Skip to content

Secular Sunday: Won’t somebody think of the children?

March 15, 2009

No CFAC today. I’m sick and I don’t have the strength, so I’ll talk really briefly about a recent news story. 

It can really be summarized in two sentences, and conveniently they are the heading and subheading of this MSNBC article

Headline: Brazil girl, alleged rape victim, aborts twins

Subheading: The procedure on the 9-year-old girl draws complaints from Catholic church

That really just says it all, doesn’t it?

A 9-year-old Brazilian girl was raped by her stepfather and became pregnant with twins. Every medical professional who got involved determined that she was physically incapable of carrying the fetuses to term, much less deliver them. Her attempts to do so would result not only in her death, but the death of the offspring as well. 

So basically you have a test case in abortion rights that meets all the criteria of having a “good reason” to have an abortion. Rape victim, health of the mother at risk, fetuses aren’t ultimately viable. 

And so of course, because the Catholic Church loves dogma and hates people, they denounce the procedure. They denounce it so strongly that they excommunicated everyone involved in the abortion — except for the child and, of course, the rapist stepfather.

And lest you try to fool yourself into thinking it was a rogue bishop in Brazil, the Vatican has his back

I’m glad they excommunicated them. Maybe the people who have been excommunicated will realize that it was a shitty club to be a part of in the first place. And maybe the Catholic Church will excommunicate so many people that it will only accelerate its own irrelevance. But the fact that the Church can dare to get indignant over a necessary procedure to save a little girl’s life — well, that gives the lie to “pro-life” right there.  

These so-called “pro-life” people seriously put fetuses before children. A fetus, they say, is a “potential person.” But once they become an actual person, fuck ’em, apparently.

A culture of life? A religion of compassion? Yeah, right.

15 Comments
  1. natecow permalink

    Yeah, well, the Catholic Church is full of shit, so what do you expect? Clearly they missed the “life” part of “pro-life,” in that aborting the twins saves the child’s life but not doing so kills them all. Hooray hypocrisy!

    I like your paragraph about the Catholic Church excommunicating so many people that they bring about their own irrelevance. I twittered recently about how many more people each year are leaving any one particular denomination of Christianity, and how that doesn’t point toward losing faith all together (like the article implied), but that more people are realizing Catholic and Protestant doctrines don’t fully abide by the Bible itself. I think it’s pretty cool to see.

  2. Were they even members of the RCC or did the guy excommunicate them assuming that everyone belonged to the RCC?

    After all, the guy was blind enough to ignore that the rape was the actual murder and not the abortion. Yet, that is just my opinion. Without the rape, there would be no birth-related risk to the child and there would be no abortion. The murder lies on the head of the rapist. Yet again, that is just my opinion.

    Did the step-father get excommunicated?

    I am only against abortion when it is used as an answer to willful irresponsibility, but I also realize that it is not my choice to make for others.

    I can still frown on irresponsibility, though… or is that illegal? I mean, will the RCC excommunicate me for denouncing their lack of responsibility to their members? (I was baptized, so I am in the club. Yes? My membership dues have lapsed for a long time, though.)

    Eh. To Hell with it. All the RCC did with this (even though they didn’t excommunicate the girl herself) was to emotionally brutalize her even more. The RCC told a girl of 9 who was raised with the Catholic teachings that her mother is damned to Hell for trying to save her life (along with the others who were trying to save her life). Ergo, they should have let her die. Ergo, God (THE God, the
    Ultimate of Ultimateness, the Maker) wanted her to die. Ergo, she’s going to be one f’ed up girl until she can reconcile her beliefs.

    RCC, thanks a lot. We really needed more emotionally f’ed up people in the world. You can never have too many. Right?

  3. Ray permalink

    *facepalm*

    I’m Catholic because of my faith. Not because of the Church. I do not answer to the Pope, I answer to God. I guess that makes me a bad Catholic. Any “God” that would be ok with those excommunications is not the God I believe in.

    Proceed to tear apart my comment as a logistical fallacy if you want, I’m too tired to rebuke. I do find it odd to fear a rebuttal though. I wonder why. I’m on the girl’s side after all.

    • dorkmanscott permalink

      There’s no particular logical fallacy in play here, but you do raise a couple of important points that I think are worth some reflection on your part:

      -“Being Catholic” refers specifically to an adherent the Catholic Church. It’s a belief system, or at least an interpretation of a belief system. If you don’t want to be associated with that interpretation, if you don’t agree with that interpretation, then why label yourself as someone who does?

      -You say: Any “God” that would be ok with those excommunications is not the God I believe in. Doesn’t that imply that you have your own moral compass, one which is not only independent of a god, but one to which any god you would find acceptable must itself conform?

      If you have your own upstanding, decent moral code, and you don’t need a god to give it to you…what do you need a god for?

      • Ray permalink

        God, for me, is a focus. Prayer to God makes it easy/accessible for me to get to the inner workings of my soul so I can manifest positive thought and power. He is a channel for empowering my life, helping me to grow MY wings and fly to where I want to go.

        I know my comment turned the conversation this way, but I realized I hit a tangent. Your post was not about God but about the Church.

        I identify with being Catholic, or rather identify with the good elements of being Catholic because those good elements are worth fighting for. Those positive things were my way of dealing with my vices and resulted in my moral structure. It can be that way for others, and because I choose to identify with the Catholic community it makes me responsible for those horrible actions that degrade those positive things. It spurs me to action. Kinda how we didn’t abandon our country while Dubbya was in office. Instead people worked for change (I know that sounds cheesey).

        And I know I can’t draw an exact parallel between God and Country, but I know you see my point. Think of it like this. As a Catholic I make myself responsible for all the atrocities the Catholic church has committed even though I don’t support those actions. I’m trying to clean my house, not just defend it blindly like those idiots who want the world to think the Church overnight doesn’t molest kids any more. I’m not trying to tear down some fantasy “Atheist Conspiracy” that really isn’t anything more than a pipe dream/rallying cry for some Christians.

        Likewise you your self as an Atheist feel responsible for all those other Atheist (Atheist Zealots if you will, thou much MUCH fewer ones than the Catholic Zealots) who attack Theists for believing in God, because the actions of those Atheists only add fuel to the fire that keeps Creationists and the Christian Right going strong. I’m manning up and trying to change the church from the inside.

        Maybe being a “bad” Catholic is what the Church needs.

        • natecow permalink

          “Maybe being a “bad” Catholic is what the Church needs.”

          I think they had that once…I believe his name was Martin Luther. Problem was the Catholic Church remained in existence and we just ended up with a split instead 😛

          • Ray permalink

            Heh. Well, I can’t remember last time a Protestant made the news for stunts like what you mentioned above. The split seemed to be a good thing. When a caterpillar turns into a butterfly it looks nothing like the caterpillar. I think I’m hoping more Catholics will come to see our need to evolve, view our responsibility to maintain our community and expunge those who damage it. Even if it is the stupid Pope. =)

  4. dorkmanscott permalink

    @Ray: Whoa now, back up a second.

    You said this second to last, but it’s so important that I’m going to address it first: as an atheist, I do NOT in ANY way feel responsible for the speech or actions of any other atheist anywhere in the world. I refuse to be HELD responsible for the speech or actions of any other atheist anywhere in the world.

    See, the thing about atheism — unlike, say, Catholicism — is that it is not a belief system. It has no central tenets, it makes no moral dictates. If you put two atheists in a room together, it may very well be that the ONLY thing they agree in is that they see no reason to believe in a god. They may very well agree on nothing else.

    Atheism is a lack of belief in one specific thing. Two atheists are no more likely to have the same beliefs on anything else than two people who don’t believe in UFOs, or two people who don’t have mustaches.

    Catholicism, on the other hand, IS a system of belief. It has central tenets, it makes moral declarations, it has certain aspects that are definitional to the Catholic flavor of Christianity, and if you don’t want to follow them then you might as well not call yourself a Catholic.

    It’s like calling yourself a vegetarian but insisting you want to eat meat. That doesn’t make you a “bad vegetarian” — it means you’re, by definition, not a vegetarian at all.

    Now, as to the rest:

    God, for me, is a focus. Prayer to God makes it easy/accessible for me to get to the inner workings of my soul so I can manifest positive thought and power. He is a channel for empowering my life, helping me to grow MY wings and fly to where I want to go.

    You’re talking about meditation, aren’t you? And that has validity — a meditative state has genuine benefits, some of which you enumerate here. It provides focus, it has a calming effect, etc. It just seems rather unnecessary to anthropomorphize it or postulate some kind of external consciousness in the form of a deity when you’re all but saying it’s completely within yourself.

    I identify with being Catholic, or rather identify with the good elements of being Catholic because those good elements are worth fighting for. Those positive things were my way of dealing with my vices and resulted in my moral structure.

    I’m curious, can you give an example of one of those “good elements” that isn’t present in just about every denomination of Christianity? Or heck, just about every modern religion and secular philosophy?

    I’m looking for a reason to concede that “Catholicism” has inherent and unique value that makes it worth defending against its monstrous, centuries-long history. This isn’t a new thing that just happened, it’s not like the case of America where a new movement (neoconservatism) developed, came into power, and trashed the thing. The entire history of the church is one of abuses, crimes against humanity, vile doctrines, scripturally-supported hatreds, persecution of “heretics” — it goes on and on. The Crusades, the Inquisition, the Dark Ages, the Holocaust — the Catholic Church has consistently been on the wrong side of history for virtually its entire existence.

    I think it’s obvious that it’s not really “Catholicism” that you value at all, especially since you’re so openly willing to dismiss any and all Catholic teachings if they don’t jive with the moral structure you have developed in spite of, not because of, your Catholic upbringing. The question is, what is it that you actually value? When you’ve determined that, you’ll be free to jettison all the other nonsense, including the burden of defending a long-standing tradition of indefensible acts.

  5. Ray permalink

    Ok, I agree that there isn’t a central Atheist organization, but don’t you cringe a little bit when another vocal Atheist makes comments that cause non-Atheist to group you all as amoral jerks?

    “I’m curious, can you give an example of one of those “good elements” that isn’t present in just about every denomination of Christianity? Or heck, just about every modern religion and secular philosophy?”

    So you agree that it does have positive elements in it?

    “I’m looking for a reason to concede that “Catholicism” has inherent and unique value that makes it worth defending against its monstrous, centuries-long history.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Charities

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caritas_(charity)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Relief_Services

    Those are humanitarian institutions mind you.

    • Ray permalink

      Granted that first one has a rather nasty example of discrimination against gays, but you’re telling me you are going to discount all the other works?

  6. dorkmanscott permalink

    “I’m curious, can you give an example of one of those “good elements” that isn’t present in just about every denomination of Christianity? Or heck, just about every modern religion and secular philosophy?”

    So you agree that it does have positive elements in it?

    Ray, read what I said again.

    I’m saying that the positive elements in Catholicism are no different from positive elements in any other organization, including secular ones. Therefore holding them up as reasons that Catholicism in particular is worth defending or clinging to, is absurd. Especially when Catholicism has the negative baggage that some of those other organizations/denominations wouldn’t.

    I asked for positive elements UNIQUE to Catholicism, not the Catholic brand of generic charity.

    And by the way, refusing adoption services isn’t just discrimination against gays, it’s cruelty toward the children who could have a loving home if not for the Church’s bigotry.

    As for your question — John Wayne Gacy did kid’s birthday parties. He was also a serial killer. Guess which one carries more weight when all is said and done?

    So yes, when balanced out against the rest of the shit the Church has done and continues to do, their charitable endeavors begin to seem half-hearted at best.

    • Ray permalink

      “I asked for positive elements UNIQUE to Catholicism, not the Catholic brand of generic charity.”

      Ok, I missed that. My mistake. I don’t have an answer for that, but I doubt finding an answer for that will change the fact that the church continues to screw things up.

      “So yes, when balanced out against the rest of the shit the Church has done and continues to do, their charitable endeavors begin to seem half-hearted at best.”

      Do you really want to classify all those works as half hearted? The church could have just done nothing. Continued preaching tolerance while doing nothing else to better the world. As for those things that the church continues to do, again, that is what people like me are trying to stop. I could fill this page with numerous things the church has done to better the world and I agree, it sucks that its on par with the amount of things that its done to screw up the world. But what I’m trying to do is the same thing you are trying to do. Call people’s attention to reason, to see that the leaders of the church continue to commit fallacies and sow seeds of destruction. Hell, I’d love it if there was a rebellion against the church leaders with the scripture’s messages of love as its rallying cry. It sucks for Atheists, but because I’m working from the inside I have a bit more weight as I’m arguing the exact same points. I’m everything Creationists wish they were when they claim they too are “scientists” working from within the scientific community.

  7. dorkmanscott permalink

    Do you really want to classify all those works as half hearted? The church could have just done nothing. Continued preaching tolerance while doing nothing else to better the world.

    Between the Church committing acts of genocide and occasionally feeding the poor, or just preaching and otherwise doing nothing positive OR negative in the world, I’d prefer just preaching. The things the Church has done to better the world are NOT “on par” with the things it’s done to harm it. Do you really think they’ve saved the lives of nearly as many people as they’ve been responsible for killing?

    And I’m just talking about their ACTIVE genocides. Who knows how many people’s deaths could have been avoided if not for the Church’s long history of standing in the way of scientific progress?

    • Ray permalink

      So the church as many sins to answer for. If that’s all I end up doing, I’ll be content. Because the bottom line is the church has gotten in the way of messages of love and brotherhood. Or more to the point, the church’s leaders. The community is what I’m trying to save.

  8. adamsmith1922 permalink

    It just gets worse, read this post

    http://adamsmith.wordpress.com/2009/03/30/may-you-rot-in-hell/

    A woman wrote the letter I complained about

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: