When it comes to the “pro birth” attitudes of fundamentalist Christianity, Vyckie Garrison is one of the leading experts. She’s going to be speaking at the upcoming Women in Secularism Conference scheduled for May 17-19, 2013, in Washington DC. We’ll kick off our Freethought Fridays and Variety Show with a discussion with Vyckie about the Women in Secularism Conference as part of our news segment on Friday, February 22.
We’ll then explore how the anti-birth control and “biblical” reproductive health dogmas of fundamentalist Christianity are harmful to women and their families.
BIG UPDATE !!! Also joining us in the third hour will be Julie Anne Smith, who was sued by her pastor for “defamation” after she left her church, and who is now working with the victims of Calvary Chapel. The Calvary issue has been the subject of the #WhoWouldJesusSue campaign this week.
Vyckie is the founder of No Longer Quivering, which not only offers support for women but tells the story of her “escape” from the Quiverfull movement — a movement that encourages couples to avoid any kind of birth control or reproductive planning so that God is in charge. The movement is not associated with a particular religion, although it is popular with evangelicals and in the homeschooling community. Among other things, it is generally patriarchal, teaches “biblical manhood and womanhood,” and promotes the idea that government assistance, including medical care, is to be avoided.
This shunning of proper medical care and belief that she should have many children regardless of health risks led Vyckie — then a devoutly Quiverfull Christian — down an unnecessary path of pain and trauma during her 4th pregnancy, almost killing her. As she experienced the “joy of natural childbirth,” she sought the assistance of a spiritual midwife named Judy Jones. Jones, it turns out, was recently arrested. The South Dakota woman was arrested on a Custer County, Nebraska warrant for practicing medicine without a license and a warrant for manslaughter. According to Territory Media, “It is alleged that in 2011 Jones presented herself to a Custer County, Nebraska couple as a midwife and assisted in the delivery of their infant child (Eli Fenske) in September of 2011; the child later died. The child, Eli Fenske, started having medical problems shortly after he was born, but investigators say Jones failed to perform follow-up tests and did not contact a doctor when the child stopped breathing.”
Joining us in the discussion will be Renée Davis-Pelt, whose experience in a fundamentalist Christian Church of Christ denomination included spousal abuse. Her ex-husband used biblical scriptures to back up the abuse. “My husband tried his hardest to impregnate me and I sneaked taking birth control pills behind his back to keep from getting pregnant,” she recalls. “If he had known, he would have hurt me or even killed me. That would have been the worst possible situation to bring kids into.”
Although Renée has escaped this situation, she has had 20 years of post-traumatic stress and has decided to become proactive about publicly speaking about her experience and the problems with fundamentalism. Education freed her from fundamentalist Christianity. Before going to nursing school, Renée had never heard of Charles Darwin and the theory of evolution. In the course of discovering her freedom, she devoured everything she could read about biology, evolution, basic sciences, astronomy, and “all sorts of things” that opened up a whole new world for her.
Vyckie points out that the midwife experience that she had is just one example of ways that Quiverfull and ultra-conservative ideals endanger families. “A lot of the time, it’s the combination of these beliefs which work together to mess up Christian families,” she says. “For example, believing it is a sin to go into debt combined with believing it is not trusting God to accept government assistance like food stamps or Medicaid results in Christians not seeking medical attention when necessary. Instead, they seek out ‘alternative’ therapies that can do more harm than good. Another example is that in their determination to live debt-free, Christians often encourage their young adults to forgo college. Sometimes this can be a good thing, as they often emphasize entrepreneurial skills, but often it gets elevated to the level of an ideology in which the kids are led to feel like they would be sinning if they go to college.”
These types of issues presented themselves during the 2012 election season, with conservative candidates endorsing the “personhood” of zygotes, Rick Santorum lamenting that “liberal colleges” were destroying the Christian faith of young people, and anti-science/pro-Christian nationalism types of platforms adopted by a number of state Republican parties. Texas Republicans proclaimed in their platform that “critical thinking skills and similar programs” should not be taught in public schools. These are just a few examples.
Join us for a fascinating discussion with Vyckie and Renée who will give us a firsthand look — based on their experiences — on how ultra-conservative Christian values are not good for families and can be abusive for women.
Show Time: Friday night, February 22, 2013, 6 Pacific / 7 Mountain / 8 Central / 9 Eastern / GMT=Saturday, February 23 @ 3 AM (Additional time conversions at the World Time Server).
To hear the show live and participate in the web-based chat room: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/god-discussion/2013/02/23/quivers-filled-with-abuse–a-look-at-the-pro-birth-dogma (The interviews are expected to last two hours; however, we have reserved three hours in case the discussion goes longer or if there are numerous callers .)
How it works … When you visit the show page (linked immediately above), the podcast will automatically play out of your computer speakers when it is live. A SKYPE button will also appear that you can simply press and connect with the host (if you have SKYPE, that is). A web-based chatroom will be running contemporaneously with the show, where you can post questions and comments.
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