Categories
Antivaccine nonsense Bad science Medicine Politics Religion Skepticism/critical thinking

Harmful messages from authority about the J&J COVID-19 vaccine

A week ago, the FDA approved the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use. Unfortunately, messaging by political and religious authorities has ranged from mixed to downright unhelpful.

There was some good news about a week ago about COVID-19 vaccines when the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was granted emergency use authorization (EUA) by the FDA. So now we have three effective vaccines from three different companies against COVID-19. The news got better two days ago, when news stories reported that Merck will team up with J&J to manufacture the new COVID-19 vaccine. I say this is all good news, because anything that makes available a larger supply of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines is a good thing and important for helping to end the pandemic.

Unfortunately, with the rollout of the J&J vaccine, to add to the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines already being distributed under EUA has also come the rollout of unhelpful messages not coming from antivaccine activists. It’s bad enough to have to combat antivaccine disinformation in a pandemic, just as safe and effective vaccines are finding their way into more and more arms, but when messaging that is—shall we say?—unhelpful is coming from sources viewed as authorities (albeit not medical authorities) that makes it harder to combat.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s “only the best for Detroiters” message is not just unhelpful, but could fuel suspicion of the J&J vaccine

Much of the unhelpful messaging is based on differences between the J&J vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccines by Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech. Sadly, an example came from my hometown (and city where I still work), Detroit, specifically the Mayor of Detroit, Mike Duggan:

From the news story from a local TV station, WXYZ:

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is saying no to the new Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, for now. 

The city turned down more than 6,000 doses of the single-dose shot this week, which is slightly less effective at preventing COVID-19 in the U.S. at 72%, compared to the double-dose Pfizer and Moderna shots, each around 95%.

Those doses that were turned down were provided to other health departments in the state struggling to get shots in the arms of seniors so they didn’t go to waste.

Duggan said for right now, he wants the city to have the best options, and he said that’s Pfizer and Moderna.

“Johnson & Johnson is a very good vaccine. Moderna and Pfizer are the best, and I’m going to do everything I can to make sure residents of the city of Detroit get the best,” Duggan said.

Duggan turned down 6,200 doses of the vaccine, made in Grand Rapids. The doses were sent to Detroit this week, on top of its allocated Pfizer and Moderna doses.

“The day may come when we have more Detroiters asking for vaccines than we have Moderna, Pfizer. In which case, we will set up a Johnson & Johnson site,” Duggan added.

I actually like Mayor Duggan. I’ve generally supported Mayor Duggan. I don’t live in the City of Detroit itself, but I was quite literally born in the city, and I do still work here—and have for 13 years now. I also think Duggan has generally done an excellent job as Mayor of Detroit, but, damn, this was some seriously awful public messaging, irresponsible in the extreme. Basically, Mayor Duggan has given a message to southeast Michigan that the J&J vaccine is somehow inferior to the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, that it’s second rate. Even the statement that the city will eventually accept the J&J vaccine and set up separate vaccination sites if the day comes when “we have more Detroiters asking for vaccines than we have” of the other vaccines sends a message that he’ll only take the J&J vaccine if there isn’t enough of the other vaccines to go around. The unmistakable implication is that he views the J&J vaccine as somehow second-rate compared to them, in the context of a statement that he wants Detroiters to “get the best.”

In a city whose population is over 80% Black, this message, apparently unintentionally, feeds into the long history of mistrust of the medical profession among Blacks, an all-too-understandable mistrust based on the long history of racism in the medical profession that led to centuries of different treatment, inferior care, dismissal of symptoms, and even the Tuskegee syphilis experiment. I don’t think any of this messaging was intentional, just tone-deaf. Adding to that is the simple fact that communities of color have been hit the hardest by COVID-19, and the very communities that would most benefit from a “one shot and done” vaccine that doesn’t have rigorous storage requirements tend to be the communities whose population is disproportionately non-white—such as the City of Detroit, where such advantages would be very real indeed. Indeed, the Mayor seemed to realize that he had gone too fairly quickly, as the City seemed to be already backing off, but then he appears to have decided to double down:

When asked whether the move to receive Johnson & Johnson vaccines was a change in direction from Duggan’s comments a day earlier, Roach said, “there is no change in direction.”

“The mayor made clear that he intended to maximize the availability of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, which we have done successfully. The 29,000 Moderna/Pfizer vaccines over the next week administered directly by a health department is an extraordinary number,” Roach said.

“The mayor would have strongly resisted any attempt to reduce Detroit’s allocation of Moderna and Pfizer going forward by substituting J and J in whole or in part.

“We now have clear assurance from the state that Detroit’s full allocation of Moderna/Pfizer will continue and that J and J vaccines will be additional. Based on that assurance, the city is proceeding to set up a separate J and J vaccination site and will offer it to Detroiters as an additional option.”

And even more grudgingly:

“The day may come in March or April when every single Moderna and Pfizer (vaccine) is committed and we still have people who need a vaccine, and at that point, we’ll set up a Johnson & Johnson center. I don’t see that in the next couple weeks,” he said.

No, Mr. Mayor. The “best” vaccine in a pandemic is a safe and effective vaccine that you can go into arms now. I agree with blog bud Skeptical Raptor when he says: Get whichever vaccine is available to you because it probably doesn’t matter in the long run because all three vaccines prevent severe disease from SARS-CoV-2. As for that bit about “reducing” the size of the shipments of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines and filling in the gap with the J&J vaccine, well, that’s just nonsense. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services pointed out that the consignment of doses of the J&J vaccine would be in addition to the doses of the other vaccines that the city was already slated to receive.

It’s also a fallacy to try to make a head-to-head comparison between the results of the clinical trials for the Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, and J&J COVID-19 vaccines. First, what are we talking about? As we know, both the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, which are based on mRNA technology, demonstrated roughly 95% efficacy in preventing COVID-19 in their phase 3 clinical trials, but required two doses to achieve that. (In addition, both vaccines required ultracold storage conditions, which not all clinics and sites have available.) The J&J vaccine, in contrast, is based on adenovirus technology, in which a weakened version of the adenovirus (the virus responsible for cold-like illness) does the same thing as RNA, namely making a viral protein that triggers an immune response, specifically the spike protein responsible for getting into the cell and starting an infection. It also doesn’t require storage requirements as stringent as the other vaccine and requires only one dose, both of which are advantages. However, in its clinical trials, the J&J vaccine was slightly less effective. As the Raptor reported, its vaccine efficacy against severe/critical COVID-19 was 73.1% at 14 days after vaccination and increased to 81.7% at 28 days after vaccination. The Raptor also noted:

Although the effectiveness of this vaccine may appear lower than the 95% reported for the mRNA vaccines, they are still within the statistical range of them. For example, individuals without comorbidities exhibited vaccine effectiveness of nearly 90%. In fact, the only group that showed very low effectiveness were those ≥60 years old with comorbidities.

Again, as has been pointed out in several places, you can’t really make a direct comparison between the results of the clinical trials for the J&J vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccines made by Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech. The simple version was well (and pithily stated) on Twitter:

What he means is that the clinical trials for the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines were done earlier in the pandemic, while the J&J vaccine trial was carried out later in the pandemic, when the prevalence of the virus was higher and more transmissible, more virulent variants of SARS-CoV-2 were circulating. Does that mean that the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines would have performed less impressively if they had been tested under such conditions? There’s no way of knowing. What we do know is that all three vaccines were 100% effective in preventing death from COVID-19 and that all three were very effective in preventing severe disease and hospitalization. It’s just that the J&J vaccine was somewhat less effective in preventing moderate-to-severe COVID-19. As our friend noted, the one group that showed the lowest efficacy was those over 60 with medical comorbidities, which dragged down the average efficacy. In individuals without comorbidities vaccine effectiveness was nearly 90%.

While a case can be made that the J&J vaccine should perhaps be primarily used in people under 60 without comorbidities, the bottom line, again, is that in the middle of a pandemic in which getting as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible is critical to achieving herd immunity before SARS-CoV-2 variants evolve to escape susceptibility to existing vaccines, the best vaccine is the safe and effective one you can get now. Also, there are a lot of people eager to receive the J&J vaccine because it is effective and is “one and done,” while availability of a vaccine that can be stored in refrigerators rather than requiring ultracold freezers allows for easier setup of vaccination clinics at nonmedical sites, like sports stadiums.

Unfortunately, politicians are not the only ones sending unhelpful messages about this vaccine.

Mixed messages about the J&J vaccine from the Roman Catholic Church in the US

Over the last few days, I’ve been seeing news stories like this one about the Catholic Church sending mixed messages about how the J&J vaccine is “morally compromised” because it uses a cell line derived many decades ago from an aborted fetus. Yes, it’s the same old, same old:

Roman Catholic leaders in St. Louis and New Orleans are advising Catholics that the COVID-19 vaccinefrom Johnson & Johnson, newly approved for use in the U.S., is “morally compromised” because it is produced using a cell line derived from an aborted fetus. The New Orleans Archdiocese says the decision to receive a vaccine is one of individual conscience.

In its statement late last week, it stopped short of advising Catholics not to take the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but adds that Catholics should choose coronavirus vaccines made by Moderna or Pfizer — if they are available.

The Archdiocese of St. Louis on Tuesday encouraged Catholics to seek out the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines and avoid the Johnson & Johnson version if possible. Like the New Orleans Archdiocese statement, the St. Louis statement called the Johnson & Johnson vaccine “morally compromised.” However, the St. Louis statement stressed that Catholics can get that vaccine “in good conscience if no other alternative is available.”

Later Tuesday, a statement issued by chairmen of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ committees on doctrine and abortion issues issued a statement reiterating the moral concerns. It said the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines are preferable “if one has the ability to choose a vaccine.”

I realize the message from the Archdiocese of St. Louis and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops about the J&J vaccine are the same sort of message that the Roman Catholic Church has been sending about vaccines ever since 2003, with the New Orleans Archdiocese merely being a more extreme version. That was when the Pontificia Academia Pro Vita, at the time led by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (who later became Pope Benedict XVI, issued a statement that the use of vaccines whose manufacture involves the use of such cell lines derived in the distant past from an aborted fetus is morally acceptable, albeit less than ideally so, because the extreme good of preventing the diseases targeted by vaccines outweighs the distant “evil” of the abortion. Even then, the Church tried to thread the proverbial eye of the moral needle by saying that vaccines not using such cell lines should be encouraged, even though vaccines developed and manufactured using them have prevented billions of cases of disease and prevented millions upon millions of deaths, and characterized the use of such vaccines thusly:

…the lawfulness of the use of these vaccines should not be misinterpreted as a declaration of the lawfulness of their production, marketing and use, but is to be understood as being a passive material cooperation and, in its mildest and remotest sense, also active, morally justified as an extrema ratio due to the necessity to provide for the good of one’s children and of the people who come in contact with the children (

In other words, again, the extreme good of vaccination outweighs the distant “evil” and “passive material cooperation” with it. Moreover, before COVID-19 vaccines had even been developed, the Vatican weighed in:

The Vatican concluded that “it is morally acceptable to receive COVID-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses” in the research and production process when “ethically irreproachable” vaccines aren’t available to the public. But it stressed that the “licit” uses of such vaccines “does not and should not in any way imply that there is a moral endorsement of the use of cell lines proceeding from aborted fetuses.”

While the messaging from the New Orleans Archdiocese is clearly more dangerous in a pandemic, messaging from the Vatican and the US Catholic Church is very problematic in the middle of a pandemic because it will inevitably lead some Catholics to view the J&J vaccine as inferior to the others in a different way than Mayor Duggan’s statement.

Indeed, the mixed messaging from the Catholic Church has the potential to be even worse, because it basically says, “Sure, use these vaccines if you have to if nothing else is available, but they are products of killing babies.” Also, the US religious wingnuts being US religious wingnuts, some Catholic leaders in the US have beyond even the mixed messaging of the Catholic Church into messages that are anything but “mixed”:

That was followed by much more unequivocal guidance from the Diocese of Bismarck, N.D., which issued an unsigned statement that said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine “is morally compromised and therefore unacceptable for any Catholic physician or health care worker to dispense and for any Catholic to receive due to its direct connection to the intrinsically evil act of abortion.”

I wonder: How is it different to be using these cells to manufacture the J&J vaccine, compared to the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, for which these cells were apparently used during vaccine development to test their ability to make spike protein. I mean, how close does the aborted cell line have to be to the vaccine to make the vaccine evil? Is it like homeopathy, where, as homeopaths claim that water has a “memory” of all the homeopathic remedy that’s been diluted away to nothingness, in which ever having been in contact with one of these fetal cell lines, no matter how remote the contact was, permanently contaminates the vaccine?

It gets worse:

I note that the J&J vaccine had not yet been approved under an EUA in January. Only the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were available then. One also must wonder if the Bishop also opposes vaccinating children against, for example, measles, given that the manufacture of the MMR vaccine also uses such cells.

In a pandemic, politics and religion can kill

We’ve already seen how ideology can hamper public health messaging. When the pandemic hit, we had arguably the worst possible President to be in charge of a time when disciplined and nuanced messaging were needed, and he contributed to resistance to masks and public health interventions of all sorts other than vaccines. The only reason he didn’t oppose vaccines is because he viewed vaccines, inappropriately, as as magic bullet that would end the pandemic and save his reelection bid.

I’m sure that politics is what motivated Mayor Duggan, possibly combined with a misguided belief that by portraying the J&J vaccine as “not the best” he’s doing the best for the people of Detroit. While I’m sure he didn’t intend it, Mayor Duggan’s statement will likely lead Detroiters to view the J&J vaccine as “inferior” in a way that could feed into the preexisting distrust among Detroiters of the medical system. That’s plenty bad, as persuading some Detroiters to take the J&J vaccine when Mayor Duggan finally does bow to reality will be more difficult because of his previous political posturing about providing “only the best for Detroiters.” Worse, Mayor Duggan really should know better, given his long tenure as the President and CEO of the Detroit Medical Center before he went into politics. I can’t help but wonder if this “only the best” message will end up killing more people than any difference in efficacy between the J&J vaccine and the others COVID-19 vaccines ever could, even in a worst case scenario.

Religion, though, has the potential to do even more harm. Although I’ve touted the Catholic Church’s messaging that it is morally (grudgingly) acceptable to use vaccines that were manufactured using fetal cell lines, I’ve always been hesitant about the mixed messaging. In normal times, the mixed messaging was less harmful, as the stakes, although by no means low, were much lower than they are in a pandemic. Unfortunately, in the middle of a deadly pandemic that’s already killed over a half a million in just the US alone, the stakes are much, much higher, and one wonders how many Catholic might die because the Catholic Church on the one hand proclaimed that the J&J vaccine is (grudgingly) morally acceptable, while on the other hand decry it as the evil product of abortion. In doing so, the US Catholic Church prioritizes the”evil” of an abortion happened over 50 years ago and cells that are so far distant from the abortion that likely nothing remains of the originals after many replications over the lives of living, breathing Catholics now.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

78 replies on “Harmful messages from authority about the J&J COVID-19 vaccine”

I’ve heard the concern about the J&J vaccine being a less good vaccine targeted at people of color from others. It’s concerning that that’s the image. We don’t really know comparative effectiveness in the real world yet, and especially against the variants – I liked this post by Dr. Lowe – https://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2021/03/02/early-march-vaccine-thoughts and there are real advantage to a one-dose vaccine. Thank you for addressing this, a very important topic.

