Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Display:
Everyone makes up their own rules wrt religion. That's why Christianity doesn't offer a useful moral compass - anyone can persuade themselves that they're acting in god's name, and use that argument to support any action.

As for facts -

Violence at US Abortion Clinics

One source reported in late 1996, that there has been "over $13 million in damage caused by violent anti-abortion groups since 1982 in over 150 arson attacks, bombings, and shootings." 1

Many pro-choice individuals and groups blame these criminal acts on the most violent extremists in the pro-life movement. Some believe that the violent rhetoric heard from pro-lifers motivates the more radical pro-life fringe to resort to violence.
Many pro-life individuals and groups blame the violence on groups which are quite separate from the pro-life movement -- people who have little regard for human life.

It's worth reading the rest for some interesting statistics. Anti-abortion violence has been far from rare in the US.

Of course pro-life people distance themselves formally. However - inflammatory anti-abortion rhetoric is dispersed by both the Catholic and protestant churches in the US. E.g.

Rhetoric, repetition, and violence: A case study of clinic conflict in Milwaukee | College Literature | Find Articles at BNET

In addition to having organizational links to the national leaders of the antiabortion movement, Milwaukee's activists situate themselves within the rhetorical and organizational context of a broader, nationwide conservative movement. One force that links Milwaukee's antiabortion activists to this larger movement is VCY/America, a Christian radio and television network. VCY has stations in Wisconsin, Kansas, and South Dakota, and broadcasts its programs nationwide. Theologically, the network's positions are consistent with a growing movement known as Christian Reconstructionism. Reconstructionists seek to establish a theocracy run according to Old Testament law. In this society, the nuclear family would be the central unit, women would be subservient to men, and capital punishment would be the penalty for numerous crimes including homosexuality, adultery, heresy, and striking a parent (Blanchard and Prewitt 1993, 243-45; Clarkson 1997, 77-96). Consistent with this agenda, VCY programming combines support for state enforcement of "God's Word" with a desire for minimal government involvement within "Christian families." Typical programming on VCY voices strong opposition to assisted suicide, gay rights, birth control, and gun regulation, stressing the importance of parents' rights, home-schooling, and grass-roots political involvement. Abortion is discussed on nearly every program; many of Milwaukee's antiabortion activists make regular appearances. Thus, VCY acts as an important tool for framing and disseminating antiabortion rhetoric in Milwaukee, linking it to a larger right-wing agenda.

THE RHETORIC OF THE ANTIABORTION MOVEMENT

The rhetoric commonly used to discuss abortion on VCY, and in the antiabortion movement as a whole, is absolutist. This rhetoric insists that there is only one way of viewing abortion, and dismisses all opposing arguments as trivial. In her 1990 study, Condit identifies the use of such rhetoric as "overweighing." Using this strategy, she writes, speakers "attempt to show that the values and interests on their side [outweigh] those of the opposition" (1990, 159). By far the most important example of over-weighing in antiabortion rhetoric is the slogan of Operation Rescue: "If you think abortion is murder, act like it." This call to action has become a central tenet of the sidewalk "rescue" movement and has had enormous impact on the public abortion debate. Indeed, personhood of the fetus is a claim that typically goes unrefuted, even by individuals who identify themselves as pro-choice (Condit 1990, 82).

The slogan "abortion is murder" frames antiabortion discourse in two important and closely related ways. First, it articulates a defining equation: abortion equals murder. Second, it creates a closed system that eliminates competing definitions. According to this equation, abortion can be viewed as nothing but murder. The claim that the fetus is a person functions similarly, categorically excluding other definitions. Beneath Operation Rescue's moral imperative, then, lies an epistemological one-one must not only take action if one believes in the abortion/murder equation: one must accept the equation (indeed, there is no alternative to it), and then take action.

So you have a movement which is repetaedly told that abortion is murder, and which also supports the vindictive morality of the old testament.

The results aren't difficult to predict.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 1st, 2009 at 10:38:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I understand that the American pro-life movement is quite complex. I have met "pro-lifers" in the US in the 90s, and they were very charming and peaceful people.

I assume that these people are still around. Nonetheless violent extremism is apparently growing.

I hadn't heard of "Christian Reconstructionism". Now, where's that even "Christian" since they aim at an Old Testament theocracy, including capital punishment, no gun control? I'd classify them as sectarian at best. That goes of course also for the "If you think abortion is murder, act like it." - I would only interpret it as another way to say, "Don't have one," but you think of other consequences.

These groups, unfortunately, have gone astray from Christian faith. Quite dramatic.

But then, there's this other question, should all Christians take the blame when there are some who cause trouble?
And also this: Do you believe the violence of one or that of a group justifies an equally violent or even more violent response?

Jerome's quote suggests it does... when the Christian religion as a whole is held accountable. - It's simple to blame the Christian religion but not justified.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Mon Jun 1st, 2009 at 11:23:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I understand that the American pro-life movement is quite complex. I have met "pro-lifers" in the US in the 90s, and they were very charming and peaceful people.

I have also met quite pleasant anti-choice people. Europeans, not Americans, but I doubt that there is any ethnic difference in the capacity to be a nice person...

But that's beside the point. There are also nice orthodox Israelis. I'm sure you can even find a more or less civilised "settler" if you look hard enough. That does not detract from the fact that Israel has a fascist problem, and that their fascist problem is centred around their orthodox communities, in particular the "settler" communities.

I hadn't heard of "Christian Reconstructionism". Now, where's that even "Christian"

Who are you to say that they're not? They self-identify as Christian. They believe in the divinity of Jesus. Last time I checked, those are the two most common definitions of Christianity.

But then, there's this other question, should all Christians take the blame when there are some who cause trouble?

I am not quite sure where you got the idea that anybody is saying that.

What several of us are saying is that the US has a fascist problem. And that it's specifically centred around the fundagelical communities. Saying that their fascists are not "true Scotsmen Christians" is unhelpful.

And also this: Do you believe the violence of one or that of a group justifies an equally violent or even more violent response?

Not necessarily. But that's an academic point, because nobody is perpetrating violence on the American fascist movement to any significant extent.

Jerome's quote suggests it does... when the Christian religion as a whole is held accountable.

Only if you believe that terrorism justifies suspending common civility. Few people around these parts do.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 1st, 2009 at 01:55:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
First, comparing the American Pro Life Movement with Jewish settlements is comparing apples and oranges. You can sure try to mix categories to make your point.

I AGREE with you that the US has a problem. I don't fully agree on where it lies or that Christian evangelicals (alone?) are responsible for what you call American fascism. They, i.e. certain fundamentalists may have their share in this general sense of loss of freedom.

When I ask whether all Christians should take the blame (for the assassination/its causes), I can call it only pedantry when you ask me where I got that from. In Jerome's dkos link, one of the issues was the Christian religion's accountability. What is the Christian religion? The author didn't talk of bible burning. The Christian religion = its members = Christians. I hope you can follow the reasoning.

Enfin, Christian reconstructionism is NOT Christian. Sorry to disappoint. To call Jesus a divinity isn't quite sufficient to claim Christianity for oneself. Jesus made a new covenant that didn't exactly cancel out the old one but fulfilled it. A society based on Old Testament Law is under the old covenant. These people don't walk their talk, or rather don't walk their name. But then, I should at least quickly check them out on wikipedia before I'm going pass any final verdict on them/their ideology.    

I wonder whether you really want to find out what's going on in the US or whether you already know everything, and your opinion isn't subject to change anyway. Maybe it would be the easiest if you could outline your philosophy in a diary. It would safe valuable energy.

I'd like to end the Tiller debate here (at least my part in it).

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Mon Jun 1st, 2009 at 03:39:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
First, comparing the American Pro Life Movement with Jewish settlements is comparing apples and oranges.

But I didn't.

Upon re-reading the relevant paragraph, you will see that I was simply dispelling your argument from anecdote: That some member(s) of a group are nice and civil does not mean that the group is a constructive addition to society or that its agenda has any place in a civilised democracy.

They, i.e. certain fundamentalists may have their share in this general sense of loss of freedom.

"Certain fundamentalists" who "may have" a "share" in the "general sense" of loss of freedoms? In the same way that "certain factions" of the BNP "may have" a "share" in the "general sense" of increasing racism in Britain?

Of course the evangelicals are not alone in promoting authoritarian policies. But they are a major player on the American right-wing-extremist scene. Possibly the major player.

When I ask whether all Christians should take the blame (for the assassination/its causes),

No. But they must acknowledge this as an act of Christian terrorism (at least inasmuch as they acknowledge that "terrorism" is a meaningful term - I for one don't, but that's a different discussion). Claiming that "he isn't a (true) Christian" or that he is "an individual lunatic" obfuscates the fact that there exists a far-right Christian community that supports, encourages and breeds these kinds of terrorists.

You would never accept mealy-mouthed "but they weren't (real) communists" bullshit if the discussion was of the Baader-Meinhof gang. Or of Stalin's purges. Or of Castro's imprisonment of Cuban dissidents. Why does Christianity get to use a "get out of embarrassing terrorist groups free" card when communism doesn't?

Enfin, Christian reconstructionism is NOT Christian. Sorry to disappoint.

Again, who are you to say? Rushdoony, Schaeffer and Ahmanson (Schaeffer is also a leading light of the American anti-choice movement, by the way - very nice company they keep...) would in all probability say that you are not a Christian.

I wonder whether you really want to find out what's going on in the US or whether you already know everything, and your opinion isn't subject to change anyway.

I don't claim to know "everything" that's going on in the American far-right. But if you don't even know Rushdoony, Ahmanson, Scaife and Schaeffer (or Alcoa, Chiquita and ClearChannel, for that matter), then I do think that I know more than you do.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 1st, 2009 at 08:19:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"the vindictive morality of the old testament"

The morality of the Old Testament is a fact ever since the colonisation of North America.

"which is repetaedly told that abortion is murder"

I suppose you mean to deny that there actually is a living creature in there, whose life is stopped during the procedure.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Tue Jun 2nd, 2009 at 03:51:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suppose you mean to deny that there actually is a living creature in there, whose life is stopped during the procedure.

Well Biologically and biblically it's debateable

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jun 2nd, 2009 at 04:19:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, what is debateable is whether it can be considered human being yet, or not. The quality of being alive and kicking :) is not.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Tue Jun 2nd, 2009 at 08:18:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, before the foetus is viable, the question is whether it should can be considered a parasite or not?

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 04:25:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is this supposed to be provocative ? I didn't mention viability here. Until then, your speaking of parasites lies in the same category as JakeS's chicken egg-sterilization post. I'd really like the opinion of a few bloggers having experienced motherhood on this kind of language, because to me it is of the exact same fascist type as those instigating to the murder of abortion doctors.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 10:08:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pretending to take the high ground could be unwise - especially if you total the long, long list of dead bodies in the old testament.

Don't make me quote Exodus 11:5 - I'm really not in the mood for that kind of silliness.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jun 2nd, 2009 at 04:40:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just stating a historical fact. No higher ground taking. Yet another assumption of bad faith....

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Tue Jun 2nd, 2009 at 08:21:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eh? Where?

You're saying old testament violence began with the American Revolution?

What?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 03:53:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, you misunderstood me, or maybe I didn't express clearly. I meant to say that America has been practically built on this kind of old testament morals, hence it's no surprise it's still there.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 10:09:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Depends on which America you're talking about. The original colonists were indeed religious nuts. But the framers of the CONUS were building an explicitly secular state. If you want to convince yourself of that, try to see how many of the 10 Commandments it would be outright unconstitutional to enforce by law. (Hint: It's more than five.)

The US is a big place with a long(ish) history.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 04:15:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suppose you mean to deny that there actually is a living creature in there, whose life is stopped during the procedure.

That is also true for slaughtering a pig or sterilising a chicken egg. Doesn't make either of those murder.

Sorry, no points. Please try again.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Jun 2nd, 2009 at 05:35:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
also end this sub-thread, please, guys!

Jerome is debating the "terrorist" on the front page...
As I said above, it had been an issue that religion in the political debate was undesired at ET, well, that was before this murder made the headlines.

It has become clear that religion cannot be excluded from the political debate on ET.

It would be possible, if no political affairs within religious contexts were ever debated at ET.

 

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Tue Jun 2nd, 2009 at 06:13:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
heh, wasn't it you who said that conflict was interesting?

it's fascinating seeing how much education there is in the argument, bringing the best out of folks' reasoning.

it's as lovely as hearing a guitar being tuned.

exploring dissonance and then twisting the pegs...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 09:51:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Religion as a justification for public policy has no place in rational discourse.

Religion as a social phenomenon is clearly important and should be analysed, deconstructed and understood.

Arguing that abortion is wrong because your religious text says so is an example of the former. Noting that the American fascist movement congregates around a number of extremist Calvinist churches is an example of the latter.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 04:47:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Display: