Pharyngula

A name I’d like to see banished to oblivion is that of Paul Hill, the religious fanatic and murderer who gunned down Dr John Britton and James Barrett at an abortion clinic. I don’t care whether you are pro-choice or anti-woman, only the most wretched, insane god-walloper can possibly approve of assassinating health-care providers to protect fetuses. And there can’t be that many of them, can there? And they are going to face universal public censure, right? Cruelly, archy tells me otherwise.

Behold, Paul Hill Days.

A couple of deranged Christian organizations are planning to send their members to Milwaukee, Wisconsin at the end of July to thump about like a gang of gumbies, bellowing about what a good man Paul Hill was. God’s man. A hero. A martyr.

And to crown this exercise in lunacy and poor taste, they’re planning a reenactment of the murders.

I guess the Rev. Phelps and his merry band of haters aren’t quite as uniquely bizarre as I’d thought.


Ick — now the Rev. Donald Spitz has sent McKay a letter, blaming him and people like us for AIDS, rape, murder and robbery, and all kinds of such nastiness, because we don’t believe in Jeeezus. These people are crazy evil; I’m beginning to get a sinister vibe from just the title “Reverend” anymore.

Comments

  1. #1 clamboy
    June 18, 2007

    I suppose it would be wrong to load up the organizer’s e-mail inbox with (apparent)messages of solidarity from al Qaeda.

  2. #2 Kristine
    June 18, 2007

    If anything shows why atheists need to speak out and not be “nice,” this is it. There is no “getting along” with these people in terms of polite phrases and “respect for their beliefs.”

    For the love of all things rational, atheists are speaking, not shooting, and writing books, not raising guns!

    We are seeing nothing less than the rise of the Christian Taliban in America, but people would rather criticize atheists for being “strident.” Is it because these people are secretly afraid that the nutters, like these, will react as the crowds protesting the “Mohammed cartoons” did?

    It’s time for the “get-along” crowd to tell the truth about their motivations for letting this nation fall into the hands of fanatics while hair-splitting about atheists.

  3. #3 Ian
    June 18, 2007

    If we started a rumor on the internets that Paul Hill was gay, do you think we could get the rotting crypt keeper to show up and protest?

  4. #4 jba
    June 18, 2007

    wow, that actually makes me feel kinda sick. Seriously. Im going to have to remember this the next time someone tries to tell me there are no xian terrorists.

  5. #5 CalGeorge
    June 18, 2007

    “Reenactment of 7-29-1994”

    Sick.

  6. #6 Ed Darrell
    June 18, 2007

    I’m sending a copy of your post with a link to it, to list-servs and random preachers I have on my mail list. I will ask them to speak out against this macabre demonstration.

    It’ll be interesting to see whether any brickbats come our way from that, eh?

  7. #7 Pedro Tim๓teo
    June 18, 2007

    I don’t care whether you are pro-choice or anti-woman

    I very much like the term “pro-forced maternity”, thought up by the author of No More Hornets.

  8. #8 Pedro Tim๓teo
    June 18, 2007

    I don’t care whether you are pro-choice or anti-woman

    I very much like the term “pro-forced maternity”, thought up by the author of No More Hornets.

  9. #9 Fox1
    June 18, 2007

    Despite the condemnation of this behavior that may or may not come from more “mainstream” christian groups, I’m pretty sure these organizers can make a compelling case that what they’re doing is “right,” based on that (marvelously contradictory) old book of theirs. So, appeasers, as long as you actively or passively encourage the continuing validity of the dusty tome as a social or personal morality guide, this is your fault!

    Ok, that last bit was more hyperbolic than I’m usually comfortable with, but doesn’t it have some truth to it?

  10. #10 Cameron
    June 18, 2007

    So…how many of the Republican candidates are showing up for this event? Sounds tailor-made for Mitt “Dos Guantanamos” Romney, or Rudy, or Brownback, or Huckabee, or…well, all of them.

  11. #11 Jay Hovah
    June 18, 2007

    “Oh what a fiend we have in Jesus…”

    Will they be singing ‘Onward Christian Murderers’ at the rally?

    I can see the bumper stickers now…”I don’t brake for abortion doctors”, “Shoot an abortion doctor for Jesus”, and “WWJK?”

    What.a.bunch.of.nutters.

  12. #12 Janine
    June 18, 2007

    I find myself wondering, what is the line between celebrating and reenacting murders and actually carrying it out?

    They talked about the abortion providers they can protest. Are not these organizers a threat to the safety of the people at these centers?

  13. #13 Kat
    June 18, 2007

    Sickening.

    I’ve been offered a job in America. Not sure I want to move there. This kind of makes me even more sure I don’t.

  14. #14 Steve_C
    June 18, 2007

    Should they be called Christian Fundamentalist Anti-Life Terrorists?

    Christian Anti-Government Insurgents?

    Anti-Choice Extremists?

  15. #15 MikeM
    June 18, 2007

    I’m sure they all got in a room together to pray, so they could make sure this was the right thing to do.

    I want nothing to do with the diety who answered that question in the affirmative.

  16. #16 Bryson Brown
    June 18, 2007

    This sounds like incitement to murder– something tells me that’s illegal, not that the Bush DOJ is likely to take action against some of their core supporters…

  17. #17 LeeLeeOne
    June 18, 2007

    Thanks PZ, articles like this do wonders for a person’s diet – totally lost my appetite now.

    And people wonder WHY there are anti-theists?

    Pro-choice for decades and proud of it,
    Good day……

  18. #18 coz
    June 18, 2007

    Gag me with a spoon.
    Is it horribly arrogant of me to consider a large number of the population to be brain damaged in some way? Because I can’t think of any other reason for this.

    #12 Kat- I moved to the US- Arizona from Australia 5 months ago. I was a bit worried about it all, but so far I’m loving it. Haven’t run into any loonies yet…not sure if I’m happy or not about that :). Depends where you go but give it a shot if you can.

  19. #19 justawriter
    June 18, 2007
    I don’t care whether you are pro-choice or anti-woman

    I very much like the term “pro-forced maternity”, thought up by the author of No More Hornets.

    I call’em rapist’s rights groups because some of them are apparently convinced a rapist’s sperm is more important than his victim’s life.

  20. #20 NC Paul
    June 18, 2007

    Another example of the tolerance of religion:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/pakistan/Story/0,,2105748,00.html

    You’ve got to love this reasoning:

    “Pakistan’s minister for parliamentary affairs, Sher Afgan Khan Niazi, who proposed the resolution condemning the honour, branded Rushdie a “blasphemer”. She told MPs: “The ‘sir’ title from Britain for blasphemer Salman Rushdie has hurt the sentiments of the Muslims across the world. Every religion should be respected. I demand the British government immediately withdraw the title as it is creating religious hatred.””

    So there you have it – rewarding free expression creates religious hatred (I would have said that religion creates religious hatred) and respecting religion means keeping your blaspheming yap shut.

  21. #21 Dustin
    June 18, 2007

    This is the same religious tradition that canonized Cyril of Alexandria — the guy who was probably a little more than partially responsible for the burning of the Library of Alexandria, the murder of Hypatia of Alexandria, and the general climate of persecution that forced pretty much everyone but the Christians out of the city.

  22. #22 Dustin
    June 18, 2007

    I call’em rapist’s rights groups because some of them are apparently convinced a rapist’s sperm is more important than his victim’s life.

    Brilliant. I’m going to start using it.

  23. #23 Pete
    June 18, 2007

    If you think about it, the guys who support the murder of abortion providers are being consistent. These nutcases are the only ones who actually believe abortion is murder – since their actions mirror their words. All the anti-choice folks who spout “abortion is murder” rhetoric should be asked why they too are not devoting every last minute of their life to this. The answer is that they are just saying what their pastor or their book tells them to say and they aren’t thinking.

  24. #24 Dan
    June 18, 2007

    Why Milwaukee?
    Why not?

    There goes the damn neighborhood. Fortunately, since it is Milwaukee, I really don’t see this thing getting off the ground, and I think poor George up there in the Conservative Fox Valley will be surprised. In fact, I think he’s just spoiling for a fight.

    Oh well… Perhaps I’ll put myself down for “host housing” and set all the clocks back to the time of the Enlightenment.

  25. #25 Blitzgal
    June 18, 2007

    And yet another incident that makes my home state look like backwards jackasses. I checked out their website–they note that there are only two active clinics in Milwaukee. That was very surprising to me, because Milwaukee is a fairly urban area as this state goes. Women in Wisconsin have two options…go to Milwaukee or go to Madison. There’s a whole lotta state further north of those two cities where women have no options at all. Archy is right; what people like Paul Hill do is terrorism and they should be charged as such.

  26. #26 mikmik
    June 18, 2007

    Pardon my language, but did you check out the fucking link list at the bottom of the Paul Hill Memorial Tour page?!
    – – –
    Anti-Abortion Extremists:
    Army of God | Prisoners of Christ | Eric Rudolph | Clayton Waagner

    – – – –

    Aren’t there anti-hate laws, or incitement to violence, or something? Man, this is scary shit. Actually, don’t these pass for terrorist organizations?

  27. #27 notthedroids
    June 18, 2007

    For nomenclature, can we please go with the more neutral (and accurate):
    Pro-abortion-rights
    Anti-abortion-rights

    And may Paul Hill Days languish with low attendance and zero press.

  28. #28 uncle frogy
    June 18, 2007

    These kinds of people and sentiments are exactly what I fear. All extremist groups, philosophies, religions or political have there adherents to the notion that because we are correct anything we do in furtherance of our cause or belief is OK, murder, torture, gas chambers, Gulogs, extraordinary rendition, Inquisitions, Fataws, stoning, or re-educations camps and imprisonment it is our sacred duty for the Betterment of the world that we do these things.

    Regardless of the current administrations stand on the issue of abortion I would be pretty sure the DPHS and the FBI will also be there with cameras and agents some in uniform and some not. The “police” are pretty universal in their desire to be the only ones with the guns!

  29. #29 Molly, NYC
    June 18, 2007

    Not to take the wind out of your sails, PZ, but you aren’t responsible for the increasing contempt in which organized religion is held by thinking people. Cr@p like this pushes it along far more effectively than you ever could.

    Still, you know who they’ll blame.

  30. #30 Carlie
    June 18, 2007

    Pro-choice is more expansive than simply abortion, though – it’s also pro-birth control, pro-sex education, and pro-make whatever choice you want, because it’s your choice. That’s what’s lost by calling it pro-abortion rights; the other side uses that to claim that we want everyone to have sex and abortions. No, please be abstinent if you want. Please don’t have an abortion if you don’t want one. It’s your choice.

    Also, the anti groups are veering further and further into the “no sex ed” and “no birth control” policy points, which of course would actually raise the rate of women who might then feel the need abortion services.

    Pro-reproductive rights and anti-reproductive rights would be more accurate.

  31. #31 Carlie
    June 18, 2007

    Ah, in fact Jeff Fecke has a post up at Shakesville about that very thing right now:
    Being pro choice when you think the choice is wrong

  32. #32 Brownian
    June 18, 2007

    “If we started a rumor on the internets that Paul Hill was gay, do you think we could get the rotting crypt keeper to show up and protest?”

    Wasn’t the bible written in a similar fashion?

  33. #33 Aaron
    June 18, 2007

    kat: Take it from a USian: please, for your own sake, stay the hell out of this country. I don’t know exactly what all is going on here right now, except that it’s almost uniformly bad and looks like getting worse in the kind of way that leads a country to eat its own citizens. I worry about my friends who’re non-citizen legal residents; I think you’d do well to stay clear.

    notthedroids: For nomenclature, can we please go with the more neutral (and accurate)

    No and no. No to the question of whether we can use it: can you give me one even slightly compelling reason why we should seek neutrality on the question of whether women deserve the same right of self-determination which men enjoy by default?

    (Or, if you can’t be bothered to care about women, try it this way around: can you give me one even slightly compelling reason why we should seek neutrality on the question of whether religious fanatics will be permitted to make policy decisions for the federal government?)

    And, no, your terms are not more accurate, either; those whom you would grant the benefit of the utterly bloodless term ‘anti-abortion-rights’ are, in fact, crusaders against the rights of women. Consider, for a start, the inconsistency between their claimed belief and their actions: if they actually believed abortion was murder, they’d be looking to prosecute and murder women who have abortions, not just the doctors who perform them. Then, for a handy tabular breakdown of the major inconsistencies and their obvious implications, see Alas, a Blog.

  34. #34 John McKay
    June 18, 2007

    Rev. Donald Spitz, one of the sponsors of the “Paul Hill Days” stunt and the webmaster for the Army of God domestic terrorist group, just wrote me to say that people like us (you and me, not me and him) are the cause of kids getting AIDS and that we need to accept Jesus into our hearts (which, I guess, leads to an automatic pardon for killing all of those kids).

    I don’t have as much experience as you do at dealing with veiled threatening letters. What do you do with these things besides expose them to the light of day?

  35. #35 PZ Myers
    June 18, 2007

    Sunlight is a great disinfectant. Publish it far and wide, with Spitz’s name prominently displayed.

  36. #36 Kseniya
    June 18, 2007

    “Actually, don’t these pass for terrorist organizations?”

    No no no no no. That distinction is reserved for Planned Parenthood and the NEA. (With a shout-out and negaprops to Karen Hughes and Rod Paige!)

  37. #37 Janine
    June 18, 2007

    19

    Another example of the tolerance of religion:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/pakistan/Story/0,,2105748,00.html

    You’ve got to love this reasoning:

    “Pakistan’s minister for parliamentary affairs, Sher Afgan Khan Niazi, who proposed the resolution condemning the honour, branded Rushdie a “blasphemer”. She told MPs: “The ‘sir’ title from Britain for blasphemer Salman Rushdie has hurt the sentiments of the Muslims across the world. Every religion should be respected. I demand the British government immediately withdraw the title as it is creating religious hatred.””

    So there you have it – rewarding free expression creates religious hatred (I would have said that religion creates religious hatred) and respecting religion means keeping your blaspheming yap shut.

    Posted by: NC Paul | June 18, 2007 12:29 PM

    This is just lovely. Take this to the logical extreme, all of us are suppose to respect every religion. Except this just blows up all too easily. Just set ‘one true religion’ up against an other ‘one true religion’ and watch the sparks fly. They do not need we trouble making atheist for that.

  38. #38 catofmanyfaces
    June 18, 2007

    Oh frack! that’s where i live! NOOOO!!!!!

    Whelp, time to mobalise some people i know… this is going to be VERY interesting.

  39. #39 khan
    June 18, 2007

    Will the Vatican be sending a representative?

  40. #40 Kristine
    June 18, 2007

    God aborts more living people.

    It’s okay if He does it.

  41. #41 Duff
    June 18, 2007

    I have a good friend who had a friend (male) who for years was a sexual partner of Paul Hill. When Hill was arrested, he told my friend Hill would have a wonderful time in Jail with all those men. He also said Hill and his friend looked at child porn before they had sex. Hill admitted he had had sex with numerous little boys. He also said Hill cheated on his taxes and stole from the church. I have no personal knowledge of Hill, but my friend’s friend, dying of AIDS, had no reason to lie to him. I’m sure it must be true.
    (How was that?)

  42. #42 Aaron
    June 18, 2007

    Not enough links, Duff. Google won’t pay it much attention.

    (Wait, you are lying, right? I mean, with all the Ted Haggard and Mark Foley and Ted Klaudt and this and that and the other, it wouldn’t be at all a surprise to hear that Paul Hill looked at kiddie porn and had sex with little boys.)

  43. #43 Aaron
    June 18, 2007

    Speaking of raping children, it may interest you all to know that John Burt, a close friend of both Paul Hill and Michael Griffin, was accused in 2003 of molesting a number of children at the “troubled girls” shelter he and his wife ran; it appears (in Google results) he was convicted of at least one charge, but I can’t find a cite for that.

    Sure, you could argue that I’m engaging in arrant guilt by association, and that just because Paul Hill was long-time friends with a child molester — a child molester who apparently helped inspire Hill to murder — doesn’t make him any more likely to be one than it would anyone else.

    But it doesn’t exactly shed a warm and forgiving light on the guy’s memory, does it now?

  44. #44 Rich
    June 18, 2007

    I very rarely get angry at things that I read via the internet. This has gotten me furious. I won’t post anything else because it’s just not a good idea for me right now.

  45. #45 Reverend M
    June 18, 2007

    Seeing how 2 of this wingnut’s planned activities include:

    “Activities at our two remaining killing centers”

    and

    “Reenactment of 7-29-1994”

    I consider this an declaration of planned murders, so I forwarded the wingnut’s website to the FBI, which will probably get me investigated for stirring up the sh*tpot that is our current “government.” Oh, well,

  46. #46 Brownian
    June 18, 2007

    Good for you for publishing the letter, John.

    From the Publishers Weekly blurb on Amazon about The Dawkins Delusion?:

    “The book works partly because they are so much more gracious to Dawkins than Dawkins is to believers”

    After reading about Paul Hill Day, I have to say boo-fucking-hoo to all the religious people out there who feel ‘persecuted’ because Dawkins, Hitchins and Harris refuse to pay hypocritical lip service to their little fantasies.

  47. #47 Kseniya
    June 18, 2007

    So… Why haven’t they canonized John Salvi? Because he only managed to kill two receptionists instead of actual doctors or nurses?

    Kat: The USA has it’s problems, but there are worse placed to live. And within the USA, which is a pretty big country, there’s a big difference between a place like Boston and a place like… errm… Bill Napoli’s district?

    Location, location, location.

    Come to the USA, confident in the knowledge that you’re making it a (slightly) better place. ๐Ÿ™‚

  48. #48 George
    June 18, 2007

    I’m just as appalled by this as anyone, but we still have to watch out for developing an “us-versus-them” mentality. This is exactly what drives the religious wackos — continually fueling their own fires by going out and looking for extreme beliefs opposite to theirs, and then painting the whole opposition with that brush.

    I sometimes have to take a break from this blog because I get so mad at religious people that I start contemplating unethical actions. But that’s how we got to Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.

    The thing to remember is that the mainstream American public (that I have interacted with) is relatively sane, if only a little lazy.

  49. #49 Aaron
    June 18, 2007

    Kseniya: Sure, there are worse places to live. That I would rather live in the United States than in, say, Bangladesh, does not mean I would recommend that someone already living in another developed country move to the United States.

    I suppose it’s a comfort that the Paul Hill fanciers are quite possibly some of the stupidest people on God’s green earth, in addition to taking festival honors in the hypocrisy category — from the Army of God Manual: Our Most Dread Sovereign Lord God requires that whosoever sheds man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed.

    I mean, they don’t really equivocate, do they? Whosoever sheds man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed. By that standard, Paul Hill’s execution ought to bother them not a whit.

    And how can they fail to notice that this belief of theirs, which they use to excuse murdering abortion providers, also gives anybody on the planet just as much excuse to kill them?

    So are they hypocrites, or are they just dismally stupid? (Or both?)

  50. #50 Aaron
    June 18, 2007

    (I’ll add, for the benefit of whatever law enforcement might be eyeballing this conversation, that my previous comment should not in any way be taken as an endorsement of anyone killing anyone else, be it malevolent lunatics murdering doctors, or being murdered by other malevolent lunatics. I merely seek to point out the inherent contradiction in the beliefs they swear up and down to hold, and the hypocrisy which follows from attempting to actually live out such an incomprehensible morass of ideology.)

  51. #51 notthedroids
    June 18, 2007

    “Pro-choice is more expansive than simply abortion, though – it’s also pro-birth control, pro-sex education, and pro-make whatever choice you want, because it’s your choice.”

    Actually, I’ve always taken the phrase “pro-choice” to be synonomous with pro-abortion-rights, irrespective of one’s views on sex ed, so we disagree on its meaning. Better to use unambiguous language.

    Aaron’s hysterical response is boilerplate and utterly predictable.

  52. #52 Brendan S
    June 18, 2007

    >> I guess the Rev. Phelps and his merry band of haters aren’t quite as uniquely bizarre as I’d thought.

    I think that Rev. P and his gang don’t believe a word of what they preach. I think they specifically choose to do things where people will violate their rights to protest, so that they can, in turn, sue whoever does this for lots of money. I really do thing he’s goading people into trying to stop him so he can sue them. And he knows that religion is especially protected, so he uses that in his favor.

    Not that I think this is the way any person should act. Just something to think about.

  53. #53 Kseniya
    June 18, 2007

    Sure, there are worse places to live. That I would rather live in the United States than in, say, Bangladesh, does not mean I would recommend that someone already living in another developed country move to the United States.

    Oh, hush. I’m trying to lure her. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Seriously, though: Define “developed.” Poland is developed is it not? As is Belarus? And Russia? And the People’s Republic of China? Would you rather live in one of those countries than in the USA nowadays? Would you advise a resident of one of those countries to stay there rather than to emigrate to the USA?

    There’s more to the “developed” world than Norway and New Zealand, and we don’t even know where Kat lives. So how can we offer informed advice as to the relative merits of the USA as opposed to her current country of residence?

    Anyway, it’s Kat’s choice and decision (obviously) but I wanted to point out that the USA is a large and diverse nation, and that quite a bit more to it than the likes of The Army of God – which, though deeply disturbing in their own right, surely represent an extremely small minority of US citizens.

  54. #54 Bill Dauphin
    June 18, 2007

    Hmmm… I’ve been successfully posting comments in other threads all day, but this one keeps spitting up my comments. This is a test to see if it’s something about the content of what I’m trying to post, or if it’s just me.

  55. #55 Aaron
    June 18, 2007

    notthedroids: “Aaron’s hysterical response is boilerplate and utterly predictable.”

    Thank you. Would you care to raise any actual arguments contrary to what I said, or simply to go on dismissing my arguments without bothering to engage? And what does my putative uterus have to do with anything?

  56. #56 notthedroids
    June 18, 2007

    “I think that Rev. P and his gang don’t believe a word of what they preach. I think they specifically choose to do things where people will violate their rights to protest, so that they can, in turn, sue whoever does this for lots of money.”

    I’ve seen/heard a number of these folks being interviewed and disagree.

    I view the virulently anti-abortion crowd in the same light as the neo-Nazi/skinhead types; basically poor, poorly educated, disenfranchised people who mischannel their anger.

  57. #57 Dan
    June 18, 2007

    (I’ll add, for the benefit of whatever law enforcement might be eyeballing this conversation, that my previous comment should not in any way be taken as an endorsement of anyone killing anyone else, be it malevolent lunatics murdering doctors, or being murdered by other malevolent lunatics….)

    Fuck ’em. They’re terrorists, and as Emperor George says: “Our war on terror begins with al-Qaida, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped, and defeated.”

  58. #58 Bill Dauphin
    June 18, 2007

    OK, since I’m obviously not banned from this thread, I’ll try one more time…

    Nope, didn’t work. I can’t think of anything in what I’m trying to post that should trip a filter, but I guess I’ll just have to give up.

  59. #59 notthedroids
    June 18, 2007

    “And what does my putative uterus have to do with anything?”

    Looks like someone was paying attention during Women’s Studies 10!

  60. #60 phat
    June 18, 2007

    There will be condemnations from the usual “mainline” christian leadership. Most of these condemnations will be particularly empty.

    The mainline churches will condemn and condemn all the time. But the problem will be they won’t be able to call these people unchristian. That would imply apostasy. Mainline churches can’t accuse other of being apostates. That would be illiberal.

    I think also they realize that any revealed belief system can’t be accused of apostosy because it’s revealed. This is how “liberal” chrisianity legitimizes the absolute nutballs. Any acceptance of revealed truth legitimizes all other revealed truths.

    phat

  61. #61 IanR
    June 18, 2007

    This is terrorism and the celebration of terrorism, pure and simple. These people should be treated the same way as al Qaeda sympathisers…not that I agree with holding anyone without trial, mind you.

    I’m not certain that calling them “Christian terrorists” is the most effecting way to phrase it. Sure, there’s satisfaction in doing so, but is it the most effective way to communicate? I would think that the most effective language would be language which separates them from as much of the mainstream of possible…the more you stress the “Christianity”, the harder it is to isolate them from your average ant-abortion/anti-women religious nut. While the people who protest outside clinics are doing something despicable, most of them wouldn’t support terrorism (or murder). There’s a continuum here, and the further along you draw the line, the better. If we could get someone like Brownback to condemn these terrorists (fat chance, I realise) it wouldn’t make him a good person, but it might open a few eyes that are currently caught up in hysteria.

    It’s nice to feel vindicated, but it’s even better to feel effective, IMO.

  62. #62 dogmeatib
    June 18, 2007

    Why the hell?!?! What the fuck did Milwaukee do to deserve hosting this bullshit? Pardon my language, I almost never resort to vulgarity, but this has me pissed off to no end. I lived in Milwaukee for 30 years, grew up there. With the exception of Madison it is the most liberal city in the state (Madison tends to make California look conservative). Milwaukee has voted consistently Democrat for decades, has had Democratic mayors for decades, and in the past elected socialist mayors and representatives. The city is not wing-nut friendly.

    When I looked at the website for these freaks I figured it out. They sponsors aren’t from Milwaukee, the phone is a 920 area code (50-60 miles from Milwakee at its closest), they’re just punishing Milwaukee for being the international airport hub and having convention facilities.

    On a more pleasant note:

    Coz,

    My wife and I moved to Arizona almost three years ago. Most of the people you run in to don’t get in to the political/religious garbage much, unless there is a reason. But I have had parents of students come to open house looking forward to their kids learning in Government about how the Constitution is based on the bible and how this is a Christian country, etc. I just tell them it should be a challenging and interesting year, they should enjoy it, and leave it at that.

  63. #63 Aaron
    June 18, 2007

    Kseniya:

    Seriously, though: Define “developed.” Poland is developed is it not? As is Belarus? And Russia? And the People’s Republic of China? Would you rather live in one of those countries than in the USA nowadays? Would you advise a resident of one of those countries to stay there rather than to emigrate to the USA?

    That’s a fair point; had I given it more thought, I’d likely have chosen a word or phrase other than ‘developed’.
    (Unfortunately, I’m not quite sure, yet, what that word or phrase would be.)

    …how can we offer informed advice as to the relative merits of the USA as opposed to her current country of residence?

    Without knowing kat’s country of current residence, I agree that we can’t. That wasn’t what I was originally trying to do, though.

    And I don’t disagree that there’s a lot more to this country than the Army of God. They’re actually not quite even what I was talking about when I said to stay away. I think we’ve got quite enough problems, without taking malevolent religious lunatics into account, to give pause to anyone considering entering the US and trying to make a life here.

    I don’t think that even now we’ve got to a point where things just can’t be fixed, but we certainly have got to a point where, if you don’t happen to be an American citizen and maybe even if you do, you can be swept up off the street and indefinitely disappeared, on the unexamined and, up til very recently, inarguable, whim of a mid-level government employee. Does that sound like the kind of nation into which you feel sanguine inviting someone?

  64. #64 Aaron
    June 18, 2007

    notthedroids: “Looks like someone was paying attention during Women’s Studies 10!”

    Oh, yeah, and here comes the bit about how I’m just a humorless and bitter radfem who loathes men whether they deserve it or not, am I right?

    Seriously, though, are you going to actually try to argue that I’m wrong at some point, or just keep up with the clever commentary? I mean, I’m good either way, I’m just asking.

  65. #65 Kevin
    June 18, 2007

    So you have these nuts who celebrate terrorism by re-enacting an act of murder, and yet the US government considers Environmental activists to be the second most serious threat after Muslim Terrorists?

    Who wants to be that there is another abortion killing before one of the animal nuts ever kills anyone? Any takers? And when it does happen again (and with days like this, I can’t imagine it will be far off), how much do you want to bet that it will be largely ignored, and the religious reasons completely glossed over?

  66. #66 Stephen Wells
    June 18, 2007

    Kat: I’ve been living and working in Arizona for the past few years and I’m about to move back to the UK. I’ve liked the people that I’ve met here (probably because the people are meet are either academics or ballroom dancers) but it’s been a bad few years watching the politics here; also we have to pay a fortune for basic health coverage.

    A little while ago I saw a letter in the local paper, explaining how the abolition of habeas corpus was perfectly OK because it didn’t affect US nationals. US scientific academia would collapse in a second if it couldn’t recruit from overseas- probably because the schools here are turning out students who think evolution is controversial. I certainly felt my motivation to stay here drop sharply when I realised that the government here can apparently have me disappeared if they want to.

  67. #67 Margaret
    June 18, 2007

    The Arlington National Cemetary website (http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/jbarrett.htm) says:

    On the eve of what would have been his 75th birthday, abortion clinic escort James H. Barrett was buried with military honors Monday. … Barrett’s widow, June Barrett, who was shot in the arm, received the American flag folded by Barrett’s military pallbearers after a bugler blew taps. …

    Yes. Paul Hill is indeed a fine American “hero.”

  68. #68 Stranger Jane
    June 18, 2007

    To #24

    Actually, I think women in Wisconsin’s options are go to Milwaukee or go to Milwaukee.

    I live in Madison and have an ultra conservative mother. I don’t remember hearing about a clinic in Madison anymore.

  69. #69 Dahan
    June 18, 2007

    Sure makes you wish that Paul Hill’s mom would have had an abortion…

  70. #70 Mooser
    June 18, 2007

    I dreamed I saw Paul Hill last night,
    Alive as you or me…

  71. #71 Carlie
    June 18, 2007

    I would say that claiming there will be a “reenactment” is grounds to be arrested on death threat charges. Does anyone know if it’s an actual group, or just one guy with a website?

    Actually, I’ve always taken the phrase “pro-choice” to be synonomous with pro-abortion-rights, irrespective of one’s views on sex ed, so we disagree on its meaning. Better to use unambiguous language.

    It’s always been wrapped up in one package of deciding when to reproduce (check out all the services Planned Parenthood has to offer, for instance) but the emphasis has been different in different years depending on what was the most threatened at the time. Abortion rights have been the most under attack in the last several years, so got the most press (and was the easiest to caricature and attack from the other side – they want to kill babeez!) More recently the contraception side has begun to swing into the forefront again, what with pharmacists deciding to refuse to dispense it and states backing them up on that.

  72. #72 notthedroids
    June 18, 2007

    “Seriously, though, are you going to actually try to argue that I’m wrong at some point, or just keep up with the clever commentary?”

    There’s not much to argue against, as it’s just ideological spew: “those whom you would grant the benefit of the utterly bloodless term ‘anti-abortion-rights’ are, in fact, crusaders against the rights of women”, “whether women deserve the same right of self-determination which men enjoy by default” (blissfully ignoring paternity law), etc etc.

    I’m simply asking for less euphemism (“pro-choice”, “pro-life”, “anti-woman”, “anti-family”, etc) and more precision.

    Whenever a large-scale poll on abortion is published, it becomes clear that there is far more variety in people’s views on abortion than is granted by the ideologues on either side.
    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/01/22/opinion/polls/main537570.shtml
    In light of that, more precision and less sloganeering is needed when discussing these matters.

  73. #73 Kseniya
    June 18, 2007

    Aaron: Points taken, I don’t disagree. I think I know what you meant by “developed” – sorta like, “our peer nations” which are Western European, mostly.

    Bill: Check your rejected post for questionable strings embedded in longer words. I was unable to post a link to a piece by Neil Degrasse Tyson because the string “ass” in “Degrasse” informed the filter that it might be a possible link to a porn site. (Sheesh.) Then there was the time, on another site, that I couldn’t post “treatment plan” because of the “eatme” in “treatment” … LOL.

    So do a little decrypting of your own post. You’ll find something humorously innocuous in there, I’ll bet. ๐Ÿ™‚

  74. #74 Kseniya
    June 18, 2007

    I am assuming the “reenactment” is more akin to the reeactments put on by history buffs in place slik Gettysburg, Lexington and Concord. Surely that is more likely than the world-wide broadcasting of homicidal premeditation and intent.

  75. #75 Kristine
    June 18, 2007

    I sometimes have to take a break from this blog because I get so mad at religious people that I start contemplating unethical actions. But that’s how we got to Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.

    Exactly. But I don’t go that far, George. I do imagine getting a hold of the medical records of these holier-than-thou nutjobs and exposing which anti-abortion activists have had abortions (and I’m not talking about the distance past, but during their activism).

    In a conversation with a nurse who worked at a birth control clinic, she assured me that this happens a lot more than one would expect. Then they go back out and picket and protest some more, even at the same clinic! I still cannot believe it (but I believe her).

  76. #76 cosimovecchio
    June 18, 2007

    Words of wisdom from the late Bill Hicks:
    I, ah…this abortion issue in the States is dividing the country right in half. You know, and even amongst my friends – we’re all highly intelligent – they’re totally divided on the issue of abortion. Totally divided. Some of my friends think these pro-life people are just annoying idiots. Other of my friends think these pro-life people are evil fucks. How are we gonna have a consensus? I’m torn. I try and take the broad view and think of them as evil, annoying fucks.

  77. #77 Stogoe
    June 18, 2007

    notthedroids, I suggest you go and actually read his link (reproduced here for your convenience). It should clear this whole thing up. And if not, well, I dunno.

  78. #78 David Marjanovi?
    June 18, 2007

    I suppose it would be wrong to load up the organizer’s e-mail inbox with (apparent)messages of solidarity from al Qaeda.

    Something tells me they are not going to sue you for copyright infringement or anything.

    Though I think someone should file a suit for death threats and terrorism.

    I think that Rev. P and his gang don’t believe a word of what they preach. I think they specifically choose to do things where people will violate their rights to protest, so that they can, in turn, sue whoever does this for lots of money. I really do thing he’s goading people into trying to stop him so he can sue them. And he knows that religion is especially protected, so he uses that in his favor.

    I’ve never thought of it, but that sounds very convincing. After all:

    Make money.
    Make more money.
    — L. Ron Hubbard

  79. #79 David Marjanovi?
    June 18, 2007

    I suppose it would be wrong to load up the organizer’s e-mail inbox with (apparent)messages of solidarity from al Qaeda.

    Something tells me they are not going to sue you for copyright infringement or anything.

    Though I think someone should file a suit for death threats and terrorism.

    I think that Rev. P and his gang don’t believe a word of what they preach. I think they specifically choose to do things where people will violate their rights to protest, so that they can, in turn, sue whoever does this for lots of money. I really do thing he’s goading people into trying to stop him so he can sue them. And he knows that religion is especially protected, so he uses that in his favor.

    I’ve never thought of it, but that sounds very convincing. After all:

    Make money.
    Make more money.
    — L. Ron Hubbard

  80. #80 Sailorman
    June 18, 2007

    Kat. Do yourself a favor and pick another country. There’s nothing here for an intelligent, civilized, progressive person but despair and anxiety. Personally, I would do almost anything to be able to leave and finish out my days in a country that doesn’t remind me so much of a blind, aging beauty queen with a bad case of leprosy and no one with the guts to tell her she’s becoming a rotting corpse.

    I would even be willing to emigrate to a “third world” country, even if it meant foregoing many of the creature comforts that supposedly make the U.S. a “developed” nation. But I have neither high demand skills or a big chunk of cash. I’m single though. If anyone knows a really desperate, ugly, toothless Canadian woman……. That, and a couple years of studying French, might help.

    Meanwhile, I’m trapped.

    Perhaps when things get bad enough, Venezuela or Nicaragua or someplace will grant political refugee status to Americans and I can ready my raft.

  81. #81 notthedroids
    June 18, 2007

    “notthedroids, I suggest you go and actually read his link (reproduced here for your convenience). It should clear this whole thing up. And if not, well, I dunno.”

    It’s hardly relevant to Aaron’s cookie-cutter rants. And wrt the link itself, there’s no persuasive argument that even a majority of people who want to restrict abortion rights believe (or claim) that abortion is equivalent to murder. In other words, a convenient strawman argument.

  82. #82 raven
    June 18, 2007

    Well, this is terrorism plain and simple. Don’t hesitate to lump these guys in with the Taliban and Al Qaeda and any other religious nuts with a gun and an IED.

    And really, most sensible people will be repulsed by cold blooded murderers, no matter what their reasons. It is good PR for the rest of us.

    FWIW, there is a backlash in this country against fundie cultists. With one of them in the white house, things have been on a bit of a downslide. At least some of those associates of the 3500 soldiers killed, 40,000 maimed in Iraq are a little upset about losing their friends and kids. Plus all the other nonsense like the attempt to overthrow the US government and head on back to the dark ages. Exposed to the light of day, it isn’t a popular agenda.

  83. #83 Wally Whateley
    June 18, 2007

    I think that Rev. P and his gang don’t believe a word of what they preach. I think they specifically choose to do things where people will violate their rights to protest, so that they can, in turn, sue whoever does this for lots of money. I really do thing he’s goading people into trying to stop him so he can sue them. And he knows that religion is especially protected, so he uses that in his favor.

    I think Fred’s primary motive is simple sadism. You read enough of his background, and it’s pretty clear he’s a pretty monstrous sadist. He used to savagely beat his kids until they got too big to reliably whallop, then he started in on his anti-gay crusade. For him, it’s all about spreading maximum pain.

    The kids may believe it. I get the feeling those left in his congregation have been trained to believe anything he tells them.

    As for Fred goading people to attack him, it doesn’t seem like a smart strategy. The “fighting words” doctrine is pretty well established.

  84. #84 Bob
    June 18, 2007

    Hi there. I just stumbled upon this blog and thought I might be able to add something to this conversation while understanding that I’ll probably be categorized as one of the people you’ve deemed a nutjob, or whatever vulgar term comes to mind.

    I am a Christian. I believe that abortion is immoral and goes against what God’s plan is for us.

    I also believe that a woman who has an abortion is not and should not be castigated or ostricised from the church.

    I also believe that Paul Hill did a terrible thing and in no way should the Christian community be deifying this person, and I would argue that we’re not.

    As with any large cultural group there are fringe players that when they show their ugly faces they end up giving the whole group an ugly stain. The groups that are promoting this reenactment thing should hear from the mainstream Christian leaders and laypeople.

    PZ – In your original post you do say that it can only be “the most wretched, insane god-walloper” who would attend something like this and I totally agree. I will be sending an email to him and his organization, which I would guess is made up of him and his immediate family.

    Please do not to judge all of us because of some of the fringe people who inaccurately call themselves by the same name.

  85. #85 Chinchillazilla
    June 18, 2007

    Our prisons are filled with people, like you, who reject Jesus Christ.

    That’s odd. My mom’s a lawyer, and every time I’ve been to the jail with her I’ve noticed prominently-displayed drawings of Jesus. Not the offensive kind of drawings. The worshipful kind.

    In fact, I think that Christianity in jail is so widespread it’s become something of a joke.

  86. #86 charley
    June 18, 2007

    What’s stopping these sick bastards from following in Paul Hill’s footsteps instead of wasting time on a memorial and re-enactment? I guess their one redeeming quality is their cowardice.

  87. #87 phat
    June 18, 2007

    Bob, with all due respect, the problem is that the mainline churches’ very existence helps legitimize those on the fringe.

    I’ll ask a couple simple questions. What gives you the right to call them fringe? How is your version of this revealed christian religion more legitimate than these people?

    Show me your evidence.

    phat

  88. #88 snaxalotl
    June 18, 2007

    isn’t anyone curious enough to take up the offer to be hosted by terrorism-loving christians? the idea has an awful thrill to it, like standing on a cliff and feeling drawn downward

  89. #89 Bob
    June 19, 2007

    Phat,

    Good questions, and fair. The answers to your questions however will not be relevant to many on this board because they are found in a book that most here have deemed a lie, collection of stories, a man-made hoax, or something non-authoritative.

    I believe that the Bible is the source of all authority and it has major significance in my life and it also gives me the understanding and wisdom I need to make a claim such as these people who are honoring Paul Hill are kooks and do not represent Christ or his true followers.

    I wrote an email to these people stating that they have construed and twisted scripture to their liking, just like Satan did with Jesus during the temptation in the wilderness.

    I could tell you much more about what I believe, but I don’t think that is relevant to this discussion. What is relevant is that many of the people discussing this subject seem to be rabid anti-christian and are willing to use any delusional whack-job who calls himself a Christian to blanket the entire group. I read most of these comments and it just seems like a lot of blood lust towards people whom you have judged by a small sample.

    I also think it is ironic that you want me to show you evidence to support my opinions while the majority of the postings here have been all opinions and blanket statements with no citation or evidence. Why the different standard?

    If you would like me to answer more in depth, I would be happy to. I do not want to be accused of not answering your questions. I think there is a major worldview difference that makes answering your questions useless unless you would like to give me some latitude and accept (or pretend) for a moment that the Bible is what I claim it is.

  90. #90 Crudely Wrott
    June 19, 2007

    Heroes are frequently invoked in times of duress or when there is a lack of consensus concerning historical “anchors.” For example, who are we, anyhow and how did we get here? Normally, I say from my own limited experience, when people are emulating values that have shown lasting acceptance; that is, become part of the culture/smulture/how’s things in your neighborhood? people tend to pattern their heroes after historical notables who are so noted for having things named after them. Most all of these names are recognized and accepted to some functional degree by lots of people. That is, lots of people can tell you about the heroes and why they are considered such. Lots of people.

    But when they are emulating irrational, fatalistic, fanatical beliefs that include the notion that anyone who disagrees will pay dearly, some people tend to choose as their champions those who have laid open the lie to their cosmetic benevolence by resorting to force, applying surreptitiously the same chains that they exhort the faithful to shed. Not many people make camp in this dry, dusty territory, but they are loud, aren’t they?

    So by raising up Hill as sweet smoke to the nostrils of God they are equivalent to a homicide (not suicide cause he doesn’t die, see?) bomber or a simple fool who thinks he can use force against someone without being found out. Most human politics are simple. The first law is so old neither you or I can remember learning it; we’ve always known it – “Don’t take what isn’t yours. Learn what is yours and what is not yours and respect the difference. You will learn this respect when something that is yours is taken, one hopes. Class dismissed.”

    What Hill and the others took was not theirs to take. Any honor attributed to them is in error. They would take again if allowed. Keep them in small rooms.

  91. #91 phat
    June 19, 2007

    I didn’t quite expect such a voluminous response. I am, however, not surprised that you didn’t answer my questions.

    Further, your response is evidence that my suspicions are correct. In modern debates of religious belief the question of apostasy becomes paramount, insofar as those that aren’t willing to allow for “problematic” behaviour is labelled faithful (or not) behaviour.

    The question, again, is your’s to answer. Either the people who decide that killing in the name of the lord are apostates or they are not. Or, as I believe, the foundation of any sectarian argument is based upon something that can never be backed up by any evidence, at least when dealing with revealed belief.

    You are willing to claim that what these people do is not what you believe is christian, right and good. You do not, and likely are incapable of doing, explicate a distinct and specific set of arguments, outside of your personal experience, that would describe their beliefs as problematic. This is the essential problem of revealed faith. I cannot question their beliefs or yours. You, at the same time, allowing for revealed faith as you do, cannot question their beliefs. Your acceptance of revelation legitmizes their acceptance of revelation.

    You certainly can claim that what they do is wrong. Likely, most people would accept that, on its face.

    Your acceptance of a revealed understanding of the world allows them to accept their understanding, as you cannot, with any serious intellectual basis, claim that they are wrong. Your specific acceptance of revealed truths allow them this.

    That, I submit, is as dangerous as their ideas. Liberal, in the classical sense, I suppose, interpretation of the bible has no more legitimacy than their’s. Unless you are willing to admit that they have committed some apostasy, than I think you aren’t much of a theologian. On top of that, your understanding of theology denies, outright, any legitimate argument that what they claim is apostasy.

    Tell me, how is it that your belief is more legitimate than their’s. What, exactly, makes you a better arbiter of right and wrong and more consistent with christian belief?

    I submit that you do not have that right. Certainly not anymore than they do.

    Explain this problem to me. And please, do not use the bible as your argument. It would be helpful if you would construct an argument that holds up under some scrutiny.

    phat

  92. #92 phat
    June 19, 2007

    I apologize, as what I just wrote isn’t quite as clear as I would have liked.

    I will try and make this more pointed.

    How can any christian claim that what they believe is the true christian belief when their only foundation is personally revealed?

    This, of course, isn’t just applicable to christian belief, but all ideas of revealed truths.

    No person, who claims to be christian, has any right or even a strong argument, to claim that all other christians are apostates. It’s all revealed truth, at least in terms of modern “liberal” religious thought.

    This might be why the mainline christian churches are incapable of actually denouncing those that would argue for things that these churches don’t consider christian. It’s inevitable, really.

    On top of that, apostasy is something most modern churches shy away from. It’s not very modern.

    phat

  93. #93 blf
    June 19, 2007

    Bill (#53 & #57): I just went a long frustrating round with a comment I was trying to add to another thread being repeatedly mysteriously rejected as “Sorry, there has been an error” and no further details.

    In my case, it turns out the word incest was the culprit. It was contained in a quote (from Vatican cardinal calls on Catholics to stop funding Amnesty):

    A senior Vatican cardinal said yesterday that Catholics should stop donating to human rights group Amnesty International because of its new policy advocating abortion rights for women if they had been raped, were a victim of incest or faced health risks. …

    I’ve no idea why that word is banned. And clearly The Guardian thought its usage was appropriate.

    Anyways, my problem suggests that if your issue is a banned word, it might not be one which is too obvious. Or even sensible?

  94. #94 truth machine
    June 19, 2007

    What is relevant is that many of the people discussing this subject seem to be rabid anti-christian

    Just another effing Jesus-sucking troll, after all.

  95. #95 wrg
    June 19, 2007

    By truth machine:

    Just another effing Jesus-sucking troll, after all.

    Maybe it’s a classical troll, or maybe it’s an honest true believer. The latter are expected to be sufficiently stubborn to emulate the former, after all. I’m not sure how the flame helps, especially since this situation damns religious extremism far more effectively.

    By Bob:

    What is relevant is that many of the people discussing this subject seem to be rabid anti-christian and are willing to use any delusional whack-job who calls himself a Christian to blanket the entire group. I read most of these comments and it just seems like a lot of blood lust towards people whom you have judged by a small sample.

    Rabid, you say? You say that the Pharyngula commentors are exhibiting blood lust? Odd, how fundamentalist organizations are planning to celebrate murderers, with re-enactments no less, but those who comment on this are apparently lusting for blood.

    I don’t know about all believers, but you, Bob, seem rather mixed up about the definition of “blood lust”. I can’t speak for everyone here, but one problem I have with the dominant American Christianity is that anyone who self-identifies as Christian seems to get an unfairly large slice of tolerance. Sure, you’re willing to decry the sick demonstration mentioned in this thread, which is good.

    However, when Christians talk about how much better persons they are than atheists, it’s often taken as a matter of course, whereas atheist authors are called “militant” when they express their views about religion. While we’re discussing those who actually do lust for blood, that label is misapplied to those who are, in your opinion, too critical of your religion. It seems like rather a double standard.

  96. #96 Pablo
    June 19, 2007

    Something struck my about Spitz’s comments to McKay, edited here for the important stuff

    [quote]
    Most, if not all problems on the planet earth are from people like you who reject Jesus Christ.
    who reject Jesus Christ.
    who reject Jesus Christ.
    who reject Jesus Christ
    who reject Jesus Christ.
    [/quote]

    So all the problems of the world are the fault of the Jews?

  97. #97 Carlie
    June 19, 2007

    Yep.
    Kills people = martyr
    Cricicizes person who kills people = blood lust

    Makes sense

  98. #98 stogoe
    June 19, 2007

    notthedroids: Calling something a strawman doesn’t make it so. You are teh fail.

  99. #99 Bill Dauphin
    June 19, 2007

    blf (@91):

    Thanks for the hint. Hunting for the hidden dirty words in my otherwise inoffensive text had seemed a bit too 7th-grade to bother with, but as it happens, what I was trying to post did include the word you mentioned (which is not surprising in a comment about abortion law, since it’s one of the exceptions that often gets discussed). I’m puzzled… or, more accurately, bemused… to note that you Kseniya were both able to post precisely the specific words that were making it impossible for you to post! Who says there’s no such thing as the supernatural, eh?

    Anyway, the moment for my comment has probably passed, but I’ll try again anyway, with the portion containing the (apparently) offensive word excised:

    Pete:

    This…

    These nutcases are the only ones who actually believe abortion is murder – since their actions mirror their words. All the anti-choice folks who spout “abortion is murder” rhetoric should be asked why they too are not devoting every last minute of their life to this.

    …touches on one of my pet peeves about this debate: Nobody on the anti-choice side really believes their own BS. If you start with the premise, as the anti-choicers claim to, that a fetus is a person, fully vested with all the rights of a born human being, then it follows that abortion is not only murder, but a conspiracy to commit murder for hire: One person (i.e., the pregnant woman) meets with a second person (the doctor) to plan the killing of a third “person” (the fetus), for which the first person will pay the second person a fee! Add to that the fact that the “victim” is, if it’s a person at all, a child.

    This amounts to a deeply heinous criminal conspiracy, one that would be punishable by life in prison for all involved parties, or by death in almost any jurisdiction that had capital punishment at all… if you accept the initial premise, that is. But none of these anti-choice actually calls for this sort of penalty for abortion. Even the most radical nutbags — the ones who are perfectly willing to murder abortion providers — don’t generally call for the women to be put to death or locked up for life. Take a look at the very minimal legal sanctions included in last year’s South Dakota abortion ban (5 years max for the doctor and nothing at all for the mother; I’ve ranted about this before): If they really believed the fetus was a person, wouldn’t they want harsher punishments for killing it?

    Grrrr… It’s hard enough arguing with people whose irrational beliefs are at least internally consistent; irrational beliefs illogically held are, I’m afraid, proof against any persuasion.

  100. #100 Kat
    June 19, 2007

    Kseniya: Anyway, it’s Kat’s choice and decision (obviously) but I wanted to point out that the USA is a large and diverse nation, and that quite a bit more to it than the likes of The Army of God – which, though deeply disturbing in their own right, surely represent an extremely small minority of US citizens.

    Thanks – and thanks for trying to lure me! I must say, out of numerous American friends and colleagues, I don’t personally know any who are fundamentalist God-botherers (though some are religious and I don’t hold that agaisnt them, as they don’t try to ram it down my, or anyone else’s throat) As for my current residence being developed – well, it’s England, so judge for yourself!

  101. #101 Bill Dauphin
    June 19, 2007

    Kat:

    All other considerations aside, I wouldn’t advise moving from England to the U.S. unless it’s for a job that provides absolutely top-drawer health insurance. Even then, I’d think hard about it: This is, even in this benighted, Bush-darkened era, mostly a wonderful place to live… but it’s decidedly NOT a wonderful place to be sick.

  102. #102 Kseniya
    June 19, 2007

    Bill:

    I’m puzzled… or, more accurately, bemused… to note that you Kseniya were both able to post precisely the specific words that were making it impossible for you to post!

    I don’t need to resort to a supernatural explanation for this. ๐Ÿ™‚

    The “degrasse” was contained within the <a></a> tag, which is why the filter saw it as a potential link to a port site on the presumption that traditional word boundaries don’t apply in a URL, and that bad words will likely be embedded in longer strings.

    The same string (“ass”) isn’t flagged outside of a <a></a> tag, which is (of course) why I am able to tell the tale without resorting to chicanery such as substituting graphically similar characters from the Russian and Ukrainian alphabets to defeat the filters. Heh.

    Which is how I can type “?ncest” with impunity. The “i” isn’t an “i”.

  103. #103 Kseniya, OKD
    June 19, 2007

    correction: port=porn… sheesh!

  104. #104 Kseniya
    June 19, 2007

    Kat: LOL, yes yes, I consider the UK to be a “developed peer nation” – certainly more so than my family homeland (Ukraine).

    The “fundamentalist God-botherers,” though they’ve apparently gotten louder, more numerous and more powerful over the past few decades, are still the minority. I like to think the pendulum is swinging back the other way – that the excesses and hypocricies of the Falwells, the Robertsons, and the inappropriately-pious executive branch of the current administration have finally caused a national backlash. Perhaps I’m hopelessly naive about that… ๐Ÿ˜

  105. #105 Bill Dauphin
    June 19, 2007

    Kseniya:

    You hadda go and demystify it, didn’t you? I was having so much fun imagining you waving a wand at your computer and muttering faux Latin incantations! 8^)

    Kat:

    To somewhat refine what I said before, the U.S. actually can be a wonderful place to be sick, but only if you have either lots of money or good insurance and enough money to cover the copays and coinsurance. But coming from a country with national healthcare, you’ll probably be somewhat shocked by the out-of-pocket cost even if you do have good insurance.

  106. #106 Bob
    June 19, 2007

    Phat,

    Thank you for your questions and I will do my best to answer them. You are obviously a very intelligent person and it has been my experience to debate someone who is adequately prepared is thrilling and helps me to refine and/or galvanize what I believe.

    You ask: (sorry, I don’t know how to do the fancy cut and paste thing)

    How can any christian claim that what they believe is the
    true christian belief when their only foundation is
    personally revealed?

    This, of course, isn’t just applicable to christian belief, but all ideas of revealed truths.

    No person, who claims to be christian, has any right or even a strong argument, to claim that all other christians are apostates. It’s all revealed truth, at least in terms of modern “liberal” religious thought.< \i>

    This is the problem I’m talking about when I talk about our different worldviews. I believe that there is absolute truth, and you don’t. (correct me if I’m wrong)

    When we have moral relativism, you’re right, we can just accept what someone does as their own truth, but when there is an absolute you can compare ones actions/motives/words against that Truth.

    I am as big of an offender as anyone else.

    As for the issue of apostasy… I think of these guys who are doing this thing in Milwaukee more as heretics than apostates. It isn’t semantics, either. They still claim they are Christians and they have the “right way” of doing things. Obviously they are not mainstream and they do not reflect the thinking of most of the mainstream evangelical Christian movement.

    I guess that is where your argument on personal revelation holds a little water, however I think it is more of not understanding who Christ is and what he is about.

    On top of that, apostasy is something most modern churches shy away from. It’s not very modern.< \i>

    I’m not sure why you think that. Usually the church handles things within their local church and do not make public the censure or punishment that has been issued. There is usually no need to publicly embarrass one who has misinterpreted the Bible. There are many things in the Bible that are fairly open for interpretation. Murder as a means to spread the Gospel (or to supposedly save babies) is not up for debate within mainstream churches. There are members of my church right now who are under censure, but it is always done with the attitude of reconciliation and love.

    That being said, there are times when something merits a response from the Christian community and this was met with a response. Here are some of the ones I found.

    http://www.flacathconf.org/pressreleases/Prsrel03/SparePaulHill.htm
    http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0309/03/se.08.html
    http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0309/05/lkl.00.html (interview with James Dobson, Focus on the Family. A very conservative person and organization. I’m sure most of his views will rile you up, but let’s focus on the Paul Hill thing for now. That section is sort of near the bottom)

    Sorry about the length of this post, hopefully my point comes across clearly.

    I also wanted to thank you for not engaging in sophmoric name calling against me. I expected it and got it from some, but you, Phat haven’t and I thank you for that.

  107. #107 Kseniya
    June 19, 2007

    Bob, the fancy indented thing is done with a blockquote tag. Apparently you have no trouble with italics. Just do the same thing, but with “blockquote” instead of “i” tags.

    Blockquotes can be nested.

    The preview button is your friend.

    Can I call James Dobson some silly names now? ๐Ÿ™‚

  108. #108 tony
    June 19, 2007

    Kat: Re the US as a place to live…

    My wife & I moved here from Scotland about 11 years ago.

    On a recent visit back to the UK, we were appalled by the insanely high cost of living (esp. the cost of a pint!)

    I agree that ‘direct’ healthcare costs are relatively high here – but that is more than offset by the extremely low cost of living in most other areas….

    unfortunately – you’ll probably end up like the rest of us – mortgaged to the hilt, and living from paycheck to paycheck, funding the growth of Best Buy & Home Depot!

    But never mind all that — Come to the US and improve the local gene-pool!

    ๐Ÿ˜‰

  109. #109 Bob
    June 19, 2007

    Bob, the fancy indented thing is done with a blockquote tag. Apparently you have no trouble with italics. Just do the same thing, but with “blockquote” instead of “i” tags.

    Blockquotes can be nested.

    The preview button is your friend.

    Can I call James Dobson some silly names now? ๐Ÿ™‚

    YES! Thank you for the tip. Commence blasting Dobson, or whomever.

  110. #110 Kseniya
    June 19, 2007

    Bob: Well done!

    Tony:

    But never mind all that — Come to the US and improve the local gene-pool!

    That’s sorta what I was getting at in the first place! One small step for America… one… giant leap… for some single guy in America.

    Oh, wait. This isn’t the red-dot blue-dot thread? Sorry!

  111. #111 blf
    June 19, 2007

    Kseniya (& 100): I was able to use the banned word because I resorted to tricks. My (copied) usage of the word was not within A tags, and I was unable to post until I resorted to tricks.

    After thinking about it for awhile–and after a nice French dinner and fine bottle of local French wine–I can see a (partly) sensible reason for banning incest (again, entered via tricks): Some p0rn sites apparently claim that practice as an attraction, so it may be an anti-spamming measure.

  112. #112 Keith Douglas
    June 19, 2007

    Janine: I hope the local police (and maybe even the FBI) treat it as such.

  113. #113 Anna Z
    June 19, 2007

    I just hope the FBI are there photographing faces, like they did with war protests. IMHO the kind of people who’ll show up to “re-enact” murders are a lot more likely to engage in future acts of violence than are the people protesting our role in Iraq.

  114. #114 Paul Hands
    June 20, 2007

    http://www.cnn.com/2007/LAW/06/19/abortion.doctor.ap/index.html?eref=rss_topstories

    At least some places in the US are doing the right thing by these murderers…..

    >>
    BUFFALO, New York (AP) — A militant abortion opponent already serving 25 years to life for murdering a doctor who performed abortions was sentenced Tuesday to another life term in prison on federal charges.

    James Kopp’s sentencing closed a case that began nearly nine years ago with the sniper-style slaying of Dr. Barnett Slepian in the kitchen of his suburban Amherst home.

    Kopp, 52, was convicted in 2003 on a state charge of second-degree murder for Slepian’s death and sentenced to prison. In January, a federal jury convicted him on related charges that he violated the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act by killing an abortion provider. A jury also found him guilty of using a firearm in a violent crime — a scope-equipped military assault rifle.
    <<

  115. #115 Quentin Long
    June 20, 2007

    Quoth Bob: “When we have moral relativism, you’re right, we can just accept what someone does as their own truth, but when there is an absolute you can compare ones actions/motives/words against that Truth.”
    Hold on a sec, squire. There’s a rather important issue you’re ignoring, or glossing over, or something: Even if Absolute Truth does exist… how can you be sure you have it? When two people both claim to have Absolute Truth, and their respective Absolute Truths contradict one another, it’s pretty clear that both of those guys can’t be right — so how can you tell which of the pair, if either one, actually is right?
    The current topic offers a highly cogent case in point. You say you have the Bible on your side; the doctor-killers say they have the Bible on their side. You say your view is Absolute Truth; the doctor-killers say their view is Absolute Truth. You say God doesn’t want to see any doctors killed; the doctor-killers say God does want some doctors killed.
    What, exactly, makes your flavor of Absolute Truth any more Absolutely True than the doctor-killers’ flavor of Absolute Truth?

  116. #116 Bill Dauphin
    June 20, 2007

    Even if Absolute Truth does exist… how can you be sure you have it?

    I can’t speak for Bob, of course, but many Christians I have known (and I assume this holds for other possessors of alleged Absolute Truth as well) would tell you they know they have the Truth because God spoke directly to them in their hearts and told them so.

    As for me, there have been long periods of my life during which I was entirely, unreservedly open to hearing the voice of God in my heart, if it was there to be heard, and I have heard nary a word. From which I conclude that either God isn’t there… or s/he isn’t particularly interested in talking to me. Neither option conforms to what I was taught in Sunday school.

  117. #117 Bill Dauphin
    June 20, 2007

    Tony (@106):

    I know this isn’t really a healthcare/social welfare thread, but…

    I agree that ‘direct’ healthcare costs are relatively high here – but that is more than offset by the extremely low cost of living in most other areas….

    I assume you’re saying that social welfare programs such as national healthcare cause the higher cost of living (or at least, cost of visiting [g]), presumably due to taxes (does the UK have a VAT?)?

    Assuming you’re right and there is a link between higher everyday costs and more comprehensive social welfare coverage, it’s a tradeoff I’d happily make. Even if the net cost of living were somewhat higher, cost is not the sole measure of quality of life. Living in a country where I didn’t have to worry that my family’s next illness or injury might mean financial ruin would have great value to me, and would be worth some extra cost.

    Actually, I’m fairly fortunate on that score. My personal story is that in 2001, my daughter (then 10) was diagnosed with brain cancer which required several major surgeries and in excess of a year’s worth of intensive chemotherapy and radiation, including numerous hospital stays, to cure. Because I’m a white collar worker with a generous salary and top-of-the-range employer-provided health insurance, my daughter got excellent care, and is now healthy, happy, and shopping for colleges… and my family is still solvent financially.

    If, OTOH, I had had poor insurance, or none at all, as is the case for tens of millions of Americans, in all likelihood my daughter would be dead, or my family bankrupt, or (most likely) both. This is not because she wouldn’t have gotten treatment for her cancer — in my experience it’s rare that life-saving care is denied based on lack of ability to pay — but because without the comfortable knowledge that routine care was affordable for us, we likely would not have discovered her cancer until it was too late to save her… and then we would have bankrupted ourselves trying anyway.

    The real tragedy of heathcare in America is not urgent, life-saving care is unavailable, but that so many of our citizens never see a doctor until they already need such care. If I could change that by paying more for a pint, I’d be a happy guy.

    Ahh, but the obvious counter-argument is that higher cost of living hurts the poor. Well, my question (and it’s really a question, not a argument dressed up as a question, because I don’t know the answer)is whether the UK, with its higher cost of living, has higher rates of poverty? Higher rates of children living in poverty? More suffering from the ills associated with poverty (poor health, malnutrition, inadequate education, drugs, crime…)?

    One last thing: Even if you have excellent health insurance, as I do, your future is not secure, because what passes for “excellent” keeps changing: Despite annual increases in premiums, my own insurance coverage has degraded to the point that we now pay more in annual out-of-pocket costs for my daughter’s very modest follow-up care (a couple office visits, some blood work, an MRI, and a chest x-ray) than we paid for all her life-saving surgery, chemo, and radiation. If we had to go through again today what we went through 6 years ago, it would certainly render us incapable of paying for college, and we might lose our house.

  118. #118 anon
    June 20, 2007

    Americans should be more alarmed by the unwillingness of law enforcement to deal with these people than by the fact that they exist. They are currently just domestic terrorists but their ideological proximity to the GOP leadership and effective immunity from law enforcement means they are less than half a step away from being a brownshirt paramilitary.

  119. #119 Bob
    June 20, 2007

    Quentin,

    Thanks for your question. Obviously if two people claim to have the Absolute Truth and those truths are considerably different then clearly one, or both are wrong. What it comes down to is faith that I have understood and applied the truth correctly. I claim God exists. You claim he doesn’t. In this case one of us is wrong.

    I guess that answer leads to another question, why do I think I’m right?

    Well, the answer to that is: I hope I’m right. I have faith that I’m right. I have evidence in my life that show that I am right. I have a peace about my life that wasn’t there before. I have perspective that helps me deal with my problems. I have seen other lives changed dramatically when they have done the same as me. I understand most things in the Bible more than I had before, things make sense to me now. I care deeply about other people, even those who don’t like me. I want to help other people (I’m not talking strictly evangelism here either, I want to provide for others physical and emotional needs), I want to serve.

    I guess the most important question for you is not why do I think I’m right, but rather, what if I actually AM right?

  120. #120 Niki
    July 20, 2007

    I am just as disgusted as you are about the actions of not only Paul Hill but also those who plan to glorify his actions. (And I am even more disgusted that it is happening in the city where I live.)

    There are a lot of people who claim to act “for the glory of God” but in actuality, are acting on their own exaggerated beliefs. It is easy to create a god which you are comfortable with, a god which will let you do whatever you want. It becomes idolotry. The true and living God would never promote murder as justification for murder (or any other sin).

    I hope that those of you who are not Christians will not let this negatively affect your perception of all Christians. (Likewise I hope your perception of Muslim extremeists wont negatively impact your perceptions of all Muslims.) There are many, many good and loving people who would be horrified that people are glorifying such acts in the name of their Lord and Savior.

    I personally try to practice the idea of “love the sinner, hate the sin”. All people are sinners and the Bible says one sin is just as bad as the next. So to be hateful towards someone who has had an abortion is exactly the opposite of what we (Christians) should do (and also hypocritical!). Jesus had a message of love and acceptance (He often talked to prostitutes and other people hated for their lifestyles.) My church sent people down to Pridefest in Milwaukee to hand out cold water bottles (it was hot that weekend). (And there was no preaching, no signs, no pressure. They were just anonymous people being loving.) So please dont write off all Christians (in or outside of Milwaukee). Some of us are just as (or even more) upset over these activities!

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