Sex, god, nukes and babies
As a self identified progressive and spiritual person I find myself constantly perplexed by the contradictions I see in the Christian neoconservative movement. I understand that because our views are different I will never fully understand their position on any issue but what has really gotten to me this week is the disconnect between their righteous indignation of sex and their tolerance of the current administration’s nuclear policy.
Let’s look at the argument for abstinence. They say there is no such thing as safe sex but they have no trouble proclaiming the safety of new nuclear weapons. Sex is never safe because condoms are only 99.9% effective in preventing pregnancy and the spread of HIV. RRW is safe despite the 100% likelihood that testing these nuclear weapons will put more cancer causing uranium into our water shed system depleting our earth and spreading disease.
What’s the likelihood these weapons will have to be tested? I say the chances are as good as they are that at least 10 teenagers will engage in sex before they graduate high school; in other words, very high changes indeed. New nuclear weapons will inevitably have to be tested because otherwise those who plan using them will have no idea how they work. If neoconservatives believe the risk of sex with condoms is so great, how can they not see the risk in new nuclear weapons?
Of course, we know that the abstinence only program is not about disease it’s about god’s will. God, apparently, does not think people should engage in sex unless it’s for procreation, the creation of life. They believe the lives of people are the most important thing to protect. They, neoconservatives, go so far as to say that a fetus is a life and must be protected by law. This fetus, which must be protected at all cost, is most at risk from nuclear fallout and uranium seeping into the water system. Look no further than birth defect rates in Ukraine for evidence. Infant mortality, debilitating birth defects, and increased infertility have left this country with a declining population after the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl. Even with all the horrible things nuclear material does to babies in the womb, I never saw Jerri Fallwell at an anti-nukes rally.
Only talking about sex and babies is really missing the main point. Nuclear weapons, whether new or old, are designed to kill people; people who, according to the faithful, were put here by a god that loves them. Neoconservatives seem to believe that god has favorites: fetuses, Americans, and Christians. They will tout the importance of saving lives from abortion and then proclaim we should use our nuclear weapons to kill the brown people for having nuclear weapons (which they are not sure they have).
Do you see the disconnect here, or am I crazy? I work with all sorts of religious types whom I respect for their beliefs, even if I don’t hold them myself. My mother, the priest, believes that god put us on this earth to be in community with one another and in doing so we are in community with god. All religious fundamentalists seem to believe the opposite – their sole purpose is to break up communities by drawing arbitrary lines to suit their taste. Life is sacred – as long as it’s a life we agree with. God created the earth – but, it is not our responsibility to be stewards of that earth. Science goes against gods will – unless that science enables us to kill people who do not believe the same things as us. It’s infuriating and I challenge any fundamentalist out there to hit me back with some of your hate speech – tell me why you think war is so good and nuclear weapons are so necessary. Then tell me why god supports you. I’d love to demonstrate your ignorance live and in blog.
Barbara, I appreciate your comments about the aftermath of Chernobyl. My organization works with survivors of Chernobyl, many of whom are still struggling to put their lives together after a disaster that struck not only medically, but economically as well. (The website above has info about what is happening in the region now.) We may not have seen the likes of Falwell at an anti-nuke rally, but I can attest that many people of faith — as well as secularists of course! — have responded vigorously to the challenges Chernobyl survivors face. Great blog! Kat
I was worried that my blog would be interpreted as reflecting on all people of faith. Let me assure you it is not. I have worked with and seen people of faith do amazing things for their community because of the call to service present in all major religions. I am especially humbled by these folks because they believe in the power of service to bring them closer to their god. I believe the work you do is priceless. These days people forget about nuclear fallout and talk callously about nuclear weapons having no idea the catastrophe they bring.
If I understand your post correctly, I think you’re trying to see how Christian neo-cons justify their contradicting positions. I think they’re simply incompatible and that they have an agenda they are pushing forward with (abstinence only education, anti-gay rights, increased defense spending) regardless of whether it always fits in with democratic or Christian values. Rarely, but not unheard of, you do get conservative Christians who are more consistent in applying their Christian beliefs by supporting environmental groups, abolishing the death penalty, working on poverty issues, international humanitarian issues, and so on.
But that’s the exception. So how does one counter the influence this conservative Christian/neocon ideology has on our country? I don’t know, I’d be interested to hear your ideas. For me I think it would just be to encourage secular and progressive citizens to be more vocal and active in democracy. Go to rallies, write letters to the editor, join the Sierra Club, Amnesty International, Planned Parenthood, PIRG, Common Cause or whichever progressive group you support and become more involved. I was also wondering- do you think our reliance on nuclear energy is much safer/better idea than having nuclear weapons?
You hit the nail on the head! I would only amend to say that it is not only Christian fundamentalists who need a good reality check but all religious fundamentalists (especially those who blow up Afghan diplomats and abortion clinics). What comes to mind as particularly disturbing is a picture from a book on Globalization of the infamous Osama Bin Laden. He is shown wearing a Timex watch (an American company made in a south Asian country where labor is exploited) holding a Russian-made automatic weapon. The picture was taken with a digital camera, and then broadcast all over the world via satellite. This man, who is so morally opposed to the hegemony of the U.S. and the influx of culture-squashing technology, is a huge contributor and user of the phenomena that is globalization. It baffles the mind how people can use religion to extort hate even with mounting evidence of hypocrisy.
It seems our country has been overrun by the Christian fundamentalists, yes, and like with the Taliban in Afghanistan it happened slowly – but before we knew it, it was too late. I like what you have to say about engaging secular and progressive folks to get out and vote. That is totally necessary and something Peace Action will be working on with its Peace Voter campaign. But I don’t just want to preach to the choir (don’t mind the pun). What I’d like to do is engage those fundamentalists where they are and take away the connection between the faithful and conservatives. Progressive values are exactly the values taught almost every major religious book: take care of each other, those who have the least are the most blessed, knowledge is power, believe in the power of good to overcome evil, cherish life, don’t judge, children are precious, life is fragile, we are all in it together.
I want to engage these topics and juxtapose them to our modern world. I can’t imagine a Christian, who believes that Jesus was sacrificed by a tyrannical Roman government, would turn around and say – “but it’s ok to kill our criminals.” I can’t see a Muslim, who believes it is the duty of all Muslims to seek out knowledge, denying education to women. I can’t picture a Jew who, above all, believes that god only burdens us with what we can bear would look into the eyes of a lesbian and say “you do not deserve to be protected from discrimination and hate crimes.” I can’t see any of them saying “poor children do not deserve health care.” But they do – millions of the faithful do this everyday. They deny our humanity under the false pretense of divinity. It is our job to call them on their BS in the most respectful way possible. It is our duty to challenge their faith in our modern world. They will resist and we will persevere. So, my challenge to you: go hug a fundamentalist, tell them you love them and ask them why they don’t love all humans – as god intended.
On the nukes and power — NOPE.
Emphatically, I have to say that nuclear anything is kinda a bad idea. A number of factors contribute: environmental, health, global security, ect. Whether used for energy or weaponry enriched uranium is a danger to our world. It has been proven time and time again. You read about Chernobyl, there’s Three Mile Island, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki – all still reeling from nuclear fallout from either energy or bombs. I do believe we need sustainable energy but I do not think that nuclear energy will provide the key. We need to look to how the earth sustains itself (there’s a lot of power there).
Also, I hate that science is bastardized by the military industrial complex. One scientist thought – “hey, I wonder what happens when I split this atom?” The General thought “I bet we can kill a lot of people with that.” Cat’s Cradle, one of my favorite books really brings this concept home.
You are trying to take something that is highly sensitive and dangerous (Nuclear weapons) and compare it with something that is not necessarily dangerous, but stupid (underage sex). I don’t see the merit in this argument.
“New nuclear weapons will inevitably have to be tested because otherwise those who plan using them will have no idea how they work.”
No necessarily. Do you have to “Test” something that has been tested in the past in order to know how to use newer models? For example… If you have driven a car in the 60’s, can you be told how to drive a 2008 car fresh out of the factory? YES.
You pass the knowledge down from person to person.
