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John Simkin

Abortion and Nazi Germany

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A post that starts by calling pro-life adherents "morons" hardly merits a reply.

It is not a question of religion.

John, you have made the point that atheists can have moral principles and I believe that you do. I believe that the moral principles do come from God however. Be that as it may, any moral person recognizes that greatest crime a person can commit is the taking of another human life.

Dr. Bernard Nathanson was an atheist when he came to the realization, through his medical training, that the abortions that he was performing were indeed the taking of human life and he could no longer countenance it.

Nic talks about pro-life demonstrators screaming at women entering abortion clinics. I have never seen this happen, and indeed it would be counter-productive to their cause. More often, I believe, pro-death advocates reap scorn and abuse on pro-life demonstrators. Dr. Nathanson stated he decided to become a Cathloic (I am not a Catholic myself, by the way) when he saw the kindness the pro-life people demonstrated to those who cursed them.

My point is that the societal sanctions against murder do not violation the provision of the separation of church and state, any more than sanctions against robbery or other crimes that are also condemned in the Bible and in the Koran. The increases in medical knowledge in the last century clearly demonstrate that life begins at conception. The issue that must be addressed is at what point life should be protected by the state. Clearly the fetus in the mother is a separate and distinct human being being sheltered and nurtured by the mother's body.

It is not true that pro-life advocates do not care for the plight of the woman with an unwanted pregnancy. Indeed, most larger cities have organizations to assist such women that are organized and funded by pro-life proponents.

It is often true that women who undergo abortions suffer deep psychological effects as they later realize that they have indeed taken an innocent human life. These possible consequences are never discussed by the doctors who profit from performing abortions. But the pro-life movement also assists women in recovering from the scars of abortion by demonstrating that they can achieve forgiveness.

Certainly there can be difficult questions that arise, such as Nic's point about the rape victim. But very few abortions result from rape and most are simply for convenience. Would Nic support a prohibition on abortion except in cases of rape or where there was a serious issue of the health of the mother?

Since the science is now clear that a separate human life begins at conception, it seems difficult, I think, to countenance the taking of that life except under very unusual circumstances such as rape or the health of the mother.

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Regardless of one's position on abortion, does any one really dispute that human life begins at conception?  That's science, not religion.

Hi Tim

That grass growing outside my door is "life" as well. Presumably, scientists are right that there is "life" on other planets too, but is it intelligent life? Is the fetus a fully formed human? No, and you can't pretend it is. The mother, who has to care for the offspring, must have the choice whether to bring the fetus to term and let it be born. Quasi-religious arguments should not intervene in this process.

All my best

Chris

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A post that starts by calling pro-life adherents "morons" hardly merits a reply.

It is not a question of religion.

John, you have made the point that atheists can have moral principles and I believe that you do.  I believe that the moral principles do come from God however.  Be that as it may, any moral person recognizes that greatest crime a person can commit is the taking of another human life.

Dr. Bernard Nathanson was an atheist when he came to the realization, through his medical training, that the abortions that he was performing were indeed the taking of human life and he could no longer countenance it.

Nic talks about pro-life demonstrators screaming at women entering abortion clinics.  I have never seen this happen, and indeed it would be counter-productive to their cause.  More often, I believe, pro-death advocates reap scorn and abuse on pro-life demonstrators.  Dr. Nathanson stated he decided to become a Cathloic (I am not a Catholic myself, by the way) when he saw the kindness the pro-life people demonstrated to those who cursed them.

My point is that the societal sanctions against murder do not violation the provision of the separation of church and state, any more than sanctions against robbery or other crimes that are also condemned in the Bible and in the Koran.  The increases in medical knowledge in the last century clearly demonstrate that life begins at conception.  The issue that must be addressed is at what point life should be protected by the state.  Clearly the fetus in the mother is a separate and distinct human being being sheltered and nurtured by the mother's body.

It is not true that pro-life advocates do not care for the plight of the woman with an unwanted pregnancy.  Indeed, most larger cities have organizations to assist such women that are organized and funded by pro-life proponents.

It is often true that women who undergo abortions suffer deep psychological effects as they later realize that they have indeed taken an innocent human life.  These possible consequences are never discussed by the doctors who profit from performing abortions.  But the pro-life movement also assists women in recovering from the scars of abortion by demonstrating that they can achieve forgiveness.

Certainly there can be difficult questions that arise, such as Nic's point about the rape victim.  But very few abortions result from rape and most are simply for convenience.  Would Nic support a prohibition on abortion except in cases of rape or where there was a serious issue of the health of the mother?

Since the science is now clear that a separate human life begins at conception, it seems difficult, I think, to countenance the taking of that life except under very unusual circumstances such as rape or the health of the mother.

You've never seen people screaming outside clinics? I have. I've also seen news reports about supposedly "pro-life" wackjobs blowing up clinics, killing everyone inside. Yeah, because the life of several masses of cells is worth SO MUCH MORE than the lives of people that have lives, family, & friends.

I know SEVERAL women that have had abortions that don't regret it, and that don't feel badly about it. I'm a member of a community board online that has a few hundred of those women. Hell, check out http://www.imnotsorry.net

And no, I wouldn't support a prohibition on abortion EVER. It's my body, it's my uterus - and until I can find a doctor that will sterilize me, abortion is an option I would take without a second thought. I have dreams, I have a life that I've worked really damn hard on - I'm not going to spend nine months pregnant and eighteen years paying for one mistake that, knowing how impatient I am, I'd probably wind up pulling an Andrea Yates on.

I KNOW this about myself, I know I'm impatient, I know I'd resent something that took my life away, I know that when in restaurants - I ask to be sat as far away from small children as they can put me. My favorite restaurant, in fact, is where nobody under age five is admitted.

I'm in a relationship, with a guy that I'm crazy about. He treats me wonderfully, and he makes me happy. He doesn't pressure me, he adores me for who I am, and he's loyal to me. No matter how many precautions I took if I were to have sex with him - accidents can happen. I'm not giving my life up for a mistake, and I'm not living a Puritan existance because that's not who I am.

Here's how I see my life going. I'm going to go to community college for two years, so I can save up enough money through a job to afford a starting life at a college away from home. I'm going to double-major in history & political science, and hopefully intern at a Presidential library. After graduation, hopefully I'll be able to become an archivist for a branch of the NARA - my #1 choice would be the JFK Library in Boston.

Kids don't fit into that. EVER. I don't like kids, I don't think they're cute. The idea of a child touching me with it's clammy, germy hands - makes me want to vomit. I'm not a kid-friendly person. If I was forced to stay pregnant, I seriously would rather put a gun to my head than deal with that.

And then these pro-life nitwits say, OMG WELL ADOPTION IS ALWAYS AN OPTION! Yet, I find it ironic how these people, when they are discovered as infertile and someone suggests adoption, they get this horrified look on their face and say, "BUT IT'S NOT PART OF MEEEEEEEEEEEEE."

This INSANELY stupid mentality that every woman regrets an abortion BECAUSE OMG I KILLED A BAYBEE is shoving you into the era when women couldn't vote. Not all women melt into puddles of goo at the thought of a baby. I grimace when I hear one crying, and I think they're ugly.

You believe in god, right, Mr. Gratz? And so you believe god created us all, and loved us all? Then surely this same god, if we follow that belief, also gave us free will, correct? So, by that token - who are you and your braindead pro-life cronies to defy the choices that your god gave us to make?

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One can understand why abortion inspires or perhaps ignites very strong feelings on both sides.

Some women feel as Nic does that it is wrong for the state to tell them what they can do with "their bodies" (even though, clearly, the fetus living within them is a separate human being). Perhaps a better way to put it is that these women feel that because their body must feed and nurture the fetus during gestation, they should have the right to terminate the pregnancy if they choose.

Anti-abortionists (I am being careful deliberately not to use termsw such as "pro-life" and "pro-death") strongly believe that it is without dispute that when a woman has an abortion she is killing a separate and distinct human life and that this is tantamount to murder.

Despite these strong feelings, I think the debate on abortion should be polite and intelligent civil discourse. Calling people who support the other side names accomplishes nothing, of course, than to further "fan the flames" of this heated issue.

I therefore find it ironic that while Nic condemns anti-abortionists who she claims call names at women entering abortion clinics (a phenomenon I have not observed among the anti-abortion protestors I have known) her own post is full of vituperation, e.g. "braindead pro-life cronies".

I won't even comment on the fact that Nic goes on at length about how much she dislikes kids. What I will say is that almost every anti-abortionist I know loves children. Try to understand the other side, Nic. I have seen the photos of what an abortion does to an almost fully developed fetus.

One hundred years ago part of our society felt that blacks were property not people. The impetus for prohibiting slavery, which was introduced into American society by English slave-traders, came from the Christian-oriented abolitionist movement. Just as pro-abortion advocates claim the state should have no right to interferere with their "bodies", one hundred years ago the slaveholders claimed the state should not have the right to interfere with their "property". I am sure the slaveholders also thought the abolitionists were "braindead".

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John, you have made the point that atheists can have moral principles and I believe that you do.  I believe that the moral principles do come from God however.  Be that as it may, any moral person recognizes that greatest crime a person can commit is the taking of another human life.

Dr. Bernard Nathanson was an atheist when he came to the realization, through his medical training, that the abortions that he was performing were indeed the taking of human life and he could no longer countenance it.

Since the science is now clear that a separate human life begins at conception, it seems difficult, I think, to countenance the taking of that life except under very unusual circumstances such as rape or the health of the mother.

I do not need to be a Christian to know that killing is wrong. I am very disturbed to discover that people need to read the Bible to discover what is morally “right” or “wrong”. They are bound to be confused if they rely on their reading of the Bible. It was written by a lot of different people and is full of contradictions. There are also great contrasts between the Old and New Testaments. I would have thought that Christians would have relied more on the teachings of Jesus Christ but it is clear from the views expressed by Christian fundamentalists like Tim that they rely heavily on the Old Testament for their opinions: “an eye for an eye” and all that.

Christian fundamentalists remind me most of the people they hate so much – the dogmatic Marxist. They search through the Bible in order to find quotations that support their reactionary views. This is why they usually end up with quotes from the Old Testament as Jesus was a very progressive thinker. He of course rejected ideas such as “an eye for an eye” and was into turning away from violence and forgiving his enemies. It is the correct reading of the New Testament that inspired people like Martin Luther King. Not the words of revenge and hate in the Old Testament.

You say you are pro-life but in fact, going by your postings on this forum you are very much pro-death. You appear to see nothing wrong with killing people as long as they can be portrayed as the enemy. Even if they are innocent civilians, if they make the mistake of living in the same town as Muslim fundamentalists they are an acceptable target for American bombers. See for example the thread on the Just War:

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=3776

You don’t seem to be very pro-life when it comes to capital punishment. The rest of the western world brought an end to this barbaric activity many years ago. Yet the Christian fundamentalists in America are all in favour of it and pillory any leading politician who does not go along with them.

The same goes for people who believe in the right of a woman to have an abortion during the first few weeks after conception. They are condemned by Christian fundamentalists as being “murderers” and doctors who carry out what is a legal act are abused and physically attacked.

What you don’t seem to grasp is that you are the mirror image of the Muslim Fundamentalists that you hate so much. Unable to make your own moral decisions you commit intellectual suicide and blindly follow your leader, in your case, George Bush.

You have an ideology that I abhor. That is understandable as it is a reaction to the sixties progressive movement. It is an attempt to give the power back in society to the male ruling class. You have course been very successful in America. Although you have your Iraq War you will not convince young women to give up control over their bodies (I suppose you are also against sex before marriage).

The point is that old men like you can pontificate all you want but the secret is out, sex is pleasurable. Mistakes will be made, especially in societies that appear keen to deny young people information about sex, and women will get pregnant when they did not intend to. They will then have abortions. Legally if possible, illegally if they must (women have always done that and in the past thousands have paid the ultimate price for their actions).

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John wrote:

What you don’t seem to grasp is that you are the mirror image of the Muslim Fundamentalists that you hate so much.

John, you must not read your Bible much. Jesus said: "Love your enemies; be kind to those who despitefully use you" (Quote is from memory.)

I do my best to hate no one.

This does not mean, however, that our society does not have the right, indeed the obligation, to use violence if necessary to protect innocent lives.

Let me try to illustrate it. It would be too hard to use my own daughter.

If a Christian parent saw someone about to murder his or her child, the parent would have the right, indeed the obligation, to protect the child, including if necessary killing the assailant. Should the assailant succeed in killing the child, however, it would then be the Christian's obligation to forgive, and even love, the person who had deprived him of her of his or her most precious possession.

The right, indeed the obligation, to kill if necessary to protect an innocent life extends even if it is not your own child. The state's right, indeed obligation, to wage a "just war" is derived from these same principles.

The difficulty in a war, and why wars are so abhorrent, of course, is that innocent noncombatants will inevitably die. Indeed, even many of the combatants can perhaps be deemed innocent since they may be forced to follow the commands of the evil people leading their society.

By the way, I am curious: why do you necessarily think I am "pro capital punishment"? (Not to say that I necessarily oppose it.) It is the Catholic position, of course, to oppose both abortion and capital punishment.

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Re capital punishment, I have reservations because of my lack of confidence in the results of the legal system (unfortunately). Recently Florida released a man who had served over thirty years for a series of rapes for which he was apparently innocent. And it appears evidence is building that at least one man has been wrongfully executed.

Be that as it may, assume there is no doubt whatsover that a person has brutally raped and murdered five females. I see a distinction between state execution of that criminal, administered as painfully as possible, and a doctor ripping apart an innocent, eight month old female fetus within her mother's womb, when the abortion is solely for the convenience of the mother. Neurologists understand that fetuses at that age feel pain.

As I said, however, while I do approve of the concept of capital punishment both as just punishment and as a deterrent, the possibility (probability) of error is causes me obvious concern about its administration.

Edited by Tim Gratz

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As has been stated, sexual activities ARE pleasurable. I'm 18, and I've known that since puberty. I don't believe in saving myself for marriage, just for love. I'm not eager to sleep with everyone that looks my way, I believe in a need for trust. That said, I KNOW how to protect myself. I know all about condoms, the pill, IUD, depo, and my future goal of sterilization. However, ACCIDENTS DO HAPPEN.

One girl I know, is 18, and since August of last year, has had sex with 3 different men - usually after only knowing them a week or so. Personally, the idea of doing that, freaks me out - but it's her body, and her life. She wants a LOT of kids, and is constantly trying to get pregnant. We used to be friends, until I told her having a kid at 17 would be really stupid & that it costs a LOT to raise a kid. She didn't like hearing that, so she stopped talking to me. She kept insisting, and does to this day, that her parents ( who live in the very poor side of town ) would buy a house for her & baby, would pay for everything baby needed, as well as college for her. I told her frankly that she was living in a dream world.

I have to drive 30 minutes away if I want birth control pills, because so many pharmacists are refusing to fill it because it MUST MEAN I'M HAVING SEX! Er, only that I'm not. I'm a virgin. Pretty much the only virgin I know. I want to be on the pill because I have endometriosis, and it helps - since no doctor will sterilize me.

I'm in love with my boyfriend, and I want to be with him, but we haven't gotten there yet. When we do, we know how to protect ourselves, and we're both willing to take responsibility.

This isn't just my body, this is my LIFE. If I got pregnant on accident, my choices would be either risking my life ( as due to medical complications, I cannot carry a baby to term ) at 18, and giving up all the dreams I have and don't want to let go of.. Or abortion. Several women don't regret their abortions, as I've pointed everyone to already - http://www.imnotsorry.net

I don't believe in drinking, or smoking. Both of them could lead to death, or - if you're drinking & driving, possibly several deaths. However, I realize there's a lot of people that drink, and a lot of people that smoke. My boyfriend smokes. I'm not trying to, ban smoking because I disagree with it. I believe people are smart enough to make their own decisions.

I understand, Mr. Gratz, that you're extremely conservative. My grandfather's like that, but he also is a lot like Archie Bunker - which is precisely the reason he hasn't met my Hispanic boyfriend. However, not everyone thinks like you do. If you don't believe in abortion, as I've said before - don't have one. Don't support your wife/girlfriend/mistress/daughter/daughter-in-law/niece getting an abortion. However, who are YOU to take away MY rights? This is my body, my uterus. Quite frankly, if you want the baby to live so badly, YOU carry it around for nine months & raise it for eighteen years. If "god" wants it to live, HE can carry it for nine months and raise it.

On another message board I'm on, this one girl is 21 and is pregnant with her first child - by a man with 3 other kids. Every day brings another post with pictures of her disgusting pregnant belly, or ultrasounds, or information on how sick she gets in the morning. However, I made a post about graduating with a 4.0, and I was ignored. It really seems like the world cares more about breeding than anything that requires a brain, not just working sex organs.

Therefore, it's no surprise that people still exist that think it's their place to tell me how to live my life and what choices to make with my body. If you wanted to go out right now and get a tattoo - go on with your bad self, make your skin look like a graffiti wall. Hell, get piercings - make yourself look like a walking pincushion. None of my business. To me, it's not a child, it's a mistake - and it's MINE to get rid of.

I know a 16 year old that's pregnant right now. She wants an abortion, but her mother is making her have the child to teach her a lesson ( making her, basically, by not giving permission for an abortion as you need in Texas ). Yeah, that's really smart - the girl can't take care of herself, so let's give her a BABY to take care of! Makes perfect sense!

All these people try to convince me to spread my legs and breed, and I really think it's because misery loves company. They say, "It's different when they're your own." Then I see people who say that in the news for raping their kids, or not feeding them, or beating the crap out of them. Yeah, must be different when they're your own. Or, "Who's going to take care of you when you're old?" My stepfather's kids don't TALK to him, so that pretty much ruins that idea. "But your kid could cure cancer!" Don't you think Charlie Manson's mother thought the same thing? Pretty soon, you can fill a Bingo card with all the excuses I hear from mainstream America about why I should HAVE TO BREED. Nevermind that I don't want to, because EVERYONE WANTS THE BABIES!

Sigh. This country has baby-rabies so badly, it's sickening.

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Nic: You’re a credit to your generation. The only problem is that people like Tim Gratz are running your country. Let us hope that people like you get control one day.

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I see a distinction between state execution of that criminal, administered as painfully as possible, and a doctor ripping apart an innocent, eight month old female fetus within her mother's womb, when the abortion is solely for the convenience of the mother.  Neurologists understand that fetuses at that age feel pain.

How many abortions take place at 8 months? Who is demanding that women should have the right to have abortions at 8 months?

Have you got anything to say about the thread on Christian Fundamentalism? It will be a shame if no one is willing to defend this highly worrying development in the United States.

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=4654

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I see a distinction between state execution of that criminal, administered as painfully as possible, and a doctor ripping apart an innocent, eight month old female fetus within her mother's womb, when the abortion is solely for the convenience of the mother.  Neurologists understand that fetuses at that age feel pain.

How many abortions take place at 8 months? Who is demanding that women should have the right to have abortions at 8 months?

Completely agreed. I don't think abortions should be performed after the fetus could survive on it's own outside the body of it's mother. Before that point, it is a mass of cells, and I feel no guilt about "killing" said lump of cells.

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I see a distinction between state execution of that criminal, administered as painfully as possible, and a doctor ripping apart an innocent, eight month old female fetus within her mother's womb, when the abortion is solely for the convenience of the mother.  Neurologists understand that fetuses at that age feel pain.

How many abortions take place at 8 months? Who is demanding that women should have the right to have abortions at 8 months?

Completely agreed. I don't think abortions should be performed after the fetus could survive on it's own outside the body of it's mother. Before that point, it is a mass of cells, and I feel no guilt about "killing" said lump of cells.

As the Roman Catholic Church believed up until the 1860s.

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Tim, you might be interested in joining this debate on Christian Fundamentalism.

