The Raving Theist

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Honor Among Atheists?

June 23, 2006 | 54 Comments

[NOTE: For reasons I will explain in a later entry, this post is unfair in a number of respects to KC of Bigli and Atheist Mommy. I retract those parts of the post which imply that they are dishonest or unscrupulous.]

Is there honor among atheists?

I’m beginning to wonder. My character has been brought into question this week in two posts by atheist bloggers: Raving Atheist Targeting Atheist Mothers? by “KC” at Bligbi, and Raving Atheist exposed yet again by Francois Tremblay of Goosing the Antithesis. Abortion being the topic, I understand the general vitriol and incivility of the attacks. But there’s also a fundamental dishonesty, a reckless disregard for truth and accuracy, an intellectual laziness, a distaste for open discourse, and an abandonment of basic principles of decency which I just don’t understand. I’ve never experienced anything close to it in my interactions with believers.*

First, consider KC’s conspiracy theory regarding my alleged plan to target and brainwash atheist mommies:

Sometime ago the Raving Atheist commented on a post of mine about the Crisis Pregnancy Centers underhanded behavior. His screen name caught my attention so I wandered over to have a look around his site. I found a post where he was encouraging fellow anti-choicers to speak to another blogger, a woman and an atheist, about abortion.

That made me suspicious as it seemed like the kind of thing internet religious apologists do (list sites on their page and encourage readers to ‘engage’ them). I spoke to my husband about it at the time and he agreed that it did seem like RA was targeting atheist women for conversion. I let his comment stand, but didn’t engage him in conversation.

Today, I find this post at Goosing the Antithesis. Earlier this month the Raving Atheist offered Atheist Mommy $20 an hour to volunteer in an CPC. My suspicion was confirmed as far as I’m concerned — the Raving Atheist is bad news.

But some good has come of it. I realized I had a bias that I’m going to need to work on. When I was sitting up my (now defunct) about page, I worried about mentioning my children and what theists would do with that information.

It never occurred to me to think about what a fellow atheist might do with it. I automatically assumed that other atheists would be rational and honest and not target my children and/or me as a mother.

In short, a zealot is a zealot no matter what side of the theological line they choose.

Let’s consider each of my “victims,” how they were “targeted,” and the nature of the attempted “conversion.”

As KC notes, the comment I left her responded to a post about CPCs — specifically, a post which in she blindly repeated unsubstantiated, unsourced claims about an Indiana CPC made in a mass-generated Planned Parenthood fundraising e-mail. I did not “target” her as an atheist or a mother or a woman or anything, and certainly didn’t target her children. I had no idea what she was in any of those categories at the time I left the comment, and in fact did not know until yesterday when I saw the post quoted above. There was no “targeting” whatsovever. Rather, as part of an effort to counteract the PPs meme generator, in early May I found KC’s site, among many others, by searching Technorati for the terms “Planned Parenthood” and “Crisis Pregnancy”. Without knowing, inquiring and/or caring about the sex, motherhood status, martial status or religion of the bloggers, I left identical or similar comments at least ten other sites: Mike the Actuary’s Musing, The Politically Incorrect Report, Sugared Harpy, Bark/Bite, State of the Qusan, God is for Suckers, Progressive U, D.C. Digressions, One Smoot Short of a Bridge and Forge, Women, Forge. At least three of the bloggers are male, two of the blogs have authors of mixed genders, one is lesbian, only one is obviously atheist, and I believe that only one of the women other than KC is a mother. All they had in common is that they had mindlessly reprinted portions of the Planned Parenthood email** — hardly fertile grounds for pro-life conversion.

And contrary to KC’s implication, my comment was not an attempt at conversion regarding the merits of pro-life/pro-choice debate. It was strictly limited to the factual accuracy of PP’s charges against the unnamed CPC:

Substantial questions have been raised as to whether Planned Parenthood’s story is true (see here and here). I hope the CPC is shut down if the story is true, but it may w[e]ll just be a hoax started by PP as part of its e-mail campaign in support of the proposed anti-CPC legislation.

The links led to two fact-laden posts replete with links to information regarding the controversy, including pictures of the CPC. *** As you can see, I even called for the closure of the CPC if the charges were true. There was no effort, as I believe KC was trying to insinuate, that I was trying to “fool” emotionally vulnerable mothers into believing that their children were part of a continuum of life that began at conception. No, I certainly don’t see anything wrong with that argument, and it’s a bit sexist of KC to propose that mothers are helpless little things who should be shielded from the suggestion, but my comment simply addressed a narrow issue relating to political tactics. KC sought “confirmation” from her husband and chose not to “engage” me — fine — but once she started leveling allegations she should have at least opened her mind to conducting some rudimentary research into the matter.

