February 26, 2009 | 106 Comments
Commenter Pro-choicer chides me for misreading Amanda Marcotte:
It would certainly be irrational to assert that [child-rapist Roman] Polanski’s defenders are “presumably pro-life.” But that’s not what Amanda said. Nor did she say that all rape apologists are pro-life or that all pro-lifers are rape apologists.
What she says is that the attitudes of rape apologists and anti-choicers “stem from the same misogynist place.” THAT is the point that Raving Theist should have responded to, instead of reading ridiculous things into Amanda’s post and implying that she said them.
I agree with Amanda, by the way. Anti-choicers and people who wink at rape have things in common. They do not respect women’s sovereignty over their own bodies. They do not value a woman’s consent regarding what happens to her body. They believe that it is okay for women’s bodies to be (in Amanda’s words) “commandeered for others to their own ends.”
Very well. As long as we agree that the actual rape defenders are pro-choice, which was the larger point of my post. And now let’s turn to a related question. Not about rape defenders or rape apologists, but the rapists themselves. Are most rapists pro-choice? Or is it just that their attitudes stem from the same liberal place?
I’m not asking this just because most violent criminals are card-carrying liberals. What makes me ponder the question is what appears to be going in America’s hottest hotbed of liberalism, the college campus. Consider this recent post in Feministe about “Anti-Rape Resources for Men.” In response to an e-mail from a female college student who wants “to do some education awareness on campus to make men aware that rape is not a women’s issue, that it will continue until men step in and educate themselves,” the blog readers are invited to suggest resources. And they do, recommending Men Can Stop Rape , SAFER (Students Active for Ending Rape) and MEMPSA (Men Educating Men on the Prevention of Sexual Assault).
At first I thought these organizations were all about college safety patrols, martial arts training, and coordinating with law enforcement to protect women from campus intruders. But in reality, it turns that they’re all about teaching liberal college men how not to commit rape themselves! In fact, the very first comment links to a heartwarming success story at a post about Battling Sexual Assault by Focusing on Men:
“Hey, see that girl over there?” Jones recalled an acquaintance asking, nodding toward a woman he wanted to take home. “She’s almost drunk. Not quite drunk enough. … What shot should I buy her?” There was a time, Jones says, when he might have laughed off the remark. Not anymore.
“You want to buy her something really strong to like, basically knock her out?” Jones, a University of Minnesota senior, recalled saying. “Man, that’s not right. That’s rape. That’s sexual assault.”
The acquaintance looked stunned. “Whatever,” he mumbled, and walked away.
Don’t try to tell me that the people who attend the SAFER/MEMPSA/MCSR seminars are conservatives from the Young American for Freedom or the college Republican or Christian club. Those sorts don’t go to feminist-sponsored seminars. No, the attendees are all a bunch of hardcore liberals guys caught up in the hook-up culture, who somehow reached adulthood without realizing it’s a bad thing to drug, kidnap and rape women. Liberal pro-choicers, I’m guessing.
Now let’s looks at the ultimate pro-choicers, abortion doctors. And I’m not just talking about their role in covering up child rape. If you peruse the archives of RealChoice, you’ll find a gallery of abortionist/perverts like this guy. I’m just guessing again, but I don’t think you’ll find all that many similar stories about doctors who devote their lives to delivery babies or performing delicate fetal surgery.
UPDATE: Commenter Prochoicer asks: They [the pro-choice liberal men who attend anti-rape seminars] are obviously concerned with discussing the issue and clarifying boundaries (which sadly are not clear to many people) in order to reduce rape. So your point is . . . ?
My point is that a college student who needs a seminar to figure out what a rape is, and that it includes sexual intercourse with a drugged woman, has more than just “boundary” problems. He’s mentally deranged. And very liberal.
February 23, 2009 | 65 Comments
“Anti-choice sentiment is part of the rape culture, of course, because like rape apologists, anti-choicers view women as subhuman and our bodies as eligible for being commandeered for others to their own ends,” says Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon. In this case, the occasion of her outrage against pro-lifers is director Roman Polanski, who drugged and raped a 13-year old girl in 1977 and is now trying to return to the U.S. after three decades as a fugitive. The post prattles on almost endlessly, but the upshot is that Marcotte is angry that “Polanski’s defenders,” presumably pro-life, “clearly romanticize him as a masculine rebel.”
Marcotte doesn’t name any of these “defenders.” But I think it’s a stretch to conclude that they’re all pro-life. A really big stretch. To begin with, Polanski’s primary defender is himself, and Marcotte herself acknowleges that his Rosemary’s Baby is one of the most “feminist” (i.e. pro-choice) films she’s seen — “it reads like a tale where the patriarchy is literally Satanic.”
