him, if the state kills him 30 seconds later they “administered justice.” You can’t stab a guy even if his family is going to take him off of life support. If you are wearing a uniform and through a bomb you’re a solider, the same act without a uniform you are a terrorist. It’s called having legitimate force. Mothers have legitimate force, others do not.

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  128. So if you are right, if delivery is in fact “boring” if it is not painful, if pregnancy does not fundamentally alter your body, if it doesn’t make you nauseous or depressed, or raise your blood pressure or tear and rip your vagina open, I concede! I am pro-life now, that was easy

    I want you to really think about what you are saying: "My child, who is here because I decided to have sex, I will not kill you just so long as I can be guaranteed no pain or discomfort. If I so much as get nauseous, I can pay someone to enter my vagina (after forcefully opening my cervix, because of course that doesn't hurt) and let him scrape you out of my womb (dismembering you along the way), and spend days bleeding and recovering. Because I don't want any pain or discomfort."

    Do you really mean that?

    Again, do we want a civilization of love, or a civilization of selfishness and barbarianism?

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  129. We recognize justified killings and non justified killings. If you shoot a man in the head just before he goes to death row you murdered him, if the state kills him 30 seconds later they “administered justice.” You can’t stab a guy even if his family is going to take him off of life support. If you are wearing a uniform and through a bomb you’re a solider, the same act without a uniform you are a terrorist. It’s called having legitimate force. Mothers have legitimate force, others do not.

    College student, to repeat:

    One may never directly kill an innocent person. Plug in all those words, adjectives, to the scenarios above, and tell me that a mother can kill a helpless child in her womb. I'm not seein' it.

    You mention the child in the womb not being a "child". When did that happen? When did being "with child" mean being "not with child"? When did it take nine months for a child to appear? Where was the child before that? What of the child who lives in the sixth month, prematurely? That is a child because it is a few inches outside the mother's womb, but the same child, three months older, is not a child because it's still in the mother's womb? You are arbitrarily assigning these definitions. You must err on the side of life. You cannot just "decide" that you don't think some humans are worthy of life and some are not. You just cannot morally do that.

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  130. JoAnna, Complicated Life, and Mary - trust me, this comparison is not lost at me! I definitely see the ethical parallels between the slavery abolitionist movement, the women's equality movement, and the pro-life movement (and, on the non-human side, the fight for proper treatment of animals). My stating that to Manda wasn't in any way meant to indicate that I think your cause isn't a parallel. Your point is very valid. I hope you also see that my point is valid, though. Why should the work toward compassion/dignity/lack of cruelty stop at our species? (Notice the purposeful lack of the word "equality" there. [Just to preface any dissents along the lines of that which I've already heard and addressed.])

    Leila, I'm picking up what you're putting down, I see what you're saying and what that means to you, but it doesn't in any way alter my view of the animal mistreatment issue (and isn't likely to enter into my considerations of the abortion issue, either). Because of my belief system and my world view, I don't think the posession of these moral decision-making abilities and "souls" causes me to think humans are more deserving of peaceful life, freedom from cruelty, and compassionate treatment.

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  131. I must admit my views on this subject are VERY jaded right now. I am on a college campus and the idea that a man would ever want a baby that his gf didn’t want is so completely foreign to me, it seems very hypothetical.

    college student, I understand this. The college campus is an artificial society. It is (these days) a place of hedonism where moral rules do not apply. People are used and discarded daily in the hook-up culture, and since you don't see many pregnant women on campus, it's not hard to figure out that it's not just women and men who are being used and discarded. A lot of sickness and selfishness and sin going on.

    Why not find that niche on your own campus which is counter-cultural? There must be Christian groups, a Newman Center, etc. Some people on your campus must have a strong moral compass and a sense of virtue and honor. Find them! :)

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  132. Choice, I don't know if I'm just getting confused about what you're saying or if I'm understanding you correctly, but it seems like you ARE saying that humans and animals should be treated EQUALLY...??

    Just because we pro-lifers care MORE about human lives than we do about animal lives (for obvious reasons, at least in my opinion!) doesn't mean that we don't care about animal lives at all.

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  133. Justifiable to kill for a few moments sexual pleasure? Justifiable to kill so that one can full-fill career aspirations? If a single mother of a two year old suddenly had the opportunity to gain full-time employment in the career of her dreams, as long as she leaves her child behind, have grounds for justifiable homicide? Why is it different?

    Susan

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  134. Because of my belief system and my world view, I don't think the posession of these moral decision-making abilities and "souls" causes me to think humans are more deserving of peaceful life, freedom from cruelty, and compassionate treatment.

    Choice, I'm hearing you, but I have to ask: Do you ever wonder why humans have moral decision-making abilities and animals do not?

    Also, I think there is an inconsistency in your views: You said that you are not against people eating meat, as long as the animal is killed in a humane way. But if animals and people are *the same*, then why can't I eat a human being, if I kill that human being humanely?

    I hope that I said that clearly and that you get my question.

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  135. (What I mean by "obvious" is that we've clearly stated (in this post an in other ones Leila's had) why we value human life so much...and why we value human life more than animal life etc)

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  136. And, I do sympathize with the jadedness you're feeling College Life. But, what you are witnessing is not the norm for everyone. There are many men out there who do not want their children aborted but are afraid to speak up. They know that they have little to no recouse to whatever the mother decides. They also feel pressures when an unexpected pregnancy occurs. And, frankly, people say things that they don't mean all the time to suit the company they're with.

    There are good, honest, honorable men out there! I know, I married one! And, believe me, I never thought I'd ever meet a decent man - they were few and far between in my experience growing up. Now, I run into them all the time. Don't give up!

    Susan

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  137. This complicated debate is making me step back and think about what pregnancy is. I really see it as the most awesome part of womanhood. It's miraculous. If I didn't believe in God, pregnancy would be the issue that kept tapping at my conscience and saying "but wait - how about this?" NEw life. In my body. Created in love. It's too beautiful to have happened this way just by chance - big bang, evolution, love, new life, motherhood, breastfeeding....Wow.

    It is the biggest shame of our existence that we've come to the point where women consider it empowering to have CHOICES to have sex however/whenever/with whomever they wish, and to surgically do away with an unwanted new life that results from it..."Pro-woman, pro-choice".

    I just can't see it that way, try as I might to understand the opposing point of view. For a woman, especially one who has carried a baby before, to celebrate the right to end a new life because it's dependent on her body for survival...for the life of me, I can't see how it could ever been understood as anything other than DEAD WRONG.

