“Religious Freedom” means Christian Passive-Aggressive Domination

In an Orwellian inversion, “freedom” is now a tool for controlling others.


It’s over. Try something else.

For many anti-gay activists, the recent Supreme Court decisions on DOMA and Proposition 8 were the handwriting on the wall.

It wasn’t just that they didn’t get the result they wanted, but that in DOMA the Court’s majority simply didn’t buy the argument that homosexuality represents a threat to society. Neither does the general public, which supports that decision 56%-41%. (The margin under age 40 is 67%-30%, with 48% approving strongly.) The big post-DOMA public demonstrations expressed joy, not anger.

Just a few years ago anti-marriage-equality referendums were winning in states all over the country, but in 2012 one failed in Minnesota, while referendums legalizing same-sex marriage won at in Washington, Maryland, and Maine. Ten years ago, the first legislatures to make same-sex marriage legal were dragged by their state courts, but this year Delaware, Rhode Island, and Minnesota went there voluntarily, bringing the number of states where same-sex marriage is legal (as of August 1) to 13, plus the District of Columbia. (I’ll guess Oregon and Illinois will go next.)

It’s even clear why this is happening: Because gay millennials are not in the closet, everybody under 30 has gay and lesbian friends who dream about meeting their soulmates just like straight people do. To young Americans, laws blocking that worthy aspiration are pointlessly cruel and ultimately will not stand — not in Alabama, not in Utah, not anywhere.

So the generational tides run against the bigots of the Religious Right. Some still aren’t admitting it, but wiser heads are recognizing that it’s time to switch to Plan B.

The new face of bigotry: “freedom”. Fortunately for them, there’s a well-worked-out back-up plan: religious “freedom”.

Accept the inevitability of gay rights, advises Ross Douthat, but “build in as many protections for religious liberty as possible along the way.” Here’s the idea: If your disapproval of certain kinds of people can be rooted in church doctrine or a handful Biblical proof-texts, then forbidding you to mistreat those people violates the “free exercise” of religion you are promised by the First Amendment.

To make this work, conservative Christians need to divert attention from the people they are mistreating by portraying themselves as the victims. And that requires cultivating a hyper-sensitivity to any form of involvement in activities they disapprove of. So rather than sympathize with the lesbian couple who gets the bakery door slammed in their faces, the public should instead sympathize with the poor wedding-cake baker whose moral purity is besmirched when the labor of his hands is used in a celebration of immorality and perversion.

There’s a name for this tactic: passive aggression. It’s like on Sanford & Son when Fred would clutch his heart and start talking to his dead wife because Lamont planned to do something he disapproved of. Passive aggression is the last resort of people who have neither the power to get their way nor any reasonable argument why they should.

In fact the baker will be fine, as Willamette Week demonstrated by calling two such religious-liberty-defending bakeries and ordering cakes to celebrate a variety of other events conservative Christians disapprove of: a child born out of wedlock, a divorce party, a pagan solstice ritual. The bakers did not object, because their hyper-sensitive moral purity is an invention, a convenient excuse for treating same-sex couples badly.

But Jim DeMint insists that

A photographer in New Mexico, a florist in Washington, and a baker in Colorado have already been victims of such intolerant coercion.

And Matthew Franck is horrified that religious universities will have to provide same-sex married-student housing; religious “schools, universities, hospitals, hospices, and clinics; social service agencies, retirement homes, eldercare and childcare facilities, food pantries, and soup kitchens” who employ “teachers, doctors, nurses, psychologists, counselors and clinicians, caregivers, food-service workers, housekeeping and grounds staff, even pool lifeguards” won’t be able to refuse employment to people with same-sex spouses. Adoption services, marriage counselors, divorce lawyers, artificial insemination clinics etc. will have to deal with gay and lesbian couples … as if they were real human beings or something.

The race parallel. We worked this stuff out during the civil rights movement, because all the same ideas show up with regard to race.

Plenty of people claim a sincere religious belief in white supremacy, and root it in Biblical texts like the Curse of Ham. (This goes way back: American slave-owners found Biblical license for keeping their “property”.) But the law does not honor these claims, and somehow religion in America survives.

