Christians are horribly confused about women’s rights
The Hitchens/Blair debate has been over for a while, but for some Catholics, the fact Tony was utterly tooled is still a bit of a sore spot. With all those weeks passed since the debate, a few theists are still trying to figure out what Blair could have said to hold his own.
During the debate, Hitchens made the point religion has done no favor to women, and only by emancipating them from the slavery of their reproductive cycles can they hope to truly be free. Sounds reasonable, and we definitely have some proof to back up that claim. Not so, according to Francis Phillips at the Catholic Herald:
I thought there was one point where Blair could have got underneath his opponent’s hard carapace: when Hitchens attacked religion for doing nothing for women’s dignity. The way to bring about “the empowerment of women” was to take them off “the animal cycle of reproduction”, he stated. He also mentioned “clerics” who stood in the way of women bettering themselves. Blair had a golden opportunity here to go on the attack: what had atheism to offer women but ever easier “reproductive rights” – i.e., ever easier access to contraception and abortion? What had the most atheistic society in the world, China, done for women’s dignity in enforcing their “one-child” policy?
In thinking of the arguments that Blair didn’t make here, I was reminded of the testimony of Steven Mosher, one-time student of social anthropology at Stanford University and an unthinking atheist and supporter of “women’s liberation” like everyone else around him. As part of his research he went to China in the 1980s where he got on well with the local Communist committee and was invited to witness a forced late-term abortion. I won’t describe what he saw, merely the electric effect it had on him: in the space of a few minutes he went from an insouciant attitude of “abortion is a women’s right” to being profoundly and unhesitatingly pro-life. (His atheism began to fall apart later, when he got to know pro-life workers in the US who were almost all Christians; now a devout Catholic and father of eight, he works full time for Human Life International.)
So her argument is China, being a state that “officially” doesn’t believe in God, somehow makes them the representative for atheists everywhere? I’m not sure the cable has come out yet to Franny, but non-belief isn’t some weird club where everyone has to swear allegiance to Mao Zedong.
In any case, if your argument is the Church would never have allowed forced horrible abortions on women, I suppose I can’t argue with you on that point. While it’s true they would certainly have prevented EVERY conceivable abortion from taking place (even the ones that would save the mother’s life), we already know so much about how much “freedom and dignity” women have enjoyed under religious rule. If you’re unfamiliar with the history of misogyny within the context of your own religion, then you can simply look at all the modern examples of this as well. The country of Saudi Arabia comes to mind.
Hitchens argued religion was not a force for good in the world, and if Blair had tried to bring China up as an example of “runaway atheism”, he would have been buried alive. In any case, if you think a forced abortion even comes close to the history of violence, torture, slavery, murder and subjugation the majority of women have had to face at the hands of religion, than you need to educate yourself. The estimated 50-100,000 women burned at the stake for witchcraft is a testament to the fact Catholicism and Christianity in general has a long history of perverse hatred and derision against the fairer sex. Although we can safely say not believing in God may not help anyone’s dignity (the same way non-belief has no bearing on morality), it doesn’t set your ass on fire either.
Is it ironic Franny is defending a religion that still thinks women have no business talking about religion to begin with? First Timothy has a few word to say about that shit:
Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence
Now that’s dignity!