BOISE – The Idaho House passed far-reaching anti-abortion legislation Tuesday with backers invoking “the hand of the Almighty” and saying they’re prepared to defend the new law in court.
Senate Bill 1165 bans abortion after 20 weeks on grounds of fetal pain. It includes no exceptions for rape, incest, severe fetal abnormality or the mental or psychological health of the mother. Only when the pregnancy threatens the mother’s life or physical health could a post-20-week abortion be performed.
“Is not the child of that rape or incest also a victim?” asked Rep. Shannon McMillan, R-Silverton. “It didn’t ask to be here. It was here under violent circumstances perhaps, but that was through no fault of its own.”
The Idaho legislation is patterned after a Nebraska law passed last year and not yet challenged in court. Similar bills have been proposed in a dozen states this year. Kansas passed one last week, which is awaiting action by the governor there.
The Idaho bill’s House sponsor, state Rep. Brent Crane, R-Nampa, told legislators that the “hand of the Almighty” was at work. “His ways are higher than our ways,” Crane said. “He has the ability to take difficult, tragic, horrific circumstances and then turn them into wonderful examples.”
State Rep. John Rusche, D-Lewiston, said the bill would force parents of infants with severe deformities who won’t survive to carry the pregnancy to term, rather than letting them decide how to react to the situation on their own. “These diagnoses were made right at about 20 weeks,” said Rusche, a pediatrician who has handled three such cases. “To knowingly force someone to carry a baby to term when they know it’s not going to survive I think is cruel.”
The bill passed the House on a 54-14 vote and now heads to the governor’s desk. It includes provisions for a legal defense fund that could accept donations.
Two legal opinions from the Idaho attorney general said the bill is unconstitutional because it violates the Roe v. Wade decision regarding state restrictions on abortions prior to the point of fetal viability.
Idaho spent nearly three-quarters of a million dollars defending unconstitutional anti-abortion state legislation passed in the 1990s, including $380,000 in attorney fees the state was ordered to pay in 2007 to Planned Parenthood of Idaho after that group challenged unconstitutional provisions in a 2005 abortion parental consent law.
All 13 of the Idaho House’s Democrats voted against the bill; they were joined by one Republican, Rep. Tom Trail, R-Moscow.
A bill that would require doctors to determine the viability of an unborn child if a woman seeks an abortion after 20 weeks passed the Ohio Senate on Wednesday.
“Soon, abortionists will no longer be able to perform these brutal late-term abortions when the child can feel pain,” said Mike Gonidakis, executive director of Ohio Right to Life. “That will be a true victory for human rights.”
Gonidakis said a doctor seeking to perform an abortion has to determine viability at 20 weeks and get a second opinion from another doctor, and abortion would not be allowed if the fetus was found capable of surviving outside the womb. Exceptions would be made if the pregnant woman faces death or severe health impairment, Gonidakis said.
The bill passed by a 24-8 vote in the Republican-majority Senate. The Ohio House also has a Republican majority.
NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio executive director Kellie Copeland said the bill’s health exception is “dangerously narrow” and harms women with wanted pregnancies who experience “heart-breaking complications,” such as fetal anomaly or a cancer diagnosis.
“Anti-choice politicians who campaigned on less government are now passing legislation that creates more governmental interference in women’s personal decisions,” said Copeland. “Every woman’s situation is different, and it’s unacceptable for anti-choice lawmakers to think they should make the personal, private decisions that belong to women and their doctors.”
About 16 states are seeking bans on late-term abortions based on research showing that fetuses feel pain at 20 weeks, copying a similar law that passed in Nebraska in 2010. This list does not include Ohio, since it is not specifically a “fetal pain bill” but a viability bill.
Fetal pain bills have passed both chambers of the legislature in Kansas, Idaho and Oklahoma.
TWO GERMAN lawyers have initiated charges against Pope Benedict XVI at the International Criminal Court, alleging crimes against humanity.
Christian Sailer and Gert-Joachim Hetzel, based at Marktheidenfeld in the Pope’s home state of Bavaria, last week submitted a 16,500-word document to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court at the Hague, Dr Luis Moreno Ocampo.
Their charges concern “three worldwide crimes which until now have not been denounced . . . (as) the traditional reverence toward ‘ecclesiastical authority’ has clouded the sense of right and wrong”.
