Fighting Fire with Water: The Christian Role in the War on Women


Birth should never be about control, but there are those who are working very hard to make it so.  There are those who are doing their level best to usurp control over women’s legal and moral rights to their own lives, under the pretense of protecting hypothetical lives that could come into being.  And they do so under the idea that it is their divinely-appointed place to ensure that each woman is put into hers, regardless of her own conscience and beliefs.  

That is, as Christians, they feel that Christ has commanded them to turn even birth control into a fight for Controlling Birth.  To those of us who feel a woman’s right to her own life is a simple matter of fairness and decency, that can be very frustrating.  It can be especially frustrating to those of us who are Christians, and know a Christ who is so very forgiving and generous and kind to women.  We often want to ask them, “When the crowd surrounded Mary Magdalene to put her to death for prostitution, how many stones would you have thrown?”

But it’s pretty hard for Christians to see themselves on the wrong side of Christ, especially as they take sides in history’s latest Holy Crusade.  This is made worse by Fearmongers who will merely use the Bible as a tool for their own ends, seizing women’s sexual health and reproduction as scare-tactic cattle prods to herd their followers to the ballot boxes.  They whip congregations up into a frenzy of fear and disgust over images of wanton women destroying civilization, then send them forth to do battle against these supposed enemies of Christ… coincidentally keeping the Fearmongers in power in the process.

Worse, some Fearmongers even believe their malicious twisting of Biblical passages, clinging to interpretations they feel can support the ancient patriarchal edifice that is crumbling around them.  Rather than let their privileges go gently into that good night, they relentlessly preach how the loss of those privileges is a threat to faith itself, and must be protected by any means necessary.  This isn’t new; since the beginning of the religion, most faithful are taught to receive instruction in interpreting their religion, rather than engaging in critical investigation of its sources to form their own conclusions.  That’s why history is filled with political and religious wars where each side is killing the other while praying for help from the same gods.

And that’s how so many loving, humble, community-oriented Christians can feel morally compelled to enslave their mothers, sisters, daughters, and even themselves to their reproductive organs.  Because they have been led to believe that this is what the Bible commands, they simply don’t feel they have any choice but to take away the choices of others.  They feel this so deeply in their heart-of-hearts, that the more opposition they face, the more their resolve is strengthened and honed to a spearpoint.

That’s why the Controlling Birth Crusade has suddenly burst forth as the latest, hottest battle-front in the Culture Wars.  Though this has come as a shocking surprise to those of us who had taken it for granted that women were secure in our rights to our own lives, it really shouldn’t have.  The way the Fearmongers have been stoking up the Culture Wars for decades, this was just the logical next step.  That is, if you think logically, which is really what keeps us from fighting back effectively.

Because remember, the fight over freedoms isn’t logical.  We like to make our appeals on the flawlessness of facts and the foundations of fairness, but these have nothing on the firmness of faith.  Recent science is showing that even the most reasoned among us are led by how our emotional senses respond to the reasoning we work with.  So it’s time we embrace our own relationships to feeling and faith, and use them to connect with those on the other side.

We’ve been saying for a while now that people respond more to ideals than ideas, and that narratives and heart-felt stories are the way to shape the understanding of those around us.  We’re starting to get kinda good at that, but we’re going to have to get better, faster.  We need to find more and better ways to get our stories out so those around us can feel what we’re facing.  As they connect in their hearts with the in-our-lives ways we are impacted by the actions they take for their faith, they will gain a better understanding of what they’re really fighting for, and how to help rather than harm those around them.

We also need to be comfortable talking about faith.  Those of us fighting for women’s rights tend to view faith as a very private and personal matter, and don’t wish to judge or challenge the faith of others.  We need to turn that around, and strive to develop the skill of gently challenging each others’ faith, and take a humble but firm stand on our own religious beliefs.  This idea can make us uncomfortable, but we need to commit to learning how to do this wisely and well.  If we are willing to give up our lives in defense of what we believe, we need to be willing to give up a bit of comfort for it, too.

That isn’t to say we need to start doing the same thing we oppose, and claim that we alone have the true answers to spiritual questions.  We know better than that.  But we also know that there are multiple ways of interpreting religious matters, and that ours are at least as valid as any other.  But these interpretations obviously aren’t speaking for themselves; they need us to speak up for them.  And as we do so, we’ll find that there are some hearts on the other side who are ready to feel our sincerity in what we have to say, and begin questioning their own answers.  As they do so, they just might be ready to lay down their arms from the War on Women, or even take them up again on the side of women’s freedoms.

And that’s why I’m starting my own defensive push against the War on Women.  I’ve written a novel exploring a young Christian’s discovery of how this Crusade harms women and families, and how this causes her faith to grow in new and compassionate ways.  In the process of writing When Atlas Shirked, I learned how deeply I feel that the answer to the War on Women isn’t to fight back against our perceived “enemy” with the same condescension, derision and dogma we feel assaulted by.  We can’t win by returning anger with anger, and fighting fire with fire.

