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Saturday, October 15, 2016

Amanda Marcotte is At it Again

And by "it", I mean completely frothing off at the mouth about the "evil" "misogynistic" "anti-choice" movement. Ruth Graham over at Slate wrote a surprisingly well-balanced article about the more alternative pro-life advocates, such as Kelsey Hazzard (of Secular Pro-Life) and Aimee Murphy (of Life Matters Journal). Her article is called The New Culture of Life. This article also led the United States Library of Congress to contact various organizations mentioned in the piece, like Life Matters Journal and New Wave Feminists, informing them they've selected these organizations' webpages for inclusion in the Library's web archive focusing on public policy topics. Seriously, give it a read (note that I don't necessarily agree with all the statements made by the pro-life activists in that article).

True to form, Amanda Marcotte of Salon is not happy that someone would present pro-life people in a positive light, preferring to live in her fantasy world that pro-life people are all stodgy old men who want to control women's bodies. So she wrote a hit piece about the pro-life movement in response to Graham's article, called Hip to be Square: Is there really a feminist, secular anti-choice movement? (Spoiler: no). Clever, right? Not only is it a completely dishonest article, devoid of any serious research, it is also borderline libelous. Seriously, don't give it a read.

Marcotte's piece truly is painful to read. Not only is she completely dishonest about pro-life people, her lack of serious research is astounding. A number of pro-life people were mentioned in her article, including me. I'm going to set the record straight on Marcotte's claims about myself (and Rebecca Stapleford, who was mentioned along with me). I'll leave it to my friends to respond to Marcotte if they so choose.

Below, I'll quote the two paragraphs in Marcotte's article that directly relate to me:

As [Matt] Dillahunty pointed out to me, a "good chunk of [Secular Pro-Life's] blog posts are written by Christians/Catholics", showcasing exactly how difficult it is to drum up much interest among the non-religious for a cause devoted to meddling with other people's sex lives. A perusal of the Secular Pro-Life blog seemed to confirm this observation, with several blog posts being written by Catholics like Rebecca Stapleford and Clinton Wilcox.
Wilcox is one of the two Secular Pro-Life representatives that Dillahunty has debated. On his personal blog, Wilcox argues, "I, myself, have met people who said they did not come to Christ until after they became pro-life" and writes that anti-choice arguments are a good way to lure people into converting to Christianity.
There are at least a half dozen inaccuracies in just these two paragraphs, alone. Let's start with the fact that neither I nor Rebecca Stapleford are Catholics. I am Protestant. Rebecca is also a friend of mine. While she became pro-life as an agnostic, she is now an Evangelical Protestant.

Now let's talk about how she "perused" (does she even know what this word means?) the blog at Secular Pro-Life, found "several" articles by Rebecca and me, and apparently that was enough to conclude that a "good chunk" of SPL's blog posts were written by "Catholics". First, how much is a "good chunk"? If Dillahunty means a lot, then sure. But what does this prove? It certainly doesn't prove that the majority have been written by religious people. In fact, most of the writers for SPL are non-religious. Instead of looking up how many articles Rebecca and I wrote, maybe she should have looked at who the writers are and compare their religious affiliation.

Now let's talk about her calling me a "representative" of SPL. I am not now, nor have I ever been, a representative of Secular Pro-Life. I do write articles for their blog and I walk with them whenever I attend the Walk for Life, but I am not a representative of their organization. Marcotte is confusing their willingness to work with religious people as their actually being religious.

I also made it very clear to Dillahunty before we debated that I am not a representative of SPL; I write for their blog and was interested in debating him. At no point did I claim to represent SPL. Whether Dillahunty told Marcotte this or Marcotte is assuming it is unclear. Either way, someone is being dishonest here.

Two more inaccuracies to note. She points to an article I wrote on my "personal blog", but the blog she pointed to was the Life Training Institute blog, not my personal blog. Additionally, she claims that I am deceiving people into becoming Christian by first making them pro-life. This, of course, is blatantly false. She is taking my words out of context and paraphrasing them to mean something I obviously didn't mean to any honest observer who reads my article. What I actually said is that my discussions on abortion naturally lead into questions of ultimate reality and human value, and that while sometimes you can convert an atheist to Christianity without talking about the pro-life issue, sometimes atheists need to know that we have reasonable answers to other issues before they take Christianity seriously.

Salon has never been a paragon of critical thinking, but it's truly mind-boggling that they would allow such a deceitful piece to be posted to their website. In just two paragraphs, Marcotte bungled many facts that would have been easy to verify. She also seems intent on painting the pro-life movement as inherently religious, but I wasn't aware the proposition "murdering a human being is wrong" is an inherently religious one. At least we can take comfort in knowing that they can't refute our argument that abortion is wrong because it intentionally kills an innocent human being, so they have to resort to name-calling and alarmist caterwauling.

Author's Note: I'll add articles written by the others mentioned in Marcotte's article to respond to her as I become aware of them.

Here's an article written by Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa (language warning).

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Is Making Abortion Illegal Legislating a Religious Viewpoint?

The pro-life position entails that since unborn human beings are full human persons at fertilization, if you kill an unborn human being at any point in his/her development, you are committing an act of unjustified homicide which should be forbidden by law. Of course, many pro-choice people believe, not having actually listened very closely to the pro-life argument, that the pro-life view is grounded only in a religious belief. So they respond that we cannot legislate a religious point of view into law.

Read the rest of this article at the Life Training Institute blog.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Must We Convert the Culture to Christianity to End Abortion?

It seems every so often I run across someone on Facebook (rarely in personal activism) who asserts that we must convert people to Christianity in order to end abortion, or that we must share the Gospel at all times with people, whether or not we make pro-life converts. To do anything less goes against God's teachings.

This may sound super spiritual on the face of it, until you stop and consider that, as Augustine said, "wherever truth may be found, it belongs to his master" (On Christian Doctrine, II.18.28). Or as it is commonly paraphrased, all truth is God's truth. Whenever we share the truth about abortion, that it is the unjustified killing of an innocent human person, we are sharing God's truth. Now, it's possible that someone would only be converted after you share the Gospel with them and they come to understand the universe as God does. But it's also very likely that someone will not take the Gospel seriously until they hear a Christian give a reasoned defense of one of their positions in another sphere of knowledge.

Read the rest at the Life Training Institute blog.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Is Consent to Sex Consent to Pregnancy?

In her book Breaking the Abortion Deadlock: From Choice to Consent, sociologist Eileen McDonagh argued that pro-choice people should move the debate from being about choice to consent. In other words, instead of arguing a woman has a "right to choose" abortion, they should be arguing that an embryo only has the right to a woman's uterus if she grants consent to the uterus, and only if consent is ongoing. She argued that sex doesn't make a woman pregnant, sex only creates the embryo, and it's the embryo that makes the woman pregnant. Since the embryo occupies the woman's uterus against her will, the embryo is essentially a rapist, or a parasite (or perhaps one of the aliens from Alien). Since the embryo is essentially a rapist, the state has an obligation to protect her from this invader in the same way the state would use the police to protect her from an actual rapist.

That's the thesis of her book, essentially. McDonagh has succeeded to some degree in changing the abortion debate to be about consent. I don't encounter this argument when I'm talking to a pro-abortion-choice advocate in person. But I occasionally encounter this argument in on-line discussions. It doesn't hold up to scrutiny, and it's not an argument that is seriously defended by most pro-abortion-choice people. It's more of an argument pro-abortion-choice people keep in their quiver as a backup.

Read the rest at the Life Training Institute blog.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Book Review: Love Unleashes Life: Abortion and the Art of Communicating Truth by Stephanie Gray

(Full disclosure: Stephanie is a friend and I have had the pleasure of engaging in pro-life activism with her. As such, I'll be referring to her by her first name because it feels weird to me to call her Gray. Additionally, even though she's a friend, these are still my honest thoughts on her book.)

Love Unleashes Life is the newest book from pro-life advocate Stephanie Gray. It's a book that covers some of the intellectual and emotional arguments for abortion and how to respond to them, but the main focus of the book is in teaching people not just how to respond to these arguments, but also in how to engage in a more human way, by recognizing when emotional hang-ups and past trauma are undergirding someone's arguments.

Read more at the Life Training Institute blog.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Book Review: Defends of the Unborn: The Pro-Life Movement Before Roe v. Wade by Daniel K. Williams

Special thanks to Oxford University Press for the free copy to review.

Daniel Williams has done a great service to the pro-life field by researching and compiling this volume regarding the history of the pro-life movement. There are now two books on abortion history that I would suggest grace every pro-life advocate's bookshelves: Dispelling the Myths of Abortion History by Joseph Dellapenna, and now Defenders of the Unborn by Daniel K. Williams.

Read the rest at the Life Training Institute blog.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Using a Tragedy for Your Agenda

Early this morning, tragedy struck Orlando, Florida when a man, Omar Mateen, walked into a gay club in the city and opened fire. He killed 50 people and wounded at least 53, and after a three-hour standoff, police burst into the building and kill the gunman. Of course, there is much speculation about his motives. It's not my intention here to guess at what his motivations actually were. While many were quick to sympathize with those killed and urged us to mourn with them, many also took to social media to support their own pet agenda.

Read the rest at the Life Training Institute blog.