Lunch with a crazy old lady

Oklahomas Christian Medical and Dental Association is such a massive joke.

They brought in Donald Ewert, a clueless dork, to talk about the 'Evolution of the Immune System' Creationism.

Brought in Mr. NOMNOMNOMNOM to talk about the science/religion/ethics behind stem cell research SCIENTISTS KILLING BABBIES!

And yesterday they brought in Ellen Myers to talk about: "Did the Nazis have it correct? Part II: Euthanasia and Doctor Assisted Suicide; Will We Repeat the Past."

I had no idea who this woman was. A casual Google search turned up juicy morsels like this:

She has published papers in the Creation Research Society Quarterly and at the International Conference for Creationism. She grew up in Nazi Germany, is multi-lingual, and has a Masters degree in History.

Creationist! Nazis! Me and some friends had to check this out!

... The following 45 minutes were quite possibly the weirdest, most irritating 45 minutes I have experienced in a very long time (hey, its been a while since Caseytits was in town).

Part of it is that Im not used to crazy old people. I dont mean crazy as in 'kooky fun!' I mean crazy in a 'tea-bagger experiencing rapid cognitive decline' way. My grandmothers were strong independent women up till the end, and very respectful of my religious/political decisions, so it took me a minute to get used to an 80 year old woman, lecturing at a medical institution, saying things like "OBAMA SAID THE US IS NO LONGER A CHRISTIAN NATION! DID YOU HEAR THAT??? GERMANY WAS A GOOD CHRISTIAN NATION UNTIL NAZIS!"

It was kinda like a 45-minute version of this.


The one bloggable thing I got out of this event was an observation*. A difference between Radical Christian ethics and my ethics.

My perspective is that forcing someone to do something against their will is equally offensive as forbidding someone to do something that they choose to do that harms no one. Example: Forcing women to wear headscarves when they go to the grocery store and forbidding women from wearing headscarves when they go to the grocery store are equally repulsive. What do I care whether a woman wants to wear a headscarf for religious reasons or to keep her hair-do nice for a night out? Its a personal decision irrelevant to my existence and my happiness.

Now, I get more passionate about this when it comes to end-of-life issues.

End-of-life issues are a Big Deal to me. They are Very Important. My parents have made wills and have made their end-of-life decisions 100% clear to my brother and I.

This is so goddamn important, but no one wants to talk about it.

Lets say Mom and Dad are in a car wreck. Mom dies. What does she want her funeral to be like? Does she want to be cremated? What are we supposed to do with the ashes? Does she want a $20K casket? Does she want to be buried on an island of Tahiti or in our hometown cemetery?

I dont have to make any of these decisions.

I dont have to worry about 'what Mom wants'. She has made her wishes 100% clear.

Lets say Dad is in a coma. Severe brain damage. He will never recover. Does he want me to keep him on life-support for 30 years? For a year? Does he want me to pull the plug? Does he want his organs donated?

I dont have to make any of these decisions.

I dont have to worry about 'what Dad wants'. He has made his wishes 100% clear.

These decisions are not my decisions. I have no right to keep Dad on life-support for 30 years if he does not want to be kept alive that way. I have no right to bury Mom in a casket if she wants to be cremated.

If my parents reach The End and they would rather end it peacefully rather than 'natural' lung or ovarian or pancreatic cancer deaths, I fully support their right to do that. Allowing my parents to make this decision themselves is in no way analogous to Nazis killing Jewish people.

Unless you are a Radical Christian, apparently.

According to Ellen Myers and the voices of approval from Oklahomas CMDA, countries that allow physician assisted suicide are a breath away from Nazis. The fact that 'Obama is an Arab' is further evidence that the US is going to be shipping Christians to death camps any day now. Allowing someone to choose a physician assisted death is equivalent to killing my parents against their will.


I find it odd that people who believe in Free Will and life-after-death are so opposed to allowing people the choice to go gentle into that good night.

* To be clear, this woman was absolutely disgusting. Parading her mentally handicapped daughter around ("SHE MADE ME HATE GOD, BUT SHE BRINGS PEOPLE TO JESUS! DOCTORS WANT TO KILL RETARD BABBIES!"), parading around the corpse of her mother ("MOM WANTED TO DIE, BUT JEW MOM CAME TO JESUS BEFORE HER DEATH! IF WE KILL PEOPLE WE CANT BRING THEM TO JESUS!"), trampling on the bodies of Holocaust victims... Crazy, stupid, hateful, disgusting old woman. This was just the only interesting about her demented presentation to blog about.

More like this

Something about the idea of Christian Dentistry is making me very uncomfortable. I imagine myself praying for the pain to stop, and my plaintive cry going unheeded while the dentist beats the demons out of my mouth.

I find it odd that people who believe in Free Will and life-after-death are so opposed to allowing people the choice to go gentle into that good night

It amazes me that these are often the same people who fight vigorously for their "right" to keep a fully loaded pistol in the glove compartment of their pickup, or who'll fight for their "right" to put up nativity scenes on government buildings, or their "right" to substitute their religious beliefs for science in our kids schools.

And yet, when it comes to the most fundamental right of them all - the right to choose what we do with our own bodies - they're first in line to take that right away.

There's another difference here: ethical systems which relies on supernatural entities often have a notion that what the supernatural entity wants is more important than what the individual wants. This is often phrased as something like "God made you. He owns you." or some similar phrase.

This combines with the fact that people are often convinced that their personal decisions are precisely what God or their preferred supernatural entity wants. The result is that they conclude that the personal decisions they want must apply to everyone.

"Something about the idea of Christian Dentistry is making me very uncomfortable. I imagine myself praying for the pain to stop, and my plaintive cry going unheeded while the dentist beats the demons out of my mouth."

MORE WAFERS, NURSE! Just tuck them around his tongue, the pain will go away eventually.

Man, you sure do live the life up there in the big city, ERV.
I never get to see crazy people like that in person. Only when I skim past FOX News.

How about a heads up in the future so I can drive up and see this for myself? Please?

Growing up in Nazi Germany messes with your head. My mother was taught to say "Heil Hilter" every day in school when the teacher comes in. Then one day when the teacher comes in, she says that, and she gets yelled at told she must never, never say that again. When you realise, at age 7, that every single adult was lying to you, it leaves its mark.

Ian-- The 'growing up in Nazi Germany' thing was really weird. She said her mom was Jewish. So she would have been Jewish. She said all of her mothers family was killed... but Ellens family lived in Germany with no problem. She totally glossed over the experience with something like 'we just stayed on our farm'.

She also had no problem saying that Jews were going to Hell (they didnt accept Jesus)... so...

It was weird.

"Something about the idea of Christian Dentistry is making me very uncomfortable. I imagine myself praying for the pain to stop, and my plaintive cry going unheeded while the dentist beats the demons out of my mouth."

Just imagine what it would be like if your X-Ray showed a cavity shaped like Mary. Also imagine someone with braces where the brackets are shaped like little crosses. "Faith not only straightened out my son, it also straightened out his teeth. Thank you God!"

By 2nd Edition (not verified) on 10 Mar 2010 #permalink

@Joshua Z. -

It's surprising you don't see more heated arguments where one person's conviction that "God wants him to do something" runs at cross purposes to another person's conviction of the same thing.

@2nd Edition - Moral Orel already covered it with Episode 19 - "Holy Visage". Here is the wikipedia summary:

While on a class field trip, Orel befriends a Jewish doctor named Dr. Chosenberg. However, after placing a spikey wooden bobble-head Jesus doll in front of Mr. Figuerelli while he's driving the bus, Figuerelli barely avoids an accident but in the process, Dr. Chosenberg is badly injured when the Jesus doll embeds itself in his side. Upon recovery, Dr. Chosenberg is horrified to learn that because the wound looks like Jesus, they consider it a miracle and no one will treat him or his terrible pain. Despite his pleas for reason and sanity, the Doctor responds by having Nurse Bendy sedate him. Dr. Chosenberg becomes even more horrified when patients with contagious and fatal disease are kissing, breathing, and coughing on the wound in the hopes that it will heal them, and everyone in town is lined up to see it. After attempting to suture the wound himself, his arms are restrained. In two days, Chosenberg's condition worsens and he desperately turns to Orel for help. Conflicted, he wants to help but is afraid that would be a sign of losing faith, Orel turns to his father who tells him to simply "lie to himself". In the end, Orel decides to leave the Jesus bobble-head on a medicine cart and pushes it next to Dr. Chosenberg. With the medicines in reach, Chosenberg manages to concoct an antidote and uses his Star of David to get the medicine onto the wound. The next morning, Orel and Clay are surprised to discover that the wound has healed. When Orel claims the bobble head is a miracle, Clay tells him that it was made deliberately to look like Jesus and thus cannot be considered a miracle, only accidents can. Clay then quickly discovers that the medicine bottles are arranged to look like Jesus. Claiming it a miracle, Clay grabs the foot powder to treat his foot ailment while Orel correctly guesses that Dr. Chosenberg did it himself.


