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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Secularists and Pro-lifers, Unite!

Today's post was contributed by guest blogger Nick Reynosa.


Some people think the terms "secular" and "pro-life" are mutually exclusive, or even oppose each other. In fact it seems that both the secular and pro-life movements have come to view each other as foes, and not friends.

For example the Secular Coalition of America has stated that it opposes “policies that impose ideological views of gender roles, contraception, abortion, and other reproductive matters.” In the same vein the prominent pro-life group LifeSiteNews has argued that the abortion debate has been instigated by, “Secularists attempting to eliminate Christian morality and natural law principles which are seen as the primary obstacles to implementing their new world order.” The site further contends that abortion, homosexuality, and all “other moral life and family issues are interconnected in an international conflict.”

Why do we have this division? On the pro-life side I believe it’s because many pro-lifers are not exclusively anti-abortion; rather they espouse a greater Christian worldview, of which opposition to abortion is a pillar. Therefore, for some Christian pro-lifers, the conversion of the pro-choice mind is not the end in itself but rather a means to a greater end of helping people in need of a savior. And while pro-lifers tend to be pleased when secularists oppose abortion, they may see our varying positions on gay marriage, contraception, sex education, and pre-marital sex as problems, perhaps even threats, to the Christian worldview. 

But such positions are not the point of Secular Pro-Life; while many secularists are socially libertarian, we need not be libertines. In fact I expect the majority of non-religious pro-lifers, myself included, see monogamy and sexual responsibility as key aspects in ensuring the safety of the unborn.

And then on the secular side many, many secularists have distanced themselves from the just cause of fighting abortion, in large part because of the religious zeal associated with the pro-life movement. Some secularists see faith as intellectually and morally bankrupt, and so they have taken an ideological and contrarian view to values they associate with religion, regardless of the arguments involved. 

But being secular does not require being anti-religion. On the contrary, secularism can be wonderfully agnostic and pluralistic, while being unabashedly pro-empirical evidence. The only thing we need to be intolerant of is policy influenced by unsubstantiated facts. In this sense the secular movement should be just as open to people of faith as we are to fellow secularists, because we should be open to anyone making objective arguments.

What’s more, history shows us people of faith have a great deal to contribute to human rights causes. The main proponents of the British and American abolitionist movements, William Wilberforce and William Lloyd Garrison, held deeply Protestant beliefs. Dr. Martin Luther King, the leader of the civil rights movement, was a fervent Baptist minister. The catalyst of the Indian Independence movement, Mohandas Gandhi, was a devout Hindu. All of these men were greatly influenced by their faith, but the justness of their causes was validated by reason and the facts. Likewise, through science and reason, secularists must come to see the great human rights injustice being committed against the unborn.

As a movement we have much to look forward to. The arc of the moral universe, as Martin Luther King stated, is long, but it "bends toward justice.” We must always remember that only when members outside a disenfranchised group speak up is social change possible. It was a 100 percent male legislature that granted women the right to vote. It was nine white Supreme Court justices that overturned Brown v. Board of Education. Likewise, abortion in this country will change only when we who are born start standing up for the unborn. Here’s to pro-lifers of any faith and no faith standing up together.

16 comments:

argent said...

Hey, Secular Coalition of America, I oppose policies that impose ideological views of abortion, those not based in biological fact. That's why I'm pro-life.

Crystal Kupper said...

Yes!

Drew Hymer said...

Pro-aborts oppose forcing ideological views of abortion on others but this begs the question because it assumes the unborn don't exist as persons.

When a woman has an abortion, she, her husband and the abortionist are forcing, with lethal force, their ideological view on the unborn child.

ignorance_is_curable said...

I oppose ignorance and short-sighted thinking and prejudice and hypocrisy and irrationality and greed, and therefore I oppose all so-called "pro-life" arguments (which actually are genocidal in the long run), and some pro-choice arguments.

Michelle Ewing said...

Surely you don't oppose ALL pro-life arguments. If this were true, you would not have a basic understanding of biology, you would believe women should live in a world where abortion seems to be the only choice, and it was common for women to give themselves abortions with coat hangers! and that would be just the start of all the prejudice, hypocritical, irrational arguments, that contributed to a very greedy cause. That statement you made was very ignorant and short-sighted.

ignorance_is_curable said...

I should have been more precise. I oppose all pro-life arguments against abortion, relevant to this day-and-age. That means an argument about the basic biological human-ness of the unborn is irrelevant. Because it is not all of the biological argument. What of the additional biological fact that that human is purely an animal, no more of a person than a rat? It is purely Prejudice that assigns more characteristics to an unborn human, that what are actually there, in an attempt to oppose abortion.


The rest of your post makes no sense. To oppose abortion arguments is not the same thing as to support abortion.

Michelle Ewing said...

Did you know all humans are animals? That fact does not make there worth the same as a rat. The ZBEF is just as much as a person a black people were in 1867. despite being reliant on their owner, and viewed as having fewer characteristics, They are people, they just weren't legal people, so others could get away with free labor, abuse, and killings.

"women deserve better than abortion" "90% of abortions before roe were done by doctors" - these are pro-life statements, if you don't believe these to be true, you must believe, women should need abortion, because there is nothing better for them. you would also believe in the myth that abortion safety was improved because it became legal.

Guest said...

As much as I hate to poison the well, I think it should be noted that IIC has been around on other sites. He used to edit Wikipedia, where he was permanently blocked because his contributions to the project consisted solely of trolling pro-lifers and promoting cold fusion (otherwise known as pseudoscience):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Administrators%27_noticeboard/IncidentArchive729#Talk_page_trolling.2Fsoapboxing.2C_unrepentant_off-topic_battlegrounding_by_User:Objectivist

He also created an account on an online debate site, where you can find some of his finer work:

http://www.debate.org/elvroin_vonn_trazem/

This should decisively remove any doubt that IIC is anything other than a troll. I strongly suggest ignoring him.

Guest said...

But that shouldn't even be necessary. I mean c'mon... look at the username!

ignorance_is_curable said...

You are suffering from the Prejudiced fallacy that equates "human" with "person". Try that argument on whatever nonhuman emerges from the next flying saucer from outer space. The qualities that Objectively and Generically and Universally distinguish persons from mere animals, ANYWHERE, do not depend on the existence of human DNA. And unborn humans utterly lack those qualities!

ignorance_is_curable said...

I don't think you are poisoning a well. And we all know that Wikipedia has biased editors. So what if their opinions, backed up by their positions in the editing hierarchy, were different from my facts, and they could mis-use their positions to stifle those facts? All I need do is wait, and eventually the facts will end up in Wikipedia....

ignorance_is_curable said...

My username is accurate enough. Tell me your favorite anti-abortion argument, applicable to this day-and-age, and I will point out the places where you exhibit ignorance in believing that argument. ANY anti-abortion argument. (No, I have to revise that, because Religion-based arguments are not allowed here.) Maybe you should just go to fightforsense.wordpress.com, and see if you know of any anti-abortion argument that hasn't been destroyed there.

frankbellamy said...

As a former board member of the Secular Coalition for America (and a committed pro-choicer), I'd like to apologize for SCA's current stance on abortion and contraception. For most of SCA's history it was intentionally neutral on the abortion issue, because it recognized that there are atheists on both sides of the issue, that it's not just a matter of religious ideology, and is not something the secular movement can or should be united on. It is only in the last two years, under the new Executive Director, Edwina Rogers, that SCA has betrayed its purpose on this issue. Edwina is a liar and probably the worst thing to happen to the secular movement in recent memory. I still have hope that she may leave soon and SCA may be restored to sanity. Until then, all I can do is offer my apologies.

Kelsey said...

Hey, you don't need to apologize. The key word is FORMER board member!

m17l6s85 said...

How does a person become a board member for SCA? Just curious how that comes about.

frankbellamy said...

The SCA has a number of member organizations, which are all national secular organizations. I'm sure you can look up the list on their website. When I did it, each member organization just appointed a representative to serve on the SCA board. The bylaws have since been changed, so that now the member organizations elect the SCA board, but there are now fewer SCA board members than member organizations and a particular board member doesn't formally have divided loyalties to a particular member organization anymore. But the short answer is that you become an SCA board member by going through one of the member organizations. For me it was the Secular Student Alliance.