Speaking of respect for religion…There’s Adele Stan in The American Prospect:

In positions it takes on other issues, Feminists for Life is indeed “pro-woman,” whether in regard to its stance on the Violence Against Women Act or support for mothers on welfare. But it’s hard not to wonder if those positions aren’t just a beard, along with the term, “feminist,” for the hard-core, misogynist agenda of the Vatican. The organization’s no-exceptions anti-abortion position follows Catholic doctrine to the letter, a doctrine that has always demanded of women that they bear whatever burden men place upon them, and that they not soil the altar with the very bodiliness they represent by virtue of the means by which children are born.

If you want a contrast, drop in on Cristina Odone. She’s annoyed – or perhaps I mean ‘offended’. She’s also a tad shifty.

[W]earing a cross has become as controversial as wearing a single earring or going bra-less used to be. No one would seize upon gays or feminists for expressing their allegiances today, yet in institutions as British as the BBC and British Airways, wearing a cross is now tantamount to throwing down a gauntlet.

That’s shifty because it’s a bad analogy. To put it as briefly as possible, when gays or feminists ‘express their allegiances’ (whatever that means) they are not declaring belief in a magical invisible friend; people who wear crosses are. (There’s also the seldom-noticed fact that the cross is in fact an odd symbol to wear in the first place: it’s a torture device; it stands for an ancient and very cruel form of execution. I understand that that’s just why it’s meaningful for Christians, but all the same, it is a symbol of sadism. I wonder if Odone keeps that aspect firmly in mind enough.)

Diktats against the cross are fuelled not by concern for minorities, but by a secularism so rampant that it prefers a cross-dresser to a cross wearer, a plumber’s bum to a veil.

Yes. And?

Yes, the cross and veil brigade are different. They believe in eternity, sacrifice, humility and obedience, concepts as alien as equal pay and gay rights used to be.

Ah – shifty again. Eternity is the magical bit, but the rest of it is about ethics, and also raises instant questions. Sacrifice by whom, for whom, of what? Humility on whose part, toward whom? Obedience of whom, by whom? Sacrifice of autonomy and ownership of their own bodies by women? Extra helpings of humility and obedience for women? All three by humans for – the magical invisible friend? We know what’s meant by equal pay and gay rights, but sacrifice, humility and obedience are loose baggy flexible notions. You don’t want to sign a contract that commits you to sacrifice, humility and obedience with no further stipulations or limitations – you could find you’ve just signed yourself into lifelong irreversible slavery with torture. What business does Odone have throwing the terms around in that carefree way? This is why atheists tend to be a little wary of cross-wearers. We think they’re sometimes a little evasive about their plans for us.

Belief, even if its tenets are as innocent as turning the other cheek and self-sacrifice, is frowned upon as too subversive.

Bollocks. Turning the other cheek and self-sacrifice are not belief, they are ethical stances, and they’re not frowned upon as too subversive. That’s whiny self-pitying inaccurate crap. This is another reason atheists tend to be a little wary of cross-wearers – the way they wrap themselves in the altar cloth and whine about how persecuted they are and tell whoppers to get the point across.

If you want a contrast again, Francis Sedgemore cleans the palate.

What is happening here is that some very pissed-off atheists, agnostics and couldn’t-care-less-ists are finding their voice in a debate set up and manipulated by religious forces, and the latter are on the whole reacting hysterically to forthright criticism from the godless heathens. But this is something that religious believers will just have to live with, and that includes insult and ridicule.

That’s better.

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