Lately, across a couple of different topics, I’ve felt the growing urge to address what I consider to be the hypocrisy of Christian institutions in the USA. In particular, there is the stance on abortion, and the stance on education. There are several overlapping fields here, so bear with me.
One argument I have read a lot of is that you shouldn’t have sex if you are not willing to take responsibility for a baby. To some Christians, complete abstinence is the path forward, in complete ignorance of how abstinence is one of the worst ideas around birth control to ever exist. Sex is an expression of love, a perfectly natural desire, and some Christian institutions create so many stigmas around it, that people end up with lifelong intimacy problems. To some Christians (and I must stress, not all), any form of sex that does not lead to possible procreation is deemed unholy, despite these acts being incapable of getting someone pregnant! We know how some Christians view anal sex, and that extends to oral sex too. Yet who has ever gotten pregnant from oral sex?!
Safe sex should be taught (contraception and stuff like that), yet some Christians rally against the idea. They push people into ignorance, then wonder why problems arise. They suggest ideas that leave people with confused and conflicting ideas around love and sex and affection. I am not aware of anywhere in the world where ignorance has proven effective at controlling pregnancy rates.
Whilst this is a difficult topic, there are some facts that certain forced-birth fundamentalists continue to overlook. I believe this willingness to ignore facts stems from dishonesty. I have repeatedly provided links and quotes to back up my arguments, and these arguments go unaddressed.
Thanks to ignorance created around sex (as opposed to thorough sex education), and combined with restrictive abortion laws, we end up with situations where teenage girls regularly die, and the kicker is, abortion rates are higher where the laws are more restrictive! Is this the ‘better’, compassionate Christian way forward? It doesn’t seem very good…
Quality of Life
Fundamentalists have in the past told me they consider quality of life to be irrelevant. This is why I refer to them as ‘forced-birthers’, rather than ‘pro-lifers’. If their only interest is in forcing birth, despite the risk to the life and well-being of the mother, and despite the possibility of no quality of life for the child, they are not pro-life, and need to stop pretending they are.
Some fundies hate the idea of universal healthcare, or state-funded education, or a universal basic income. They have no qualms with child-birth causing people to go bankrupt (along with the absurd, obscene cost of healthcare in general doing that to people in the USA), and will not lift a finger to even try to address society’s deep inequalities, yet claim to be protecting life. They deny any responsibility for trying to ease the burden on the people most affected by things like the cost of living crisis, yet if we drew a Venn diagram of religious fundamentalists, and hardcore hard-right wingers in the Republican Party, we’d have a near-perfect circle.
We are led to believe that anything even remotely looking like socialism (or the misleading version of socialism constructed by religious fundamentalists) is immoral and evil, yet according to quality of life surveys, countries with socialist leanings (Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland, among others) are routinely towards the top. Could it be that the provision of universal healthcare, thus supporting everyone, not just those with money, is a better system, thus supporting better quality of life, thus helping people to start families, and support those families?
This isn’t a USA problem either. My own country, the UK, could take lessons from the Nordic nations. We’ve had 13 years of a Conservative government, and in that time, seen a meteoric rise in foodbanks, soaring energy bills (at a time when energy companies report record profits), and empty shelves in supermarkets. We were duped into believing Brexit would be a benefit to everyone, and that the odious toad Boris Johnson would somehow be a better PM than Jeremy Corbyn. We missed our chance to move closer to the Nordic model, and I believe the country has never been worse off.
There are enough resources to go around, especially in first-world countries, and the people who are rich could remain comfortably rich. Imagine if the money Bezos sent on shooting himself into space went towards employee wages, or pensions. Imagine what might be funded by a 10% windfall tax on the huge, record-breaking profits of Shell and BP. Instead, we’re letting the rich get richer whilst our own wages fail to rise, and our real-term income reduces due to the cost of living.
We’re then told by religious fundamentalists that socialism is immoral. The last I checked, greed was a sin. Being content with greed (and even encouraging it, for many churches in the USA avoid tax), whilst not lifting a finger to address the problems it causes (such as the impact upon quality of life on new parents), is not noble.
Encouraging ignorance around sex, not to mention creating confusion and intimacy issues, doesn’t help with unwanted pregnancy rates. Restricting abortions does not lower abortion rates. Supporting general inequality in society is achievable, but is largely blocked by the very people lecturing us on morality.