I didn’t want to be too hard on Mayor Duggan, for example, because, again, I really do believe he’s been a good mayor and has done a lot of good for Detroit, but this uncharacteristic bout of stupid political posturing could have real world consequences.

Religious zealots, desperate to find ways to maintain power, wealth, and relevance. And that’s even before we get to the Catholic Church.

Am I a bad person for wishing a pox on these bishops, ideally one that puts them face-down ass-up in ICU for a month as a harsh but apparently much-needed lesson?

I wish they would pontificate more about saving lives now by vaccinating (and wearing masks, social distancing, etc.) and stop whining about the sins of 6 decades past.

With J&J, it’s really a case of the perfect being the enemy of the good.

And it’s much closer than it seems. I remember a discussion on TWiV a few weeks ago where the J&J vaccine wasn’t quite as good at preventing symptoms after 28 days, but was perfect after 7 weeks.

With its one-and-done dosing and easier storage, I would think it would be an excellent choice to target for delivery to local pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS. They could direct the Pfizer and Moderna to the mass vaccination sites.

Since cases are still rising in Michigan, they need to vaccinate as many as possible ASAP.

Just today the Catholic Diocese of Boise and Spokane (so Idaho and near-Idaho), also said to pick any vaccine except the J&J. In an area with a lot of vulnerable and hard-to-reach ag workers and very few ultra-cold freezers.

The news article even explained the science of the vaccine manufacture vis a vis the fetal cells, and quoted a couple of local doctors and public health workers on how this is not helpful.

In about April of last year the priest of the neighborhood Catholic church near my aunt (in SF) declared that you must come to mass, pandemic or no pandemic. My aunt is a lapsed Catholic, but she was very upset for a lot of the elderly parishioners, who were being told to either risk their lives or their souls (as they see it). I don’t know what ever came of that.

Am I a bad person for wishing a pox on these bishop
Not at all. They are not even following Church policy. They are a couple of mid-level bureaucrats mouthing off. Pope Francis probably joins you.

I am someone who had an abortion. Have these silly men ever had to make this decision? Of course not. This is all obfuscatory and rationalizing bullshit to hide these people’s historical contempt for women and desire to control them. As Keats said, this is all ye know on earth and all ye need to know. These stupid little rationalizations for what is just basic and essential misogyny are disgusting. I don’t want to hear any more of the damn Catholic Church’s crap about this. They are disturbed, dysfunctional people who have no respect for women, period.

I am further disgusted by the language they use–murdered children and such. Also the “life begins at conception” nonsense. Who listens to this rubbish anyway? It’s not as if most Catholics (in No Anerica and Europe anyway) don’t use birth control of some kind these days. I’m always perplexed at the massive coverage the Pope’s every move and word is covered by the media–why? It’s even sillier than the hysteria over Oprah and the Sussex couple.

As for sending a mixed message about vaccines, our Polish government excels. Medical staff and the elderly have been vaccinated and are still being vaccinated with Pfizer and Moderna. And then Oxford/AZ got accepted in Europe, but since it was not tested on the elderly population, the government decided to use it to vaccinate teachers. And since teachers’ unions have a, shall I say, strained relationship with the current government, there was an uproar about “giving teachers an inferior vaccine”. And questions about which vaccine will be used for the military and the police, with the implied message that they would get a “better” vaccine.
BTW, got my first Oxford/AZ shot last week, with the second dose scheduled for May. And I’m really happy.

@ EVERYONE

The 1st Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

It is obvious that it is religious groups that want to prohibit abortions. Doesn’t the 1st Amendment apply? Especially since many mainstream religions, though not advocating for, accept that it is an individual woman’s choice. What is interesting is that most people don’t know that the Bill of Rights only applied to the Federal government. Until the 14th Amendment after the Civil War many states had official religions. Connecticut’s was Congregational. And for several decades after founding of U.S., other religions, e.g., Baptists were NOT allowed to hold office, were often persecuted, even beaten. In 1803, President Jefferson sent a letter to the Danbury, CT baptist church with the famous clause: “There shall be a wall of separation between Church and State.” Baptists became the core of modern day Evangelicals. And now want prayers in the schools, prohibition of abortions and even birth control pills, claiming they are pro-life; but, the majority also vote against Medicaid, Welfare payments, etc. thus, not caring if pregnant woman gets prenatal and postnatal care, decent housing, decent schools for kid, etc. So, someone once said they believe “life ends at birth”; but really ends at conception. In addition, the same evangelicals are for the death penalty. I’m not saying all evangelicals; but the majority of them, saying often an eye for an eye, though Jesus condemns an eye for an eye in Matthew, e.g., if someone strikes one cheek, turn the other cheek. To summarize, it is mainly one group of religious people in U.S. who ignore the 1st Amendment that at one time they loved based on Jefferson, and now want to impose their religion on others. Catholics are also against abortion; but also against death penalty and support universal health care coverage and basic support for individuals and families.

And by the way, I would love to see a decrease in abortions, though left up to the woman to decide. The decrease would occur with availability of decent medical care, decent support, e.g., rent subsidies, good schools, safe neighborhoods, affordable/subsidized daycare so woman could, if she wanted, continue working. In U.S. we give a tax deduction for children; but not much of help for poor people and, as tax brackets increase, benefits higher incomes more. In many European nations, e.g., France, Sweden, monthly child payments sent for each child.

I wrote a more detailed OpEd on this which you can find: Joel A. Harrison (2020 Feb 24). Reader’s Editorial: Abortion is a 1st Amendment Issue. East County Magazine. Available at: https://www.eastcountymagazine.org/reader’s-editorial-abortion-1st-amendment-issue

but the majority of them, saying often an eye for an eye, though Jesus condemns an eye for an eye in Matthew, e.g., if someone strikes one cheek, turn the other cheek.

https://www.redletterchristians.org/on-turning-the-other-cheek-and-how-it-doesnt-mean-what-you-think-it-means/

This verse is so often misquoted as, “If someone slaps you on the cheek, turn the other cheek.” But that is not what it says! It says the right cheek. Why does the author of these tight, quippy little sayings feel the need to include which cheek it is?

In Jesus’s culture, people were considered all to be right handed. There was no other option, because the left hand was unclean. Imagine, then, that you are facing a right-handed person, and he slaps you on your right cheek. How does he do that? He backhands you.
.
.
Then, one day, like so many other days, your master backhands you. He expects you to cower and whimper and slink off back to your duties. Maybe he expects you to get on your knees and beg forgiveness. But instead, you look him in the eyes and turn your head to put your left cheek forward. You’ve already insulted him by failing to break down, so he has the right (in his mind) to slap you again.

But he can’t slap you with his left hand, because that is unclean for both of you. And he can’t backhand, because your right cheek is away from him. To strike again, his only option is to slap you with the palm of his hand. And this was not the way to slap a slave. This was reserved for equals. If he chooses to slap you again, he is forced to upgrade your status. He has to bump you up to a higher class citizen in order to get his revenge.

This “victory” may seem small, but it isn’t. You have asserted your humanity and reminded the master you are not an object to be owned and controlled. To reiterate what I wrote about the extra mile, the offer of the other cheek was actually a way to unmask the power play, to non-violently subvert the system by playing right into the ridiculousness of it all. And this is not cowardly. It takes great courage. This subversive act flips the power dynamic. By turning the other cheek instead of cowering or striking back, the wounded party brings uncomfortable embarrassment and shame on the aggressor. The oppressive system has been caught with its pants down, and it doesn’t know what to do.

https://www.redletterchristians.org/on-turning-the-other-cheek-and-how-it-doesnt-mean-what-you-think-it-means/

Possibly, He could have meant “other cheek” as the ‘wrong’ one. Which, of course, means to moon the aggressor.

though Jesus condemns an eye for an eye in Matthew, e.g., if someone strikes one cheek, turn the other cheek.

I came across the following just this summer:

First off, we need to pay attention to the text. This verse is so often misquoted as, “If someone slaps you on the cheek, turn the other cheek.” But that is not what it says! It says the right cheek. Why does the author of these tight, quippy little sayings feel the need to include which cheek it is?

In Jesus’s culture, people were considered all to be right handed. There was no other option, because the left hand was unclean. Imagine, then, that you are facing a right-handed person, and he slaps you on your right cheek. How does he do that? He backhands you.
.
.
Then, one day, like so many other days, your master backhands you. He expects you to cower and whimper and slink off back to your duties. Maybe he expects you to get on your knees and beg forgiveness. But instead, you look him in the eyes and turn your head to put your left cheek forward. You’ve already insulted him by failing to break down, so he has the right (in his mind) to slap you again.

But he can’t slap you with his left hand, because that is unclean for both of you. And he can’t backhand, because your right cheek is away from him. To strike again, his only option is to slap you with the palm of his hand. And this was not the way to slap a slave. This was reserved for equals. If he chooses to slap you again, he is forced to upgrade your status. He has to bump you up to a higher class citizen in order to get his revenge.

https://www.redletterchristians.org/on-turning-the-other-cheek-and-how-it-doesnt-mean-what-you-think-it-means/

What do you think of it, Dr. Harrison? Truthy or clever and creative interpretation?

Tim, I’m not Joel, but I want to answer.
It wasn’t just that action, but all of the advice. If a creditor takes you to court to sue you for your coat, give him your shirt so that he’s making you commit public nudity. If a Roman soldier forces you to go one mile with his pack, go two miles, which puts the soldier in breach of the law.
I’m an agnostic now, but was a Catholic for literally decades. One of my favourite stories is when the priests tried to trap Jesus and he outsmarted them. They came to him and asked if they should pay the temple tax the Romans ordered.
Jesus tells them “Show me the coin used to pay the temple tax.” And when they show him the coin, he asks “Whose face is on the coin? Whose name?”
They replied “Caesar’s”.
“Well then render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and unto God that which is God’s.”
Too many people have this image of Jesus as a dippy hippy. He was nothing of the sort. He was a clever, sharp-witted, angry man who posed a threat to the status quo and condemned publicly and loudly the hypocrisy of those in power. He would have been put to death at almost any point in history.

@Julian Frost

Where there be two or three gathered together in my name… also, I’ve got a stockpile of flux compression grenades.

Women everywhere are ever so grateful for your approval of our ability to decide for ourselves. That’s sarcasm and I’d like to add that I see no logical reason to want to “…see a decrease in abortions…”. Why? Just for balance, I’d like to state that I have no issue at all with abortion as birth control, especially for those who have difficulty with other methods. My only objections come from concern for the woman, not the embryo.

I chose sterilization eventually, but that was before the morning after pill. To say that you’d like to see abortions descreased seems to be acknowledging the position that it’s murder and that women who choose it are really murderers, so pardon me if I take it to be a very grudging and partriarchal approval of you to “allow” us to make our own decisions.

Supported the legalization of abortion because we have separation church and state it is as stupid as justifying the support for racial segregation in the rights of the states. On the other hand, Jefferson never thought that the First Amendment was an excuse for moral permissiveness; Jefferson had no problem supporting exemplary punishments for victimless crimes such as polygamy or consensual sodomy; to pretend that the deist Jefferson would support legalizing infanticide or abortion is simply absurd.

@ EVERYONE

First, the Catholic Church near me holds mass outside with chairs spaced at least 6 feet apart and rows even further apart, and parishioners required to wear masks. I walk my dog by them every evening. Second, many religions offer Zoom services and:

Matthew 6:1-34 ESV / 511 helpful votes

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. …”

Matthew 6:6 ESV / 537 helpful votes

“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

So, group prayers do serve a social function; but if one believes in Jesus, not required! ! !

I reject all this ridiculous doctrinal crap–as should any intelligent person. As I said before, I am a woman who had an abortion. Does any man have to make this decision? Do they have a uterus? All else is irrelevant, and i reject this totally irrelevant rationalization in terms of Catholic doctrine rooted in misogyny to rationalize their woman-hating doctrines. I had to make this decision because I am a woman who was pregnant and could not have a full-term pregnancy. Do these stupid doctrinaire men have a uterus? Who the flip are they to tell women anything? Who the flip are these misogynistic Catholic a-holes to dictate to women about anything? Eff them. Their misogynistic doctrine is utter bullshit, and the world needs to face that FACT.

@ Cameron McLaughlin

Why are you focusing on Catholics? Evangelicals are the more adamant, the more vocal. Read my OpEd referenced above.

I totally agree that it is your body and your choice; but you miss the point that the U.S. has a 1st Amendment that other nations don’t, so, as I discussed, that alone should ensure your right to your own body, regardless of what Catholics or Evangelicals want.

And not all, though many, who oppose abortions are women haters. And if you follow the discussion, you will discover that many Catholics support a woman’s choice, despite what their churches official doctrine is.

You seem to be an extremely angry person. If I had known you personally I would have probably asked your reasons; but accepted your decision; but if you railed like you are doing here, our friendship would have ended, not because you had an abortion; but your exaggerated, attacking all men, etc.

Read my OpEd, if you dare.

Dr Harrison, the original post specifically talks about the Catholic bishops. That’s probably why Cameron mentions them specifically. Also, the Catholic church has both a huge amount of power and money, even in the US, and a generally unified outlook, unlike Evangelicals, who are actively independent of each other (chaotic).

Joel, can you not see how condescending your words are? Cameron is “an extremely angry person” to you because she finds your paternalism offensive. Why would you feel free to ask her reasons if you knew her personally? And then tell us that you would have “accepted” her decision. Who cares? Really, why is up to you to ask or approve? It is such a condescending “approval” and deeply offensive.

She is not “attacking” you, she is stating what should be obvious–it’s none of your business.

Well said and thank you. Honestly, all this chatter over scripture minutae in a science blog! The very idea that women should be beholden to what men (or anyone) thinks is right or wrong based on the bible is mind boggling to a non-believing science-based thinking person.

“Their misogynistic doctrine” : No Girls Allowed! Sweden Okays Gender Eugenic Abortion https://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2009/05/no-girls-allowed-sweden-okays-gender-eugenic-abortion-1
“Their misogynistic doctrine” : Abortionists who fed babies to dogs charged with homicide | News | LifeSite https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/abortionists-who-fed-babies-to-dogs-charged-with-homicide
“Their misogynistic doctrine” : the baby you aborted could be a girl, there is a 50% chance that it was your daughter; The one who justifies female feticide is not the one to give moral lessons to others about whether it is misogyny or not.

