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Category: Politics

Don’t Park Here or God Will Tow Your Car

Yesterday my wife, Polly, and I, along with our oldest daughter, attended a dance recital for two of our granddaughters at the former Defiance High School auditorium. We had a delightful time. That said, the auditorium and its steps were not ADA compliant. I found them difficult to navigate, almost falling several times.

Almost a thousand people attended the recital, put on by Defiance Dance Studio. We had to park a good distance away from the auditorium. By the time we arrived, all the nearby parking spaces were filled. We parked in the St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church parking lot. There was one parking space closer to the auditorium we could have parked in, but unfortunately, it was guarded, much like the Garden of Eden, by an angel with a flaming sword, warding off all who would dare to park in this holy space.

parking space st paul lutheran church defiance

Not one person would park in this holy space. I told Polly, “pull in.” She did, as we both heartily laughed. As I pondered our atheistic parking, I thought, “ya know, the church might have our car towed if we park in the holy of holies.” Churches can be and are quite vindictive if their “space” is adulterated by unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines. So we moved, safe from God and his tow trucks.

Best I can tell, the church’s pastor, Dave Brobston, is not disabled.

dave brobston

My position has remained the same both today and during the twenty-five years I spent in the ministry: such reserved parking places are signs of privilege; that pastors are above the people they pastor. James 2:1-9 says:

My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.

Instead of being “the least of these,” pastors often expect preferential treatment (or, at the very least, don’t push back when their churches try to give them exalted status). I refused to let churches treat me any differently from anyone else. Instead of parking close to the church, I deliberately parked at the back end of the lot, giving preference to others. You know, as Jesus did. WWJD? Remember? A new trend in IFB churches is for pastors to have gaudy recliner-sized chairs on the platform for them to sit in. Again, perception matters. What do these chairs say to visitors? Well, Bruce, where did YOU sit when you were a pastor? Glad you asked. I typically sat on the front pew, except when preaching and leading the music. In the late 90s, I took matters one step further by preaching from the floor instead of the platform. I stopped wearing “uniforms,” hoping to show congregants I was one of them. One Sunday, my mother-in-law complained, “Bruce, if you keep doing this stuff, your people won’t think you’re special.” 🙂 Yep, that was my goal. (Bruce was always doing “stuff.”) 🙂

Perception matters, and from my seat in the atheist pew, this sign tells strangers and visitors that the pastor is special, worthy of elevated status. The fact that not one person attending the recital was willing to park in the reserved space tells me that the threat of financial punishment if you parked there was received. Left unsaid is what this sign says to people St. Paul might be trying to reach. I am in no way impugning the motives of the church and its pastor. What I am saying is perception matters; that if the goal is “reach” people with the gospel, how you present yourself matters.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Tampa Bay Rays Players are Proudly Homophobic, But Say They Love and Respect LGBTQ People

christians attack lgbt people

Deadline reports:

The Tampa Bay Rays’ 16th “Pride Night” was held Saturday, the Florida club’s annual show of support for the LGBTQ+ community.

Most Major League Baseball teams acknowledge Pride Month in some way, with the Minnesota Twins and Toronto Blue Jays including drag queens as part of their celebrations.

Tampa Bay was more muted, simply having its players wear rainbow logos on caps and sleeves for its game against the Chicago White Sox. However, several players opted out of participation, citing religious reasons.

The Tampa Bay Times reported that pitchers Jason Adam, Jalen Beeks, Brooks Raley, Jeffrey Springs, and Ryan Thompson were among those who didn’t wear the logos of support.

Jason Adam, a pitcher who only tosses one way, released a statement on behalf of his fellow Jesus-loving, LGBTQ-hating homophobes:

A lot of it comes down to faith, to like a faith-based decision. So it’s a hard decision. Because, ultimately, we all said what we want is them to know that all are welcome and loved here.

But when we put it on our bodies, I think a lot of guys decided that it’s just a lifestyle that maybe — not that they look down on anybody or think differently — it’s just that maybe we don’t want to encourage it if we believe in Jesus, who’s encouraged us to live a lifestyle that would abstain from that behavior. Just like (Jesus) encourages me as a heterosexual male to abstain from sex outside of the confines of marriage. It’s no different.

It’s not judgmental. It’s not looking down. It’s just what we believe the lifestyle he’s encouraged us to live, for our good, not to withhold. But, again, we love these men and women, we care about them and we want them to feel safe and welcome here.

Adam would have us believe that they are not being judgmental; that he and his fellow Christian bigots love and respect LGBTQ people. Adams reveals his ignorance of LGBTQ people by saying that there is something morally wrong with their chosen gender, who they love, and who they fuck. Using Adam’s logic, I could just as easily say that he and his fellow teammates aren’t really Christians; that every time they play a game on Sunday they are violating the Ten Commandments. Talk about hypocrites, demanding unbelievers keep their peculiar interpretation of the law of God while they don’t do the same. And does anyone think that these players are virgins or were virgins when they married? It’s possible, I suppose, but I doubt it. Besides, I suspect Adam and his virile friends have looked at women or two with lust in their hearts; lust Jesus called adultery. And the Bible is clear, no adulterer shall inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. Think of all the fornicating that goes on among professional baseball players. Why hasn’t Adam taken a public stand on this issue? Or, is this really all about heterosexual men who think same-sex anything is “yucky”? Don’t they know Jesus was gay? After all, his disciples were all men. Just saying . . .

The players could have quietly not worn the logos. Instead, they decided to run onto the field, sans jock straps, letting their hateful, perverse religion hang out. Personally, I am not a fan of the meaningless, performative shows of support for LGBTQ people sports teams are fond of doing these days. Do we really think rainbow logos, signs, and flags at stadiums will make one bit of difference? Of course not. I suspect LGBTQ people are tired of shallow shows of support from businesses and sports teams that cause no meaningful difference in their lives.

The refusal to wear the logos is being framed as a freedom of religion issue. It’s not. Players are expected to wear all sorts of garb on game days. Players often wear pro-military uniforms and logos. Imagine what the outrage level would be if some players refused to wear these things, voicing their disapproval of the flag-waving nationalism that is so prominent at baseball games these days. Yet, because this is being framed as a religious issue, we are expected to respect the players’ homophobic beliefs. Change the issue to one of skin color — as was common in the 50s — should we be expected to ignore the sincerely held beliefs of racist players? Of course not.

Tampa Bay management should have released a statement calling out the players’ homophobic statement. Instead, the team said nothing. Better yet, give the players a day off. After all, they are Christians. They could have spent the day in church, reflecting on WWJD?

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

The Southern Baptist Convention and the Roman Catholic Church Kept Us in the Same “Closet”

lgbtq

Guest Post by MJ Lisbeth

A week and a half ago, Southern Baptist Convention leaders released a list of alleged sex-abuse offenders that had been kept secret. Perhaps it is not fair of me to say that I am not surprised, as I have never had any connection with the SBC. On the other hand, having experienced childhood sexual abuse while serving as an altar boy in the Roman Catholic Church—and hearing whispers about sexual harassment of women and teenaged girls in the Evangelical church of which I was later a part—I don’t think I was being cynical in saying to myself, “Well, what does anybody expect?” upon reading about the SBC report.

Perhaps even less surprising, to me, was the accompanying revelation: victims who alerted church authorities, at whatever level, were advised to “be quiet” or, worse, intimidated into silence. It sounded like an alternate-universe version, if you will, of my own story. Decades passed, and the priest who abused me died, before I spoke or wrote about my experience. For one thing, I had neither the language nor other cultural contexts for telling about what was done to me: there was no open discussion about such matters in the time and place in which I grew up, and priests and other church officials were seen as beyond reproach. In such an environment, even if I knew the names of the parts of my body that priest touched, I could not have told of my ordeal in a way that would have been more credible, in the eyes of my community, than anything that priest—or the priests to whom he reported—could have said. I can’t help but to think that if I could have described what the priest did to me—beyond that “it felt weird”—someone, whether a relative or a father in the church, would have told me to keep my story to myself.

That nobody had to tell me not to tell—at least at that time in my life—is a testament to, not only the esteem in which priests in the church were held in my community, but also the power the Church has wielded. It also says something about how powerless I was. Perhaps the most important lesson I have learned from carrying my sexual abuse, alone—and, years later, seeing children bearing their burdens without a champion or mentor—is that nothing is more damaging than inculcating, or allowing a child to grow up, with a sense that their reality—or, more importantly, what they have to say about it—is not to be trusted or believed.

For that matter, invalidation of the fear, anger or whatever else one might feel about having been violated—which, by definition, is done by someone with more power or, at least, credibility—serves only to further traumatize the victim. That is what SBC officials did when they told people to “be quiet.” That is what my parish, and larger Church officials, could just as well have done after I was abused by a priest. 

So, while the abuse I experienced as an altar boy in a Roman Catholic parish in Brooklyn, New York in the 1960s is different from what girls and women in the Southern Baptist Convention endured, we have this much in common: we suffered in silence for too long as a result of churches that were more interested in preserving their “institutional integrity” than in helping those of us who have been victimized. That silence—my “closet,” if you will—hindered my development in so many ways, not the least of which is that I didn’t affirm my identity as a woman until my mid-40s. I can only wish that those whom the SBC told to “keep quiet” didn’t lose as much—time, or anything else—by remaining in a “closet” I know all too well.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Anti-Trans Bigotry at Bryan, Ohio City Schools

bryan city schools

“It’s just really, disrespectful. I just want them to call me Jay when I walk across the stage in front of everyone so it’s not really embarrassing.”

“I didn’t really have any friends. The kids would call me slurs and names they would make up themselves.”

“The kids at school would use my deadname to bully me. It would be so embarrassing and disrespectful to go up in front of all those kids and get called it once again.”

Jay Rober

“The consistent practice has always been to utilize the student’s legal name that matches with the legal name on the diploma.”

“If they decide to apply for employment or if they decide to attend higher education, we on the school side are bound to ensure that the legalities are followed with the legal document.”

— Bryan City Schools Superintendent Mark Rairigh

Letter to the editor of the Bryan Times.

Dear Editor,

Graduating from high school is a seminal moment in a student’s life; a time of arrival and entrance into adulthood. Graduation should be a day of happiness and joy as family and friends congratulate a student on a job well done. It is not a day for moralizing or political statements. Unfortunately, Bryan City Schools superintendent Mark Rairigh did just that for one transgender student, Jay Rober. And now Rober won’t be walking with his fellow students on graduation day.

Rober asked school officials to please call him by his preferred name when awarding him his diploma. Rairigh says this can’t happen for “legal” reasons. What “legal” reasons, exactly? I can understand requiring a student’s legal name to be printed on his or her diploma, but that’s not what is going on here. All Rober wants is to be called by his preferred name when his name is announced. Doing so is just a matter of respect for the student. Countless students are daily addressed by their teachers with preferred names. My dad’s name was Robert, but his teachers called him Bob. The same goes for my mother, whose legal name was Barbara, but wanted to be called Barb.

Accommodating preferred names require no effort on the part of Bryan City teachers, administrators, and the superintendent. It’s hard not to conclude, then, that there is either a political or religious agenda behind Rairigh’s refusal to accommodate Rober’s name request. Hiding behind “this is the way we have always done it” is the mantra of people resistant to social progress and change; the same mantra used by southern white supremacists to block school integration.

School officials threw Rober a lifeline, of sorts: legally change your name (in less than two weeks, at a cost of hundreds of dollars). Are Bryan City teachers required to call every student by their legal name? That’s a rhetorical question, by the way. Shouldn’t students who have preferred nicknames be required to legally change their names? Absurd, right?

At the end of the day, “Jay” is just a name. Out of respect for Jay and his family on the biggest day of his young life, he has earned the right to be called by his preferred name. I can’t think of a rational or logical (or legal) reason why Jay just can’t be “Jay.”

Bruce Gerencser

Ney, Ohio

Words Matter

words

When you say homosexuality is an abomination . . . you are saying your gay son and neighbor are abominable.

When you say all non-Christians will go to Hell when they die . . . you are saying your non-Christian mother, son, and neighbor will be tortured by God in the flames of the Hell for eternity.

When you say abortion is evil, sick, and murder . . . you are saying those who are pro-choice are evil, sick murderers.

When you say Christians are idiots . . . you are saying your Christian mother and grandfather are idiots.

When you say people on welfare are lazy, good for nothing bums . . . you are saying your out-of-work cousin with cancer is a lazy, good for nothing bum.

When you say atheism is immoral . . . you are saying that your atheist daughter and cousin are immoral.

You can’t divorce your words from their implications.

Words matter.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Quote of the Day: Anti-Abortion, Forced Birth Zealots Are Gaslighting the American People

gaslighting

So when men—because it’s pretty much always men—lecture you about what red-state legislatures—which are pretty much always controlled by men—are not going to do when Dobbs comes down, it’s most likely because they believe you to be either stupid or fundamentally powerless or possibly both.

This is all called gaslighting, and it’s a tactic of bullies, thugs, and authoritarians everywhere. The same Wall Street Journal opinion page that promised on July 2, 2018, that the court wouldn’t overturn Roe is now actively trying to cudgel the court into overturning Roe. Spectacularly stupid men gloat about the end of women’s freedom and then turn around and deride women as hysterical for worrying publicly about their freedom. Gaslighting is very much the point. When people in power tell you the precise thing you are witnessing isn’t happening before your eyes, it is done with a purpose. They are confident that if you let yourself be mollified by all the soothing talk about how, sure, you may feel (incorrectly, they will add) like they misled you at their confirmation hearings, but they are emphatically not misleading you now, then they can amass more power and more credibility to do more freedom-restrictive things with impunity in the future.

Whenever you’re being told by powerful people who don’t know anything—and don’t much care—about health, poverty, inequality, or how reproduction happens, that the thing that is currently happening isn’t actually happening, the important thing to do is not to argue with them. You are irrelevant to them, and traveling back to the Middle Ages with them in order to debate them on whether you are in fact a witch serves no useful purpose. Nor should you allow yourself to be distracted by fatuous comparisons between a Supreme Court leak and the events of Jan. 6, 2021. The latter was a coup attempt. The former was a systems failure of an institution that largely operates without systems. When actual Supreme Court justices tell you that they cannot plausibly discern the economic implications of an abortion ban because it’s never been empirically studied, that is also gaslighting. It’s been studied.

These sorts of distractions are another weapon of bullies who want to keep you from doing your work. Don’t be distracted. If the constituencies that have organized to end legal abortion for largely religious reasons for 50 years are telling you this has nothing to do with religion or abortion, you are being gaslit. When you are being told that women aren’t going to be harmed and that no other liberty interests are implicated and that fetal personhood is not connected to any of this, and that all these claims are somehow a certainty because polling, or because voting power, well, gaslit. But please understand that if you are being drawn into unknowable speculation about who the leaker is, or what precedents still survive post-Dobbs, or whether the Republican Party would in fact push for a federal ban, you are being distracted from Dobbs and its immediate and certain harms, which is not a luxury for which you have time.

Gaslighters thrive on calling you hysterical and emotional. They’ve been calling women hysterical and emotional for centuries. Sometimes with lethal consequences. (See witches, above.) Don’t bother performing sober fact-based disputation with a gaslighter. He thought you were hysterical when you told him in 2018 that Brett Kavanaugh would do what Brett Kavanaugh actually is now planning to do in 2022. He told you that you were hysterical when the Supreme Court allowed S.B. 8 to go into effect in September and he said so again when Dobbs was argued in December. He says you are hysterical now, and when morning-after pills, IUDs, and IVF are regulated and monitored and imperiled, he will tell you again that you’re still hysterical. That—and the reaction he hopes it will generate—is all he has. It’s your choice about whether or not to give it to him.

— Dahlia Lithwick, Slate, The People Who Promised Roe Was Safe Are Already Selling Their Next Bridge, May 16, 2022

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Southern Baptist Tom Ascol Says Abortion is Murder and Women Who Have Abortions Should be Prosecuted for Homicide

preaching anti abortion gospel lexington kentucky (5)

Tom Ascol, a noted Calvinistic pastor, and a candidate running to be president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), thinks abortion is murder and women who have abortions should be prosecuted for homicide. In fact, Ascol thinks anyone and everyone involved in an abortion should be arrested, charged with murder, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Since Ascol is pro-capital punishment, we can safely assume he’s okay with killing women for “killing” their fetuses. Think on that one for a while.

tom ascol abortion is murder

The Southern Baptist Convention is the largest Protestant denomination in the United States — albeit the sect is in decline, with over half its members AWOL on any given Sunday. At one time, the SBC was pro-choice. Today, thanks to the wholesale takeover of the Convention by Ascol and his fellow Fundamentalists, the sect is wholeheartedly anti-abortion and forced birth.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Let’s Talk About Transgenderism and How We View Transgender People

christians attack lgbt people

Summit Ministries, an Evangelical group (their list of faculty will tell you everything you need to know about their theological orientation — definitely straight, white, Republican Evangelical) dedicated to “equipping and supporting rising generations to embrace God’s truth and champion a Biblical worldview,” recently conducted a survey of 1,000 Americans on their views about transgenderism. Here are the “(anally) probing” questions they asked (in the order they were asked):

  • Do you believe it is possible to distinguish between men and women?
  • Do you believe a person’s biological sex and their gender are two separate things?
  • What are your personal opinions about transgenderism? 1) I believe it is a healthy human condition that should be celebrated. 2) I do not believe it is a healthy human condition, but I stay silent on the issue to not offend others. 3) I do not believe it is a healthy human condition, and I am willing to say so.
  • What is your opinion of schools teaching about sexual identity and sexual behavior with elementary-age students? 1) It is a perfectly appropriate use of instruction time. 2) It is inappropriate in a school setting. 3) It is dangerous because it could be used to groom children for sexual encounters at a young age.
  • Should underage minors be encouraged to undergo permanent gender alteration, or wait until they are adults?
  • Should medical professionals performing gender-altering be required by law to disclose the common, long-term medical, and psychological impact of such procedures?

According to Dr. Jeff Myers, President of Summit Ministries:

Everywhere Americans look, the media and education culture is bombarding us with relentless, daily messages in support of transgenderism without limits. Despite this intensity, these stunning numbers show plainly that the vast majority of Americans aren’t buying what they’re being sold. A huge majority of Americans don’t think this issue belongs anywhere near our kids. Yet, we also see a powerful chilling effect that this propaganda is having on society, as this research shows that tens of millions disagree with what they see, but are afraid to say anything about their views. We trust this poll will spark all-important conversations so we can properly address these issues as a nation.

Summit Ministries believes this study tells us:

  • 64% of American voters who have an opinion about the issue do not believe transgenderism is a healthy human condition
  • 34% stay silent on the issue to not offend others
  • 30% are willing to speak out on the issue
  • 36% of American voters who have an opinion about the issue believe transgenderism is a healthy human condition
  • 72% of American voters who have an opinion on the issue do not believe schools should teach about sexual identity and sexual behavior with elementary-age children
  • 42% believe it is inappropriate in a school setting
  • 30% believe it is dangerous and could lead to children being groomed for sexual encounters at a young age
  • 28% of American voters who have an opinion on the issue believe it is a perfectly appropriate use of instruction time
  • 93% of American voters who have an opinion on the issue believe it is possible to distinguish between men and women.
  • 7% of American voters who have an opinion on the issue don’t believe it is possible to distinguish between men and women
  • 90% of American voters who have an opinion on the issue say minors should be required to wait until they are legal adults before undergoing permanent gender alteration
  • 10% of American voters who have an opinion on the issue say minors should be encouraged to undergo permanent gender alteration
  • 90% of American voters who have an opinion on the issue believe that medical professionals performing gender-altering procedures be required by law to disclose the common, long-term medical and psychological impact of such procedures
  • 10% of American voters who have an opinion on the issue believe that medical professionals performing gender-altering procedures should not be required by law to disclose the common, long-term medical and psychological impact of such procedures.

All based on loaded questions. All based on narrow question constraints. All are based on demographics that conveniently ignore religious identification. And most of all, all based on 1,000 Americans — sixty-seven percent who are forty and older — out of a population of 333,000,000 people (260,000,000 if you remove children from the mix).

Further, Americans are largely ignorant about science in general, and sex and gender specifically. This is another issue where Evangelicalism, Mormonism, and Conservative Catholicism have inhibited or prohibited meaningful discussion on these issues. As a society, we must come to terms with the fact that transgender people exist; that they are family members, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. We must come to terms with the fact that gender and sex are far more complex than we would like to admit; that it’s time to put our Adam and Eve view of the world into the dustbin of history with the Bible from whence this belief came.

That said, we need to have a vigorous debate about when it is appropriate to teach children about sex and what they should be taught when they are. We need to have a national discussion about gender reassignment surgery and puberty blockers. Sadly, current discussions are dominated by extremes. So let’s discuss this issue folks — politely, openly, and honestly. I know that a number of my readers are LGBTQ. Some of the most active commenters on this site are transgender. I consider them my friends. I have long been a supporter of LGBTQ rights, though, I must admit, that I am troubled by some of the things I hear in some corners of the LGBTQ world. I have six adult children and thirteen grandchildren. It is likely (in fact, I know this to be true), that one or more of my children or grandchildren might not fit neatly in the gender/sex categories which I grew up with and dominate the society I live in. As these issues come closer to home for me, my liberal sensibilities have been challenged. It’s easy to support LGBTQ people from a distance, but when it’s one of your own? I pride myself in being supportive of all people, regardless of their sex or gender. I am a fiery advocate for LGBTQ rights. I am proud of the fact that I have LGBTQ friends. Yet, fifty years of religious indoctrination and social conditioning are hard to shake. I wish I could have a Men in Black mind-wipe, as I’m sure many of you wish too. However, that’s not going to happen. We must confront our biases and prejudices head-on. And make no mistake about it — we all have them. Even Jesus, Christians. Just look at how he treated Gentiles. 🙂

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

How Anti-Abortionists Manipulate Uneducated Americans with Pictures of Full-Term Fetuses

preaching anti abortion gospel lexington kentucky (8)

Anti-abortionists are fond of using graphic photos of full-term fetuses to prove that abortion is the killing of a fully developed, viable human being.

Here’s a photo of a fetus at thirty-eight weeks:

thirty-eight weeks

OMG, Demoncrats and liberal Christians want to murder children in the womb, anti-abortion, forced-birth Evangelicals, Catholics, and Mormons say. And if that was actually the case, I would agree with them. However, as I shall show in this post, the picture above is representative of only a small percentage of aborted fetuses. Only 1.3 percent (less than 10,000 per year) of abortions take place after twenty-one weeks (before viability). The overwhelming majority of late-term abortions happen due to fetal abnormalities — fetuses which, if left to develop to term, would be born, only to die hours or days later or be consigned to untold suffering, pain, and countless other severe mental and health problems.

Imagine if, instead, Americans were presented with the following photos showing fetal development and the percentage of abortions that take place at that point in development. Do you think the discussion about abortion would change in this country?

human zygote

Human zygote

two weeks

Two weeks

five weeks

Five weeks

eight weeks

Eight weeks. Sixty-five percent of abortions take place by this time in fetal development.

thirteen weeks

Thirteen weeks. Eighty-eight percent of abortions take place by this time in fetal development.

What we see in these photos is potential human life, not personhood. It is important to understand that the modern anti-abortion, forced-birth movement is driven by theology, not science. That’s why all the fetal development photos in the world won’t change their minds about abortion. Anti-abortionists have been convinced by their pastors and priests that the Bible says life begins at conception; that the moment the sperm fertilizes the egg, the fertilized egg is a “person”; that God is “pro-life” (an absurd argument if you actually READ the Bible); that abortion is murder, no different from a man savagely murdering his neighbor. It is for these reasons that it is impossible to have a meaningful discussion with people who are anti-abortion. When a discussion starts with the claim that abortion is murder; that abortion doctors are murderers; that people who help facilitate abortion are murderers; that women who have abortions are murderers, meaningful interaction is impossible.

Note:

I refuse to call anti-abortion, forced-birth zealots “pro-life.” They are anything but. Among anti-abortion Evangelicals, most of them are pro-war, pro-police violence, and promote and support politicians, political parties, and government policies that are anti-human. It has often been said that anti-abortionists only care about “life” in the womb. Once a baby is born, he or she is his or her own, subject to the cruelties of right-wing Republican policies and immoral capitalism; especially if the child is red, yellow, black, or brown, he or she is definitely not precious in God’s sight. (Please see Jesus Loves the Little Children, All the Children of the World.)

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Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Bruce Gerencser