Instead, we must fight fire with water, returning their anger with patience and love.  We must struggle to develop new ways to show them how we’re ultimately on the same team.  We want the same things: a peaceful world where families can grow up happy and healthy and complete, cared for by each other and their community.  We need to show them how their actions are preventing these values from bearing good fruit.  We need to find better ways of working together to make our shared goals real.

So now, I’m starting up a blog to address the inclusiveness and generosity I find inherent in Christian faith, and the Bible.  In a series of (much shorter) bulletins, I’ll be picking up some of the most common points used to stoke up the War on Women, and show how this War isn’t the only way of understanding the doctrine.  I know that just one laywoman’s views on the Bible and such probably isn’t going to convince a legion of anti-freedom Prayer Warriors to turn away from the Controlling Birth Crusade.

But if my work helps even one of us to stop and take a closer look at our role in the lives and faith of those around us, then I’ll feel my efforts have been well-rewarded.  If you have your own story or point of faith that you would like to share, please let me know.  After all, if we each can get just a little better at connecting more with one another, we’ll find we can’t help but create a better world.

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  • vdowns

    You summed up my position when you said

    Instead, we must fight fire with water, returning their anger with patience and love.  We must struggle to develop new ways to show them how we’re ultimately on the same team.  We want the same things: a peaceful world where families can grow up happy and healthy and complete, cared for by each other and their community.  We need to show them how their actions are preventing these values from bearing good fruit.  We need to find better ways of working together to make our shared goals real.

    You don’t have to believe in God to feel that way!

  • wildthing

    Women face the prospect of death in pregnancy and childbirth. They also have many other pertinent considerations unique to them. They have a body, some think a God given one, that has the right of spontaneous miscarriage for the body’s own considerations. So just why are women not allowed to use their minds… in fact what is it with the religious battle of body and mind anyway which is the undrpinning of sexual repression and the resistence to women having freedom of choice.  It is called self-denial… that a person has no right to free will… you cannot have personal ethical choice and also control by someone elses view of a god’s opinion. The closest thing you would have to a God’s opinion would have to be the way things are.

  • grey-fedora

    And very apt for your message.

    The painting used in the header of this piece is a depiction of the John, chapter 8, where the Pharisees (the religious right of the Gospels) have dragged a woman naked through the streets to Jesus Christ himself and demanded she be stoned for adultery.

    Instead, Jesus makes his famous reply, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” and the crowd slinks away.

    The hypocrisy is, they claimed to have caught the woman in flagrante delicto… she must have been committing adultery all by herself, since they didn’t haul the man in. Some things never change.

  • colleen

    The hypocrisy is, they claimed to have caught the woman in flagrante delicto… she must have been committing adultery all by herself, since they didn’t haul the man in. Some things never change.

    In the Bible,  adultery is  a property crime.

     

  • rozlee

    In Genesis, we have the story of Tamar and the patriarch, Judah. At discovering his widowed daughter-in-law, Tamar, was pregnant, Judah ordered her burned at the stake. There was no consideration for the fruit of her womb. Both the mother and her fetus were sentenced to die. Tamar was saved only when she accused Judah, himself, of being the father. She’d disguised herself as a harlot and seduced him without him knowing her identity months earlier. Then, it was an aw-shucks moment and Tamar was released to have her twins. But, absolutely no regard for her unborn.

     

    The Prophet Hosea ordered the Israelis to “rip open” the bellies of the pregnant Samarian women and dash their little ones’ heads against rocks. Self-explanatory.

     

    In the Book of Numbers, there is the trial of Sotah, or the drinking of Bitter Waters. In this instance, a man accuses his pregnant wife of carrying another man’s child. She is taken to the temple and made to drink a potion called Bitter Waters. If she is pregnant by adultery, she will abort.

     

    Jesus, St. Paul and the Apostles never mentioned anything about abortion in the New Testament. And they were around cultures that practiced it. The now-extinct herb, Silphium, was popular in Judean dishes. A pinch of it in food for flavor, an entire stalk of it for powerful uterine contractions that could cause miscarriage. It was widely used for both, and wasn’t mentioned once in the New Testament either. One can deduce from this that abortion wasn’t considered murder among the Israelites. At least, not among men who had the power to make decisions about a woman’s body. And therein, perhaps, lies the rub. We women aren’t supposed to wield that power.

  • sirenus

    Please don’t perpetuate the lies regarding Mary. When Christ said that whoever was without sin should cast the first stone, the woman in question was simply identified as an adulteress.  It was not Mary of Magdalene.

     

    Mary is never spoken of as an adulterous or a whore in the Gospels. The second century church elders spread this lie to denigrate her status as a disciple and an apostle of Christ. Please don’t pass on their falsehoods.  

  • rachael-vinyard

    Totally. Non-religious people are much more loving, patient and open than a lot of the Christians I’ve talked to about this issue.

  • rachael-vinyard

    It’s unfortunate that this story is still perpetuatued but also, if you’re trying to speak with a religious person about repro issues, they’re probably not going to be receptive to the real story of MM. Even the false story is illustrative of how Jesus responds to people who have ‘sinned.’ Using that anecdote, no matter how falsified, may help some religious people realize that the concept of ‘sin’ (in their minds, abortion, birth control, sex before marriage, etc) is not tied to the person themselves. Jesus loved and defended Mary, even in her ‘sin.’ They don’t have to agree with a person’s decision to accept that that person is still worthy of our time and consideration (and of having a say in the matter).

  • oak-cliff-townie

    A point missed  is when asked about being without SIN and Casting the first stone…….

    TODAYS BUNCH  would not hesitate to be out gathering rocks .

     

     

     

     

  • nynia-chance

    Excellent points regarding the very valid disputes against portraying Mary Magdalene as the audulteress in the story.  I perhaps should have referred to Mary of Bethany, but as Rachael puts it, the anecdote is generally connected to the former.  In bridging divides, I try to figure which language is the closest to what the audience speaks, and I always wonder if I’m making the right choices.  This is one example, so thank you both for your input!

     

  • yor-bro-ken

    John 8:3-11   3 When the scribes and Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery. They made her stand in the middle of the court and put the case before Him.

    4 Teacher, they said, This woman has been caught in the very act of adultery.

    5 Now Moses in the Law commanded us that such [women — offenders] shall be stoned to death. But what do You say [to do with her — what is Your sentence]? [Deut 22:22-24.]

    6 This they said to try (test) Him, hoping they might find a charge on which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger.

    7 However, when they persisted with their question, He raised Himself up and said, Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.

    8 Then He bent down and went on writing on the ground with His finger.

    9 They listened to Him, and then they began going out, conscience-stricken, one by one, from the oldest down to the last one of them, till Jesus was left alone, with the woman standing there before Him in the center of the court.

    10 When Jesus raised Himself up, He said to her, Woman, where are your accusers? Has no man condemned you?

    11 She answered, No one, Lord! And Jesus said, I do not condemn you either. Go on your way and from now on sin no more.
    AMP

    Jer 17:13    O Lord, the hope of Israel, all who forsake you will be put to shame.

    Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the Lord,
    the spring of living water.  NIV

     

    (On my! More ‘shame’.)

     

    In the spirit of speculation that seems to be running rampant thru this mob I will speculate that what Jesus scribbled in the dust was the names, dates, and places that the ‘fools’ had ‘plowed with this heifer’.

     

    Judg 14:18   And he [Samson] said to them, If you had not plowed with my heifer, you would not have solved my riddle. AMP

     

    For the uninformed: ‘plowed with my heifer’ is a polite way of saying ‘screwed my wife.’

    Note: Jesus did not encourage the adultress to stop at the local pharmacopia at purchase some ‘Silphium‘ , and remember to always practice safe sex when he sent her on her way.
     

    Once the all the ‘witnesses’ had left, and the ‘law’ required at least two eyewitnesses to execute a person, the woman accused of adultery could not be found guilty, therefore Jesus could not legally ‘condemn’ her according to the ‘law.

     

    Jesus had answered them according to the ‘law’.

     

    Jesus spoke the woman according to the ‘law of love’. HE did not condone her sin, but admonished her to cease copulating with men who are not your husband, because JESUS knew her behavior was harmful to her in many ways, not the least of which was her sense of self worth.

     

    Ooops! There is that ‘shame’ thing……again.

     

     

  • yor-bro-ken

    The ‘real’ war on women is being waged in third world countries where muslims are in the majority and in developed and industiralized countries where muslims are exerting polictical and social influence way out of proportion to their percentage of the population.

     

    The ‘rumored’ war on women is a fabrication of the progressives in their depserate attempt to keep mr. bo-jangles esconced in the white house and regain control of congress as well as state and local legislative bodies.

     

    I defy you to name a single legislative body that is considering making birth control pills, condoms, diaphrams, iuds, etc. illegal.

     

    Progressives have been waging an unrelenting war on taxpayers.

     

    The political battle is over who will pay for women’s elective surgery and contraceptives.

     

    There is a lot of chatter here about 3rd parties attempting to control womens bodies.

     

    Exercise some self reliance and self control and you won’t have to look to 3rd parties to subsidize your lifestyle choices.

     

    To refuse to do so is perpetuating a false negative sterotype of the ‘poor helpless woman’.

     

    Whenever you demand someone else do for you what you are perfectly capable of doing for yourself, then you have embraced inferiority and invited their ‘control’ over you.

     

    Your body, your choice, your responsibility, you pay

     

    Keep your uterus out of my wallet.

     

  • prochoiceferret

    The ‘real’ war on women is being waged in third world countries where muslims are in the majority and in developed and industiralized countries where muslims are exerting polictical and social influence way out of proportion to their percentage of the population.

     

    Awww, isn’t that sweet? He’s learned that other cultures have sexism and rigid gender roles, too! Just look at him now try to argue that only other cultures do that!

     

    The ‘rumored’ war on women is a fabrication of the progressives in their depserate attempt to keep mr. bo-jangles esconced in the white house and regain control of congress as well as state and local legislative bodies.

     

    No, Republicans have been doing a very good job of that with their inexorable support of strict abortion restrictions and non-support of things like pay equity and maternity leave. It’s like they want Obama to be re-elected!

     

    I defy you to name a single legislative body that is considering making birth control pills, condoms, diaphrams, iuds, etc. illegal.

     

    Ten years ago, you were probably saying, “I defy you to name a single legislative body that is considering making birth control pills, condoms, diaphrams, iuds, etc. less easily accessible.”

     

    Did you know that a recent Republican candidate for the office of POTUS felt that Griswold v. Connecticut, the ruling that made all those nice things legal, was decided incorrectly?

     

    Progressives have been waging an unrelenting war on taxpayers.

     

    I suppose you could say they’ve been warring with the taxpayers who are racist, sexist, and against the separation of church and state.

     

    The political battle is over who will pay for women’s elective surgery and contraceptives.

     

    (What elective surgeries are you talking about, anyway? Breast implants?)

     

    Too bad that some folks fighting that battle have forgotten who’s going to pay for unwanted children and the consequences thereof for a lack of access to abortion and contraceptives.

     

    There is a lot of chatter here about 3rd parties attempting to control womens bodies.

     

    There’s a lot of law in legislative bodies about that, too.

     

    Exercise some self reliance and self control and you won’t have to look to 3rd parties to subsidize your lifestyle choices.

     

    You mean, like insurance coverage of Viagra?

     

    To refuse to do so is perpetuating a false negative sterotype of the ‘poor helpless woman’.

     

    No, actually, that perpetuates the very true negative stereotype of social conservatives thinking that denying a problem is the same as solving it.

     

    Whenever you demand someone else do for you what you are perfectly capable of doing for yourself, then you have embraced inferiority and invited their ‘control’ over you.

     

    Sounds like anyone who has ever depended on a police officer, or a firefighter, or basically any other aspect of civilization has “embraced inferiority” and “invited their ‘control’.” Have you ever visited Somalia, by any chance?

     

    Your body, your choice, your responsibility, you pay

     

    So, you’re against the entire notion of health insurance in the first place. That’s an interesting viewpoint, though ultimately not a productive one.

     

    Keep your uterus out of my wallet.

     

    That’ll leave plenty of room in there for a hungry child.

  • cathy-levy

    Thank you, Nynia, for this inspiring article.  When I read and hear the opposition use the Bible and other religious statements to oppress women and their ability and right to make these important, personal decisions, I get so angry, sad, frustrated, and hurt.  I want to defend God him/herself and stand up for the institution and the beauty of the Bible and religious ways and show that indeed, there is a better, more tolerant, loving, peaceful way.

     

    And you, Nynia, are showing that if we fight back with Hate, Intolerance, and Warful methods, then we are not living the good life that we are trying to direct people toward. 

     

    While I represent an interfaith organization, I can speak most clearly from my own background, which is Christian.  Christians, of course, follow Jesus Christ.  Jesus included women when his society certainly excluded them.  Jesus was inclusive of everyone, regardless of past, regardless of their faith, regardless of their race.  Jesus never discussed abortion, when the society certainly had mandates against it.  Jesus never used warful methods; in fact, he rebuked “religious right” (Pharisees) who were judgmental of others; in fact, he asked them to first look within their own hearts. 

     

    And so, as Nynia leads us, we should all work for reproductive JUSTICE, just as our religious leaders worked for JUSTICE, just as Jesus worked for JUSTICE.  Justice means equal rights and equal access to basic needs, such as health care, for all, regardless of economic or social status.  And we will work for it showing peacefulness, love, and tolerance for all.

     

    Thanks again, Nynia!  I look forward to more articles from you!

     

  • maggie-in-va

    Hi, I have no argument with the content of this essay, but I do dislike having the religious right that seeks to dominate women through imposing legal restrictions on their access to contraception, abortion, and assisted reproductive technology referred to generically as “Christian.”  Most of the Christians in our country do not support these policies.  It is similar to calling Islamic extremists who send children into crowds to blow themselves up with suicide bombs simply “Muslims” (although that happens, too, with unfortunate frequency in the mainstream press).  I noticed another link while visiting RHRC that likewise referred to  members of the religious right simply as “Christian,” without qualification.

    The term “Christian” covers a wide spectrum of denominations, including ones that fully accept LGBT members and clergy and that support a woman’s reproductive decisions as a matter of health and personal conscience.  To us, the religious right’s behavior is very un-Christian, and it is especially galling to be in the trenches opposing their efforts, while simultaneously hearing  the label for your faith applied to their misguided activism.

  • yor-bro-ken

    “What elective surgeries are you talking about, anyway? Breast implants?”

     

    An ‘elective abortion’ , unlike a ‘therapeutic abortion’, is not medically indicated. It does not treat or cure a disease or correct an abnormal condition.

    Yes, you got it. An ‘elective abortion’ is just like ‘cosmetic surgery’. If I am responsible for your ‘elective abortion’, then why am I  not equally responsible for your ‘breast augmentation’. 

     

    Your choice=you pay.

     

    “Sounds like anyone who has ever depended on a police officer, or a firefighter, or basically any other aspect of civilization has “embraced inferiority” and “invited their ‘control’.” Have you ever visited Somalia, by any chance?”

     

    Even a ‘limited government’ has legitimate responsibilites. Protecting human life, securing liberty and ensuring opportunities are fundamental.  Supplying recreational drugs and cosmetic surgery for demanding adolesents is not.