They claim the Pope “is responsible for the preservation and leadership of a worldwide totalitarian regime of coercion which subjugates its members with terrifying and health-endangering threats”.
They allege he is also responsible for “the adherence to a fatal forbiddance of the use of condoms, even when the danger of HIV-Aids infection exists” and for “the establishment and maintenance of a worldwide system of cover-up of the sexual crimes committed by Catholic priests and their preferential treatment, which aids and abets ever new crimes”.
They claim the Catholic Church “acquires its members through a compulsory act, namely, through the baptism of infants that do not yet have a will of their own”. This act was “irrevocable” and is buttressed by threats of excommunication and the fires of hell.
It was “a grave impairment of the personal freedom of development and of a person’s emotional and mental integrity”. The Pope was “responsible for its preservation and enforcement and, as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of his Church, he was jointly responsible” with Pope John Paul II.
Catholics “threatened by HIV-AIDS . . . are faced with a terrible alternative: If they protect themselves with condoms during sexual intercourse, they become grave sinners; if they do not protect themselves out of fear of the punishment of sin threatened by the church, they become candidates for death.”
There was also “strong suspicion that Dr Joseph Ratzinger, as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of his church and as Pope, has up to the present day systematically covered up the sexual abuse of children and youths and protected the perpetrators, thereby aiding and abetting further sexual violence toward young people”.
Note: Given the propensity of Christians to continually deceive themselves with this argument, I have decided to bring this back to the front of my site. In case you are wondering, I often prefer to use the informal indicative rather than the more formal subjunctive. – May 2005
IF CHRISTIANITY IS TRUE
Wayne Everett Orgar
Over the past few years, one of the most frequent comments I have heard from Christians is paraphrased as follows:
If Christianity is true and I believe, than I have eternal life.
If it is true and I don’t believe, I have eternal punishment.
If it is false and I believe, than I will have only lived a lie.
This is nothing more than Pascal’s wager watered down. Bet on Christianity and you lose nothing.
WRONG! You lose plenty.
First, though, let’s recognize this is only a statement of fear and presents evidence of nothing except the fear of hellfire and brimstone. Supposedly, believing in Christ on faith is the key to salvation. Believing in Christ because it is a safe bet is not faith and disqualifies you from salvation. This is fear, not the courage of one’s conviction.
- This argument provides no evidence for a god or for gods.
- It presents no evidence of an afterlife.
- It presents no evidence for the truth of Christianity or the belief that these practices will bring you that eternal life. You still have no guarantee that being a Christian brings eternal life if there was an afterlife.
- It represents a false dichotomy. The choice is not between Christianity and atheism. It is a choice among atheism, Christianity, and the thousands of other religions that respective believers think will get them eternal life. If eternal life existed, it could belong to only the Hindu.
- If Christianity was false and you believed, you could lose more than a life of lies. If Shintoism were true instead, you would lose eternal life. You better get out there and believe in Shintoism to hedge your bet.
Consider the underlying reasoning behind the argument and it falls apart.
If religion A is true and I believe, than I have eternal life.
If religion A is true and I don’t believe, than I have eternal punishment.
If religion A is not true and I believe, than I will only have lived a lie.
You could use this to justify believing in any religion. Just substitute Islam for religion A. If you use this reasoning to justify believing in Christianity, the moral principle of fairness requires you to allow other religions to use it with equal justification and hope of salvation. Otherwise, you are being hypocritical and you are deceiving yourself.
You could use it to hold conflicting beliefs and be in total self-contradiction. Why would anyone respect this argument?
Now back to my original point. You have plenty to lose with Christianity
- You lose a lot of time and money on religious organizations and icons, time and money that could be better spent on real problems.
- You have to worry about guilt and shame from the imaginary concept of sin. Big brother is watching.
- You have to stand on your head and do verbal gymnastics to “apologize” for ridiculous Bible stories and verses.
- You have to worry about the increasing knowledge of the facts of the universe and try to rectify them with the Bible, written by people who knew nothing about their universe.
- You have to worry about the increasing civil rights of women and other minorities such as homosexuals, atheists, ethnic groups, and other religious groups that are increasing in this country.
- You have to constantly worry about non-believers watching your behavior as Christians and pointing out that you do not behave any better than non-believers.
- You have to worry about your friends and family going to hell for an eternity. If you don’t worry about this, you either don’t truly believe or are a very callous individual.
- You have to worry about breaking arbitrary “rules of men” that were attributed to a supposed deity thousands of years ago.
- You have to worry about those secular humanists (all 20 of them) that have taken over every school, government body, university, media outlet, and ice cream stand in the country.
I could list more. I found no comfort from Christianity. It is not a sure thing and I certainly would not want to bet my life or well being on it.
February 2006 – The stupidist thing a Christian has ever said to me in regard to this is that non-belief in Christianity has consequences and the above is therefore not true. Other religions have no consequences? Tell that to an Islamic believer who insists that Christians will go to hell!
THE BIBLE: IMMORAL AND IRRATIONAL
Wayne Everett Orgar
Last year I sent a letter to a church elder that I have been corresponding with. Some excerpts from this letter are as follows:
“I’m not sure why you quote the Bible to me. No other book has caused more confusion and needless suffering among nations. The thinker has to reject the Bible as nonsense if considered in its entirety and in context. Examine the three versions of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20, 34 and Deuteronomy 5). Exodus 34 is very different from the other two. How could a god forget its own commandments? No super-intelligent being would allow such errors in its holy book. Exodus 34 is the only version that says it is the Ten Commandments in text (Exodus 34:28 KJV). Christians don’t quote this version. They probably don’t know it exists and it reads like embarrassing nonsense.***
I remember the story of the devil taking Jesus up on a mountain to see all the kingdoms of the world to tempt him (Matthew 4:8-9). No such mountain is possible, given that the earth is a sphere! This would only work on a small, flat Earth. Of course, since Christians believe that Jesus was god, this temptation would be absurd. A god would already own the kingdoms of earth. The devil would obviously know this. Add to this the belief in the supernatural nature of the devil and Jesus and it becomes apparent that it would have been entirely unnecessary to go up on a mountain to see anything on earth. This story is irrational even if you don’t believe it literally.
Let’s be analytical about the alleged Jesus cursing a fig tree (Mark 11:12-14) because it didn’t bear fruit when he was hungry. Why did he not know that it wasn’t the season for fig trees to bear fruit? He was god, he was supposed to know all things. Why make the tree wither? This would highly irrational behavior for a god or a human.
Take a look at II Kings 2:23-24 (KJV). The context is a story of Elisha (not a parable or an example of what is not appropriate punishment) being teased by 42 children. The god sends two bears to kill (tare/devour) the kids. All kids tease and so do adults. No one deserves death for teasing, no matter how impolite it is. This is not an example of justice and morality. This is not the behavior of a rational, loving god. Why not just ground the kids for a week or make them wash Elisha’s feet for a month?
Flip back to Leviticus 21:16-24 (KJV). The context is god, telling Moses, to tell Aaron who can’t approach the altar in the sanctuary. This is one of the most despicable passages in the Bible. It essentially trashes people with disabilities and disfigurement and says that they are a “profanity”. Maybe I’m sensitive since I have spent a good deal of my life helping people with disabilities. This language is not loving, moral, or rational in any context.”
If these words were written in any other religious book, would you respect that book? Why respect the Bible? I could write much more about the many vulgar, irrational, and immoral passages in the Bible. However, it is up to the believer to read the Bible for himself or herself and discover what this book really says. After all, if you are claiming that this book gives you meaning in life, you’d better know what it really says.
When I was young, I was led around these passages. This is the way that young people are brainwashed. Once they believe, it is almost impossible for them to face the truth in adulthood. It is too difficult emotionally. I have found that when Christians are confronted with such passages, they become angry and attempt save face with weak excuses about the Bible containing good passages also. Nothing excuses the thinking demonstrated in the above passages.
I am still waiting for a response to my letter. What could the elder say to defend such language? What would you say to me?
***HINT, 11/25/2000 – Almost any public library has the information that can explain to you why this glaring contradiction exists. Find a book written in the past 10 to 15 years that summarizes the past 1000 years of Bible scholarship. Read for yourself what we have learned about the many people who wrote the Bible, when they wrote it, and why. Your life will not be the same.