Throwback Thursday: Roe vs Wade

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* Roe vs Wade has saved countless women’s lives by making abortion legal, which allows us to regulate it for safety and trained physicians to perform the procedure in a sterile office rather than medical school dropouts hacking at a woman’s womb in a back alley somewhere (not really an exaggeration!)

* Abortion levels are decreasing significantly, thanks to better sex education and easily accessible contraception.

* Making it illegal doesn’t stop women from getting abortions, it just puts their lives and health in danger. Roe vs Wade did not make women have more abortions, it just made them safe and now women don’t have to resort to criminal activity.

* Medical health organizations have repeatedly shown abortion to be safe and a vital aspect of women’s healthcare; politicians opposing abortion are doing so against the advice of medical professionals who actually work in this field.

So why are they wasting our tax dollars and valuable time fighting abortion rights?

If you believe abortion is wrong, don’t get one. It’s as simple as that. You can be pro choice and still be personally opposed to abortion. Being pro choice just means you understand it’s not your place to make health care decisions for someone else; you decide for you, they decide for them.

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“Oklahoma bill would put an end to marriage licenses”

STATEHOUSE RALLY
“Oklahoma state Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, has filed a bill that would put an end to marriage licenses in the state. Under his plan, a religious official would sign a couple’s marriage certificate, which would then be filed with the court clerk.”

Read the whole thing here:

http://newsok.com/oklahoma-bill-would-put-an-end-to-marriage-licenses/article/5386633/?page=2

They don’t want to do their job if everyone has the right to marry, so now they won’t do any marriages at all. What happened to doing your job and not judging the people who come to you for legal government services? They have no business judging the personal lives of people who come to their office for official government services, and marriage is a legal contract offered by our government.

In 2004, Oklahoma voters approved, 1,075,216 to 347,303, a constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between a man and a woman.

“Oklahoma voted overwhelmingly against same-sex marriage, and yet the Supreme Court stuck it down our throats,” Russ said.

How is this any different from when county clerks refused to marry interracial couples back in the day? There was a time when interracial marriages were also opposed by the majority. The majority shouldn’t be ruling on a minority’s basic human rights! Would you want your marital rights to be decided by the mob?

And by the way, if this bill gets passed, it would require atheists to have a religious official sign their marriage certificate instead of a judge. How is that fair to atheists?

“Marriages are not supposed to be a government thing anyway,” he said Wednesday.

Oh really? Then maybe we should take away YOUR right to all the 1,000+ legal benefits and protections that marriage offers in our country and see how YOU like a non-government version of marriage.

But this is what so often happens when a hardcore fundamentalist person gets into the government: It’s ok for him to try to push his religion on other people, and then cry “persecution” when he’s not allowed to do it. This pastor/state rep is upset that he’s not allowed to discriminate and marginalize a minority group.

I feel so bad for you, Mr. Russ. I can’t imagine how HARD it is to not be allowed to force your religion on other people. It must be so traumatic for you and your staff to have to actually render legal government services to people who don’t believe the same way you do.

Yes, I am pissed off. This is getting more and more ridiculous. But what pisses me off even more is that atheists are so often blamed for the problems in this country. The US mess is a collective issue, and oppressive religious people like this are making it way worse by constantly making us fight over women’s reproductive rights and marriage equality. If they stopped trying to regulate other people’s lives and focused on the economy and other issues, maybe we could actually fix some things!

End rant.

annoyUSE

Woman Gives Up Yoga Pants “For God and her Husband”: Purity Culture & Marital Lust

imagesI found this article, take a look:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/20/veronica-partridge-leggings-yoga-pants-gives-up-lustful-christian_n_6508764.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000022

I’m all for women dressing how they want, including modestly. However, it makes me so incredibly sad to see a woman give up clothes that she obviously used to love because she was shamed by purity culture.

1. This woman was shamed by her husband for his thought life and the thought lives of other men. He blamed women for how he and other men think about women sexually. This isn’t fair, he and he alone is responsible for how he thinks and what he does about it. Men think sexually about women in all sorts of attire; he might personally go for girls in yoga pants, other men are attracted to long flowing hair or have a foot fetish (I know Christian groups that don’t allow open toed shoes or hair to be done up pretty for this very reason). Where do you draw the line? How are women expected to stop all men from lusting after them? Do we wear full body burkas like they do in parts of the Middle East? Even those women get raped, so it’s obviously still not enough.

And why is it my job to make men not think about me that way? That’s not really fair. If I’m sexually attracted to a hot guy, I make no excuses for it- I acknowledge that it’s alllllll me. The poor guy can’t help looking sexy in that tailored suit or in his swim trunks that show off his sexy abs… and that other guy can’t help that his face is just so damn cute and his lips look so kissable… oh and that girl has such a hot butt… where was I? Oh yes, sexual attraction.

2. The harm applies to the husband too. This husband was shamed by purity culture, which unrealistically expects him to be devoid of all sexual attraction just because he’s married. Biologically, men and women (and everybody in between) are hardwired to be sexually attracted to other humans, because otherwise our species would go extinct. Being sexually attracted to other humans is normal and healthy! Purity culture expects people to never even THINK sexual thoughts about another person, but this expectation flies in the face of our biological reality.

Purity culture shames us for unintentionally having and/or causing sexual attractions, even though that’s a completely normal part of human life that shouldn’t be considered shameful.

Being sexually attracted to a human body that our mind considers sexy is pretty unavoidable biologically, and it does not make someone unfaithful to their spouse. It’s what they DO with those attractions that matters. Sexually harassing women, having an affair, etc are unacceptable responses to our sexual attractions; we’ve evolved the ability to control our urges, separate violence from sex, and stay faithful. We’ve also evolved the ability to have a brief sexual thought and then say “ok, I’ve had my moment of attraction but I’m moving on now. I’m not going to fantasize about that woman/man, I’m going to mentally focus on my spouse instead.” Yes, we do actually have that kind of self control.

I support this woman’s right to ditch her yoga pants if it makes her feel more comfortable. I’m just very sad that she was shamed into it, and I hope that other girls are not also made to feel guilty by her example.

What Offends Me? (Image)

1526751_733077626789360_2309781414408245475_nImage text: “I’m not offended by believers believing in God. I’m offended by believers trying to force others to live by the rules of the God they believe in.”

I would add that I’m also offended by believers belittling, shaming, or judging others for not sharing their beliefs.

Fear of God is Not the Beginning of Wisdom

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“The fear of God is not the beginning of wisdom. The fear of God is the death of wisdom. Skepticism and doubt lead to study and investigation, and investigation is the beginning of wisdom.” -Clarence Darrow, Why I Am an Agnostic and Other Essays

I was always taught that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”. Now I no longer believe that’s true. How do we find true wisdom? By exploring the world around us, learning as much as we can about everything, gaining life experiences, and then thinking carefully about our actions and beliefs so we can make the wisest decisions possible for ourselves and those around us. THAT is true wisdom, and that is why we tend to become more wise as we age- we have more knowledge and life experience.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Translated: “You can’t begin to become wise unless you are afraid of our God.” Fear, according to many Christians, is essential to becoming a wise person. When did fear become a good method for learning? How is this an effective teaching method? Why should we have to fear our teacher?

Wisdom is defined as “…the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the quality of being wise.” So how does being afraid of a deity help us in aquiring wisdom? Surely an all powerful, all knowing deity would not expect us to rely on fear to learn.

You don’t have to fear a god to become wise, and in fact I would argue that fear of God may make you less wise because you’ll be less likely to question the potentially harmful teachings of your religion if you’re constantly living in fear of a deity. You can be wise, kind, moral, and loving without ever believing in any gods or deities.

How do you define and determine morality?

7OBThe issue of where we get our morals from is one that comes up often in my conversations with Fundamentalists and Evangelicals. According to them, morality can only come from God by following his laws, therefore non-believers are incapable of morality. I would like to challenge this idea.

Morality is defined as: “Principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.” It is also defined as “A particular system of values and principles of conduct, especially one held by a specified person or society.”
So how do we figure out what’s right and wrong? Here’s a question to start with: Is it wrong to kill another human being?

Christians and non-Christians alike would probably say the same thing: It depends. Is it in self defense? Is it in wartime? Is it the execution of a violent criminal? Both groups generally agree on one thing: Whether or not killing is right or wrong generally depends on the circumstances, and applying the same punishment to everyone without knowing the circumstances would be unjust. Most people would agree that it’s not wrong for me to kill someone who is actively trying to kill me, because that’s self defense. Most people would also agree that a mugger killing his victim is morally unacceptable.
It’s impossible to say that killing another human being is always wrong, because sometimes it’s not. It’s relative to the situation- hence morality is relative.
When we try to apply the same moral answer to every situation, we end up with an unjust system. That’s why we cringe when we hear about starving children being brutally punished for stealing food; sure they did something wrong, but we also take their age and desperation into account. This is also why atheists are horrified at the idea of Hell, because the same brutal punishment is unjustly applied to everyone- good people who simply believed incorrectly are burned right alongside child molesters and genocidal dictators.
So how do we determine whether or not killing another human being is acceptable? Sometimes there is no clear answer, but here are some basic questions to ask.

  1. Are my motives selfish? Am I killing this person for my own personal gain?
  2. Is killing this person necessary? Is there another way to remedy the situation?
  3. What will happen if I don’t kill this person? Will they harm or kill me or someone else?
  4. If everyone killed people for the same reasons I am killing this person, what would our society look like?

Combining these types of questions with general moral principle such as:
Empathy: “The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” That means I am able to understand the pain and hurt that my actions will have on another human being. Empathy is what causes me to not desire to harm another person.
Social perspective: Humans are social animals, and we’ve learned that some societies are better to live in than others.

We’ve become smart enough to figure out that societies that condone senseless violence are not as pleasant to live in. We also understand the concept of individual rights as it applies to a functioning society. That means that taking someone else’s life intrudes upon their right to live, just as someone taking my life intrudes upon my right to live. I am capable of understanding that since I would not want someone to take my life away from me, I should not take the life of another person. In Christianity this is called the Golden Rule, but it is a concept found in every religion and outside of religion as well.
Of course, we rarely have to sit down and sift through these questions and concepts every time we are faced with a moral dilemma. Most of the time these thought processes happen very quickly and even subconsciously. This is where our conscience comes from- our subconscious understanding of these concepts which we have evolved to understand.
As you can see, we are more than capable of determining what is right or wrong without the Bible’s guidance. But if you’re still not convinced, my other blog goes into more detail. https://lillyblack82888.wordpress.com/2013/12/02/morality-human-trait-or-divine-standard/

Masturbation: A Religious Obsession

masturbationBeing raised in fundamentalist circles, I grew up with the all too common teachings of sexual purity. I remember many youth group meetings where guys and gals were split up into separate groups to talk about the issues we were each supposed to be dealing with: Boys were taught about the evils of masturbation, fantasizing, and pornography, and girls were taught that they were responsible to dress modestly so they didn’t cause boys to lust over them.
But what they didn’t teach us is that girls masturbate too, that girls also fantasize and have sexual desires. This was a presented to us as a GUY’S issue, not a girl’s issue, because men were portrayed as naturally more sexual than women (not true). Men were normal for having sexual urges, but women’s sexuality wasn’t even addressed because it wasn’t supposed to even exist. A sexually minded woman was unusual and sinful!
Because of this, I considered myself especially deviant for having these urges. Girls weren’t even supposed to think that way, otherwise they’d talk to use about it, right? But I did, so I thought I must be a sex-obsessed freak.
The messages I received were very clear. Good Christian girls keep their minds and bodies pure for marriage. They don’t think about or engage in any kind of sexual activity. An ideal Christian girl was essentially devoid of sexual desires until she got married. Giving in to these urges was considered a great weakness and one of the worst spiritual failings you could possibly have, so of course I couldn’t talk about my “deviance” to anyone else! So I hid my shame, as so many other Christian girls like me did. If we did talk about it, it was in hushed tones behind closed doors and with tears as we confided about our secret “struggle”.
I remember being disgusted with myself when I masturbated. I felt so guilty and ashamed, for a few moments after almost hating myself for not having enough self-control to deny myself. I’d occasionally fantasize or masturbate, like any normal person after puberty, but I would feel awful about it. I thought there was something wrong with me. This shame and guilt stayed with me until well into adulthood.
I remember one time in particular, I was preparing to leave for a missions trip to Bulgaria. This was the summer after my first year in Bible College, I was almost 18 years old at the time. The night before my flight was due to leave, I looked up pictures online and masturbated. Part of me felt so relieved, I hadn’t done it in a long time (most of us know how those urges get pent up and how relaxing it is to satisfy them), but I also felt this overwhelming, crippling guilt too. I went on my trip and enjoyed it, but in the back of my mind I was terrified that I had compromised my ability to have a significant spiritual impact on the trip because I had “fallen” and given in to my sexual desires. I seriously thought that what I had done was so horrible that my spiritual effectiveness was diminished. Talk about shame!
Masturbation and fantasizing is not wrong, immoral, sinful, or deviant. Unless you’re asexual, you will most likely start to experience sexual attraction, desires, and fantasies after you hit puberty. You’ll experience these things because this is how our bodies work. Our bodies evolved to desire sex because that’s how our species procreates. Its NORMAL- animals do it, our bodies and minds are designed to enjoy and crave it, and there are even multiple health benefits associated with it (orgasms can make your period cramps less painful!) But no one told me that. No one told me that it wasn’t bad for me to have sexual thoughts and desires, all I heard was that fantasies and masturbation were bad and disgusting. And god forbid if you ever got curious and looked at dirty pictures! That was the worst thing you could EVER do! So I went through my teen and early adult years with tears and shame anytime I gave in and acted like a normal, red-blooded woman.
This fundamentalist obsession with sex causes immense guilt and harm. A life transition and experience that should have been beautiful and healthy was tainted by shame and self-hatred. This is what many youth groups are teaching kids- they are teaching them to hate their own bodies and minds for what comes naturally. What is your teen’s youth group teaching your child?
Don’t hate yourself for thinking sexual thoughts or enjoying your body. It feels good for a reason- not because it’s “sin” and “sin” feels good, but because that’s how our bodies work. Just like it feels good to eat food because our bodies need and desire it, it feels good to satisfy our sexual desires because our bodies need and desire it. Satisfying your sexual urges is no different than fulfilling your need for food; like eating, there are healthy and unhealthy ways to satisfy these urges. Be healthy, be safe, and enjoy your body and sexuality- they are nothing to be ashamed of.
Over these past years, I’ve realized that I am a very sexual person. I’ve thrown off the shackles of puritan modesty and rigid sexuality to embrace myself as I truly am- a woman who loves sex, and lots of it! Both with partners and without. Shame me if you want, but I’ve never been happier. Maybe a little self-love would do you some good. ;)