bookmark_borderThe Forced Birth Movement Hates Real Religious Liberty – How to Use That Against Them by Making Abortion a Religious Right; Part 2

(Be sure to read Part 1 before starting this half)
The Rape Nonexception Factor
This is a good place to further explore the callous indifference of the hard right to rape that has a yet again naïve center-left wondering what is going on. In their twisted logic a woman who is truly Godly and virtuous cannot be raped to pregnancy because she will not dress or be provocative or intoxicated in a manner that entices a man to sexually assault her, and if one does he will not be able to achieve penetration because of her not being sexually aroused. In that theory only a woman who is sufficiently loose and in some way desiring the assault can be impregnated – remember if you will how during the 2012 election cycle some GOP pols made statements to this effect. The slander of women as the foolish temptresses is not at all novel, it goes back over millennia as per the story of sinful and seductive Eve and the apple. As vile as this deep patriarchal attitude appears to today’s ethical westerners, the traditional misogynist opinion was the norm in many societies until the modern feminist movement, and used to be used by defendants in rape cases. In some current societies a woman who was and claims to have been raped risks harsh penalties for her wantonness. At the theocon Liberty University female students who file a sexual assault complaint with school authorities are likely to find themselves charged with violating strict school rules banning sexual and related activity. It is the intent of many forced birthers to revive the legal concept that rape that can and does lead to impregnation is always a false claim. It follows that it is never justified to allow an abortion that resulted from a “rape” – incest included – that never truly occurred because she really wanted it.
Liberty for Godly Theocons, Ascendency over Secular Liberals
So do not be fooled, coming even close to actually stopping abortions is not the end goal of the forced birth agenda, making it legally and physically hard to do being part of a more important greater scheme. In concert with weaponizing abortion as an act worthy of criminalization, they use the sacred theme of All-American Religious Liberty to facilitate discrimination against those the religious right does not approve off, especially all those who are not life time monogamous heterosexuals, and allow theocon medical providers to deny reproductive services they do not approve of – do note that conservative calls for liberties religious and otherwise are carefully crafted to most favortheir liberties, for others not so much. Specific to the issue herein, SCOTUS has ruled in favor of red states that force abortion providers in violation of their free speech and religious rights and medical autonomy to inform clients of often false antiabortion information, while overturning blue state regulations that compel under handed forced birth clinics to openly inform their clients that they are expressly anti-abortion in nature because that breaches their free speech and religious rights. Got that one? And make divorce more difficult and less frequent. And don’t you pay any mind to how evangelicals denouncing masking and vaccines to protect schoolkids from covid yet further reveals how “prolife” Protestants do not truly care about young lives. And how the right demanding the liberty to not protect themselves, their children and others from covid as a prochoice position is directly contrary to their no choice about pregnancies.
Do observe that bringing deadly viruses to heel does nothing to bring back that old time culture. Banning abortions just might in theocon minds.
Not wanting to spill the beans when it comes to their true aims, birth enforcer theists I chat with are prone to start out saying they just want to save all the innocent preborn. When I ask why, they often claim it is murder. When I ask why they think that, they proclaim it a sin against God. After I point out the reasons that cannot be so – including how a million or so unborn naturally die off every day on the planet — they then resort to vaguely complaining about the decay of society and the need to bring the majority back to the good solid and sound traditional morals that are good for them. Exactly.
Up at the levels of the theocon power elites the protestations by Thomas, Alito and Barrett that the conservative wing of the court does not have a larger sociopolitical agenda in mind are very likely to be prove to be PR window dressing designed to mislead with comforting false assurances while they proceed to do what they need to do.
This giant sociopolitical power play centered on making abortion illegal started in the later 70s as the first born-again Baptist POTUS Jimmy Carter proved much too liberal for increasingly fearful and enraged evangelicals. To their growing horror they realized that the second rock and drug driven sexual revolution of the 60s and 70s they so loath, plus the similarly odious new wave feminism, were settling into being the national norm and their permanent sociosexual nightmare. Roe v Wade being a big part of the problem. The evangelicals and hardline Catholics had to suppress their age old acidic theological enmities to better face the growing cultural and political secular threat, and turned to their great grandfatherly hero and divorcee Reagan who rarely attended church. And liberalized abortion regulations when governor of California. Then the mediocre preppy Bushes. And now their manly man Trump who as their misogynist, racist, hard talking and chronic lying King Cyrus does their God’s will never mind his boorishly indecent, adulterous persona.
To sum up what theocons are up to, being a minority the largely white religious right is trying to force convert the nation into a theocratic Christian Dominionist republic in which the once traditional and dismally normal, and now radical and drearily oppressive, hard right mores are imposed on the majority for their own good. It is a classic and anti-democratic Tyranny of the Minority that cares not one wit about the opinions and desires and well-being of those they desire to bring to societal heel. Nor do they truly care about the legitimacy of SCOTUS among the American majority that theocons believe should all become theocons, and those who do not need to be under their wise thumb – what they do fear to some extent is a backlash of the majority that may for instance expand SCOTUS to negate a hardcore bench, but they have to sink or at least cripple RvW so they must run that risk. They cannot care because if they give any ground their project of national domination is moot. All the sincere stories by women who have had to obtain abortions often at great effort, or not been able to obtain one sometimes with terrible consequences, mean little to ardent abortion opponents no matter how trying the circumstances up to rape and incest because what happens to nonconservative women has no import to them and threatens their success (such stories are important for swaying fence sitters and rallying the troops as the help normalize the procedure). The women’s marches? They mean nothing to them. There is therefore no compromising. And to be fair the prochoice side cannot give any ground from their side when it comes to early term abortion — either women are full class citizens, or they are reproductive wards of the state once sperm merges with egg inside their no longer sovereign bodies.
The incredible, reckless extremes to which the theocons will cheerfully go have been laid bare by the Texas stratagem that employs citizens as cash collecting birth enforcers, forming a snitch society characteristic of the authoritarian regimes theocons pretend to despise as they work to set such up.
How Theocons Did It
A big reason a disciplined minority movement has gotten so far is because they are doing one thing very right — voting at high per capita rates — while a major portion of a perpetually electorally slack center-left has treated voting as a maybe will do it or maybe not option, rather than the urgent civic duty it is. Young adults are particularly likely to not vote. As a result theocons outvote the rest of us by about 10% per head, enough to reinforce the right leaning bias of the Senate and electoral college, which in turn allows the GOP to better control the election system – this is why the demographic predictions of permanent and solid Emerging Democratic Majority predicted a couple of decades ago has yet to come to pass. Thus a White House the theocons hold about half the time while winning the popular vote only once, a closely divided Congress that flips back and forth, a 6/3 SCOTUS, and most states run by increasingly fanatical Republicans. The one thing theoconservatives do dread is the center-left finally getting their electoral act together and making the Democratic Party the dominant party of the nation and most states, and if necessary reformulate the Supreme Court to bring it more in line with majority opinion.
How We Blew It
In contrast to the theocon’s methodical and effective, offense-based operation to deny sexual and reproductive rights as part of a relentless, mammoth cultural war, the center-left has treated abortion as an important but not really extremely urgent issue that has been largely left to a weakening SCOTUS minority to take care of thank you, using the same justification utilized in RvW half a century ago without producing additional logical legal arguments. That being such a bother what when ancient Ginsberg who refused to preserve the legacy of her seat by resigning in 2013 and her liberal court comrades would take care of matters. Right? The amazing failure of a less organized and too defensive women’s right movement to push religious rights as a key need for protecting the gender from forced birth has been as illogical as it is remiss to the point of being disastrous. A basic strategy of a movement is to go on the offensive by turning a core argument and the language of the opposition into a weakness that now hurts them more than it helps. But, like most factions, liberals like to live in a comforting cultural bubble within which such internally reinforcing progressive clique code terms as personal autonomy and sexual freedom are deployed to defend reproductive rights. Such speaking to the choir dialectics have obviously not done enough to undercut the theocon argument, a new direction is badly needed. Yet in the only major opinion journal article looking at using religious freedom to defend abortion rights I know of, a brief news commentary in The Atlanticin 2016. the reluctance of the pro-choice side to utilize the Establishment Clause of the 1stAmendment due to cultural discomfort was covered, and the ensuing improbability of such ever being done observed. Liberals just don’t like all that chat about religion and liberty, that’s right wing stuff. That would be fine if abortion rights were secure. But they are not. Just repeating the same old same old to the masses and to the courts is hardly likely to recover the situation. Time to adjust tactics and talk 1stAmendment. Take the right’s terminology such as their favorite word liberty, particularly religious liberty, and throw it right back at them. As per how gays used the conservative themes of family values and marriage to seize the legal and public relations high ground. And things are changing on an informal basis – I have been noticing of late that prochoice advocates are starting to ad-hoc state that having the intimacy of their reproduction coming under the control of the religious right as a gross denial of their religious rights, something I had not heard often before if ever. It was that combined with the deteriorating national situation, the rapidly approaching SCOTUS cases, and my work on the natural mass losses of the unborn, that caused me to produce this piece.
That abortion as a 1stAmendment religious right was not inserted into Roe v Wade from the get go is as understandable as it was a long term mistake. A half century ago the illegality of abortion was seen as a relic of old fashioned Victorianism mixed with male MDs having wanted to knock midwives out of business. Most mid 20thcentury doctors were in contrast horrified by the constant stream of women into the health care system suffering from botched abortions, with some 200 dying each year. And among religious sects only the Roman Church was consistently forced birth, Protestants being all over the map even among the evangelicals. So there was little or no thought given to addressing the religious issues back in the day. Since then forced birth has moved to front and center to the CathoProtestant theoconservative struggle to reorder the national society, and it is nearly entirely their thing. And the reliance on one section of the Constitution, the 14thAmendment, has proven dangerously narrow. So hitting back by going on the attack when it comes to the religious and health aspects of the confrontation has become obvious and imperative.
How to Win
I am not a lawyer, but one does not have to be one to know that a basic legal strategy is too present a case that is broad-based and multi-faceted as possible. For one thing, that maximizes the possibility that at least some or one the arguments seals the legal deal and wins the day. Even better, multiple lines of argument can reinforce one another, making the entire package more difficult to dismiss. Consider the following. A possible fear of citing religious freedom as a defense of abortion rights is that theocons could then use that precedent to promote religious freedom as justifying discrimination against the LGTBQ, and those seeking reproductive services. But that premise is weak because of the lack of harm to the bigot. When someone does not want to provide service to a person who is not a monogamous heterosexual, they are not actually physically harmed if they are compelled by law to do so. For example, if — as once was very common — a person holds a sincere belief that blacks or Jews are in some manner defective in the eyes of God, and that justifies their refusal to treat the latter equal to whites, then having to do so because of the Civil Rights Act does not result in real damage being done to the bigot. So the CRA is constitutional. If a pregnant woman is forced to go through her entire pregnancy, then she may die or be badly injured – hundreds die from pregnancy in a given year, compared to about a dozen from early term abortions. Medical exemptions that allow those threatened with injury or death to terminate pregnancies is far from sufficient because such often is not apparent until late in the pregnancy, when an abortion is itself risky to the mother. And her risk of serious mental distress from a long term pregnancy is many times higher. The medical risks of pregnancy alone are sufficient to ban forced birth. But the combined religious, privacy, and medical rights of persons to not be pregnant (however they became so) are most powerful when they are used to support one another.
If theists proclaim it is their religious right to not aid reproductive practices they think a God rejects, then by that criteria a pregnant woman can proudly declare that as far as she can see any overseer of a planet that has with no apparent concern of that entity terminated countless billions of preborn is fine with her doing the same. Or there is no creator in the first place. Religious liberty is not just about the freedom to be religious as one wishes the way one wishes, it is the freedom from theism. It follows that the state and/or snitches preventing her from controlling what is happening inside her is moral and legal madness and barbarity that violate her Constitutional rights in enormous spades. One advantage of advancing abortion as a religious right will be to force theocon judges to reveal the extremity of their quasi legal inconsistency if they so tilt the scales of justice in favor one set of theorights over the other, exposing their rulings as bad law. That sets up the legal brief for constitutionally overturning forced birth laws.
Late is better than never, and time is a wasting. So what needs to be done to recover the situation in court and voting booths? Along with the standards of full citizenship via autonomous reproductive privacy rights for women, begin to focus on the religious and medical liberties of handling one’s own pregnancy without interference from hardline theoconservative based government edicts or religious right empowered vigilantes as a key Constitutional right under the First Amendment. Do that by building the following case. The Founders who wrote the document did not consider the issue, and had an abortion ban been raised by Catholics it would have rejected as an obvious contravention of the 1stAmendment. Nowadays forced birth laws are an unacknowledged insidious conspiracy from one religious world view designed by right wing Protestants and Catholics to above all else to try to massively reformulate the national culture to fit their traditional faith-based image. Although they won’t openly admit that, there is abundant public theocon discourse to present as evidential exhibits. The religious nature of antiabortionism is directly exposed when they say that their – i. e. theocon – values concerning preborn life are behind the laws they advocate. As for the narrow religious view of birth enforcement a few scholars such Barbara Pfeffer Billauer (https://scholarship.law.wm.edu/wmjowl/vol23/iss2/6) are documenting how forced birthism is limited to a narrow set of religious doctrines, while many others have disagreed, going all the way back in history, rendering forced birth laws a violation of Constitutional religious right (in contrast to murder which is condemned by all mainstream cultures). It is time for the women’s right cause to get off its liberal sensibilities duff and pay close attention to such meticulous academic work.
So, when and where theocon birth forcers win their case, then only one religious opinion on the matter becomes legally operative on all fertile women to the exclusion of all others regardless of their a/theist opinion on their pregnancies. That when imposing that extreme hardline view on women of differing a/theologies denies them control and maximal safety of their bodies for extended periods. Such theologically idiosyncratic laws lack practical secular justification on the following grounds. The status of a zygote or an early term fetus as a human being is very dubious and held nearly entirely by theocons, and aborting them does not have significant adverse impact outside the body of the woman. Emphasize the sheer impracticality of enforcing a feticide ban, and actually suppress abortion rates to low levels even via draconian decrees. That means that birth enforcement is a waste of law enforcement resources that will make millions of women miserable and/or criminals while maximizing their medical danger from either pregnancies gone bad or the numerous illicit abortions that will inevitably ensue, all the while massively interfering with the deepest privacy of persons. Far more so than the mask and vaccine mandates most theocons are out of the blue rejecting as outrageous violations of personal liberty. This when there is a major effort to relieve an already overburdened law enforcement and court complex.
The deeply disingenuous and misogynist nature of government paternalism on such a colossal scale is all the more true because the persistent claims by anti-abortionists that their reproductive regulations are intended to serve the interests and safety of pregnant women regardless of her opinion on the matter, are the opposite of actual medical truth, and violate their religious and medical sovereignty when their religious views are compatible with ending pregnancies. Making this yet all the more true is that forced birth for “alleged” victims of rape/incest is part of a depraved project to decriminalize rape by legally rendering it something that cannot happen to a proper and chaste woman who does not want to have her virtue sullied, much less be impregnated. Racism is also involved in the forced birth movement because minorities are more opposed to and afflicted by abortion restrictions than whites. So is eugenics in that preventing white women from failing to reproduce is a goal of some forced birthers. Then there is the sexism of targeting the commonly discriminated against female gender with such draconian restrictions that no man has to put up with and many men which to impose. Because abortion banning laws are evidentially imbedded in a large scale religious sociopolitical agenda they blatantly violate the Bill of Rights on multiple fronts. Core rights that cannot be trumped by the religious right via government authority to force those who are prochoice nontheists or theists to give birth, just as the state cannot force women to abort their pregnancies.
As explained by Aaron Tang (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/10/26/middle-ground-abortion-that-originalists-should-embrace) the original Constitution, and the 14thAmendment in association with how most state laws at the time did not ban abortion before quickening, support the right to early term abortion.
The profoundly theistic nature of the criminalize abortion movement is not being entirely ignored. Some atheosecular organizations have filed amicus briefs explicitly to that effect in relation to the Mississippi case this December (https://www.au.org/sites/default/files/2021-09/AU%20Amicus%20Brief%2C%20SCOTUS%2C%20Dobbs%20v.%20Jackson%209.20.21.pdf; https://www.supremecourt.gov/DocketPDF/19/19-1392/192717/20210917120823669_Dobbs%20Final%20Brief.pdf). These petitions do a good job of detailing some of the clear cut religious statements and court briefs by forced birth theists. They not detail how anti-abortionism is part of a greater open conspiracy to remake the nation. In any case the religion factor must not be a legal issue raised just by nontheists, it must be mainstreamed. (A large number of center-left entities have submitted briefs to the top court, whether any cite religious freedom and how I do not know.) Pertinent to that need, one of the briefs very notably cites a 1989 opinion by Justice Stevens that has gone little noticed noting that government bans of abortion violate the Establishment Clause, that is an important mainline legal precedent by a SCOTUS jurist without an a/theistic bias to build upon.
In tandem, cite the mass death of youngsters to disprove the theocon pretense that they are merely doing the urgent bidding of a life loving creator. Same for the absence of forced birthism in scripture. Their real aims are much more theosocietal. And further seize control of the rhetoric war by saddling the prolife cause with the stark term forced birth. That is exactly what they are trying to do.
Also remiss has been the mainstream news media that has been slack in investigating and exposing the deep, extremist motives driving the opposition to legal abortion, and from that informing the nation of what they are up to. Do not, for example, merely ask an anti-abortion activist or politician if they do not want an exception for rape and why, and when they issue the standard line that they think the fetus is precious take that as a complete answer and move on to the next query. That is exactly what they want. At long last pin them down by asking if they think rape and abortion laws need to be revamped as part of a greater scheme to remake society along traditional lines. That will put the forced birth advocate in a bind — if they say yes then they will reveal their real plans and provoke harder opposition, if they say they no they may turn off their base, and if they dodge the question they risk doing both. The media needs to get on the coverage ball and do their jobs.
Is going on the offensive by bringing true religious liberty to the forefront of the pro-choice argument, going to abort the forced birth campaign in the next few years? That by compelling abortion stoppers to realize that they – seeing as how they claim to put such high priority on religious liberty and therefore should respect those who claim to be expressing such when they have an abortion — are manifestly and erroneously violating the theoliberty of theoliberals and nontheists? Considering their boldly self-sided view of liberties to date best not to hold one’s breath. But do not wave away the medium and longer term potential to seriously damage and perhaps someday sink anti-abortionism in legal venues and public opinion. Consider how marriage rights for all couples worked for gays over years, not long decades. Most critical is for the solid majority who favor women being full citizens to vote at least at the per capita rate as do those who want to use reproduction to remake American women into unsullied subservient theocons. That can render forcing birth into a fundamental violation of a pregnant woman’s religious liberty and medical needs.
 

bookmark_borderThe Forced Birth Movement Hates Real Religious Liberty – How to Use That Against Them by Making Abortion a Religious Right; Part 1

(This being a big subject that has been largely ignored it needs a lot of explanation, the essay is split into two parts. Part 2 will be posted tomorrow)
It has not worked.
The pro-choice movement opposed by the religious right has been making an enormous mistake. We know that because it is facing disaster. That when a solid majority of Americans favor abortion rights. It is all too clear that what it has been done in support of women being full class citizens has been gravely defective. It follows that it is time to move on to a more effective strategy.
Roe v Wade rests largely upon the 14thAmendment principle of privacy as a legal and societal expression of individual freedom from invasive state control in favor of personal responsibility. The thesis is valid, but it is a defensive posture that has proven insufficient to fend off assaults from a dedicated forced birth campaign. The situation is so bad for the sovereign rights of American women that even as Catholic heritage nations like Mexico and Ireland place their trust in the gender to make the best choice, the USA is reverting to the paternalistic misogyny of the early 1900s.
The women’s right movement must go on the offensive to regain the legal and moral high ground over the force birthers. Doing that requires utilizing two interrelated lines of argument.
The Big Medical Lie
One issue that has for reasons obscure long been oddly underplayed is women’s health. The ant-abortion conspiracy promotes the anti-scientific disinformation that first trimester feticides are artificial and therefore bad for mothers, while child birth is natural to the point that the government must force all pregnant women to do what is good for their health physical and mental. Law enforcement must protect an apparently gullible gender from a diabolical abortion industry that is so clever that it somehow seduces many hundreds of thousands of each year — a third of the national female population over time – to commit a dangerous unnatural act that is against the wise ways of God’s benign creation. That when not getting an abortion is as easy as simply not going to a provider. Yet many go to great lengths to get to such, sometimes traveling long distances if necessary, knowing exactly what will happen when they do so, yet only a small percentage report having significant post procedure regrets [https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2020/01/416421/five-years-after-abortion-nearly-all-women-say-it-was-right-decision-study].
The hard truth is that nature is not always the best. Modern medicine is the artificial practice that has saved billions of lives from the deadly side of the biological world, including the many risks of pregnancy. Early term abortions surgical and medicinal are over a dozen times less lethal than going through the months long complexities and risks of pregnancy [https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22270271]. And because the latter pumps lots of mood altering hormones into mothers, they are highly likely to experience serious mental distress before and especially after birth, post-partum depression being very common and often serious. Early pregnancy does not involve such hormone loads, and mental trauma is much less frequent after termination. That is why the regrets are rare, of the many women I know who have had abortions none was gravely upset about it. Which makes sense since a woman is making the safest decision when ending a pregnancy as early as feasible. Legally sentencing a woman to bear her pregnancy violates her core medical rights. It’s like preventing someone from taking say statins, or forcing them to smoke or use mind altering drugs.
But there is another major right that the anti-abortion project violates big time. the one that the pro-choice forces have been resisting despite its potential potency.
Religious liberty.
Forced Birth, it’s a Religious Thing
Here’s the fact that is as screamingly obvious as it is irrationally paid much too little attention by the body politic. Almost the entire movement to render women second class citizens by making them reproductive slaves of the state once pregnant, stems from one source. The religious right. That is a historically rather novel entity formed by a once unimaginable collaboration of evangelical Protestants with the Church of Rome. The anti-abortion project is the core engine of a brazen attempt by one religious clique that constitutes about a third of the population to impose their hardline faith-based beliefs on everyone else. Outside of the religious right who opposes abortion rights? Nontheists against women’s full reproductive rights are as scarce as hen’s teeth, I personally know of only one. Polling suggests that one in ten atheists are forced birthers, but the sample is small and the figure appears inflated. Many if not most Christians — Protestants, Orthodox, Catholics, etc. of the center-left — favor reproductive choice, along with most Jews and other theists. That alliance of nonrelig0ious and believers form the solid majority who want broad abortion rights to remain in force in all 50 states.
The overwhelming and narrow religious basis of forced birth differs strikingly from other conservative causes such as limited government size and power regarding guns and economics, and heavy law enforcement against crimes and drugs. Those secular theses enjoy substantial support outside theoconservatism, including many nontheists — advocates of laissez faire capitalism for instance have included such prominent nonbelievers as Herbert Spencer, Ayn Rand, Milton Freidman, Penn Jillette and Michael Shermer.
No God Opposes Abortion
That feticide has become such a fixation of the religious right is remarkably ironic for a reason too few are aware of. The startling fact is that forcing women to bear pregnancies to term lacks theological justification. The central motivating claim by theoconservatives that they are sincerely merely obeying the dictates of a prolife creator is patently false both on real world and scriptural grounds. Our lovely but child toxic planet provides the proof that a prolife creator cannot exist. In the academic journal Philosophy and TheologyI was the first to calculate and publish the telling and terrible statistics that remain scandalously ignored [http://www.gspauldino.com/Philosophy&Theology.pdf. I further detail the problem in Essays on the Philosophy of Humanism https://americanhumanist.org/what-we-do/publications/eph/journals/volume28/paul-1 & http://americanhumanist.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/03_Paul-SkeptoTheoPt2.pdf]. The stats start with how it is well documented that about 100 billion people have been born to date. To that add how medical analysis indicates that about three quarters of conceptions naturally fail to come to term — about half failing to implant in the first place usually due to rampant genetic defects, the rest are later term miscarriages, many of which go unnoticed. The human reproductive complex is a Rube Golbergian mess that usually fails – far from the womb being a safe refuge for fetuses, it is where most lives come to a natural early end. As geneticist William Rice states, accidental abortion is “the predominant outcome of fertilization [and] a natural and inevitable part of human reproduction at all ages.” [https://www.researchgate.net/publication/326485445_The_high_abortion_cost_of_human_reproduction] That means something like 300 billion pregnancies have been spontaneously aborted to date. Currently, somewhere in the area of 30,000 spontaneous abortions occur every day in the US, over ten times more than those that are induced. After birth half those born have died as children from a vast array of torturous diseases that infest our biosphere, so some 50 billion kids have not grown up. It is the artifice of medicine that has driven juvenile mortality down to a few percent, less can be done about our deeply dysfunctional reproductive system. As I detail in the P&Tand EPHstudies, it is demonstrably impossible for a supernatural creator that allows hundreds of billions of preadults to die to be prolife.
The mass loss of immature humans helps explain a stark scriptural truth birth enforcement adherents evade as much as they can. Neither the Jewish nor Christian texts come anywhere close to banning abortions. The only direct mention of the issue instructs that if someone accidently causes a miscarriage involving a woman who is not their wife, then the negligent party can be sued by the father who owns the fetus –  feticide is a civil property matter, not criminal murder in the Holy Bible. That the Biblical God orders the Israelite warriors to kill captive children as well as women even when pregnant reinforces the indifference of the deity to the lives of youngsters. The Gospels of Jesus have nothing to say about the topic. The abject absence of scriptural condemnation against abortion illuminates why most Bible believing Protestants, including the most popular evangelical of the day, Billy Graham, had no comment in the immediate wake of Roe v Wade. Then famed Southern Baptist leader W. A. Criswell did opine that he had “always felt that it was only after a child was born and had a life separate from its mother that it became an individual person, and it has always, therefore, seemed to me that what is best for the mother and for the future should be allowed.” The sanctity of preborn life was largely a Vatican thing — it cannot be overemphasized the degree to which the Roman and Lutheran churches despised one another; a few years ago a couple of evangelicals standing right in front of me bemoaned how a relation who had gone Catholic was now worshipping the clergy, not Jesus. So why the ensuing great evangelical Protestant switch — Graham and especially Criswell evolved into staunch forced birthers — to sociopoliically weaponizing abortion as murder via a new found alliance with the heretical Catholic clergy? First a little history.
A Little History
Abortion was the norm in largely Protestant colonial and early independent America — for that matter, early term feticide has always been very common in societies whether legal or not. The Puritans of yore were not as super repressive and chaste as usually thought, oops pregnancies outside of marriage were fairly frequent. And there were women who after having birthed a bevy of babies did not want to go through thatagain. All the more so because childbirth was very dangerous, about one out of fifty pregnancies killed the mother. “Mother” nature is not much kinder to mothers than their young ones. Early term termination with herbal toxins had its dangers, but to a lesser degree. Such abortions were not a concern to the authorities if it was done before quickening. When the all-male founders, nearly all Protestants and Deists, were assembling the Constitution that instituted separation of church and state they never imagined considering feticide, that being a women’s affair outside their manly concerns. The only faction that might have been interested in the issue were the few Catholics. That they made no attempt to mention much less ban abortion was logical because the rest of the patriots would have slapped that down as an attempt to subvert the intent of the 1stAmendment to keep specific religious cliques from seizing control of governmental policies and vice-versa. Duh.
In the 1800s going into the early 1900s repression of sexuality and women reached a peak in tune with Victorian culture. Also of growing concern was that abortions were killing women, albeit less often than pregnancy. At the same time the all-male profession of medical doctors wanted to suppress competition form midwives who often aborted the much bigger money to be made from full term pregnancies. And the nativist eugenics — based on agricultural selective breeding — favored by Protestants (but not Catholics) called for WASP women to bear as many children as possible to prevent the others from dominating the population. Laws banning abortions appeared for the first time, and quickly became the national norm. (https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1997/05/abortion-in-american-history/376851.)
The result. A little over a century ago the religious right owned these United States. Well over nine out of ten were Christians, nearly all conservative. It was a culture of imposed Judeo-Christian “virtue.” A pious repressive hyper misogynist patriarchy in which women were second class citizens required to wear heavy clothing even at the beach, and mandated to remain nonsexual until marriage in which husbands could legally rape their wives and she had no legal choice but to bear the child – that by the way helps elucidate why modern forced birthers are often not concerned about if a pregnancy resulted from nonconsensual sex. The draconian Comstock laws banned mailing information on contraceptives in flagrant contradiction of the Bill of Rights. The culture of repressed sexual liberty had to have a heavy government hand to it. Lacking the force of law to keep people in reproductive line, most folks feel free to have way too much fun for the likes of the power craving forces who enjoy imagining they know what it best for all of us, feckless women especially. Note that the Dour Culture was to a fair extent a white matter, black culture was less uptight, as reflected in the advent of the “sex music”, jazz that quickly gained a following among white youth.
The rather Taliban like mainstream Christian scheme began to unravel what with women (mainly white) getting the vote, and the first sexual revolution of the Roaring Twenties. That unprecedented loosening of sexual habits was never entirely beaten back by the right, but as late as the 1950s women were still expected to be virgins on their wedding nights who then became stay at home housewives, access to contraceptives remained limited, and abortions forbidden. With blue laws keeping most retail closed on Sundays three quarters of American were church members according the Gallup, as virtually all professed a belief in God.
Since then it’s all gone to theocon hell. Even in the 50s the hot black culture continued to infiltrate the white majority via the first wave of rock-and-roll – previously black slang for intercourse. What was Elvis doing up there on the stage with his pelvis? Seeing the way things were going Billy Graham started his mass crusades to try to restore America to its righteous ways.
That did not work.
Nowadays, with women being emancipated, first class citizens free to have sexy fun, sinfully tempting females strut down streets in minimal clothing. Sex outside marriage is actually the accepted societal norm. Marriage rates are down while divorce rates are sky high – that started with the WW 2 generation in the late 60s BTW — including among conservative Christians. Birth rates are below replacement level – that when many on the right oppose the immigration of nonwhites that’s needed if an expanding population is to help grow the economy. On the networks people can say screw when not talking about hardware. Then there is cable and the web. Most women have careers. The grand corporate project to convert pious frugal church goers into hedonistic materialists and digital social media addicts has succeeded spectacularly as Gallup tracks church membership plummeting from 70% at the beginning of the 2000s to 50% today [https://news.gallup.com/poll/341963/church-membership-falls-below-majority-first-time.aspx] as white Protestants are a fast shrinking minority, the religious right the once ran the country has been reduced to a widely disparaged subgroup, and the nonreligious balloon by an amazing tenth of the population each decade [for a look at that see http://americanhumanist.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/art-1-Paul-The-Great-and-Amazingly-Rapid-Secularization-of-the-Increasingly-Proevolution-United-States.pdf]. Even Republicans are becoming less religious for Christ’s sake — listen to how the Trumpites swore like sailors as they stormed the capital, and denounce Biden with vulgarities like Richard Pryor.
Their Real Goal
That is what the forced birth movement is really about. Having lost the mainstream culture big time over the last century theocons have no viable means to recover it by persuasion, and deep down they know that bitter fact. All those crusades, religious TV channels, megachurches, and Christian rock are getting nowhere with the mainstream. What are they to do in their desperate power trip to return the country to the good old days of largely white righteous Christian domination?
It’s obvious. Try to do what worked up to the 1920s, and see if reapplying governmental coercion will get America back to its straighter laced Godly ways. There is nothing else for them to. This invidious strategy to employ laws to achieve religious aims requires the high grade hypocrisy of theoconservatives who love to proclaim individual liberty while decrying government power when the latter promotes what they see as ungodly secular-liberal values, but to without batting a cynical eye deploy said government power to lever America back to something like it was in the 1950’s. When father knew best and subservient women properly behaved themselves sex wise and raised their many kids and heaven forbid could not terminate their sacred pregnancies and the churches were packed on Sunday mornings rather than folks hitting Walmart and Home Depo.
It is not like it is a carefully hidden secret. The president of the U. S. Catholic Conference of Bishops Jose Gomez has railed against secular liberal movements such as social justice, wokeness, intersectionality, and critical theories that have arisen in recent years as part of a effort to “suppress any remaining Christian influences” and replace “traditional Christian beliefs.” That’s a clear enough clarion call of the dire need to try to recapture the culture by desperate means as necessary.
So. How to get the government back under the blessed control of the theocon minority? You have to be fairly sneaky about doing that. Openly admitting that the ultimate goal is to use the state to bring back the good old theoconservative days by banning abortion et al. would intensify majority opposition, while fatally undermining the legal case for making a private procedure that the Puritans were OK with into murder.
To try to rewin the culture wars via the law they have smartly gone on the sociopolitical offensive by putting a peculiarly lethargic prochoice side on the public relations defensive, to the degree that even liberals agree that the feticide that has always been common should somehow become uncommon. A hard and sad choice consistently avoided by preventing unwanted pregnancies in the first place, rather than by barring terminations. It’s the abortion should be legal but rare line, rather than rare because it’s illegal. Both are naive fantasies that have never been achieved and never will be. Early term abortions are the norm in all societies because they involve a modest collection of cells whose humanity is problematic and mainly propounded by extremist theocons, they are fairly easy to do, in secret if necessary, and are not as dangerous as is pregnancy to the mother. At least a fifth of observed pregnancies are terminated, whether that being in advanced democracies with excellent safe sex programs, or where the procedure is illegal and riskier [https://www.researchgate.net/publication/343147586_Unintended_pregnancy_and_abortion_by_income_region_and_the_legal_status_of_abortion_estimates_from_a_comprehensive_model_for_1990-2019]. This is in stark contrast to murder, which is rare in many nations including most democracies — that these gun laden United States are the exception is pertinent because most who claim to be prolife support the widespread distribution of firearms that is the primary people killing device. Because murder involves a patent human being, can be difficult to do, produces an awkward corpse that is hard to secretly dispose of, and those who have been born are usually noticed to have gone missing, outlawing intentional homicide is correspondingly practical because only it renders only a tiny fraction of the population criminals while keeping the event highly atypical – there are under 4000 homicides in western Europe per annum for instance, many dozens of times less than feticides. Whatever success is or is not achieved by criminalizing the latter, it does not make much actual difference because the great majority of conceptions will continue to naturally abort, so what is the point? That when making abortion illegal means turning a fifth or more of knowingly pregnant women into lawbreakers each year, and a quarter to a third of all women over their lives, while not saving many preborn, but injuring or killing a number of pregnant women in the punitive process. It is probably not possible to drive yearly American abortions below a few hundred thousand whatever the methods used. Prohibiting abortion works about as well as banning alcohol, and we know how that worked out. A basic legal tenant is that all legitimate laws must be reasonably practicable to implement — the stop the abortions folks like to compare themselves to the abolitionists, but mass slavery can be ended simply by eliminating all laws that enforce bondage, leaving all slaves free to up and walk away from their masters — birth enforcement does not meet that feasibility criterion. Pro-choicers, use that fact.
The theocon grand Godly plan to try to overturn modernity is simple enough. Having concocted the notion that abortion is against the will of a prolife Lord Creator contrary to all worldly and scriptural evidence, make the private procedure illegal. Hopefully eventually nationwide as a form of outright murder if enough hardcore theocon justices can be plopped into SCOTUS and extend personhood to conception – the alternative is revision of the Constitution, perhaps via a constitutional convention dominated by theocons via the electoral manipulations they are working on. That doing so is not likely to actually protect enormous numbers of preborn is not the critical necessity. That would be nice if it happened in the opinion of many theocons, but the true activism driving societal hope of most forced birthers is that by making those who terminate pregnancies into criminals or at least subject to financial suits, that fear of having abortions will help tame wanton American women to be less willing to be get it on with men outside of holy matrimony. The idea is to discipline women into being both more chaste and fecund as the arrogant power hungry theocons want them to be. It’s the fear and shame factors of the rights massive national social engineering project. To that add putting strictures on contraceptives to further boost the righteous mission to reChristianize America – Catholics especially like that. That doing so may well increase induced abortions due to more unintended pregnancies is not the theoconservatives driving concern (with supreme irony, another side effect of protection reduction is a great increase in the rate of natural abortions).
The schemes of the right to push women into being proper theists are not just aspirationally hopeful via making forced birth a deterrent to women not being divinely virtuous. There are growing efforts to set up forced birth enclaves in which single pregnant women who cannot get legal abortions and desperately need maternity help will be pressured by their circumstances to retreat to (http://thewashingtonpost.newspaperdirect.com/epaper/viewer.aspx). There they are and will be the target of heavy duty theocon propaganda designed to make them into women of God. State power will be used to boost church power.
The prochoice side often wonders – often with breathtaking naivety — why those opposed to abortion want to also cut back on the use of protection that can suppress said abortions. That is because abortion reduction is not the real point, lifestyle alternation is. Get that? That women will be injured and killed by unsafe outlaw abortions and by forced pregnancies is not a great concern of the birth forcers — those wayward women should have known better than to get pregnant out of wedlock in the first place, and if raped oh well, the growing soul inside them takes priority to its reproductive vessel who needs to understand their Godly prolife duty. If a woman who would have gotten a legal termination if she could because it is safer than not having one happens to die from what seemed like a normal pregnancy oh well that’s too bad, it’s God’s Will anyhow, and if she was right with Christ she is in a better place so what is the big problem. The wastage of pregnant women is well worth the glorious aims of the prolifers.
(Part 2 to continue 10/29/21)

bookmark_borderRalph Reed Tries to Pull the Wool Over Our Eyes

================================
NOTE: This post was contributed by Gregory S. Paul, who is an occasional contributor to Free Inquiry, and who published an important article called “Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies”.  Here is how Michael Shermer summarized that article:

Is religion a necessary component of social health? The data are conflicting. On the one hand, in a 2005 study published in the Journal of Religion & Society–“Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies”–independent scholar Gregory S. Paul found an inverse correlation between religiosity (measured by belief in God, biblical literalism, and frequency of prayer and service attendance) and societal health (measured by rates of homicide, childhood mortality, life expectancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and teen abortions and pregnancies) in 18 developed democracies. “In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD [sexually transmitted disease] infection rates, teen pregnancy, and abortion in the prosperous democracies,” Paul found. Indeed, the U.S. scores the highest in religiosity and the highest (by far) in homicides, STDs, abortions and teen pregnancies.

from “Bowling for God” by Michael Shermer
in Scientific American on December 1, 2006

================================

Ralph Reed Tries to Pull the Wool Over Our Eyes About the Popularity of Prayer and Religion in America on Bill Maher’s Real Time

I was watching Bill Maher’s Real Time on 8/27 when I realized that prominent hard right-wing evangelical political operative Ralph (Christian Coalition) Reed, who Maher seems to like, was trying to profoundly mislead viewers about the level of religious practice in this country. I am not sure how prevalent his misuse of survey data is among theoconservatives – a web search did not find anything – but he managed to slip a bogus item of information out to the few million who see Real Time every week. So I am sending this out in an effort to try to nip this theocon anti-fact in the bud. Plus this scientist is annoyed by the slick pol’s brazen yet sly misuse of statistics.
 
Reed used the classic tactic of lying by telling the truth while leaving out the pile of contrary data that shows he is lying. First, he acknowledged that rates of nonreligion are indeed rapidly expanding in these United States as church membership and attendance decline with amazing speed – after a slow decline from the 1950s Gallup has recorded a membership decline of about 70% at the turn of the century to under 50% these days (https://news.gallup.com/poll/341963/church-membership-falls-below-majority-first-time.aspx), in line with other surveys as well as reports of closing churches. The seemingly reasonable Reed then offered the logical explanation that the general societal detachment of people from social groups, driven in part by digital media, has something to do with that. Reed then began his verge off into misinformation land when he said all that did not matter all that much because rates of belief in and worship of God remain persistently high because people are becoming increasingly private about it.
 
Here is where being truthful can be a lie. Reed correctly claimed that in 1990 Gallup asked respondents if they pray often, sometimes, hardly ever, or only in times of crisis, or never.
 
Before proceeding, we need a digression about the statistical and other requirements of competent polling. Particularly regarding longitudinal surveys that track levels of and changes in opinions and practices over time. First, such polls must be sufficiently quantitative to give meaningful results that can be compared over the years. In the 1990 poll Gallup blew it – the only quantitatively reasonably useful possible answers were “hardly ever” or “never.” As for “often” and “sometimes” those values are pretty much useless. How often is often? How sometimes is sometimes? Each respondent would have a different notion on that, and will inevitably respond in inconsistent ways. Gallup should have known better and never posed such an ambiguous query. And to track changes the same questions need to be asked every one or a few years to generate an opinion level timeline. It’s basic stuff.
 
In 1990 half of respondents told Gallup they pray often. Which other than telling us what we already know that lots of Americans are religious has no scientific value. What they should have asked was something along the lines of do you pray multiple times a day, once a day, a few times a week, once a week, once a month or so — you get the statistical drift. I mean really, what were they thinking over at Gallup? Demographic dolts. Fortunately, Gallup then did not repeat the query, possibly and hopefully because they did a demographic dope slap and realized their error and good statistical riddance, since asking it again would risk giving misleading longitudinal results.
 