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  138. Leila this is in response to something you said a few comments ago, I wrote it and then got ice cream and didnt send it with the others

    “I remember hearing that if someone has sex and gets pregnant, they have to assume the responsibility for that action, and not make the baby pay for the actions of the (irresponsible) parents. How is that not understood as common sense anymore?”

    I wasn’t around when you grew up. But you constantly allude to the fact that everything was so pure and moral when you grew up. This confuses me, as my generation didn’t coin abortion, or premarital sex…. There were a whole lot of really crappy things that happened in your generation too so I find it odd that you always put it on the pedestal as a purer time. Purer for babies maybe purer for black people and women not so much.

    As for the legality thing,
    You misunderstood what I was saying. It is not an argument to say ‘people will do it anyway it should be legal.’ That isn’t what I was saying. I was saying that I think the pro-life movement overlooks something important. It focuses on legality and doesn’t address why “women want to kill their unborn babies en masse. That seems like a really important thing to address to me and it is not addressed by the legality issue…

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  139. College Student:

    It focuses on legality and doesn’t address why “women want to kill their unborn babies en masse.

    What do you mean "doesn't address"? Why do you say that? Why do you think pro-lifers have started thousands of Crisis Pregnancy Centers around the world -- it's because we KNOW that some women choose abortion because they feel they have no choice. We want to show them that it's not the case.

    As for women who choose to kill their babies so they won't have to sell their convertible, or so they can go on that cruise next summer, or whatever... I don't understand why they would do that and never will.

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  140. Choice:

    JoAnna, Complicated Life, and Mary - trust me, this comparison is not lost at me! I definitely see the ethical parallels between the slavery abolitionist movement, the women's equality movement, and the pro-life movement (and, on the non-human side, the fight for proper treatment of animals). My stating that to Manda wasn't in any way meant to indicate that I think your cause isn't a parallel. Your point is very valid.

    Thank you. Your point is valid as well, insofar as I agree with you that animals should be treated humanely and not cruelly.

    However, given what you see above, I still don't see how you can be opposed to slavery and not opposed to abortion. Is it because you don't consider the unborn to be human beings? (I know you're still ruminating over all of this, so consider this question more food for thought.)

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  141. College Student,
    I'm sorry to hear you are so jaded that it is hard for you to see that it would be an atrocity for someone who wants their unborn child to live to be powerless when someone else chooses to kill him/her. And just for the record, the birthfather I know is 19 and not actively involved in any Christian faith. He is a normal, secular kid.

    And yes, it is a child. Leila addressed your (and many people's) arbitrary designation of when a child becomes a child, so I'll just leave it with her comment.

    Regardless of parcing words over "child," my point was that the father's rights are inconsistent, even though he is biologically the father in either case. He is objectively the father of the human life from the moment it is created, but in one scenario (adoption) he is efficacious; he has a say in the matter, even before the child is born, he is enacting his paternal rights. In the other (abortion), he is rendered powerless.

    As for the abortion vs. homicide thing. We recognize justified killings and non justified killings. If you shoot a man in the head just before he goes to death row you murdered him, if the state kills him 30 seconds later they “administered justice.”

    I understand that you are getting at who has authority to kill, according to the law. That isn't my point; again, my point is inconsistency in the law.

    Consider the scenario of two women, both equally far along in their pregnancy, so the fetus/child/human being are both, say, 15 weeks old. Woman A has an abortion. Legally, no one is considered murdered in this scenario. Woman B is intending on keeping the child but is murdered, resulting in the death of the fetus/child/human being as well. The murderer is charged for the murder of Woman B and the unborn human being she carried. There is no salient difference between child A and child B. The only difference is the mothers' intentions for her child. It would seem, then, that the mother "desiring life" for her unborn child is what determines whether or not that life matters legally. Am I missing something?

    (PS. When the Unborn Victims of Violence Act was being debated, pro-choicers advocated against it, despite it being considered a very pro-woman piece of legislation. Could it have been that they did not want the unborn to be understood as a legal victim?)

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  142. I’m sorry, I really thought I’d been clear about this in my posts and my opinions that I’m expressing. I must not be verbalizing my beliefs as clearly as I think I am.

    I’m not saying that animals and humans are or should necessarily be equal. If I were lobbying for human and animal equality, I would be fighting for the right of animals to obtain driver’s licenses, to vote in presidential elections, to hold seats in the Senate and House. That’s clearly absurd. What I am trying to convince people of is that humans and animals are equally deserving of compassionate treatment (though the definition and details of ‘compassionate treatment’ may be different for humans than they are for animals). Human beings don’t deserve to live torturous, cruelty-ridden lives, and animals don’t deserve to live torturous, cruelty-ridden lives. This doesn’t mean you have to put animals in the same level of regard as human beings.

    So no, Leila, I’m not saying (nor have I ever said) that it’s okay to kill a human being as long as they’re treated compassionately up until the point that they’re killed. I AM saying that for animals. Because, although many people believe that animals are here to serve us, and that killing them for our use isn’t morally wrong, that doesn’t mean they’re here for us to torture and treat in a disgusting and cruel manner. That’s why I specifically say I’m not opposed to animal death for human convenience, but I am opposed to subjecting those animals to horrendous living conditions while we’re raising them to be killed.

    Does that make my stance more clear? I’ve really tried to explicitly express that I’m not saying humans and animals should literally have equal rights. But I am saying that they are also living, breathing, feeling beings on this earth and deserve to be treated with respect and compassion, which they are not remotely being treated with now.

    And Mary, you’re right that just because you care about human lives more doesn’t mean you don’t care about them at all. But knowingly continuing to pay into the factory farming system DOES mean you don't care about them at all.

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  143. I was saying that I think the pro-life movement overlooks something important. It focuses on legality and doesn’t address why “women want to kill their unborn babies en masse. That seems like a really important thing to address to me and it is not addressed by the legality issue…

    The fight against abortion is fought on many fronts. It needs to be addressed in the law of the land, of course, but it is also fought culturally. We are not so naive as to believe that making abortion illegal will end all abortions, but our laws should defend every innocent human life. At the same time we are voting and lobbying for pro-life legislation, we are educating young people, starting PRC's, offering free health care and counseling to the poor and those in crisis pregnancies, and a slew of other things that many pro-choice folks don't care to notice or acknowledge.

    While we fight tooth and nail for our nation to recognize the unborn as persons deserving of legal protection, we aren't putting all our hope in our government. We are in the trenches of the culture, reaching out to real people in our communities.