Furthermore, Polanski was a part of Hollywood culture, not a particularly pro-life culture. While he was in exile for child rape, Hollywood bestowed upon him its highest honor, an Academy Award. The award was accepted on his behalf by his good friend, Harrison Ford. Now, I can’t say for certain that Ford isn’t pro-life, but he’s identified his religion as “Democrat,” contributed heavily to Barack Obama, and is engaged to Calista Flockhardt, an official celebrity endorser of Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood hasn’t issued an offical statement about Polanski. I don’t know if they romanticize him as a masculine rebel, but one thing is clear. They’re one of the world’s biggest defenders of child rapists.
February 20, 2009 | 97 Comments
Today I have colonized The Dawn Patrol. Go there for my daily post.
Speaking of the Patrol, I’ve realized that many of the posts that I contributed to that blog over the years as The Raving Atheist were not cross-posted here. Accordingly, for those of you who have read through the entire archives of this blog and might be hungry for more, below is the list. Note that many of them were posted under the pseudonym “Henrietta G. Tavish” (an anagram of “The Raving Atheist”).
New Legislation Targets Elder Fraud (Satire)
License to Kill (Pro-Life license plates)
Out of Gas (Pro-Life License Plates)
Womenvchoice (Pro-choice difficulties with pro-life women)
Fake Story about Fake Clinic? (Planned Parenthood Hoax about Crisis Pregnancy Clinic)
Truthiness and Consequences (Planned Parenthood Hoax about Crisis Pregnancy Clinic – Update)
Planned Parenthood promotes debunked Palin rape-kit smear (Self-explanatory)
No Comment (Blog Censorship)
The Right to Lie (Undercover Investigation of Planned Parenthood)
Don’t Ask, Don’t Care (Critique of Volunteersfor Late-Term Abortion Clinic)
One Hand Slapping (Defining the “need” for abortion)
NARAL: Pro-Choice, Anti-Speech (Self-explanatory)
Aurora Roaring (Protests Against Illinois Abortion Clinic)
Killing Delayed is Killing Denied (Illinois Abortion Clinic Ligitation)
Let Freedom Ring (Verizon Censors NARAL’s Text Messages)
Second Opinion (Critiquing Physician’s Letter to New York Times on Partial Birth Abortion Decision)
Who Cares? (NARAL’s Abortion Report Card)
Choice 9/11 (Planned Parenthood’s Reaction to 9/11)
Thou Shalt Not Kill (Planned Parenthood’s Clergy Task Force)
No Argument (The Pro-Choice refusal to debate)
No Respect (Embryonic Stem Cell research)
Choosing Life, Consistently (Abortion and the death penalty)
Food for Thought (Chesterton vs John Stuart Mill)
February 19, 2009 | 25 Comments
Abortion industry shill Amy Sullivan tries to lull pro-lifers to sleep in her latest Time Magazine piece, “The Catholic Crusade Against a Mythical Abortion Bill.” As the title suggests, her thesis is that the killing of the unborn is just some Krazy Katholic issue, and that the Khurch is engaged in paranoid rabble-rousing against a toothless and imaginary bill known as the Freedom of Choice Act. “At a time when the United States is gripped by economic uncertainty and faces serious challenges in hot spots around the globe, some American Catholics are finding it both curious and troubling that their church has launched a major campaign against a piece of legislation that doesn’t exist and wouldn’t have much chance of becoming law even if it did,” writes Sullivan. The essay is accompanied by a photograph of a lone male pro-life protestor on a deserted Catholic university campus, apparently the only picture available in Time’s archives despite the recent March for Life.
The Inconvenient Truth which Sullivan manages to avoid until well over half-way through the article is that “[i]n some respects, President Obama only has himself to blame for the current controversy.” In “some” respects, indeed. As a candidate, he stood above a pit of abortion-hungry velociraptors and dangled the rhetorical equivalent of a sack of Planned Parenthood medical waste: “The first thing I’d do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That’s the first thing I’d do.”
Perhaps Sullivan has a point here: Obama’s lips were moving during that speech, a usually reliable sign that he is lying. The Catholic paranoia could be based on the mythical assumption that he sometimes means a word he says. But this analysis ignores that the one constant in Obama’s otherwise paper-thin legislative record was a slavish devotion to the culture of death. The lies he tells with respect to abortion are limited to those which cover-up his actual advocacy for the killing.
Not to worry, says Sullivan. Catholics are still being paranoid because all FOCA would do is “essentially codify the Roe v. Wade decision by saying the government can’t place limits on abortions performed before viability.” Not exactly. FOCA would nullify hundreds of restrictions, effective at all stages of pregnancy, meant to discourage abortion and promote childbirth.