I love Moral Orel...

By Kemanorel (not verified) on 11 Mar 2010 #permalink

Alright Abby! After reading your blog for awhile, itâs clear that Iâm going to have set you on the path to redemption! Your only hope is a road trip to Petersburg, KY where you will visit The Creation Museum! (no, Iâm not kidding - There you will enjoy exhibits where âChildren play and dinosaurs roam near Edenâs Riversâ. They also have an exhibit on bacterial resistance. So I thought you might get a few scientific pointers on how HIV canât evolve because it obviously doesnât exist because there were no gay dinosaurs on Noahâs Ark. They also have a petting zoo complete with a âzonky and a zorseâ. (Maybe the dinosaurs went extinct because of interspecies mating.) Am I getting through to you? So repent, sinner, and drop some coin in the gift shop where all proceeds go to the local chapter of NAMBLA!

Actually, on a serious note, your post is a good one. IMHO, Jack Kevorkian is an unsung hero. There were a disproportionate number of patients with multiple sclerosis relative to other diseases for which he gave âassisted suicideâ. As the spouse and caretaker of a MS patient, it is something that I have thought about. Although my wife is not doing very well at this point, I am thankful we are nowhere near that point yet. (Maybe weâll get run over by a Creationist on their way home from church and never face that crisis.) We have cats, not kids and for us they are our children. I have euthanized three of my cats when it was clear they were suffering and were going to die. Although I grieved their loss, I never second guessed my decision. I would hope that someone would do the same for me.

Jay, sure we do. What do you think the crusades were?

This is actually one major reason I get annoyed at the section of the American left that wants to use religion to further progressive ends.

... countries that allow physician assisted suicide are a breath away from Nazis.

As someone who just spent the last year watching his wife die of cancer and having to "expain" to her why her caregivers could not fulfill her wish to help her "end it," I can only offer Ellen Myers a certain one-fingered salute with vigor.

Joshua -
I was thinking more of disputes at an individual level, and not conflicts on a larger scale.

But your point is well taken.

I was at my dentist's office listening to a science podcast a while back. When he removed instruments from my mouth for a moment, I commented on something I had just heard, "Hey, molecular genetics shows that the closest relative of the hippos is a whale, and not a land animal as previously assumed!" (I though that was pretty damn cool, because I had seen the youtube video of a hippo trying to rescue a baby impala attacked by an alligator, and I knew that whales had spindle neurons which are associated in humans with processing emotions like love and social interaction.)

His response was: "I'm a creationist". Really, that's it. I was flummoxed. Was he telling me that he thought whales and hippos just "poofed" out as is? I asked him if he was a Young Earth Creationist, but he didn't seem to know the term. And I was trying to get more of a feel for where he was coming from, but I decided against it because he I didn't think it was wise to threaten the imagined salvation of someone who had sharp tools near my face.

It was the last time I ever went to THAT dentist though.

By articulett (not verified) on 12 Mar 2010 #permalink

Did Ewert still claim to be at the Wistar Institute?

@articulett: Maybe your (former) dentist dreams of eternal salivation? TBH, I must admit I'm not sure whether that would be a sweet dream or a sweaty nightmare. They say Gargle is your friend, but so far I'm not convinced! Maybe he is Abel to fill the void with novoCain.

Or maybe he just meant he can build bridges. All pain will pass.

I feel like the parallel of requiring vs. forbidding headscarves may be a bit of a stretch... as I negotiate the cross-cultural differences in a relationship with a Frenchman, and regularly hang out with his set of ex-pat friends here in the Bay Area, the topic of headscarves has come up a lot. Often what it boils down to is that, in France, the common thinking is that equality across the lines of sex and gender is of higher social value and more important to the lives of the French than the ability to express one's religious faith in public (which is, essentially, what it is). I recall in my psychology of gender courses way back as an undergrad (or was this from reading too much Susan Faludi?) that social psychologist looked into gendered clothing in the 70s, and found solid evidence that the more sexually stereotypical the dress, the greater it would elicit stereotypes and unequal treatment when women were in work situations. It's not a total stretch to assume that when women in a culture have a mandated religious uniform for public, that it maintains and elicits different treatment (though I'd love for some psychologists to tackle this, and how responses and interactions with women might be shaped when men only see women publically in headscarves, or not at all through burqas).

In short, I'm not so convinced that gendered headcovering mandates aren't harming anyone. The French view seems to be that even if it's just reinforcing stereotypes and mistreatment among one religious minority, it's harming the country as a whole and weakening the status of all women. Just my $0.02