Tuesday, July 29, 2008

McCain Scores Zero on Reproductive Rights

A tip from Sharon Billings and Terry Sandbek, referencing a post by Ariana Huffington as well as the NARAL website:

John McCain's record on reproductive rights couldn't be more appalling. There, we said it! We said it because the corporate media won't confront McCain on the real issues in this election. They won't tell you, for instance, that McCain has consistently received a big fat zero from NARAL on its pro-choice scorecard. Nor will they tell you that McCain has flip-flopped on Roe v. Wade and now supports overturning this all-too-crucial case.

Domestic Violence Rooted in the Bible

This just in from Sharon Billings in Sacramento, who comments "Get ready to upchuck."

The website calls itself "ethicsdaily.com".

Southern Baptist Scholar Links Spouse Abuse to Wives' Refusal to Submit to Their Husbands

Bob Allen06-27-08

One reason that men abuse their wives is because women rebel against their husband's God-given authority, a Southern Baptist scholar said Sunday in a Texas church.
Bruce Ware, professor of Christian theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said women desire to have their own way instead of submitting to their husbands because of sin.

"And husbands on their parts, because they're sinners, now respond to that threat to their authority either by being abusive, which is of course one of the ways men can respond when their authority is challenged--or, more commonly, to become passive, acquiescent, and simply not asserting the leadership they ought to as men in their homes and in churches," Ware said from the pulpit of Denton Bible Church in Denton, Texas.

In North Texas for a series of sermons at the church on "Biblical Manhood & Womanhood," Ware described his "complementarian" view as what "Southern Seminary as a whole represents."

Commenting on selected passages from the first three chapters of Genesis, Ware said Eve's curse in the Garden of Eden meant "her desire will be to have her way" instead of her obeying her husband, "because she's a sinner."

What that means to the man, Ware said, is: "He will have to rule, and because he's a sinner, this can happen in one of two ways. It can happen either through ruling that is abusive and oppressive--and of course we all know the horrors of that and the ugliness of that--but here's the other way in which he can respond when his authority is threatened. He can acquiesce. He can become passive. He can give up any responsibility that he thought he had to the leader in the relationship and just say 'OK dear,' 'Whatever you say dear,' 'Fine dear' and become a passive husband, because of sin."

Ware said God created men and women equally in God's image but for different roles.

"He has primary responsibility for the work and the labor and the toil that will provide for the family, that will sustain their family," he said. "He's the one in charge of leadership in the family, and that will become difficult, because of sin."

Ware also touched on a verse from First Timothy saying that women "shall be saved in childbearing," by noting that the word translated as "saved" always refers to eternal salvation.

"It means that a woman will demonstrate that she is in fact a Christian, that she has submitted to God's ways by affirming and embracing her God-designed identity as--for the most part, generally this is true--as wife and mother, rather than chafing against it, rather than bucking against it, rather than wanting to be a man, wanting to be in a man's position, wanting to teach and exercise authority over men," Ware said. "Rather than wanting that, she accepts and embraces who she is as woman, because she knows God and she knows his ways are right and good, so she is marked as a Christian by her submission to God and in that her acceptance of God's design for her as a woman."

Ware cited gender roles as one example of churches compromising and reforming doctrines to accommodate to culture.

"It really has been happening for about the past 30 years, ever since the force of the feminist movement was felt in our churches," Ware said.

He said one place the "egalitarian" view--the notion that males and females were created equal not only in essence but also in function--crops up is in churches that allow women to be ordained and become pastors.

Ware said gender is not theologically the most important issue facing the church, but it is one where Christians are most likely to compromise, because of pressure from the culture.

"The calling to be biblically faithful will mean upholding some truths in our culture that they despise," he said. "How are we going to respond to that? We are faced with a huge question at that point. Will we fear men and compromise our faith to be men-pleasers, or will we fear God and be faithful to his word--whatever other people think or do?"

Ware offered 10 reasons "for affirming male headship in the created order." They include that man was created first and that woman was created "out of" Adam in order to be his "helper." Even though the woman sinned first, Ware said, God came to Adam and held him primarily responsible for failure to exercise his God-given authority.

Ware also said male/female relationships are modeled in the Trinity, where in the Godhead the Son "eternally submits" to the Father.

