Three (Real, Factual) Reasons the “Hail Satan” Controversy is B.S.

First of all, can we all just agree this story is a joke?

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1) The pro-choice movement does not collectively worship Satan.

2) The pro-life movement is NOT made up of only people (and, erm, news networks…) who hatefully characterize pro-choicers as Devil Worshipers.

3) Over-the-top people do and say ridiculous things at protests all the time. Those people are not an appropriate representation of public opinion.

This is not news, is it? This cannot be seriously relevant to the abortion debate.

But it has been trending on Twitter all day–and to my stereotypical millennial/blogger brain, that means serious business.

What’s worse, influential people (faith leaders, television personalities, etc) all seem to be chiming in with fallacy after fallacy.  So, fine. Fine. If we’re going to have a conversation, I think this conversation needs some common sense and facts, don’t you?

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Wrong.  Many people of faith (or people respectful of faith) are pro-choice, or have nuanced views on abortion policy.

Note that I say abortion policy–that is, how the state directly addresses abortion and its legality.  While I’m pretty sure all Christians value and advocate for “life,” not all believe that legislation denying woman access to safe, early-term abortions is the best way to go about that.  The promotion of maternal health, contraception availability, social safety nets, and comprehensive sexual education are other ways that some people–and, indeed, many Christians–choose to promote “life.”

For many, the abortion debate may be black and white–but for others, it is not.  Christians are absolutely called to value life, as well as being called to be compassionate.  This means that the life of the mother and the potential life of the fetus both need to be taken into consideration. That can lead to many different stances on the issue, none of which are rooted in “satanism.”  For a really great conversation on this, check out Rachel Held Evans’ post on progressive Christianity and abortion.

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Wrong. I mean, obviously he’s being satirical, but even the sentiment is wrong. There are many differences between Republicans and Democrats in the United States. Abortion policy may be one of the differences, but five out of six Americans say it is not the only “voting issue” for them. This means that while Republican and Democratic bases do have life/choice tenancies, they aren’t as strong as you may think–especially on the Left.

A Gallup poll showed that 62% of Democrats are pro-choice, while 32% are pro-life. Hardly a strong enough majority to call out the entire Democratic Party in this case.  Bring religion back in and it is even more divided: of the 734 of these Democrats who attend church on a weekly or nearly weekly basis, 50% are pro-choice while 42% are pro-life.  Some Liberals do go to church, and some don’t. Some are pro-choice, and some aren’t. Either way, it makes zero sense to suggest that liberalism=satanism, that Democrat=100% pro-choice, or that pro-choice=evil.

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Dear Mr. Ryan C…I think this tweet is meant to be a joke? Right?

Too bad that every inch of it is wrong, too. I do like a good joke.

I already explained that there are Liberal Christians (as well as a whole bunch of somewhere-in-between Christians, as well as non-Christians who are pro-life…) so I won’t even go into that.  What I believe Mr. Ryan C is trying to say is that people who speak out for the separation of church and state (however crassly they decide to go about it) or, heaven forbid, speak out against religion at all…well, they must just not be familiar with religion. They must not understand what they’re up against.

While this may be true in some cases, and while I agree that Gospel is here for everyone, the overall assumption that non-Christians are unfamiliar with the Bible has no factual basis. A recent study shows that in the United States of America, Atheists and Agnostics have the highest level of religious literacy, with Mormons in close second and Protestants trailing (way too far) behind. Not all pro-choice advocates are Atheist or Agnostic, but if you run into one who is…just because they reject your theology doesn’t mean they aren’t familiar with it.

– – –

Obviously, yelling out “Hail Satan” isn’t a good way to promote any cause, especially not in Texas. I think a lot of people were insulted by this story.  I understand why.  When you actually look at the facts, however, a few girls at a protest who didn’t think before they shouted isn’t worth this kind of outrage.

Instead, I’ll point my outrage towards a few other things: The denigration of a serious conversation about Christianity, abortion, and society.  The serious implication the current legislative battles in Texas will have on women and families. And the fact that THIS is actually being considered news:

Your move, America.

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