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  144. There's so much going on here but College Student, I just had to chime in on your most recent comment. You seem to think Leila has at some point claimed that things were more pure and moral when she grew up (that's when I grew up, too, I suppose) and put it on a pedestal? I nearly fell out of my chair when I read that! I'm not trying to be rude, really, I was shocked, because it seems to me that YOU claim things are worse now. Weren't you the one who told us here in the com box that things are so hard today because of the hook-up culture?!?!? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought that was you, and I've been praying for you since then as you face that challenge!

    Some standards have certainly shifted in recent decades - I cannot believe the words I hear on TV these days, as one tiny example. I could start there and go on for a long time. But I don't think Leila has ever tried to act as though sin didn't exist before the year 2000... or whatever is "old"-fashioned time. =)

    In fact, in reading these comments today - before I got to yours - I was reminded of my mother's old adage that there's 'nothing new under the sun.' We are NOT the first to ask these questions. Although technology changes, God does not. The sanctity and inherent value of every human life does not.

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  145. The issue of a man's rights in abortion has been on my mind today, too. I know two men who lost children to abortion when they did NOT want the abortion to happen. College student, do you have sympathy for them?

    I also know a man whose wife was impregnated by another man due to an affair. Yet, because she was married, and due to their state's law, the husband - not the biological father - was required to pay child support for that child until he turned 18. I have no idea if other states have similar laws or not.

    Don't you find it at all unjust that while a woman can decide to kill a man's child without his consent, a man can be required to support his own child - or in that case - another man's child against his consent?

    Years and years ago I saw an editorial cartoon that showed a man and above his picture it said, "This is a man who got a woman pregnant and didn't want to be a father." Underneath the picture it said, "He's a (slimeball, a loser, a deadbeat, etc.)" (It had a list of insults I don't recall.)

    Then there was a picture of a woman and above her drawing it said, "This is a woman who got pregnant and didn't want to be a mother." At the bottom of her picture it said, "She's pro-choice."

    How is that just? It seems to me that the pro-choice ideology expects men to be equally involved... but only in the way the woman wants them to be. That is no 'choice' for the man at all.

    Complicated Life, you said it: chastity, beautiful chastity. Might I add, "Charity, beautiful charity"?

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  146. College Student,

    JoAnna and Complicated Life mentioned that fighting for unborn children's legal rights and changing the hearts and conditions of mothers and families are two separate issues, both of which are important, and both of which are being done. (See here: http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/03/pro-lifers-love-fetus-but-they-dont.html)

    Please acknowledge that, or else it's starting to sound like talking points.

    Also, Ceeb is right, you have mentioned that your generation is selfish (you put that in all caps), perhaps in a way that my generation was not. Although I think it's worth noting that my generation was not the generation where blacks were oppressed, by the way. I went through junior high school, high school and college in the 1980s. These were the days of Madonna and M-TV and plenty of drugs and sex. The difference, I think, is that there still was a semblance of an objective truth. Meaning, we might have been sinning big time, but we weren't trying to say, "hey, who cares if kids have married parents? Who cares if people have sex in junior high? Who cares if a baby is conceived, just abort because it's not a child, etc." There were abortions, there was sex, there was using and drinking and drugging, but there was still a conscience there.

    I will explain more in a whole post of its own in the next few weeks, because I'm reading something about that that is blowing my mind, about where we are now, versus what we all used to know....

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  147. I’m not saying that animals and humans are or should necessarily be equal.

    Choice, okay, I do understand, and I appreciate the clarity. And I will stipulate (as I hope you already know) that it is wrong to willfully make a creature suffer more than is necessary in bringing food to the table. So, we are at least to a threshold where we agree on some broad generalities.

    But can I ask you to be more specific? Do you ever wonder why humans are moral creatures and all other animals don't have the ability to morally reason out their acts? Is that something you have considered, philosophically?

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  148. I’ve gotten a little bogged down on the comments, and I’m not sure if I am addressing everything, if I miss something please tell me.

    I really do feel you ladies. I get where you are coming from. I respect everything you say, but I wholeheartedly think your wrong, as you wholeheartedly think I am wrong. Just as you can never defend abortion I can never ever think it is okay for a woman to be pregnant against her will.

    Leila asked “Again, do we want a civilization of love, or a civilization of selfishness and barbarianism?” You have said liberals use ends to justify the means, but I accuse your cause of just that. I don’t think its okay to tell women to breed against their will because it will make society better.

    This is almost a side note but I believe the notion of sexual consent has shaped at least my views on abortion. I do not care how nice a boy is, how much he will benefit from sex, how much pain he will be in if he does not have sex. My body is mine, and he cannot enter it without my continued consent. I feel the same about pregnancy. My body is mine can be inside of it without my permission. It doesn’t matter how cute or innocent or nice it is. I equate non- consensual pregnancy to non- consensual sex; I think they are both ugly and violating. Conversely, there is fundamentally beautiful about both consensual sex and consensual pregnancy.
    More in a minute…

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  149. I can never ever think it is okay for a woman to be pregnant against her will

    I don't understand how you can say this. In 99.9% of abortions, a woman DID NOT get pregnant against her will. She freely consented to engage in the natural, biological process that is DESIGNED to conceive children, with the understanding and knowledge that any attempt to artificially frustrate said conception is not 100% effective.

    It'd be like if I said, "Well, I consent to eating like a pig, but I absolutely do not consent to the natural biological process of gaining weight, so if that happens I'm going to get liposuction."

    Only in the case of pregnancy, it's a real, living, human being who is being suctioned and dismembered.

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  150. My body is mine, and he cannot enter it without my continued consent. I feel the same about pregnancy. My body is mine can be inside of it without my permission. It doesn’t matter how cute or innocent or nice it is. I equate non- consensual pregnancy to non- consensual sex; I think they are both ugly and violating. Conversely, there is fundamentally beautiful about both consensual sex and consensual pregnancy.

    A baby that YOU put there, by having sex, is suddenly an ugly, violation of your autonomy?

    I just don't know how to answer that. It's stunning to me.

    If you had sex willingly, you consented to the biological process which makes babies. It's so simple that you can't see it.

    I am without words right now.

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  151. I don't even know what "non-consensual" pregnancy is. A baby can never, ever consent to being created.

    All babies are beautiful. Not all consensual sex is beautiful. I think consensual sex between adulterers is very ugly and sinful. I think fornication is selfish, not beautiful. I think consensual sex between twelve year olds is tragic.

    However, a baby produced by any of those sinful means is inherently beautiful, because human life is sacred, and all human beings have innate dignity. The adults' failure to love has no bearing on the worth of the child conceived. The two things are unrelated.

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  152. Joanna and Complicated Life,
    You talked about the differences in legality vs. changing someone’s mind. For the reason’s I just stated I think its really really important for women to value their pregnancy themselves. I have zero problems with CPC’s or any group that helps girls figure out what they really want, if in fact that is what they do!

    There also seems to be the idea that women get abortions because they don’t know their options or think they would be bad mothers. I am absolutely sure this is the case for some, but I don’t you think this kind of underestimates women? I don’t know anyone who has gotten an abortion but I know a lot who would, and it has nothing to them thinking they would be bad mothers… As you advocate for pro-life on a cultural level please think about advocating for broader changes like free child care for students and professionals, and healthcare for all children. ext

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  153. For the reason’s I just stated I think its really really important for women to value their pregnancy themselves.

    It would be wonderful if women valued their pregnancies! But whether they do or not has no bearing on whether or not they can kill a child. The two issues are unrelated.

    Imagine a woman who has children (born children). It's like saying that until that woman values her motherhood, she should be able to do away with the children. Um, no. One does not follow from the other.

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  154. "I don’t think its okay to tell women to breed against their will because it will make society better. "

    Once again, no one is saying this!! Please, please, please, College Student, listen to us. No one is asked, let alone forced, to breed against their will. In fact, even though we Catholics are against contraception, we aren't against spacing children, we just need to do so by moral means!

    To repeat from another comment earlier, all we are saying is that both women and men need to accept that biologically, sex makes babies. Do you dispute this? No matter how many contraceptive methods people use, there is still the possibility of pregnancy. Is that so hard for people to understand? If you engage in sex, you open yourself up to the possibility of a baby being created, that is nature, no matter how much we attempt to stifle it. The possibility of conception should be recognized among every person who has sex, even if they do not intend to achieve conception. Accountability for our actions would dictate that innocent unborn human beings not be slaughtered because of the foreseen, though unintended, result of our sexual act.

    Do you understand??

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  155. As you advocate for pro-life on a cultural level please think about advocating for broader changes like free child care for students and professionals, and healthcare for all children

    Again, as I stated before, the pro-life community so often provides these services and more (like health care clinics that provide free care to the poor, etc). Pro-choicers need to open their eyes and look around instead of only seeing the pro-life side in a little box.

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  156. Ceeb,
    Yes That was me. Thank you for praying for me!

    I am sorry if I was unclear. I don’t think the pro-choice laws take men into consideration…I don’t think they are trying to.

    “Don't you find it at all unjust that while a woman can decide to kill a man's child without his consent, a man can be required to support his own child - or in that case - another man's child against his consent”

    I do indeed think it is very unjust that a man would have to pay child support for another man’s child. I also do think it IS inconsistent to have men who wanted to abort have to pay for child support. The only thing is I don’t really no how to make it consistent. It is hard to make things perfectly equal with this sort of thing as biologically it is not equal. I do have a problem though with giving men the authority to make a woman go through an abortion against her will as I have a problem with giving him the authority to make her go through a pregnancy against her will……

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  157. It is hard to make things perfectly equal with this sort of thing as biologically it is not equal.

    You need to look at this through a totally different lens. It's the lens of human rights. A human being has a right to life (i.e., the right to not be killed). All other rights (i.e., the right to anything else, including anything that the mother and father may want) are subordinate to that primary right to life. The baby's right to life trumps all other lesser rights.

    That is the lens you need to look through and it clears up all the confusion.

    Right to life trumps all other rights.

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  158. I think we’re kinda reaching a moot point....

    “Right to life trumps all other rights.”
    No problem… give the fetus the right to life. It does not have the right to use another person’s body to exercise this right though, so its going to have to recognize this right outside of its mother’s body

    The people on the organ donor list have a right to life. They don’t have a right to my organs, sorry

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  159. college student: The mother and the father put the baby there by having sex. Don't you see? The idea that babies just "show up" uninvited is ludicrous. It's nonsensical.

    You are right. We are at an impasse. But at least you are clear on your position, and we are clear on ours, and the readers can look at both sides and decide what is more rational.

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  160. But wait College Student! Please address my comment at 4:32! Do you see the distinction? Can we all at least agree that biologically, sex makes babies?

    If we can't agree on that simple, scientific fact, I really won't know what to do with myself...I will be dumbfounded.

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  161. College Student,

    Just as you can never defend abortion I can never ever think it is okay for a woman to be pregnant against her will.

    The only women who are pregnant against their will are the tiny percentage of women who are raped. You don't, however, say only women who are raped should get abortions, you think any woman who ends up pregnant when she doesn't want to should be able to have an abortion.

    In the comments on another post we started a conversation about the effectiveness of birth control. I wish we could have continued it but I got sidetracked by sick kiddos.

    Anytime a woman consents to sex she is consenting to pregnancy. Unless she has had a hysterectomy, there is no other contraceptive method out there that can guarantee that she will not get pregnant. It is a biological fact that if you have the equipment and sperm end up inside you, there is a possibility of getting pregnant. If you consent to sex, whether you want to our not, you are consenting to pregnancy.

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  162. Leila, you rock. =)

    But for crying out loud, how do you type and post so fast?!?!?! I see your comments on all the blogs I've visited, too!

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  163. College Student,

    It is hard to make things perfectly equal with this sort of thing as biologically it is not equal.

    Yes and no. It is biologically equal in the sense that each party can choose to have sex or not.

    In another sense, it's not equal, but you seem to think it is all to the woman's detriment. Childbearing is not a curse, it is a privilege and a source of great power. I feel sad for you that you can't see it that way. It is challenging, but most powerful things women do are challenging.

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  164. Leila, Choice, and other thoughtful commentators,

    I just stumbled across this blog post. Lately I have really been pondering and grieving the seemingly impenetrable wall that divides our society - "conservative" vs. "liberal", "religious" vs. "secular" or however you want to break it down. Reading through your dialogue and seeing you trying to understand the other side and thoughtfully engage gives me so much hope. Thank you.

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  165. ceeb, ha ha!! I type fast, and in between trying to do a million other things (all badly, ha!).

    I am so excited to go to a girls' night out tonight, with Danya (He Adopted Me First) and two other friends! Sooooo excited! See ya later!!

    (I agree with the ladies who say that pregnancy is a privilege and a transcendent experience. It's a gift! I remember I used to work in an office of all women, and they were all pro-"choice". One of them used to work for Planned Parenthood, the other used to work for a doc who was an abortionist. The Planned Parenthood girl, when I became pregnant with my first child, seemed almost disgusted and told me that pregnancy seemed so gross to her, like "there is an alien taking over your body". I was shocked even then at the callousness of that statement. It was cold. Liberalism is cold. Soon after, she got pregnant and fell in love with her son. I lost touch with her after the babies were born, but I pray that she softened her heart. I remember she was shocked that a young woman [me] could be pro-life. She thought only old white men were pro-life. Like I've said, I think it's liberals who live in a bubble.)

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  166. MC, thank you!! So glad to have you here! I hope you stay. :)

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  167. I have had four children. Each time, I have suffered terrible anxiety, depression and psychological post-partum issues. I have also exacerbated a heart condition which I must now take meds for.

    Sorry if this isn't pro-choice or pro-life, but I can say children are both a blessing and a burden. It's not just one or the other. I love my children strong and fierce, but I am weakened, stressed and physically compromised from having them. They bring me joy and pain. Happiness and sadness, and on and on.

    Painting a picture of a barefoot and pregnant happy mother, delighting in her chaotic brood as the norm when most women out there often feel frustrated and held back is just not accurate. This is not to say there is no love and joy in parenthood, but it is not all roses and rainbows.

    There is no proof of a soul, or God, or anything else. Life is what it is. There is a difference between a 6 week old fetus and a born baby. Ask any mother who has miscarried and any mother who lost her child to SIDS which she'd prefer. It's not easy, but it's honest. Everyone on this forum is right and wrong.

    I think most people can agree abortion is not ideal - but sexuality cannot be stopped or stifled. Animals are going to be consumed, but we need to readjust our methods and the wastefulness of our diets. The environment may not implode tomorrow, but it doesn't mean we shouldn't try our best to leave as little impact as possible.

    Also, someone said animals do not act out of malice, but I assure you, they do. Animals display many human "sins" (really, start with baboons) they bicker, fight, steal, engage in rape, pedophilia, bullying, homosexuality, killing, domineering - they just have no higher being to answer to.

    But good luck with your fight. Maybe you should all start an orphanage or something.

    KatieJo

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  168. Yes we can agree that sex can make babies. No we cannot agree that consent to sex is consent to pregnancy and hemorrhoids and a torn vagina and all jazz.

    I don’t think pregnancy is a curse for grown women who want babies. A lot of people love being pregnant and it is a source of great reverence and power for them. Its not that I cant see that. I intend in about ten years to be one of those women, who wants to become pregnant, but still understands that pregnancy is not right for all women.

    I don’t think pregnancy is bad Leila; its power isn’t lost on me. Well as a 21 year old I think its bad ☺ but I don’t think its universally bad at all.

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  169. Sorry if this isn't pro-choice or pro-life, but I can say children are both a blessing and a burden.

    I don't think any of the mothers here would disagree with you. Parenting is hard work, but also a joy.

    This is not to say there is no love and joy in parenthood, but it is not all roses and rainbows.

    Again, no disagreement here.

    There is no proof of a soul, or God, or anything else. Life is what it is.

    How do you know that?

    There is a difference between a 6 week old fetus and a born baby. Ask any mother who has miscarried and any mother who lost her child to SIDS which she'd prefer.

    Ask any mother which she'd prefer, losing a baby to SIDS or losing a two-year-old to leukemia. Ask any mother what she'd prefer, losing a two-year-old to leukemia or a six-year-old to a child rapist/serial killer. And so on. Just because there are different degrees of tragedy in this world does not mean that life is not precious or sacred at ANY stage of development.

    I have had two miscarriages, one at 12 weeks and one at 5 weeks. My first miscarriage was more traumatic physically or emotionally, but I grieved for each of my babies equally. They are equally precious in my eyes, and equally missed.

    I think most people can agree abortion is not ideal - but sexuality cannot be stopped or stifled.

    Proof to the contrary:

    - the vast majority of celibate clergy (priests, bishops, cardinals, monks, etc.)

    - the vast majority of religious sisters

    - the vast majority of celibate Buddhist monks

    And these are just people who have "stifled" or "suppressed" their sexuality for their whole lives. There are also the many Christian men and women who have remained chaste until marriage, and within marriage.

    So, you are wrong. Our sexual impulses can be controlled; most people just choose not to do so.

    Animals are going to be consumed, but we need to readjust our methods and the wastefulness of our diets. The environment may not implode tomorrow, but it doesn't mean we shouldn't try our best to leave as little impact as possible.

    Agreed.

    Also, someone said animals do not act out of malice, but I assure you, they do. Animals display many human "sins" (really, start with baboons) they bicker, fight, steal, engage in rape, pedophilia, bullying, homosexuality, killing, domineering - they just have no higher being to answer to.

    The question is not whether animals act out of malice. The question is whether they do so consciously -- that is, whether they CHOOSE to act out of malice. They do have a Creator, but He did not endow them with rational souls.

    But good luck with your fight. Maybe you should all start an orphanage or something.

    Well, it beats dismembering them and sucking their brains out of their skulls, as pro-choicers prefer.

    You must not be aware of all the work pro-lifers to to help women and children.

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  170. College Student,

    Would you say that consent to eating is not the same as consent to digestion? Or consent to weight gain? Do you believe that women have a right to eat whatever they want, whenever they want, and as much as they want, but should be able to choose not to digest their food, or not to gain weight?

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  171. Joanna,

    I mean consent to eat isnt the same as digestion for bulimics.....

    Do you believe that women have a right to eat whatever they want, whenever they want, and as much as they want, but should be able to choose not to digest their food, or not to gain weight?

    I dont think you have the option to gain weight do you, you consent by default, if there was a way for women to eat whatever they want and not get fat or not absorb the fat in food I think it would be awesome

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  172. KatieJo,

    When I began to read your comment, my initial thoughts were that this person sounds like someone who has no hope. Then you mentioned that there is no evidence for God. I think your emptiness stems from this void. Find God, find fulfillment. It's not hard. Just start asking.

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  173. College Student -

    I have to thank you for your honesty and consideration in this debate. I've never heard the abortion rights debate phrased so bluntly. You get right to the heart of it and skip over the cliches and falsities, and I imagine it's not easy to confront a very selfish truth and state it so bluntly so that others in opposition can debate it at the heart of the matter.

    Abortion is the epitome of selfishness. You don't deny that. I think you're dead wrong for believing it's in any woman's or society's best interest to make such a choice, but I do find it oddly refreshing that you're willing to get to the ugly heart of the matter and state your opinion about it.

    (I've just really had more than my fill of debating abortion with people who like to throw out phrases like "throwing women under the bus", or "blobs of cells"... You can get anywhere near the heart of the matter to debate it when you turn to all that meaningless mumbo jumbo.)

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  174. *can't get near the heart of the matter.

    CAN'T.

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  175. I dont think you have the option to gain weight do you, you consent by default,

    BINGO.

    You are exactly right.

    So, that leads to the question, why isn't this true when it comes to sex as well? Like eating, digestion, and weight gain, it's a natural biological process that our bodies are designed to do.

    When you have sex, you consent by default to any natural biological processes that happen as a result (e.g., conception) -- even if those consequences are not intended.

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  176. Wow. This thread is making me very angry, and I don't want to start a fight by typing in all caps, so I will just say this:

    College Student's inability to associate babies with sex is, perhaps, not entirely her fault. I believe the majority of the blame lays at the feet of contraception. And this thread, more than anything else I've ever read, absolutely convinces me that contraception does nothing but contribute to the number of abortions.

    College Student, I would urge you to perhaps take a class in biology, or truly consider what you are saying through another method. Babies are a result of an act that you participate in. They're not intruders. You made them. And, like a selfish god of Norse mythology, you believe you can just kill them because they get in the way of your fun.

    I'm telling you, there will be consequences. For every woman who gets an abortion, for our society for condoning it, for you for accepting it. I really urge you to re-consider your stance.

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  177. Babies are a result of an act that you participate in. They're not intruders. You made them. And, like a selfish god of Norse mythology, you believe you can just kill them because they get in the way of your fun.

    Calah, thank you, thank you. You said it. And Sweet Jane, it's true, college student is being very blunt about the selfishness of it. There is not one loving thing about this "choice" of abortion. It is anti-love. It is not what civilized society should be. Liberalism is cold, and it's often heartless. It says I will love things and use people. Sometimes I will use them for sexual pleasure, and if a child results, even through my own act, I will discard the child for getting in my way. If ever there were an example of what is wrong with our society today, abortion is exhibit A. But I do thank college student for being so completely honest.

    JoAnna, thank you for breaking it down with the eating analogy. Our bodies are designed to do certain things. It is ordered that sex produces babies. That's what it's for.

    KatieJo, your words made me sad. Before I read Manda's words, I thought what she did. You sound sad and without hope. I agree that having children is HARD, but so is building a business, or getting an education, or anything else we do. We aren't doing any of it for "fun", but because it's something that is worthy and transcendent, despite the very real difficulty. I have suffered from post-partum depression on several occasions, and also have experienced many trials and sufferings in 20 years and eight children -- I honestly don't know how anyone can raise even one child, much less four, with no relationship with God, no faith, no grace.

    I won't comment on your specific points, as I would just echo JoAnna's words.

    I pray that you will stick around, as I want to do more posts on why you should believe, and why God is real, and it's all logical, real, glorious. Without God, I don't know why anyone has any hope at all. He is everything! And He makes all things new.

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  178. Yes we can agree that sex can make babies. No we cannot agree that consent to sex is consent to pregnancy

    I'm glad you acknowledge that sex makes babies; that is certainly a tip of the hat to basic biology.

    Explain to me why we cannot agree regarding consent. Because it seems to me that if we consent to an action, we also implicitly consent to the natural, biological, forseeable result of said action, even should we not desire it and even take measures to avoid it. If we really don't want the possible result, then we ought not take part in what causes it. That is being a responsible, mature person.

    I really like Joanna's food analogy.

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  179. College Student,
    I was once like you. Young and not pleased that my body could be "taken" over by another human being. Sometimes, I resented being a woman. I know you're young. You've never experience pregnancy, childbirth ect. I'm not sure if it's selfishness so much as it's really about fear. I really think that's the root of it. Fear of not being in control. When you're pregnant, you're not in control anymore. So I get where you're coming from. But I praise God that I never had to make that choice because I'm certain if I was your age I would have aborted an unwanted pregnancy and I know I would be filled with such regret. I can't even imagine it. It makes me cringe to think about it. Some women aren't so lucky and they did make that choice and they regret it for the rest of their lives.
    That's all I have to add to this.

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  180. Just want to add a few cents about why College Student may feel as she does about pregnancy being a violation of her/any woman's body. Remember I'm just speculating; please correct me if I'm wildly inaccurate.

    Almost every time pregnancy and childbirth (and often, motherhood) is portrayed in the general media, they are seen as scary, horrible things. Women in movies and TV shows usually seem to have horrific labors, unbearable morning sickness, and complain (or their husbands/partners do) about their drop in sex drive, weight gain, etc. Women are always screaming like banshees during labor, even though my doula/midwife/birthmother friends tell me that wasn't their experience at all.

    Similarly, we've been taught as a culture to see pregnancy as a disease or problem. This all contributes to a mentality of fear; ie, "I don't want some alien creature taking over my body!"

    Now, I've never been pregnant, but I was 6 years and 9 years old when my mother was pregnant with my sisters, and many of my close friends are moms, and many of the ladies who comment here are moms. I'm sure none of them would claim that pregnancy wasn't difficult sometimes, or didn't just plain suck, pardon the expression. However, the common thread you'll find is that even with its less-than-rosy aspects, I postulate that no one who comments here regrets all that "bother" when the baby arrives. My mom always said, "Labor is the only pain that has a prize at the end- when the baby appears all the pain is forgotten."

    College Student, I know you're super busy with school/end of semester, but if you have a free 75 minutes, check out the documentary "the Business of Being Born." (instant streams on Netlfix) It's made by a group of midwives in NYC who are sick and tired of the whole "pregnancy/birth is scary and horrible and you will DIE!" stereotype. Rather, their goal is to empower women to appreciate their fertility and the miracle of lifegiving that their bodies are capable of. They certainly have an agenda (namely, "yay midwives, boo ob/gyn's") so take it with a grain of salt, but it's a very candid take on childbirth you may not have heard before (heads up, it contains a few pretty explicit birth scenes, so it's not a movie to watch at a coffeeshop or if your roommates are around). The movie has no religious agenda of any kind, so it's not slanted that way, either.

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  181. @ College Student

    It focuses on legality and doesn’t address why “women want to kill their unborn babies en masse. That seems like a really important thing to address to me and it is not addressed by the legality issue…

    You're right, but it is easier to address one issue at a time. When one does address one issue at a time, that doesn't mean they don't think, care about, or act on the other issues.

    about your comments on men in general

    Men are dirt bags. That's what I tell all my female friends. Men are dirt bags, don't trust them or their intentions, not unless I've had a chance to vet them and scare them off first, :^P.

    Especially college age men, mny are dirt bags who have no sense of obedience to something greater than themselves. The average college-age male can be, and usually is incredibly selfish and self-serving, especially when it comes to sex.

    So why even bother associate with men who are so into themselves? Men who basically refuse to accept any responsiblity for actions that result in inconvenient or uncomfortable circumstance for them? Most of the men at your college campus, wherever it is (if its Penn State, I probaly know some), seek consent for sex from women solely for the sake of having sex, with no real care or affection for the woman. Why subject yourself to that?

    What is so important about sex that an individual has to have it now, on demand, and with whomever they feel like it?

    Just to give you a heads up, I am a 24 year old male, not much older than you. I've been married three years, and I've been in a relationship with my wife for 7 (meaning we've dated since we met when we were 18). We have one kid so far, almost 18 months old.

    By the way, I definitely didn't feel like waiting till marriage to have sex, though we did, and I absolutely didn't want to change diapers when I got married, but that's not a legitimate impediment to marriage. So I got married anyway, have had a kid, want more kids, and have changed diapers (sometimes, okay, every now and then . . . . definitely all of the diapers for the first week or two after Vincent was born, I should get a medal for that).

    And don't think the family I come from is not picture perfect, I didn't come from the imaginary perfect religious home. My family has 9 kids, I'm number 6. 3 of my older siblings are quite secular, and one of my younger siblings is in jail for dealing drugs. So in spite of negative influences, I am the way I am. And you know what, because of negative influence, because I saw the effects casual sex had on my older sisters, I am the way I am.

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  182. My older sisters aren't happy people, and that's the result of their activity with men. So regardless of their consent, regardless of their sexual equality (sex with no consequence) with men, they got the short end of the stick, just like everyone who willingly allows themselves to be used for no higher purpose than animal satisfaction.

    Witnessing that, I wasn't going to do that to a woman. My sisters are precious, you're precious as a woman, and they (you) deserve to be treated better. My sisters deserved something more subjective and involved than an objective one night stand, or an objective relationship with 'no-consequence' sex. They deserve someone who would subjectively set them up on a pedastal, and treat them as more than a body, or more than a tool for emotional, physical, or intellectual satisfaction.
    All women deserve that, you deserve that.

    So I decided to treat woman well while I was in college. Easy? No, because men are dirt bags, and we like physical gratification, and it is easy to peddle affection and emotions to get what we want. Did I succeed? Absolutely, though not perfectly.

    Men who are willing to offer you something more than temporary emotional, intellectual and physical satisfaction do exist. Those are the men who meet you (someday, if not now), fall in love, and want to be a parent with you. A partner in continuing your genetics, your personality, your values through a child/children. With children, as a parent, you break past the temporary emotional, etc. satisfaction, you break into something more permanent by starting a family.

    I'll tell you, though, you're not going to find a man whose willing to do that at a frat party or bar. Well, you probably won't, the possibility exists. But you'll probably run through a bunch of dirt bags first before you find him.

    Why encourage the dirt bags, why not just push the pause button on sex (it is possible to live without sex and not be repressed. I think I commented on this above, describing and linking to the act of sublimation), and wait till you meet someone who does love and embrace responsibility? They are out there, but they aren't (usually) found at frat parties, or band night at the bar.

    Face it, most men look at women as disposable objects of pleasure, just a warm, responsive form of vasaline. Why put yourself in proximity to those type of men?

    I'm not saying you as in you are. You/yourself in general. Though some of your comments lead one to believe those are the kind of men you encounter in class, in leisure time, and maintain a regular friendship with.

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  183. "I dont think you have the option to gain weight do you, you consent by default, if there was a way for women to eat whatever they want and not get fat or not absorb the fat in food I think it would be awesome "

    So any medical advance that would free us from personal responsibility is a good thing? Any advance that would allow us to indulge in vices without natural consequence is desirable? You've already covered your approval of magic pills to take away the consequences for Lust and Gluttony, what other magic pills should we fabricate to free us of any need for virtuous behavior, aka Character?

    Why don't we just all consent to government spray-downs of Soma, à la Brave New World? Leave those silly virtues to the savages!

    The line of the culture war has been drawn clearly in the sand in these comments. Thank God I find myself on the side of reason and moderation, and not the side of hedonism and abandonment of natural law.

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  184. @College Student
    Like other commenters have said, I really do admire your stance on this issue, your ability to cut through all the bumper stickers and trivialities and get to the heart of why you believe what you believe. I disagree with you, pretty much 100%, but your arguments are (sometimes) among the most reasoned-out and clear I’ve ever heard.

    When I read your arguments about consent, I can almost replace the word “embryo” with the word “weed” and not skip a beat. A weed is something growing where you don’t want it; you don’t want to/can’t pay to keep it alive; there’s no room for it; you didn’t intend the weed to be living in your garden. You can dig it up and throw it out.

    The problem is that an embryo—a baby—isn’t a weed. It’s a little seed (a seed that you knew was in the garden) that got fertilizer on it. The whole point of the garden is for seeds, that’s why it’s there in the first place, and if you go pouring fertilizer on the seeds, eventually one of them is bound to grow. Now you’re responsible for the seed, you keep it alive, you water it, cover it from frost, etc. Is it a grape vine yet? Nope. Can it give grapes yet? Nope. But is it alive? Is it, in fact, a grape plant? Will it ever be anything other than a grape plant? And you knew it was there all along. You had to know that the rational, logical, natural, and expected result of your actions was for a plant to grow! There’s no other reason to garden than to make plants grow. If you enjoy it, then yay for you. (I love gardening.) If some of the plants don’t grow, or they die prematurely, it doesn’t mean you never gardened in the first place. But you can’t deny that the purpose (or end, to use the philosophical term) is to grow plants.

    If you have sex and aren’t open to its rational, logical, natural, and expected end, then having sex looks extremely selfish and stupid. It’s empty. You’re digging in the dirt with no seeds, or pouring fertilizer on a concrete floor (or into a rubber bag).

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  185. Giuseppe,

    Thank you for speaking up for the many, many good men out there who can't or won't speak up for themselves. I had my share of toads before I found my prince, and I wish I had saved myself for him alone. Most men are willing to give a woman as much respect as she demands, so if you give a man everything before he's ready to commit himself to another person, the respect is oftentimes lost, the challenge is certainly over, the mystery is gone, and the wind in his sails has subsided.

    WOMEN: YOU ARE WORTH WAITING FOR! Men are programmed to want to pursue you! They want a challenge, and they want a woman who knows her worth! If you don't think you're worth it, why should anyone else?

    This is my hope for my daughter-that she understands her self-worth throughout her adolescence and holds onto her chastity for her husband so that she can skip the toads and the heartache that comes with having sex outside of marriage. I have a hurdle to get over with her because she is a result of me not realizing all of this and she knows it! (She also knows she is my life-saver and one of my biggest blessings:) Ohhh I worry about this....

    Sometimes we come to know the truth and, Praise God, but we'll be reaping what we sow for many, many years to come.

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  186. I think the eating analogy is a good one, and I'm on the pro-choice side of things.

    On my birthday, I've been known to overeat. I've gained a few pounds over a vacation. And then, after that, I realize that if I keep this up I'll have to buy new clothes, so I cut back on what I eat, and lose the weight again.

    Are you saying to me that if I overindulge on my birthday, I should be required to be overweight for the rest of my life? That I should have hemorrhoids and what-not (like College Student says)?

    THe continuation of this analogy is that the pro-obese people (leila, joanna, monica, etc) will say: Sorry, you know that if you overeat you will gain weight - so you'll be fat the rest of your life, sorry about that.

    My point is that we do things that we are biologically hard-wired to do, and then we recover, and correct ourselves. We are biologically hard-wired to get as much fat in our bodies as possible, to stave off the winter months. Of course, in the modern age, we don't have long winters without food, so we are constantly fighting against this evolutionary need to eat.

    Similarly with sex and babies - we are definitely hard-wired to want (like, desire, crave) sex so that our species may continue. But in this day and age we don't need to have 10 babies so that four survive to adulthood. Also, in this day and age most families need two jobs just to make it. Jobs that don't allow for working from home to take care of the children, and jobs that wouldn't even cover the cost of daycare for one child, let alone seven.

    And I'm an atheist too. Cue the "Oh, you're such a sad person" rhetoric.

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  187. Yeah, and if he isn't willing to pursue you if you challenge him a little, then he probably isn't worth being pursued by.

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  188. Analogies aren't perfect parallels. Your fat is not another person, with a life indepedent of your own.

    The analogy was mainly to say that the system is designed for an end. The natural purpose of eating is sustaining yourself. The natural purpose of sex is making babies.

    Overindulging in sex, overindulging in eating, will bring about certain consequences undesirable for some people. The analogy stops there other wise you're comparing two things that cannot logicaly be compared.

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  189. Off to a track meet for hours, but popping for a second:

    MaiZeke, I said she sounded sad because she sounded sad. Don't you think she sounded sad?

    We were talking about natural purposes and consequences. Of course fat isn't the same as a child. We might liposuction our fat to get rid of the "problem" we created by eating a lot, but morally, should we "liposuction" the baby we created by having sex which created him or her?

    As a Christian, I would say no, because people have worth and dignity and we are not allowed to make them and then kill them because they get in our way.

    Wouldn't you want to say that as an atheist, too?

    More later this afternoon....

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  190. MaiZeke, just wondering what you thought of the body of this post?

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  191. "Of course, in the modern age, we don't have long winters without food, so we are constantly fighting against this evolutionary need to eat."

    huh? So, when I over-eat it's because cave men ate what they could, when they could, not knowing when their next meal would be...

    I love how we can be told by liberals that we have no evidence for our theories about God(NEVER MIND JESUS CHRIST) but we're just supposed to swallow every liberal theory out there as truth without objection. Gluttony does not exist, I want a second piece of cake because my ancestors had to go a long time between meals...

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  192. Maizeke,

    Do you believe in Karma? Have you ever said, "Everything happens for a reason."?

    Just curious.

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  193. On my birthday, I've been known to overeat. I've gained a few pounds over a vacation. And then, after that, I realize that if I keep this up I'll have to buy new clothes, so I cut back on what I eat, and lose the weight again.

    How about just not overeating? Overeating isn't good for your body (even if you had an endless supply of money for new clothes), unless of course, you need to gain some weight, in which case, eating more healthy, nutrient rich food is a natural means to that end.

    Are you saying to me that if I overindulge on my birthday, I should be required to be overweight for the rest of my life?

    No...but for 9 months maybe. ;) Understanding the limitations of analogies, I will say this: If you indulge on your birthday and put on some weight as you could have expected to do, then accountability would have you work off the weight naturally, not have it sucked out of your body unnaturally. If you have sex and conceive, as you could have expected to do (since it is the natural end of sex, no matter how much we try to stifle it), accountability dictates that you naturally complete the pregnancy, instead of having the human life sucked out of you unnaturally. And of course, as Leila and others noted, there's an obvious very vast difference between fat and a human life. At least I hope it's obvious, otherwise back to BIO 101.

    THe continuation of this analogy is that the pro-obese people (leila, joanna, monica, etc) will say: Sorry, you know that if you overeat you will gain weight - so you'll be fat the rest of your life, sorry about that.

    You are forgetting that there are natural "solutions" to natural "problems". If you gain weight, you can eat healthier and exercise to lose the weight. If you get pregnant, in 9 months, you won't be pregnant anymore. We're not talking forever here.

    The foreseeable end of overeating is weight gain; if you choose to overeat expect to gain weight. If you want to lose that weight, expect it to take some time. The foreseeable end of sex is pregnancy; if you choose to have sex, expect the possibility of pregnancy. In a mere 9 months it will be over, and then someone else can care for that child. We're literally waiting in line to care to do so...

    Similarly with sex and babies - we are definitely hard-wired to want (like, desire, crave) sex so that our species may continue.

    Yep.

    But in this day and age we don't need to have 10 babies so that four survive to adulthood.

    I'd like to have 10 babies so that 10 make it to adulthood. Having children isn't about leveraging your odds, it's about love.

    Also, in this day and age most families need two jobs just to make it. Jobs that don't allow for working from home to take care of the children, and jobs that wouldn't even cover the cost of daycare for one child, let alone seven.

    And yet, somehow people do it. Perhaps raising children doesn't have to be as expensive as people make it out to be.

    And I'm an atheist too. Cue the "Oh, you're such a sad person" rhetoric.

    Well, you said it. ;)

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