Sunday, March 11

Onward, Christian liar

I once met a guy who was an astronomer at a science museum. One of his main duties was speaking to groups of schoolchildren. Occasionally, groups of Christian homeschoolers visited. The parents would pull my acquaintance aside, and whisper: "Can you please leave out the stuff about the universe being billions of years old? We're believers in the Bible, and the Bible teaches us that the universe is 6,000 years old. That's what we're teaching our children."

Reminds me of a comedy routine -- maybe it was Steve Martin -- where the comedian brainstormed a diabolical idea: teach your kid that brown is called "red," and that red is called "green," and so on. Then have fun when the kid goes to kindergarten and makes a fool of himself.

All parents lie to their children, whether it's about the tooth fairy or why Spot disappeared. Many of these lies are harmless. But right-wing Christianists specialize in telling the most hurtful lies -- and not only to their children. They also enjoy taking advantage of vulnerable, pregnant girls and women. Our tax dollars go to pay for the distribution of these harmful lies.

Emily Minor reports in the Palm Beach Post that "faith-based pregnancy centers," where "counselors" are paid to lie to pregnant women so they won't get abortions, outnumber legitimate counseling centers and abortion clinics:

Abortion opponents are running thousands of centers, called crisis pregnancy centers — dispensing everything from baby clothes to free ultrasound pictures to prayer. There are as many as 4,000 crisis pregnancy centers in the U.S. and about 130 in Florida.
By comparison, about 1,800 centers in the U.S. provide abortions.

Florida contributes $2 million a year to pay for billboards, radio ads and training for these Christianist "counselors," and the state pays some crisis pregnancy centers $50 for each hour of face time that a "counselor" spends with a pregnant client. The state gives these Christianist pregnancy centers $4 for each phone call they receive.

The thing is, these "counselors" lie. They're so crooked they need corkscrews to put their clothes on in the morning. Minor writes:
The responsibilities of single parenting might be oversimplified. Counselors often connect abortion and breast cancer, even though today's leading medical researchers do not. Some activists tell women there's a good chance they'll miscarry after an abortion, and perhaps never have a baby at all.

And they push the rhythm method of birth control.

An abortion clinic in West Palm Beach asked clients if they had been to a crisis pregnancy center, and if so, what they were told. Only four women have filled out reports so far. One wrote: "(They) told me I could die from an abortion, that I would never have kids, preached religion, told me I should have the baby and put it up for adoption, told me I had a formed baby and how it was a sin."

Most of these places tell women that they'll get breast cancer if they get abortions, contrary to establish medical belief.

Right-wing Christians have a curious aversion to the truth. They know they lie, but they believe lying is the Christian thing to do. What would Jesus do? He would lie his head off, all day, every day, according to Christianists. Age of the universe? 6,000 years, according to the Christianists.. Global warming a problem? A bunch of nonsense, according to the Christianists.. Evolutionary biology is the most believable and useful theory of the development of life? All bullshit, according to the Christianists.

Right-wing Christians are not merely filling their children's heads with nonsense, setting up the poor youngsters for ridicule and dissillusionment when they get older. Christianists are filling up our discourse with lies. They do all of us harm. And taxpayers are paying them to do it.