KC identifies my next “victim” as the subject of a post in which I “was encouraging fellow anti-choicers to speak to another blogger, a woman and an atheist, about abortion.” Understandably, she doesn’t link to the post or identify the poor shrinking violet.**** For she’s apparently alluding to my post at the Dawn Patrol about my good friend Shirley Setterbo of AtheistExposed2 — the gun-toting Texas corrections officer who after two decades “came out” as an atheist and has been terrorizing her Bible belt colleagues and inmates with godless bumper stickers and coffee mugs. Given her lust for debate, I suggested that Shirley try her powers of persuasion at a CPC and post about it at my site. With her full permission, in April I posted this excerpt from one of her e-mails to me and invited reader response:

You know . . . It’s an uncomfortable issue . . . I’m really not concrete on my views on the issue. I mean, I don’t think children should be born to parents, that don’t want to, or are not ready to raise them. So many of the federal prisoners came from just that environment. But, the whole ugliness of killing a baby is just so dreadful, I can barely stand to think of it. But, It does sound like a lively conversation starter. Let me sleep on it a night or two. I think it might, do some good, in spreading the word — “That Atheists are good people”. Shirley

So Shirley, who I have known for nearly a year, was a willing participant in this dialogue. She already finds abortion distasteful, and all I “targeted” her for, out of friendship, was the opportunity to enjoy the same life-enriching experience I have had at my CPC.

Finally, KC points to AtheistMommy, who is indeed an atheist and a mommy. But I did not “target” her — on June 1, she wrote an unsoliticted e-mail to me joking about being paid to go to church like the Ebay Atheist. As I did with Shirley, and have done with men and woman alike who have contacted me, I suggested that she volunteer at a CPC instead. Here is the entirety of our correspondence:

Atheist Mommy June 1, 2006

Regarding your post: Soul for Sale

http://ravingatheist.com/archives/2006/02/soul_for_sale.php

I wonder how much I could get for taking my little Atheist family to a
church. You know, AtheistMommy needs money to pay off college loans too. : )

Raving Atheist June 4, 2006
I wonder how much I could get for taking my little Atheist family to a
church.

Assuming the church has 250 regular members, there’d be between $500 to $100 in the collection plate Sunday. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind you taking it when services were over — they collect it to help families anyway. Plus, there’s no god to stop you.

Seriously, though, I’d pay $20 an hour for you volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center (mostly run by evangelicals or Catholics) and write about the experience for my blog.

— The Raving Atheist —

Atheist Mommy June 4, 2006

LOL! That’s some funny shit. Hmmm, working at as a volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center, I don’t think they’d let me near that. I wouldn’t mind though. I’m also pro-choice, lol.

Raving Atheist June 4, 2006

Doesn’t matter that you’re pro-choice, although that would make it more interesting. I volunteer at a CPC which is basically Catholic, and they don’t care who helps them out. And you wouldn’t be counseling women, just distributing clothes and toys to pregnant women or mothers who made the choice not to abort. Most of the clients are women who want the baby but are being pressured to abort by a boyfriend or parent. You could try it for a few days and give it up if you thought the center was being deceptive or unfair, something I’ve never experienced where I am. If you agree to do it, I’ll have a friend find the best center in your area and call them to make sure they’re right for you.

–TRA

Atheist Mommy June 4, 2006

The idea is appealing. I’m not sure I could swing it though. Between school and home I’ve got very little to no time.

Why if I only give out clothes and toys would you want me to do this?

Raving Atheist June 19, 2006

Sorry for the delay in response; I overlooked your reply.

Why if I only give out clothes and toys would you want me to do this?

Because it’s enough, and I think being exposed to the other volunteers would give you a different perspective on what it is like to be pro-life. And you would give them a different idea about atheists.

I was very proud to be a part of this story. The mother left grateful comments at both Dawn’s blog and mine. You might have a similar experience.

One hour a month, or even just a one-time visit to help out would be enough. No rush; please just consider it for some time in the future.

I feel at liberty to publish our correspondence because, without my permission and unbeknowst to me until yesterday, Atheist Mommy reprinted some of it on the Infidel Gals forum in early June to ask advice on whether she should do it. The exchanges show that she’s hardly a victim:

Atheist Mommy The Raving Atheist wants to pay me $20 an hour to volunteer at a christian crisis center. I was joking about the “ebay atheist” and wrote the Raving Atheist on his forum. He’s been emailing me about the whole thing. He wants to me join and then write about it on his blog.

What do you guys think?

Junebugg DO IT! Are you crazy? That’s great material! I’d love to read about the experience! And you get paid for it too. No amount of money could make me take my kids to a brain-washing xtian church, but you’re definitely strong enough to handle volunteering at a crisis center. It’s not like you have to worry about them converting you!

Atheist Mommy Oh, I’m not worried about being converted. I’m not sure I have enough time to spare. However, I am worried about them going crazy on me and trying to kill me. The bible belt has its downfalls, which I’m sure you know. But yes, the thought is very appealing.

Apart from her what I assume is facetious paranoia about homicidal CPC volunteers, Atheist Mommy is no target, victim or convert. But you wouldn’t know this from Tremblay’s spin on it:

After his little bigot episode***** and his “parenthood is slavery” stint******, Raving Atheist is now once again exposing himself as a raving lunatic. He is targeting atheist women, without being solicited, to work for his anti-abortion “centers”. In an email to Infidel Gal [Atheist Mommy], he says:

[Reproducing my first e-mail with the original offer]

And recently he has stated that his “most significant reward of nearly four years of blogging” was to help finance someone’s pregnancy to prevent an abortion-burdening a poor confused woman with a child for the rest of her life.

I don’t mean to beat a dead horse, but why does anyone take this vile individual seriously? Anyone who supports Raving Atheist and his blog is supporting his lunacy. Just stop paying him any attention. The sooner his hate blog goes down, the better.

One fact Tremblay never highlights is that he never asked my permission to print the e-mail or even contacted me about it. For some reason, however, he felt it necessary to ask for Atheist Mommy’s consent (see end of Infidel Gal thread), even though she’s posted them, without my knowledge, on a public forum:

AtheistMommy, can I have your permission to post your posts on my blog? To be honest with you, that lunatic bigot (Raving Atheist) has been a thorn in my side for a while, and it would bring me joy to make a small contribution towards bringing him down.

I don’t dispute anyone’s legal right to post an e-mail that has been sent without any stipulation of privacy. But for my own part, I have never published an e-mail without first seeking and obtaining the sender’s explicit written permission.******* I don’t know any blogger who does, and I certainly couldn’t fathom any of the religious bloggers I know even contemplating such a breach of trust.

But what I find most reprehensible about Tremblay’s post is his disparagement of my friend Ashli’s efforts on behalf of that “poor confused woman” whose baby is pictured here, and the further ignorant attacks on her in the comments. Suffice it to say that Ashli earns the undying friendship and gratitude of every woman and family she so selflessly helps and becomes a very real part of their lives. What she lives every day is a truth more real than any one that Tremblay will ever express in his blog.

Nevertheless, I will grant him his wish, in part. I will bring myself down. In honor of Ashli and my friends in the Blogosphere who share her ideals, I will never write another bad word about Jesus or Christianity on The Raving Atheist.

_________________

* Except Clubbeaux.
** Except for Smoot, an enthusiastic pro-choicer who nevertheless thought PP might be resorting to “lies and propaganda.”
*** The links were to guest posts by me at The Dawn Patrol, not my site as KC states. That much should have been obvious from the name of the site, and from the caricature of a blonde female person named “Dawn” on the sidebar.
**** In a comment to the Tremblay post, KC inexplicably suggests the woman is this blogger, who is actually male, Christian, and pro-life.
*****This joke post counseling comedianne Julia Sweeney not to read “Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand.
******In March I participated in a debate abortion on Tremblay’s internet radio show. Under his Objectivist philosophy, a woman’s body is her “property” and he stated that legal restrictions on what she could do to a fetus it were tantamount to state “ownership” of her and thus slavery. I pointed out that under his theory, raising the child once born was also slavery because the state would also penalize her if she did not use her body to care for it. Tremblay cut me of by screaming obscenities and insisting that the argument was too stupid for me to continue with further explanation.
*******Except for Nigerian con artists.

Comments

54 Responses to “Honor Among Atheists?”

  1. Melissa
    June 23rd, 2006 @ 8:29 am

    I read your entry on the fact that you include me as one of those who �mindlessly� reprinted the Planned Parenthood email on CPCs.

    I want to point something out to you, again.

    This comment on my blog, Sugaredharpy.com, mentions my own example of dealing with this kind of underhanded tactic. This comment appeared before yours:

    �I wanted more info before I posted it.

    This is not a new issue or a new tactic for abortion opponents. When I suspected I was pregnant at 17 with Daniel, I went to a crisis pregnancy center. I was told they were open-minded and supported whatever decision was made. They were located across the street from the hospital and suggested they worked with the hospital�s resources. But oh no. It was a Christian center. Luckily, their test was negative. I was pregnant, but with Daniel I ended up with 9 negative urine tests and only 1 positive (a blood test). They were ACTUALLY SAD that I wasn�t pregnant, because they thought that would be �so beautiful.�

    I think the issue is being brought to the forefront right now because of fairly recent Bush funding for Christian-based Crisis Pregnancy Centers and then NY Representative Carolyn Maloney and eleven co-sponsors are introducing the �Stop Deceptive Advertising for Women�s Services Act� (http://maloney.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view
    &id=1082&Itemid=61) based on these situations.

    When it happened to me, it wasn�t as dramatic, but it could have been. It was definitely deceiving.�

    Please realize what you are talking about, that the tactics exist, that what you are talking about (when you say we/I mindlessly reprinted) is false. You failed to take the time to review the previous comments, because your own agenda was hot-headed. The issue is not about one CPC, not at all. It�s about the fight against deception, it�s about giving women factual information when it comes to their health, their bodies, and their children. I did not abort, but not because of a lie that CPC would have given me. I made that choice with fact, with information, with clarity. CPCs that run in this manner do nothing to prevent abortions, they only shame women and deny their right to real healthcare. Please understand this. Please take a moment to regard the health of women as a value worth having. Please trust women to do what they can for their children, born and unborn.

    Anyone can say anything they want and I believe in that. I realize that this is entirely your right. But, I would advise you to watch how you discuss this, how you manipulate the idea of �fact�. And I would make sure you understand the argument you are flailing against, because you are off base on this one. It makes it makes it more difficult to understand your position when there is a clear denial of actual reading on your part. I�m sure others want to understand your position too, but this just sounds like spouting off, not research. I know you are capable of actual research and clear writing, use it to help your position. This post files right under �ignorant anti-abortionist� speak. I wish that weren�t the case, even though I�m pro-woman/pro-abortion/pro-adoption/pro-life, I wish for a fact-based, research-based conversation. This just isn�t it.

  2. Daniel Morgan
    June 23rd, 2006 @ 8:29 am

    I do find it revealing that we atheists, purportedly the least dogmatic and most open-minded individuals, by virtue of our lack of faith and willingness to examine our assumptions, can sometimes also display the most emotion-laden diatribes against those with whom we disagree, rather than a reasonable refutation of their arguments.

    Angry atheists. Where in the hell do these people think that stereotype comes from?

    I can only hope that cooler heads will prevail in the competition for publicity and public representation of godless philosophies, but unfortunately, I tend to agree with Juliet Eilpern that extremists and fanatics more often control politics and publicity, and with Jon Stewarts explanation of this phenomenon by virtue of the fact that moderates “have a life”. [outside of the cause/party they advocate tirelessly and with reckless abandon]

    Oh well.

  3. Some Guy
    June 23rd, 2006 @ 8:42 am

    Humans are humans.

  4. Thorngod
    June 23rd, 2006 @ 10:32 am

    RA, do I understand correctly that you’ve sworn off all criticism of Christianity? Has your close association with service-minded Christians in the CPCs undermined your atheism? Most of the really good people I’ve known in my now-lengthy sojourn have been Christians. That may be because I haven’t known many people who weren’t Christian. I was reared and still reside in one of the South’s many towns that style themselves “The City of Churches,” and I don’t personally know anyone in this area that I would say definitely is a non-believer. I suspect that the best people in the world probably are believers–but even if that is a fact, it has nothing to do with the truth of things.
    — I’m sure it has long been obvious to you from many of the postings on your blog that there are some mean-spirited and even misanthropic atheists around. I doubt they are any more so than legions of “believers.”

  5. Rosemary
    June 23rd, 2006 @ 11:30 am

    I’m a Christian delurking just to say — Thank you for this radical promise, Raving Atheist.

  6. Love
    June 23rd, 2006 @ 11:36 am

    The good thing about religion is that it diverts our murderous instinct into our instinct to analyse, debate, blog, our need to be right. The bad thing is that when the debate boils over into nuclear world war we all die.

  7. SteveG
    June 23rd, 2006 @ 11:45 am

    I am with Rosemary. I am just awestruck by this post. I am not sure how to respond other than to say thank you, to commend you for all the very real good you’ve done in the past (especially Ashli-who’s done so much for others), and offer you my own support (even if just virtual).

    Thanks RA.

  8. Nightfly
    June 23rd, 2006 @ 12:18 pm

    I began to notice a bit of unrest a few days ago when you spoke up about chastity, and wrote about it back at my place. (The trackback didn’t work, so here’s the post.) But I had no idea that all this was going on at other sites, nor that they did not see fit to let you in on the conversation.

    Even when I disagree with you, I can at least appreciate your habit of thinking, and spelling out why and how you reach your conclusions. As far as I can see, you’re much like Thomas More – you think none harm, you do none harm, you say none harm. (That quote will really grab Ashli et als!)

  9. Thorngod
    June 23rd, 2006 @ 1:19 pm

    Nightfly, I checked out your post with the excerpts from RA’s “Chastening Thoughts” commentary. The brief comment you quoted by me, which ended with “More later,” provided you with an opportunity for extensive premature commentary on what I had not yet written. I have written it now–#61. I think you will find it less easy to distroy my actual reasoning than the phantom you conjured up.

  10. Kate B.
    June 23rd, 2006 @ 1:24 pm

    “Anyone who supports Raving Atheist and his blog is supporting his lunacy.”

    I proudly support your lunacy, RA.

  11. Nightfly
    June 23rd, 2006 @ 1:51 pm

    Thorngod – fair enough. The commentary that followed your quote turned out to be from everyone else, not you, so it was unfair of me to have left that dangling there. I will gladly read what you have to say, and post my when I’ve processed it. Before I go, I feel the need to point out that the “phantoms” were not of my conjuring, any more than they were of yours. I used actual quotes as the bases of my objections. I fully expect that an actual argument will be harder to answer – and more rewarding for both of us.

  12. Kafkaesquí
    June 23rd, 2006 @ 1:52 pm

    I’m trying to figure out if posting the occasional sarcastic comment here is in any way showing support or endorsing RA and (his) lunacy. I’ll have to think about that one for a while. Meanwhile…

    I am now attempting to contact the Nigerian spammer to inform him (or her) that his (or her) private email correspondence with RA was posted publically and apparently without consent. And to think I believed RA was at least an honorable sort. Peh.

  13. SBW
    June 23rd, 2006 @ 2:21 pm

    Kate B. said:
    “Anyone who supports Raving Atheist and his blog is supporting his lunacy.”

    I proudly support your lunacy, RA.

    I second that. Besides, all the really interesting people I’ve ever met were kind of nutty anways. You fit right in. :)

  14. Hannah
    June 23rd, 2006 @ 3:17 pm

    Dear TRA,

    I fully support your lunacy!

    God bless you.

    Hannah

  15. Pansy Moss
    June 23rd, 2006 @ 3:18 pm

    Melissa,
    I’m sorry, but I fail to see the underhanded tactic in your story. I mean from the very least I can gather is the people’s underlying pro-life attitude (which I am not even sure I got from your story) was annoying. You are of course entitled to your own opinion. I have changed doctors not because they were bad doctors, but I simply because I found their style incompatible with my own. But you say:
    It�s about the fight against deception, it�s about giving women factual information when it comes to their health, their bodies, and their children. I did not abort, but not because of a lie that CPC would have given me. I made that choice with fact, with information, with clarity. CPCs that run in this manner do nothing to prevent abortions, they only shame women and deny their right to real healthcare.

    You just don’t illustrate where this CPC lied to you and did not give you medical facts, or tried to deny you healthcare.