     

    Been to Cuba, Guatemala, Canada. Beautiful countries, delightful people, inferior economic systems. Cubans and Guatemalans choose to come to USA and stay illegally even when it’s much easier obtain legal residency in Canada. They know our ecomic system is superior. But if you folks get your way, they will keep heading north cause Canada’s socialism is still preferable to Cuba and Guatemala.

     

    “I suppose you could say they’ve [progressives] been warring with the taxpayers who are racist, sexist, and against the separation of church and state.”

     

    Most ‘taxpayers’ do not reflect your bigoted opinion of them which says more about you than them.

     

    You are the one demanding more of their wealth to fund your lifestyle choices. Most taxpayers [even some progressives] just want to pay less taxes.

    Health insurance is just one way to provide your health care and there is certainly more than one health insurance provider. If you can’t find one to provide you with the coverage you desire, then go on-line find one that suits you that you can afford. It’s called the ‘free market’. Exploit it while it is still available in it’s ever shrinking form.

     

    If you are not satisfied with the health insurance your employer provides then negotiate with them to change the coverage or find another employer. You are not an indentured servant or a slave.

     

  • prochoiceferret

    An ‘elective abortion’ , unlike a ‘therapeutic abortion’, is not medically indicated. It does not treat or cure a disease or correct an abnormal condition.

     

    An unwanted pregnancy is an abnormal condition, however. Kind of like being overweight.

     

    Yes, you got it. An ‘elective abortion’ is just like ‘cosmetic surgery’. If I am responsible for your ‘elective abortion’, then why am I  not equally responsible for your ‘breast augmentation’.

     

    Because breast augmentation does not prevent potential health issues, nor improve health outcomes, unlike termination of an unwanted pregnancy. If you knew anything about pregnancy, and what can go wrong, this would be old news for you.

     

    Even a ‘limited government’ has legitimate responsibilites. Protecting human life, securing liberty and ensuring opportunities are fundamental.  Supplying recreational drugs and cosmetic surgery for demanding adolesents is not.

     

    Good thing no one here is talking about anyone doing that. (Except for you.)

     

    Oh, and providing abortions to women who need it would certainly fall under the rubric of “ensuring opportunities.”

     

    Been to Cuba, Guatemala, Canada. Beautiful countries, delightful people, inferior economic systems. Cubans and Guatemalans choose to come to USA and stay illegally even when it’s much easier obtain legal residency in Canada. They know our ecomic system is superior. But if you folks get your way, they will keep heading north cause Canada’s socialism is still preferable to Cuba and Guatemala.

     

    If you knew anything about U.S. immigration policy, you’d know that Cubans who make it to the U.S. are automatically granted asylum, so speaking of Cubans “staying illegally” makes no sense. Just like the way you jump from talking about abortion and contraception to national economic systems, as if the two had anything to do with each other.

     

    Most ‘taxpayers’ do not reflect your bigoted opinion of them which says more about you than them.

     

    Yes, most taxpayers are not openly racist and/or sexist. Sadly, however, you are not in that group.

     

    You are the one demanding more of their wealth to fund your lifestyle choices. Most taxpayers [even some progressives] just want to pay less taxes.

     

    Most taxpayers also want the government to fund nice things like Medicare, Social Security and infrastructure. And when you connect lower taxes to reduced services, suddenly the whole “pay less taxes” thing doesn’t look like such a good bargain.

     

    (Of course, given that we are talking about insurance benefits, and not government benefits, how exactly do taxes and taxpayers figure into this again?)

     

    At any rate, given that contraception and abortion are a lot cheaper than providing for unwanted children, I would say that we’re demanding less wealth be spent on this overall. (Do you know how much a hospital birth costs?)

     

    Health insurance is just one way to provide your health care and there is certainly more than one health insurance provider. If you can’t find one to provide you with the coverage you desire, then go on-line find one that suits you that you can afford. It’s called the ‘free market’. Exploit it while it is still available in it’s ever shrinking form.

     

    You’ve never had to buy health insurance as an individual, have you?

     

    If you are not satisfied with the health insurance your employer provides then negotiate with them to change the coverage or find another employer. You are not an indentured servant or a slave.

     

    Perhaps you haven’t noticed, but these days, many people would be happy just to find an employer, let alone another one.

  • yor-bro-ken

    “The term “Christian” covers a wide spectrum of denominations, including ones that fully accept LGBT members and clergy and that support a woman’s reproductive decisions as a matter of health and personal conscience.  To us, the religious right’s behavior is very un-Christian, and it is especially galling to be in the trenches opposing their efforts, while simultaneously hearing  the label for your faith applied to their misguided activism.”

     

    The religious left’s teaching and subsequent behavior is at odds with the teachings of CHRIST and HIS apostles in regards to sexual sins against the body and the commandment to do no murder.

     

    JESUS’ instruction to “Go your way and sin no more” applies equally to all persons and to all sins.

     

    1 John 1:7-10

    7 But if we [really] are living and walking in the Light, as He [Himself] is in the Light, we have [true, unbroken] fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses (removes) us from all sin and guilt [keeps us cleansed from sin in all its forms and manifestations].

    8 If we say we have no sin [refusing to admit that we are sinners], we delude and lead ourselves astray, and the Truth [which the Gospel presents] is not in us [does not dwell in our hearts].

    9 If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].

    10 If we say (claim) we have not sinned, we contradict His Word and make Him out to be false and a liar, and His Word is not in us [the divine message of the Gospel is not in our hearts]. AMP

     

    1 Cor 6:13-20
    …The body is not intended for sexual immorality, but [is intended] for the Lord, and the Lord [is intended] for the body [to save, sanctify, and raise it again].

    14 And God both raised the Lord to life and will also raise us up by His power.

    15 Do you not see and know that your bodies are members (bodily parts) of Christ (the Messiah)? Am I therefore to take the parts of Christ and make [them] parts of a prostitute? Never! Never!

    16 Or do you not know and realize that when a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? The two, it is written, shall become one flesh. [Gen 2:24.]

    17 But the person who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him.

    18 Shun immorality and all sexual looseness [flee from impurity in thought, word, or deed]. Any other sin which a man commits is one outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.

    19 Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own,

    20 You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body.  AMP

     

    We all get saved from something(s) to Someone. We are ‘born again’ in an instant, but our salvation is a process. We are saved and we are being saved.

     

    1 Cor 1:18   18 For the story and message of the cross is sheer absurdity and folly to those who are perishing and on their way to perdition, but to us who are being saved it is the [manifestation of] the power of God.  AMP

    2 Cor 2:14-16

    14 But thanks be to God, Who in Christ always leads us in triumph [as trophies of Christ's victory] and through us spreads and makes evident the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere,

    15 For we are the sweet fragrance of Christ [which exhales] unto God, [discernible alike] among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing:

    16 To the latter it is an aroma [wafted] from death to death [a fatal odor, the smell of doom]; to the former it is an aroma from life to life [a vital fragrance, living and fresh]. And who is qualified (fit and sufficient) for these things? [Who is able for such a ministry? We?]  AMP

     

    Eph 4:12-15

    12 His intention was the perfecting and the full equipping of the saints (His consecrated people), [that they should do] the work of ministering toward building up Christ’s body (the church),

    13[That it might develop] until we all attain oneness in the faith and in the comprehension of the [full and accurate] knowledge of the Son of God, that [we might arrive] at really mature manhood (the completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ’s own perfection), the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ and the completeness found in Him.

    14 So then, we may no longer be children, tossed [like ships] to and fro between chance gusts of teaching and wavering with every changing wind of doctrine, [the prey of] the cunning and cleverness of unscrupulous men, [gamblers engaged] in every shifting form of trickery in inventing errors to mislead.

    15 Rather, let our lives lovingly express truth [in all things, speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly]. Enfolded in love, let us grow up in every way and in all things into Him Who is the Head, [even] Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).  AMP

    1 Peter 2:1-3

    2:1 SO BE done with every trace of wickedness (depravity, malignity) and all deceit and insincerity (pretense, hypocrisy) and grudges (envy, jealousy) and slander and evil speaking of every kind.

    2 Like newborn babies you should crave (thirst for, earnestly desire) the pure (unadulterated) spiritual milk, that by it you may be nurtured and grow unto [completed] salvation,

    3 Since you have [already] tasted the goodness and kindness of the Lord. [Ps 34:8.]  AMP

    2 Peter 3:17-18

    17 Let me warn you therefore, beloved, that knowing these things beforehand, you should be on your guard, lest you be carried away by the error of lawless and wicked [persons and] fall from your own [present] firm condition [your own steadfastness of mind].

    18 But grow in grace (undeserved favor, spiritual strength) and recognition and knowledge and understanding of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (the Messiah). To Him [be] glory (honor, majesty, and splendor) both now and to the day of eternity. Amen (so be it)!  AMP

     

    ‘woman’s reproductive decisions': Be intellectually honest enough not to disguise unpleasant realities in euphemistic language which is akin to ‘putting lipstick on a pig’ or in Jesus’ words…….. ‘guile’.

     

    In the context of a discussion about ‘elective abortion’, the ‘choice’ the pregnant woman is considering is NOT whether or not to have a baby, she already has one.

     

    The ‘choice’ she is contemplating is homicide, to kill her pre-natal child or allow him/her to continue living. 

     

    If there is nothing ‘wrong’ with abortion, if is spiritually, morally, emotionally ambiguous, then why does the ‘religious left’ want it to be ‘rare’?

     

    [Of course there are those rare few of the 'religious left' who consider pre-natal homicide to be a 'sacrament'. (There were some 'christians' who considered the instituion of slavery to be 'positive good')]

     http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/3346130?uid=3739920&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=21100783460611]

     

    http://books.google.com/books/about/The_sacrament_of_abortion.html?id=ltgnAAAAYAAJ

  • yor-bro-ken

    An unwanted pregnancy is an abnormal condition, however. Kind of like being overweight.

    Please explain how a wanted pregancy is anymore or less normal than an unwanted one.

    Being fat is usually caused by lack of self control. Like Groucho Marx said to the man who had fathered ten children, “I like cigars, but I take them out of my mouth every now and then.”

     

    “Yes, most taxpayers are not openly racist and/or sexist. Sadly, however, you are not in that group.”

    Expecting people to take responsibility for themselves and exercise self control is ‘racist and/or sexist’. Except for the fact that only women get pregnant how does does my ‘expectation’ make me racist. If anything your dependence upon others to subsidize yourl lifestyle would argue that you are inferior, at least in your own view of your ‘self’. I have a higher view of you, than you do. You have demonstrated you have the intellectual capacity to make at least make an argument. Are ‘challenged’ in some other area of your life?

     

       Good thing no one here is talking about anyone doing that. [Supplying recreational drugs and cosmetic surgery for demanding adolesents is not.] (Except for you.)

     

    If you are demanding the goverment fund contraceptives and elective abortions for people who will not provide for themselves then that is exactly what you are doing. You would have me believe that humans are no different than creatures of instinct who are compelled by their biological to canoodle anytime the urge hits them and it seems to hit them when they are most likely to concieve.

     

    If folks can’t control their sexual urges then why is rape illegal? Rape laws presuppose that we can control ourselves.

     

     

     

    “If you knew anything about U.S. immigration policy, you’d know that Cubans who make it to the U.S. are automatically granted asylum, so speaking of Cubans “staying illegally” makes no sense. Just like the way you jump from talking about abortion and contraception to national economic systems, as if the two had anything to do with each other.”

     

    Ah yes the ‘dry feet’ doctrine, unless you are unfortuntate enough to be a 10 year old cuban boy and a progressive president is in the white house. Then you receive ‘special treatment’. The feds sends agents armed with automatic weapons to take you into custody and send you back to the socialist paradise which you mom gave her life to buy your freedom.

     

    The ‘cuban’ who has managed to make land fall still has to request political asylum. Until she/he does they are in the country ‘illegally’.

     

    Actually a decreasing population has a negative effect on the economy. See Birth Dearth, Ben Wattenberg

     

    Taking money out of the economy in the form of taxes and giving to the government to distribute, especially in social programs, is very inefficient and the dollars the governement has taken from the private sector are not available for the ones who created the wealth to spend/invest back into the economy. Higher taxation equal slower economic growth. See Laffer curve.

     

    “Perhaps you haven’t noticed, but these days, many people would be happy just to find an employer, let alone another one.”

     

    Even the illegals from south of the border have noticed. They are self deporting because there is less and less work that Americans are unwilling to do.

     

    o’bama  has boasted that under his progressive policies hundreds of thousands of new jobs have been created.

     

    I have three of them.

  • prochoiceferret

    Please explain how a wanted pregancy is anymore or less normal than an unwanted one.

     

    It isn’t. But if the woman wants to be pregnant, then contraception and abortion don’t really come into the picture, do they?

     

    Expecting people to take responsibility for themselves and exercise self control is ‘racist and/or sexist’. Except for the fact that only women get pregnant how does does my ‘expectation’ make me racist. If anything your dependence upon others to subsidize yourl lifestyle would argue that you are inferior, at least in your own view of your ‘self’. I have a higher view of you, than you do. You have demonstrated you have the intellectual capacity to make at least make an argument. Are ‘challenged’ in some other area of your life?

     

    It’s kind of sad, how you consider providing comprehensive health care that includes coverage of reproductive services to amount to “subsidizing” one’s “lifestyle.”

     

    Oh, and “taking responsibility for themselves” is a common dog-whistle for “slashing social services,” which disproportionately affects poor minorities. Which is actually rather racist, in that it helps perpetuates the systemic racism in our society.

     

    If you are demanding the goverment fund contraceptives and elective abortions for people who will not provide for themselves then that is exactly what you are doing.

     

    Nope. Contraception is not a recreational drug, no more than flu vaccines or antibiotics. And cosmetic surgery? Who ever said anything about insurance or the government paying for cosmetic surgery, besides you?

     

    You would have me believe that humans are no different than creatures of instinct who are compelled by their biological to canoodle anytime the urge hits them and it seems to hit them when they are most likely to concieve.

     

    People have never stopped having sex, no matter what they’ve been told, or how they’ve been punished, for all of the fourteen thousand years or so that human civilization has existed. You’ll have a much easier time dealing with reality if you accept this, rather than think that you’ll finally achieve what millions of holier-than-thou folk before you have not.

     

    If folks can’t control their sexual urges then why is rape illegal? Rape laws presuppose that we can control ourselves.

     

    Probably for the same reason that stealing food is illegal, even though people need to eat in order to live.

     

    Ah yes the ‘dry feet’ doctrine, unless you are unfortuntate enough to be a 10 year old cuban boy and a progressive president is in the white house. Then you receive ‘special treatment’. The feds sends agents armed with automatic weapons to take you into custody and send you back to the socialist paradise which you mom gave her life to buy your freedom.

     

    For those who have no idea what he’s talking about, or want a less inflammatory summary of the affair, look here.

     

    The ‘cuban’ who has managed to make land fall still has to request political asylum. Until she/he does they are in the country ‘illegally’.

