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September 25, 2009

When people talk about "defending traditional marriage," what do they really mean?

Daylight Atheism > The Religious Right Vision of Marriage
As Exhibit A, I present this utterly horrifying article from No Greater Joy Ministries, a religious-right group. The article, by Michael and Debi Pearl, concerns how good Christian wives should deal with emotionally and physically abusive husbands, and all the cheerful imagery of smiling children on the masthead can't change the pure, unfettered evil it contains. If you think I'm exaggerating, just wait. The Pearls' argument is that divorce is forbidden by the Bible, no exceptions. Therefore, if a Christian woman is in an abusive relationship, it is her God-ordained responsibility to stay with her husband, to obey his every desire, and bear his abuse without complaint or protest. It's hard to decide which part of this is the most obscene, but there's no shortage of candidates. First, there's this, the eternal refrain of battered wives everywhere: "If I try even harder to please him, eventually he'll change!" One day you will wake up, turn your head to smile good morning to your husband, and see the tears of thanksgiving glistening in his eyes as he tells you one more time how much he loves you and how proud he is to have you as his wife. ...This happened because day by day, minute by minute, you chose to believe God's Word and honor him even though your flesh wanted to scream in anger and defeat. And in that moment of weakness, when you bowed beneath the load, God reached down and gently reminded you to keep on because some day your children will "arise and call you blessed; your husband also, and he praiseth you. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all." This promised carrot comes with a stick, a none-too-subtle threat to the woman: if you divorce your husband, God will condemn your children to eternal torture. There is no promise in Scripture to spare your children if you leave your lost husband. I could give you a list of hundreds of godly Christians that chose to leave their unbelieving spouses and then married a believing spouse, had decent marriages, but lost their children to the world and bitterness. I have sat and listened to many say, "We sinned; our children suffered, and we lost them to the world. They hate us. My divorce was wrong. Oh if only..."

Malpractice: Doctor screws up in vitro procedure, puts wrong embryo into mother

Fertility clinic to couple: You got the wrong embryos - CNN.com
"The doctor told me in one sentence, 'Carolyn is pregnant, but we transferred the wrong embryos,'" he said. "I didn't even know that could physically happen. It was a total shock, totally beyond the realm of possibility." In a tragic mix-up, the Savages say the fertility clinic where Carolyn underwent in vitro fertilization implanted another couple's embryos into Carolyn's uterus. In essence, she had become an unwitting surrogate for another family. After receiving the news, Sean hung up the phone and drove straight home to tell his wife in person. "He walked in and was as white as a sheet," Carolyn said. "He told me, and I think he repeated himself two or three times, and I kept saying 'You're joking.' I kept yelling at him stop it but there was nothing on his face indicating a joke."

September 24, 2009

AIDS vaccine shows small signs of success for the first time

For First Time, AIDS Vaccine Shows Some Success - NYTimes.com
Scientists said they were delighted but puzzled by the result. The vaccine — a combination of two genetically engineered vaccines, neither of which had worked before in humans — protected too few people to be declared an unqualified success. And the researchers do not know why it worked. “I don’t want to use a word like ‘breakthrough,’ but I don’t think there’s any doubt that this is a very important result,” said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is one of the trial’s backers. “For more than 20 years now, vaccine trials have essentially been failures,” he went on. “Now it’s like we were groping down an unlit path, and a door has been opened. We can start asking some very important questions.”

September 23, 2009

Sydney struck by worst dust storm in 70 years

The Associated Press: Dust storm shrouds Sydney, nearly closing airport
SYDNEY — Australia's worst dust storm in 70 years blanketed the heavily populated east coast Wednesday in a cloud of red Outback grit, nearly closed the country's largest airport and left millions of people coughing and sputtering in the streets. No one was hurt as a result of the pall that swept in overnight, bringing an eerie orange dawn to Sydney, but ambulance services reported a spike in emergency calls from people with breathing difficulties, and police warned drivers to take it easy on the roads. Dust clouds blowing east from Australia's dry interior — parched even further by the worst drought on record — covered dozens of towns and cities in two states as strong winds snatched up tons of topsoil, threw it high into the sky and carried it hundreds of miles (kilometers).