Cameron

The fact is that there are 6 practicing Catholics on the US Supreme Court, out of the 9 members of that body.

We can expect Roe vs Wade to go away, and American women to go back to the old back street abortions.

Not to mention social supports for women…….

https://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2020-09-26/if-barrett-joins-supreme-court-would-have-six-catholics

I am starting to feel like we are being forced back into the 1950s, and it will s not pretty.

And I have to say the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church saying it is ok to use a vaccine derive from fetal cell lines. Next thing you know they will be saying it is ok to eat humans if no other protein is available.

But this is the church whose Pope changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday, overturning God. Amazing that the Pope thinks he is more powerful than God, perhaps the Pope should wave his hands and eliminate COVID-19 since he is so darn powerful.

I seriously don’t understand the fascination with fictional sky fairies in the 21st Century.

Well the celllines used for the Jansen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine are from an embryo which was a spontanous abortion, so it was just nature that decided the embryo wasn’t wanted in the body.

We had five white Catholic males on the Supreme Court for a few years and Roe Vs. Wade wasn’t overturned. How is that for diversity?

But I think most of the political push against abortion is from Evangelical/Fundamentalist Protestants.

New Mexico, which has a strong Hispanic Catholic vote, actually updated its anti-abortion law which dated back to the 60’s to allow abortions in case Roe v. Wade gets overturned. It was bizarrely worded anyway.

I wonder if any of the legislatures passing these laws (maybe Maryland??) have a majority of Catholics in either of their chambers.

https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/women/reports/2020/08/27/489786/state-actions-undermining-abortion-rights-2020/

@ JustaTech

Yet, it is the Evangelicals who supported Donald Trump and continue to do so. And if you read my OpEd, mentioned above, you might be surprised to learn that in the 1970s and earlier they basically didn’t care about the abortion issue. Read it. You will be in for a surprise. Also, it’s not just her focus on the Catholic Church; but the viciousness of it. In actuality, following bombings, killings, and attacks at aboriton clinics and Planned Parenthood, the Catholic Church, though not changing its position, has become less active on the whole as they don’t want to be associated with those claiming to be pro-life and killing. I am Jewish; but have followed the abortion issue for many years and supported both women’s right to their own bodies; as well as equal treatment in education, occupations, etc, going back to my undergraduate years in early 1960s.

@ JustaTech

I forgot to mention that the Catholic Church, though wealthy, isn’t as wealthy as you think. It has had to pay off huge amounts for sexual abuse by priests, had to close churches in some areas due to lack of funding and Evangelical churches are often quite wealthy. A few years ago look at Jim and Tammy Baker. As a non-Catholic with many Catholic friends, I have been quite depressed by the sexual scandals. I know many priests who are extremely good people; but the ones who perpetrated the abuses were hidden by a number of Bishops, not just in the U.S. Totally unacceptable. And finally Pope Francis has taken an active stand.

And I mildly disagree with Orac. Yep, Catholic Church, not individual diocese, accepts vaccines made with a few cell lines from years ago and encourages developing new ones. So what? They accept them and we are developing new, more effective vaccines. COVID-19 mRNA vaccines have NO fetal cell lines and Catholics who don’t choose the JJ can still opt for them. It is not as if they either accept JJ or go without being vaccinated.

“It has had to pay off huge amounts for sexual abuse by priests, had to close churches in some areas due to lack of funding …”

It is to laugh. The church did its best to hide assets, lie about what was available, intimidate victims and their families so they would not go public and file lawsuits, and far more.

The notion that the coverup of rapists in the church was done by a few bishops is pure bullcrap: we know JPII had his hit man (who became the “nazi pope” after him) craft policies for avoiding responsibility and hiding offenders for churches all over the world.

There is no honest way to put a good spin on the catholic church in their history of protecting child rapists, past or present. To hint that there is is to be immensely dishonest.

“There are cases of sexual abuse that come to light every day against a large number of members of the Catholic clergy. Unfortunately it’s not a matter of individual cases, but a collective moral crisis that perhaps the cultural history of humanity has never before known with such a frightening and disconcerting dimension. Numerous priests and religious have confessed. There’s no doubt that the thousands of cases which have come to the attention of the justice system represent only a small fraction of the true total, given that many molesters have been covered and hidden by the hierarchy.”

An editorial from a great secular newspaper in 2010? No: It’s a speech of May 28, 1937, by Joseph Goebbels (1897-1945), Minister of Propaganda for the Third Reich. This speech, which had a large international echo, was the apex of a campaign launched by the Nazi regime to discredit the Catholic Church by involving it in a scandal of pedophile priests. https://www.cesnur.org/2010/mi-goebbels_en.html

FINALLY, IT IS VERY PAINFUL that you attack Pope Benedict XVI by suggesting that he was a Nazi, when the truth is that he had victims of the Shoa in his own Nazi family (his 14-year-old first cousin was murdered in the gas chamber for suffering from syndrome of Down).

Alfonso, your round-about attempt to excuse that scumbag benedict’s role in hiding, excusing, and ignoring abuse by priests by comparing it to goebbel’s work doesn’t work (facts show your argument is pure bs). Massimo Introvigne tried the same “defense” in 2010. It didn’t work then either.

I see in the statements from the Catholic an acknowledgement that there’s some nuance to the issue with regard to their doctrine and that the decision should be weighed carefully in light of the teachings both to avoid sin and to love and care for their fellow humans and ultimately be between each individual and God. If any die as a result of their decision, they will do so feeling that they acted in accordance with their values. I don’t agree with their beliefs about those cell lines, but I respect their right to live according to the dictates of their own consciences. However, I do think it might be helpful to add something to the effect that if someone chooses not to be vaccinated at all, they should do whatever else they can to protect other people who can’t get vaccinated. Because love and responsibility and humility are also part of what the gospel teaches.

You are unjustifiably attacking me, so I will not respond further. You are a man. I am a woman. You seem to have no comprehension of my reasons for my beliefs and indignation, so stop your attacks on me. I had an abortion. Did you? You are a man. I am a woman. You have no comprehension of what a woman goes through, so stop your nonsense. I am a woman. You are not, so stop your misogynistic nonsense. Right now.

@ Cameron McLaughlin

Are you NUTS? First, I have known a number of women who have had abortions. No, I wasn’t the father. And I have not attacked you for having an abortion. The fact that you keep throwing out “misogynistic” says it all. As I stated, I, early on, early 1960s, supported equality for women on all levels and a woman’s right to her own body. Obviously, you are so disturbed that you failed to read what I wrote. Oh well. I could contact some women i know who had an abortion and I’m sure they would support my position. Unfortunately, I have literally outlived most of my friends. Never smoking, just sampling alcohol a few times, never using any recreational drugs except caffein, don’t even like taking aspirin or ibuprofen, been a vegetarian most of my life, now vegan, and lots of exercise, plus just lucky genes, and my reward is to have outlived my friends; but, despite what you in your disturbed mind choose to believe, I have ALWAYS supported a woman’s right to determine over her own body. Just as I am an agnostic; but have Catholic friends, Baptist friends, and even Moslem friends. You are full of it, a very disturbed individual, when you throw around the word “misogynist”.

@Joel: “You are full of it, a very disturbed individual”

Not cool, dude. Not cool at all. Right out of order. Ms McLaughlin has every right to be pissed as hell at religious zealots trying to control her. You’re both arguing the same case, just from different perspectives. Save the venom for those that earn it.

@ Joel

Stop attacking Ms McLoughlin. If she is angry, it’s because of men like you who offer justification for your pontificating by letting us know that you have a history of “supporting equal rights”–again, can you not see the condescension in this? Ms McLoughlin is speaking directly to make herself clear, but you write her off as a loony woman because she doesn’t calmly try to explain something that should be obvious to you if you don’t harbor any misogyny.

I feel like a black person trying to explain to some nice old white lady why blackface is offensive.

Well I also had an abortion — of hope in the human condition. I sneezed really hard and left something on the floor that looked like a jellyfish drenched in adrenochrome, once. It was pretty gnarly; 2/5 do not recommend, but, like shit, it sometimes happens.

It’s too bad PgP isn’t around anymore; she’d have your back, or vag, or whatever.

Swipe left!! wewowewowewo “You seem to have no comprehension of my reasons for my beliefs and indignation.” Since you didn’t volunteer that info, I have no desire to inquire.

— do not engage
— do not have dinner
— no not drug and rape her because you’ll just be killing a fetus.

Wtf, Joel didn’t attack you. Who cares if you are a woman who had an abortion. You’re not a victim of your own womanhood. Are you? At any rate; you’re not a victim of Joel.

How is this going to work at the vaccine sites? Up to now my sense is most people viewed the two mRNA vaccines as fairly equivalent and were happy to get either. I can see people walking away from or driving through without receiving the J&J vaccine now or demanding one of the other vaccines in clinic. And the anti-vaxxers haven’t said too much about J&J yet, but that’s gonna change, especially given that Facebook is really riling them up, zuccing the NVIC out of existence on its platform this week.

@ Christopher Hickie

Good question. Hopefully, when someone makes an appointment, they will be able to ask which vaccine is being used or if more than one available at particular center. However, our local newspaper seems to be keeping up with which vaccines are available. And as I wrote above, many “devout” Catholics don’t tow the line on everything, so I imagine a good number will get whatever vaccine is available. In addition, we still have a shortage of vaccines, so if some Catholics opt to not get the J&J, others will take it and as Moderna and Pfizer get more vaccines out, then those Catholics will get one of them. I see this as a win-win situation.

All three vaccines are highly effective at their primary objectives, protecting against hospitalization and death.

The J&J numbers make it look less effective at protecting against infection and mild disease, but this has to be taken with a grain of salt, because the J&J phase III trials were conducted later than the mRNA trials, in different countries and with different genetic variants circulating.

Nevertheless, as a link in your reference notes,

this virus is traveling in a direction that could ultimately
lead to escape from our current therapeutic and prophylactic interventions directed to the viral spike. If the rampant spread of the virus
continues and more critical mutations accumulate, then we may be
condemned to chasing after the evolving SARS-CoV-2 continually, as
we have long done for influenza virus. Such considerations require that
we stop virus transmission as quickly as is feasible, by redoubling our
mitigation measures and by expediting vaccine rollout.

You can read another good comparison of the vaccines here.
https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2021/03/420071/how-effective-johnson-johnson-covid-19-vaccine-heres-what-you-should-know

Having the J&J vaccine be a single dose rather than a double dose is a mixed blessing, with some important pluses. Because it provides better protection than the mRNA vaccines after the first dose, it protects recipients better during the extra week or two before those vaccinees can get their second dose.

Also, Phase !/II results show its protection inproves with time after the 2 week target date.

And, only needing one dose lets us get more people vaccinated sooner.

finally, its less stringent storage requirements make it more suitable for widespread distribution to local pharamacies.

And that helps reduce transmission, get the pandemic under control and limit opportunities for these variants to spread.

The good news is that vaccination seems to reduce viral load in the small percentage of people who still become infected. Preliminary data from Israel of the Pfizer vaccine suggest that if you catch COVID-19 after vaccination, you’re likely to harbor less virus, making you less likely to transmit.

“I think it’s going to end up being quite hard to transmit virus after you’ve been vaccinated, even if you are exposed, because of the low viral load in your nose,” said Gandhi. “Which is one of the reasons the CDC has said that vaccinated people do not need to quarantine after exposure if asymptomatic. That’s really based on that data.”

Kim Rossi ( AoA. today) can’t understand why local social media is quite happy about her town’s** mass vaccination of 800 school workers ( link to newspaper article) using J&J: aren’t they aware of all the “precious babies, injured children” destroyed by vaccines ?
In other anti-vax news: Barbara Loe Fisher’s NVIC was taken down by social media following other sites like Stop Mandatory Vaccination although both of these outlets suggest newer media like Parler. Yet it’s very easy to access RFKjr’s twitter or Del’s @ Highwire Talk etc.
Large scale woo-consolidators like PRN, NN and Mercola have already shifted over to self-determined social media accessed through their enhanced websites. New stuff every week.
You can’t keep a good grifter down.

** Trumbull, Connecticut but we’re to understand it’s not “rich” Connecticut .

Miss Barbara Loe Fisher and her kind should read some books on babies and children destroyed by vaccine preventable diseases. That is a real danger.

Unfortunately, Renate, that wouldn’t work. Fisher and her ilk are ideologues. They are convinced that vaccines are more dangerous than the diseases they prevent, and nothing will change their beliefs.

@ Julian
I know, I know, these people will never be convinced about the dangers of vaccine preventable diseases, or the safety of vaccines. There will never be a vaccine they will consider save, because if anything happens after someone has gotten a vaccine, it will be the caused by the vaccine. Even if someone walks under a car after getting a vaccine, it will be caused by the vaccine.

Honestly, at this point? I don’t even care what causes autism. The antivax movement is toxic to disability rights. They push a fantasy of a world where no one has disabilities, or where the disabilities that would exist are “easy” ones. What a bunch of nonsense. It pains me to think of what the time and money of the antivax could be do to make the lives of disabled people better if they could just be bothered to care about helping people instead of painting themselves as suffering martyrs.

@ Terrie:

but you see, causation is terribly important to them- especially the kind of causation:
SBM lists genetics- inherited or de novo variation, prenatal/ perinatal events, characteristics of the mother ( age, weight, illness, medication use, vitamin deficiency) as causes of ASDs which are ALL internal causes-
that is, they tell us about the person/ people involved whether controllable or not.

Attribution theory** predicts that some people use external causes to explain away negative events, raising self-esteem or casting away blame.

A guy has broken leg- why? Was he clumsy, drunk, not cautious or did someone
stealthily track him down and attack him? Externality makes him look better.

By attributing autism to vaccines ( and malevolent doctors/ pharma),anti-vaxxers distance themselves from disability or imperfection ( even though genes are not their fault ) and imagine it as not part of the child because their child was perfect before the evil descended upon him Perfect parents can’t have imperfect children! It only comes from outside.

** huge area of study about how people assign causes . .

“Was he clumsy, drunk, not cautious or did someone stealthily track him down and attack him?”

I’ve some very painful, inexplicably bruised ribs, at the moment. As I’m currently hermetically sealed in here, I think, personally, I’m going to go with “drunk.”

@ has

You write: “Not cool, dude. Not cool at all. Right out of order. Ms McLaughlin has every right to be pissed as hell at religious zealots trying to control her. You’re both arguing the same case, just from different perspectives. Save the venom for those that earn it.”

Perhaps you didn’t notice that she directly attacked me in one comment, not religious zealots. She wrote: “You are a man. I am a woman. You seem to have no comprehension of my reasons for my beliefs and indignation, so stop your attacks on me. I had an abortion. Did you? You are a man. I am a woman. You have no comprehension of what a woman goes through, so stop your nonsense. I am a woman. You are not, so stop your misogynistic nonsense.”

I lived in Sweden for 10 years. Abortion has been legal in Sweden long before 1972 Supreme Court case Roe v Wade. Maybe you’ve heard of thalidomide. Marketed for, among other things, morning sickness. It caused phocomelia, severe birth defects, e.g., missing or short limbs, etc. It was never approved by FDA thanks to one researcher. Bernice Eddy. One famous case: “While pregnant, children’s television host Sherri Finkbine took an over-the-counter sedative her husband had purchased in Europe. When she learned that thalidomide was causing fetal deformities she wanted to abort her pregnancy, but the laws of Arizona allowed abortion only if the mother’s life was in danger. Finkbine traveled to Sweden to have the abortion. Thalidomide was found to have deformed the fetus. This was 1962. And one of the cell lines acceptable by the Vatican is from Swedish abortion in the 1950s. There is a great book on the cell lines and development of vaccine for rubella: Meredity Wadman (2017).The Vaccine Race: Science, Politics, and the Human Costs of Defeating Disease. Viking Books.

During my time in Sweden I knew quite a few women who had abortions. Swedish society never questioned a woman’s right to her own body. One of the things that is irritating about McLaughlin is that she thinks she is speaking for all women as if her reasons and beliefs regarding abortion applied universally. Well, some of my classmates had abortions because, though they wanted children, first wanted to finish their education and get their careers started. They then had children and as far as I could tell were great parents. A family I knew who already had four children, despite birth control, the woman became pregnant and had an abortion because they just couldn’t handle, give lots of love, to more children. And several married women I knew simply neither they nor their husbands wanted children, so they had an abortion. I believe eventually most of the above finally opted for sterilization rather than continue to trust various birth control devices, single women, tubal ligations, married couples often vasectomies.

However, as opposed to the U.S. I knew a fellow student who decided to be a single mother. At the time, she lived in a student housing facility. In Sweden, each student got their own room, a kitchenette, and tiny bathroom with shower. With the infant, she received a monthly child payment, subsidies to move to a larger apartment, and free quality daycare. One of my all time best friends had four kids, the fourth born with Down Syndrome. Down Syndrome often involves need for open heart surgery and hip surgery. In Sweden, absolutely free and high quality. Once every three months a community childcare specialist came to their home early Friday evening and stayed to Sunday evening. They were free to go out of town or do whatever. Sweden recognizes that special needs children require extra work. And starting at an early age, a van picked the kid up and took to a special education center. After, I believe, first grade, if possible the goal was to transition them gradually to regular school if possible. Then as adults they are helped to get work packing groceries at supermarkets or placed in shelter workshops, etc.

When I lived in Houston during my Post-Doctoral Fellowship, I met a couple who belonged to a group promoting adopting kids with special needs. They adopted a sweet little girl from a state orphanage with Down Syndrome. They ran a small business and their health insurance premiums went through the roof. This was before the 1990 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act which both required and funded special ed programs, so, the public schools offered nada and they had to place her in a private school. This was not a wealthy couple; but they were loving and sacrificed.

So, in Sweden I knew, some good friends, women who chose abortion for a variety of reasons; but also those who chose to have a child, even one with Down Syndrome (I forgot to mention that an ultrasound alerted my friends and they chose to have him), while in the U.S. even with Roe v Wade, families are on their own. All the while our tax dollars have gone to bailing out corrupt bankers, who even collected bonuses, though they almost plummeted the entire world into depression by issuing fraudulent mortgages in order to collect commission, and spending way more on military than necessary for defense; yet, we don’t help most people. So, in Sweden, women and couples really have a choice; but, in U.S. even where abortion legal, the choice is often abort or face poverty.

I should also mention that many years ago I attended several prochoice rallies and some women I knew asked the organizer if I could speak, so I ended up being the only male speaking. So, what did I say? Simple, that women are equal in every way, intelligence, creativity, etc. and that in a free society each person should be able to decide over their own bodies and i actually pointed out that as a man I couldn’t know what it was like to be pregnant. So, yes, I agree with her and I said so above, so why did she attack me as misogynist and keep harping on my being a man? And, as I explained above, she seems to think that she speaks for all women.

And I understand what it is like to have ones body threatened, not based on ones own actions. I am Jewish and grew up in the late 1940s and 1950s. Despite the 1st Amendment and public knowledge of the Holocaust in the 1950s, for instance, public beaches in South Caroline had signs: NO JEWS, DOGS OR “THE N-WORD”. And i was threatened a number of times. My high school had a large white cross on the front lawn. Our school hymn included: “where the cross meets the blue”. Mornings began with a prayer in Jesus name. I was the only one in class who didn’t stand up. And one day in 9th grade Algebra, in walks three representatives of Youth For Christ, welcomed by the teacher who sat down and gave them the floor. They gave their spiel and asked who will step forward and dedicate their life to Christ. Again, I was the only one sitting alone. On several occasions I was physically shoved, called names, etc.; but fortunately, I had friends who intervened; but I know of other Jewish students who weren’t so lucky and ended up severely beaten. So, I know what it is like to have outside influences threaten my body. Unfortunately, the 1st Amendment is mainly a joke.

In any case, as I said in a previous comment, starting in my teens I participated in a number of demonstrations, including anti-vietnams war, civil rights, and women’s rights. As for Civil Rights, I thought of going to Southern States; but too much a coward

And I repeat: Cameron McLaughlin comes off as more than just defending her right to abortion. She comes off as unbalanced and extremely angry. I could hypothesize several explanations, none of which may be right:

She regrets having had an abortion and, instead of being angry with herself, is displacing her anger on others.
Whoever the father was, the relationship was not good and, thus, she generalizes to all men
Her family and/or friends were anti-abortion and gave and continue to give her a hard time
She is just plain mentally disturbed and needs help

She wrote: “You are a man. I am a woman.

?Of which did you dissiminate there are genders and stuff I am gendered. I only slice off because it look sleek to westernars.

She comes off as unbalanced and extremely angry.

Quite.

“Perhaps you didn’t notice that she directly attacked me in one comment, not religious zealots. She wrote: “You are a man. I am a woman. You seem to have no comprehension of my reasons for my beliefs and indignation, so stop your attacks on me. I had an abortion. Did you? You are a man. I am a woman. You have no comprehension of what a woman goes through, so stop your nonsense. I am a woman. You are not, so stop your misogynistic nonsense.””

Nothing she said was wrong.

Joel

You are just amazing. Let me give you a one hand salute.

Amazing is a women expresses her disgust with people or religion, especially men thinking they have the right to judge her or her actions…..and you attack her because she is down on religion interfering with her right to abort.

And then you jump in calling her nuts and crazy. What a kind and thoughtful action. Not.

She is right, what do you know about why a women gets an abortion and what it does to women.

And your list of supposed “support” is pretty worthless.

Go find your heart and stop being nasty to her.

I can one up you…..I grew up German and Protestant in a town that was English/Irish Catholic. There were no blacks or other minority to pick on except Protestants, ie just me.

I was beaten, had stones thrown at me that I have scars from, and got thrown into the lake many times. I had Jewish relatives who died in concentration camps.

Woo-De-Doo. So much for playing tit-for-tat.

Leave the girl alone.

So let’s review this for a moment.

Cameron joined this discussion about the Catholic Church’s rather guarded approval of the J&J vaccine which depends in part on cells from an abortion 50+ years ago to offer these statements.


This is all obfuscatory and rationalizing bullshit to hide these people’s historical contempt for women and desire to control them.

These stupid little rationalizations for what is just basic and essential misogyny are disgusting. I don’t want to hear any more of the damn Catholic Church’s crap about this. They are disturbed, dysfunctional people who have no respect for women, period.

Joel replied a couple hours later with a discussion of the 1st Amendment and religious especially Protestant opposition to abortions which included this comment.

And by the way, I would love to see a decrease in abortions, though left up to the woman to decide. The decrease would occur with availability of decent medical care, decent support, e.g., rent subsidies, good schools, safe neighborhoods, affordable/subsidized daycare so woman could, if she wanted, continue working.

He added a note about social distancing and New Testament references on public worship. About an hour later, she replied with this:

I reject all this ridiculous doctrinal crap

i reject this totally irrelevant rationalization in terms of Catholic doctrine rooted in misogyny to rationalize their woman-hating doctrines.

Their misogynistic doctrine is utter bullshit, and the world needs to face that FACT.

Joel then gave a direct reply in which he stated.

Why are you focusing on Catholics? Evangelicals are the more adamant, the more vocal. Read my OpEd referenced above.

I totally agree that it is your body and your choice; but you miss the point that the U.S. has a 1st Amendment that other nations don’t, so, as I discussed, that alone should ensure your right to your own body, regardless of what Catholics or Evangelicals want.

You seem to be an extremely angry person.

Cameron then dismissed his reply with this comment:

You are unjustifiably attacking me, so I will not respond further. You are a man. I am a woman. You seem to have no comprehension of my reasons for my beliefs and indignation, so stop your attacks on me. I had an abortion. Did you? You are a man. I am a woman. You have no comprehension of what a woman goes through, so stop your nonsense. I am a woman. You are not, so stop your misogynistic nonsense. Right now.

Now Joel often goes a bit over the top, especially when he gets to his third or fourth reply to a person. But he always gives a legal, scientific or personal basis for his comments. And I think he is at least trying to empathize with women’s views on abortion and support their rights in that regard (as do I).

And I too think that her comments about “obfuscatory and rationalizing bullshit”, “woman-hating doctrines”, and “misogynistic nonsense” do come across as angry.

More to the point, none of her comments do much to articulate her views on abortion or the use of vaccines derived from these deades-old cell lines.

And they certainly don’t gain her allies from the other side of the gender divide.

squirrelelite

Listen, I am WAY more tired of men’s paternalistic treatment of us women than she is.

Let us get down to the nitty-gritty……

Women make up 51% of the human population making us the majority, yet we are constantly being sexually harassed, get paid 25% less than men for doing the same job, and the list goes on and on.

In science women get their work constantly stolen, Marie Curie only got her two Nobel prizes because her husband insisted it was not his work but hers and that she be recognized for it, not him.

Just look at politics in the US. In our US House of Representatives, only 31 are women out of 435 members. A woman being Vice-President is only as close to being President that women are ever going to be allowed to get to. It wasn’t hard for a black man to become President, but heaven forbid if a woman ever became President. Afterall Vice-President is sort of the “spouse” role in US politics.

And when it comes to voting women got the vote 50 years after black men did, and they were former slaves for goodness sake. That alone told us where we as women were in the “pecking” order. No packer so get to the end of the line.

So we as women know exactly how we are viewed by men, we are little more than minor extensions of men allowed to do the work keeping a household functioning and just a tiny step above children and who still in need “supervising”. Lots of women still have to beg there husbands for money to feed and clothe the children. It is little better than slavery in many cases, which is why we have shelters for abused women and their children.

The Catholic Church is so paternalistic after almost 2,000 years, that women are still not allowed to be more than minor figures in the organization. Women are allowed to be Nuns, and the history of sexual exploitation of nuns by priests and other men is way worse than the homosexual history of the priests in the Catholic church.

She has a right to her disgust of the Catholic church and any church which treats women as second class people in need of control.

Men can say they support women, but you have no idea of the constant abuse we have to take and smile while it happens. As a women we have to be on constant guard against men who think it is ok to touch our bodies, and think of us objects to relieve their “needs” on. And when we are told it is our fault, because of how we dress, that takes the cake. In the Middle East many women wear those all-covering bed sheets and feel relief from being groped with men’s eyes.

Men may complain it is hard to get ahead at the job or whatever, imagine not being allowed to even get beyond a job with all the status of the janitor.

Joel started berating her on why she was focused on the Catholic church…..

News flash here squirrel, the topic was the actions of the Catholic church saying to avoid the J&J vaccine because of the use of fetal cell lines.

Joel berating her on focusing on the Catholic church was out of line and derogatory to boot. Then his listing of how he “supports” women while tearing into her is a classic abuser tactic. So much an “I would not hit you if you had not made me do it” behavior that abusers use.

Beating up someone verbally is just as much painful abuse as hitting them. And Joel was hitting her hard with his comments that she was nuts, etc.

So think about what Joel was doing, and you will see, if you look closer, that he was being very abusive.

@Aelxa,

Thanks for your reply.

I saw a recent news tidbit about how 1/3 of the women in the world have been subject to physical or sexual violence. I rind that appalling, partly because I see too many other reminders in the news of how that is probably an underestimate and partly because I was raised to treat women with respect and have generally managed to do that.

Nevertheless I know that there are many elements of our society that support and even encourage that.

Perhaps I have a naive hope for the future because during my Air Force service I saw many positions opened up to women that had previously been denied them. I also remember getting training 30 years ago about avoiding sexual harassment. Similar training has been part of practically every job I have had since then.

I have a long time female friend who voted for Trump. I find it incredible given his comments about getting away with unwanted physical attentions and record of cheating on his wife. But I try to set political matters aside and maintain our friendship.

Our last two governors were women and, crazy as it might seem, I voted for both of them. I have had two U.S. representatives who were women. One was also an Air Force Officer and is now president of a major university. The other is now Secretary of the Interior.

The last four years have disabused me of some of my naivete, but I continue to hope for a better future and try to help make that happen in whatever small ways i can.

I could write much more in an attempt to establish my pro-women bona fides, but don’t think that would be fruitful.

However, perhaps my few comments will give you some indication of where i am coming from.

Good night.

Squirrelelite

I thank you for your note.

I have never seen anything you write be unreasonably nasty to someone as Joel was, so I am sure you likely try to treat women well.

Here’s the deal for me: As far as I know, no fetal cell lines were taken from fetuses aborted for the purpose of harvesting their cells. This would clearly, at least in the modern world, be considered unethical. Rather, the abortion happened without knowing that the cells would be harvested. Yet, some people believe the “murder” taints anything associated with it later, however tangential.

I can’t accept that. Suppose a perfectly healthy 22 year-old woman is shot in the head by her boyfriend and dies. Her heart and many other organs are fine. Assuming there’s no other barrier, is it wrong to accept a heart or liver or, well, anything else, simply because of the “sin” which caused her death?

I can’t see a difference myself. It just seems so obvious to a simple man like myself.

@ Harold H. Gaines

You are absolutely right. The abortions that the fetal cells came from did not know the cells would be harvested. There is a great book that explains the history of the cells as well as the development of the vaccine against rubella:

Meredith Wadman. The Vaccine Race.

Great read!

And with the advent of mRNA vaccines, some of the current vaccines will be replaced.

I had my first dose yesterday. When I made the appointment the contact asked “Don’t you want to know which one it is?” I replied “Is it a covid vaccine? Doesn’t matter.”

She got quite a chuckle out of that.

Want to respond to Orac? Here's your chance. Leave a reply!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.