Wednesday, September 9, 2015


Because "atheism" simply means that one lacks a belief in god, many people are quick to point out that an atheist does not have to be liberal on social issues, such as gay rights and women's reproductive rights. While technically true, many atheists find themselves leaning left, as it were, in politics. In many ways, the justifications used by conservatives for their political positions are rooted in religious values. When a person loses their faith, often times their conservatism is next to go.

This is one reason the "culture wars" in America appear to be religious. I suppose to a certain extent it is, but there is nothing about atheism which would necessarily drive a person to liberalism. Progressive politics seem to be a byproduct of an absence of religious conservatism.

At present, we are staring down the barrel of two social collisions. First, in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling allowing gay marriage--which many conservatives are calling an illegal overreach of a few agenda-driven judges--we have the self-made martyr Kim Davis, who continues to defy a federal judge by refusing to do her job as a county clerk in Kentucky. As she sees it, she should not be forced by the Supreme Court to issue marriage licenses to gay couples because doing so would be against her deeply held religious beliefs.

I suppose she would also have no problem if a Muslim who worked at a grocery store refused to sell her pork, or a Mormon who worked at a liquor store refused to sell her alcohol, or a Jehovah's Witness doctor refused to give her a life-saving blood transfusion. Surely, she would respect their religious beliefs...

I can respect her decision to not want to sign marriage licenses for gay couples. I am pro-freedom and choice. She should not be forced to do it. But, given that it is now a part of her job as mandated by the Supreme Court, if she cannot perform this part of her job as a public servant then she should resign. This is exactly what I would do if I felt that my boss required me to do something immoral or contrary to my belief system. I would quit.

The reason Ms. Davis refuses to quit is because she wants to be made a martyr. Unfortunately for her, the fate of most martyrs usually ends very, very badly. Her fate, somewhat surprisingly to me, is that she is being held in contempt of court and on Thursday of last week she went to prison.

After sending Kim to prison, the court ordered her immediate subordinates to sign the marriage licenses. Because they followed the court order, presumably out of fear of also being sent to prison, the court released Davis yesterday (Tuesday). So, she basically missed a holiday weekend in defense of her religious beliefs (just like Jesus!). Davis has yet to say whether she intends to comply with court orders, but the court made it clear that should she continue her defiance, she will return to prison.

After a paltry five days in prison (small potatoes for a truly committed martyr), Davis has milked some old fashioned self-righteous sympathy from conservatives. Some have speculated that Davis will resign only to be picked up by one of the frontrunner GOP presidential candidates and go on a speaking circuit to defend religious liberty. A likely candidate is Mike Huckabee, himself a narrow minded preacher eager to play the victim card, who stood by Kim's side during a rally immediately after her release. During this tour de farce, Davis, who is now on her fourth "traditional marriage," will make some money by pandering to the homophobia of the poor oppressed Christian majority. This is a similar plot to Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber in 2008.

The second social collision is much less comical than a butt-hurt bigot sending herself to prison in order to make money off of other bigots. This issue has more dire consequences, and in some cases, it is a matter of life and death.

For years, conservatives have claimed that 50 million babies have been aborted in America since Roe v Wade. This statistic, the accuracy of which is suspect, is meant to draw up emotion against abortion. It is true that abortion can be emotionally taxing, but this has nothing to do with the legality of it. Besides, the vast majority of women who have had an abortion maintain that it was the right choice for them, even years later.

Abortions will continue to happen because women will always seek bodily autonomy, no matter what fallacious arguments narrow minded politicians and theocrats use to try to strip women of that right. Legalized abortion means that women who seek it will have better healthcare during the procedure.

The most effective way to reduce the number of abortions in America is through comprehensive sex education and access to contraception. Fewer unwanted pregnancies will occur if people can control with greater accuracy when they get pregnant. This "no brainer," however, seems lost among the more fundamentalist religious sects, many of whom have been stirred into a frenzy by a recent "exposé" on Planned Parenthood, a non-profit whose primary purpose is comprehensive sex education and access to contraception and healthcare.

In this "leaked" video, an undercover Christian Soldier talks to a leader of Planned Parenthood on how they, too, can make money selling aborted baby parts. At first glance, this is horrific. It's mad scientist stuff. But, scratching beneath the shallowest of surfaces one comes to find that what is actually being discussed is giving an aborted fetus to a science lab for study. The only money Planned Parenthood gets during such a transaction is reimbursement for transportation costs, which is on the order of about $75.

The ripple effect of this video has caused several politicians--including governors--to push for the revocation of government funding of Planned Parenthood. Several states have effectively done so already. Here is the problem: only 3% of Planned Parenthood's dealings involve abortion. This means that the other 97% of their services will be crippled because of a political knee-jerking.

Some of their other services include free healthcare to the poor, educational materials on reproductive health, and free screenings for STDs. Much of what they do helps poor people who can't afford these services any other way and young people who are too scared to seek these services through their parents because of religious judgments. When one goes through Planned Parenthood for a given service, one is told how much the subsidized service costs (which is usually much cheaper than comparable sources), and one is informed that should the cost be too high, they can pay as much as they want. This means that people can get these services FOR FREE.

I can't see how anyone could oppose this system. Even those who want abortion to be illegal should be in favor of such accessible healthcare services and education, access to which has been shown time and time again to reduce abortions in a given area. Seriously, education trumps ignorance every time. When women have control of their own bodies, STDs and abortions drop and poverty levels improve. Abstinence only sex education is not education--it is religiously motivated ignorance. And when has that tactic ever benefitted society?

And to think that self-righteous Christian a--holes want to take this beneficial program away from those in need because of a misrepresentative, highly edited propaganda video from a group of ignorant sycophantic idealists with no concept of pluralism, freedom or education, who wish to lasso the rest of civilized society into the sand trap of outdated Christian morals. To these self-righteous opportunists, I have one last thing to say: it is a pity there isn't a hell for you to go to, you sanctimonious cunts.


The Young Turks on the Planned Parenthood video:

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