    Anywho, Dear Mr Atheist,
    Mr. Nightfly said:
    Even when I disagree with you, I can at least appreciate your habit of thinking, and spelling out why and how you reach your conclusions. As far as I can see, you’re much like Thomas More – you think none harm, you do none harm, you say none harm. (That quote will really grab Ashli et als!)

    I second that (and for the most part always have).

  16. Christina
    June 23rd, 2006 @ 3:42 pm

    You rock, RA!

  17. Mijae
    June 23rd, 2006 @ 5:00 pm

    Christ, I didn’t realize being pro-choice meant you had to be religiously offended by anyone who suggests trying to not kill every single fetus. I knew I shouldn’t have skimmed through the fine print.

    Go lunacy!

  18. Shirley Setterbo
    June 23rd, 2006 @ 7:27 pm

    “Anyone who supports Raving Atheist and his blog is supporting his lunacy.”

    I love and support RA’s lunacy.

  19. Melissa
    June 23rd, 2006 @ 10:26 pm

    Pansy Moss, I’m sorry you couldn’t see the full story. I will clarify with most of the personal details you crave.

    In this incident, I thought I was pregnant at 17. I called around for help, trying to get information and help. I found this particular center and I asked many questions (I’m an academic, full of many questions as a general rule.) I was explicity told that I was going to a neutral place where all decisions were accepted and that I would be treated within my choices. I was explicity told counseling was available. I was explicitly told that medical care existed there. I was also explicitly told that this place worked with the (very) nearby hospital. I was told there was no religious backing. All of these were false. I was immediately bombarded with Christian messages, how God loves my child (while still waiting for the test to result), and how “beautiful” it would be to deliver a child. There was no counseling, only preaching and glossy pamphlets about Jesus. Luckily for me, their test was negative. If I had wanted an abortion, I would NOT have been given full information, only Christian messages that “wished” me luck, nothing that would have answered my questions with medical advice.

    I did not abort. My son is now 11. But I made that choice with full information.

    That place finally admitted to being Catholic-backed and religiously pro-life/anti-abortion. If they had thought I was pregnant, I would have had to deal with their shaming techniques (more than I already did) and misinformation with no support to back it. I was 17, this is not “just changing doctors,” this is clearly mislabeling their practice, clearly having an agenda but not advertising nor admitting as such without strong pressure, and clearly not having my medical needs put before their religious needs. I was not necessarily denied healthcare, because they didn’t think I was pregnant. But I guarantee there was no medical advice to be had, they did not have an OB/GYN on the premises. They only had an RN who read the tests.

    This is exactly what the PP story illustrates, regardless of what did or did not happen in Indiana. It happened in Missouri 12 years ago, to me.

  20. Melissa
    June 23rd, 2006 @ 10:30 pm

    Also, this is why I did not “mindlessly” reprint the PP email. I knew it to be something that HAPPENS. I even explained in my post why I thought it was being brought to attention at that moment.

    PP claims that the privacy of the young woman in Indiana was requested by her family. I can’t verify if the story is true. And honestly, I would NEVER force her to come out to share her very, very personal story in order to ease our hungry minds. This case is not the only one, this type of thing is much more common than many realize. Luckily, because they haven’t need to find out for themselves.

    I was unlucky enough to have to deal with a heavily concealed pro-life, Christian agenda at a place I thought was neutral, that had actual counseling, and would provide medical attention if needed. This is not a way to prevent abortions.

  21. Rosa
    June 23rd, 2006 @ 10:48 pm

    Same as a few other posters, I think you rock!! Keep raving!

  22. InfidelGirl
    June 23rd, 2006 @ 11:14 pm

    This thread on http://www.infidelgal.com has been been deleted because of issues with the permissions of posting a private e-mail on the forum.

    We at infidelgal.com do not condone posting of any private e-mails without the permission of BOTH parties. We also do not condone personal attacks of any kind to anyone either Atheist or Christian.

    I would like to send a personal apology to Raving Atheist as I did not know about this thread until I was directed to the the RavingAtheist.com site and was disturbed at the way he feels about the private e-mail between him and AtheistMommy. While I do not think there was malicious intent on AtheistMommy part, I still removed the posts.

    In the future all post about private e-mails will be strickly forbidden in all threads on infidelgal.com

    Any comments or questions about this thread should be directed to infidelgirl@mchsi.com

  23. Pansy Moss
    June 24th, 2006 @ 4:09 am

    That place finally admitted to being Catholic-backed and religiously pro-life/anti-abortion.

    Thank you for a better grasp of your story. I wasn’t trying to pry, really. I just didn’t get what happened from your original narrative. I am an orthodox Catholic and I do not think I could handle proselytizing of any type at a tender point in my life (but that goes for pro-choice proselytizing, and in fact when I was pregnant as a teen, I received lots and lots of that).

    My only question mark is the fact that you mentioned it was a Catholic CPC. I volunteered for BirthRight for years and we are required to spell out what we do and do not do from the get go. We administered pregnancy tests, and referred to different places for different kinds of help (where to get diapers, formula, some social service offices, help with relocating). As for abortion, we never tried to talk people out of abortion, we simply said in the beginning “if you want an abortion, we can’t help you with that part”. Fact is, the attraction was not to people seeking an abortion, so it rarely was an issue.