     

    Considering that requesting political asylum is the first thing most Cuban immigrants do after getting off the boat (with the possible exception of kissing the ground), I don’t think too many of them find themselves in this circumstance.

     

    Actually a decreasing population has a negative effect on the economy. See Birth Dearth, Ben Wattenberg

     

    I’ve got some more timely books for you to read:

    The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality, Richard Heinburg

    The Crash Course: The Unsustainable Future Of Our Economy, Energy, And Environment, Chris Martenson

    Prosperity without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet, Tim Jackson

     

    Taking money out of the economy in the form of taxes and giving to the government to distribute, especially in social programs, is very inefficient and the dollars the governement has taken from the private sector are not available for the ones who created the wealth to spend/invest back into the economy. Higher taxation equal slower economic growth. See Laffer curve.

     

    But something got lost in the rush to cut: the proposition [the Laffer Curve] does not support low taxes all the time, for everybody and at all costs. While raising tax rates beyond a certain threshold can reduce tax revenue, we don’t know where the peak is. After decades of tax cuts, it is not unreasonable to think we are way below it. And though raising taxes will change taxpayers’ behaviors in a way that could reduce economic growth, we don’t know precisely how much. It turns out the impact of raising tax rates on the rich may be smaller than we thought.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/28/business/economy/the-case-for-raising-top-tax-rates.html

     

    Even the illegals from south of the border have noticed. They are self deporting because there is less and less work that Americans are unwilling to do.

    o’bama  has boasted that under his progressive policies hundreds of thousands of new jobs have been created.

    I have three of them.

     

     

    Maybe if Congressional Republicans didn’t filibuster any and every jobs-related bill Obama has supported—not because they really care about creating jobs and improving the economy, but because they don’t want to allow Obama anything even resembling success, and want to be able to trumpet his inability to get anything done in the 2012 presidential campaign—we’d be in a better position today than we are now.

  • bess

    Get outta here, racist. 

  • bj-survivor

    I, for one, could care less if someone decides to get an abortion. It is unconscionable to give birth to children one cannot properly care for. Given the all too common incidences of child abuse, child murder, and the hundreds of thousands of children languishing in state and foster care, I would venture to say that there aren’t enough abortions!

    Why don’t you “pro-lifers” do something constructive and actually help actual people instead of shedding crocodile tears over insensate clusters of barely differentiated human tissue (or even more baby-like clusters of more differentiated though still insensate human tissue)? Why don’t you stop putting roadblocks in the way of accessing preventive measures, you know, contraception, including emergency contraception (which is NOT abortion, contrary to what you pro-liars continually bleat)? Why don’t you stop cutting the social safety net (Head Start, WIC, TANF, quality education, enhanced access to medical care, etc., ad nauseum) and stop blocking any progress in laws to provide workplace protections to pregnant women? Why don’t you show that you actually care for actual children and people?

    Given that “pro-lifers” generally do none of these things, it’s difficult for most of us to believe your concern for the unborn to be genuine. No, Occam’s Razor leads anyone with any sort of critical thinking ability to the conclusion that anti-abortion sentiment and activism is anti-woman bigotry and a desire to make women and children suffer.

     

    Jesus was decidedly against increasing the amount of suffering in the world, unlike you and your ilk.

  • nynia-chance

    Maggie – First, I want to apologize that it took me almost a week to reply to this.  I thought that I’d posted my response, but just checked back and found that it didn’t post!  (I’m sure it was a problem on my end.)

    Second, you are very right in that it is a tragic misuse of the term “Christian” to presume that it always comes with the word “Fundamentalist” before it.  Everywhere I turn, I’m seeing more and more how the public sphere is reinforcing the assumptions that to be Christian means you have to be an enthusiastic member of the “religious right”.  I’d meant in my article to talk about such assumptions as the problem, and not to seem to endorse them!

    Writing as a Christian, I very much believe in a picture of Jesus Christ and Christianity as a loving, compassionate force in this world, much as Cathy Levy wrote in her comments.  I started this series to try to explore this ideal in a way that can engage those who are on the outside looking in, or the inside looking around for some solidarity in Love.

    Because of this, I am sincerely sorry that I didn’t make that more clear in this first note.  My second piece is pending, and it addresses this as well as a great deal more on Mary Magdalene — in fact, a great deal more than I realized was there!  This is a learning process for me as well, and I am grateful for your participation, and for all who’ve been commenting here.

    Much love,

    ~ Nyn

  • ack

     

    If there is nothing ‘wrong’ with abortion, if is spiritually, morally, emotionally ambiguous, then why does the ‘religious left’ want it to be ‘rare’?

     

    Because abortion is caused by unwanted pregnancy, and unwanted pregnancy is emotionally, physically, and financially trying for women and girls. Because it makes a lot more sense to make concerted efforts to prevent unwanted pregnancy than it does to ignore the issue by calling women irresponsible. Because prevention of unwanted pregnancy means that women and girls will be better able to advance their educations and/or careers. Because when we actually value the contribution of women and girls, we will inherently reduce the abortion rate by supporting their efforts to delay pregnancy by supporting comprehensive sex ed and easy access to contraception.