Alas, apparently inspired by the pandemic, in 2020 a Gallup that again should have known better did ask the same dam bogus query. And lo and behold now 55% say they pray often. Reed used this one pair of statistically valueless figures to try to sell Maher and his audience a demographic bill of goods that Amerotheism is not really in decline after all. Bill, and his other guest, understandably not being up on the minutia of recent Gallup results, were not able to perceive or counter Reed’s clever deception (I had to look it up and see what was really going down myself, even though this is an area of my research – for an extensive 2019 analysis of the subject discussed here and beyond see http://americanhumanist.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/art-1-Paul-The-Great-and-Amazingly-Rapid-Secularization-of-the-Increasingly-Proevolution-United-States.pdf).
 
The degree to which Reed was being deliberately deceptive by selectively picking Gallup data, or did not realize or understand the critical caveats and contra stats, I do not know for certain but am very suspicious. In any case, he was grossly misinforming Real Timewatchers one way or another.
 
First, Gallup itself admits that their little trend line on prayer is not statistically meaningful (https://news.gallup.com/opinion/polling-matters/309638/update-virtual-worship-during-covid.aspx), which Reed did not mention — saying that would have negated his claim right there on the air. Obviously.
 
And here is what Reed did not offer up because it directly disproves his propaganda line that American God belief and worship is not in decline. In a location where Gallup offers up the useless prayer result they also present a number of more properly posed and frequently repeated polls they have been executing and posting for decades. Ones that do a much better job telling us what is really happening in this country a/theism wise (https://news.gallup.com/poll/1690/religion.aspx). So how about let’s check those fascinating and very telling stats out —
 
Those who say that religion is very important in their life went from, well let’s see here, ~60 in the 1990s to under 50% these days in a nice, fairly steady downslope (as also is true of the rest of the results). Meanwhile, those who say theism is not very important rose greatly from 10-15% to a quarter (see below discussion on why levels of rationalism measured in polls are probably on the low side). Gosh, Ralph, you did not bring up that one on Real Time. Because you are too lazy and ill-informed to know it — which seems a stretch since it is right there on the web? Or because you knew it would blow your superficially clever lie out of the water?
 
How about this one. Back in the 1990s, almost two-thirds told the fine folks at Gallup that religion can answer all or most of today’s problems. Now it is heading toward and below half. The rationalists who think religion is largely old-fashioned and out of date? Rose like yeast dough from one-fifth to over a third of the respondents (check out season 1, episode 25 of I Love Lucy for a classic laugh on that bread baking item).
 
Here’s a good one that shows that the days in which the hardcore devout religious right that Reed is a leading fellow traveler of was doing pretty good, while it was the mealy mushy mainline faiths that were taking it on the demographic chin, are no longer operative. In the 2000s those saying they were born-again or evangelical were in the broad area of the lower 40s percentage-wise (which was a little above the values observed in the 1990s). Now is in the mid-30s, hello Ralph. Might you mention that next time you are on the telly?
 
Next up is an oldie but goodie. In the 70s one in four thought the Bible is literally true. Now it’s a quarter or so. So are those who are of the opinion that the Bible is supernaturalistic fantasy mixed with some history, which is impressive because those good people were a mere one in ten back when Jimmy and Ronnie were POTUS. And while support for the creation of humans by God has been slipping, support for evolutionary science is on the way up. Sorry Ken Ham, Philip Johnson, and Michael Behe.
Time for the BIGGIE. One Mr. Reed somehow again failed to chat about as he misled Bill on his own show. Convinced God exists? In 2005 80%. In 2017 64%. A decline of a sixth of the national population in a dozen years. How about God probably does not exist or convinced there is not one. Doubled from 7% in 2005 to 13% in 2017.  And if the fast-shifting trendlines have continued since then, probably still lower for the first and higher for the second here in 2021. But wait, there are more godly Gallup longitudinal deity queries. From 2001 to 2016 God belief sank from nine in ten to eight in ten, those who don’t opt for the supernatural rose to over one in ten. Gallup’s venerable simplistic yes or no on God belief question got virtually all to say yes in the 1950s and 60s, and after a yawning data gap has shown no results similar to the above surveys in the last decade. This is a good place to explain that it is well documented that persons are often reluctant to say they hold an unpopular opinion even when doing so privately by phone or online. A technical effort to use standard sociodemographic techniques to correct for this factor estimates that American atheists as broadly defined make up a quarter of the population (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170516143411.htm), matching or outnumbering a number of major religious sects. Likewise, other studies indicate actual church attendance is about half that claimed to Gallup (and other pollsters). It follows that all the Gallup (and other pollsters’) results for not praying, thinking religion is not societally important, attending church, are not Born-Again, thinking the Bible is not the word of God, understanding we are big-brained apes, are nonreligious, etc., are very probably markedly higher than Gallup, Pew, Harris, GSS, WVS, et al. results seem to indicate.
Gallup points out something interesting. One of their queries indicates that the number of Americans who think religion is having a major influence on America is currently on the high side. But they point out that is directly contrary to their own measures showing the opposite is true
(https://news.gallup.com/opinion/polling-matters/310397/religion-paradox.aspx). So what gives? Although the query has its uses, it is not a direct measure of how much influence religion is actually having on America, which is not practical to measure, one would think, but what people think it is having. Which may well not be the same thing. That is why, unlike most longitudinal questions, over time the results for this query have fluctuated wildly. Apparently, the rise of the hard right under the aegis of secular hedonist Trump, which has had a strong evangelical component to it, has caused many to presume that religion has revived as a major influencer. Which it has not because even among Republicans theism is on the decline (https://www.pewforum.org/2019/10/17/in-u-s-decline-of-christianity-continues-at-rapid-pace).
 
So. Only one very unreliable Gallup result that the organization itself does not take all that seriously seems to support political operator Ralph Reed’s patently absurd pretension that polls show that Americans are remaining privately as Godly as ever over time, despite fleeing institutionalized religion. That when all of the more scientifically constructed and frequently asked Gallup queries show that while organized Christianity is declining faster than personal theism, the latter is going down fast too. One can and probably should presume that a data cherry-picking Reed knew that. Such is common among theists – it’s called lying for the church (or mosque or whatever; a young Muslim initially pretending to be uncertain about his beliefs showed up at a local atheist meetup not long ago and proceeded to try to convince the women to convert by quoting inane Quran lines ad nauseam). And if per chance he did not he has not the slightest excuse for not knowing the real and easy to find facts. Ergo, Godly, Born-Again evangelical Reed profoundly lied either deliberately or out of gross negligence and ignorance to a national audience.
 
The dire demographic reality is a big factor behind the push by many theoconservatives to rule this republic via minority votes at the presidential and Senate and state levels, and by packing the Supreme Court. What they should do is use persuasion via free speech to try to get the American majority to go along with their conservative supernaturalistic ways. But that effort has been failing big time for decades with no realistic hope for success. So they are trying to capture the government by electoral hook and crook and use sheer political power to remake America into the kind of right-wing Christian land this nation was back when the government was a bastion of traditionalist values. Remember Comstock Laws? They bemoan the onset of the unprecedented cultural and sexual revolutions of the 1900s that are helping drive the withering of theism. And that’s why the right continues to embrace a chronically dishonest and irreligious Trump who in turn depends on the religious right for the political success he has enjoyed. That makes twisted electoral sense since Trump lost the electoral college by just 45,000 votes in three states – interestingly, I have not found evidence that Reed has either supported or rejected the claim that Trump did not lose in 2020, seems he is trying to avoid entirely ruining his credibility with either side.
 
So how about it Ralph? Will you publicly and prominently retract your claims and acknowledge that Americans have become markedly less Godly over recent decades? And apologize to the host of the show you with your boyish grin tried to snooker?
 
Got to say, I am not holding my breath on that.
 
But you should.
 
Now, being a data-following scientist who really does my best to be objective — which is why I am not a theist – I note that the PRRI has released new results that while confirming the broader trends of recent decades, suggest that the deChristianization of the US may be plateauing out (https://www.prri.org/research/2020-census-of-american-religion). That is possible, but looking at their rather internally contradictory data I am not convinced. All the more so because the PRRI results do not look to be in line with those of other organizations. So we shall have to see over the coming years what the assorted surveys turn up and go from there.
 
And Bill. When you have Reed, and others of his ilk, on your program in the future and they make one of those that sounds kinda dubious claims, do one of your classic yeah like I (don’t) believe that one looks, and warn your audience to take what they just heard with a large load of salt. Really large.
 
You have to watch out for those theocons. They can be sneaky.

bookmark_borderReply to William Lane Craig on Evangelical Support for Trump

I’ve published an article on my political blog, Data-Driven Politics, which should be of great interest to many Secular Outpost readers:
William Lane Craig on Evangelical Christian Support for Donald Trump
On a related note, I’ve also published on that site my Presidential Effectiveness Dashboard, which is a work in progress, and likely also to be of interest. Link to latest version:
Presidential Effectiveness Dashboard (Trump): Economic Metrics Added
 

bookmark_borderJust how Religious is the Religious Right?

Just how religious is the “religious right?” Very. Just ask them. They will tell you moving stories about how they were lost sinners but gave their hearts to Christ, and have been living the blessed life every since. If being “religious” means being able to give a moving testimony, then they are certainly religious people. Or, perhaps, you are religious if you vigorously assent to every point of doctrine, even the flatly irrational ones. Surely, for someone to believe that, for instance, the earth is only 6000 years old, or that the universe was created in six literal days, or that all human languages had their origin at the Tower of Babel, requires, as Hume put it, a faith that “…subverts all the principles of his understanding…”   Surely, only religious motivation can induce such spectacular credulity.
On the other hand, being religious also normally implies a serious commitment to a set of ultimate values, values that are supposed to transcend every mundane or temporal interest, agenda, or desire. These values are supposed to be absolute in that they imply imperatives that are categorical, and never merely hypothetical. Thou shalt or thou shalt not; no “ifs,” “ands,” or “buts.” Activists of the religious right are quick to appeal to such supposed values, holding them up as shining, permanent ideals, not to be surrendered to wishy-washy relativism, moral fads, or political correctness. For instance, “family values” were loudly and intransigently proclaimed against the supporters of LGBT rights, and were taken to supersede all temporal authority, such as that of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Yet, it is truly breathtaking how the stalwarts of the allegedly religious right will drop those values in a nanosecond as soon as they become politically inexpedient. Nothing could illustrate this more clearly than the support evangelicals give to Donald Trump and Roy Moore. When the Access Hollywood video became available, with Trump bragging about how, as a star, he could just grab women by the [Bleep], I thought “OK, that’s that.” Surely no evangelical Christian could support a candidate who boasted of such gross indecency. But they did—overwhelmingly. A higher percentage of evangelicals voted for Trump than they did for Mitt Romney or John McCain.
The Roy Moore case is even worse. Moore became a darling of the religious right when he stood up against the evil, secular judges who insisted that he remove “Roy’s Rock,” a multi-ton boulder inscribed with the Ten Commandments, from state property in Montgomery. More recently, as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, he instructed probate judges to follow Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriages, although the U.S. Supreme Court had declared such bans unconstitutional. In both instances, Moore was removed from his elected position as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, and so became a martyr for the religious right.
Yet now a number of women have stepped forward claiming that when they were teenagers, Moore, then in his thirties, committed acts of gross indecency or sexual assault against them. Moore furiously repudiates these claims, but their prima facie credibility has led many prominent Republicans to question Moore’s fitness to serve in the U.S. Senate—a low bar, indeed. However, Moore’s evangelical base has not wavered in its support. According to polls reported last night on MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell Show, a third of Moore supporters have actually declared themselves more committed to vote for Moore since the accusations were made.
Clearly, then, evangelical Christians of the religious right are deeply committed to moral values. Except when they are not. They are not the moment those values threaten to interfere with political aims. This makes me wonder how genuinely religious the religious right actually is. If political aims instantly eclipse supposedly religious values, then you must wonder whether, despite mealy-mouthed protestations of piety, those alleged values really matter at all. Actions, of course, speak louder than lip-service. It appears, then, that the “religious” part of the religious right serves mainly to drape a rhetorical fig leaf over naked politics. Politics is about power, and power is clearly the one true value of the “religious” right.