Not to worry, says Sullivan again. The reason she called FOCA “mythical” is that it never previously gained traction (under the pro-life Bush administration) and has yet to be reintroduced in Congress (in the month-old pro-abortion Obama administration). Quoting a pro-abortion “Catholic” George Soros puppet, her article declares that “right-wing organizations are deliberately misleading people in order to stoke the culture war.”
To what misleading right-wing information is she referring? The claim, originally made by Obama, that FOCA would be signed in the opening days of his administration. And what right-wing organization was stoking this yet-unrealized fear? “A chain e-mail of unknown origin.” Although the one pro-life group she actually identifies, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, gets smeared in the first sentence as running “a well-oiled lobbying campaign,” Sullivan concedes in the penultimate paragraph that “USCCB’s literature about FOCA has been generally accurate.”
So Sullivan’s entire paranoia thesis is built upon an anonymous e-mail which erroneously claimed that FOCA would be signed in late January. And because it wasn’t signed, pro-lifers are supposedly unreasonable to make a fuss about it now. Even though Obama did sign, within days of taking office, and executive order meant to fund abortions worldwide (“but so did Bill Clinton,” notes Sullivan ridiculously).
Ms. Sullivan needs a little primer in the American political process. The best time to make a ruckus about any legislation is generally before it is introduced and passed and signed. For example, just a couple of weeks ago the adminstration was talking about something it called the “Stimulus Bill.” It, too, was “mythical” until it was introduced in its final form just a few days ago. But it was signed rather quickly, laden with social legislation having nothing to do with stimulus, and before a single member of Congress had time to read it.
Obama will likely attempt the same trick with FOCA when he thinks no one is watching. He will declare a national healthcare “emergency,” thunder about the “fierce urgency of now,” and railroad through a thousand-page bill with FOCA hidden in a footnote. The only reason he hasn’t tried that yet is because those who value the unborn — and not just Catholics — are watching very carefully. If “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” it is also the price of life.
February 18, 2009 | 10 Comments
A move to remove anti-atheist language from the Arkansas state constitution is gathering steam. The provision states that “[n]o person who denies the being of a God shall hold any office in the civil departments of this State, nor be competent to testify as a witness in any court.” Because of 1961 Supreme Court decision declaring such clauses unenforceable, the proposed bill is largely symbolic.
Ed Brayton predicts that the legislature will refuse to pass the law, and that if it’s put on the ballot the voters will reject it. And thus yet another law that nobody ever read (like the Stimulus Bill) will remain on the books, gathering dust until someone re-discovers it and gets re-offended by it.
The publicity stunt does raise some interesting questions. Is it worth the effort to go around looking for obsolete laws to repeal? A special law in Florida, for example, prohibits unmarried women from parachuting on Sundays. Now, enforcement would obviously be impossible insofar as the law promotes discrimination based on gender, marital status and possibly religion, but I don’t see the value in expending tax dollars to reaffirm that point.
I am also wondering that if push ever comes to shove on the unrepealed anti-atheist Consitution, who would have standing to object to the unenforceable provision. Notably, its language only excludes atheists who affirmatively deny the existence of a God. Merely lacking a belief in God (the most traditional and inclusive definition of atheism) would not be enough. And I’m not sure if merely believing that God does not exist would be sufficient, to the extent that “denying” God’s existence could be interpreted as requiring the stronger affirmation that God’s non-existence can be proven. Note that in the Supreme Court case linked above, the Constitutional provision required “a declaration of belief in the existence of God” — something that no atheist of any stripe could truthfully announce.
In view of these vexing legal technicalities, I hereby disband the previously-convened committee to draft a blog-comments constitution.
February 17, 2009 | 7 Comments
Steven Crowder is a stand-up comedian who’s standing up for life:
February 17, 2009 | 11 Comments
From the Coshocton Tribune (Ohio), February 17, 1964:
The “right to conduct atheist propaganda” mentioned above was set forth in Article 124 of the 1936 Soviet Constitution (also known as the “Stalin” Constitution”). Although it is true that the religious were not given a specific right to proselytize like atheists in that section, Article 125 remedied this omission through a general grant of “free speech” so that any citizen who desired to show Stalin the error of his ways could do so with impunity. Also, note that the atheists were permitted only to propagandize in article 124, without the corresponding right to “worship” or otherwise act out on their worldview, other than by running the government.
That Constitution was next revised in 1977. Article 52 of that document pretty much preserved the status quo, except that believers also enjoyed a right “against “[i]ncitement of hostility or hatred on religious grounds.”
