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Tag: Anti-Abortion

“I Don’t Hate the Skunk, I Hate Its Smell,” Evangelicals Say

tim-conway-god-hates-you
Tim Conway, Calvinistic Pastor in San Antonio, Texas

William “BJ” Volkert, a youth pastor at Bible Baptist Church in York, Pennsylvania, recently resigned from his position as a school board member for the Northeastern School District in Manchester.

Volkert told Baptist Press:

I said that sexuality should not have a place in our schools. Celebrate culture, ethnicity, etc., but leave sexual orientation out of the celebration of diversity as it is very sensitive in nature.

It was brought to my attention that if we educate students on the suicide rates of certain lifestyles, if we educate them on diseases that only come from certain activities, and if we introduce them to open biblical principles, that we as individuals of the board could be sued for violating legislation that had been passed. I cannot remove myself from the Bible. It is everything to me; it’s everything I stand on. I will, I believe by the grace of God, go the grave believing everything that it says.

….

Jesus Christ is the remedy to the public school situation we are in. I did not have liberty to say this as a member of the board.

….

With that in mind, I’ve been called many things. I’ve been called a male chauvinist, sexist, transphobic, homophobic and racist, just to name a few. I wanted to clear the air. I don’t hate any individual. I don’t hate any group of individuals. I don’t hate any way that people identify. … I just want to make that clear to the students, faculty and community, that I do not have one ounce of hate towards any people group, nor do I prefer any people group over the other.

Volkert is an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) Christian. He wants people to know that he doesn’t hate anyone or any group of people. He hates the “sin,” but not the “sinner.” This is his way of turning back criticisms from people who say he is a hateful bigot; a transphobe. “I don’t hate the faggot, err, I mean the LGBTQ person, I just hate their abominable, wicked, vile sexual behavior,” Evangelicals say.

I have long argued that you cannot separate a skunk from its smell. Skunks spray people and animals with a pungent, sulfur-smelling spray when threatened. I doubt that anyone who has been sprayed by a skunk or owned a dog who has been sprayed ever says “I hate the smell, but I sure do love the skunk.” No, the skunk and its smell are inseparable. So it is with Evangelicals such as Volkert. These followers of Jesus not only hate sin, but they also hate those who commit the sins. And that’s okay in God’s eyes. God hates sin and those who do it too:

  • God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day. (Psalm 7:11)
  • The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth (Psalm 11:5)
  • Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows (Psalm 45:6,7)
  • Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy. These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, (Proverbs 6:15-17)
  • I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies. (Amos 5:2)
  • And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbor; and love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate, saith the LORD. (Zechariah 8:17)
  • I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob, And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness. (Malachi 1:2,3)
  • As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. (Romans 9:13)
  • For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: (divorce) for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously. (Malachi 2:16)
  • Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate. (Revelation 2:5,6)

I wish Evangelicals would be honest and own their behavior. Instead, much like the rest of us, they want to be respected and well-thought-of by others. Their problem, of course, is that they are joined at the hip with the Bible and their peculiar theological/social beliefs. Their religion demands they condemn “sin.” So they do, as Volkert clearly did as a board member of a secular public school district. (By the way, Volkert’s children do not attend the district’s school. Instead, he sends his children to Bible Baptist Christian Academy in York. Volkert is an administrator at the school.)

I live in rural northwest Ohio. Evangelicalism and right-wing politics dominate the local landscape. The local newspaper regularly publishes letters to the editor from local Evangelicals who rail against behaviors they deem sinful. Typically their hemorrhoids are inflamed over abortion, Satanic Democrats, and anything LGBTQ. Increasingly, they show up at local school board meetings to protest Critical Race Theory (CRT), socialism, and books they think are “sinful.” Their hate for certain behaviors is palpable, yet these God-fearing folks bristle when accused of hating individuals or groups of people. They want everyone to believe that they really do love everyone. However, when asked if LGBTQ people can join their church or whether their high school daughter can date a lesbian, it becomes crystal clear that not only do they hate (some) sin, but they also hate (some) sinners. Not all sins, or all sinners, just those they personally find icky or offensive. One need only look at their response to transgender people or drag queens to see how much they really do hate some people.

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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My Recent Interaction on Social Media with a Fundamentalist Christian Named Soupy Sales

peanut gallery

What follows is a recent discussion I had on Facebook with a local Fundamentalist Christian named Soupy Sales (SS) on the subject of abortion. I also had conversations with four other local Evangelicals. I typically don’t engage in such discussions on social media, but I felt the urging of the Spirit, so I did so. I doubt that I changed hearts or minds, but, maybe, just maybe, I planted a few seeds of doubt. You can read all of the discussions here.

Enjoy! 🙂

SS: If you want to kill a baby (abortion sounds better)…it’s between you and God…So leave me out of your murder. I don’t want to have to pay for your abortion…praying God opens your eyes.

Bruce: no, it’s between a woman and her doctor.

Abortion is a medical procedure. Let’s say you needed a heart transplant and I’m opposed to heart transplants for religious reasons. Should I be able to keep you from getting a heart transplant? After all, I don’t want to have to pay for it (through insurance premiums or taxes).

Participating in the American social contract means we will, at times, pay for things we disagree with.

SS: American Social contracts doesn’t include supporting murder of an innocent life….

Bruce: then why are you complaining about having to pay for them? Which is it?

SS: .here in simple words for you to understand….because people like you are trying to get it pass to be free for every woman who wants to get one…understand…

Bruce: you mean like every other medical procedure? Yes, insurance should be required to cover all reproductive services just like they do other medical procedures. We need to stop making carve-outs for “offended” Christians.

No need to insult my intelligence. Do better.

SS: murdering an innocent life doesn’t offend you…so sad..

Bruce: I reject your claim that abortion is murder. That’s a religious claim; one, I might add, that has dubious Scriptural support. You are certainly free to let your religious beliefs inform your medical decisions. However, your religious beliefs should play no part in the medical care of others. We are a secular state. There’s a wall of separation between church and state. Thus, what you or any other Christian wants shouldn’t matter. That it does reveals how far afield we are from our founding principles.

If supporting reproductive rights makes me a “murderer” so be it. I don’t care one whit what you think of me. My wife, my adult daughters, my ten granddaughters, my sister, and the women who will be protesting the reversal of Roe v. Wade on Saturday? They are the people who matter to me. I learned long ago that no amount of arguing will change the minds of forced birthers. (For the record, I was anti-abortion for 45 years.)

SS: it not my claim…it’s God’s words….read Proverbs 6 verses 16 to 19. This country was founded in God we trust not do whatever you want. So you are saying you didn’t learn anything after 45 years. If you really care about your family than lead them to the truth not to hell. No one is forcing anyone to have a baby….there are protective products out there or sustain having sex until you are married. Shame on you. Go read the context and reason that Thomas Jefferson wrote in the constitution about church and state separation. Read his words not mine or anyone’s else for the truth…if you can handle it.

Bruce: Saying the Bible is a God’s word is a “claim,” for which you provide no evidence. The Bible was written by mostly unknown men. It is a human text through and through. To say it is a God’s word is a faith claim, one that I reject.

You do know I was in the Evangelical church for fifty years, right? A college-trained pastor for 25 years. I know what the Bible says inside and out. But, its words are irrelevant. We live in a secular state governed by laws. Forced birthers are using the power of the state to rob women of bodily autonomy, civil rights, and equal protection under the law. As is our right, those of us who value the rights of women will protest.

I’ve read Jefferson’s words. I’m quite familiar with the separation of church and state.

SS: first…The Bible is God’s holy word…you are not rejecting me…you are rejecting Jesus. A believer job is to spread the word….especially when someone is lost…No one is stopping a woman from having an abortion. It’s between her and God…She makes the choice. Abortion is killing an innocent baby. She should be shown both sides not just one. To be a preacher…you are called by God ….not a college trained person. Satan knows the Bible better than me or you. Just because you belong to a church doesn’t make you saved. You should know that. You must lay down your life and take up your cross. Jesus said that…You should know that. Matthew 6 verse 24. Obviously, you don’t study your Bible or the first amendment. In closing…Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. Matthew 15 verses 13 and 14. Shame on you for leading people to hell.

