Thursday, December 27, 2007

One Soul, One Vote

This is insane:

"Voting could endanger your soul, if you are Catholic and your political candidate supports or doesn't actively oppose abortion rights, some Catholics say.

A group planning a vigil Friday wants that sentence to read "your soul will be in danger" with an improper vote, and they want Archbishop of Santa Fe Michael J. Sheehan to make the "will" clear to the Catholics in his archdiocese."

And while the vigil under discussion will occur in Albuquerque, NM, other parts of the nation are not safe either:

"Catholics in other cities around the nation are having vigils, too, to persuade their local archbishops to take a stronger stance against politicians who support abortion rights, organizers say.

The vigils are sponsored by the Society for Truth and Justice, which is led by Randall Terry, the founder of Operation Rescue."

Okay. A few points here. Since there is no god, and there are no such things as souls, I'm pretty sure you can rest easy that you'll be okay if you vote for a pro-choice candidate. In fact, you should vote for a pro-choice candidate, since preventing a woman from obtaining an abortion is a denial of her right over her body - a right that keeps the government from taking your kidney and giving it to other people, or mandating that you donate blood, or insisting that you have a barcode implanted in your head for identification purposes. Any anti-choice candidate is intent on denying women a basic right. So even if there were a god, why wouldn't he be cool with women having the same rights as everyone else?

Of course, you may believe that your god does think that women have fewer rights then men, and that they should have to donate their bodies over to another being even if they don't want to (which, by the way, would seem to make rape an okay thing...hmm...). But what evidence do you have for this belief? The Bible? Well, the Bible really isn't evidence to begin with, but even if we were to consider it as such, the passages just aren't there to support the anti-choice position. In fact, Biblical law indicates that if a man caused a miscarriage in a woman, but causes no other harm to the woman herself, must pay a fine. If he had killed the woman, however, he would have to be executed (Exodus 21:22-23). So, termination of a pregnancy doesn't seem to be murder according to Biblical law; if it was, a man causing a miscarriage would face the same punishment for killing an unborn child and for killing a woman. So what other evidence might one put forward for this claim? The Pope's edict? Well, Popes have hardly agreed on this through the years. Because your pastor told you so? I've no reason to believe your pastor without knowing what evidence he has for his claim. Even if there was evidence that there was a god who thought abortion was evil, why on earth would he damn your soul for voting for someone who is pro-choice? What if (as is, in fact, the case) the anti-choice guys are all kooks? What kind of god is that? What about that whole "judge not lest ye be judged" bit? Doesn't that mean that you should just avoid having abortions and leave others to be judged by god for their "evil" deeds?

For those who don't believe, however, the big point to take away from this is that belief in god and religion aren't just problems when they manage to hop the wall between church and state. They're problems as long as they impact the decisions and attitudes that people take in other aspects of their lives. Faith in god is a belief that is without evidential support (that's why it's "faith"). But it seems that believers have a hard time stopping themselves there. They add to this belief in the deity beliefs about what the deity wants. And they have no evidence for those beliefs either. Fine. But then they base actions on those beliefs, actions that impact the lives of others. And that's a problem, even if the government isn't paying for it. I was asked recently why atheists spend so much of their time and energy talking about something they don't believe in. Vigils like this, and their consequences, are the reason why. Because even if separation of church and state is upheld, other people's irrational beliefs can and do have a serious impact on everyone else.

H/T Heretic54

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