Sunday, July 15, 2007

Some Where, Over The Rainbow


Alright...
Sometime next month the Democrat presidential contenders will take part in what is being billed as 'The Gay Debate'. Kind of a misnomer, since there won't be any, openly at least, gay people actually doing any of the debating. Well, maybe John Edwards. I almost expect him to 'come out' pander heavily in this one. One thing about ol' John, he never misses an attempt to pander if he thinks it will bring him an extra rise in the polls. Maybe he'll trot out his dead son as gay, or out a member of somebody else's family. Stay tuned. I just might watch this one.

This debate seems to be following a pattern for democrats, set a few cycles ago with the "Black and Brown PanderDebate", a "Latino Debate", and I think I remember feminist debate at one time.

Yeah, whatever...
They should be able to debate anything they want. Have at it. All these special interest debates do lend an extra element of theater to the whole circus, don't you think?
Maybe the GOP can hold it's own special interest debates.
Some ideas...
"How to talk small government while increasing spending."
"Saving marriage."
"The 10 Commandments"
"Israel: the 51st State"
"Borders: Real or Imagined?"


What I would really like to see, and have not heard much about, if at all, is talk about how each candidate would approach the concept of liberty, and what policies or other steps he would take to extend further the reach of freedom into the everyday lives of the people.
We can call it "The Freedom Debate".
I know.
It's a radical concept.
But I can dream, can't I?

22 comments:

The Law Fairy said...

Well, you could look at the "gay debate" as being a subset of a freedom debate. I mean, they're not asking for handouts or anything. Just the right to live their lives on their own terms without hurting a damn soul, same as any average straight person. Pretty radical, all right...

Vanesa Littlecrow W. said...

I'm here. I'm queer. Who cares. Whether anyone wants to accept the reality of the matter or not, gays have been already accepted in the larger US society for years.

Gay males as a demographic are pretty damn well off as far as minorities are concerned, and they generally have positive media coverage. Female homosexual behavior is actually encouraged in our society by the males and is often seen as a desirable trait (which makes hunting for a "real" lesbian woman outside of the usual bull-dyke haunts a hellish endeavor, but that's another topic.)

The only people who have issues with gays are members of certain religions, and people who are exhibit jerky behaviors everyone. Those with religious objections to same-sex couplings, as far as I know, religions (that aren't addicted to government money,) have a constitutional right to exclude people that violate their tenets.

As for the idiots, the only way to cure that is by actually having the balls to call them out, or by showing them by example that everyone deserves the right to be treated with respect. Encouraging people to teach their children common courtesy, is also a big help. This is not only useful with us homos, but it also protects any other minorities, women, men and children from being victimized by poor behavior.

Then again, politics aren't about reality. They are about getting votes. The best way to do that is by creating new foes.

I like your freedom debate idea, by the way.

RW said...

Gays already have the right to live their own lives on their own terms without hurting a damn soul and are also protected by special legislation that doesn't appear to be available to straight people to the same degree.

But, gino, I honestly thought the "Debate" part was the misnomer. There hasn't been a genuine campaign debate since Lincoln and Douglas.

Gino said...

lawfairy: i was on board when it was 'my personal life in none of your business', and i agreed, and fought for and debated the same..
but its gone beyond that.
way beyond that.

vas:politics aren't about reality. They are about getting votes. The best way to do that is by creating new foes.
yes, and creating victims to reprsent,also.

RW: thats what historians tell me,anyway.
what passes for a debate, at least the last 35yrs i been watching, is more of scripted press conference and pesronality show.
not much different in substance than american idol.

The Law Fairy said...

gino, how's it gone beyond that? How are the gays asking for anything from the government that straights don't get?

Vanesa Littlecrow W. said...

gino, how's it gone beyond that? How are the gays asking for anything from the government that straights don't get?

I'm not Gino, but for starters, Gay Activist Groups (as opposed to Gays) are asking the government to interfere with freedom of religion -- but to their defense, religious groups are asking the government for the right to invade the privacy and impose a set of religious beliefs on gays, and treat them by a separate set of rules, so there is some justification for this.

However, these activists are also advocating further erosion of the separation of church & state by redefining civil marriage, for the purpose of benefiting from tax & social benefits that are bestowed upon able-bodied married couples that should logically not be entitled to these sorts of benefits. Civil marriage is an exclusionary and quasi-religious institution created for the specific purpose of defining men's property rights over women, that should've been abolished from its very inception. By changing the definition of what marriage is, activists groups can actively force change upon religions with government sanctions. Seems unlikely? Look at what happened to the doctrines and practices of the Mormons and the American Indian Church, (whether you like them or not.) As far as I am concerned, government getting involved in religion (lest it involves endangerment of life, limb or public safety/health,) goes against Constitutional principles.

Then there's the issue of hate crimes. All violent crime should be treated with equal consideration, regardless of who commits it. It astounds me that you can get a worse punishment for beating up a someone who happens to be of a certain skin color or sexual identity (regardless of whether these mitigating factors had anything to do with it or not,) than raping and beating a woman of the wrong color. Separate but equal laws, are an oxymoron, and should not be tolerated regardless of good intentions.

Then there's the less savory sexual minority groups that are hiding under the GLBT flag to promote practices that 99% of normal GLBT people would find abhorrent. Yet activists, seem too caught up in accepting everyone to realize that this is happening.

Anyway, I could go on, but this type of divisive double standards really are an issue.

Gino said...

doesnt NAMBLA march in 'pride' events?
like vas said, hate crimes, for one.
another: the ability to sue for bias in the workplace, and such suits place the burden of proof upon the defendant.

here in CA, we already have a law that orders religious groups and churches to provide medical services that they are opposed to.
do you really think it will stop there?
i can see a future where churches that dont approve of gay marriage face similar sanctions, like loss of tax exempt status.
they are already doing similar to the boy scouts.

The Law Fairy said...

Vanesa, great point about the Mormon church -- I had never thought of that. Honestly though, I think laws against polygamy are silly. The problem isn't polygamy; it's the social forces that sell women into sexual slavery in those communities. But if fully informed, able-bodied, consenting adults really and truly want to marry more than one person, who am I to say they can't? Conflating polygamy with pedophilia, which the government does, plays right into the dangerous extremists' hands.

I think you're saying that civil marriage is itself kind of a ridiculous institution? If so, I could not agree more. Whether we let gays marry or get rid of marriage altogether, I'm indifferent. I just think we need to stop treating gay people like second-class citizens. As a devout, church-going Christian, I find the notion offensive that my religion would be threatened by equality. Any religion that can't function if you end hateful laws is not a religion worth belonging to.

I disagree re hate crimes. The point of hate crime legislation isn't quite so simple as just white person kills black person, gets higher sentence. Something like that would be obviously wrong, inequitable, and unconstitutional. Hate crime legislation, conversely, essentially creates a heightened sentence if the state can prove that the person who committed the crime did so with intent to cause harm to or intimidate an entire marginalized group of people. In other words, if the state can prove that you had what we consider to be a "worse" mens rea when you committed a criminal act, then you get a worse punishment. This delineation is hardly unique to hate crimes; plain old murder follows a similar path. The same thing is done in either case (the victim is dead), but you get a worse sentence for a worse mens rea (premeditation, malice aforethought) and a lesser sentence for lesser mens rea (heat of the moment, negligence). Now, we could certainly argue whether or not we think targeting a particular mens rea in this fashion has the intended effect, i.e., reducing crime, but if one is going to argue the entire idea is itself bad or "thought crime" or something else that frankly does not fit the situation, then one must argue against our entire penal system, which is NOT based on the notion that the ends justify the means.

Gino, everyone knows NAMBLA doesn't stand for all gays. Bringing up NAMBLA is a straw man or worse. It's like if I pointed out that Al Qaeda also supports banning abortion, as a reason that it should remain constitutionally protected. It cheapens the debate.

As for suing for harassment in the workplace, you're quite simply wrong. There is NO LAW IN THE US that places the initial burden of proof, persuasion, OR production on the defendant. None. You most likely have it confused with a very specific burden-shifting statute that first must be TRIGGERED by sufficient evidence on the plaintiff's side in the first instance.

I'm not familiar with any CHURCHES that provide medical service -- although I know of numerous churches that are AFFILIATED with hospitals and medical centers. Health is a public issue, not a private one. If requiring religious organizations not to abuse their position in the community as purveyors of public health services constitutes an infringement on their freedom of religion (it doesn't), then they should dissociate from the medical services provider. Or do you think Catholic priests should be immune from prosecution for sexual assault on young boys?

As a matter of constitutional jurisprudence, laws of general applicability do not infringe on the freedom of religion. So to clarify, that's why laws against pedophilia and selective drug dispensation do not infringe on the First Amendment.

The Law Fairy said...

Oh, interestingly enough, Gino, if you wanted to try to argue against generally applicable public health laws on the basis of religious freedom, you would find an unlikely ally in Justice O'Connor. Check out her dissent in City of Boerne v. Flores, 521 U.S. 507 (1997). In that same case, by the way, Scalia argues against you on this issue.

Gino said...

never heard of that case. will look into it.
btw: i dont always agree with scalia's decisions.

most specific: i was refering to recent CA law that requires the catholic church to provide abortion and contraception services to its employees as part of their health plan.
and other attempts to require catholic hospitals to perform abortions.

Vanesa Littlecrow W. said...

Law: Honestly, I don't think there should be any laws against polygamy at all as long as fraud/statutory rape/child protection laws are enforced. With the polyamory/swinger movements out there, polygamy/polyandry within a religious institution seems a safer alternative for certain people.

Although I don't think marriage should be a government concern at all, I think religious groups have a right to define marriage as they see fit.

I just think we need to stop treating gay people like second-class citizens. As a devout, church-going Christian, I find the notion offensive that my religion would be threatened by equality. Any religion that can't function if you end hateful laws is not a religion worth belonging to.

That's just it, society at large doesn't treat gays as second class citizens. I respect your tight to feel offended by the prospect that Christians might be threatened by equality. But, the fact of the matter is that careful critical analysis of the Bible itself, reveals a book that does not foster equality, frowns upon homosexuality (in the New Testament, not just Leviticus.) People who don't repent from sin/not accept Christ/offend G-d, will be punished. Division and discrimination is built right in to the religion. Does this mean that we should ban Christianity, even if some beliefs are absolutely repugnant in my mind? Of course not, it really benefits many people, and there is a Constitutional right to freedom of religion. Does it mean I have to participate in Christianity, just because I see those benefits and I like some parts of the doctrine? Of course not.

I cannot rightly call myself a Catholic anymore because, abandoning my former partner and a beautiful little girl I could've helped raised, seemed a bigger sin than my desire to engage in sexual acts with other women. I respect the traditions of this church, but also recognize that many of the beautiful traditions also have a side that doesn't seem so cool. So I must make a choice, stay or leave. Since I have too much reverence for what I was raised to believe, I can't just be a Sunday Christian tormented by "Oh my goodness what if they find out I'm gay." If I'm to follow my beliefs to the letter, and my conscience, the only logical choice is to leave and have faith that I made the right decision. By leaving my old religion, I was able to discover a different belief that is more appropriate for who I am, at this point in life. That's the beauty of being able to choose a religion (philosophy, or lack thereof.) Likewise, I know of people who found Christianity after feeling empty as atheists, pagans, etc. So, why on Earth would I want the government to impose an uniform belief structure on all religion. It seems contrary to the very concept of faith itself, to believe what someone else legislates you to believe. Does this make sense? I guess I'm not a huge fan of a la carte religion. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, even a dissenting one, but expecting a religion to change just because it offends someone's sensibilities is very disturbing and counter to what a pluralistic society should embrace.

In other words, if the state can prove that you had what we consider to be a "worse" mens rea when you committed a criminal act, then you get a worse punishment.

Yes, but why aren't all groups protected. And furthermore, isn't that the point of "First-Degree" and "Conspiracy" when it comes to charging criminals. It seems like a duplicate law designed to make people feel good.

Gino, everyone knows NAMBLA doesn't stand for all gays. Bringing up NAMBLA is a straw man or worse. It's like if I pointed out that Al Qaeda also supports banning abortion, as a reason that it should remain constitutionally protected. It cheapens the debate.

I agree to a point, but the fact is, NAMBLA is allowed to participate in Pride Parades, as well as some of the worst sexual deviants of the gay (and heterosexual) community, cheapens the debate (and the sacrifices of Stonewall) as well. Most anti-abortion people have enough sense to denounce bomb throwers and Al Qaeda. Why are Gay Activists so afraid to exclude people that NEED to be excluded, in order to silence critics who find ammo in these displays? Second-class citizens are a product of perception, not individual effort.

Stacy said...

Vas-I always knew I loved you. All violent crime should be treated with equal consideration, regardless of who commits it. It astounds me that you can get a worse punishment for beating up a someone who happens to be of a certain skin color or sexual identity (regardless of whether these mitigating factors had anything to do with it or not,) than raping and beating a woman of the wrong color. I have this argument with my husband all the time. Despite any motivation to commit a crime, it's punishment needs to be equal. Matthew Shepard's killer received two consecutive life sentences; and the Menendez brothers each received two as well, one for each parent. Apples and oranges maybe, but none-the-less a comparison.

I think a big part of any ill feelings towards gays lies with their method of communicating their needs. When you place irritating Rosie O'Donnell on your platform force feeding her agendas down our throats, it's going to cause some heaving. I have heard estimates anywhere from 4% to 10% of the population is gay; so I usually like to stay in the middle with 7%. If only 7% of the population is gay, the attention received and propagated is overkill. Now, one of my best friends is a lesbian. I have an uncle who is gay that chose many years ago to live a heterosexual life. I'm in their corner, but not the corner of the angry movement that is giving homosexuals a bad name. If I were gay; I'd still rather be here in the States rather than an Islamic country, or Hitler's Germany. Just saying, that's all.

And for the record, and I think Edwards' is gay too. Maybe he's like my uncle.

Gino said...

law fairy:
not a straw man at all.
i was remarking to this:
"Then there's the less savory sexual minority groups that are hiding under the GLBT flag to promote practices that 99% of normal GLBT people would find abhorrent."

call it what you want, but me pointing out the booger hanging out your nose(no, not your nose) doesnt make the booger not there.

Vanesa Littlecrow W. said...

Stacy: I am gay, and I would rather be here than most places in this world!

The Law Fairy said...

vanesa, I get what you're saying about religion, and I don't want to get into a heated argument, so I think we'll have to agree to disagree. In short, I've had WAY too many people (both Christians AND non-Christians, interestingly) tell me I'm "not a Christian" because I don't tow the right-wing Christian party line. Frankly, I'm sick to death of it. It's based on an extremely narrow-minded and simplistic reading of scripture and tradition, and I'm just DONE talking to people who purport to tell me what my own motherfucking beliefs are.

Again, please understand I'm not reacting JUST against you -- I just get this bullshit ALL THE FUCKING TIME and I'm in a very very very bad mood this week to begin with. So I'm not going to argue this with you because it will piss me off too fucking much, and I don't need the extra years taken off my life.

As for hate crimes, I'm not seeing the distinction you're trying to make. Not everyone gets special protection because not everyone NEEDS special protection. Why are women told to be careful when they go out at night but not men? Because women are more likely to be specifically targeted for certain crimes if they go out at night. Men as a group don't need special protection, because they aren't targeted as a group. I mean, if someone plants a burning cross in my yard, that means something VERY different from planting a burning cross in a black family's yard. It just plain harms me less -- so it makes sense that the punishment for doing it to me should be less than the punishment for doing it to a black person. Note, as well, that you don't ACTUALLY need to be a member of an oppressed group to get special protection under hate crimes laws. If a group of neanderthals at a bar decides that a man nearby is gay and beat him up because of it, he could be straighter than Captain Kirk and still get hate crime protection under the sexual orientation prong of those laws.

As for methodology of gay rights activists, I'm not seeing how you get from A to C. I see A, and I see C, but you're missing B. That is to say, you might be correct that sometimes the methods of certain vocal advocates for gay rights might not be the most favorite or appealing people to listen to (although, frankly, I will listen to Rosie ANY DAY over that misogynist scumbag idiot Rush Limbaugh -- I guess there's no accounting for the country's collective taste). But so what? That's no reason to completely discount their message. The very best debaters are able to separate message from messenger. Don't like the messenger, fine. Tell him you don't like him. Hate him, for all I care. But that's not an argument against what he's SAYING. You still have to show how what they are SAYING is wrong. Just because Hitler said it, doesn't necessarily mean it's wrong.

Although I could be misunderstanding your point -- you might be arguing that as gay rights proponents, we need to be more careful about how we choose our spokespersons, because the average American is NOT a debating champ, and WILL commit the logical fallacy of confusing message with messenger. In that case, I could be persuaded.

I'm not sure why you say you think Edwards is gay, or even what is the point of bringing it up. If he is, then I'm very sad for him and his family that he hasn't been able to come to terms with that fact yet. And even angrier that he's had to grow up in a society that makes it a hundred times more difficult.

gino, fine then. I don't see many right-wingers denounce Ann Coulter, so you lose credibility on any point she makes. You guys have some big-ass ugly, bloody boogers.

Vanesa Littlecrow W. said...

Law: Again, please understand I'm not reacting JUST against you -- I just get this bullshit ALL THE FUCKING TIME and I'm in a very very very bad mood this week to begin with

WHOA, WHOA, WHOA!!! WHERE THE HELL DID THAT COME FROM!? I understand that you are having a bad week, but I wasn't implying that you were a bad Christian (from YOUR perspective,) in any way, shape or form. Your beliefs are personal, like everyone else's, and that where I was getting at. Anyone's personal spirituality and religious choices as are about a relationship (or lack thereof) with G-d. This is what I was saying. I was just telling you where I am coming from in terms of personal my relationship with religion and how I perceive the Bible. (The simplistic reading comment is pretty unfair. I have engaged in diligent study of that book since childhood, and again as an adult when I wanted to be a nun. I have the opportunity to read at least twelve versions (Christian and Jewish,) in their entirety, in seven languages. Reading the entire thing and actually dissecting it was part of my seminary training as a Mormon. It was part of my study when I was considering converting to Judaism. I also was involved in assisting P. Bryce and A. Adams in assisting with 19th Century Carpet page translation. The Bible is a big love interest of mine, but it just happened that it was too incompatible with who I was.) What I was getting at is that religions are something the PEOPLE should choose, not government. Your religion works for you. That much is obvious. However, just because your religion works for you, it doesn't give you or anyone else (especially government) the right to impose those beliefs held on any other religion or person that may disagree.

Why are women told to be careful when they go out at night but not men?

Because our society as a whole holds on to irrational and stereotypical ideas from a sexist era that have nothing to do with reality. Males experienced higher victimization rates than females for all types of violent crime except rape/sexual assault. According to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports, most murder victims were male, 79% in 2005. Perhaps if men received these warnings and protections as well, they wouldn't be victimized in such a disproportionate rate. Crime is everyone's problem.

I mean, if someone plants a burning cross in my yard, that means something VERY different from planting a burning cross in a black family's yard.