Bruce: sigh. Do you really think quoting Bible verses will make a difference with me? Really?

I likely know more about the Bible than you do. I spent over 20,000 hours reading and studying the Bible. So pick the subject and let’s talk. Or you can keep verbally masturbating, thinking your proof texts mean anything except to you.

I understand where you are coming from. I once was just like you.

Feel free to email me via my blog. I’m more than happy to engage you in discussion.

SS: I’m quoting God’s words not mine. As Jesus said….No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mam-mon. Matthew 6:24. You should know that. Yes we were once the same…sinners..but now I’m saved and converted…Jesus is my Lord and Savior. If don’t believe in God’s word…what’s there to debate about…your non-believe…really…for person that confess to be pastor…your language. Do you really think you know more than our maker? I leave you with Psalms 14: 1….The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

Bruce: no, we were once the same: saved/born again Fundamentalist Christians. My storyline. You don’t get to control it.

Isn’t amazing that God always agrees with you; or that the Bible always supports your peculiar beliefs? A-m-a-z-i-n-g.

Do I know more than your deity? Of course I do, he/she/it is a myth.”God” doesn’t know anything. People do. That’s why I’m talking to you, not the ceiling.

OMG! You called me a fool! Why, I’ve never, ever had that happen before. Again, I reject the authority of the Bible, so I don’t care what it says. I’m more concerned with what my God, Polly Gerencser, 🤣 says than a fictional deity.

I’d be more than happy to discuss with you the Bible itself: its nature, history, inerrancy, infallibility, immoral teachings. Better yet, I will gladly pay for one of Dr. Bart Ehrman’s books on these things and have it shipped to you. Ehrman, a NT scholar at the University of North Carolina, is an expert on these issues.

I don’t like the pants you are wearing! Tough poop, you say? So it is with people who try to police language.

SS: So you going to take the words of a man than Jesus. I did not call you a fool…I quoted you a Bible verse. I leave you with Psalms 118 verse 8…It is better to trust in the Lord than put confidence in man. Praying God opens your eyes to the truth…if it be God’s will.

Bruce: you do know Jesus never wrote anything, right? Not one word. We have no idea what Jesus said. The gospels were written by unknown authors 30-80 years after the death of Jesus; that the oldest copies of the gospel manuscripts — copies of copies of copies — were written 300-400 years after Christ’s death. There’s no evidence for the claim Jesus spoke the words in Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. I know you have heard differently, but what you have been told is not true (and most educated preachers know it’s not true).

You put your trust in “men” all the time. Even with religion, you put your trust in preachers, teachers, and books. The Bible is a compilation of books, all written by, mostly unknown, men. Most of the books of the Bible were not written by the men whose names are attached to them. Seminary and college-trained preachers know this, yet they hide the facts about the Bible from their congregants. They lie because they don’t want church members to lose “faith” in God/Bible. Truth matters, and pastors owe it to people to tell them the truth about the nature and history of the Bible.

My offer of a Bart Ehrman book stands. I’ll even give you a copy of one of his books that you can pick up from my home in Ney. I’ll put it on my front porch so you don’t even have to talk to me. Surely, truth matters to you. If your faith is as strong as you claim it is, surely a “book” won’t harm you. You deserve to know the truth about the allegedly inerrant, infallible Bible. Let me know.

SS: your belief and trust is in man and in the world….I believe and trust in Jesus the creator. Praying for your eyes to be opened.

Bruce: no, you trust in “men” too. When you go to the doctor, dentist, lawyer, or auto mechanic, you put your faith and trust in “men.” You do this countless times every day. If not, you’d sit in a corner of your home, waiting for God to do everything for you.

My eyes are wide open, friend. That’s why I’m an agnostic atheist and a humanist. You keep wanting me to return to the garlic and leeks of Egypt. No thanks. Why would I ever want to return to slavery and bondage? My life is better in every way post-Jesus.

But, by all means, keep praying. We will what kind of pull you have with the triune God.

My offer of a Bart Ehrman book still stands.

SS: for someone who supposedly believed has turned so easily. Peter 1 verse 21 …For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. Question what made you change from supposedly loving Jesus to hating Jesus? For your 25 years of a being a so called pastor nothing but a big lie in your eyes. Shame on you for being a wolf in sheep clothing. You can keep your Satanic books written by world centered scholar. Always, praying God’s will be done not mine.

Bruce: I have written extensively about my story. Seek and ye shall find. I’ve provided numerous links on this post.

There is a difference between a claim and evidence. Quoting a Bible verse is a claim. Where’s the evidence for the truthfulness of your claim? Just because you said so?

I wasn’t a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Just ask any of the people I pastored. Sadly, you have refused to answer any of the challenges or questions I offered up. Instead, you resort to insults and proof texting. I am used to such treatment from Evangelicals. When someone can provide no evidence for his claims, instead of admitting this, he attacks his interlocutor.

You are so certain you are right, that you fear reading anything that might challenge your Fundamentalist assumptions. It’s just a book. Surely, your God is more powerful than a book.

SS: both the man and the woman will answer for their choice…Nobody has the right to kill an innocent baby .

Bruce: according to the Bible, babies aren’t “innocent.”

In Genesis 6-9, we have the story of Noah and the Flood. God killed everyone on earth save eight people. Did God kill any “innocent” babies?

SS: glad you found your Bible…now let’s see if can read some Bible…Question …How do you know if there were any children at that time? Everyone is born in sin..a baby is considered to be innocent until the holy ghost convicts their heart and let’s them know that they are a sinner….and they need salvation. Being supposedly a pastor, you know this. Have you ever in your 50 years of studying the bible…heard the age of accountability? You should…So sad….for your lack of knowledge.

Bruce: why do you seem to be incapable of interacting with people you disagree with without insulting them?

Actually, there are several different views of the age of accountability. Most Evangelicals don’t believe babies become sinners, they are sinners (from conception). “I was shaken in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.”

Regardless, the age of accountability is a red herring that has nothing to do with God killing innocent people. I used the word in a colloquial sense, as you did.

Based on Genesis 6-9, God killed innocent babies. Many scholars believe upwards of 6 million people were killed in the flood. Are you really suggesting that there were no fetuses, babies, young children, or developmentally disabled people killed in the flood?

SS: 1 Timothy 6: 20 and 21. ..O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:

Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.

For your information you are one who said that you were smarter than me and God. I just asked a question if you have 25 years of being a pastor and 50 years of studying …why is understanding and knowledge of the Bible lacking.

So sorry your feelings got in the way of our discussing the truth.

Listen…Jesus is my Lord and Savior…I pray to God everyday thanking him for saving a sinner like me.

Obviously, the only thing you want to do is argue a point that has been settled along time ago….bye…still God will open your eyes before its too late.

SS: Hey you need to hang around with Bruce because both of you: hate the Bible, believe in abortion and can’t handle the truth…..praying God will open your eyes before its too late…..bye…got better things to do…

Bruce: feelings? Nope, you are an amateur compared to other Evangelical assholes over the years. Most of you seem incapable of having a discussion without hurling insults or attacking someone’s character. Please go to the Bible and find out what it says about your behavior. Start with the fruit of the Spirit, the sermon on the Mount, and what Jesus said about how you should treat your enemies. You might also want to check out what Paul said about “corrupt communication.”

This is my last comment.

Be 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.

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.

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

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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.

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.

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.

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.)

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.

The Leak: A Spin of Bishop’s Roulette?

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— Guest Post by MJ Lisbeth

A few days ago, I wrote “Bishop’s Roulette.” Since then, the draft of Supreme Justice Samuel Alito’s opinion on striking down Roe v. Wade has been leaked. 

To many — actually, the majority — of us, the “leak” was like the first bomb dropped in an attack that “everybody knew” was coming. The particular blow surprised us simply because, like the first shot of a war, nobody can anticipate the moment it comes, even if its aftermath is what everyone expects.

As I am neither a political scientist nor reporter, I can’t add much to the analysis that the end of Roe v. Wade wouldn’t be the “will of the people.” More than one poll has shown that the overwhelming majority of people support the right to safe and legal abortion. That we now have a Supreme Court “packed” with Justices who seek to do the opposite of what most Americans want is a result of a political system that has allowed vocal, virulent, and often violent groups of people who claim to be motivated by faith to gain majorities in state legislatures and governorships — and may usher them into a Congressional majority later this year.

The same folks who organized to elect lawmakers who enacted laws outlawing abortion even in cases of rape and incest, and deputized citizens to sue anyone who received, performed, or “enabled” a procedure also voted for Donald Trump, who promised exactly what’s come to pass, and may regain the Presidency in two years.

While some of those voters didn’t disguise the fact that their support of Trump and his political allies was borne from their hatred of liberals, gays, immigrants, and anyone else whom they don’t see as fitting into their notions of a White, Christian, and male-dominated nation, others couch their support in a system of faith that, they believe, tells them to love their neighbors as they love themselves. Some, mainly men, among them claim to “respect women” because they are mothers, nurturers, and partners.

If they actually “respect” women, how can they support a President, Supreme Court justices, governors, state legislators, and mayors who are doing everything they can to ensure that women (and girls) don’t get vital medical care at the exact moment they need it.

You see, in striking down Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court would leave abortion rights to the states.  Some had already all but outlawed abortion before Justice Alito wrote his opinion; others have enacted “trigger laws” that will do the same, or ban it outright, once Roe v. Wade is struck down.  It’s hard not to believe, as some legal and political analysts have pointed out, that such moves will also enable states to eviscerate the Affordable Care Act and enact their own rules on the availability of health care. 

Think about it:  If a state can tell women what they can and can’t do with their bodies, can it also decide who does or doesn’t get health care, or what is or isn’t “appropriate” care for someone? Could it make such decisions on who is more “deserving” in a hierarchy that places people who are most likely to make “nuclear” families (i.e., straight cisgender) above, say, LGBTQ people? Or native-born citizens above immigrants, especially those who are here illegally? 

 I also can’t help but wonder whether striking down Roe v. Wade will give states more power to decide how health care and insurance are meted out. Given that concentrating power in fewer hands, especially if those hands are affluent White Christian cisgender males or their allies, all but inevitably leads to “privatization”— which often means nothing more than “getting government out of it” — it’s not hard to imagine more states in which people who need help are subject to a “Bishop’s Roulette.”

Now, even if you object to abortion on religious or other moral grounds, or simply think that the women who need them should have been “more careful,” here is something else to consider: prenatal care, and women’s healthcare in general, while far from perfect, have improved since Roe v. Wade. Some of that, of course, has come about because of medical and technological developments. Just as important, though, is the change in the way pregnancy and women’s bodies are seen. For one, doctors and other providers now better understand how pregnancy changes a woman’s body. Some of those changes, like high blood pressure, were previously linked to women’s pre-pregnancy lives and were not seen as consequences of pregnancy itself. Those conditions, and sometimes the pregnancy itself, can degrade the quality of, or even end, a woman’s life. 

Another reason, I believe, women’s health care has improved since Roe v. Wade is that as women gained more agency over their bodies and lives, they were seen — at least by some — as worthy of care for their own sake, and not simply to enhance their ability to bear and rear children. That development goes hand-in-hand with the separation of health care (and government) from religion, especially of the fundamentalist variety. 

In brief, Roe v. Wade did more to foster the respect for women than religious and other opponents of the decision claim to have.  Repealing it, as Justice Samuel Alito’s draft threatens, will do much to destroy that respect by degrading the quality of women’s health care and subjecting too many of us to some version of a “Bishop’s Roulette” to obtain it.

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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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Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Contraception and Abortion Lead to An Irrelevant, Ungrounded, Self-absorbed, Empty, Mournful Existence

lori and ken alexander

“This feminist ‘freedom’ didn’t really arrive at its sad, frenetic decline until the birth control pill hit the scene. Contraception and its evil twin, abortion, paved the way for an irrelevant, ungrounded, self-absorbed, empty, mournful existence. So much pain. God’s Word, His people, and the precious family are places of true joy and experience that has value that lasts. Even the barren are set in families and find a place to ‘give and receive’ if we trust Him.” (Lauren Channon)

….

In general, women are short-sighted. Some will claim that the [sic] birth control has helped them with some disease or problem that they have in the same way women will be angry if I suggest that women should have never had the right to vote. The [sic] birth control kills babies. It causes abortions. Millions upon millions of unborn babies have been slaughtered in their mothers’ wombs because of the birth control pill.

How, you may ask? The pill itself can cause abortions. It has also caused almost everyone to have a birth control mentality. “We get to decide when, how many, and if we’re going to have children.” God has been completely left out of the conversation, even among Christians. Now, pregnancy is called an “accident” or an “inconvenience” when discussing a human being [sic] being formed in the womb rather than a blessing from God. The pill has also led to massive fornication which leads to a massive number of abortions to cover up the couple’s immorality. Women have also decided they want careers rather than having babies. Why do you think we’re at the point where doctors and parents can decide to cut off a five-year-old boy’s male anatomy? Life is no longer valued. This is [sic] path that the pill has taken us down, and it’s horrific.

What about voting? Women overwhelmingly vote Democrat. There would have been no Democrat Presidents without women voting. It’s mostly the single and liberal women who are voting for large, intrusive government programs. They don’t have husbands, so they want everything free from the government. Instead of depending upon a husband to provide for them, they prefer an impersonal, corrupt government do this for them. It’s also the Democrats who are trying to vote in the right to be able to murder a baby weeks after it is born. Wouldn’t you all gladly give up your right to vote so women wouldn’t vote anymore and more babies would be given life??? I sure would in a heartbeat. Beside [sic], most voting is fraudulent now.

— Lori Alexander, The Transformed Wife, Feminist “Freedom” Arrived With the Birth Control Pill, May 3, 2022

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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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Sounds of Fundamentalism: Lori Alexander Has a Metaphorical Orgasm Over the Prospect of Overturning Roe v. Wade

lori and ken alexander

The Sounds of Fundamentalism is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a video clip that shows the crazy, cantankerous, or contradictory side of Evangelical Christianity, please send me an email with the name or link to the video. Please do not leave suggestions in the comment section.  Let’s have some fun!

Today’s Sound of Fundamentalism is a video clip of Lori Alexander, The Transformed Wife, giddily rejoicing over the prospect of the right-wing majority on the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. Evidently, Samuel Alito did for Lori what her husband, Ken, could never do. 🙂

Video Link

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.

The ‘Raw Judicial Power’ of Samuel Alito Is an Attack on Dignity, Autonomy, and Progress

supreme court abortion
Cartoon by Mike Luckovich

Article by Jenny Breen, an Associate Professor of Law at the Syracuse University College of Law, where she teaches Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, and Labor Law.

What is the end game here for the U.S. Supreme Court’s right-wing majority? It’s not pretty.

The leak of the U.S. Supreme Court’s draft opinion in the Mississippi abortion ban case has put into authenticated form an announcement that abortion advocates on both sides of the aisle have been predicting for years: stack the Court with Republican-appointed justices and Roe v. Wade will be overturned. The Court’s leaked opinion does just that, holding that both Roe and Casey are now bad law because there is no longer any constitutional right to abortion.

The current draft—which will be revised between now and its formal publication, likely in June—tells us a lot about where the Court stands on abortion, of course, but also other constitutional rights and the role of the courts in our constitutional republic.

First, though the opinion purports only to hold that there is no constitutional right to an abortion, thus permitting states to implement laws restricting, banning, or even criminalizing abortions, the language of the draft opinion lays the groundwork for a future federal ban on abortion altogether. Alito’s opinion approvingly quotes Mississippi’s claims that dilation and evacuation abortions are “barbaric,” “dangerous for the maternal patient,” and “demeaning to the medical profession” as “legitimate interests” that “provide a rational basis” for the Mississippi ban. (The draft opinion employs rational basis review rather than the tougher level of review reserved for gender-based distinctions because—though it may surprise any human on the planet to hear it—the Court reminds us that previous cases have established that “regulation of abortion is a not a sex-based classification”).  These “interests” are, of course, anti-choice talking points, not rational bases for a ban on abortion. Their embrace by the draft majority opinion makes clear that Alito is being disingenuous when he claims that the decision “is not based on any view about when a State should regard prenatal life as having rights or legally cognizable interests.” Instead, the opinion is suffused with the unstated but implied belief that legally cognizable life begins at conception.

Second, Alito is also deeply disingenuous when he argues the opinion won’t impact other fundamental rights. Alito’s opinion holds there is no right to abortion because that right is neither explicitly mentioned in the Constitution nor implicitly contained within the Fourteenth Amendment’s protection of an individual’s right to liberty. Many of our most cherished constitutional rights are only impliedly contained within the expansive, conceptual language of the Constitution. As Justice Marshall reminded the Court over 200 years ago, “we must never forget that it is a Constitution we are expounding.”

So why does it matter to other constitutional rights that Alito doesn’t think individual liberty includes the right to decide whether to have an abortion? Because the liberty interest protected by the Due Process Clause and the right to privacy it encompasses are also the bases for the Court’s protection of gay marriage, the right to contraception, the right to private consensual sex, and the right to interracial marriage.

“Liberty,” the Court explained in Lawrence v. Texas, “presumes an autonomy of self that includes freedom of thought, belief, expression, and certain intimate conduct.” Alito says he can’t seem to find a liberty interest in abortion because “the most important historical fact” is “how the States regulated abortion when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted.” Needless to say, these other core rights would also not fare well under an analysis that prioritizes what legislatures were doing in 1868. Alito has already suggested as much. His dissent in Obergefell v. Hodges reads like an early edition of this draft opinion, arguing that gay marriage “lacks deep roots” and “is contrary to long-established tradition” and thus is not a right that can be protected by the Constitution. 

Finally, the opinion makes clear that the guard rails are gone when it comes to SCOTUS decision making. Throughout the opinion Alito returns repeatedly to the argument that the decision will correct “Roe‘s abuse of judicial authority” and “return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.” Of course, fundamental rights are fundamental rights because they are not up for debate by “the people’s elected representatives.” We don’t ask for state referenda on whether we should permit racially segregated schools. Courts do their best and most essential work for a democracy when they protect the interests that enable humans to live with dignity and autonomy.  

justice alito
Cartoon by Gary Markstein

In 2018, Alito wrote the majority opinion Janus v. AFSCME, the decision that held that public employees could not be compelled to pay agency fees to the unions that are required by law to represent them and advocate for their interests. Though public employee unions have passed the small “d” democratic test not once but twice—elected state legislators must first pass a law enabling public unions and then, of course, the public employees themselves must vote for their union—Alito’s majority opinion overruled a 41-year-old precedent to hold that agency fees violated the First Amendment rights of public employees. At the time of the opinion, commentators expressed concern that the Court’s easy overruling of a case it did not like did not bode well for Roe v. Wade in the hands of a differently constituted Court. And of course, that is precisely what seems to have happened.

Alito tries to ease the shock of the decision to overrule such longstanding and prominent precedent by citing a number of cases—I counted 26 in total—in which the Supreme Court has overruled its own precedent. But I am not aware of a single case on that list in which the Court overruled precedent to take away a previously granted constitutional right. 

So what is the end game here? Alito’s full vision for the United States has yet to be painted, but thus far it’s looking like an America in which “raw judicial power” (words he quotes disparagingly regarding Roe four times in the draft opinion) is used to foist the world views of judicially privileged interests upon the rest of us.

In the meantime, it means that where you live and what private resources you have at your command will be increasingly important to chart the course of your life.

As disconnected as they may seem on their face, overruling decades of precedent to weaken public unions on the one hand and doing the same to revoke a woman’s right to choose whether to have an abortion on the other are two sides of the same oppressive coin. They both chart dramatic turns away from an understanding of the law and Constitution grounded in commitments to individual dignity and autonomy in core spheres of life—work and family—and establish a core role for the judiciary in steering the ship in that direction. 

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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.

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.

Bruce Gerencser