(This blog post is a transcript of this video:)
I was asked by a prominent member of the secular community to take a look at a group that has dubbed itself “Secular Pro-life”, a group that is tabling at the 2014 Salt Lake City Atheist Convention and makes the claim that all of their arguments against abortion are secular and non-religious in nature.
This is a topic that I’ve always found rather fascinating. I was raised in a strict Judaic upbringing so I’ve always considered the pro-life position on abortion law to represent a two-fold threat; a threat to not just the rights of women but to the right of my religious group of upbringing to practice their religious beliefs when it comes to abortion.
I was also once one of those young men who were placed in the unfortunate position of having to fight his way past protesters to help take a loved one to have a needed abortion, an abortion that she would die without. So I’ve always had a multi-faceted interest in the abortion issue and over the years have done a certain amount of study on the topic. I was genuinely curious because while I’ve heard quite a few arguments against abortion that claim to be secular in nature, as of yet none of those arguments that have been presented to me have been logically consistent. In fact the presentations of the majority of alleged secular arguments against abortion are distinctly religious in nature.
When I say; “religious in nature”, I’m not talking about the promotion of a claim to divinely inspired knowledge that comes to humanity as a commandment that abortion is murder. I’m speaking about a religious belief that despite having its origins in Catholic doctrine, a religion that revamped and reestablished its position on abortion around the turn of the 20th Century (a position in America that was driven largely by Protestant vs Catholic politics) the anti-abortion religious belief has over the past century evolved into what has become an entirely new religion.
That new religion is the religion of Fetus Worship.
In some ways Fetus Worship is very similar to the Catholicism it originated from. The Fetus has been given a place of reverence and worship that transcends that of the everyday person, much like the canonized saints of Catholicism. Like the more lurid versions of the Sacred Heart Jesus icons, (the icon many of you know as the bleeding heart Jesus) followers of the Pro-life religion take graphic images and display them in an effort to shock and evoke an emotional response from both fellow worshippers and the often startled and dismayed non-believers.
Often these images are offset by pictures of beautiful, innocent children, very similar to the iconic imagery that is the Madonna and baby Jesus.
They have a priesthood that creates their doctrine and spreads it to their followers who repeat that doctrine dogmatically, in the face of all logic and reason. In an effort to gain converts they go out of their way to mislead the general public, misrepresenting facts and statistics or just creating them out of thin air. In this they have a great deal in common with Scientology, another religion that lays claim to a secular, science-based doctrine.
Like almost all religions, at some time or other a portion of their followers have descended into fanaticism and resorted to terrorism and violence. Not just the more subtle forms of terrorism that consist of intimidation tactics such as stalking patients or for example staking out the homes of doctors and giving fliers to those doctors neighbors or pressuring the community to take part in the ritual known as “shunning”, but the more violent form of terrorism that consists of thousands of incidents of not just attempted arson, and attempted bombings, but also successful arson, successful bombings, a slew of bomb threats and vandalism, and a number of murders in the name of the being they worship: the Fetus.
Their open-air churches are the parking lots and sidewalks in front of abortion clinics, they have non-believer outreach centers which are dedicated to indoctrinating pregnant women into the ways of fetus worship. These centers are an unusual form of cult since the indoctrination is only required to hold out for a maximum of less than nine months.
All of the above are common characteristics displayed by many religious groups; the pro-life movement contains them all. Given the gradual growth of the Pro-life religion in America I found the prospect of this anti-abortion group alleging to be entirely secular intriguing.
I spent some time browsing their site, looking at the writings by some of their bloggers. From what I saw the arguments and tactics being used by secularpro-life are the same tactics that Christian groups such as Operation Rescue use. The presentation is more sanitized and civilized but nevertheless it is the same.
What will now follow over the next few weeks and months will be a series of blogs and videos that examine secular-pro-life and show that they are in fact, members of this new religion, the religion of Fetus Worship, that the tactics and arguments they use are no different than those used by the anti-abortion religious organizations out there who have been attempting, quite successfully, to shift the dialogue that is the abortion debate from a religious debate to the appearance of a scientific-philosophical debate. Something they have so far proven quite adept at doing at great cost to all Americans.
I see the creation of a group claiming to be entirely secular and pro-life to be the final, natural stage in the social development of an issue that started almost two centuries ago. From a strictly socially empirical perspective, their coming into being is quite exciting; you don’t often get to witness the start of a new religion. But from an ethical stand point I find what they’re doing quite unacceptable.
As to Secular pro-life tabling at the American Atheist convention? If after examining the facts as I present them you accept my argument that they are in fact, a new form of religion then no, they do not belong there. If you do not agree with my conclusions, then whether they belong there or not depends entirely on the nature of what the American Atheist Convention is and what it represents. While my presentation of secular pro-lifeism as a newly identified religion may be a radical concept my criticisms of their logic and reason are not and if American Atheists represents solely atheists then you could argue they do belong there. Being an atheist does not make you exempt from having illogical and irrational beliefs that are based on poor logic and dogmatic thinking.
But if the American Atheist Convention lays some sort of claim to not just secular thinking but also critical thinking, logic and reason? Then that is another matter entirely. Regardless, I do look forward to meeting the members of the secular pro-life alliance at the American Atheist Convention this April.
If you’re interested in hearing more, then subscribe to this channel as well as my blog where I’ll be placing a transcript of this video for those who prefer reading to listening.
Follow me on: