Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The voice of God

I ain't making it up. Megan titled one of her own posts The voice of God. I think maybe her delusions of grandeur are growing.

The religion thread, predictibly, has brought out people who seem convinced that the opinion that life begins at conception is definitionally illegitimate because many of the people who hold it are religious. This seems flatly ridiculous to me.
I'm not even gonna bother to check out how Megan is misrepresenting her opponents here, it's just too obvious she's doing so. Anyhow, let's see how she slays this straw-dragon.
The question of personhood is not definitionally religious, even if the only people interested in expanding society's definition of personhood are religious. Blacks are people, and those of us without any particular religious convictions are able to apprehend this, even if 150 years ago the only people much interested in prosecuting their claim to personhood were ministers and their flocks.
Ah, standard anti-abortion boilerplate. Fetuses and slaves are, like, totally equivalent, and only religious folk have the moral standing to teach the rest of us what to believe.
It is certainly possible to believe that life begins at conception without reference to God. And once a question is legitimately in the political sphere--in a way that, I would argue, the divinity of Christ or the Mohammedan succession is not--it's not really particularly reasonable to declare that people may not have reference to their own faith in deciding what they believe. Few people on the left seem worried by the fact that the anti-death-penalty movement gets much of its energy from left-wing churches, nor that those same churches have organized substantial opposition to the Iraq War.
Sure, you can say life begins at conception without belief in God, you just also have to lack basic awareness of human biology and reproduction.
And lessee. The left has no problem with left leaning churches supporting anti-death penalty efforts and anti-war efforts, but we have a problem with churches working against abortion rights. Hmmmm, first off, those left leaning churches are fucking doing what CHRIST TOLD THEM TO DO. The Bible doesn't mention abortion (yeah, I know they try to twist a couple lines, but fuck that noise), nor did Jebus mention gays. But he did kinda come out against war and suffer capital punishment himself, Megan, you fucking moron. Also, anti-abortion activists are intrusive busybodies who aren't relying on religion to support their morality, but typically the angry ravings of some hate filled evangelical preacher. Oh, and anti-war and pro-choice activists tend not to murder doctors and other care givers. Small diff.
But Megan continues
Indeed, though I myself am pro-choice and mostly irreligious, it seems more likely to me that the main effect of faith is to spur people to embrace causes that are personally and socially inconvenient. Slaveowners didn't need religion to motivate them to defend slavery; they had a powerful financial interest in doing so. Similarly, the pro-choice movement, at least in my experience, gets most of its activist energy from reproductive-aged women who have a strong interest in being able to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.
You're not pro-choice, Megan. Your language and arguments betray you. You're a rich asshole who only cares that you, yourself, have these options. You don't give a fuck about the women who actually get abortions, or the women in the south and midwest who've been effectively denied their choice by a lack of there being anywhere nearby to have an abortion performed. If Megan makes an oopsie, she wants an out. That's all she's concerned with. That's why she projects her own motivations onto others and accuses them of being self-interested; she can't conceive of any other motivation. Like, say, the welfare of poor women.
Also, nice try at dismissing the role of religion in maintaining slavery and other historical injustices. That's total bullshit, Megan. Open a history book.
By contrast, what self-interest was served by the abolitionist movement then, or the pro-life movement now? There's a legend among many pro-choicers that everyone in the pro-life movement is a patriarchal, selfish man who wants to force women to have babies in order to control them. In fact, women and men are roughly equally likely to be pro-life. The best that pro-lifers get out of their movement is--having to carry their own unwanted pregnancies to term.
Y'know what'd be nice with a claim of fact like that? A fucking reason to believe you, Megan. Because you're full of shit. You really think that the vast majority of pro-lifers, male and female, aren't motivated by the desire to effect their will on others? You really call yourself pro-choice and deny the readily apparent fact that the anti-abortion movement is driven by misogyny and a conservative backlash against women declaring their reproductive freedom? Megan completely ignores that the hardcore base of the anti-abortion movement is even anti-birth control, because that shows her argument is utterly without merit, and that the movement is about reasserting male authority over women. Women can also be misogynists, Megan. Even you should understand that.
Absent self-interest, you need some other motive, and Christianity provides a good one; the New Testament doesn't have much sympathy for the notion that you're too busy or too embarassed to follow your convictions. Obviously, there's also the social clustering of belief--Quakers tend to be environmentalists not necessarily because Jesus said so, but because the kind of people who are attracted to Quakerism are also attracted to left-wing causes. Likewise, Southern Baptists tend to vote Republicans for a number of reasons, of which religion may be the least.
You're not an agnostic, Megan. You just claimed there is no morality without religion. That stupid bullshit has been used by priests and preachers to bias their flocks against non-Christians since the beginning of Christianity, and only the morons in the faithful fall for it. I, for one, haven't missed the bitter irony of the Bush years that liberal atheists tend to be the ones advocating the positions Christ would have held nowadays, but then I've read the Bible and recognize how little evangelical Christianity has to do with it. Megan seems to feel anyone who shouts "I love Jebus!" loudest and most often wins.
I presume that no one, not even religion's most dogmatic opponents, believes that encouraging people to do what they think is right is a pernicious aspect of religion. Since observationally, almost none of them seem to think so when the religious person in question agrees with them, this seems like just another disingenuous way to attempt to shut down debate.
Megan? I have a problem with that. Like, when, say, a religion encourages violence against non-members. Y'know, like the Inquisition. Or when religion is used to encourage genocide, like in the European conquest of the Americas. Or when it's used to justify slavery or the degradation of women. The religious impulse is not unambiguously good, or moral, Megan, and you are fundamentally stupid to argue it is. Most honest priests wouldn't even claim that.
Now, that doesn't mean that religious arguments have a place in the public square. Opponents of gay marriage need a better reason than "God said no" to appeal to those of us who are skeptical that this God exists, or those who think that God said something else entirely. But it's not possible to remove religious motivations from politics, and it's far from clear to me that the country would be a better place if we had.
Fortunately, the Founding Fathers didn't agree, and Megan's unAmerican sentiments don't have legal backing. Unfortunately, we no longer live in a nation ruled by laws, but instead by the whims of an idiot king.
Also, you gotta love the poor reasoning behind spending several hundred words claiming the religious have a superior moral basis then saying that the internal logic she just argued in favor of fails in another issue. Megan is saying the religious right is right, but she's not going to be held to their logic. She's given herself a dispensation.
I wonder when the personal crisis that leads Megan back into extremely conservative Catholicism will be. She wants to be Catholic, she just doesn't want to hold herself to its doctrines. Something is gonna have to give, and it's gonna be quite a sight to see when it does.


Susan of Texas said...

I wonder when the personal crisis that leads Megan back into extremely conservative Catholicism will be.

Marriage and children, probably. She'll marry a right-wing Catholic and suddenly get back in touch with her Irish Catholic roots, discover God and corned beef cabbage dinners, and spend the rest of her life calling sexually active women sluts.

clever pseudonym said...

Kathryn Lopez could then sue her for stealing her schtick. Well, in Lopez's case, you don't even have to be sexually active to be a slut. You just have to admit to having enjoyed sex at some point in your life.

Susan of Texas said...

Now Megan's digging an even deeper hole with another post. She can't even begin to understand that personhood isn't the criteria, the rights of the women are the criteria. It's why conservatives will make exceptions for killing a fetus and liberals will accept the killing of fetuses. If the woman is raped conservatives think it's not necessary to punish/control her because it wasn't her fault for getting knocked up. The liberals will just say that it's the woman's choice. See, for both sides it's a matter of control over woman.

Is that so effing hard?

bulbul said...

Oh boy:

It's not relevant that churches in the south supported slavery.
Of course it's not.

Support for slavery would have existed without the church.

Opposition to it wouldn't have, without the churches that preached their conscience and gave the movement a ready-made base for organization.
Yeah, like there was noone who made arguments against slavery on non-religious grounds.

Or such is my understanding of the history.
Well, it's official: Megan don't know shit about shit.

Chad said...

Or such is my understanding of the history.

You can make basic historical research as easy and quick as possible with Wikipedia and Google and JSTOR and so on, but pundits will still treat verifying simple historical facts like something that requires spending half a day toiling away in a university library.

clever pseudonym said...

Chad -- that's part of my problem with Megan writing statements like "Similarly, the pro-choice movement, at least in my experience, gets most of its activist energy from reproductive-aged women..." Anybody can make a blanket assertion and add "...at least in my experience" to the end of it in order to avoid being disproven with actual facts.

It's called "research," Megan. Good journalists do it. As Chad pointed out, you don't even have to leave your desk. I'll bet a "pro-choice demographics" search on Google would return something useful, or at least carry a little more authority than your "experience."

Besides, what kind of experience are we talking here? Was Megan in the pro-choice club in college? Does she hang out at Planned Parenthood, noting the gender and relative ages of the people who work there? Or is she just pulling shit out of her ass?

Clem said...

She'll pull a reverse Novak and convert to Judaism when she marries Ezra.

Susan of Texas said...

Haven't Jews suffered enough in the last century??

On the other hand, we ex-Catholics don't want her either.

Anonymous said...

As though Megan could pick out John Facenda in a line up with the Spice Girls. Please.