You say that Uranium is a danger to our world… That’s great, but it is an element that occurs in nature, and we are going to have it around for a while. You can’t just “poof” it away to the netherworld. Humanity now has the knowledge to create nuclear weapons, you can thank Einstein and Oppenheimer for that, but you cannot get rid of that knowledge. By the way, Einstein was a hardcore peace junkie, so why on Earth did he help build the bomb one might ask!!?? Because he wanted America to get it before the NAZI’s. He knew the knowledge was there and that ultimately someone would have it. A true reflection of his genius…
Even if you eliminate the weapon, you will still have what it takes for a rogue to bring it back; the knowledge, and the resources…
You also said that “Science goes against God’s will-Unless that science enables us to kill people who do not believe the same thing as us.”
I loved how Christians always get sucked into this argument… Very well.
Aren’t you taking a life when you abort a fetus? Classic argument, and I have still heard no great answer for it…
Using your logic I could come to the conclusion that using science to kill is ok, just so long as there is a detached element to the killing or if the person who decides to implement the killing determines that it is in the best interest of the parties involved….
How do you think a mom would feel if she had to insert the screw into the child’s skull, and pull it from her womb herself? It is just for the good of the mom right.
Let us now envision if OUR mothers had used their “right to choose”, I’m sure you would be respectful of her decision right?
I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to respond to this post. I’ve been a bit swamped but I want to address some of your questions briefly.
1. The testing: You’re making a false analogy here when you compare driving a 60’s car to driving a car from 2007. The proper analogy here is in the maintenance of the car. Actually, with the new computer systems in cars today older mechanics are constantly running into issues that make it difficult to perform basic fixes they would have on older cars. Shooting off a nuclear bombs is not at all like driving a car. It’s a practice of physics, mechanical engineering, and a host of other complex sciences that DO require testing be done before the actual use of the weapon.
2. Uranium as a natural element: Yes, this is an element commonly found in our earth, but, as the Bush administration has made perfectly clear the issue is ENRICHED URANIUM. That is the kind used for nuclear weapons and power and IT is what causes cancer and birth defects in massive amounts. That is not naturally occurring but a human invention.
3. Einstein & Nuclear Scientists: No you cannot close pandoras box once you’ve opened it. But the U.S. Congress (repubs and dems alike) recognize that it is essential for sustainable peace that nuclear scientists are engaged in nuclear technologies not associated with bombs. The Nunn-Luger bill (passed over 15 years ago) concentrates on redirecting nuclear scientists in the former Soviet Union into non-nuclear weapons sciences. I worked for a government organization focused specifically on this with an added bonus of investing in innovation to spur floundering economies. This project has moved into Western Asia and I hope it will also move into the US. We can use our knowledge for something other than killing. In fact it is essential we do.
4. Killing: You completely misinterpret me. I was drawing the conclusion that people who are so set about stopping DNCs (medical term for what we know as an abortion) are also (in many cases) supporters of the U.S. nuclear program. I find that disingenuous and contradictory. I was simply drawing your attention to the irony. I have not spoken out on my opinion on DNCs but I have spoken out on nuclear weapons. I think they are lethal, destructive beyond measure and bad for our global community.
5. As to DNCs: You wonder how a mother would feel if she had to perform the procedure herself. Actually, here you are correct. In areas where DNCs are illegal women take drastic measures to perform the procedure in the illicit economy. They use coat hangers or pay fake doctors to perform the procedure in unsanitary conditions. They pay people to beat them up, and take medications which cause ulcers. They die more often than not when taking these steps. Allowing a legal avenue for a procedure like this is the only way to promote healthy pregnancies and mothers.
6. Don’t make this personal. My mother has nothing to do with this discussion, neither does yours.
I love your argument becuase it works both ways. It is disingenuos and contradictory to be in favor of abortion and opposed to nuclear weapons. Your whole argument is that nuclear weapons cause horrible things to the fetus. How can you argue this while maintaining that abortion is a good thing?
You know what else does horrible things to babies in the womb? Car accidents. Are you going to argue that we should stop driving cars also? There is such a thing called a calculated risk. Bad things happen in car accidents, but we still drive becuase the chance of that happening is less of a cost than the benefit from driving. Nuclear technology comes with risks, but the benefits are great. Life would suck if everything that came with a risk was not allowed.
I never said abortion was a good thing. I said it was a medical procedure that can be done safely or not. I never disclosed my personal feelings about DNCs.
How in the world are you comparing cars to nuclear weapons? That is one of the most asinine comparisons I’ve ever heard. Nuclear weapons are solely used to kill people — that is the calculated risk. How many people could we kill? Is there a chance that having these particulars types of bombs will prevent another country from using theirs on us? That is the only calculation — who can kill more people sooner.
Cars on the other hand do lots of wonderful things and lot of bad things (including providing an opportunity to get into accidents). Our society cannot survive without this mode of transportation but we can survive (and will survive longer I believe) if we get rid of nuclear weapons.
No, the calculated risk with nuclear weapons, is if you get rid of them, what is to stop another country from using them on you…?
Since nuclear weapons are already distributed throughout the world, it is far more dangerous not to have them…
“How in the world are you comparing cars to nuclear weapons? That is one of the most asinine comparisons I’ve ever heard.” Ah, but you have heard of it 🙂 You go on to explain why it is that kind of comparison, doesn’t this mean you know exactly what it is to be an ass? In which case you would be the expert ass…
Anyways a nuclear weapon is used to defend teh United States power. I can guarantee that if we did not have them we would have very little of the influence we currently possess. Now if Russia wants to attack the U.S and they see that we have nuclear weapons they are going to be like, oh shit that would be asinine of us to attack them cause we would kill ourselves in the process. Now is this a bad thing? I guess that has to be answered individually on the basis of wether you want your country to rule itself or be ruled. Personally I have to say I enjoy the freedoms we have here and I would not give them up so easily. And becuase nuclear weapons protect the freedoms we have here in the U.S to me they accomplish a wonderful thing.
“Our society cannot survive without this mode of transportation but we can survive if we get rid of nuclear weapons.” Wow, you really are the expert ass. We can’t survive without cars? I am pretty sure all those years before 1900 we were surviving just fine. And then you ascertain that we can survive if we get rid of nuclear weapons. Well of course we can survive, just as easily as slaves survive under their masters 😉
While I understand your point that nuclear weapons are distributed around the world I counter that the U.S. has an obligation, as the only global hegemonic power, to be at the forefront of nuclear abolition. I contend a dynamically opposite position of you. I believe in a domino effect of abolition. Just as during the Cold war the U.S. and Soviet powers forced each other to bolster their munitions and nuclear capacity THE OPPOSITE would work for abolition. If we disarm others will follow because they no longer feel the threat of U.S. nuclear weapons. The international community doesn’t trust the U.S. with nukes anymore than the U.S. trusts other states with them. If we disarm they will too. But that’s just my opinion. You may have a differing one.
Firstly, if you are going to participate in this conversation I would ask you do not make personal attacks. Asinine means foolish and has nothing to do with the slang word for buttocks or the animal also known as the donkey.
Either way the comment about the cars was the first time I had heard the comparision and I believe I successfully reputed it. I don’t understand what you mean by “You go on to explain why it is that kind of comparison, doesn’t this mean you know exactly what it is to be an ass?” That is not a complete sentence – although I think you may want to break it into two that contain both a subject and a predicate.
I’ll speak to our influence globally. We, the United States, are the largest economy, and the most pervasive global consumers. We hold one of 5 permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto other members. The standard international language is English and the currency is the U.S. dollar. Our culture (through movies, chain restaurants, and television) is broadcast all over the world, AND we have an army larger than all other nation’s armies put together. I do not think our global influence will be that much deterred by the abolition of our nuclear weapons. China, India, and yes (as you point out) Russia do have a chance of taking our illustrious position – but it will be a long road and many, many years before they are successful. It took us 50 years to get here.
…and about cars. I meant in this day and age, not in 1900. Today we have cities and global commerce that depend on modes of transportation like cars and planes. Our society, since the industrial revolution, has been dependant on them. We cannot ask the entire world to go back to 1900. We can ask that we use our innovation to come up with alternative solutions to modern problems.
Thanks for correcting my grammar. I guess my comparison is really bad huh. Well anyways the point I was trying to make is that nuclear weapons are a very big part of our national defense. As a vital part of our defense the very small risks they bring with them during their testing is something that we are willing to gamble with.
The dominoe theory, um, it is a bit simple don’t you think. Pretend for instance that Iran obtains nuclear weapons, and then the U.S disarms and has none. You argue that Iran no longer feels a nuclear threat from the U.S, so they will disarm also. The problem is, if Iran disarms they will be severely weaker, and susceptible to an american invasion, correct? Instead of convincing Iran to disarm it will do the opposite, and provide them with an incentive to keep them.
“While I understand your point that nuclear weapons are distributed around the world I counter that the U.S. has an obligation, as the only global hegemonic power, to be at the forefront of nuclear abolition.”
But if you had your way there would be no superpowers, who leads the world if we are all equal? And still you acknowledge that the US NEEDS to lead the world into an era of peace. You can’t have it both ways…
“I believe in a domino effect of abolition.. If we disarm others will follow because they no longer feel the threat of U.S. nuclear weapons. If we disarm they will too.”
This is risky business. You assume, that others will follow. What is their incentive? What is in it for them to give all of there defensive and offensive capabilities up? The US will still be numero uno. In fact, the US will become less powerful in relation to them because, if they hung on to their nukes…
Following the laws of human nature which basically say, “secure your necessities, then conquer” one can pretty much guess, that if the top dog (The United States) is suddenly defenseless, the other dogs in the pack, (which have their defenses squared away) are going to start looking for “opportunities of advancement.”
Yes, maybe there will be a day where humans become all lovey-dovey lower all their defenses, to go and greet their potential assassins with open arms, but that day seems far off. As of today, humans are perfectly content with killing each other mercilessly, and it would be quite foolish to throw away the one thing keeping a large number of them from doing it, assuming that the bad guys will suddenly see the light and stop butchering there fellow brethren.
You should not be worried about a world war three where nukes are used for the fighting, but rather a world war three that is fought because fools forfeited their nukes to stop the war…
Yours interpretation may be your opinion miss, but mine is logic. I try to keep opinion out of the equation when the fate of humanity is involved… Peace.
“as·i·nine” adj: “Of, relating to, or resembling an ass.”
Ah, more liberal “truth”…
as·i·nine Listen to the pronunciation of asinine
Latin asininus, from asinus ass
1 : extremely or utterly foolish 2 : of, relating to, or resembling an ass
Ok, you caught me. I used the primary definition without acknowledging the secondary. I never ment to imply you were an ass – just foolish.
“Following the laws of human nature which basically say, “secure your necessities, then conquer.” Absolutely, (although I don’t that’s basic human nature…I think it has more to do with procreation and necessities) and this, Little Man, (since you called me Miss I feel it’s only appropriate) is the crux of my abolition argument. No longer do we live in a world where military might is the primary source of power. The GLOBAL ECONOMY is the primary source of influence and therefore power. The simple fact is no one will bomb the U.S. with nuclear weapons because we consume and pay for more global goods than any other single country. The EU is a bigger market when taken together but per capita they can’t compete with our consumption.
What prevents war and nuclear war especially is the understanding of dire consequences, not just in the short term but in the longer term as well: to the environment, to global health and to the world economy. It is only the U.S. that tries to bend the will of the world through military might. Take all the nations with military budgets and combine those monies – you may come close to the military budget in our Untied States. Eliminating our nuclear stockpile will not threaten our military hegemony.
Now, let’s address this Iran issue brought up by your friend. Did you not read the major headlines just weeks ago? The National Intelligence Estimate (conducted by the CIA and other U.S. investigative bodies – 12 other bodies actually) on Iran proves conclusively that they do not have a nuclear weapons program. Iran could not start a nuclear weapons program anytime soon. They are no less rational about the use of nuclear weapons than any other state. THAT’S THE U.S. GOVERNMENT SAYING THAT. Stop listening to the Bush trash and his media dogs. Listen to the CIA, State Dept., Defense Dept., and a host of other bodies. The only danger from Iran is on the seas near their boarder where their ships are harassing our ships and versa visa. I’ve heard about this first hand from women and men who have been there. This danger could be eradicated by diplomatic talks without conditions – that’s how the new world order (which is coming whether or not you like it) operates – through diplomacy. We cannot exist without one another anymore.
It is in our interest to stay at peace with Iran not only because of Iraq. Again, I go to the global economy. Iran provides China with oil. China provides us with goods and currency to sustain our bloated lifestyles. China cannot run without Iranian oil.
“As of today, humans are perfectly content with killing each other mercilessly, and it would be quite foolish to throw away the one thing keeping a large number of them from doing it, assuming that the bad guys will suddenly see the light and stop butchering there fellow brethren.” Who are these bad guys? You think we can nuke Osama? We can’t even find him. Charles Taylor slaughtered his people mercilessly. Is he a threat to the U.S.? Should we just bomb Sudan because there is a civil war? You can make peace with bombs – logical fact.
Again, your simplistic view of global issues is clear. You only have in mind Iran, Iraq, and the U.S. when you talk about global ‘bad guys’ and ‘good guys’. You make generalizations about the world without taking into account the whole world. How about Russia, who unilaterally agreed with us to disarm from the 1980’s on? How about North Korea, where diplomacy has put a halt on their nuclear program? Why are there good guys and bad guys? Why is it that the bad guys always seem to be Arab and we’ll have diplomatic talks as long as you’re not Arab?
According to gain theory your assumption is false and not all based in logic. You know what it says, there are only self interested actors. Those actors do what they can to secure a place in the global sunshine. The world today is lit by money not bombs. The U.S. must move from our archaic system of bullying and start working with other states like businesswomen. We negotiate, we hold our cards close to us and we concede compromises that provide the most gain for all parties involved. Those are good business practices. There is no place for war in the new economic age. My logic is we thrive when we act to meet our interests while appealing to the interests of others.
“Again, your simplistic view of global issues is clear. You only have in mind Iran, Iraq, and the U.S. when you talk about global ‘bad guys’ and ‘good guys’. You make generalizations about the world without taking into account the whole world. How about Russia, who unilaterally agreed with us to disarm from the 1980’s on? How about North Korea, where diplomacy has put a halt on their nuclear program? Why are there good guys and bad guys? Why is it that the bad guys always seem to be Arab and we’ll have diplomatic talks as long as you’re not Arab? ”
This paragraph is a perfect example of modern liberal thought. You ASSUME that I only speak of Iran, Iraq, and the US. When in reality I speak of the globe. It would seem that you are the one fixated on those specific locations.
The fact of the matter is, the “bad guys” are not so plain to see. For example, have you been following events in Russia? Putin is in the process of consolidating his power and his is not overly fond of the United States, not to mention the fact that he sits on the second largest stash of intercontinental ballistic missiles in the world. What does Russia have to lose by eliminating the US and her allies, should they disarm…? Nothing. On the other hand what does Russia have to gain?
Then there is Pakistan, which is in turmoil… and also in the possession of nukes. Not to mention India, and those to nations have been pointing their guns at one another with itchy trigger fingers for quite some time.
Another issue I must touch on is this theory, that the “global economy” is the primary source of influence and power is quite, forgive me, asinine… The US received much of its oil from Iraq prior to the invasion in 2003, yet the US still INVADED. Despite the massive flow of oil coming form the country. And also according to liberal theory, we are in Iraq for that oil. One must then assume, that in stead of spending money on this all-powerful “global trade” it is far easier for a country with a strong military to simply take what it needs for free. After all, free is the best price.
Bad guys are not just Arabs, and this is my point to you. There are many people who look at the United States with hungry eyes, people who would love to see Americans face down in a pool of their own blood. If you are standing face to face with a rapist, or a murderer, or just a shady character in general, do you put down your hand gun that you keep for self-defense and assume that they are going to do the same?
Do you appeal to the rapist good nature? Or the murderers? Not all countries in this world are as well structured as ours. The rest of the world is quite unstable, and the possession of nuclear weapons by the most stable country in the world (US), whether you like it or not, is the one thing that guarantees some stability in the world.