This is probably old news to most of you, but Sam Harris wrote an excellent piece for Newsweek: Newsweek.com | When Atheists Attack:
A noted provocateur rips Sarah...
Yeah, it's got a crappy title. Anyway, here are what I would consider to be highlights:
"Here, finally, was a performer who—being maternal, wounded, righteous and sexy—could stride past the frontal cortex of every American and plant a three-inch heel directly on that limbic circuit that ceaselessly intones "God and country." If anyone could make Christian theocracy smell like apple pie, Sarah Palin could."
While the talk about sex appeal and heels could be considered sexist.... I think he makes an excellent point. She is
using things like sex appeal and blind patriotism to gain popularity and distract people from actually questioning where she stands on the issues or how qualified she is.
There is no question that if President McCain chokes on a spare rib and Palin becomes the first woman president, she and her supporters will believe that God, in all his majesty and wisdom, has brought it to pass. Why would God give Sarah Palin a job she isn't ready for? He wouldn't. Everything happens for a reason. Palin seems perfectly willing to stake the welfare of our country—even the welfare of our species—as collateral in her own personal journey of faith.
I hadn't thought of this, but it's one more thing that's disturbing about politicians who claim to be governed by their faith or sent by God. Not only does this mean that they don't care about civil liberties and would be glad to reduce certain people to second-class citizens, but they're doing it to benefit themselves and not the people they're supposed to represent.
"Teen pregnancy is a misfortune, plain and simple. At best, it represents bad luck (both for the mother and for the child); at worst, as in the Palins' case, it is a symptom of religious dogmatism. Governor Palin opposes sex education in schools on religious grounds. She has also fought vigorously for a "parental consent law" in the state of Alaska, seeking full parental dominion over the reproductive decisions of minors. We know, therefore, that Palin believes that she should be the one to decide whether her daughter carries her baby to term. Based on her stated position, we know that she would deny her daughter an abortion even if she had been raped. One can be forgiven for doubting whether Bristol Palin had all the advantages of 21st-century family planning—or, indeed, of the 21st century."
I knew she was anti-choice, but I had absolutely no idea that she was pushing for a parental consent law in her state. Anti-abortion groups in my state are pushing for something similar--Proposition 4--and the results of it passing would be absolutely disastrous for young women. Not only would it endanger them by forcing teens to tell possibly abusive or unsupportive parents that they are pregnant and seeking an abortion, not only would it encourage them to seek ways of obtaining unsafe, illegal abortiosn, but as Harris said, this would put their reproductive choices and the control of their own bodies and lives, in the hands of their parents. It's very disturbing to me that someone could treat their own daughter more like property than a person.