Catholic Priests used to perform abortions, and it was considered a lesser sin than fornication

Agreed. But it has become a wedge political issue that can drive support via moral appeals, so it’s useful for getting votes. At the end of the day, it sounds so simple - pro-life! How can anyone be against life but a nihilist! Plus, if you support pro-life, you get to feel like you are morally pushing against the establishment, and who doesn’t love to feel like an outsider rebel rebelling against the powers that be!

Grace Hale had a whole chapter on how religious conservative activists used the language of human and civil rights to garner support for their anti-choice cause in her book A Nation of Outsiders, which I regularly recommend cause I think is a great book about postwar American white culture and how we got to where we are today, with some many supposedly ordinary white people thinking they are cultural rebels against some mainstream establishment run by liberals, commies, and Black people:


OTOH, fuck all of them. Just like in Charlottesville, if you find yourself marching under a Nazi banner, you don’t get to “distance” yourself from the consequences. Anyone who self-identifies as an evangelical is just as responsible for this mania and the violence that ensues as every trump voter is for the chaos of the past 4 years.

A reformed child of born-agains who sees right through their horseshit.

Also, not an attack on you. I’m just fed up with assuming the best of people who routinely show us their worst.


If men got pregnant, they would end up in the same position as women in society. One of the main factors of how men got to be in power was that pregnant women are vulnerable on many fronts.

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The Catholic Church has modified its position on abortion multiple times in history.


But that’s good, surely - it means they won’t ever have abortions! /s

Even before RBG’s death, surveys said that there are more single-issue (abortion) voters in this election than before. It’s because tribalists want to vote against the Dems, and realize that there’s nothing good left they can say about Trump, but if they have one issue that trumps* all others then they can still excuse voting for the ■■■■■.

*It’s quite annoying having this useful English word permanently tainted by association.


I’m hoping you misunderstood what I wrote (if so, on me).

I personally know Catholics who vote for and believe in pro-choice (including in my extended family), and who whether or not they agree with the Vatican position that abortion is a sin (some do, some don’t), do not endeavor to or believe in using the State to legislate morality.

Despite living in the South I know fewer evangelicals, but I do know that I’m not going to conflate everyone who evangelizes their religious tradition, Protestant or otherwise, with those who advance an oppressive creative interpretation of their holy book, even if a plurality in my country do.

My adamant rejection of anti-choice misogyny does not in any way give me a lease for religious bigotry, and I do not judge anyone solely on their ontological beliefs.

No worries, I didn’t take it as an attack on me.

A reasonable position, and that’s why I hope you misunderstood my initial comment. Based on what I know of you I’m strongly inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt and think the miscommunication was on my end.


We had a Mormon in our department who tried a couple of times to engage me in a discussion regarding abortion. He was a colleague with whom I had a good working relationship, so I had to handle him delicately: I strictly limited my responses to “I’m not a woman, so I really don’t feel qualified in rendering an opinion on the matter. Sorry.” That greatly (and to my relief) shortened our discussions on the matter while simultaneously delivering my opinion regarding abortions. I can’t say I derived no pleasure from his frustrated looks then.


But to the folks for whom it’s important, at least the ones who credulously do so because they’ve subscribed to a bogus Cartesian metaphysics (and aren’t just cynically anti-choice because they want to control, harm, and disempower women), it doesn’t feel stupid or petty. For them, there’s literally a law on the books that legalizes infanticide, and it kills tons of kids. From within their worldview, it’s absolutely horrific, like, take the (obviously more justified) progressive horror of the children who died and are molested in concentration camps, and multiply it several-fold. Those are the feelings we’re dealing with.

Which is part of the reasons why traditional counter-arguments about them hating women, etc., often don’t land or work at cross purposes. Because, for them, sexual liberty is not as important as stopping the murder of children.

More effective tactics with these folks (at least with conservative women in my family who have until Trump consistently voted Republican on this single issue despite disagreeing with the party on most other things) include detailing how progressive policies actually result in fewer abortions than conservative ones. And, if you’re feeling brave, actually unpacking how the Bible literally states that foetal death is not the same as murder, and how there is no scientific, Biblical, or philosophical argument for foetal personhood.


You’re right, I missed the “Catholics” part of your post. All apologies.

My vitriol is aimed squarely at anyone self-identifying as evangelical. I have no real experience with American Catholics, but more than enough with evangelicals. They have been directly responsible for a great many of the social and political ills that have befallen us over the past 40+ years and it is due to a concerted effort among them. At this point, if they aren’t actively decrying what is happened (and a very, very few are), I have nothing but acrimony for them. I don’t buy that any of them could be unaware of the greater implications of their movement’s actions, except via ignorance which is just as consequential and unforgivable.

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You clearly have more personal experience with evangelicals than I do. Those very few I know personally are anti-choice. But my condemnation would not be of anyone calling themselves or being called evangelical; it would be of them supporting anti-choice misogyny. I don’t see any advantage in saying someone shouldn’t call themselves evangelical and be pro-choice, however uncommon that may be. After all, the thing I can and do judge them on is being anti-choice.

Obviously anti-choice evangelicals may denounce any pro-choice believers calling themselves evangelical, but the anti-choice evangelicals don’t get to gate keep any more than I do. At least one of the anti-choice evangelicals I know also doesn’t consider Mormons Christian, even though Mormons definitely do consider themselves Christian.

In the end I’m not going to pigeonhole religious traditions into their factions or agree with any of their gate keeping. All I care about is judging what they do.

It also occurs to me that I should have included Mormons since though they consider themselves Christian, they don’t consider themselves evangelicals AFAIK (though I could be wrong about that). And I’ve probably overlooked other distinct Christian traditions in the US.


That’s the thing; they are one and the same. The modern evangelical movement is 100% socio-political and not, in any way, religious. There is no new practice or ideology they are offering, just the extension of the command to “witness” to the extreme conclusion that a) any state that is not explicitly their brand of Christian is a heresy, b) that any and all freedoms are predicated upon their narrow interpretation of their cherry-picked bible and c) that they are at liberty to change any and all mandates, from god or man, to fit whatever they feel will best benefit them.

To be clear, many, many American Christians and denominations do not identify as evangelical, even when many members of their own congregation do.

Edited to fix quote.

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If that’s the case, and it may well be, I lack the experience with them to make any concrete determination.


Agreed. They are wrong, but it’s clear from their language they see it this way (comparisons to slavery, genocide, etc). Part of the question is how did they come to this conclusion, though. It’s not automatic. And I think the value in @thomdunn’s post here is that is shows historical processes to a certain degree. This information might give us a means to start changing minds.


BIngo! Since there is no “proof” that anyone is right or wrong on this issue, all both sides are left with are their feelings, though each feels it is the rational one. Projecting our feelings on to others does not change minds.
This issue exemplifies Leary’s second circuit, that of territory, politics, emotion. Rationality comes on the next level, but most political discussions don’t make it there.

It’s not “feelings” to say that restricting access to legal abortions and contraception is a violation of my rights. It’s a fact.


As an argument to try to reach them no. But I think it’s worth pointing out that misogyny doesn’t merely encompass emotional hatred of women, but also hateful actions towards women, in either case whether or not from women. To be clear, I’m not saying you were saying otherwise, just that many do in fact make that error.


Nah, that’s lazy logic. There is scientific, physiological proof; there is the proof of societal harm; there is the proof (as @Mindysan33 points out) that laws against abortion unquestionably infringe on women’s human rights; it just falls on deaf ears when someone’s been programmed their whole life to believe otherwise. There’s even the proof, as others in the thread have pointed out, that there’s nothing in the Bible that explicitly backs their position up. It’s strictly a power play developed over the last century for certain religious groups to try to regain their declining political and social relevance.


I know a great many Catholics - including me - who think this way, and many who think that a foetus is a life in potentia rather than a life quidem. The sin of abortion, to this subgroup, is a sin of recklessness: we do not know, and have no reliable guide to, the point at which soul is bound to body and a thing becomes a person, so we avoid the risk. We are not quick to condemn those who have other beliefs where we are uncertain; lex dubia non obligat. (The American hierarchy was never entirely purged of Jansenism, so we hear absolute tutiorism being preached at us from time to time. We nod our heads and ignore it.)

Thousands are enemies of religion who would have loved Christ as a friend, had He been represented to them as a friend and not as an angry tyrant, ever ready to launch His thunderbolts wherever highest perfection is not attained. Let us give expression to what has long been our conviction, namely, that Voltaire, Hume, La Mettrie, Helvetius, Rousseau, and their whole school, did not injure morality and religion nearly as much as the rigorous, morbid Pascal and his followers. – Goethe


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