    The other reason why I say the Catholic part sounds odd is Catholics don’t proselytize. We lobby, we are vociferous on our issues, but, well I can think of so many Catholic health based organizations in a small radius of my home. There is a Catholic hospital up the road. And in NYS, one of the largest providers of insurance for low-income families is Fidelis Healthcare. Most people don’t even know it’s Catholic except it does not cover family planning or abortion. But if you apply (and you can do this through Catholic Charities or the Catholic hospital as well as social services) no one ever evangelises or even mentions religion. The only time it is mentioned is to explain that if you need the family planning services, just take your Family Health Plus to your clinic or doctor and the benefits will be paid out by Medicaid, not the Church. That’s it.

    I get concerned because what you describe, it’s just not our flava. But maybe used to how it is in the northeast.

  24. Daniel Morgan
    June 24th, 2006 @ 8:13 am

    It’s hilarious how you have now become “jesusified” and are on the verge of conversion to Xianity just because your ethical framework differs from other atheists.

    So fucking stupid.

  25. Lauren
    June 24th, 2006 @ 8:27 am

    Just to second that sentiment. Down here in Texas, most of the Catholic run CPC’s have come under such heavy legal action that if they were any less explicit about who they are, what they, do, where they get their support from, etc. . . the local DA, who is handing out the get-out-of-jail free cards to sex offenders left and right, would swoop down on them in an instant and squish them. It seems the non-denominational CPC get a pass more or less. Also, there is a reason that ‘Catholic Evangelicals’ is a unknown, never been used, foriegn sounding term. Catholics don’t generally evangelize well.

  26. Michael Bains
    June 24th, 2006 @ 9:13 am

    I don’t always take what you say seriously (LMAO! YOU know that would be Insane!) I do usually think about the things you say with which I totally disagree, as well as where I concurr.

    Sometimes, that’s led me to reconsider my thoughts on a matter. Sometimes it has reminded me that you’re just another silly human who won’t ever replace a particular emotional attachment to an idea with reason.

    Embryos aren’t babies. They’re clumps of cells which may or may not become foetuses which may or may not become babies which may or may not become loved and loving adults. Most importantly, they grow out of the tissues of a biological adult female and are fully dependant upon her decision to allow them to grow or not. My point is Always that abortion is no more murder than is euthanizing a pet. (And I’m SURE folks have their own opinions on that action as well! {sigh}) For that reason, I can not see how any government could possibly legislate against it. Regulate it according to the advice of Medical authoritaties with the woman’s (WOMAN’S!) health as criteria, yes. Outlaw it? It’s as much an individual right as any elective surgery.

    I think you rock RA. I’ve been a sort of silly putz for purposefully taking my time putting you back on sidebar of my site (I didn’t remove you. I lost them all, thanks to silly Blogger.) Bottomline is that I DO read The Raving Atheist and I DO enjoy the vast majority of your posts; even many with which I disagree with your underlying arguments.

    Thanks man. No matter how I feel or what I think, I can’t change the fact that I owe my blog-life in no small part to reading your site.

  27. SeldomScene
    June 24th, 2006 @ 9:34 am

    I will never write another bad word about Jesus or Christianity on The Raving Atheist.

    Yes! Just tell than that you are a raving atheiest who believes in human rights and democracy! that will still drive them nuts!

  28. ashli
    June 24th, 2006 @ 11:05 am

    bains, toddlers aren’t senior citizens either, but it’s unkosher to lop their li’l heads off. i’ve euthanized a pet before and “euthanized” a child and you can trust me, a woman who has carried a baby and killed a baby, killin’ dogs and killin’ kids: two different things.

    i know that folks like you can’t dig the full humanity of the embryo, but wouldn’t it be nice at least if we could all agree that if a living organism has a human head it’s not cool to chop it off?

  29. Xianghong
    June 24th, 2006 @ 11:25 am

    “I will bring myself down. In honor of Ashli and my friends in the Blogosphere who share her ideals, I will never write another bad word about Jesus or Christianity on The Raving Atheist.”

    Now THAT would be lunacy.

  30. Daniel Morgan
    June 24th, 2006 @ 11:48 am

    RA,

    To clarify, would you please unequivocally state whether or not you support making a woman’s choice to birth or abort illegal?

    I hold late-term abortions to be unethical for the same reasons that I hold animal cruelty to be. I have yet to find a cogent rational argument against either. I have only found arguments like the “property” one, which falls apart upon comparison to animal rights: if I own a dog, can I torture it? No, legally and ethically, I can’t. Why?

    …why, indeed.

  31. Daniel Morgan
    June 24th, 2006 @ 11:50 am

    PS: I don’t favor abrogating liberty to impose my standards of morality, ergo I favor choice over imposed birth.

  32. Shelley
    June 24th, 2006 @ 12:14 pm

    CPC’s talk about caring for children, and I’m sure they do before they are born. After that they couldn’t care less. It’s hypocritical in the worst way for anti-choicers to say they care so much about children when they won’t lift a finger once that child has left the womb. Then it’s the mother’s problem, isn’t it? What about funding Headstart programs? What about Universal healthcare? What about educational programs to help a severely burdened single mother get back to work if that’s what she wants to do, and help her stay at home and raise her child that she was guilted into having by a CPC? Anti-choicers think it’s soooooo easy for someone to make the choice (ha) to not abort a child. That shows so little understanding or respect for women. Also, a lot of those same anti-choicers are against the use of birth control. What do you think avoids unwanted pregnancy? Uh..duh! Oh yeah and I hear about so-called abstinence programs like those are actually going to be effective for victims of abuse and rape. Right. CPC’s don’t operate from a position of reality, and in fact contribute to the negative aspects of our society by confusing pregnant women and hindering them from making a choice that would help the community and the earth by stopping unwanted births. Bah. Now I’m riled up. =P

  33. Nightfly
    June 24th, 2006 @ 12:52 pm

    Regarding #9 and #11 – that post is now up back at my place, Thorngod – I’d have emailed rather than said so here, but had no way to do it. It was a pleasure to read your argument and reply.

