They work by releasing little demons that stab sperm to death

By Amanda Marcotte
Friday, October 24, 2008 23:16 EDT
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A friend sent me this story about further Baptist shenanigans, this time from the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. What I like it is that it’s a clear cut example of how godbags don’t believe their own bullshit.

FORT WORTH, Texas — A Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary professor told students there that he believes taking birth control pills is murder.

Thomas White told students in an Oct. 7 sermon that he and his wife and used birth control pills years earlier, but he now condemns the practice because it can prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterine wall.

Okay, so he’s an admitted murderer, by his own measure. I fail to believe that he thinks that he’s a murderer. He shows none of the humility that a genuinely repentant murderer feels, and I suspect that if birth control were banned, he wouldn’t support throwing people who use it in jail for life or executing them for murder. I fail to believe he thinks his wife is a worse person than someone who gets drunk and hits someone with a car on accident, and yet here he is labeling his wife as someone worse than that. And really, his reasoning alone shows that he doesn’t believe it’s murder.

“The reason that we did it was my own selfishness,” White, also vice president for student services and communications, told the students. “I wanted kids, but I wanted kids – not in God’s timing, but in my timing. I made the mistake. I don’t want you to make the mistake.”

Can you imagine excusing a real murder that way? “Well, I wanted him dead, but my problem was that I wouldn’t wait around for god to strike him dead, so I stabbed him to death with my own hands. The sin here is taking away god’s chance to murder the bastard himself. But I have no doubt that god wanted the son of a bitch to die a horrible, painful death.” No, that’s not why murder is wrong.

Of course, the reality is that the birth control pill does not work this way, as I explain in this video, and is thankfully explained in the article. (Why do so many other media outlets refuse to correct faith-based claims that aren’t true about birth control? If you ran an article about a bunch of fundies believing that Proctor and Gamble made Tide detergent out of dead babies, the reporter would contrast that with reality. So why not here?)

RH Reality Check: Emergency Contraception Vs. Abortion from RH Reality Check on Vimeo.

Not that this man would accept scientific evidence refuting his beliefs. That’s why they’re beliefs, not facts, because what’s important about them is not that they’re true, but that that they can be used as a means to the end of making life harder for women. It’s interesting, because the reason not to take the pill basically changes from moment to moment with people trying to scare women out of it/ban the pill. Sometimes it’s against god’s will. Sometimes it’s murder. Sometimes it’s bad for you. Pick your poison. As Cristina Page notes, the medical fact that birth control pills do not cause fertilized eggs to die should be a relief to people who are spiritually troubled by the idea, but instead they just block that fact and carry on about their “beliefs” in the that they can trick someone into thinking that their “beliefs” have anything to do with the fact because of their conviction.

This whole situation reminds me of Fred at Slactivist’s eye-opening post about people who spread the rumor that Proctor & Gamble are run by Satanists, and his realization that their unwillingness to be relieved by reality demonstrated how they were, to be blunt, liars. They may not fully conscious, willful liars, but they are engaging in self-deception to deceive others.

The following are all true of the people spreading the Procter & Gamble rumor:

1. They didn’t really believe it themselves.

2. They were passing it along with the intent of misinforming others. Deliberately.

3. They did not respect, or care about, the actual facts of the matter, except to the extent that they viewed such facts with hostility.

4. Being told that the Bad Thing they were purportedly upset about wasn’t real only made them more upset. Proof that the 23rd largest corporation in America was not in league with the Devil made them defensive and very, very angry.

Rumors that the birth control pill is “murder” are growing up along the same lines. It’s fascinating, if maddening. I’m coming to see these lies as having a function beyond just tricking unwilling women into becoming pregnant, though that’s obviously part of it. It’s about making women’s liberation seem impossible—between this and the rumors that abortion is a hugely profitable industry, anti-choicers convince themselves that it’s impossible for women to be free agents. All women are owned by someone, and the struggle is defining who owns women—the men in their family or strange men who run corporations? Once you recast the struggle that way, it’s easy to see that it’s better to have your husband own your body and mind than some corporate behemoth. But of course, the real struggle is between whether men will own women’s bodies or women will own their own. But admitting that would make it clear to the wingnutteria that they’re in the wrong, so they set up a series of myths to convince themselves that they’re the real good guys.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
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