I think the comment section here at TRT needs a Constitution. MK, Lily, Pikemann, Jolly and their designated agents are hereby appointed to the drafting committee.
February 16, 2009 | 77 Comments
Since the inauguration, the mainstream media outlets have run numerous stories about children offering political opinions and helpful advice to the new president. It’s unlikely, however, that this 12 year old girl’s words will reach his ears:
Searching around, I haven’t found much commentary about this widely-circulated video in the feminist and liberal blogosphere. Nor has Planned Parenthood yet found a similarly-articulate seventh grader to offer a rebuttal video. Why so quiet?
February 13, 2009 | 106 Comments
The two carefree young women in the bar were roommates. One of them was pregnant. The condition was temporary. In a few days her late-summer drinking companion would drive her to a clinic for an abortion, just as she had driven so many other friends to “get theirs.” That appointment made way for a relaxing evening, for the aversion the pregnant woman briefly felt towards alcohol was relieved by a sensible reminder.
“You are going to kill it anyway.”
Her friend was indifferent to who heard this remark (and many did) because the observation was so ordinary. It was like explaining why it didn’t matter if paint splattered on a pair of worn, soon-to-be discarded shoes. After another round of drinks and cheerful conversation, the comment would be forgotten.
It would also be remembered, some 18 years later. The pregnant woman was Carla, whose cheer that night masked an anguish I related here. The occasion of the memory was the realization, early last month, that her long-lost bar friend (known here as “Jean”) had discovered her profile on Facebook.
“You are going to kill it anyway.” And they did, and moved on. But now Carla’s whole profile is about abortion and its consequences, and she felt “weird” that her old roommate might be puzzling over it. Puzzling over it because Carla had hidden her feelings so well back then, on that night in the bar that they drank, and on that day in the clinic that they killed Aubrey.
What would Jean think? People do not happen upon old friends on Facebook by accident. They are searching for some name, for some reason. Jean may have been seeking some pleasant reminiscences, only to find a changed and strangely haunted woman. Haunted for a reason Jean could not imagine, having forgotten the events of what was — at least to her — such an ordinary September afternoon.
But the e-mail Carla received on January 7 showed that Jean was haunted too:
It’s Jean. I was just on your Outcry Wisconsin website and watched your story.
My God! I never knew that was so hard for you. I was so young and completely oblivious to the ramifications of what was going on, but I have to tell you that the events of that day are carved in my brain and I have never forgotten it. I too remember that girl that was very pregnant and having to go home because she could not have the procedure until she was dilated more, and watching that stupid movie and how non-emotional all of the staff were. It affected me whether I wanted to believe it or not at the time. I have always tried to comfort myself with the false beliefs that it was the best thing for you at the time and that it did not matter that much to you. You covered it so well and we never really talked about what happened, we just came home and went on with life. I was so caught up in my own selfishness to notice the pain you were going through. I am sorry I was not a better friend to you at that time. Thank God Pat came along and was there for you.
Since having my own children I have definitely changed my attitude on abortion issues. I have gone from a liberal attitude to a very conservative one. My husband helped me understand what I was really feeling all along.
Anyway I can see how very important this issue is for you and I wanted you to know that I feel the same way. You are doing a wonderful thing by educating those that think this is not a big deal because it is a big deal and it’s wrong.
Keep on fighting!
February 12, 2009 | 8 Comments
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, February 12, 2009
Special to The Raving Theist
Former President Abraham Lincoln marked his 200th birthday today by effusively praising President Barack Obama, with particular reference to the new chief executive’s policy on abortion.
Lincoln said that he was “embarrass’d” by the media’s obsessive comparisons of Obama to him, stating that Obama was superior in every conceivable way. “Whilst flatter’d be I by the extravagance of such homage, ‘twould be more aptly said that in the shadow of his greatness, my stature is best contrast’d with that of the lowly Millard Filmore.”
Lincoln, still recovering from a massive 1865 head wound, paid special tribute to Obama’s support of the proposed Freedom of Choice Act. FOCA would eliminate the remaining state law restrictions on abortion, including parental notification and consent, waiting periods, public funding and physician licensure requirements.
“One score and sixteen years ago, our Supreme Court brought forth on this continent, a new ruling, conceived in non-conception, and dedicated to the proposition that the unborn are created unequal,” he noted. “But tho’ two and one half million score children were righteously slaughtered, the slavery continu’d most dreadfully, with young girls enslaved to their parents, requir’d to wait one score and four hours for an abortion, or compell’d to view a daguerreotype of the fetus.” Lincoln said FOCA represented a greater stride toward freedom than his own Emancipation Proclamation, declaring that America would soon be liberated from every constraint of God or morality.
February 11, 2009 | 77 Comments
Christina Dunigan of Real Choice has for many years run one of the premiere pro-life blogs on the internet. A tireless critic of the abortion industry and a compassionate advocate for post-abortive women, her prolific posts are all carefully reasoned, meticulously researched and scientifically sourced. As an abortion historian, she is also the caretaker of The Cemetery of Choice, which chronicles tragic deaths caused by those “who bought into the idea that women and their unborn children are mortal enemies, and that abortion is a solution to women’s problems.”
This week, however, Christina turned her sights on pro-life rather than pro-choice misconduct. She has posted a Call to Action, asking her readers to prevail upon the Pro-Life Blogs aggregator to suspend its posting of headlines from Pro-Life News. Regrettably, Pro-Life News has been libelously disparaging good-faith legislative efforts to restrict abortion. For example, above a story about proposed state bills to require abortion clinics to offer or provide ultrasounds to pregnant women, Pro-Life News placed the headline “11 STATES CONSIDER MURDERING BABIES AFTER ULTRASOUND PICTURES ARE TAKEN” — with the subtitle “The Nazis also took pictures before killing Jews.”
There is, of course, a legitimate discussion to be had over whether and when pro-life efforts to limit abortion cross the line into impermissible participation in the practice. For now, suffice it to say that Pro-Life News’ deceptive approach does not remotely contribute to the debate. Christina is right that we must engage in a Christian “spiritual battle” against such rhetoric, recognizing that bearing false witness in the name of “life” serves someone other than God:
I might add that Satan is no doubt delighted to see you battle abortion as long as you do it by committing slander, bearing false witness, and puffing yourself up with the sin of Pride. And prolifers are very, very prone to this: to saying, “Yeah, I do this bad thing, but at least I’m not killing babies!” Well, for the most part, abortion is a very carnal sin. (Only the “Abortion as a Sacrifice to Artemis” types embrace it as a spiritual sin.) Fighting it by puffing yourself up with Pride is a spiritual sin. Which one was Jesus more likely to take a sinner to the woodshed over? He was far more gentle on the Woman Caught in Adultery than he was with the puffed-up religious leaders who congratulated themselves daily on how much more holy they were than the woman in question.
So please e-mail the moderator of Pro Life Blogs at firstname.lastname@example.org (or contact him or her through the contact form ) regarding Pro-life News’ counterproductive tactics.
Christina has also reproached herself for “not couching the battle regularly in spiritual terms, and in not calling Scriptures to play on a regular basis.” She does remedy that failing in the post, looking to God’s word for guidance. Please consider her analysis, and join her in prayerful reflection over how best to address the differences that may arise between our brothers and sisters in Christ.
February 10, 2009 | 114 Comments
TRT commenter Carla knows what children are. With her husband Patrick, she is now raising four beautiful children of her own, ages 3, 5, 8 and 11. She has a degree in Special Education and is licensed to teach the learning disabled and the mild to moderately mentally challenged.
I first encountered Carla three months ago, stumbling by chance over a video linked from the 100th comment on a post at another blog. In it, she was not talking about children of the sort that our society and its laws now recognizes as such. Her mind was fixed on a sad September day nearly 20 years ago when she had aborted her daugther Aubrey, and on another day a few years later when she realized that our society is sadly wrong:
Carla also discussed the effects of her abortion in an interview last year on the Faces of Abortion program:
Carla reaches out to men and women hurt by abortion as the Wisconsin Team Leader for Operation Outcry. She volunteers for the local pregnancy care center and pregnancy helpline. She is a comments moderator at Jill Stanek’s Pro-Life Pulse blog. She attends rallies against abortion. Last month she traveled to Washington D.C. for the March for Life, where she joined with many other women active in the pro-life movement to speak out for the sanctity of all human life. And by year’s end she will publish a book honoring the memory of her long-lost daughter, joined in its pages by other mothers who made the same tragic “choice.”
Many dismiss vocal post-abortive women like Carla as the depressed, obsessed, mentally unstable and exploited victims of conniving patriarchal elders of the pro-life movement. Take the time to watch the videos posted above and draw your own conclusions. I do not see how she is any different from countless mothers who, also suffering from tragic experiences, take time out of their busy schedules to speak out against drunk driving and pedophiles, or in favor of child safety seats and airbags.
Carla does not need to “get over it.” As the archives of her mommy blog demonstrate, she lives a life filled with love and joy. But after seven pregnancies, including the abortion and two miscarriages, she has attained a unique and valuable perspective on life. By sharing it she helps others experience that same love and joy, free from the burden of sadness and regret.
Watch those videos again. One day, somewhere, a desperate young woman may see herself in Carla, listen to her words, take her hand, turn around and walk away from the darkness and in to the light. And with them will walk Aubrey, who, although left behind in the shadows of a clinic on a dark autumn afternoon so many years ago, never left Carla’s heart.
February 9, 2009 | 20 Comments
One of America’s finest obstetrician/gynecologists, Dr. Pierre Jean-Jacque Renelique, followed a multi-generation family tradition in fulfilling his life-long quest to become a physician. Although he could have pursued any specialty at his pick of this country’s top teaching facilities, he decided that a particular type of family planning surgery was his calling. Like most of the highly-qualified doctors who populate that field, his only wish was to serve the poorest among us. In this case, himself: “I had to do it to survive.”
Regrettably, some small-minded Florida state officials are now impeding Dr. Renelique’s charitable endeavors over the trivial matter of some misplaced tissue. In one sense, however, I am relieved. Because originally, the medical board had imposed a most demeaning restriction on his license: they required a second physician to be present when he was plying his craft. The indignity! The waste of scarce medical resources! Every sensible person knows that men of such superb skill and judgment as Dr. Renelique could never need the assistance of some lesser being in determining The Right Thing to Do. Indeed, the wisest man in America has spoken on this very issue. Ladies and Gentlemen, The President of the United States!
February 9, 2009 | 6 Comments
What can you say about a 79 year old atheist who died? Just let him do all the talking:
Time Magazine reported some additional beyond-the-grave commentary from Mr.
Whitenack, who died in 1949. One would imagine he saved some choice words for
his tombstone, although they’re not available from Find-A-Grave. If you’re in the Denver area, you now know where they can be read.
February 8, 2009 | 3 Comments
Like today, back in 1977 atheists were trying to boost their public profile. Also like today, atheists back then were concerned about their image. American Atheists President Madalyn Murray O’Hair may have found the perfect solution, which she debuted at the organization’s annual convention 32 years ago. In selecting their bus advertising campaign slogan, NYC atheists might do well to emulate her forceful, yet tactful approach:
(From the Chicago Daily Herald, April 11, 1977).
February 8, 2009 | 71 Comments
New York City is probably the most godless place on Earth. To its great shame, it was beaten by other cities in the race to host an offensive atheist bus advertising campaign. Playing catch-up, Henry of the NYC Atheists’ blog is soliciting slogans for the Big Apple’s entry into the field. However, after spewing out all his blasphemy in the post, he suggests that it’s time to play nice:
If you had to select a brief message to promote our cause, what would it be? NYC Atheists are hoping to organize a bus advertising campaign, similar to the London and Washington efforts that lately have made headlines. It’s not inexpensive to lease the space, so we need to get the words just right: sufficiently provocative to draw attention (free press) while avoiding an unnecessarily confrontational tone. It’s a pretty safe bet that MTA/NYC Transit will take a careful look at what we choose to say, so let’s stay away from simple messages such as: “god is dead; you’re not”; “Three fairy tales: the tooth fairy, Santa Claus and god”; “Eschew god; embrace Atheism”. My first impulse, for example, is to speak directly to our fellow Atheists: “You are not alone: NYC Atheists” But I’m certain that others will come up with something better; let’s all put our thinking hats on.
Henry is right to eschew “eschew.” The most likely response that word would provoke from sleepy, downtrodden commuters is “God bless you!” So help Henry out. What is the most provocative yet non-confrontational message a group of militant atheists could promote?
February 6, 2009 | 73 Comments
Commenter Skeptimal opines that I “may have once been an atheist, but . . . apparently was never a skeptic.” He suggests that I gullibly fell for an “urban legend”: Amy Welborn’s account (related the the last column of her late husband Michael Dubruiel), of a woman, Diana, who in a dream foresaw her own death and salvation on 9/11. In fact, I am a highly skeptical believer. I know a hoax when I encounter one and have debunked my share both before and after my conversion. But I believe in Diana’s dream because I trust in God, and in the word of those who trust in Him.
For you skeptical atheists I will translate this with the words of the ultimate skeptical atheist, David Hume. Hume was well aware of the nature of what are now called “urban legends,” of hearsay, and of the possibility of human error and deceit. But his view of human nature was such that he recognized that there were certain circumstances under which it would be foolish, and indeed unscientific, to distrust our fellow man:
Were a man, whom I know to be honest and opulent, and with whom I live in intimate friendship, to come into my house, where I am surrounded with my servants, I rest assured that he is not to stab me before he leaves it in order to rob me of my silver standish; and I no more suspect this event than the falling of the house itself, which is new, and solidly built and founded.–But he may have been seized with a sudden and unknown frenzy.–So may a sudden earthquake arise, and shake and tumble my house about my ears. I shall therefore change the suppositions. I shall say that I know with certainty that he is not to put his hand into the fire and hold it there till it be consumed: and this event, I think I can foretell with the same assurance, as that, if he throw himself out at the window, and meet with no obstruction, he will not remain a moment suspended in the air. No suspicion of an unknown frenzy can give the least possibility to the former event, which is so contrary to all the known principles of human nature. . . . Above one half of human reasonings contain inferences of a similar nature, attended with more or less degrees of certainty proportioned to our experience of the usual conduct of mankind in such particular situations.
I have never met Father Groeschel, Amy Welborn or Michael Dubruiel, but from my familiarity with their writings and reputations, and my experience with “the usual conduct of mankind” I can confidently calculate that the probability that Diana’s dream is an urban legend to be precisely zero. Their faith does not depend on such anecdotes for its sustenance, and they are the sort of people who would sooner allow their entire bodies to be consumed by fire than to invent a story of that nature. I would no more expect them to do so that I would expect them to rob or stab people. Their faith simply precludes those options.
Skeptimal lists various “red flags” which to him brand Diana’s dream as an urban legend. My own experience with such legends is that, with the millions of Skeptimals scouring the internet, the source of the legend (usually an e-mail) is quickly pinpointed and discredited. The source is found to be a known or admitted hoaxer, or the details of the hoax are contradicted by the available evidence. That has not, and will not happen here.
The problem here, I believe, is not with Skeptimal’s skepticism but his atheism. It overcame his judgment and blinded him to the more prudently skeptical (and atheistic) alternatives. I will provide them here now for his solace. Specifically, I reassure him that the most that Diana’s story proves is that someone had a dream before she died in a manner reminiscent of the dream. The nature of her dream may have been shaped by the nature of her faith. Dreams of falling and dreams of death are common and others who died on 9/11 may have had them too, with a certain percentage of those victims communicating those dreams to their loved ones before their deaths. Under this calculus even an atheist may accept that Diana’s dream was more probable than not, while preserving his faith that upon death his own body will be consumed by worms or rats or flames.
That Michael related Diana’s dream to Amy in his last column may also be coincidence. I take it as evidence. And I fervently pray that one day those two good people will be reunited with Him in the life everlasting.
February 5, 2009 | 23 Comments
Amy Welborn, in the midst of her grief, shares the story of a woman, Diana, who dreamt that she saw Jesus beckoning her from a clould of smoke as the world disappeared from beneath her feet:
A month later on September 11, 2001, Diana was at work at her investment firm in the World Trade Center on one of the top floors. She phoned her husband and mother on her cell phone after the second plane struck the tower below her. She reminded them of the dream, just before the tower crumbled.
* * *
None of us knows what the future holds, but hopefully we can embrace what is inscribed in our coinage, “In God we Trust.”
Amy did not write this story of trust in God. She received a copy of it yesterday from a secretary. The words of hope and comfort were from her husband Michael’s last column, written the night before he died.
February 5, 2009 | 43 Comments
Ah, those were the days:
It may not be 1928 anymore, but it IS my blog, so settle down in the comments or I might go all Arkansassy on you.
Before you feel too sorry for Mr. Smith of the AAAA, though, consider that he beat a similar rap in New York by arguing that only religious people should be arrested under a statute that prohibited street corner, soap-box preaching. Also consider that he was usually just asking for it, being prone to little pranks like this:
Eager to establish the rights of atheists in the U. S., Charles Lee Smith, President of the American Association for the Advancement of Atheism, chose to send godless propaganda to the Rev. Dr. John Roach Straton, Manhattan Baptist. He included in this propaganda birth control literature and nude pictures. Dr. Straton asked Atheist Smith to stop mailing him such things. When Mr. Smith failed to do so, Dr. Straton haled him into court. Once before the judges, Atheist Smith sought to make it appear that he had been trying to interest Preacher Straton in atheism, because he “wanted to convert the leader of the opposition.” The nude pictures were intended to appeal to “his aesthetic side if he had any.”
Mr. Smith defined “The five fundamentals of Atheism,” as “Materialism, Sensationalism, Evolution, The Existence of Evil . . . and Hedonism” and used the AAAA to raise funds for Soviet ape/human breeding experiments. He died well before the advent of blogging, however, so if you want to explore what was behind his thinking you’ll have to dig up old issues of The Truth Seeker.
February 4, 2009 | 54 Comments
UPDATE: Danielle Bean has set up a page at Faith & Family to collect donations for Amy and her family in their time of need. If that site is slow in loading, a duplicate page has been set up at Danielle’s site.
Please pray for Amy Welborn and her family.
February 3, 2009 | 64 Comments
UPDATE: Eren responds in the comments.
The blogger at B.A.N.C. of America — A Movement for Independent Thought, Eren, wrote me a couple of days ago to share her “loss of faith.” “B.A.N.C.” stands for “Born Again Non-Christian.” She asked me to share her point of view with my readers if I thought that “their faith was strong enough.” So there it is.
My own thought is that Eren is moving closer to Christ rather than further away. She admits that she “was raised in a good Christian home by good Christian parents.” She concedes that she “has met some Christians that are genuinely nice people, my own family among them” and that if she had “met [Jesus] back in the day I might have had a crush on him.” Although she now condemns the Christian premise as “ridiculous,” finds her former Christian friends “creepy,” and is appalled by their “herdlike” behavior, her chief concern seems to be hypocrisy. She reveals that she felt compelled to start her blog because of the “deep, philosophical, fundamental, un-Christian-like” flaws of a particular pastor. She faults him for not being “a humble servant of God,” for not “following in the footsteps of the very humble Jesus.” She is appalled at the pastor’s greed because “[i]f you claim to live your life as a disciple of Christ, you should probably follow his example and live modestly.” And although she declares that “[m]ost Christians are so desperate to believe in something, because it gives meaning to their lives, that they will follow any leader no matter how misguided or even corrupt that leader may be,” she immediately states that “I am not talking about Jesus of course.”
Her solution, though, seems to be to merely follow a different herd of men rather than the Jesus she once loved. We should focus on letting “Congress handle the legal stuff that affects Americans” and support those constitutional scholars who are devoted to “the principle on which this country was founded,” the “separation of church and state.” And today she suggest that her readers check out The Atheist Missionary, noting “I haven’t quite reached the level of full-blown atheist yet, but I do agree with the author’s desire to encourage people to think rationally.”
This former full-blown atheist hopes that she will think rationally too. Eren, turn back to Christ. The wisdom you seek will not be found in congressmen and law professors. You once knew, and know now, that Jesus is the wisest man who ever lived. He is the Way and the Truth and the Life, now and forever.
Please go visit, and pray, for Eren.
February 2, 2009 | 86 Comments
On Friday night, David Letterman profusely apologized to the mother of the late
comedian, Bill Hicks, for having cut Hick’s stand-up routine from his show some fifteen years before. “What was I thinking?” said Letterman. “This says more about me as a guy than it says about Bill because there was absolutely nothing wrong with it. It’s just perfect.”
Letterman explained that he could now empathize with the mother for the pain
she suffered over the cancellation because in the intervening years he had had
a son. But fatherhood apparently didn’t alter his perpective in other respects. Like George Carlin, Hicks was a pro-abortion atheist and part of the routine that Letterman found “perfect” was this riff:
People annoy me, you know what’s really annoying me, these pro-life people. You ever look at their faces?
(Imitating pro-lifer with wide-eyed, blank stare and “church lady” voice): “I’m pro-life.”
Why, don’t they look it, they just exude joie de vivre, you know? You see them try to go to an orphanage and try to adopt a kid?
(Imitating prolifer): “We’re pro-life, we’re here to adopt.”
The kids are just, “don’t pick me, oh noooo . . . I’ll eat gruel, fifteen to a bed, no problem, just keep Heather’s two mommies coming and we’re fine in here.
(Imitating prolifer): “I’m pro-life.”
You know, if you’re really pro-life, do me a favor. Don’t lock arms and block med clinics, okay? If you’re so pro-life, do me a favor . . . lock arms . . . and block cemeteries, okay? Let’s see how committed you are to this idea:
(Imitating prolifer): “She can’t come in!”
(Hicks): “She was 98, she was hit by a bus!”
(Imitating prolifer): “There’s options!”
(Hicks): “What, are we going to have her stuffed? What are we going to do with her?”
(Imitating prolifer): “We’re pro-life.” That’s the same look non-smokers give you. (Imitating prolifer): “I’m a non-smoker.” “I’m a pro-life non-smoker.”
There’s also this profanity-laced routine on Youtube in which Hicks reveals
that his friends are “totally divided on abortion”: half of them think pro-lifers are “annoying idiots” and the other half think they’re “annoying f****s”.
I wonder if Letterman would have found Hicks’ routines “perfect” if they had
included pro-choice impressions. (“Hey, my neighbors’ daughter thought her
parents would “kill” her if they found out she was pregnant — so I snuck her
across state lines for abortion and killed their grandkid instead!”) Probably not — after all, no one can quite capture the “joie de mort” on the face of an abortion clinic escort once he’s successful whisked a client into the operating room.