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June 02, 2009

Where does the Evangelical opposition to abortion come from?

slacktivist: Killing in the name of

Fred Clark, the Slacktivist, has the all-too-recent history on Evangelical Protestants' anti-abortion views. This is long, so below I have a scrap of excerpt from the longer history.

In the 1980s, in order to solidify their shift from divorce to abortion, the Religious Right constructed an abortion myth, one accepted by most Americans as true. Simply put, the abortion myth is this: Leaders of the Religious Right would have us believe that their movement began in direct response to the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Politically conservative evangelical leaders were so morally outraged by the ruling that they instantly shed their apolitical stupor in order to mobilize politically in defense of the sanctity of life. Most of these leaders did so reluctantly and at great personal sacrifice, risking the obloquy of their congregants and the contempt of liberals and "secular humanists," who were trying their best to ruin America. But these selfless, courageous leaders of the Religious Right, inspired by the opponents of slavery in the nineteenth century, trudged dutifully into battle in order to defend those innocent unborn children, newly endangered by the Supreme Court's misguided Roe decision.

It's a compelling story, no question about it. Except for one thing: It isn't true.

Although various Roman Catholic groups denounced the ruling, and Christianity Today complained that the Roe decision "runs counter to the moral teachings of Christianity through the ages but also to the moral sense of the American people," the vast majority of evangelical leaders said virtually nothing about it; many of those who did comment actually applauded the decision. W. Barry Garrett of Baptist Press wrote, "Religious liberty, human equality and justice are advanced by the Supreme Court abortion decision." Indeed, even before the Roe decision, the messengers (delegates) to the 1971 Southern Baptist Convention gathering in St. Louis, Missouri, adopted a resolution that stated, "we call upon Southern Baptists to work for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother." W.A. Criswell, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, expressed his satisfaction with the Roe v. Wade ruling. "I have always felt that it was only after a child was born and had a life separate from its mother that it became an individual person," the redoubtable fundamentalist declared, "and it has always, therefore, seemed to me that what is best for the mother and for the future should be allowed."

In 1973, most evangelicals regarded opposition to abortion as a Catholic Thing . . .

May 28, 2009

Grant Morrison - Disinfo Lecture Video

Piss drunk with the drugs coming on in a half-hour.... Grant Morrison - Disinfo Lecture Video by Mike - MySpace Video
Grant Morrison talking at the disinformation talk in about 1999. Great talk on The Invisibles, Magic, Sigils, and all things metaphysical.
Grant Morrison - Disinfo Lecture

May 27, 2009

Martyrs strengthen religions

Religions owe their success to suffering martyrs - science-in-society - 27 May 2009 - New Scientist

The more costly the behaviour, the more likely it is to be sincere: few would willingly give their life for an ideal they did not believe in, and devotees who take vows of poverty or chastity are clearly putting their money where their mouth is. Such credibility-enhancing displays are even more effective if performed by a high-status individual such as a priest or other leader, says Henrich.

Once people believe, they are more likely to perform similar displays themselves. Henrich created a mathematical model to test his ideas and showed that this self-reinforcing loop can stabilise a system of beliefs and actions, and help them persist through many generations (Evolution and Human Behavior, DOI: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2009.03.005).

This dynamic helps explain why so many religions involve costly renunciations. For example, Henrich notes that the persecution of early Christians by Roman authorities may have spread Christian beliefs by allowing believers to be martyred for their faith - the ultimate credibility-enhancing display.

The principle applies to other social movements too. Studies of 19th-century utopian communes such as Hutterites and Shakers show that those making the strictest demands on their followers were most likely to persist, says Henrich. "You can see the changes in action. The number of those costly commitment rituals increases over time."