They’re Pro-Life, Except When They’re Not

Dr. Seuss WWII cartoon

Before he became America’s greatest poet, Dr. Seuss was a political cartoonist. This cartoon applies just as much today (maybe more so?) than it did then.

Somehow “protecting America against terrists” (to quote the Shrub) justifies anything we want to do to other countries. Sure, we have to protect ourselves, and we have an obligation to look after our own needs first. Sometimes those needs conflict with the best interests of other countries. But that doesn’t give us license to do whatever we want while ignoring its effects on others.

It’s difficult to know how many non-hostile Iraqis we’ve killed. Estimates range from 91,000 to over a million. Even if it is the lower number, how can any self-professed “pro-life” conservative justify killing 91,000 innocent people? To avenge 9/11? Iraq had nothing to do with it. To prevent Saddam from using weapons of mass destruction against us? The best evidence that existed before the war (and now proven) was that there were no WMDs. To “rescue” Iraqis from that monster Sadaam? Then why don’t we intervene in the half-dozen other violent dictatorships around the world? To protect us against terrorists? Saudi Arabia put more terrorists into circulation than Iraq did before the war.

Maybe the goal was to avenge a murder plot against Daddy? Or maybe to show Daddy that we aren’t the loser son that he always thought we were, so we’ll finish the job he started? Maybe we had to liberate “our” oil? Maybe we needed to implement the PNAC Doctrine?

Tell me, “pro-lifers”: Which of those reasons is it?

You’re opposed to the “morning after pill”, because the destruction of an eight-cell blastocyte is murder. So how is the destruction of 91,000 post-birth Iraqis OK? If “abortion is the murder of a child”, and “even one abortion is too many”, then how is the killing of tens of thousands of Iraqi children not murder and not too many?

27 Responses to “They’re Pro-Life, Except When They’re Not”

  1. Sarah Says:

    That’s because “pro-lifers” only care about “life” that isn’t breathing on its own. Once it is: Fuck you, you’re on your own!

  2. Lilyana Says:

    Well duh! Obviously the Iraqis already had a chance to be baptised so it’s all good!

    On a more serious note, I think it’s because they are so incredibly damned short sighted. I don’t think they really have the awareness to look beyond their own little world. Their preacher didn’t tell them that Jesus said they should make an effort to save “those brown people over in that other place.”

    Of course this explanation attempts to credit them with the existence of kind emotions. A good number of them probably just don’t give a crap cause they’re either racist bastards or they’re whatever the word is for being asstards to people cause they aren’t a part of your own religion.

  3. Parrotlover77 Says:

    The hypocrisy of the pro-life movement is well documented. This example is what bothers me more than anything else. At best, they are being ignorant. At worst, extremely racist and in support of, essentially, genocide.

    On a side note, I find it highly amusing how scathing Seuss is to the “America First” crowd of his day. Immediately I thought of McCain’s slogan, “Country First.”

    Of course, in response, I would guess conservatives would have pointed to the intervention in Iraq as being analogous to the intervention in Germany, which would nullify the analogy between the isolationist movement of the past and the Bush Doctrine movement of today. I won’t cut down straw men here, but it is worth bringing this up. Today we are worried about unnecessary foreign intervention. Back then they were worried about not enough foreign intervention. In both cases, however, the question of “the right to life” is front and center.

  4. TauRaven Says:

    This reminds me of a question I have asked many a “pro-lifer”; If the fetus you save today is born gay, will you still protect the childs rights?

  5. Ron Britton Says:

    TauRaven:

    I don’t remember fundies mentioning any other rights than the right to life, and apparently that only applies to the unborn. Once you pop out, whatever you “choose” to do, including becoming gay, is up to you. See? They’re pro-choice after all!

    Maybe the answer to the Iraq dilemma is to find out how many pregnant women have been killed as a result of our war. Then we can tell the fundies how many fetuses they have aborted!

  6. Seth Says:

    The whole pro-life movement can be summed up in one sentence I’ve read on some other blogs around the Internet: “Pro-lifers believe that life begins at conception and ends at birth.”

    From looking at their stance on any issue that involves life, that’s the only way their stance can be described.

  7. sue blue Says:

    On this note, a particularly vile exponent of the “pro-life” crowd decided to dance on the smoking remains of real, live children who died in that terrible plane crash in Butte, Montana.

    This, in a nutshell, pretty much sums up xtian morality. The only good thing, the one and only silver lining in this ugly black cloud, is that this kind of attitude is what is making new atheists every day.

  8. dvsrat Says:

    They would argue that there have been more than 90,000+ unborn “killed.” They don’t care how many actual living breathing human beings are literally killed. New born babies are potential born-agains. A society that legally requires a woman to have a baby whether she wants to or not (under any circumstances) is the goal for the “pro-life” proponents. In Iraq they see many muslims being killed. No problem, low probability of potential converts. Sarah and Sammy screw-up in Souix Falls South Dakota, after their absinence-only sex ed class, get pregnent — there’s a prime candidate for a new little born-again. An Iraqi citizen of any age is of no value to them. They don’t value human life they value converts.

  9. Ron Britton Says:

    Sue Blue:

    That article you linked to is one of the most gruesome examples of fundie “morality” I’ve seen in quite a while.

  10. Brian Says:

    I read about the fine example of Christian morality with regard to the plane crash yesterday on PZ’s site. Some of the commentators had fired off e-mails to the vile bitch that wrote the article to express their outrage, and some of them received replies, which they posted. You can just feel the gloating emanating out of her.

    As an atheist for most of my life, it’s hard to be shocked or taken aback by the antics of fundies anymore, but every now and again something like this happens to remind me again in unmistakable terms just how callous, cruel, and short-sighted believers can be. Even though I shouldn’t be surprised, it’s still hard to fathom that in the midst of a personal tragedy, human compassion and empathy is overshadowed by dogma and ideology. Thanks a whole fucking bunch, Jesus!

  11. Parrotlover77 Says:

    sue blue – From that site you linked…

    We warned him, for his children’s sake, to wash his hands of the innocent blood he assisted in spilling because, as Scripture warns, if “you did not hate bloodshed, bloodshed will pursue you”. (Ezekiel 35:6)

    If you buy this shit, God is a prick. Don’t just kill the sinner, kill his entire fucking family and leave him alive to suffer. And then the holier-than-thou followers cheer this. That’s some high morals we can believe in, my friends.

  12. Ron Britton Says:

    Thanks a whole fucking bunch, Jesus!

    To be fair to Jesus, this is the opposite of how he would act.

    Any ideology can have fanatics who become overly passionate about it and turn it into something bad. What I’d like to know is why is religion, especially Christianity and Islam, so prone to this?

    The only thing I can think of is the stakes are so high. These people think that where they are going to spend eternity depends on their ability to gain converts or defend their religion from blasphemy or whatever. That seems to be the toxic ingredient that turns the over-passionate personality type into a dangerous fundamentalist.

  13. Brian Says:

    Thanks a whole fucking bunch, Jesus!

    To be fair to Jesus, this is the opposite of how he would act.

    Ron,

    Point taken, but remember that Jesus, if he ever even existed, said some pretty hardcore shit as well, but that’s an entirely different topic.

    I partly agree with you about afterlife delusions driving these misanthropes to act like douches. Believing that God is on your side is always bad news for our species. But I think there is something more to this. I think that many fundies are truly insecure about their beliefs, and the crazier they act the more insecure they are.

    If they’re screwing up a school board with ID nonsense, it’s because they’re afraid learning about evolution could lead a kid to atheism (a not-altogether unreasonable conclusion, actually). If they’re using quote mining, straw men, or ad hominem attacks in what is supposed to be a debate, it’s because their intellectual quiver is empty. They never, ever engage in a debate honestly, because they are afraid that their minds will be changed. They’re so afraid of this that they will attribute it to Satan, or some such bullshit, and inevitably end the conversation with prattle about the questionable value of “faith” over reason.

    To some extent, every one of us utilizes reason on a daily basis to survive. We observe our world, recognize patterns, and act accordingly to keep our asses alive. Our daily interactions with others is predicated on the use of reason. But fundies have, somehow, acquired the ability to selectively ignore reason in favor of ignorance. Of course, we all do this to some extent, but when it comes to religion the effect is disproportionately skewed.

    I suppose the big question to ask is: have they completely eliminated reason from matters of faith in their minds, or is it merely lurking below the surface, a dangerous force that could at any moment cast doubt on Jesus, God, and the Bible? I think it’s there, and I think they know it’s there, and furthermore, I think they know exactly what will happen if they ever listen to it. Perhaps this all happens subconsciously in some, and in others the conflict is more obvious. Either way, I find the subject fascinating and depressing at the same time.

  14. Ron Britton Says:

    Brian:

    I think that many fundies are truly insecure about their beliefs, and the crazier they act the more insecure they are.

    This is a good observation. I think this is a large part of it.

  15. Dawn Says:

    Re: The plane crash article,

    As usual, biblegod has piss poor aim. Killed the family of the guy who owns the clinics but leaves him alive to continue his business. So that was what, five innocents (the children) that basically got aborted? Way to go, Jehovah. Way to fucking go.

  16. sue blue Says:

    PZ has another post up today about the plane crash story – one of the women who died in the crash was five months pregnant. Wonder how Gingi explains that one? Collateral damage? God killing the fetus of a member of an “abortionist’s” family doesn’t count?

    I didn’t bother to e-mail that waste of skin. She just seemed to get off on all the attention, and never expressed the tiniest smidgeon of a conscience when replying to the e-mails. Furthermore, she’ll just whine to all her fundie friends about how persecuted she is, or gloat about how she must have really hit a nerve in us evil, amoral, abortionist atheists. I tried instead to have her website taken down by complaining to her webhost that it’s offensive and promotes hate. No luck yet. Probably they’ll claim she hasn’t actually promoted hate speech or done anything other than express an “opinion”, no matter how despicable.

  17. Ron Britton Says:

    Sue Blue:

    I tried instead to have her website taken down by complaining to her webhost that it’s offensive and promotes hate.

    I’m very much opposed to this tactic. The internet needs to be free for ideas to rise or sink on their merits. The exception to this is if the person is doing or promoting something illegal.

  18. Parrotlover77 Says:

    The only thing I can think of is the stakes are so high. These people think that where they are going to spend eternity depends on their ability to gain converts or defend their religion from blasphemy or whatever. That seems to be the toxic ingredient that turns the over-passionate personality type into a dangerous fundamentalist.

    Good point. In Buddhism, if you slack off, you are just reincarnated and have to work harder next time. Much less pressure!

  19. sue blue Says:

    Ron:

    You’re absolutely right about freedom of the internet. But some Web Hosts have rules about content regarding “hate speech” and promoting violence. Gingi seems to be skating on some thin ice, without actually breaking through. While she applauds death and destruction, it’s debatable whether she’s actually promoting it. She’s exulting in an “I told you so” attitude, and claiming that this should happen to more “abortionists”. It’s this kind of evil rhetoric that drives the really crazy fringe to take action, while people like Gingi hide behind “free speech” and “I was only expressing my opinion” to avoid taking responsibility for things they clearly want to have happen. I think there is a clear difference between the anger we have toward fundies and express here and the hate-filled spew coming from some of their websites, because of the effect it has on their intended audience. I feel these people represent real danger – like bombing abortion clinics and murdering doctors. It’s not a real leap for some of these nuts to read Gingi’s crap and feel inspired to take action. Muzzling the internet’s freedom isn’t what I’m aiming for – just mitigating the danger of people like Gingi.

  20. sue blue Says:

    On second thought, maybe going after her website is just too controversial and probably won’t work anyway. Maybe we should just flood the internet with outrage at Gingi’s reprehensible views. I’ve already seen several websites that have made this their top priority. If her views get a wider airing as opposed to just being read by her nutty anti-abortion groupies, I’m sure that the majority of Americans would be absolutely repulsed. That might work to our advantage far more effectively.

  21. OtherRob Says:

    I think sue blue’s last post (#20) is the closest to the mark. I think Ms. Edmond’s views need *wider* publication. Let everyone see exactly where her morality has led her.

    What I would like to see — and don’t expect to — are religious people condemning her thoughts.

  22. Jeff Eyges Says:

    OtherRob, I think you actually would see liberal to “moderate” Christians condemning her views. They’d be eager to distance themselves.

    I think Sue is right – post a link to her site wherever you can.

  23. OtherRob Says:

    Jeff, I hope so. I guess what bugs me is that we don’t really see it. For example, I’ve never read about a congregation putting itself between Fred Phelps and the funeral for a fallen soldier. That is something I’d like to see.

  24. Brian Says:

    OtherRob,

    This is precisely the problem Sam Harris talked about in his books. Crazy fundies are obviously a problem, but religious moderates (you know, nice people you don’t mind being around even though they still believe some weird shit) give fundies the space in which to do their thing.

    It would be great if a religious group had enough sack to counter-protest the unbridled evil of the Westboro Baptist Church when such hatred and bigotry is displayed, but dogma trumps compassion most of the time, so I doubt it’ll ever happen.

  25. Jeff Eyges Says:

    I would like to see religious moderates attacking the fundies publicly, naming names, etc. One of the problems I have with progressive evangelicals like Jim Wallis is that they want to bring the fundies to the table, which I maintain cannot be done. They don’t understand dialogue; they only understand monologue. They don’t value compromise; offer a fundie a cookie, he’ll grab the whole jar and tell you it was God’s will. They’re convinced they have a divine mandate to conquer and rule. I don’t think people outside of that world realize how pervasive Calvinism and Dominionism are as influences, even upon people who wouldn’t necessarily identify as Calvinists or Dominionists.

    I could take Jim Wallis or Brian McLaren more seriously if, just once, I heard one of them say, publicly, “Pat Robertson is a psychotic fucking asshole and he isn’t a real Christian” – but it’ll never happen. I’ve been told it would be counter-productive, but I don’t think that’s the whole story; I think it’s because they see Pat and his ilk as their “brothers and sisters in Christ” – something we could never be.

    Perhaps I’m just immature; I don’t like these guys, so I don’t want the liberal evangelicals to like them, either. The friend of my enemy…

  26. Jeff Eyges Says:

    On the other hand, religious moderates do condemn the actions of the Westboro cult. I just wish they’d do more.

  27. OtherRob Says:

    I wonder if part of the reason that moderates don’t condemn these guys more is they just don’t want to admit that the atheists/agnostics/skeptics are right about something. Maybe they’re afraid the a/a/s would come back and say, “since you admitted we were right about that, you have to admit we are right about everything.”