Saturday, 18 August 2012

Unicorns and Fetuses

I've just discovered Lynn Beisner*, by way of Steph Herold.

Why the Christian Right Is Wrong about Abortion
I learned a dirty little secret in Bible college: It is easier to prove the existence of unicorns by using the Bible than it is to establish the personhood of a fetus. In fact, it is so hard to make a case against abortion using Christian scripture that for decades most Evangelicals did not even try. Instead, their leaders were silent on the issue or told their followers that abortion was part of the larger feminist agenda to destroy families.
So what changed?

A deal was made.
We know from those who were present at the birth of the Christian Right that it was actually a series of horse-trades by powerful men in conservative religious groups. Each group came with its own non-negotiable agenda and problems with the agendas of others. Catholics demanded that any alliance they joined must back the Pope’s edict against abortion, but Evangelicals were resistant since there was not enough in the Bible about fetuses to support a ban on abortion. Evangelicals, on the other hand, needed an unfettered capitalist market to perpetuate their dominance, and that ran afoul of the Catholic Church’s teachings about economic and social justice. Catholics agreed to down-play the issue of social justice (which is why Nuns on the Bus is such a problem), and Evangelicals agreed to take an anti-abortion stance despite the lack of Biblical support for it.
She goes on to say that many Evangelical Christians lack in 'biblical literacy' (not too surprising when one considers their regular literacy) and don't know that there is so little support in the bible for fetal personhood.

She thinks they can be persuaded to abandon the personhood movement and are, in fact, looking for an 'escape clause'.
The one problem that I can foresee is that the Biblical teaching about personhood does not come in one easily quotable package. But if gay rights leaders could find a way of countering the passages in the Bible which are explicitly anti-homosexual, we can counter the incredibly weak and nebulous Biblical arguments against reproductive rights. It is up to the witty writers of our movement to craft succinct and even humorous arguments that will go viral across social media.

I don't know if we have enough fundies in Canada to make this tactic worthwhile. I've always been told that a basic difference between USian and Canadian fetus fascists is that theirs are predominantly Evangelical while ours are Catholic.

But I know a witty writer who's got the feminist, Christian, socialist chops to pull it off.

Go read the whole thing.

*Lynn Beisner is a pseudonym. Read about her life in 'I wish my mother had aborted me'.

UPDATE: Luna turns in her homework and a dandy read it is too.


Luna said...

I can think of a few passages already. I know there's one in Leviticus or close to it about the rules for if a man beats a woman causing her to miscarry and how the penalty differs from if he kills the woman and the fetus.

Should be fun. :)

deBeauxOs said...

Cue the shrieeeeking from Blob Blogging Wingnut in 5...4...3...2...1

Godel Noodle said...

Got this one from (which I find tremendously handy in situations like this):

Hosea 13:16
"The people of Samaria must bear their guilt, because they have rebelled against their God. They will fall by the sword; their little ones will be dashed to the ground, their pregnant women ripped open."

I'd still love to see Luna's passages. Come on, Luna! Make with the bible dirt already! Lu-na! Lu-na! Lu-na! :-)

Godel Noodle said...

Sorry, it just occurred to me you might not appreciate the phrase "bible dirt," Luna. My apologies if that was disrespectful. Also, um... Maybe don't visit that link I posted. ;-)

I must admit "feminist Christian" certainly does seem like an oxymoron to me (as the subheading of your blog anticipates), but I haven't read much of your blog or encountered anyone else who defended that position. And I didn't come here looking for a fight or looking to offend anyone. So um... Yeah, don't mind me. Just wanted to post the quote I found.

Luna said...

LOL. Soooo not offended. No worries. And I like the site "God hates Shrimp" so ... :)

It's been a crazy weekend, but I hope to get to this soon.

There are a lot of feminists in my church. It's lovely. And as I keep tweeting, much to the annoyance of my Twitter followers, we just elected an openly gay spiritual leader this week. Feel free to ask how that (or anything else) works. I'm actually quite happy to have my beliefs challenged (respectfully), because that's what helps them grow.

Luna said...

Okay. I did it. I dunno if it's what you were looking for, but it's honest.

Post a Comment