  34. Melissa
    June 24th, 2006 @ 2:23 pm

    I have never encountered Catholic evangelists, either. However, individuals work and believe in their own way. I believe the problem I had could very well have been attributed to individuals, firmly believing that any pregnancy was a beautiful gift from God, not seeing the reality of another’s situation. It seemed as though the entire staff was present only to lead women to parenting, not even information on adoption was given (very unusual, for even a religious center). I wanted information on adoption, abortion, AND parenting. I was not attempted to be led to Jesus or given any Protestant-type message. The messages were clearly Catholic (in hindsight) and not delivered in a Protestant/Evangelist type. Whether or not the entire organization runs that way, I never knew (again, this was 12 years ago). However, this particular center worked very hard to keep their intentions and affliations under wraps.

  35. Pansy Moss
    June 24th, 2006 @ 4:57 pm

    Melissa,
    Gotch. Thanks for clarifying.
    Shelley,
    What about Universal healthcare?
    In my state, the Church provides insurance for families where they may not get Medicaid through the state. The only qualification is if they qualify financially, and many do not even know it is done by the Church (in other wards, no evangelising). Catholic Charities here also provides many of the programs you described.

    CPC’s talk about caring for children, and I’m sure they do before they are born. After that they couldn’t care less.

    That is really an unfair, broad, and bigoted statement. The CPC I volunteered at spent years with women helping them get diapers, clothes, formula, helping them finish college, find places to live, helping them get basically what ever they needed that could be helped by the people who volunteered.

  36. Jason Malloy
    June 24th, 2006 @ 7:17 pm

    “I will bring myself down. In honor of Ashli and my friends in the Blogosphere who share her ideals, I will never write another bad word about Jesus or Christianity on The Raving Atheist.”

    So look out all you Sikhs, Zoroastrians, and Quezocotl-ians: your overwhelming trivialization of American law, politics, and culture will no longer go unexamined!

  37. Jim Brannen
    June 24th, 2006 @ 9:06 pm

    Daniel Morgan,

    So, for the record, you also don’t think the State has any grounds to abrogate my liberty to douse my 4 year old beagle in gasoline and light him up in my front yard to make S’mores?

  38. Gathercole
    June 25th, 2006 @ 1:36 am

    Is your beagle a part of your body?

  39. Michael Bains
    June 25th, 2006 @ 9:54 am

    but wouldn’t it be nice at least if we could all agree that if a living organism has a human head it’s not cool to chop it off?

    Absolutely!

    Where exactly is the human head you were talking about in that 8 week old embryo pic? I see what could be just about any type of organism in this 6 week old embryo. If that was an ultrasound of my wife’s uterus, I’d be all “Ooohhh! That’s so cool! That’s gonna grow into a wee little people soonish my love!” If you want to continue fantasizing it as a human though, I’d never try to legislate against your right to do so.

    Eggs aren’t people. Embryos aren’t people. Pets aren’t people. I wouldn’t hold any of their lives over the life of any woman. Nor would I espouse denying her the right to do such to herself if she believes that is the right thing to do.

    Off topic: Y’all are most welcome to come over to Silly Humans and celebrate some godless, bloggy Carnivalia. Rest assured that there’s 1 post pertinent to this particular discussion. (Which, come to think of it, is O/T from the original post. {sigh})

    Happy Sunday, regardless.

  40. Thorngod
    June 25th, 2006 @ 12:01 pm

    I predict that RA’s next post will be a humdinger!

  41. Pansy Moss
    June 25th, 2006 @ 3:05 pm

    Six Week Old Embryo

    Showing a picture of an embryo is a moot point anyway because if it looks different than a nine month old infant, or a 21 year old man does not=non human. But I guess some white people could say blacks are not human because they do not look the same either.

  42. sdanielmorgan
    June 26th, 2006 @ 7:28 am

    Jim,

    I have responded at length here.

    You may want to comment there.

    Regards,
    D

  43. Shelley
    June 26th, 2006 @ 4:16 pm

    So it’s a baby. That does not effect my right to not have to carry it and care for it for 18+ years. This baby/not a baby argument is really beside the whole point. It’s about the efforts to control what a woman has to say about her own destiny.

  44. Maureen
    June 26th, 2006 @ 5:04 pm

    So a baby woman (or a baby man) has no right to a destiny, but a grownup woman has the right to destroy other women or men who get in her way. As long as they’re defenceless enough.

    Which, you realize, also means that a grownup man has the right to destroy other women or men who get in his way. As long as they’re defenceless enough. Which, of course, includes forcing his girlfriend, wife, or daughter to do the dirty work of abortion for him, while technically leaving his own hands clean.

    So the parents decide who lives and who dies, and it’s mostly the girls who pay. An endless cycle of slavery, hatred, self-hatred, and death, just like they used to have in ancient Rome. Wow, what a breathtakingly feminist vision of independent womanhood, strong and free. I’m sure that was exactly what Susan B. Anthony was dreaming about.

  45. Brian Macker
    June 26th, 2006 @ 6:20 pm

    RA,

    I support your right to have your own opinions. I’m an atheist and I don’t understand what the fuss is about. Anti-abortion/Pro-Choice is an orthogonal issue from belief in god. I find your explaination perfectly credible and think your detractors have gone off the deep end.

    Regards,
    Brian

  46. Brian Macker
    June 26th, 2006 @ 6:26 pm

    RA,

    BTW, I forgot to mention that I think the concept of “Honor Among Atheists” is laughable. Atheists are not a coherent group by any measure. All they share is a lack of belief in something. Do we expect honor among people who don’t believe in leprauchans? We certainly don’t because that is a very diverse group that includes Objectivists, mass murderers, Christians, and theives. So the title of your post is a very silly.

    Regards,
    Brian

  47. Snap Crafter
    June 26th, 2006 @ 8:23 pm

    Maureen,

    I hope you aren’t an atheist, because that is some of the most outlandish strawmanning I’ve seen in some time!

  48. Forrest Cavalier
    June 26th, 2006 @ 10:20 pm

    RA, there is a lot of irrational devotion out there, not just by theists. You see that there is irrational devotion from militant pro-aborters to their cause.

    Christians often need to be called to a better understanding of Truth and Rational behavior, so I don’t know that vowing their actions are off-topic is doing them any favors. You know Christian teaching better than many Christians, and pointing out the mismatches between teaching and action is how we learn and grow in any subject.

    How about….
    many peaceful theist demonstrators are shouted down and subject to violence by pro-choice counter-demonstrators.

    Pro-life transit ads vandalized. Where is the outrage?

    Transit authority directors who hire and fire based on opinions expressed on a subject and in a forum totally unrelated and outside work?

    The future Pennsylvania state property tax rebates from state slots gambling opt-in by individual property owners? (What if it were prostitution instead of gambling?)

    See, lots of topics if you change the tagline to “How irrational devotion trivializes american law and politics.”

  49. sdanielmorgan
    June 27th, 2006 @ 5:23 am

    Brian Macker,

    Christians can be included in group “atheists”? That’s a new one on me…

  50. aortic
    June 28th, 2006 @ 2:26 pm

    Actually, Christians were called “atheists” by the Romans b/c they believed in only one god, rather than the many floating around the Empire at the time.
    And there are many Christians, atheists, and others who have this in common: they worship false gods, which they try to pretend do not rule their lives. Some examples: Ego, Success, License, and Control-over-my-life.

    I support the lunacy of Truth. It is especially nuts when It requires that we do something. Damn!!!!!!!

  51. sdanielmorgan
    June 28th, 2006 @ 7:57 pm

    Aortic,

    Would that not just be “monotheist”? And, the Jews were in the same boat long before Christians, and were allowed to worship as they pleased for a very long time [till Titus in 70CE]

  52. aortic
    June 28th, 2006 @ 10:38 pm

    The Jews were tolerated as “other,” a conquered people allowed to go about their business as long as they paid taxes and didn’t make trouble. It was much like being thought of as savages.

    In contrast, within a century after the Temple fell, the Romans were realizing that Christianity was not just a strange version of Judaism, and that it indeed was part of their OWN society. Christians were considered irreligius and a-theistic, because of their rejection of the gods. (Not that everybody believed in those gods, either, but there was a strong belief that people should perform the appropriate rituals, and participate in social functions surrounding their worship.)

    My point (trying to get back on topic) was something about labelling: who is in power as label-er makes a big difference. And more importantly: as Forrest Cavalier said above, there are examples of fanatacism and dumb devotion in many places that cultural stereotype hides. Plenty of “open-minded liberals” perpetuate a fascism of the intellect (re: abortion, for example); many Christians neglect the radical, frightening aspects of their creed for a more benign version, a shell of unexamined beliefs; a number of atheists cling desperately to a “religion” like secular humanism, or the idea that all things are measureable.

    BTW I am not attempting to suggest one of these groups is more slothful than the others. I will keep any opinions I have on that one to myself! :)

  53. Thorngod
    June 29th, 2006 @ 12:06 am

    I don’t style myself a “secular humanist,” but I will point out that those who so label themselves do not worship a god named “Human” but merely maintain that the concern of humans should be their fellow humans.
    And I suspect that all things are potentially measurable. Consider the fact that any human voice (or any other) is now perfectly reproducible digitally. Pain is measured (though as yet only roughly) in units called dols, and I see no reason to hold that love, hate, or any other emotion or sentiment is forever unsusceptible to measure and synthesis. We may not wish to see the day, but the day may come.

  54. Brian Macker
    June 29th, 2006 @ 6:28 pm

    Daniel Morgan,

    You misread my post. The group to which some Christians belong is those who do not believe in leprauchans. Thus the group known as ALeprauchanists includes amoung others some Christians, Jews, communists, theives, etc. To expect loyalty amoung ALeprauchanist is ridiculous. The same goes for Atheists. Some atheists are criminals, theives, jerks, communists, dictators, chinese, jews, hutu, tutsi, etc. Why should there be loyalty in a collection of people which is essentially defined as an out group. It’s like expecting the non-Irish to be loyal to each other.

    Seems to me like RA is longing to “belong” to something.

    Regards,
    Brian

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