510 – You Can’t Go Back: 17

510

 

It’s Only Murder When It’s Someone On Your Team

The Army of God (not affiliated with any actual gods or goddesses) is an “organization” that promotes the use of deadly violence as a resolution to the question of abortion. Their reasoning is that as much effort and “force” should be spent in the defense of the unborn as the born, and that shooting and killing abortion providers is a totally reasonable answer to their dilemma. (That dilemma being that abortions are legal, while kidnapping pregnant woman and forcing them to bring their children to term is not. Possible they missed the memo on murder.)

Abortion is a pretty sucky subject right off the bat. I can really see both sides of the issue, even though I finally come down of the side of Pro-Choice. Still, it is taking a life. What makes it worse is that in most cases, that life was created from a few moments of irresponsibility which results in a lifetime of paying for it. (Kind of like shooting someone.) 

My personal view is that the taking of that life is not the worst thing that could happen. I don’t believe that all life is sacred, and I don’t believe that a baby human is any more or less important than a five year old human, or a nineteen year old soldier, or a sixty-seven year old abortion provider. This is not to say that I think it’s a good thing or shouldn’t be avoided whenever practically possible, only that killing people because of it makes you part of the problem, not the solution. You’re still bringing death, you’re simply justifying it with your own brand of crazy-logic.

The late Dr. George Tiller was an abortion provider who specialized in late term abortions in cases where severe or fatal birth defects were discovered late in the pregnancy, or in cases where the delivery of even a healthy baby would result in a “substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function” in the mother. Dr. Tiller was vilified no less than twenty eight times on the O’Rielly Factor as “Tiller the Baby Killer,” and was accused of aborting fetuses in order to cure “temporary depression” in expectant mothers… a charge that among eighteen others, Tiller was found innocent of in a trial brought against him by anti-abortion activists.

Dr. Tiller’s  clinic was bombed in 1986, he was shot in both arms in 1993, and he was finally killed on the 31st of May, 2009 by a man who believed he was defending the sanctity of life.

Clearly Tiller did not do what he did because it was easy or fun. He did what he did because he was the only one who would do it. He saved women’s lives and he alleviated the suffering of countless families. Because the abortions were late-term he was one of the very few doctors who were willing to perform them. Considering, it doesn’t take much imagination to see why that would be.

The Army of God is hailing Tiller’s murder as an act of heroism, killing as an act of life, bringing misery as an act of grace. I think adopting a Down’s Syndrome baby would have been a more productive protest.

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49 Responses to 510 – You Can’t Go Back: 17

  1. One might wonder if Enkidu has any plans of becoming male again–turning chicks “lezbonian” would be a net bad thing to her (him) if she (he) did, wouldn’t it?

    Adopting an infant otherwise doomed to being an un-person due to a combination of maternal abandonment and one or more of fetal alcohol syndrome, down-syndrome, congenital birth defects and the like doesn’t generate headlines that act as discouragement to people who would desire or seek abortions: On its face your statement implies too much honesty on the part of the Army of God and their sympathizers regarding their stated aim of, ‘protecting the unborn.’
    Let’s not kid ourselves, many American christian-fundamentalists don’t support life-saving social programs like socialized medicine and anti-poverty measures but do support the death penalty–positions which would make no sense if analyzing them under the assumption that they value human life and shun the unnecessary or premature ending of human life. When one analyzes their beliefs and actions under the hypothesis that they aim to be socially repressive and limit the freedoms of those who would do things they doctrinally dislike–for example spending all the effort they can to punish recreational sex–I find it all makes a lot more sense. I expand on that position by adding that this battle between various groups’ conceptions of “christian righteousness” and everybody else’s positions has been ongoing in America since shortly after its beginning and has at least significantly triumphed in assaulting the atheist separation of church and state doctrine that America was founded on.

    ….If I properly read a cynical challenge regarding their honesty in your closing statement I think we’ve agreed with each other here.

    • And let’s not forget, it’s not only Christian fundamentalists who fall prey to the sort of “crazy logic” that leads to things like the Army Of God. Fundamentalists of all faiths get this viral stupidity, it’s just the Christian ones who get most of the press…
      Not only fo they obviously not really care about the sanctity of life, they don’t seem to care much for quality of life either. If they did, one would expect they’d spend more time finding ways to help improve the lives of people that are already here, and less time trying to make sure more people get brought into a world that’s going to chew them up and spit them out, broken and bleeding…

      • Said Misha: “And let’s not forget, it’s not only Christian fundamentalists who fall prey to the sort of ‘crazy logic'”

        What sort of misanthrope would I be if I didn’t accept that all humans are generally stupid and prone to grossly distorted views of reality plus other insanities? I think you’re being exceptionally charitable in describing human stupidity as a disease only of X-fundamentalists. It’s just that the topic is anti-abortion (anti-birth control?) terrorists.
        Regarding criticisms of their values regarding quality of life I think I can decipher the reasoning on that one. Original sin and being cast out of the Garden of Eden have their doctrinal back on that: Life is supposed to be nasty, brutal and short. Attempting to make living more enjoyable or less painful in the here and now is hedonism that flies in the face of God’s will and design for humanity that we must pay for both in this life and the afterlife. This excess is only somewhat permitted to the elect whom God anoints with his blessings. (Opinion seems to differ on how much it’s tolerable for them and how little or much ritual apology is required. Note the frequent examples of the excesses of televangelists, which are usually forgiven or swept under the rug.)

    • @Coward: America’s founding was, I believe, based on secular values, not exactly atheist. While there were definitely atheists in the mix, a goodly number of those cats were Unitarians. But the one thing that everyone could agree on was that religion had no place in the government of an enlightened state.

      Yes, cynical. Absolutely. I don’t believe for a moment that any but a few of these guys’ mouths are where their money is.

      • I would controversially assert that it was atheism to unflinchingly confront and disregard the Anglican Church’s position on the divine right of kings and the feudal caste limitations of society; you had American untitled gentry not recognized as such rebelling and “usurping” authority from the King’s duly appointed representatives.
        But then it does seem like I have difficulty making it through any significant point without saying at least one needlessly controversial thing–perhaps I’m too bored with life.

  2. And the immense wealth of the Vatican, although many non-Catholic Christian groups are, to be fair to them, offended by that too. The urge they have to suffer in this life “because the Bible says that’s how it’s supposed to be” (which is in fact a quote from an argument I once had over this) just seems like masochism to me. Now, if they want to be masochists, hey, that’s cool, I don’t understand the lifestyle, but I can accept that others may be into it, but I -do- wish they’d stop trying to force other people to live it.
    “Jesus, I know you and I don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye, but please, for the love of your dad, protect us from your followers!”
    This business with the killing the doctors who are willing to perform abortions is a sticking point for me. The Big Ten say: Thou shalt not commit murder. (Yes, it’s commit murder, not simply kill. If we couldn’t kill, it would be awfully hard to eat even just the selection of animals He said were acceptable as food.) Jesus preached tolerance of each other’s faults, being kind to each other, and decidedly not murdering people. Heck, he was practically a hippie! And yet, these people go out and commit murder, in God’s name, and they think He’s going to be okay with it? It takes a twisted thought process… Do me a huge favor? Promise me that if I ever get that twisted, you’ll take me down and get me the psychiatric help I need. ‘Cause that crap? That just doesn’t even make a glimmer of sense.

    • I’m not really offended by the Vatican’s money, or AC’s example of sinful televangelists, but I do find them all extremely entertaining. It’s almost as if the whole theater was entirely for my benefit.

      Committing murder for Jebus is a little different to me. It’s still deliciously ironic… but it’s also sad and wasteful.

      And Jebus wasn’t just a hippie, he was also a homeless bum!

  3. The Bible is long, and kind of a fun read sometimes, when the language doesn’t confuse the heck out of me. But as far as life lessons go, I got only 1 thing from it: Treat others as you want to be treated. Apply it across the board, and you’ll be good to go. So, please god, force these army of god guys to start having children, cuz it’s what they want!! Bonus points if the males carry, and deliver through the scrotum.

    • “Treat others as you want to be treated.” While generally good, this goes over poorly with machocists around…. I prefer something more along the lines of :
      ‘Show the same level of respect for the desires and needs of others as you wish them to respect your wants and needs.’
      A bit wordy, but pretty accurate.

  4. Well, I’m pro-choice, because only a Woman who really wants her Baby can be a good Mom. Thats what I think.
    And Christian Extremists seem no smarter than the ever-popular Muslim Extremists…

    • Agreed. If someone is messed up enough to kill their own flesh and blood, probally isn’t someone we want in the gene pool anyway.

      On the other hand, isn’t always much of a choice. For a young innercity girl, the ‘choice’ can be Option #1: Drop out to raise the baby, get kicked out of your home for having pre-marital sex, get a minimum wage job for the rest of your life to try and support yourself, get on welfare because flipping burgers doesn’t pay enough, and have many people look down on your for being a single mom.
      or Option #2: Spend an afternoon at a downtown clinic where the government pays for everything, and try to move on with your life.

  5. all well said. I dont agree with it all, but reasonable discussion, so I will hesitantly express my views.

    I am pro-life. To me that means ‘anti-abortion’. Wait, before your heads explode, please listen.

    I believe that life begins at conception, but I could be swayed to accept (legally, not morally) that the fetus is not really “human” per se until the end of the first term. reluctantly. Trouble is, many people do not know they are pregnant before then. So I currently draw the line at conception.

    Killing to prevent abortion is wrong, and I think is a good marker that you have lost your humanity. jesus overturned the money-changers tables, but he did not come down off the cross with an AK-47, kicking butt and taking names. In fact, he said that he without sin could cast the first stone. I wonder if these pro-Killingforlife-ers (just made that up I think…) consider themselves to be without sin. I doubt it. Seems like a bunch of self-haters to me.

    But one point; if you really believe that life begins at conception, and abortion is akin to murder (state sanctioned, as in, death penalty or haulocaust) then I can see them addressing their concerns to the STATE… but what about those who believe that, but do and say nothing. From the people in a church I used to go to who didnt let it affect their voting and would not sign a petition, to the congressman who says that is what he believes, but his voting record does not reflect it. That is the real hipocrisy IMO.

    using most extreme example… WARNING, may cause eye-twitching and desire to smash your computer: (not trollbait, please skip if squimish or easily flipped out)
    Pregant due to rape? Why the heck are we playing catch and release with this scum so they are out on the street? Exchange the “time served” model with “kept until no longer a threat to self or others” model. Won’t be rehabilitated? you may never get out. but it is not the baby’s fault. and studies seem split on what is more traumatic, but making the child pay for the sins of the father seems… well, just as wrong. Point is, lets PREVENT rapes. We are not even really trying, IMO. I have been trying to ‘sell’ a revamp of our prison system, but no one seems to care. Maybe I should make a website on that….

    • Greetings, and thank you for articulating that viewpoint reasonably and having the courage to speak in a forum governed by someone whose own viewpoint seems to clash.
      Did you know that a demographically trackable wave of lack of crime is happening across America right now? In the wake of the Roe v. Wade decision permitting abortions the numbers of unwanted children being born were significantly reduced. Statistical analysis of what causes this crime lull has tended to indicate the following conclusion: That unwanted children have a significantly greater tendency towards criminal activities than desired and planned-for children.
      Following that analysis it would seem that those rapes caused by felons you’re concerned with would be reduced by freely accessible birth control and abortions.
      I accept that these points are both controversial, particularly the second one that less general crime automatically means less rape (the other is widely reported and discussed), but would you disagree that this analysis is logical and probably at least part of the truth of rape in America? In light of the fact that unwanted children tend to also be less well educated in addition to having greater criminal tendencies would you disagree that the state has a compelling reason to guarantee free access to birth control and abortions?
      (Do you disagree with my assertions and demand that I cite sources?)

  6. It is a messy subject, and I’m glad you’re willing to acknowledge that there is no real difference between the unborn baby and the born one; or no sudden transition point at the least.

    I think we need to do what we can at the very least. Adopting a down syndrome baby would in fact be the best thing an activist group could do by far and I know of groups like that. If it’s a life that the parents cannot afford to support, that’s the most logical response with killing the baby being an emergency second choice. Which brings me to the matter that pisses me off about churches above all else. The. Tithe. Money. Belongs. To. The. Orphans. They are running their organization on embezzled funds and there’s no two ways about it. Every single mention of the tithe in the old testament and new says this. Hundreds of times in the Bible people are judged b/c “Hey, who’s taking care of the needy who can’t take care of themselves?” Giving to the poor is loaning to God. Jesus tells the pharisees that love & charity are what’s most important (often translated as “mercy”, but every single other instance of “mercy” is someone helping somebody with a major problem). Helping those in need (e.g., with food and what not) is virtually equated with love, and this is made to be everything; it says one does not even have salvation without this. Not b/c this is required to be saved, but anyone who doesn’t follow such a main point is showing that he really couldn’t care less about God regardless of what he says. So how could he believe? It’s one of the biggest running themes in the Bible, if not the #1 biggest. And how are the religious hand-waving away thousands of verses made in the plainest of language, with short direct to-the-point sentences and no parables or any such thing?

  7. As to the Army of God – “By their fruits shall ye know them.”

    @ Bamko First let me note that I am, in the abstract, opposed to abortion, although for a very different reason. But since, as I stated, that opposition is abstract, I recognize that it must be qualified and sometimes rescinded. Your example of pregnancy resulting from rape really makes a good case for exceptions. The woman has three options, all bad:
    1) go to term and ruin her life to raise a child that serves as a onstant reminder of her “sin” in being a victim.
    2) got to term and offer the child for adoption, hoping that, for a change, the system works.
    3) abortion.

  8. Call me a monster, but I don’t think that infanticide is the worst thing a person could do. As an atheist, I don’t believe that there is such a thing as a soul. What makes us human is the mind. That’s who we are. Newborn babies are less persons by the metric of a mind than the adult animals which we have no problem subjecting to short lives of constant abuse.

    But babies are babies, and we’re wired to want them to survive and grow into people.

    I’m not saying the cold hand of logic dictates that we should kill all unwanted babies, or that infanticide should be considered a-okay, just that it isn’t the same thing as murdering an full grown human being complete with people who depend on him and her. It’s unquestionably a worse crime to kill someone’s grandfather than it is to abort an unwanted fetus.

    For what it’s worth.

    • Unfortunately using this theory we can kill old people with Alzheimers, people in comas, and people with advanced mental disabilities without consequence, because they are no longer people… I sense a logic hole.

    • Um, yeah, I’m with Strudel, here. So you’re saying that it’s okay or not as bad to kill people and fetuses that are inconvenient to have around? Just because they are “unwanted?” I think the crime there is the lack of caring about those people – the un-wanting. Good lord, the more I think of that, the more abhorrent I find the idea. “Eh, nobody cares about it, so it’s okay to kill it off.” Why DOESN’T anyone care about it? You should probably be questioning the fact that nobody cares about it, and maybe picking up your balls and having the courage to care about it yourself.

      • Is something necessarily worth caring about simply because it’s alive? Do you -really- love and cherish, for instance, the Athlete’s Foot fungus, or mosquitoes? Maybe it’s not so much about “picking up your balls and having the courage to care about it” and more about making a decision which thing we can afford to care about and which we simply don’t feel the need to. It is entirely possible that the reason people don’t care about a given entity is that the entity in question is no longer worthy of being cared about. And yes, there will -always- be argument over where that line gets drawn, but in fact that line will always -have- to be drawn somewhere, and someone will always be horrified by it.

        And as for that “logic hole”, I think you’re imagining it. Advanced alzheimers destroys the person, as do prolonged comas. They aren’t in there anymore. All that’s left is a physical frame of reference for people’s memories and emotions, and all keeping that frame of reference alive does is consume resources and manpower. If you have the resources and manpower to expend keeping them alive, good for you. Most people (and countries) really don’t, whether they think they do or not. You’re not doing the person any kindness by forcing them to keep breathing when they have no real idea what’s going on anymore. If you did that to a pet, you’d be charged with “animal cruelty”. Why is it considered any less cruel to do to a human, just because it’s a human? I’m not saying necessarily kill them off if they aren’t ready to die, but the idea isn’t as inherently horrific – at least to my mind – as it appears to be to you.

        • “Maybe it’s not so much about “picking up your balls and having the courage to care about it” and more about making a decision which thing we can afford to care about and which we simply don’t feel the need to.”

          You know, it’s probably logic like that right there that the people who murdered this doctor were using.

          The worth of a society can be measured in how it treats the least of its citizens. What does it say about a society that places no worth in those citizens who are the most helpless and yet possessed of the most potential?

          • This may be leaving the beaten path a bit, but I can’t think of ANY society that doesn’t treat the least of their citizens exactly the same way… like crap. By that yardstick all societies are equally sucky. Perhaps the worth of any measure of worth is in it’s ability to measure worth.

            How about this one instead: “The worth of any society is measured in it’s ability to agree with me.” I mean, whatever the arguments, that’s how I ultimately feel anyway.

          • Actually, this is not true. Today you have countries which, like the USA, have countless programs to try and help out the homeless – some government funded, some started by private citizens. You also have countries that don’t. You have countries that, like South Korea, hold their elders in the highest regard, and other which do not.

            You can also look at the sweep of history for improvements within a society. Our country once held it legal for one person to own another. Now we do not. Some countries provide free medical care to EVERYONE – even foreign tourists. We … are working on it.

  9. I don’t believe that abortion is always murder, but it IS always killing, and I do not think people should be encouraged to do it. Think of it exactly like pulling out a gun and shooting someone. If it is done to defend life or (perhaps) major property, killing generally considered acceptable behavior. If it’s done because someone is extremely annoying, well, one should not go beyond thinking about it. Gunning someone down solely because “it’s your choice” is clearly murder.

    I think the legality of abortion should be decided on a case-by-case basis… yes it’s a choice, but the prospective mother shouldn’t hold 100% stock in that choice. I think it’s fair to impose SOME limits, and make those limits flexible enough that it can handle a strange exception now and then. The “it will make the rest of my life SOOO inconvenient” defense shouldn’t work ALL the time.

    What I DON’T think we should do is outlaw abortions entirely, or allow a fetus or recently-born child to not really be a person and can thus be killed at will. The latter is outright immoral, and the former is being impractical and inflexible.

    • Well… personally, I don’t think abortions are that comparable to murdering another grown human. Okay, let me hypothesize: if for example a girl/woman gets an abortion because “this would make my life inconvenient” (which, I HOPE, is a very small percentage of people)… when you think about it, would you really want someone like that RAISING a child? Teaching and influencing someone? Call me cold-blooded, but if a woman would discard life so light-handedly, she shouldn’t have the right to be a parent.

      And then, the others: young girls; young women who acknowledge their inability to raise a child based on their own mental maturity and/or financial state; women who already have children but see they can’t effectively provide for another child and etc… add to that genetic diseases, serious health risks to the baby or mother while baby=in utero and so on and so on and so on.

      I think these instances where potential mothers make the awful and painful decision to have an abortion based on simple, practical and merciless facts of life are acts of MERCY. Because being responsible and investing so much of yourself for AT LEAST, minimum, 18 years – is that a decision that should be taken lightly? I think that’s a decision that’s as important and difficult as abortion. Or should be, at least 🙂

      (oh the rambly ramble, oh the ranty rant)

  10. It’s easier to post another comment than edit my own, so here goes…

    I avoided the “prospective mother with poor childrearing skills, but no physical danger” case because it’s a hard one, and like most lazy people I avoid hard stuff most of the time. I guess I’ll take a stab at it, though.

    I feel this is not so much an abortion issue as it is an attitude and poverty issue. I feel the prospective mother should have the baby, and yield it to the state if she feels incapable, clearly IS incapable, or does not want the child. We need to make the societal adjustments necessary to remove the stigma of being a single mother. This is probably harder than solving the abortion issue, but solving it would probably have other benefits such as reducing crime by the children of single mothers (an unbelievably large chunk of the crime stats).

  11. It’s a hard subject with good points on both sides. There is much less life experience, knowledge, and character extinguished by killing a fetus than a 60 year old, but there is much more potential. Which is worth more? Is it possible to say? Is it a relevant question?

    What about the needs and desires of the parents? How would you even compare that?

    It’s a big question without an easy answer. But I can say this without equivocation. Those Army of God guys? Those guys are douches.

    • Experience is worth more than potential. Certainly in the football transfer market, but I think in life too. Potential is not always realised, but experience is a bird in the hand. And when you are talking about foetuses it is a different kind of potential, there’s no indicator of talent, the thing is more likely to grow up in poverty and misery than in joy and affluence, it is more likely to be a criminal than a millionnaire or a priest (depending on what you value!).

  12. I get so confused by the sanctity of life thing. For one thing, it’s obvious to me that an egg is less than a foetus, a foetus is less than a baby, a baby is less than an infant, and an infant is less than an adult. It’s sad when a baby dies, but no-one knew it very long, it didn’t have much experience of life to lose, and (forgive my frankness) you can get another one in just 9 more months. To me it’s far sadder when a child dies, and saddest of all when an active adult dies. The impact an adult has on the world, the number of people who know him or knew him over the years, the things he contributed to, the networks where he leaves a gap – the cumulative effect of an adult’s death is far greater. Older people… not so sad, of course. I mean, there is such a thing as overstaying your welcome.

    I’m pretty sure there’s not a great deal of difference between a new-born baby and a 9-month foetus, but then where I come from there are laws (or possibly just policies, I don’t know) against terminating healthy unborn babies over a certain number of weeks. 24, 26, 30, no idea where it is right now. But fully developed babies in the womb do not get aborted.

    This idea of equivalency between a fertilised egg and a newborn baby, however, just defies all common sense. I remember hearing somewhere that it’s only a minority of fertilised eggs that become babies, and that’s just through cruel nature. A lump of cells with no nerves, no senses, no consciousness that may or may not eventually turn into a human being, and can be easily replaced with a different egg and a different sperm. Why is that more sacred than a rat foetus or a mouse foetus, which is practically identical apart from a few imperceptible chemical sequences? Even later on in development where the foetus can just about be identified as human but still lacks any capability to feel pain, experiences, self-awareness or consciousness, which cannot exist seperately from the mother entity, can such a thing be said to be alive, more than a hand or a leg or a liver? Does the sanctity of life therefore by extension mean that any amputation is an offence against God? Is having your tonsils out a mortal sin?

    Or if we are saying that all life is sacred, even in its simplest form, then what about the animals, the insects, the fish, the trees, the flowers, the fruit? How can we end the life of any of these things? Murderers and genocidal maniacs can breath a sigh of relief too.

    I think a little bit of killing is unavoidable in this life, whether we do it ourselves, or whether it is done on our behalf. Mostly it’s hapless entities like plants and animals that take the hits. Few people get upset (particularly about the plants). More people are upset by the animals, and the bigger (or cuter) the animal, the more people are upset. Oysters, flies, worms, no problem. Fish, mice, rats, hmm, a necessary evil. Cows, sheep, pigs, people start getting angry. Dogs, horses, whales – STEP AWAY from the KITTENS!

    I think it is a bit presumptuous to rank humans above other mammals, and to rank other mammals above other vertebrates, and to rank vertebrates above invertebrates, and to rank those above plants. We’re all just different types of organisms, different solutions to the evolutionary jigsaw. Should we be more consistent and not kill anything? Or should we be more consistent and kill anything and anyone that gets in the way of our convenience? Or just carry on being gloriously inconsistent in the way we deal with life and death? Anti-killers killing killers is just about the worst kind of inconsistency you can have, fighting for a principle by betraying the very principle you are fighting for is straightforward insanity.

  13. One might call me a fundamentalist in that I believe two things are the absolute fundamentals of my faith. “Love God” and “Love your neighbor”
    I don’t like abortion, I feel taking a life is wrong. No child is an unperson. With proper care, these people can live lives as fulfilling as anyone’s.
    My sister was initially diagnosed as ‘severally disabled’ . She graduated from high school last year on the honour roll. Others, much worse off, have still found joy and brought joy to others.
    That been said, the absolutely FUBAR logic if this “Army of God” disgusts me in ways words can barely describe. I weep that humanity can be so blind and stupid. This doctor, this person ,was also a living being. Killing him will not bring those children back. It will not stop others from doing their job. A mind, a soul, has gone out from the world, a unique and precious thing, full of hopes dreams and memories special to that person and that person alone. If there is no afterlife, then something that is absolutely one of a kind, and will never come again, has ended. Nothing gives his murderer the right to destroy such a singular piece of creation.
    Nothing.

  14. If I might, Susan Jacoby’s book The Freethinkers offers quite a bit of nuanced answer to the question of “what’s up with that separation of church and state anyway?” It’s a little bit stridently pro-atheism, but (AFAICT, and you can trust me, because I have a Master’s Degree…in HISTORY[0]!) well-researched.

    Yes, I go around posting homework assignments on comic strips’ blogs, because I like making the Baby Jesus cry.

    Cousin

    [0] Admittedly, not Colonial American history.

  15. “any amputation is an offence against God”

    Hey, Kevin, there’s your answer to the Miracle Cure question!

    Cousin

  16. Abortion is a topic I usually won’t touch with a ten foot pole. So why change that tactic now. I will say though, that I wholly disagree with this “Army of God” and the killing of abortion doctors to “save lives” or whatever justification they think they have. I like that as soon as I read your blog though Kevin, I look down and see 23 comments. Almost double the usual from what I’ve seen. Hot topics always get the people throwing around opinions and it was entertaining for me to read through them all. It’s what keeps me coming back day to day, or at least what makes me stay on this page waaaaay longer than I do any other webcomic.

    • Thanks Tim. I really enjoy the amazing array of really bright people that post here. They are terrific to read, and although I guess I am biased, really do seem much more thoughtful than the typical blog commentators.

  17. Intellectually speaking, I agree with Noodlebug and Iocane.

    IIRC, there are something in babies faces that make us all “booo, they’re cute” to one degree or another. This is why a lot of disney’s characters have such big eyes and forehead. Just look at the 7 dwarves: Without their beard, they’re babies.
    So, yes, when I imagine someone hurting a baby, I have this picture of a cute little toddler, and I go all “aaargh”. You’ll notice how, at one degree or another, we never picture a dumb, handicap-riddler toddler shitting himself while slobbering everywhere, but a “perfect child”.
    This, IMO, goes a long way towards eliciting “positive” emotionnal responses whenever children are concerned: I doubt anti-aborption groups struggle as much against euthanasia as they struggle against aborption. Elders aren’t cute, even if they, too, shit their pants and drool on the floor

    But, even from a religious view, a life is a life. This makes me angry: Why should a child barely able to say “gaaaah” while dribbling shoudl be worth more than an adult? If a terrorists bomb a plane, people will tell “That’s a tragedy”. If he bombs a maternity? They’ll come asking for his death. Yet, in both cases, he took lives, without letting people any chance. Why should one be worth more than the other? Probably for the same reason this doctor’s life was worth nothing in the eyes of his killer: Because babies are cuuuute.

    And when you think about it, as previous posters said, an adult is useful to society, and can make more childs, while a baby, cute as he may be, is an useless burden.

    About aborption… Unless you believe that, somehow, a single cell will be given a soul just because it comes from human seeds, this is nonsense. For a long time, a child is less complex that a toad or a rat. Yet, we’d put some cells “life” above that of all those cute rabbits just because this is our progeniture? To me, this sounds like “Man is Over Creation”, ethnocentrism at its best. Say, in RPGs terms, we’d put the lives of Intelligence/wisdom 1 childs above Intelligence/Wisdom 2 animals because… They’re human childs, thus somehow better/superior, whatever.

    And don’t think aborption is an easy process for the mother, and that women go to aboption clinics like they go to the supermarket. Sure, bell curve and all, there probably are out there a few ones that get pregnant every 9 month, abort, and begin again, but for most women, this is difficult, IMO in part because of these societal notions about children, life and death. That’s why, at least here, there are psychologists in aborption clinics. They surely don’t need people elling her they’re coldly killing a cute, blond, blue-eyed baby (or whatever racist stereotype of the “perfect child” runs in your neighborhood) instead of a gelatinous amas of cells, because they already picture these like that.

    On a side note, my mother didn’t abort, and instead married my father, all for religious reasons. If she’d been less religious, this would have made both our lives easier.

  18. All of this makes me wonder something. What would the creation of government-run creches, where the creche is run as a legitimate place intended for the actual raising and training of children through youth and into adulthood rather than the human equivalent of pet shops and pounds that orphanages and the like are currently, do to the issue? If mothers would have somewhere they could leave the children they can’t (for whatever reason, be it medical, social, attitudinal, or what-have-you) raise themselves, where they would know that those children were going to be cared for and loved and treated as valuable human beings, would that make a significant difference? Would abortions become less common? Or would the hate, fear, and paranoia that a government-run child raising organization is almost guaranteed to engender doom the whole concept?

    • The Soviet Union experimented with creches, apparently experiences were predominantly negative: The children had extremely high criminality rates. Who could’ve predicted that spitting in the eye of millenia of childrearing tradition where children were raised by their blood relatives, or members of the same tribe, would turn out so badly? I’m not saying that the creche concept is completely flawed but I suspect that we haven’t got the serious neuroscientific grounding in the foundations of human behaviour patterns, and the techniques for engineering those patterns, to do it right yet. As it is the science in this area is being dominated by military bodies with minor contributions by the consumerist-advertising sector.

      • I have another explanation.

        1) The peoples working here don’t nescessarily care for the childs. Note also that the less cute you are, the less you’ll interest them, of course.
        2) To care properly for childs would require a lot of personnal, and thus cost money. Here at least, the first thing our beloved Omniprésident would do would be do cut in half creche personnals. When you’ve got 1 adult for 10 childs, how can they be properly cared and loved for?

        • Let’s ask “The Octomom” that one. Or, more realistically, all those Amish, Quaker, and other, large families with nine, ten, twelve kids… I knew a family growing up where there were nine kids, no joke, and they managed to do a good job raising all of them into well adjusted people, so I know it -can- be done on a large scale, although I suspect that more than about a dozen kids to two parent-figures becomes untenable. And obviously (to me at least), you have to have the -same- pair of parent-figures stay with that set of kids the whole time; they have to bond as a family unit. But with the sheer number of people out there who would make excellent parents but for whatever reason are unable to have kids, and the sheer number of otherwise unwanted kids in need of parent-figures who could give them the family setting they need, it seems like an externally organized effort to get them together is in order. When you do that, and you put a couple of those “family” units under one roof for ease of resource distribution, it’s called one of two things – either a kibbutz or a creche, depending on whether you’re end product is crops or decent human beings.

          • Family child-rearing usually involves other adults besides the dominant guardian(s) at least partly, and if the children are spaced far enough apart you can teach the children enough that they can share part of the responsibility–children have had jobs and responsibilities well before reaching the age of 21 in societies past and do in societies present as well.
            Formalized, top-down, understaffed, orphanage-creches of the Post WW2 soviet design are what I was referencing, which is what I’m somewhat familiar with. Kibbutzim are as much religious institutions, communes and land-claim human-plagpoles as anything else if my own reading on the subject isn’t woefully inaccurate, but I don’t know enough about them to discuss them meaningfully.

  19. It makes me pretty angry that those Army of God people shit on what the christian religion should be.

    I have issues with abortion. Some people misused free abortions in the past in a way of cheap contraception (e.g. east germany) and a way to select gender or other traits. It’s also not easy to answer the question if a kid-to-be has to cope with any kind of heavy disability has the right to live or not.

    On the other hand there are a lot of situations where I don’t object especially if the mother’s life is endangered or the kid would be handicapped in a way it could never live without heavy medical help, in constant pain or even without a brain or whatever.

    My (hypothetical) questions are : Would the kid WANT to live? Would it even be AWARE of itself?
    Do not misunderstand my statement above about handicapped people – they have a right to live and you should not abort a kid with down-syndrome or a missing limb or so.

    As a result I’m pro-abortion at the end but think that every case should be closely watched and accompanied by competent professionals, not clerics of any color. I am a sort of christian but this is not a religious issue.

    • As long as we’re talking about making law in the U.S., it should NEVER be a religious issue. (Though it often is.)

      • Many religions, and in particular Judaism, were the primary or even the sole body of laws in their society.
        It is fully predictable that at least some people brought up in such religious traditions would have difficulties accepting that the laws of their nation must reflect more than just their religious doctrines and on some topics even oppose their doctrine. A large number of devoted believers are willing to accept that, but one can’t expect everybody to be sufficiently cynical, enlightened or respectful of others’ rights to self-determination to do so without friction. It’s the price of freedom to have a religion, and frankly I think that if we spent more effort on encouraging less-objectionable religions and discouraging the more annoying and destructive ones they could be better than the unguided, chaotic superstition that would be left in the wake of curing the world of religion.

  20. Problem, IMO: Every religion can be both cool and destructive. It all depends on the people you have before you. Read the coran, bible, torah… You’ll find a hate sentence for every love sermon, and respectively. And please, don’t talk to me about budhism

  21. We may have clashed before, Kevin, (albeit in a civil and friendly manner), but I’m with you on this one. You make a very good point about the importance of life extending to all ages and walks of life.

    There were once a couple of Pro-Life people who stood just outside my High School parking lot (to avoid trespassing), handing out brocheurs advocating their side of the issue. They were very peacefully just handing out their materials, being completely polite and agreeable, trying to get their viewpoint out to the high-school kid demographic (a group I can completely understand them wanting to reach).

    Great galloping mobs of high-school students went out to … well, basically harass them. Call them names, shout things, throw things, and just be basically obnoxious. My views, like Kevin’s, are mixed on the topic of abortion, but to me what mattered more is that the other students of my school were making me ashamed to be associated with them. I walked up through the crowd, shook one of the surrounded Pro-Lifers’ hands, and said, “I just want you to know that I respect your bravery in coming out here.”

    Now, the point of that story- Dr. Tiller was braving a lot more than a bunch of uncouth high-school students to do what he must have thought was right, so I respect his courage, too. His death was a tragedy, and more of a blow against the Pro-Life movement in a strategic sense, because now the Pro-Life movement is not the only one with martyrs of their cause.

    • There is always a very remote possibility that talking and acting civil will cause someone to rethink their position. Harassment ALWAYS hardens someone’s stance against you. Good on you for appreciating them for speaking their minds.

  22. Regarding our perception of babies as cute, and how many people place greater value on them than adults and/or other lifeforms, as has often been pointed out here, and has a great deal to do with the subject at hand. I’d like to point out that this is likely a survival mechanism, meaning that we are naturally predisposed to protect our young, because they are going to carry on our genes, and humans as a species.