Sunday, December 20, 2015

Christian terrorist kills three in Colorado

On Nov. 27, Robert Lewis Dear (57), a self-proclaimed Christian with a history of anti-Planned Parenthood activity and abuse of women, went armed to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He opened fire and killed two people who were accompanying their friends to the clinic: Jennifer Markovsky (35) and Ke'Arre Stewart (29), an Iraq War veteran who used his last breaths to warn others to take cover. When police came, Dear shot dead one of them, Garrett Swasey (44), before being arrested.

Each victim had two children. Because of the murderer's rampage, two children will grow without a mother and four other children will grow without a father.

Dear's motivation: his anti-abortion views. (Planned Parenthood is the main provider of abortion services in the USA.) By cruel irony, such views are designated by the euphemism "pro-life". I also suspect that racism was involved in his choice of targets, because he is white while Ms. Markovsky was Hawaiian and Mr. Stewart was black.

To me, and to anyone of he meanest understanding, abortion is a basic human right. It reflects the woman's autonomy over her own body. I am not going to discuss the pain perception and cognitive abilities of human embryos and fetuses at different stages of prenatal development. For the argument's sake, let's presume that the fetus to be aborted is as conscious as you and me. Does this give him the right to live? No, because he cannot live on his own, and no human being is obliged to support another one by her own body.

If some patient with a rare blood group has suffered heavy blood loss and you happen to have the same blood group, should you be tied to a bed and forced to donate blood? No, you shouldn't. Nobody would even consider doing this to you, though the health impact of a blood donation is negligible, compared to that of a pregnancy plus birth. Moreover, in most countries - actually, in all countries I know - even the organs of a dead person, no longer useful to him, cannot be taken for transplantation unless family members consent or the deceased himself has stated such a wish before his death. Patients with kidney disease may be dying, but the organs that could save their lives are instead left in the corpse and cremated or put in a grave to rot.

Of all humans, pregnant women alone are reduced to a subhuman status and regarded as mere baby incubators, that is, tools to support the lives of other humans regarded as superior. Why? The answer is simple: because of religion. I know only one group opposing abortion on non-religious grounds, and it is the disability activists. This is actually a reason why I distanced myself from disability advocacy. I don't want to be around people whose agenda includes shaming or forcing women to carry to term disabled babies whom they do not want. However, the Colorado Springs murderer was no disability activist. As Wikipedia reports, "Dear voiced on several occasions his support for radical Christian views and interpretations of the Bible, and praised people who attacked abortion providers, saying they were doing "God's work." He also described members of the Army of God, a loosely organized group of anti-abortion Christian extremists that has claimed responsibility for a number of killings and bombings, as heroes." Dear was the products of a culture where Christian fundamentalists obsessed with looking into women's wombs still enjoy moral authority, and abortion-related attacks make news only if lethal, otherwise they are business as usual.

In destroying three human lives, "pro-life" Robert Dear was driven by his religious convictions and apparently eager to instill fear in survivors. So he is, by definition, a terrorist. His crime must be denounced for what it is, not just a triple murder but also an act of domestic Christian terrorism. And Christians should think how to stand against such atrocities, as well as the entire "pro-life" madness.


6 comments:

William Moulton said...

Maya,

I don't have the right to tell a woman what to do with her body. That said; I believe abortion is wrong. Hmm, where does that leave me in this issue?

Am I right in saying your argument boils down to; "Does this give (the festus) the right to live? No, because he cannot live on his own, and no human being is obliged to support another one by her own body." Okay, but what about after birth. In many societies the child would be dependent on her mother's body for milk for some time. Does this argument support infanticide?

Bill

Maya M said...

You are pro-choice.
I know many pro-choicers who, like you, believe abortion is wrong. They would never make one, if female, or put their partner in a position to consider one, if male.
On the other hand, I have a friend who is such a staunch believer in choice and freedom that she thinks a woman has no moral right to give birth without the father's consent. In other words, if an unplanned pregnancy happens and the man doesn't want to become a father, the woman (according to my friend) should abort the baby even if she wants him, otherwise it would be unfair to the man.
My views are somewhere in between. I know too much about human development and also about the world of infertility to take abortion lightly. On the other hand, I admit that I consider abortion the best choice in some cases (e.g. if the mother's life is endangered or if the child has an incurable, progressive, ultimately lethal disorder).

Maya M said...

I've thought the same about infanticide in ancient societies, and in some modern ones - that it was/is their equivalent of family planning and abortion.
If the parents decide to keep the child, in the societies in which no good alternative of breastmilk existed/exists, the mother is obliged to breastfeed him as well as she can. Not that goodwill guarantees adequate breastmilk supply.
http://www.skepticalob.com/2015/08/this-is-what-not-enough-breastmilk-looks-like.html
If the parents do not want the child, I think they have the right to renounce their parental rights and responsibilities. There must be a place where to leave such children without dooming them to certain death.

Maya M said...

"This applies, however, only to those who are within the specified age: after that we allow them to range at will, except that a man may not marry his daughter or his daughter's daughter, or his mother or his mother's mother; and women, on the other hand, are prohibited from marrying their sons or fathers, or son's son or father's father, and so on in either direction. And we grant all this, accompanying the permission with strict orders to prevent any embryo which may come into being from seeing the light; and if any force a way to the birth, the parents must understand that the offspring of such an union cannot be maintained, and arrange accordingly."

Plato, Republic, Book V

William Moulton said...

Maya,

Interesting observation; I never thought about the fact I am "pro-choice" Don't tell anyone at church! Ha ha!

Bill

Maya M said...

I won't!