bookmark_borderC.S. Lewis, Hammer of the Theocrats

A comment on the Friendly Atheist site had a marvelous quote from C.S. Lewis. I ran it by Victor Reppert to make sure that it was genuine and to get its source. Victor verified that it is from the essay “Equality” in Lewis’s collection Present Concerns. It is the best succinct critique of theocracy that I have read:

I am a democrat because I believe that no man or group of men is good enough to be trusted with uncontrolled power over others. And the higher the pretensions of such power, the more dangerous I think it both to rulers and to the subjects. Hence Theocracy is the worst of all governments. If we must have a tyrant a robber barron is far better than an inquisitor. The baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity at some point may be sated; and since he dimly knows he is doing wrong he may possibly repent. But the inquisitor who mistakes his own cruelty and lust of power and fear for the voice of Heaven will torment us infinitely more because he torments us with the approval of his own conscience and his better impulses appear to him as temptations.
And since Theocracy is the worst, the nearer any government approaches to Theocracy the worse it will be. A metaphysic held by the rulers with the force of a religion, is a bad sign. It forbids them, like the inquisitor, to admit any grain of truth or good in their opponents, it abrogates the ordinary rules of morality, and it gives a seemingly high, super-personal sanction to all the very ordinary human passions by which, like other men, the rulers will frequently be actuated. In a word, it forbids wholesome doubt. A political programme can never in reality be more than probably right. We never know all the facts about the present and we can only guess the future. To attach to a party programme — whose highest claim is to reasonable prudence — the sort of assent which we should reserve for demonstrable theorems, is a kind of intoxication. – C.S. Lewis

Brilliant. Such intoxication now reigns in many state capitals, and, increasingly, in Washington D.C.
One very insightful sentence was “A metaphysic held by the rulers with the force of a religion, is a bad sign.” Note that a theocracy is defined, not by a government’s dedication to religion per se, but by its dedication to any metaphysic (or, we might say, “ideology”) held with the force of a religion. An atheistic ideology, Marxism-Leninism or Maoism, say, could be (and has been) held with religious intensity. Thus, the Soviet Union, in its pre-Glasnost and pre-Perestroika days, and China under Mao are rightly viewed as a theocracies. Hence, the tired old polemical warhorse, regularly trotted out by religious apologists, about “atheist atrocities” can be stood on its head. The victims of communism were victims of theocracy.

bookmark_borderU.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Has Died

The Governor of the State of Texas issued a press release on the passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia:

“Justice Antonin Scalia was a man of God, a patriot, and an unwavering defender of the written Constitution and the Rule of Law. He was the solid rock who turned away so many attempts to depart from and distort the Constitution. His fierce loyalty to the Constitution set an unmatched example, not just for judges and lawyers, but for all Americans. We mourn his passing, and we pray that his successor on the Supreme Court will take his place as a champion for the written Constitution and the Rule of Law. Cecilia and I extend our deepest condolences to his family, and we will keep them in our thoughts and prayers.”

Apparently he died peacefully of natural causes in his sleep.

While I often disagreed with decisions on church-state separation, I always respected his intelligence. My condolences to his wife and family.

Already it is virtually impossible to find a story about his death without some kind of speculation for when he might be replaced and — crucially — whether Obama or the next President — who may very well be a Republican — will get to nominate that person. As important as that question may be, it seems rather insensitive to discuss the topic on the same day as his death. (If you are a hard-core liberal who disagrees, think how you would feel if the tables were turned; Romney were president; Justice Ginsburg died; and conservatives were salivating at the mouth over the prospect of replacing Ginsburg with a conservative justice before the end of Romney’s term, on the day of his death .) The man was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States and deserves respect. We can talk about the politics of nominating his successor later.

bookmark_borderBen Carson is Also a POLITICAL Nutcase – Part 2

Ben Carson is a religious nutcase, and he is a POLITICAL nutcase as well.  He is a double threat to the national security of the United States of America, and a double threat to the well-being of every American citizen.
Fortunately, even the know-nothing republicans of Iowa appear to have discerned that Ben Carson would make a lousy president. Hopefully, in a few weeks, Ben Carson will drop out of the presidential race and go back to fleecing right-wing idiots with his various books and book tours.
===================
NOTE:  Jeff Lowder wants to keep political posts on this site to a minimum, and I’m in agreement that our focus should be on naturalism, atheism vs. theism, and philosophical critique of religious beliefs.  So, after this post, I plan to cool it on my political posts, and keep my focus on our usual issues and topics here at The Secular Outpost.
====================
As I mentioned in the previous post on Ben Carson, the irrationality and stupidity of his political views has a striking similarity to the irrationality and stupidity of his religious views.  Seventh Day Adventism was founded by Ellen White, and White grew up as a Millerite.  William Miller was a The-End-Is-At-Hand alarmist who persuaded thousands of gullible American Christians that Jesus was going to return to the Earth and judge all mankind in October of 1844.
I’m not familiar with the writings of Ellen White, but she did have many “visions” and did take herself to be a modern-day prophet, so it appears that she did not escape from the irrational alarmist view of the world that she was raised to believe as a Millerite.  And it also appears to be the case that at least in some Seventh Day Adventist circles, there are still Chicken Littles who go about proclaiming that “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”.
The irrational alarmist tendencies of Ben Carson’s Seventh Day Adventism is similar to his irrational anti-communist paranoia and alarmism.  The anti-communist paranoia and alarmism of the McCarthy era was stupid back in the 1950s, but it is no longer stupid; it is CRAZY to be an anti-communist alarmist in the 21st century.  The hysterical anti-communists that can be found on the internet these days are like members of the Flat-Earth Society.  They are people who have lost touch with reality and who are in need of counseling, therapy, and in some cases, serious anti-psychotic medication.
There are at least three reasons to believe that Ben Carson is a POLITICAL nutcase:
1.  Ben Carson read The Naked Communist and thought it was a good book.
2. Ben Carson frequently promotes The Naked Communist and urges that everyone shoud read this book.
3. Ben Carson believes that The Naked Communist was a very prescient book: “You would think by reading it that it was written last year. ” (Quoted in the Preface of the current edition of The Naked Communist)
W. Cleon Skousen was the author of The Naked Communist, and Skousen was one of a number of hysterical anti-communist writers/speakers in the 1950s who made a living by stirring up fear and paranoia about communist spies, communist subversion,  communist conspiracies, communist plots, etc.  Skousen was an unhinged crackpot, so the fact that Carson not only agrees with Skousen but actively promotes Skousen’s book The Naked Communist, is a clear indication that Carson is a political nutcase.  For further details, see David Corn’s article in Mother Jones:
 http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/09/ben-carson-conspiracy-theory-cleon-skousen
See also the background article on Skousen at Salon.com:
http://www.salon.com/2009/09/16/beck_skousen/
The last nail in the coffin, however, is reason (3) above.  Reason (3) shows that Ben Carson is most definitely a POLITICAL nutcase.  This point will require a bit of explanation, and some description of the contents of the book The Naked Communist (hereafter: TNC).
One important fact about TNC is that the first eleven chapters, spanning the first 240 pages of the book (out of 358 pages for the whole book), are devoted to an exposition of the history and philosophy of communism.  These 240 pages clearly date the book.
TNC was first published in 1958.  The most current book referenced in the bibliography is dated 1955 (Fifty Years in China by John Leighton Stuart).  There are also footnotes on some pages, and a few footnotes refer to magazine or newspaper articles from 1960 (see for example the footnotes on the bottom of page 216).  In the chapter called “Communism in the United States” the most recent document mentioned in footnotes is dated 1953 (footnote 69 on page 130).  In the chapter called “Post-War Communist Attacks” the most recent book mentioned in footnotes is dated 1955 (The FBI Story by Don Whitehead).
In the first 11 chapters of TNC, there are just a few publications or documents mentioned in footnotes that date from 1961 (footnote 99 on page 207, footnote 94 on page 198, footnote 111 on page 224).  So, Skousen apparently added a bit of new material after the original publication of TNC in 1958.  But, it is clear that Skousen’s exposition of the history and philosophy of communism is based on books and articles mostly from the 1950s and prior decades, with just a few points added from sources dated to 1960 and 1961.  So, the history and philosophy of communism presented in the first 240 pages of TNC is based on information that was available in books and articles from more than 50 years ago.
Because the exposition of the history and philosophy of communism in the first 240 pages of TNC is obviously dated, there is no good reason for Carson to say, concerning this portion of the book, that “You would think by reading it, that it was written last year.”  No.  Any person of modest intelligence can plainly see that the material on the history and philosophy of communism was written mostly in the 1950s,  with a few bits and pieces added in 1960 and 1961.
In fact, based on an examination of the contents of TNC, Carson’s comment only makes sense in reference to Chapter 12: “The Future Task” (p. 241-275).  The final chapter, Chapter 17 also has some material relevant to Carson’s claim, but that is because that chapter is basically a summary of the whole book (it is a speech delivered by Skousen in 1953).  Chapter 13 is more material on communist philosophy.  Chapters 14 and 15 are focused on American political philosophy and capitalism.  Chapter 16 is a very brief discussion of the relationship between Christianity and communism.  Nothing in Chapters 13 through 16 would provide a reason to view TNC as being prescient or as seeming to have been written in the 21st century.  Therefore, we can confidently conclude that Ben Carson’s frequent comment that you would think “it was written last year” is based primarily on Chapter 12, and perhaps the parts of Chapter 17 that correspond to the content of Chapter 12: “The Future Task”.
Chapter 12 of TNC contains a list of 45 “Communist Goals”, and these goals can be found all over the internet on web sites created by right-wing crazies who are convinced that Obama is a communist and that the communists have either already “taken control” of the United States government, or will do so any day now.
In repeatedly making the assertion that The Naked Communist is a book that seems like “it was written last year”,  Ben Carson is revealing himself to be one of the hysterical paranoid right-wing nutcases that can be found barfing up their paranoid anti-communist views across the internet.  Here is just a small sample of these looney-tunes wing-nuts:
http://disruptthenarrative.com/2013/01/08/45-communist-goals-by-dr-cleon-skousen-1958/
http://www.rense.com/general32/americ.htm
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtoIfLgzpx4
http://www.restoring-america.com/Documents/THE%20NAKED%20COMMUNIST%20GOALS%20WITH%20NOTES.pdf
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1561529/posts
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRT8xfIaq5U
http://www.free2pray.info/communism.html
http://www.commieblaster.com/news/communist-takeover-plan.html
https://overmanwarrior.wordpress.com/2011/12/24/agenda-grinding-america-down-and-the-naked-communist/
https://virginiamargaritalibertyblog.wordpress.com/communist-goals-1963/
gunowners.co/978-0936163161
familysecuritymatters.org/publications/detail/our-naked-president
modernsurvivalblog.com/government-gone-wild/communist-goals-coming-true-in-america/
http://freedomoutpost.com/2013/06/obama-implements-communist-goals-by-discrediting-the-american-constitution/
What all of these right-wing nut cases have in common is a breathless awe at how Skousen’s 45 “Communist Goals so clearly predicted the future, and how (Oh My God!!) nearly every one of the 45 Goals has been attained.  The extreme stupidity of these right-wing crazies is what is truly worthy of breathless awe.
FIRST, although Skousen did provide many quotations and references to Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, and various communist publications in support of his claims about communist philosophy and practices, there is not a single quotation or footnote supporting the list of 45 Communist Goals.  Since Skousen was a crackpot who often made wild and unsupported claims, we have no reason to believe that these are actual goals of any communist party or communist organization.  Skousen has provided no evidence supporting these claims, so he might well have just pulled them out of his ass, for all we know.
SECOND, there is an obviously false assumption made by Skousen and the right-wing crazies who are followers of Skousen:
If some communists are in favor of X that means that X is a bad idea.
A third grader of moderate intelligence can see the stupidity of such a broad generalization, but not these nutjobs, and not Ben Carson.  For them, if the commies are for it, then they are against it; no thinking required.
Even if communism is the worst and most evil ideology that humankind has ever produced, it does not follow that EVERYTHING that communists desire or have as a goal is bad or undesireable.  Communists want to eat food and drink water, so is it EVIL to eat food?  Is it EVIL to drink water?  Of course not.  To draw such a conclusion would be pure idiocy. Therefore, the fact that communists have X as a goal DOES NOT MEAN that X is evil or that X is a bad idea.  We have to look at each goal and each policy and do our own independent evaluation of it; we have to use our brains and think about this stuff.
To be reasonable, when examining a specific goal or policy, we should take into consideration not only right-wing and capitalist reasons and arguments, but also liberal, left-wing, socialist and even communist reasons and arguments about each specific goal.  In some cases the reasons and arguments of conservatives and capitalists will be stronger than the reasons and arguments of liberals, left-wingers, socialists, and communists.  In other cases, however, the reasons and arguments from liberals and the left will be stronger than those coming from conservatives and capitalists.  Thus, some of the 45 Communist Goals are simply GOOD IDEAS that were implemented because they were GOOD IDEAS, not because of some imaginary secret society or evil conspiracy.
Of course, if one is a dogmatic right-wing nutjob, then no arguments from liberals or leftists are given serious consideration, and so the right-wing point of view wins out on every issue, in spite of the fact that in many cases liberals or left-wingers have very good reasons to support their views on particular issues or policies.
Some of the alleged “Communist Goals” seem to be good ideas to me, at least there are good reasons that can be given to support these goals:
12. Resist any attempt to outlaw the Communist Party.
13. Do away with loyalty oaths.
34. Eliminate the House Committee on Un-American Activities.
C0ncerning goal (12), I don’t want to live in a country where the government decides which political parties will be allowed and which will be shut down by the government.  That is contrary to the ideals of freedom and democracy.  If a political organization openly advocates violence and terrorism, then I have no problem with the government keeping an eye on that organization and placing constraints on the organization, and even taking the property and assets of the organization, so long as laws prohibiting this kind of activity are clear and the government follows due process constraints, giving such suspect organizations their day in court.  But to simply outlaw a political party because we strongly disagree with the views and policies of that party is contrary to American ideals of freedom and democracy,  and this is an obvious point that requires no significant study or investigation to discover.  Only an idiot would view outlawing a political party as being an unproblematic proposal.
Concerning goal (13), according to Skousen and the right-wing nutcases who follow him, the commies are evil to their core.  They are ruthless, wicked, immoral, lying, deceiving, murdering bastards.  So, what communist is going to hesitate to lie when asked to take a loyalty oath?  Suppose that taking the loyalty oath will give the communist access to top secret military information.  So, this evil, lying, subversive communist is going to refuse to take the loyalty oath, and give up access to top secret military information in order to avoid being dishonest?  Obviously not.
The people who will be hurt by loyalty oaths are people of conscience and integrity who have some hesitancy about publically giving up some of their independence and autonomy from the government.  People who don’t want to bow-the-knee before the U.S. government but who also don’t want to participate in making a dishonest oath.  So, loyalty oaths do NOTHING to prevent communist spies and subversives from gaining access to government jobs, but loyalty oaths do prevent some people with solid moral consciences and good moral character from gaining access to government jobs.  Loyalty oaths seem like an incredibly STUPID idea.  It would be a good thing to get rid of them.
Concerning goal (34), you would have to have shit for brains to think that the House Committee on Un-American Activities was a good idea.  This committee was a direct assault on freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, due proccess, and the right to privacy.  Nothing could be more Un-American than that fascist committee of thought police.  Shutting down that committee was a very good idea.
THIRD,  many of the goals have clearly NOT been acheived, but are only believed to have been acheived in the confused and paranoid minds of right-wing idiots, like Ben Carson.  Here are a few of the alleged “Communist Goals” that have obviously NOT been achieved:
15. Capture one or both of the political parties in the United States.
17. Get control of the schools.  Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda.
18. Gain control of all student newspapers.
20. Infiltrate the press.  Get control of book-review assignments, editorial writing, and policy making positions.
21. Gain control of key positions in radio, TV and motion pictures.
23. Control art critics and directors of art museums.  “Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive meaningless art.”
37. Infiltrate and gain control of big business.
People who believe that the Communists have acheived goals (15), (17), (18), (20), (21), (23), and (37) are people who are likely to be suffering from mental illness.  Unfortunately, based on the fact that the internet is chock full of right-wing extremists who are amazed by Skousen’s prescient list of “Communist Goals”, mental illness seems to be a very widespread phenomena in this country.
In conclusion,  Skousen gives us NO EVIDENCE that any of the 45 alleged “Communist Goals” are actually goals of any communist party or organization.  Skousen makes the idiotic assumption that any goal supported by communists must be a bad idea.  Some of the 45 goals are clearly GOOD IDEAS (or at least can be supported with strong reasons and arguments), and many of the 45 “Communist Goals” have clearly NOT been acheived, particularly the “scary” goals to the effect that “The commies have taken control of X.”
Skousen is a crackpot and an idiot, at least concerning Chapter 12 of his book The Naked Communist, and this chapter is precisely the chapter that Ben Carson and thousands of mentally ill right-wing extremists have grabbed onto as the truth from on high.  Ben Carson’s comment that The Naked Communist seems like “it was written last year” reveals that Ben Carson buys into the very craziest Chapter of a book written by a fear-mongering crackpot.  Thus, Carson is indeed a POLITICAL nutcase, as well as a religious nutcase.

bookmark_borderBen Carson is Also a POLITICAL Nutcase – Part 1

It looks like Ben Carson’s popularity is fading away, according recent polls (Thank you baby Jesus!).
However, he was clearly the number two choice of Republicans from the end of August until early December, and for the first half of November, Carson was neck-and-neck with Trump, tied for first choice of Republicans.  Furthermore, the primary elections/caucuses have not yet occurred, so Carson still has a shot at becoming the Republican nominee for president.
In my first post on Carson, I argued that he was a religious nutcase because of his extreme views on abortion and his opposition to established science on evolution, the Big Bang, global warming, and homosexuality:

  •  No woman (and no one who cares about women) should vote for Carson, because not only would he “love” to see Roe v. Wade overturned but he is opposed to abortion in cases of rape and incest.  In fact, Carson is unsure about whether abortion should be allowed even when the mother’s life is at risk.  Carson wants to lead the Republican war on women.
  • No elderly person (and no one with elderly parents) should vote for Carson, because Carson wants to end both Medicare and Medicaid.
  • No college-educated person should vote for Carson, because Carson rejects scientific thinking on evolution, the Big Bang, global warming, and homosexuality.

In my second post on Carson, I began to argue that he was a political nutcase as well.  I provided some evidence about Carson’s obsession with and admiration for W. Cleon Skousen, an anti-communist crackpot from the 1950s.
In the meantime, I have obtained a copy of the book that Ben Carson wants EVERYBODY to read:  The Naked Communist by W. Cleon Skousen, and I have been viewing and transcribing various speeches and presentations by Ben Carson from 2014 and some from 2015 too, where Carson spews his crazy extremist political views.
I’m now fully convinced that Ben Carson is a political nutcase who should not be allowed to obtain ANY political office in ANY place at ANY time.   Carson is a delusional extremist who poses a great threat to our country if he were to become President of the United States of America.
I realize that The Secular Outpost is focused on Naturalism and Atheism, and not on American politics.  However, it is important for the sake of freedom of thought and freedom of religion and for the sake of liberty and justice for all that we atheists and naturalists who live in America do whatever we can to prevent religious and political nutcases, such as Ben Carson,  from obtaining powerful positions in our government, and there is no more powerful position than the presidency.
Ben Carson represents one of the ugliest and most obnoxious intrusions of religion into politics that I have ever witnessed; furthermore, there is a striking similarity between the irrationality of Carson’s religion and the irrationality of Carson’s political views.  So, although this post is primarily political, it also touches upon the problematic relationship between religion and politics in America.
Here is the striking similarity between Carson’s religion and his political views:  both arise out of foolish alarmist prophets.  Carson is a Seventh Day Adventist.  This protestant sect was founded by Ellen G. White, who had many “visions”, wrote many books of a religious nature, and who is considered to be a modern-day prophet by Seventh Day Adventists.  Ellen grew up in a family that was part of the Millerite movement:
 Millerite movement
In 1840, at age 12, her family became involved with the Millerite movement. As she attended William Miller’s lectures, Ellen felt guilty for her sins, and she was filled with terror about being eternally lost. She describes herself as spending nights in tears and prayer, and being in this condition for several months. On June 26, 1842, She was baptized by John Hobart in Casco Bay in Portland, Maine, and eagerly awaited Jesus to come again. In her later years, she referred to this as the happiest time of her life. Her family’s involvement with Millerism caused them to be disfellowshipped by the local Methodist church.
Marriage and family
Sometime in 1845 Ellen came into contact with her future husband James Springer White, a Millerite who became convinced that her visions were genuine. 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellen_G._White
The Millerite movement was started by William Miller, and it is famous for it’s failed prediction of the end of the world and the second coming of Jesus, referred to as “The Great Disapointment”.  A brief account of this historical event is found in Bart Ehrman’s book Jesus, pages 12 to 14.
After fighting in the American War of 1812, Miller turned to the Bible to find “the Truth”.  His study of the Bible renewed his faith in God and Jesus and led to an obsession with biblical prophecy, which he studied in detail for two years. Based on his own interpretation of the book of Daniel, Miller concluded in 1818 that the end of the world would take place in 1843.  Miller did not initially try to spread the word and convince others that the end was at hand, but after five more years of study, “he began to tell neighbors and friends, and eventually ministers.” (Jesus, p.13).  A Christian movement began and blossomed , and “As the fated date approached, huge tent meetings and camps were arranged; thousands of people came to hear the good news, and many of them converted.”  (Jesus, p.13).
Many Millerites expected Jesus to return by the end of 1843.  But in January of that year, William Miller clarified his prediction to be that Christ would return between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844.  “Those who had expected Christ’s return by the last day of 1843 were disappointed when the new year appeared, but they placed their hopes on the revised terminus ante quem in the spring.  The movement continued to thrive, picking up thousands of converts, until that date, too, came and went.”  (Jesus, p.13)
You would think that the failure of the predicted date would have put an END to the Millerite movement, but the followers of Miller were too emotionally invested in their  religious beliefs to be put off by mere facts.  Some enthusiastic Millerites began promoting October 22, 1844 as the new and correct date for the end of the world, and Miller came to endorse this prediction early in October:
This time the failure of the end to appear created particular hardship.  Their fervent hopes completely dashed, Millerite believers were subject to abject ridicule and, in some cases, real physical hardship: some of the faithful had quit their jobs to devote themselves to the mission of spreading the word; some farmers had left their crops in the field unharvested; some people had given away all their possessions…. Some never recovered from the non-event that historians have come to call “The Great Disappointment.”  (Jesus, p.14)
Ellen White, the founder of Seventh Day Adventism, grew up as a Millerite.  She and her family embraced the foolish alarmist predictions of William Miller.
Ben Carson also embraces foolish alarmist prophecy that currently circulates in Seventh Day Adventist circles.  See, for example, his sermon at Avondale Memorial Church on July 12, 2014 ( Sermon begins at 17:05).  More importantly, Carson embraces the foolish alarmist political predictions of W. Cleon Skousen in The Naked Communist.  Not only does Carson personally embrace the alarmist predictions of Skousen, but Carson continually promotes the book The Naked Communist as well as some of Skousen’s key ideas from that book.
Carson spoke at the 108th Annual Meeting of The Manufacturers’ Association of South Central Pennsylvania on April 23rd, 2014, and he recommended this book:
It’s easy to find the literature on this: Marxist and neo-Marxist literature.  But it indicates that it is necessary in order to bring the United States under subjugation that you have to break its most powerful pillars.  And that is the family structure and their Judeo-Christian belief system.  And if you can bring those things under control, then you can definitely knock the people down, and if you can make the people dependent, then you can definitely bring the United States down.  And I encourage people to read those things, so they understand what’s going on. There is a book called The Naked Communist, written in 1958 by Leon [sic] Skousen, which outlines, back in 1958 it outlines everything that’s going on today, and the whole plan, and how it was to roll out. And I must give the secular progressives their due, because they have been very effective in bringing about the kind of change that they wanted to in this nation.  [53:33-55:24]
Carson spoke at the 2014 Annual Gala of the National Organization for Marriage on June 19th, 2014, and he recommended this book:
And there are so many forces that are there to try to destroy that unity–the only way to bring America down. If you look in a lot of the writings of the neo-Marxists, when they talk about the New World Order; they say there is only one stick in the mud: the United States. How do you get them out of the way? Or how do you change them? And they said there were two fundamental things: their Judeo-Christian faith and their strong families. Those were the things that had to be attacked, and those things have been systematically attacked over the last several decades. There is a book called The Naked Communist by Cleon Skousen, the same guy that wrote The 5,000 Year Leap, lays out the whole agenda of how to attack the family and the Judeo-Christian values to weaken the structure of America.  [18:19-20:02]
Carson was interviewed for WND TV by the founder and CEO of WND Joseph Farah on July 4th, 2014, and Carson recommended this book in the interview:
The mainstream media is never going to give you the right answers, because they’re part of the problem. There’s a book called The Naked Communist, it was written in 1958, uhh..Cleon Skousen, lays out the whole agenda, including the importance of getting people in important positions in the mainstream media so that they could help drive the agenda. Well, that’s what’s happening now. And, uh, we need to just move around them. [20:09-20:35]
Carson was interviewed on Fox News by Megyn Kelly on July 16, 2014, and he recommended this book during that interview:
That’s why I tell them to go read it for themselves: Vladimir Lenin, Saul Alinsky, Karl Marx. You know, uh, I mean these people, umm, just laid all this stuff out. And there was a guy who was a former CIA agent, by the name of Cleon Skousen, who wrote a book in 1958 called The Naked Communist, and it laid out the whole agenda. You would think by reading it, that it was written last year, showing what they’re trying to do to American families, what they’re trying to do to our Judeo-Christian faith, uh, what they’re doing to morality.  [5:05-6:45]
Carson was interviewed on Newsmax TV by J.D. Hayworth on September 9, 2014, and Carson recommended this book in the interview:
Well, I would say, uh, people should, uh, read a book called The Naked Communist. It was written in 1958 and it sorta shows the whole timeline of what would be necessary in terms of gaining control of school systems, of unions, and eventually being able to get a foothold in government, uh, the executive branch, uh, included, which includes the DOJ, and what could be done under those circumstances.  It was written in 1958. If you read it, you would think it was written last year.
Carson spoke at the  Iowa National Security Action Summit (hosted by The Center for Security Policy, in partnership with THE FAMILY LEADER Foundation and High Frontier) on May 16, 2015, and he recommended this book:
I think you’re absolutely right. This [anti-American agenda] has been going on long before this administration, though. This has been going on for thirty, forty, fifty years. It’s called “the progressive agenda”. And, uh, there’s a book, there’s a book called The Naked Communist by Cleon Skousen. It was written in 1958, and it goes through the agenda that they have here to fundamentally change our country. I recommend that book, because you would think it was written last year. But I, I believe that this is well orchestrated, and the thing that they need in order to finally achieve their goal is for people with common sense to keep their mouths shut. And that’s what we can’t do; we have to stand up for what we believe in.  [28:00-29:48]
Please don’t buy The Naked Communist.  Please don’t read The Naked Communist.  It is a big steaming pile of CRAP.  In the next post in this series, I will tell you all you need to know about this idiotic book and why Carson’s repeated recommendations of this book show that he is a political nutcase in addition to being a religious nutcase.

bookmark_borderSilence from the three Nazi, I mean GOP, Presidential Candidates

If a presidential candidate attended a NAZI rally to try to get some votes, and if the leader of the rally spewed hate-mongering rhetoric about working towards a “final solution” for the “Jewish problem” in the USA, do you think the mass media would be interested in reporting this event?  Do you think the mass media would ask some pointed questions to that presidential candidate?

  • What if three GOP presidential candidates attended a conference hosted by a religious nutcase who advocates the death penalty for homosexuals? (I seem to recall that the Nazis sent homosexuals to death camps along with millions of Jews).  
  • What if the religious nutcase spewed his hate-mongering ideas at that very conference from the stage on which he interviewed those three GOP candidates?  

Do you think the mass media would be interested in reporting this event?  Do you think the mass media would ask some pointed questions to these GOP sociopaths who pretend to be normal human beings?  Apparently not.
Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, and Mike Huckabee all attended a conference hosted by the religious nutcase Kevin Swanson, who during the conference spewed his hate-mongering ideas from the stage on which he also interviewed those three sociopaths who are in the running to be the next president of the U.S.A.
It appears that Cruz, Jindal, and Huckabee have no interest in apologizing for the moral equivalent of attending a NAZI rally to try to get a few more votes from right-wing idiots:
==============================

GOP Candidates Really Don’t Want To Talk About ‘Kill The Gays’ Conference

SUBMITTED BY Miranda Blue on Wednesday, 11/18/2015 2:50 pm
A couple of weeks ago, we reported extensively on a conference in Iowa organized by extremist pastor Kevin Swanson, at which three Republican presidential candidates joined Swanson on stage shortly before he went off on a series of rants about how the biblical punishment for homosexuality is death, Harry Potter is bringing God’s judgment on America, and how if your gay child gets married you should show up to the wedding covered in cow manure.
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow ran a segment on the conference, but other than that, as a number of commentators have noted, the media has been strangely silent on the Republican candidates’ participation in this event.
Today, Des Moines Register columnist Rekha Basu reports that she reached out to the campaigns of the three candidates, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal (who has since dropped out of the presidential race), and found them rather reluctant to talk about it.
===================================
For more details:
http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/gop-candidates-really-dont-want-talk-about-kill-gays-conference
http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/gop-confab-ends-call-execute-gays-who-dont-repent-send-queen-elsa-back-hell
http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/maddow-calls-out-gopers-kill-gays-rally-appearance