No it's not. It's a terrorist intimidation tactic used by racist groups to target minorities and sympathizers who might not be attacked because of their race, but might be victims of something ugly nonetheless.

you might be arguing that as gay rights proponents, we need to be more careful about how we choose our spokespersons, because the average American is NOT a debating champ, and WILL commit the logical fallacy of confusing message with messenger. In that case, I could be persuaded.

That's where I am coming from. Here's an example of what I mean.

Gino said...

wow,
i never heard of that PAUL HILL AS MARTYR thing before.
damn...
that aint right.

Vanesa Littlecrow W. said...

Gino: It's really gross. I'm glad that the mainline Pro-Life movement is denouncing it right away.

kr said...

LF: ;): I'm pretty sure motherfucking is incompatible with Christianity. I believe there are in fact a couple of direct scriptures about it ... oh, but wait, they are probably OT. I guess you get to keep your own motherfucking beliefs. My bad ;).

(Although, it sounds like planting a burning cross in your yard might tip you over the edge, this week at least ... )

Lots of social conservatives denounce Ann Coulter. And Rush Limbaugh. And Dr. Laura. And a variety of other muckrakers. But that doesn't make good press, so of course you don't see it. Gino pretty consistently calls people idiots whom he thinks are promoting themselves rather than what's good and right, so do I ... LC(!) has been known to do so ... you know the "well, at least she's not Bush" set of discussions at Andy's? Well, thoughtful citizens of all stripes think the current choices/system suck.

----

And now, with some trepidation, I step up to the challenge of "I am fucking tired of people trying to impose their beliefs on me."

LF, I am frustrated by your assertion that religious institutions should be required to provide what you perceive to be "health care" and they perceive to be not only not "health care" but in fact specifically destructive--to the patient, the provider, and society. You can (and clearly do) disagree with them, but neither perception is provable-although both are logically arguable--and you cannot disprove their belief set, making it logically irresponsible to so enthusiastically deny it legitimacy.

Your argument seems to be based on a mistaken assumption--you seem to not understand that the anti-abortion stand is absolutely fundamental to some religions. To choose to abort is, more or less, followed to logical ends within many tradtional Christian (and other) belief structures, to deny the existence of a loving God. That is truly how serious, how utterly fundamental, this belief is. (Pro-life non-deists have atheist versions of what Catholics call The Sanctity of Human Life, and it is just as fundamental for them.)

(Obviously there are belief structures (yours) that contain abortion and a loving God.)

If you understand the deeply "core" nature of the belief that abortion is murder, your assertion becomes that religious institutions should be required to actively deny their own reason for existence.

Aside from all that, I would expect you to be horrified at any person or institution that knowingly participated in what they perceived to be murder. This is, logically, exactly the action you have proposed, and you have proposed it be forced by our government. Whether or not you perceive the act to be murder, that entity would be morally reprehensible and completely morally bankrupted by such an act. (Just as the sexually abusive priests were bankrupted and reprehensible ... and as the Church was as long as it protected them ... whether or not is is wrong to do those things (as has been pointed out in this string, there are those who think it is not wrong), those priests and the Church, at least for a time, acted in complete opposition to their theoretical reason for existing.)

Please reconsider your logic. Asking someone--and especially trying to force someone--to participate in murder is ... um, well, evil. I can only assume you don't understand that that is what you are so vocally promoting?

The Law Fairy said...

Hmmm... kr, I think you've misunderstood me.

First, oh believe me, I understand how their minds work quite well. I used to be on the side of the far-right-wingers. I've participated in anti-abortion protests, calling women ugly names and the whole shebang. The hilarious part is that the clinic we protested at didn't even PERFORM abortions (they're damn near impossible to come by in Colorado Springs, thanks to people like my former self and cohorts), but, well, it was PLANNED PARENTHOOD, so that MEANT it was evil.