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=4654

We are currently having difficulty getting people to defend this philosophy. You have shown on several different threads: abortion, George Bush, Iraq, Just War, corruption in the Republican Party, etc. that you are one of these Christian Fundamentalist extremists. As I said on the thread this morning:

The teachings of Jesus Christ have motivated reformers with a social conscientious for centuries. Most of the much needed reforms that took place in the UK in the 19th century came about because individuals had a good knowledge of the teachings of Jesus. This included the successful campaigns against slavery and child labour in the early part of the 19th century. The demands for universal suffrage and the welfare state in the second-half of the 19th century mainly came from those inspired by the reading of the New Testament. George Bernard Shaw once claimed that Jesus was the world’s first socialist. Others, like the historian Richard Tawney, rightly pointed out that the Labour Movement in the UK had been more influenced by Methodism than Marxism.

The link between Christianity and reform has been in evidence throughout the world. This includes the United States. You have followed a similar pattern to that of Europe. The campaigners against slavery were devout Christians. The early Labour movement relied on the leadership of Christians. After the war, committed Christians such as Abraham Muste, George Houser (two men that deserves to be better known), and Norman Thomas helped establish the first effective civil rights groups such as Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR). Like the Quakers, members of the FOR were Christian pacifists (based on their interpretation of the teachings of Jesus).

The success of the FOR inspired the setting up of the Congress of Racial Equality. Again this was a Christian pacifist organization. In early 1947, CORE announced plans to send eight white and eight black men into the Deep South to test the Supreme Court ruling that declared segregation in interstate travel unconstitutional. Organized by Baynard Rustin, this two week pilgrimage through Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky was the beginning of the civil rights movement.

CORE inspired others to join the struggle for civil rights. In 1957 Rustin, Martin Luther King and Ralph David Abernathy established the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). The new organisation was committed to using nonviolence in the struggle for civil rights, and SCLC adopted the motto: "Not one hair of one head of one person should be harmed."

In the 1950s and 1960s several members of organizations like CORE and SCLC were murdered by people who considered themselves as Christians. This raises the important issue: How can the followers of Jesus Christ come to such different conclusions?

History gives us an answer. Christian reformers have mainly belonged to smaller religious groups that have not been under the control of the state. Ever since the nationalization of the Catholic Church by the Romans, the state has been very good at using Christianity to support the status quo.

In recent years, in the UK and most of Europe, virtually all Church groups, have been on the side of reformers. When Margaret Thatcher was prime minister she accused the leaders of the Church of England of being Marxists. Despite this, church leaders continued to give into this attempt at smearing them and they played an important role in stopping the welfare state from being dismantled under Thatcher's extreme right-wing government.

The continued liberalism of religious leaders was reflected in the almost complete unity they showed in the campaign against the Iraq War.

The United States has not followed this pattern. The main reason for this was the McCarthyism that took place in the late 1940s and early 1950s. This period of history managed to virtually destroy the reform movement in America. Those that survived were in such a minority that it was possible to smear them as being “Marxists” or “Communists”. J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI played a very important role in this. All the leading figures in the civil rights movement suffered from being identified as “left-wing”. Leaders of CORE and SCLC were common targets for Hoover. Especially when people like Martin Luther King became concerned about issues like the Vietnam War and the plight of the low paid.

It is this irrational fear of “leftists” that is often displayed by Christian Fundamentalists like Tim Gratz. This is why I asked Tim about his actions during the Civil Rights campaigns. For people like Tim showed no interest at all in civil rights during this period. Instead they joined J. Edgar Hoover in going along with the idea that it was some sort of “communist conspiracy”.

It is no surprise that it is now these old Cold War hardliners are now supporters of Christian Fundamentalism. It also helps to explain why they are unwilling to speak up for the poor and the dispossessed today. Instead they are advocates of maintaining the privileges of the rich and powerful. How can they defend this position that is so different from that advocated by Jesus Christ? With great difficulty and helps explain why it will take a brave (or foolish) supporter of Christian Fundamentalism, to join this debate.

Maybe you are willing to brave or foolish enough to join the debate.

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