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 Post subject: Re: Georgia abortion law
PostPosted: May 16 19, 9:56 am 
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then there's that whole, separation of church and state thing


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 Post subject: Re: Georgia abortion law
PostPosted: May 16 19, 11:06 am 
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G. Keenan wrote:
Thank you as always for your perspective. Unfortunately, I don't think the men and women driving these restrictive abortion laws are approaching the matter with anything close to the subtlety we are trying to. They do however use crude religious arguments and platitudes about the sanctity of human life to justify their position, which I perceive as little more than an argument for maintaining good ol' fashioned old time religion patriarchy, and those are the specific religious arguments I am attacking. That the latest round of these laws makes no exception for rape and incest reveals them to be all the more disingenuous.


I don't disagree. It bothers me that this whole subject has become more about pandering than about real consideration. It's soul-wrenching, to be perfectly honest.

Quote:
Meaning that all life belongs to self and the self is intended to belong with God. There's a very subtle but vital difference there.


What is the self? Does an embryo at 8 weeks have a self? Does it have self awareness? Because that's what differentiates us from the other animals, right? Self-awareness. If it is wrong to terminate an embryo at 6 or 8 weeks because it is life and life belongs to itself, is it also not morally wrong to kill a pig for your dinner? As you say, life belongs to the self and the self is intended to belong with God. Who created the pig? God did. Who is to say that the pig does not have a self, men? [/quote]

As I said, it is a very difficult theological question to answer. I am not sure that I personally have an answer that I am satisfied with in regards to "what is the self" and, more specifically, when the self becomes "the self". So, I don't think I'll try here. Don't think I'm brushing it off or avoiding; I just honestly am not certain enough to give an answer that I can be comfortable with.

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All life is sacred, as the Christian's say. Obviously these same people must also oppose the death penalty, oppose war under all circumstances, and so on. They do not of course, but doesn't that all proceed from this same assumption about the sacred self? So why the furious concern for the sacred life of unborn babies, but the utter disregard for babies after birth? The utter disregard for the life of people in far flung places we bomb for nothing more than our vaguest "interests." These same people cheer for that. It gets their blood up. They joke about shooting asylum seekers and all have a good laugh together.


The subject of war actually brings up a fascinating conversation we had in a class recently. Jesus and the early church, despite being generally pacifistic, did not require soldiers who joined the movement to give up their positions. Why? Why not? It's a fairly new thought that I've been wrestling with and I have some theories about why, but I'm still processing.

To the rest of it, yes, you are correct in my view. It is wrong, backward, and wildly inconsistent. No defense offered here. Drives me crazy.

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That is poetic, but sometimes poetry is just pretty words. How is a child, impregnated via rape, an example of God "restoring life to its originally intended hope and potential." Is it that, or is it just a random event in a sea of randomness, onto which we project our desire for order and hidden meaning?

There may well be a God, but what are the chances that the people lucky enough to have perceived the truth of a being so vast and powerful to have created space, time, the universe, the mind itself and its own ability to even perceive divinity in the first place -- what are the chances that of all the people on earth, the ones who understand God correctly are American conservative Christians? Because that's certainly how they think of themselves. Otherwise, under what authority would they presume to tell a woman what she can do with her own body? The authority of God? Or the authority of patriarchy, born of men's historic domination of women's bodies, and enforced by punishment and violence?


To the first part, I suppose that I would argue that it is God's intention to create hope out of brokenness. In some ways, I think that we want to say that a child conceived in that tragedy is not a self; it is, instead, nothing more than a living reminder of pain, terror, and violence. Such an object should be destroyed in order for the one who suffered to escape the pain and terror. It
seems to me, in my limited research and more extensive personal experience with women who have had abortions, that is not what happens after an abortion. Abortion for most women is a tragedy, an incredibly painful and scaring experience that they wrestle with and suffer because of for the rest of their lives. I don't know, but my guess is that is the same or potentially compounded because of the general trauma of the situation for the women who been raped.

Here you can divide the conversation... from civil law, then, should abortion for rape victims be legal or banned? We'll get into that below. From a psychological perspective, should abortion for rape victims be promoted as a means of restoration in the midst of trauma? I would have to hear more from psychologists, but my own foray into that subject and counseling in general would lead me to say "no".

To the second part, I'm not exactly sure how to respond except to continue to repeat my common refrain: white evangelical Christians largely don't have it right. And often when they do have it right, they don't have the right reasoning or basis underneath it. Christianity is not an American religion. It is not a white religion. Contemporary American expressions of it in political circles don't often match well with orthodox Christianity or the theological treatises of denominations -- which, by the way, were often penned by very not white, not Americans, and not recently. I would suggest that the view that an unborn infant is a "self" is not exclusively white or American or recent. The rights of, respect for, and defense of unborn children have been present in nearly every society in history throughout history. (As have abortions). I would humbly submit that the alternative view -- a fetus is merely a part of the woman's body and therefore can be dealt with as the woman sees fit -- is a fairly recent philosophical development and it is fairly exclusive to first-world Anglo/European cultures. It rose more prominently with secular humanism and the cold rationality of the modern age. It is a matter of perspective, and our perspectives on life, self and the sanctity of that life simply differ, and that difference seems to be largely irreconcilable. Those differences are often not centered in what the other side views as rational thought or valid morality and ethics; thus, there is no room for debate or compromise. To be honest, I've always been confused about how "conservative Christians" can opposed abortion but vehemently support the death penalty and ignore the pursuit of human equality. That doesn't seem right to me. I've been equally confused by the fact that many progressives/liberals (whatever name you want to apply here) oppose the death penalty and pursue human equality but support (and often celebrate) abortion. That also doesn't seem right to me. But, worldview and perspective have created environments where those two worlds exist, as odd as they are, and there doesn't seem to be any changing it.


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 Post subject: Re: Georgia abortion law
PostPosted: May 16 19, 1:18 pm 
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A few quibbles:

Fat Strat wrote:
In some ways, I think that we want to say that a child conceived in that tragedy is not a self; it is, instead, nothing more than a living reminder of pain, terror, and violence. Such an object should be destroyed in order for the one who suffered to escape the pain and terror.


I don't think the pro-choice crowd is making that argument. Maybe a child of rape, or other tragic circumstances, will become a blessing to its mother and to the world. Maybe not. Some women may want to bring such a child to term for religious or personal reasons, and they are free to do so. Other women may not want to. Maybe that child would be a constant reminder of her trauma. Maybe she was raped and literally cannot support a child, financially, emotionally, whatever. The point is, that is her choice to make and the state should not deprive her of it.

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It seems to me, in my limited research and more extensive personal experience with women who have had abortions, that is not what happens after an abortion. Abortion for most women is a tragedy, an incredibly painful and scaring experience that they wrestle with and suffer because of for the rest of their lives. I don't know, but my guess is that is the same or potentially compounded because of the general trauma of the situation for the women who been raped.


I don't think this is true, and is mostly a trope in our culture for some reason. For some women, yes, abortion is an agonizing choice and they may wrestle with it for the rest of their lives. For other women, it's a no-brainer, and they do not stay up at night re-living the trauma of their abortion. It's a simple outpatient procedure. That may sound crass, but it's true. I personally know several such women, and I suspect most men do as well.

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I would humbly submit that the alternative view -- a fetus is merely a part of the woman's body and therefore can be dealt with as the woman sees fit -- is a fairly recent philosophical development and it is fairly exclusive to first-world Anglo/European cultures. It rose more prominently with secular humanism and the cold rationality of the modern age.


I can't speak to the epistemological history of the fetus in Western thought, but I will point out that the shift you describe coincides with greater understanding of biology, anatomy, sexual reproduction, and evidence-based medicine. It coincides with philosophical principles of the Enlightenment, which also happen to have informed our Constitution and system of government. Further, it coincides with centuries of progress in which women have gone from having, literally, no rights at all in this world -- nothing, nada -- just property for men to do with what they pleased, a system underscored and indeed advanced by organized Christianity especially Catholicism -- to an understanding of women as equal members of society with equal protection under the law. The traditional view you describe, again, is just straight up patriarchy in which women have literally no bodily autonomy. That's how it was for a LONG LONG time. So yes, times have changed.

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To be honest, I've always been confused about how "conservative Christians" can opposed abortion but vehemently support the death penalty and ignore the pursuit of human equality. That doesn't seem right to me. I've been equally confused by the fact that many progressives/liberals (whatever name you want to apply here) oppose the death penalty and pursue human equality but support (and often celebrate) abortion. That also doesn't seem right to me. But, worldview and perspective have created environments where those two worlds exist, as odd as they are, and there doesn't seem to be any changing it.


Perhaps we could come to a compromise legal position, supported by govt. policy, community involvement, cultural conversations, etc. that sought to reduce abortions by actually helping to support motherhood and children. Progressives would embrace such a system. Conservatives have not. I for example, would support restrictions on very late term abortions outside of emergency circumstances. I think any reasonable person can see that a fetus at 8 months is much different than one at 6 weeks. And indeed, that kind of late term abortion is exceedingly rare. But that kind of compromise is not what present day conservatives will consider. They want a ban, full stop, and they want Roe v. Wade overturned even though the great majority of Americans in all states, including Alabama, do not support such bans. So this impulse is not democratic, and it has been for a very long time deemed unconstitutional. Rather than accept that and come up with all kinds of ways to support mothers, foster adoption, teach sex education, teach birth control, etc., their only proposition is a ban on abortion. Why is that? Because the animating idea is that a fetus is a person immediately upon conception and has equal rights to the mother. That claim is highly debatable both scientifically and philosophically. What is not debatable is the personhood of women who are actually already born and getting pregnant. So on who's side should we err in the name of liberty, the woman who is 100% definitely a person with individual rights under the Constitution, or the zygote that maybe is a person according to some religious traditions?

Beneath all this lurks the subtext of sex. There are religious people who, still today, believe that sex is really only meant to be engaged in for procreation between married couples. Consequently, women who become pregnant outside of that context have transgressed, and should not have the luxury of abortion on demand to undo a pregnancy that results. Again, this hearkens back to the old school patriarchy. Those days are gone. Christians, live your lives. Have sex however you see fit, but stop trying to legally impose your values on those who don't share them. If you really want to reduce abortion and protect the unborn, start talking about sex, start education about sex, stop making sex something taboo so that women and men are informed about family planning, birth control, consent, and so on. You'd be surprised how little people, including women, understand about sex and reproduction.


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 Post subject: Re: Georgia abortion law
PostPosted: May 16 19, 2:22 pm 
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Good discussion, GK! I won't quibble back, as we're really not trying to convince each other and I think we've both tried our best to make our points and done so well enough. On a day when reasonable conversation about his topic is non-existent, it's been nice to have a reasonable conversation about this topic.


edit: I do want to address this:
Quote:
Perhaps we could come to a compromise legal position, supported by govt. policy, community involvement, cultural conversations, etc. that sought to reduce abortions by actually helping to support motherhood and children.


Yes! Maybe the best solutions to the abortion issue have little to do with abortions and more to do with addressing financial inequality, access to health care, social justice, stability and even racial oppression. Those really are issues that contemporary Christians should be taking the lead on.


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 Post subject: Re: Georgia abortion law
PostPosted: May 16 19, 2:28 pm 
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Fat Strat wrote:
Good discussion, GK! I won't quibble back, as we're really not trying to convince each other and I think we've both tried our best to make our points and done so well enough. On a day when reasonable conversation about his topic is non-existent, it's been nice to have a reasonable conversation about this topic.


Oh, I'm definitely trying to convince you!

For the record, I know you are not trying to defend a brutal patriarchy. I am kind of straw manning you there.


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 Post subject: Re: Georgia abortion law
PostPosted: May 16 19, 2:52 pm 
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Fat Strat wrote:
Does an embryo at 8 weeks have a self? Who created the pig?


1. No it's just a fetus that needs to feed off a mother to survive. If the mother died the fetus would die. It doesn't have its own life or self. You call this a new idea. But it's science, learned through objective discovery. Anyway, new ideas that stick are almost always good ideas. No one is like "Well toilet paper is a 'new idea.'"

2. The male and female pig who boned one another created the pig. Pig dick + pig vagina = pig semen -> pig egg = baby pig. If that wasn't where babies come from you'd have women all over the world like 'Hey, I was just standing here minding my virgin business, and alls a sudden god impregnated me! Double-yoo tee eff, god???"

Fat Strat wrote:
Abortion for most women is a tragedy, an incredibly painful and scaring experience that they wrestle with and suffer because of for the rest of their lives. I don't know, but my guess is that is the same or potentially compounded because of the general trauma of the situation for the women who been raped.


A study was done in which 95 percent of the hundreds of women polled stated that having an abortion was the right decision. The women you've talked to are the type to go seek out a male religious leader to talk to after an abortion and are therefore predisposed to a high level of regret due to their own religion, their religious upbringing, the guilt that religious family and friends would lay on them, and other external societal things that come from being fully in the church as lifestyle. Your sample is skewed and not representative of "women" as a term to mean "most women" or "all women" or anything other than the few you know. How many of them, out of curiosity, demonstrated some sense of being ashamed and not wanting people to know--parents perhaps or an overbearing spouse--what they had done?

Fat Strat wrote:
It is not a white religion.


It has been historically and it still is now. A century ago 90% of the world's christians were in Europe or North America. Now there's a lot in sub-Saharan Africa (like 25% of the world's christians are there) because of white colonists and missionaries who give them food and clothing and tell them it's from god. Soon enough, though, you will be right and it will become a religion of non-white people in third-world countries that are not developed enough to teach kids science and math and free thought.


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 Post subject: Re: Georgia abortion law
PostPosted: May 16 19, 3:40 pm 
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For what it's worth, 80% of black Americans identify as Christian. That's significantly higher than white Americans. So, it's not just third world countries.

That being said, there's nothing stopping non-Christians from taking food and clothes to the less fortunate in third world countries, and teaching them about science and math and free thought.

I got a letter from one of the kids that I sponsor, just this week. She's one of the fortunate ones that gets to go to school because of a sponsorship. She said that her favorite subject in school is mathematics. So, that should make you smile, 33.


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 Post subject: Re: Georgia abortion law
PostPosted: May 16 19, 3:52 pm 
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Fat Strat wrote:
Astudy was done in which 95 percent of the hundreds of women polled stated that having an abortion was the right decision. The women you've talked to are the type to go seek out a male religious leader to talk to after an abortion and are therefore predisposed to a high level of regret due to their own religion, their religious upbringing, the guilt that religious family and friends would lay on them, and other external societal things that come from being fully in the church as lifestyle. Your sample is skewed and not representative of "women" as a term to mean "most women" or "all women" or anything other than the few you know. How many of them, out of curiosity, demonstrated some sense of being ashamed and not wanting people to know--parents perhaps or an overbearing spouse--what they had done?


That’s all dead wrong and included a great many assumptions on your part that have their origin in stereotype and perception rather than any attempt to engage the subject honestly.

My experience with those who have experienced abortion comes exclusvely in a secular, domestic violence context. I actually have no experience at all with counseling women who have had abortions in my job as pastor nor have I ever had any congregant come to me for counseling about this issue. Other pastors have. Many. But I haven’t experienced that. I based my comments on my own secular research and personal experience in a completely secular environment, in dealing with women who are escaping a violent history, often including sexual abuse and working very closely with the women who counsel and advocate for these women.

Argue or disagree if you want, but that’s what I am hearing from people on the ground in that environment and who are experts in dealing with the trauma of that environment. Their pain doesn’t seem like a social construct to me, and I know that the counselors I work with - most flaming, bra-burning feminist liberals - would scoff at that and say lots of loud and angry non-church friendly words in response.


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 Post subject: Re: Georgia abortion law
PostPosted: May 16 19, 4:20 pm 
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It’s so tragic that nearly 20m black fetuses have been aborted.

So much potential.


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 Post subject: Re: Georgia abortion law
PostPosted: May 16 19, 5:02 pm 
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Fat Strat wrote:
That’s all dead wrong and included a great many assumptions on your part that have their origin in stereotype and perception rather than any attempt to engage the subject honestly.


My perception was off but the fact that most women who have abortions don't regret them is the opposite of dead wrong. Here's my friend and colleague Laura on Facebook an hour ago:

Quote:
I wouldn’t change my decision to terminate my pregnancy. It’s not something I’m shy or ashamed about. I do hope to be a mother someday, but I’m grateful that I had a choice to make and I stand by that choice.

Still, I’m wondering if the man who told me “If you have this baby you’ll ruin my life” is as outraged and horrified as I am at what’s happening in Alabama right now. I’m wondering if his perspective has changed. I’m wondering if he is able to take responsibility for the pregnancy and the tremendous strain his comment and lack of support put on me and our relationship—not to mention my mental wellbeing. I hope he’s able to communicate better now. I hope he is able to listen. I hope he can learn. I hope he is willing to advocate.

This is not just a women’s issue. This is not about babies. This is about power and control over the marginalized: sex, gender, socio-economic status, marital status, etc. This is not just a women’s issue.


In my community we talk about these things, and women are not ashamed and don't hide this. That's because in my community we're not programmed to believe it's murder or evil or bad.

My perception remains that you live in a red state/area populated by conservative religious people brought up with the false lesson that abortion is murder. And that this impacts people in your community, where they don't talk about abortion, they don't have abortions, they are trained that abortion is bad. How many that you counseled expressed fear that a parent or friend would find out? How many, if you think about it objectively and honestly, and not as a religious person who thinks abortion is bad, are traumatized by the stigma in their community more than the actual abortion itself?


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