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25 October 2008

Thinking is Murder

Did you know that if you or your lover use birth control that you are a murderer?

Yep, in the latest example of
Bible Banging zealot-ness run amok, it seems that in the heart of the bible belt, one Thomas White, the vice president of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary told his students that "birth control is murder". What the ...?!?

No, not abortion, no not plunging a knife into the chest of an otherwise innocent person; but simply taking a birth control measures, like the Pill, is the "murder of a life"

Besides his obvious absence of medical (and, uh, pregnancy) know-how, this would typically be a laughable side bar. Except there's more.

In digging deeper, his bio says that he is "A systematic theologian by training with a focus on the doctrine of the church, he can relate to seminary students on many levels." How comfortable Baptists must feel that this dude is so far out in left field (or right field as the case may be) having had such a strong systemic background on the church's doctrine.

Oh, but wait a minute. Perhaps they didn't really mean that he was that focused on the doctrine. Perhaps he was a tad cloudy that day during his own seminary training? One would think that even the Southern Baptists would want to step back from this bit of lunacy, right?


Southern Baptists have had their share of silliness through the years. Back in 1997, remember when they boycotted Disney's AND all of it's subsidiaries - ESPN, ABC, etc. - because they allowed gay people into Disneyland in Florida? How did that work out you ask? Well during the 8 years that the Southern Baptist's 'maintained their boycott, Disney's earnings nearly doubled. I guess even Southern Baptists can't live without Extreme Home Makeover and Sportscenter.

In the 'lesson' that he gave to his students, White mentioned his own guilt in family planning that while he was working on his career as a small minded bigot man of the cloth, he and his wife held off having kids by using birth control themselves. An important feature to his position I think is that he and his wife never did conceive and later adopted a child. For folks who typically have a football team worth of kids, not conceiving on their own couldn't possibly be the Lord's fault, so therefore his choice in making his wife take The Pill seems like a logical target. In trying to explain this guilt to his students, White says this:

"The reason that we did it was my own selfishness, I wanted kids, but I wanted kids -- not in God's timing, but in my timing."

Selfish timing? Because the world has sooo much extra room for kids that are born into unwanted environments, right? When a reporter sought to clarify his position, he eventually replied in a curt email that he was busy. No retraction, no attempt to clarify. Nothing. Just a 'leave me alone', 'I'm busy'.

To most free thinkers, his is a ridiculous premise. God has a timing for when we are supposed to have kids, and therefore to have sex? Talk about pressure! But this is not as ridiculous to some apparently.


The brainiacs over at Alas, a Blog have an article entitled The Bible Says That God is the Only Opener and Closer of the Womb, which is equal parts creepy, elitist and offensive.

One of the proponents of this peculiar position is a dude named Mohler. Wanna guess where he's from? Yep, the den of biblical oddity itself, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Perhaps he is a bunk office mate with the good Mr. White mentioned above? Here's Mohler's take on the birth control plague:

“If a couple sees children as an imposition, as something to be vaccinated against, like an illness, that betrays a deeply erroneous understanding of marriage and children. Children should be seen as good by default.”

Well it is not hard to figure out what the theologians are saying there now is it? For those of us that have ever tried to control a birth, these elitists presume that we think of children - or our children-to-be, as contagions (teenagers notwithstanding I presume). Since they can't possibly know what goes in your house or my house, perhaps that says more about them and their attitude on children? Hmmm.

Furthering their efforts to promote their total omniscience over all things, Rick and Jan Hess make their own case that God controls our health, not the other way around. Really. In their 1989 book, A Full Quiver: Family Planning and the Lordship of Christ, they argue that God, as the “Great Physician” and sole “Birth Controller,” he opens and closes the womb on a case-by-case basis. Women’s attempts to control their own bodies–the Lord’s temple–are a seizure of divine power. So, if we dare to control our own bodies, then we are improperly seizing God's power. Astonishing.

These are no doubt the same type of parents as those of 11 year old Madeline Neumann that earlier this year watched her increasingly suffer from nausea, vomiting, excessive thirst, loss of appetite and weakness over several months without ever taking her to the doctor. Eventually family members intervened but
Madeline died a terrible death anyway (diabetic ketoacidosis). To render aid, these parents of three were only willing to pray for young Madeline and hadn't even taken her to a doctor in 8 years. In the end, they acquiesced that their daughter died because "apparently they didn't have enough faith". The "Great Physician" doesn't make house calls apparently and now Dale and Leilani Neumann are facing second-degree reckless homicide charges.

Holy Nut Job Batman.

Unfit parents like above may be well suited to make an informed discussion about birth control before they find themselves on the receiving end of a 25 year year prison sentence for murdering their child. Duh.

Which is one of many reasons why pre-planning a birth - by not having one if you are not properly equipped, for instance - is a rational idea. Duh, again.

The Pill Popeth

After nearly 10 years of development The Pill aka Combined Oral Contraceptive Pill (COCP)was approved by the FDA in 1960. Within a year of its release, over 1/2 a million women took it and currently nearly 15 million American women and over 100 million women worldwide take The Pill.

The Pill has been proven to be 99% effective in preventing pregnancy and it also reduces several forms of cancer in regular users by nearly 50%. Me thinks The Pill-ith has doth caught-uth on.

Yet the right wing sees The Pill as a form of homicide? Let's look at their position a little closer.

The most common Pill in existence works in three stages (triphasic):

Phase 1 - The Pill inhibits ovulation

Phase 2 - The Pill prevents sperm penetration and survival (contraceptive)

Phase 3 - The Pill disrupts the growth of the endometrium so that it is not capable of nurturing an embryo

It is this last phase that has the fundamentalist's bloomers in a bundle. It seems that they believe that if a sperm and an egg are in the same place, that conception occurs. And therefore, disrupting that meeting is abortion and therefore The Pill is murder.

So, if a Southern Baptist Man and a Southern Baptist Women meet in a swingers bar, does that mean that they will automatically get married and become bigots?

If a red Chevy and a green Honda meet at an intersection, does that automatically mean they will ram into each other?

If a logical, fact based thought and an irrational, mythical based thought meet in the blogosphere, will the logical thought automatically trump the irrational one?

But I digress...

The problem is that while a woman is on the Pill during Phase 3, an egg and a sperm being in the same room is no closer to being pregnant than me being elected president just because I am in the same room as a polling booth.

Since The Pill makes the endometrium incapable for an egg and sperm to implant, fertilization does not occur so there is no conception in all but 1% of cases (in which The Pill becomes a non-issue since now there is a pregnancy). So why don't they acknowledge that medical fact instead of dramatizing falsehoods to our youth?

But then perhaps therein lies their perverse, double-dipping advantage in their logic: In the same breath, they can condemn those heretics which do not conform to their misinformed, elitist and chauvinistic doctrine while at the same time continue to cultivate the next generation of "systematic theologians".

"Hey, can you take the wheel for a second, I have to scratch my self in two places at once."
- Homer Simpson


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Anonymous said...

Dear Daddio

This article is lucid and right on! Keep your insightful comments coming...challenging idiocy must be done.

Thank you

Michael M. said...

Hey Anon, did you just call me a challenging idiot?? :)

Thanks for the kind words.... yeah, lucidity is good.

Anonymous said...

You're awfully hard on a man who was talking about his belief system not yours, Michael. I don't agree with all of his opinions about birth control but I believe that God is the Creator of life so wouldn't that mean He does 'open and close wombs'? By the way birth control is not an obstacle for Him. And, by the way, why are you so offended? Can't he believe whatever he wants about birth control or does it inherently insult you because it is not what you believe? I'm having a little deja vu here because I feel like I did when I worked for you and we had these discussions!
Hope all is well! Laura Faye
PS Mohler is at Southern Theological Seminary!

Michael M. said...

How else was I gonna hear from you Laura unless I talked smack about a Baptist on my website? :)

He crossed the line from being about him when he implied that I am a murderer because I support the use of birth control. One shouldn't expect to be that inflammatory and then be surprised if he gets some pushback (me included of course).

And as you know all too well, if I was inherently insulted by everyone that thought differently than me, you would have had to bury me years ago!

Come see us and we'll debate like the good ol' days, okay? And remember, you're still my favorite Baptist.... :)

Laurie Lozano said...

Just an fyi...Its not ALL Baptists and not JUST Baptists that believe this way. I am a Baptist, and I have taken and believe in taking the birth control pill. But while attending a Catholic church, I saw posters and pamphlets at the Catholic church preaching the same thing, that the pill is Murder.
My husband is a Catholic and he too believes in using the birth control pill.
I know many other Baptists and Catholics who believe in and use birth control pills, Depo-Prevera shots, the bc patch, etc. But I also know lots of Catholics who do not believe in birth control at all - they think its murder. But I've never met (personally) any Baptists that believe this way.

I think its only the die-hard, devout, by-the-book Catholics or Baptists that believe this. So just because this one guy believes this way and preaches this way does not mean that ALL Baptists or Catholics believe this way. There are some non-idiot, non-bigot Baptists and Catholics in this world.

Michael M. said...

Absolutely Laurie. Not all Baptists are bigots ... and not all birth control users are murders.

However if I were a Baptist, I would be pretty freakin' upset that a guy operating under the same flag as me (Baptist theology) was spreading such a message of hate, bigotry and elitsm. In my research however, I have not seen any public rebuke of his comments from any major religious organization, Baptist or otherwise.

Any idea why that is, since so many Baptists don't really feel the same way as him?

Laurie Lozano said...

I don't know. It doesnt really bother me that he feels that way about it. Its a free country and he's entitled to his opinions, and so am I. He may think its murder and that's what he preaches. Some may agree with him, others may be weak enough to be convinced to agree with him. But I, and many others, do not agree. It doesnt get me "freakin' upset" just because that's his opinion. Its a free country. I have a mind of my own and I like to use it. He can preach all he wants on that topic and its not going to change what I think of it. I dont like to waste my energy getting upset over what other people think. To each his own. Life is too short to get worked up over what one person thinks. I'm an American. There are many other people who "operate under the same flag as me" who do not have the same opinions that I do. It doesnt get me "freakin' upset", otherwise I'd be freakin upset all the time. Its an opinion and everyone is entitled to their own in this country.

Michael M. said...

We know from simply reading up on the topic that he and others are doing so much more than just thinking differently or merely offering a differing opinion, Laurie.

And actually no, America isn't a "free country". It will only get worse too if folks like this continue to have their way without opposition.