Hindus believe cows are sacred. Christian Scientists believe medicine is sinful. Buddhists believe in reincarnation. Scientologists believe in aliens. Christians believe fetuses have souls.
Religious belief is great – this is America: You’re free to believe whatever you want. Wafers are the body of Christ? Fine. Bon Appetit. It’s wrong for you to eat on a Saturday? Fine; it’s your personal choice. If you’re Hindu and don’t want to eat a hamburger? Fine; get the chicken McNuggets. But if you’re going to try to force me not to eat a burger patty because you believe it might be your reincarnated grandma Patty, then I’m sorry but step off and let me eat.
Your religious beliefs are your own: They should not be foisted upon others. And while your religious mythology dictates how you live your life, it should not dictate how others live theirs.
But Christians in South Dakota, the governor included, are seeking to impose their religious myths upon all Americans. Legislators in South Dakota are trying to ban all abortions there.
This is a shameless political ploy to send the abortion issue to the U.S. Supreme Court where the newly religiou-packed court – a la President George W. Bush – can revisit Roe v. Wade and potentially overturn a woman’s right to her body. Why would legislators in South Dakota be so callous as to not allow victims of rape and incest to have access to abortions?
Because they believe fetuses have souls. Now what is a “soul?” How much does it weigh? What color is it? What are its spatial dimensions? Have we ever seen one, even indirectly, like a quark? No, we haven’t. You see “the soul” is a chimera of the Christian faith, just like angels. And it’s fine if you believe in Santa, just as long as you don’t try to stuff a red-suited fat guy down my chimney. And it’s fine if you believe in the soul; just as long as you don’t try to force your wacky Christian metaphysics upon everyone else.
The belief in the soul is the underpinning of the Christian pro-life movement. Its obsessive concern for this ethereal and unobservable “ghost” in the human being is at the tragic expense of the human being. Modern-day Christians, unlike Christ, don’t seem to care about people: the lepers of our times – the poor, the sick, the oppressed.
Terminally and insufferably ill? Sorry, we’re going to force you to endure misery until the bitter end: To choose to die with dignity would be against our god. Poor and incapable of taking care of a child? Sorry, you’re forced to incubate that fertilized egg for nine months: To terminate the fetus from your body would be against our god.
The Taliban oppress women through genital mutilation, to ensure their “cleanliness” and “virtue.” In a similar way, Christian legislators oppress American women by genital legislation, dictating that they must incubate a fetus inside them because it has a “soul.” In both cases, mythology subjugates women, stripping them of bodily liberty.
Religious tolerance was one of the founding principles of America: his principle was especially to protect minorities from being oppressed by the religion of the majority. However, the Christian majority is fervently and insidiously infecting the branches of government with its mythology.
Your God is not my God. Believe what you want in your churches, but don’t bring your church into my house, our schools, our government and especially not our bodies.
Matthew Brophy is a University student. Please send comments to [email protected]