You present all of these people as being conscientious and caring and logical. While I'll grant you there are definitely a few who are like this, the movement is overpowered by anti-woman rhetoric. You claim that I don't understand how they think. Interesting claim. My 17-year-old self could probably put your words to shame with the visceral, emotional, FUNDAMENTAL belief that abortion was the wrongest single thing a person could do on this planet. Although I really don't understand your argument that abortion denies the existence of a loving God... I thought it was "just" murder? That is to say, it seems to me in order to make this claim you have to assert that 1) to commit murder is to deny the existence of God, in which case one would have a really tricky time squaring away God's favoritism for the murderer (and therefore God-denier) King David; or 2) unborn babies are spiritually more important that any living, breathing human person already born. I've never heard even the furthest right of anti-abortion peeps make this argument before, and I thought I had heard ALL of their rhetoric. So that one's a new one on me.

Anyway, all this is besides the point. I never said we should force churches or religious institutions to provide abortions. I said that if they are unable to provide full-service health care because they think that doing so is wrong, they should dissociate themselves from the health care wing of their services. If they still want to help people obtain medical care, they could always earmark funds for those in need and provide it to them for health services, explicitly forbidding them from using the money for medical services they deem to be sinful. If they really needed to, they could get awfully creative about denying women rights over their own bodies, trust me.

Gino said...

lawfairy: are you saying mother theresa's group, the sisters of charity, should also provide abortion services along with their treatment of the sick?
do you think pregnancy is sickness?

how bout in a free society, a care giver be allowed to provide the care they desire to provide?

the top tier hospitals in southern california are well populated by those institutions run by religious orders (nuns).
it would be a shame to lose all that quality care by following your plan.

where is the 'choice' in your position?

btw: none of my cohorts ever called a woman an ugly name. and i marched with the top level of prolife activists. i marched with flipper, and got to know j. roe personally.

kr said...

LawFairy, whether or not I misunderstood you, you managed to not hear accurately anything I said, and to miss the moral point, which is not dependent on you agreeing with my stance on abortion. I will try to answer some of your objections, and then try to re-present the actual point of my argument.

-----------

I did not present "all of these people" as "logical," nor even as "conscientious," although I'm sure most/all consider themselves at least "caring." Frankly, I think your experience is a reasonable reflection of the unthinkingness and non-conscientiousness of Americans in general, and wouldn't assign these traits to one group or another. (You declare that you "understand how their minds work quite well," but of course what you describe is how their minds don't work.)

All of which is not terribly pointful, because
1) you yourself earlier delineated the error of the messenger/message conflation: just because a chump (or a hundred million chumps) agrees with a thesis does not mean the thesis is incorrect
2) the underlying logic may or may not ever be recognized by any given activist (the ones you hung with, maybe not so much, eh?), but that does not mean they can't have intuitively grasped it
3) the visibility of the less careful thinkers does not logically imply the non-existence of careful thinkers

------------

I do not, at any point, "claim that [you] don't understand how they think" ... I claim that there is an underlying logic that makes their stand reasonable, which you seem to not understand. I decidedly do NOT claim that most people--on either side--think their logic through carefully. Abortion is, for most, yes, a primarily visceral decision, and yes, you probably do "understand" (have experienced) how the majority of "them" (don't) "think." This does not imply necessarily that they don't hold a set of beliefs that, if thought through, would in fact logically and coherently support the enthusiasm of their anti-abortion stand, and probably even in most cases also support my "abortion denies the existence of a loving God" extention.

---------------

"the movement is overpowered by anti-woman rhetoric"
1) OK, um ... you were in, as you note, Colorado Springs. There are a lot of things that go on in CS, as I hear it, that are carried on more reasonably just about everywhere else in America.
2) conversely, "The" Feminist Movement is popularly pictured as overpowered by anti-man rhetoric. Should, therefore, all feminist concerns, assumptions, experiences, and declarations be discounted? LF, this objection is just not logical. Some anti-abortion activists are chauvenist, so abortion is clearly something women should fight "for"? Most chauvenists think sex is a good and moral thing, perhaps even a moral imperative, should we be against sex? (And of course there are "feminists" who would say yes, at least to heterosexual sex.)