Here’s the principle that has served us well: In private life, you can associate with anybody you like and avoid anybody you don’t like. But if you offer goods or services for sale to the public, you don’t get to define who “the public” is. So when you’re making lunch at your house, you can invite anybody you like and snub anybody you don’t like, but if you run a lunch counter you have to serve blacks.

We’ve been living with principle for decades, and (other than Rand Paul) no one worries much about the racists’ loss of freedom.

That should apply to same-sex couples now: If your chapel is reserved for members of your congregation, fine. But if you rent it to the public for wedding ceremonies, same-sex couples are part of the public just like interracial couples are. You don’t get to define them away.

If that makes you reconsider whether you want to be open to the public, well, that’s your decision.

The sky will not fall. We just went through this with the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal, which supposedly would violate the religious “freedom” of evangelical military chaplains (who apparently had never before needed interact respectfully with people they believed were sinners). The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins predicted:

You have over 200 sponsoring organizations that may be prevented from sponsoring chaplains because they hold orthodox Christian views that will be in conflict with what the military says is stated policy.

That stated policy was: “All service members will continue to serve with others who may hold different views and beliefs, and they will be expected to treat everyone with respect.”

AP went looking for chaplains who couldn’t live with that and found “perhaps two or three departures of active-duty chaplains linked to the repeal.” A Catholic priest overseeing 50 other chaplains reported “I’ve received no complaints from chaplains raising concerns that their ministries were in any way conflicted or constrained.”

If any of Perkins’ 200 religious organizations has stopped sponsoring chaplains because DADT is gone, I haven’t heard about it. The chaplains’ hyper-sensitivity to openly gay soldiers was imaginary, and went away when the government refused to take it seriously.

The abortion parallels. The reason the Religious Right believes their passive-aggressive “religious freedom” approach will work on same-sex marriage is that the same approach is already working on reproductive rights.

It all started with a reasonable compromise: After the Religious Right lost the battle to keep abortion illegal, laws guaranteed that doctors who believe abortion is murder can’t be forced to perform one. This is similar to letting pacifists be conscientious objectors in war, and I completely support it.

But from there, Religious Right “freedom” has become a weapon to beat down the rights of everyone else. Since 1976, Medicaid has not paid for abortions — at a considerable cost to the government, since birth and child support are far more expensive — because pro-life taxpayers shouldn’t have to fund something they think is immoral. There’s no parallel to this anywhere else: The taxes of pacifist Quakers pay for weapons; the taxes of Jews and Muslims pay the salaries of federal pork inspectors.

Conservatives like to accuse gays and blacks of claiming “special rights”, well this is a special right: The conservative conscience gets considerations that nobody else’s conscience gets.

And conservative special rights keep growing. The argument for defunding Planned Parenthood is that public money not only shouldn’t pay for abortions, it shouldn’t even mix with money that pays for abortions. (“Giving taxpayer funds to abortion businesses that also provide non-abortion services subsidizes abortion,” says one petition.) I had a hard time imagining a parallel, but I finally came up with one: What if Jews were so sensitive to violations of the kosher rules that Food Stamps couldn’t be used (by anyone, for anything) in groceries that sold pork?

That would be absurd, wouldn’t it?

In some states, medical “conscience” laws now protect anyone in the medical system who wants to express their moral condemnation: If the pharmacist disapproves of your contraceptives, he doesn’t have to fill your prescription. One of the examples cited by the model conscience law of Americans United for Life as something that needs to be fixed is “an ambulance driver in Illinois being fired for refusing to take a woman to an abortion clinic”.

Clearly that ambulance driver’s immortal soul was at risk. The hyper-sensitive pro-life conscience needs to be protected from any contact with women making use of their constitutional rights.

Religious “freedom” and contraception. The other front in the religious “freedom” battle is contraception.

The Obama administration has had a lot of trouble finding the proper religious exemption to the contraception provisions of the Affordable Care Act. That’s because it’s hard to find the “right” version of something that shouldn’t exist at all. Contraception coverage does not violate any legitimate notion of religious freedom for any religious organizations, religious affiliated organizations, or religious individual employers. Their claims should be rejected without compromise.

The principle here ought to be simple: The employer isn’t paying for contraception or any other medical procedure; the employer is paying for health insurance. Health insurance is part of a worker’s earnings, just like a paycheck. And just like a paycheck, what the employee chooses to do with that health insurance is none of the employer’s business. If I’m the secretary of an orthodox rabbi, his religious freedom isn’t violated when I cash my paycheck and buy a ham sandwich. Ditto for contraceptives, health insurance, and the secretary of the Archbishop of Boston.

Religious organizations’ hyper-sensitive consciences are pure passive aggression. The classic example here is Wheaton College, which couldn’t join other religious organizations in their suit against the ACA because it discovered that it had inadvertently already covered the contraceptives that the tyrannical ACA was going to force it to cover. This was such a huge moral issue for the college that nobody there had noticed.

Worst of all is the Hobby Lobby lawsuit, which got a favorable ruling on an injunction recently. The Hobby Lobby case is the mating of two bad ideas — corporate personhood and employers’ right to control the medical choices of their employees — to produce something truly monstrous. HL’s case hangs on its claim that it is a “person” with regard to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, and so its corporate “religious freedom” allows it to restrict its employees’ access to contraception.

Persecution or Privilege? Here are the kinds of sacrifices I make for my readers: I listened to the full half-hour of James Dobson’s post-DOMA radio show, where Dobson, Perkins, and Bill Becker threw around phrases like “the collapse of Western civilization in one day” and “the whole superstructure … can come down”. They described Christians as “an oppressed minority” and agreed that “persecution is likely in the days to come”.

But what is “persecution” exactly?

Tony Perkins expresses the challenge like this:

Do you believe God’s word is true and therefore you’re going to live your life based upon that truth, or are you going to shrink back in the fear of man and of them calling you bigots.

Whenever Christians discuss their “oppression”, fear of being called bigots plays a central role. According to CNN’s Belief Blog,

[Peter] Sprigg and other evangelicals say changing attitudes toward homosexuality have created a new victim: closeted Christians who believe the Bible condemns homosexuality but will not say so publicly for fear of being labeled a hateful bigot.

In other words: Christians are oppressed unless they can express their moral condemnation of others without being subject to moral condemnation themselves.

Why would anyone imagine the existence of such a one-sided right? Simple: In practical terms, that’s a right they have had until recent years. Not so long ago, the James Dobson types were so intimidating that they could preach any kind of vicious nonsense about gays and face no response.

So what they are experiencing now isn’t persecution, it’s privileged distress, the anxiety a privileged class feels as its privileges fade and it slides towards equality with others. And rather than try to get over their distress and soothe their anxiety, they are intentionally pumping it up in a passive-aggressive attempt to claim victimhood and control the rest of us.

That bubble needs to be popped.

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Comments

  • Anonymous  On July 8, 2013 at 11:57 am

    I so enjoy reading your column! You have great insight and put your thoughts together the way I would. In fact, thank you for doing all the work-I will post this on my Facebook (and have people unfriend me, but so what?)!

  • Otherwise  On July 8, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    Excellent and well observed. Will link to this in my next post.

    Sincerely

    Otherwise (over at Scholars & Rogues.com)

    • Enrique  On November 21, 2013 at 10:04 pm

      she was so sorry because it treuly was out of her personality. So then I went oh fuck.. what have I done because I basically cheated on my girlfriend out of anger and I felt so bad about it. So all of that Sunday I felt guilty and wanted to tell her and she kept asking me whats wrong and I said nothing.. then Monday morning rolls around, and she left for work in the morning and I couldnt fall back asleep so I HAD to tell her I just felt guilty and I knew one of her friends would make it sound worse if they told her first so I messaged her on facebook and told her.. so she said wow i have some thinking to do today then so a few hours after that she text me and said were done and she will not be with a cheater and she will not ever forgive me and etc. So i said please call me and she said no, so i went to her work and her boss told me she doesnt want to talk to me, so I left and went to work for the rest of the day without texting her or hearing from her all day. I came home around 7 at night, and she came here with her whole family and took all her stuff and moved to her moms about an hour out of town. I did not try to contact her because im afraid of pushing her away. She blocked me from everything. Phone/facebook and told everyone she never wants to talk to me again.. a year and half relationship just thrown away from a bad mistake Its been two weeks since this all happened and ive only attempted to send one small message to her on facebook through a friend of mines facebook. The message was short, no blaming, no begging, no crying, it was short and basically i told her how sorry i was and how i feel, and i left the ball in her court to reach out to me.. My sister sometimes talks to her and she says shes not ready to speak to me and she seen the picture after about a week of me and the other girl at the bar, and apparently she will write me back when she is ready but right now she isnt ready I cant handle this.. I want to talk to her.. there was no closure I dont know what to do.. its been 2 weeks like i said and im scared to get ahold of her because i dont want to push her away.. but like wtf am i suppose to do? she is the love of my life and before you judge me she had done something to really hurt me back in the past aswell but im not going to get into it.. lets just say i gave her a chance for something way worse and i feel like shes not giving me one because she has all her friends digging in her head giving her false advice her facebook status today (which i seen thru a friends account) says Day 14.. Still not quite right its been 14 days since we broke up.. and i know she is still thinking about me but holding back.. do you think she is trying to teach me a lesson or do you think she is really forcing herself away.. this no contact/no talking is killing me inside i feel like my bestfriend and other half of my life has vanished from my life within 1 day. and I didnt even get to explain myself someone please give me some real advice on how i should approach this.. ive explained as best as i can im running out of room PS we were together for a year and a half.. she is the love of my life and i cant just let her go please help me..

  • Sam Webster  On July 8, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    Excellent and thoughtful argument. As a historian and theologian, I would point out that this behavior on the part of Christians is not new. When the actual records of “Christian Persecution” in the first few hundred years of our calendar are examined, they were engaged in the same discourse. When they got into power they wrote fan-fic about how badly they had been treated as a moral argument for their superiority. The data does not support their claims. But it was used then as now to suppress others. . .

  • moguesmysteries  On July 8, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Extraordinary lapse of logic on display here. Of course you can purchase whatever form of contraception you like with your own paycheck, naturally and choose to eat at whatever restaurant you choose, naturally.

    What you can’t expect is to do is purchase contraceptives from your priest (companies buy health plans, not individuals) or eat pork at a muslim restaurant or a demand a cheeseburger at your local kosher deli. While the government can enforce that companies ensure equal treatment of the public under the law, it can’t force businesses to provide services that they object to.

    Furthermore this notion that natural family planning (i.e. a women knows her cycle and her partner respects her fertility) is some sort of crazy religious idea rather than an effective and proven family planning method is just unfortunate. Especially for women, as the “acceptable” option these days is to literally “treat” women’s fertility as if it is a long-term medical condition rather than the completely normal and healthy state of being female.

    The idea that women should alter their hormonal balance or undergo surgeries so that they can be available for “sex on demand” is misogynist. There is nothing wrong with being a fertile women, except perhaps the small concession that fertile women are not available for sex on demand, and any healthy relationship with a man should absolutely respect that fact.

    As for abortion, it is a crime against humanity. It is a stain against this great nation whose forefathers declared that “we hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal. ” A fetus is a human being, it is not a fish or a chicken or some other species. Human rights belong to human beings. Not reflectively, because it’s convenient, or someone else thinks it’s a good idea, but because we are alive and we are human.

    For those that believe that abortion has unshackled women from the economic oppression of childbearing and rearing, the data shows that rate of women in poverty in the USA has doubled since Roe v. Wade. The feminization of poverty is real – 75% of poor people in the US are women. Sex on demand, female poverty, and single motherhood is the legacy of “Boomer” feminists. This is one woman hoping that we turn the tide for our daughters.

    • weeklysift  On July 8, 2013 at 3:16 pm

      The question is not whether a fetus (or a newly fertilized egg) has human DNA, it’s whether it has a soul yet. This is a theological issue, and the ensoulment-at-conception position is one that has a long back-and-forth in Catholic circles, and was only adopted opportunistically in recent decades by Protestants who wanted an excuse to oppose abortion. The politics led and the theology followed.

      • Anonymous  On July 8, 2013 at 3:20 pm

        Toenail clippings have human DNA too.

      • moguesmysteries  On July 8, 2013 at 4:14 pm

        You can argue ad infinitum about questions of the “soul” because “the soul” is an abstract concept.

        The concrete reality is that a fetus is a human being. It is a scientific fact. That Human beings are endowed with human rights is a humanist, philosophical, moral position that transcends all religion and local politics.

        All human cells have human DNA. That’s silly argument that totally misses the point. The distinction between a toenail clipping and a fetus is that a fetus is a human being. A toenail clipping is a toenail clipping.

      • weeklysift  On July 8, 2013 at 4:28 pm

        This is sophistry. It’s a word game around “human”. The human-rights tradition was never a zygote-rights tradition.

      • moguesmysteries  On July 8, 2013 at 5:05 pm

        Perhaps a closer examination of the “weekly sift” position of privilege, as an adult with a voice, a platform and political influence publicly advocating for divesting human beings of their human rights.

        One wonders why when people talk about the necessity for abortion because of women in distress and worry about the lengths will go to and the risks they might take if abortion were not legal – one really wonders why are women in the richest country in the world so desperate?

        Why is that? What’s wrong with our society that young mothers (and children) are so very vulnerable…

        That’s what I’m personally distressed about.

    • Cat White  On July 8, 2013 at 3:33 pm

      People do not “purchase contraceptives from your priest,” customers buy them at drugstores. It’s a fallacious argument that some people may fall for because you put it in the same sentence with better examples. but it still does not hold water.

      As to, “the government . . . can’t force businesses to provide services that they object to,” that’s not true either. Going back to the integration of lunch counters, businesses can be forced to comply with the law. For some businesses that means not providing services (like hiring 10-year-olds to operate heavy machinery for a client at a cheap rate) and for others providing services (such as insurance coverage).

      • moguesmysteries  On July 8, 2013 at 4:15 pm

        Catholic institutions are run by priests and nuns and do buy health insurance on behalf of their employees. So employees of Catholic institutions that receive healthcare insurance from their employers do in fact receive their insurance purchased by a priest or nun. As private customers they can also of course buy whatever they like at drugstores.

        And we also agree that companies can and should comply with lots of laws about how they conduct their business, but not what they choose to sell. The government can not force you to sell peanuts if you are allergic to them.

      • Allison  On July 8, 2013 at 6:06 pm

        Benefits to employees are more about how you conduct your business than what you choose to sell.

    • Dave Welch  On July 9, 2013 at 10:30 am

      mogue-

      Depending on exactly what question you ask and how it is asked, between 45% and 65% of Americans have consistently supported the right of choice over the years. We have no consensus that it is wrong.

      We should be more concerned about the outcomes – and it is clear that women who have children because of a lack of abortion will have a harder time keeping out of poverty. Not guaranteed they will be in poverty, but it will be more difficult to get out of the poverty rut. Sure,l they could put it up for adoption, but their might be too-eager grandparents-to-be, or you-made-that-bed-now sleep-in-it moralists with a superiority complex insisting the child be kept.

      The second aspect is women’s health. Desperate women did desperate things prior to Roe v Wade. Their life, or at least their reproductive health is endangered when they are not allowed safe access to abortion. So essentially you want to trade putting women and children into a greater risk of poverty AND reducing the possibility that women can have children when financially prudent AND risk the woman’s life for salving YOUR feelings because YOU feel it is against YOUR beliefs?

      And what about the situation where something goes seriously wrong with the pregnancy. Yes, there are serious medical reasons why some late term abortions a necessary to save the life or health of the mother

      The other aspect is cost. Abortions are vastly cheaper than the amount o government services that will be required on average if the child is born.

      We cannot base public policy on one group’s belief of when life begins. If we can’t come to a concurrence that abortion is wrong, these are the issues that policy makers should look at. Would I like to see abortions significantly reduced down to the point that it’s only for the life and health of the mother? Yes. But I wold prefer to do it by making sure all teens are given a comprehensive sex education making sure those who want contraceptives have access to them.

      (And by the way, the statistic that the number of women who live in poverty has doubled since Roe v. Wade is total BS. First of all, our population has increased by 50% alone, and the poverty level is a manipulated number with many other variables involved – minimum wage laws, taxation, relative bargaining strength of the lower class in the labor market, etc. etc.)

      • moguesmysteries  On July 9, 2013 at 12:28 pm

        Popular opinion is not always the best indicator of right and wrong. Take the vast majority of the population of the US pre-civil war – most people got it wrong. People and law do get it wrong. Lincoln didn’t consult the polls – he emancipated the slaves.

        I agree absolutely that sex education is the key, every single young girl out there should be charting her cycle from puberty – women have to know how their bodies work, how to recognize their bodies ovulation signals and there is no reason in the world that young boys shouldn’t understand ovulation signals as well – it takes two seconds and one finger to check the status. It’s not rocket science.

        Young mothers and children have totally fallen off the charts in the US in terms of economic well being – there is no way to look at the statistics and see any other picture.

        One question is what is the cost to the nation of divesting men of choice or responsibility when it comes to sex and fertility – increasingly men don’t participate in contraception, they have no say in any reproductive outcomes and hugely diminishing role in parenting …. young women (mothers) are left to their own devices for all of the above and women do comprise 3/4s of the nations poor today.

        What does that say about the state of our society, American manhood?

        I live in Ireland, where the abortion debate is raging over a fairly minor point. It’s about as socially acceptable to talk about aborting a child as it is to talk about taking a machete to your grandmother in Ireland. Which is exactly the way it should be.

        That said mothers and women in Ireland have tremendous supports – both public and community supports in raising children from the obvious access to healthcare, subsidized childcare, monthly child benefit, free montessori education, the list goes on. Ireland is a country that puts young families first – women are high achievers in politics, business. We have the first Irish male president in two generations.

        Any comparative look at the state of women in Ireland vs. the US put paid to the notion that abortion is good for women.

        Any political firepower you waste advocating to kill your kids, is not spent advocating for young mothers with kids. More than 80% of women have kids. Women with kids need support.

      • Dave Welch  On July 10, 2013 at 8:19 am

        mogue-

        When the woman is fertile, all sorts or hormone and pheromone signals are being sent that encourage sexual activity. So right when nature is telling men and women it’s sexy time, you expect them to override the millenia of evolution that made us into a species of 6 billion individuals? Sure, it’d be nice if there could be some self-control, but with 6 billion successes right now, the current process seems to be winning.

        You seem to be advocating the rhythm method as the only form of birth control allowable. My entire sex education from my father consisted of three jokes, which in a way, really bring birth control down the brass tacks:

        What do you call amorous couples who don’t use an active form of birth control? Parents.

        How long does it take to become pregnant? Three months if you are trying, once if you are not.

        What the problem with the rhythm method of birth control? Too many people are off beat.

        No, you don’t get to dictate what birth control methods people use because of YOUR beliefs. Everybody gets to decide what birth control method THEY use based on THEIR beliefs.

        And no, I’m not “advocating killing kids”. I’m advocating responsible parenthood when appropriate.

      • moguesmysteries  On July 10, 2013 at 12:58 pm

        David:

        I’m not dictating anyone’s birth control options – absolutely do what works for you and your partner. Good advice from your Dad, the rhythm method is not the best, you really need to be able to read your ovulation signs. I’ve found “honey I’m ovulating” works well – we have two toddlers at the moment and everyone’s on board with keeping it that way.

    • Kimc  On July 14, 2013 at 3:12 am

      Mogue — You do not get to dictate everyone else’s religious beliefs. You just don’t. Get over it.
      And the Catholic Church should not own any businesses and still be tax exempt. If it got rid of its businesses, this insurance thing wouldn’t be an issue.

  • moguesmysteries  On July 8, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    It’s not sophistry, it’s science sir. Just because it doesn’t suit your politics doesn’t make it false. Check any biology text book for species, beginning of life verification.

    Human rights is a developing ever expanding field of humanist thought and moral code that protects the weak from the powerful (that is, you) and respects the essential dignity of every single one of us.

  • erastus  On July 8, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    It is simple: If you oppose “gay marriage” don’t marry a gay. If you oppose contraception don’t use it. If you oppose abortion don’t have one. If you believe that biblically women are male chattel then go buy yourself a women. Then go mind your own f-ing business. And when the anti-abortion crowd spends as much money and energy advocating for children AFTER they are born as before they are born, then and only then will I take them seriously.

    • moguesmysteries  On July 9, 2013 at 12:07 pm

      So, if you oppose murder, just don’t do it? If you oppose slavery, just don’t own a slave? It may be simple, but it’s wrong.

      • Maureen O'Danu  On July 10, 2013 at 8:05 am

        Even if a zygote, blastocyte, embryo or fetus is a life (as are, of course, amoebas, frogs, birds, and swine) it does not have the right to life at the expense of its host (the woman who is pregnant). At most stages of pregnancy, especially early ones, spontaneous abortions are more common than human induced ones, but we don’t hear a cry to save the zygotes that Mother Nature has chosen to abort. There is no significant ‘pro-life’ funding for artificial wombs.

        Why is this? What is the movement really about if it isn’t about the zygotes? Could it be…. controlling women and ensuring that they are properly punished for choosing to be sexual human beings? Just wondering.

      • moguesmysteries  On July 10, 2013 at 1:14 pm

        Maureen,

        Agreed, self defense is the only universally acceptable excuse for ending someone else’s life. And as for miscarriages, they are very sad and upsetting as are all natural deaths. The prevention of miscarriages is a huge area of research and there are several available treatments for preventing miscarriages.

      • Kimc  On July 14, 2013 at 3:21 am

        Mogue — But it isn’t illegal because it’s wrong, it is illegal because our laws are to protect us from each other. As a society, we have jointly decided that we all need to be protected from murder and slavery (however badly it is enforced…), but we have not decided as a society that we need to be protected from abortion. We have decided that that decision belongs to the woman involved, not you.
        You suffer from a lack of imagination. Not everyone lives in the family condition you do. Start listening to the women who need abortions and try to imagine what you would do in their situation. What you would do if you were raped. What you would do if you were raped by your father or your husband. What you would do if your fetus had no brain or skull. what you would do if your fetus had died two weeks ago but was still in you. What you would do if you were so desperate for attention that you couldn’t refuse sex. We see all these situations in the medical field.
        By the way, how many unwanted babies have you adopted yourself?

  • Dan  On July 9, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    “Christians are oppressed unless they can express their moral condemnation of others without being subject to moral condemnation themselves.”

    I love this statement, and will make regular use of it!

  • Mike Ignatowski  On July 10, 2013 at 12:01 am

    If a Jehovah’s Witness business owner objected to providing health insurance to employees that covered blood transfusions, how would this be viewed? Is it somehow different from objecting to covering contraception on religious grounds?

    • weeklysift  On July 10, 2013 at 7:18 am

      What if the Christian Science Monitor’s health insurance for its employees only covered prayer?

    • Mike Ignatowski  On July 10, 2013 at 3:33 pm

      Here’s a fun exercise: How many health care items can we think of that some subset of UUs might find morally objectional based on their religious principles? Not that we’re proposing that a UU business owner should be exempt from having to offer health insurance that covers these, but just to show that claiming infringment of absolute religious freedom is an ineffective argument.

      I’ll start – things a UU business owner might find objectional to pay for:
      (1) Any drug that was developed or qualified using testing on animals.
      (2) Any treatement in a facility that does not offer contraception for women.
      (3) Any treatement in a facility that discriminates against people based on their sexual orientation (or that is owned / run by such an organization).

      Others?

  • weeklysift  On July 10, 2013 at 7:29 am

    If I’d seen this Jonik cartoon sooner, I’d have used it in the article.

  • Terry M Gresham  On July 10, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Reblogged this on okieprogressive.

  • Will  On July 10, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    I love the “If you oppose murder, just don’t do it” argument! It shows just how little people actually realize about both our justice system and consent.

    Murder harms another person. Theft harms another person. Rape harms another person. They harm them in physical, tangible ways that are both physical and mental on the victim.

    If you do not have a victim and a perpetrator, it is not a crime. Why do you think Prop 8 was thrown out? There was no victim. The ‘victim’ came out and said “Hey, ya, we don’t actually think this is something that is wrong and we’re not going to take it any farther.”

    Gay Marriage and Gay Sex DO NOT hurt -anyone- There is no victim. The person perpetrating the gay sex and the person receiving, unless in the case of being RAPE, are consenting.

    The only thing hurt are your sensibilities, and I can tell you about all of the wonderfully kinky straight sex I have that is just as likely to offend your sensibilities as two girls rubbing together or two guys pounding away.

    But I don’t see you trying to outlaw that.

    So, nice try. Your leaps of logic are absolutely stunning. Your basic understanding of consent it outstanding. And the fact that you feel the need to post here where your ridiculous, outdated arguments will be smashed to smithereens? Absolutely incredible.

    And not in the good way.

  • Ruth  On July 14, 2013 at 9:13 am

    Those who rely on the rhythm method as birth control are commonly called parents .. hence why other birth control methods are necessary.

    • weeklysift  On July 14, 2013 at 9:54 am

      About a year ago, I read the papal encyclical against “artificial” birth control and reviewed it for the Sift. It’s noteworthy that one of Pope Paul VI’s arguments against the Pill seems to be that it works, and consequently it “could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards.” If the rhythm method were as effective, it would also provoke papal disapproval.

      • Kimc  On July 14, 2013 at 10:46 pm

        It can’t be good for children that their existence is viewed as proper punishment for having sex.

  • mrsrant  On September 14, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    Reblogged this on Mrs & Mrs Rant and commented:
    Reminds me of the behaviour of a certain Anglican organisation that has been demanding special rights since the Act of Synod 1993. I refer, of course, to Forward in Faith:
    “No you can’t have women priests unless you give us our own bishops or else we’ll hold our breath for a very long time. Oh and gay people are immoral degenerates unless they stay celibate. But don’t say that we’re being bigots – that’s name-calling and we don’t like that! Oh and by the way don’t even think of having women bishops because it’ll really upset us unless you’re prepared to give us the churches that you own but we use to us for free to make us feel better. And don’t mock us because it’s mean. What do you mean we’re hypocrites? Yes we mock people in New Directions but that’s fine because we’re right and you’re wrong.”

    It all fits! — Mrs Truth

Trackbacks

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    […] 5. Doug Muder on the for-me-but-not-for-thee right-wing reinvention of “religious liberty”: […]

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  • By Worth and Respectability | The Weekly Sift on February 24, 2014 at 12:25 pm

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  • […] But surely any clever person can find a link of some sort between whatever they don’t want to do and the commission of some act they consider immoral by someone else. Alito is encouraging Christians to develop hyper-sensitive consciences that will then allow them to control or mistreat others in the name of religious liberty, a pattern I described last summer in “Religious ‘Freedom’ Means Christian Passive-Aggressive Domination“. […]

  • […] reason: I’m a consistent defender of the wall of separation between Church and State, and I fight back against the attempts by right-wing American Christians to subvert concepts like religious…. Whether or not I am an atheist myself depends on your definitions, but a major theme of my […]

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  • […] conservative rhetoric, religious liberty has expanded well beyond any previous meaning, to become code for conservative Christians controlling the behavior of others. No one has been able to explain how this expanded religious liberty can be granted to […]

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