There really are no words strong enough to condemn the terrifyingly misogynist, racist, and classist legislation that has recently been imposed on the people of Alabama. It is legalised brutality, pure and simple. An exercise in woman-hating by an elite using religion as a cover to maintain their power and control.
One of the most sickening things about nakedly political and woman-endangering legislation like Alabama’s abortion bill is the cloaking of its true intent behind the smokescreen of religious righteousness. Some Christian leaders have been denouncing this barbarism. Dave Barnhart is one such leader. A Methodist pastor in Alabama, Barnhart maintains a pretty progressive-sounding blog, touching on topics like the prevalence of racist rhetoric—
White people, banish this phrase from your mind. Wash it out of your mouth. If you type it without scare quotes, cut off your fingers and cast them from you, for it is better for you to lose your fingers than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
Let us state the social issue before us: Black men are being killed by police and vigilantes because they are presumed to be criminals. They can follow police instructions and still be killed, like Philando Castile. They can be killed for playing in a park, like Tamir Rice. They can be killed for wearing a hoodie and buying skittles, like Trayvon Martin. They can be killed for exercising their second-amendment rights, like EJ Bradford.
The conceptual perversion of voting—
If your vote isn’t important, why are they trying so hard to take it away?
We’ve come to think about democracy as a form of consumption, like everything else, where voting is just a indication of preference. This is what the dominant narrative wants you to think: politics is just like buying a pair of socks. That way, when they place restrictions on that right or take it away from your neighbors, you won’t mind so much.
But democracy is really about what happens on either side of election day. It’s about telling stories, building relationships, and leveraging power. It’s holding officials accountable and showing up at their offices. Your officials don’t represent you if they don’t have a relationship with you.
The forces of domination and empire would really rather you stay home, stay quiet, and let lobbyists and money have all the influence. Even our Supreme Court has declared that democracy is consumption, because money is speech.
And indeed the recent bill in Alabama—
Alabama politicians likewise have made their goals and values clear: In addition to rejecting exceptions in cases of rape or incest, they are entertaining a bill which makes false accusation of rape a felony. This is intended to intimidate women in light of the #metoo movement. All of these policies taken together are about subjugating women.
I support the right to an abortion, and see religious justification for restricting that right as a failure of empathy and imagination. Ethics requires us to imagine situations in which we have to apply our norms or policies—to put ourselves in someone else’s place, to “do to others as you would have them do to you.” If we create a rule or law, we have to imagine what it would be like to be subject to it.
I believe there are people of good faith who disagree with me about public policy, and are sincere in their desire to reduce or prevent abortion. I just haven’t met many yet.
But it’s a year-old post on his Facebook page that most succinctly demolishes the hypocrisy at the heart of the ‘pro-life’ movement.
Personally, I’ve never been any sort of believer. I don’t know much about Methodism, and the Christian church has a metric tonne of fuckery—both historic and present—to answer for, but Dave Barnhart at least seems like one of the good guys.
And because he’s (unfortunately) as relevant today as he has ever been, here’s the late master George Carlin himself:
Image sources (in order of posting): Getty Images, Dave Barnhart Facebook,