-----------

Abortion as "just" murder: no, I never said that, and I don't think I've ever met an anti-abortion person who thought that, but even if it is "just" murder, murder is still evil and wrong. To answer the first of your sub-questions: to commit murder is to deny the power and importance and potency of an all-loving God, which effectively, yes, denies His existence.

To answer your second sub-question: abortion can legitimately be seen to have added moral weight. Some examples:
1) far from 'never having heard' of this, you yourself say in that same paragraph: "My 17-year-old self could probably put your words to shame with the visceral, emotional, FUNDAMENTAL belief that abortion was the wrongest single thing a person could do on this planet."
2) God does seem to rate some murders worse than others, and relative innocence is a major factor
2a) your David example is ironic? God did get pretty harsh on Beloved David for murdering the innocent husband of the woman he wanted, not least because of the husband's innocence, as I recall?
2b) there is a general trend in the OT to understand killing adult males as generally ok-ish, not so much ok to kill women, and even less ok children, which I'm pretty sure is directly related to how morally responsible that society considered each subgroup capable of being (and therefore how inherently innocent)
3) doctrine of Original Sin or not, there is no age of human more personally, actively innocent than a pre-born baby, if such a baby is in fact a living person (for some of my arguments on that, if you want, see Gino's recent EightThings string)
4) we are specifically called in the NT to be "like little children": Jesus clearly makes a spiritual differentiation based on maturity/worldliness

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You probably didn't "understand my argument that abortion denies the existence of a loving God" because I didn't make the argument (and even now still haven't really done so)--I just presented the conclusion (sans 52 pages of explication) and asked you to understand that:
IF one has a belief-set that logically leads to the conclusion that abortion=denying God,
THEN asking such a religious person to participate in any way in an abortion is to ask them to repudiate their religion,
AND forcing or coercing them to participate in what they believe is murder is simply evil (anduncostitutional).

I am asking you to see this propostion, not the stuff that leads up to it: if one believes in some version that abortion is among the worst possible sins [against God, as all sins of course are], then requiring that person to say abortion is OK is a violation of their freedom of religion.

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You _did_ say "we should force churches or religious institutions to provide abortions," you just aren't admitting that some health facilities are "religious institutions."

If a hospital was
-founded for religious reasons
-by religious people
-with the money from (a) religious group(s) or organiztion(s) or from individual people who donated for religious reasons
-was staffed, at least initially, by not only religious people but usually specifically by members of a dedicated religious order, which religious order in some cases existed solely to provide health care

Then,
how exactly is that hosptial(/clinic/whatever) _not_ "a religious institution"?
It is an institution whose initial and continuing existence is dependent in large part or wholly upon a religion and that religion's theology and the behavioral ("charitable") onus theologically placed upon its adherents.

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You continue to call these questioned "services" "health care," as if that were a "duh," and circularly conclude, from your _assumption_, that an entity cannot be a "health care provider" if they don't provide your definition of "full" health care. Whether abortion is "health care" is not a scientifically settled question, and since both established and new belief systems exist and make heated arguments for each side, there is no way to logically or any other way prove you are right and "they" are (/I am) wrong.

It is an act of extreme intellectual carelessness to insist that your concept of "health care" is SO obvious that it is somehow ridiculous to in any way reject it, when clearly there are huge numbers of Americans that think you are utterly wrong and misguided and what you suggest is not only incorrect but evil. And you KNOW that, you KNOW your assumption is not obviously true, because you have often bring up 'those crazies I grew up with'--and because you hang out here.

Your view is _not_ obviously true.
You don't consider my view obviously true.

But, you thinking abortion is not murder is absolutely immaterial to my actual points:
1) Personal/moral: You cannot morally ask, much less require, someone else to participate in murder.
2) Governmental/Constitutional: Believing abortion is murder is in many cases an extention of fundamental religious beliefs, so demanding someone accept/participate in abortion is often an active impingement on their practice of religion. (Whether or not they can personally make the logical argument is not material to the existence of the impingement.)

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oy, I think my head is going to explode.