"If it's true that in the Trinity itself--in the eternal relationships of Father, Son and Spirit, there is authority and submission, and the Son eternally submits to the will of the Father--if that's true, then this follows: It is as Godlike to submit to rightful authority with joy and gladness as it is Godlike to exert wise and beneficial rightful authority."

Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.

Also see:
Speaker Chastised Over Criticism of 'Biblical Patriarchy' at SBC SeminarySouthern Baptist Leaders' Comments Echo 'Biblical Patriarchy' Theology

Monday, July 28, 2008

Women Making Choices in Brazil

With Maria Riveros and her daughter in mind, I continued my vacation, flying to Rio de Janeiro and soon enjoying an evening performance of Brazilian dance, from samba to capoeira.

Brazilians are sometimes called the world’s most joyous people, and that infectious joy was evident in the dancers’ smiles and energy in glamorous and scanty carnival costume.

But my Lonely Planet guidebook informed me that there is another side to that abundant and joyful sexuality: “Nearly one in two women of child-bearing age has been sterilized in Brazil… Although abortions are illegal in Brazil—except in cases of rape and maternal health risks—an estimated 1 million are performed each year (often with substantial health risks)” p. 54.

Looking at the young beautiful dancers, I wondered which of them had chosen sterilization or at-home abortion in order to continue their profession without interruption. Birth control pills are available over the counter in Brazil to those who can afford them, but there is a high rate of contraceptive failure.

The World Facts Index reports 64 million Brazilian women of ages 15-64 out of a population of about 190 million. If say 50 million are of child-bearing age but half are sterilized, that would mean one million abortions per year among 25 million women—for fertile women, a 1/25 chance each year of undergoing a risky, unsanitary abortion.

As a result, Brazil has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in Latin America, about 141 deaths per 1,000 births, as compared to eight per 1,000 in the United States--such sadness underlying the ebullient sexuality of Brazil.

Toward the end of the show, the MC asked which countries were represented in the audience and then sang a favorite song from each country, ending with the entire cast dancing and singing.“Brasil, Brasil…”

International friendliness and national pride were everywhere, but I heard a sober undertone of the price women pay for managing their fertility.
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See also:
Report: Global Gag Rule Spurring Deaths, Disease (Women’s eNews, Sept. 25, 2003)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Mother's Choice in Paraguay

While visiting my 21-year-old daughter at the end of her six months of study in Argentina, I visited Paraguay and bought a newspaper, ABC Color, published in the capital, Asuncion.

On page 42, an article caught my eye: "Menor sometida a operacion ilegal en San Ignacio se debate entre la vida y la muerte."

Photos showed an obstetrician, Rosa Nunez, showing where a fetus had been buried outside her home and a police officer digging up the remains. The report says Rosa had admitted doing "clandestine abortions." ("La functionaria reconocio que practica abortos en forma clandestina.")

Suddenly I was no longer an innocent tourist. I realized I was in a country where abortion is illegal, where a mother who finds that her 16-year-old daughter is pregnant has only two choices: providing support as her child becomes a mother or finding someone who will risk performing an illegal abortion at home.

I remembered that safe, legal abortions are not available in Mexico, Latin Americ, and South America except to save a woman's life. In a few countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, and Uruguay), abortions can also be done if a woman's health is in danger or perhaps if the fetus is impaired, and in 2005 Brazil passed a law permitting abortion for rape victims.

In the United States we are fighting to keep abortion legal and to ensure availability as opponents find an increasing number of ways to limit access. But in the southern hemisphere millions of women have only two choies when contraception fails or is not available: keeping the baby or risking their lives while breaking the law.

As the mother of three daughters, my heart goes out to this mother, Maria Riveros, who tried to help her daughter end a pregnancy. The fetus turned out to be about four months along; the extraction had to be performed by dismembering it.

The sixteen-year-old (identified only as V.R.) experienced severe pain during the following 24 hours, so Maria took her back to the Rosa Nunez, who sent them to the nearest hospital. A hysterectomy was performed but the girl's life was still in danger.

Soon a police officer was excavating the fetus and charging Rosa and her daughter, a nurse who had assisted, with the crime of performing an abortion.

Note to any prolife readers: if you succeed in making abortion illegal again in the US, this scenario will be taking place here again.

See also: