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Many years ago, the Pilgrims came to this country to escape religious persecution.  It was so important to them, that the message was passed down through the generations.  By the time our founding fathers put our Constitution in place, they made it a point to say, in the laws of our land, that no one was to be discriminated against based on their religion.

Fast forward a few hundred years and the World Trade Centers were attacked by Extremists who were also Muslim.  I capitalize the word Extremists because not all Muslims feel the way about those of us in the West as this particular group of people do.  Also, we have Extremists living in our own country who happen to be Christian (Timothy McVeigh).  Yet, were they to build a church on the site of the Federal Building that he blew up, I do not think that anyone would have protested. (And perhaps they already have, I am not aware of what has happened in Oklahoma since that horrible day.)  However, because these particular Extremists claim to use their religion as a reason for the attacks, we are going to deny other Muslims their right to practice their religion; a full two blocks from the site of the World Trade Center, I might add.  In addition, the Imam who wants to build this mosque is someone who has been trying to heal the rift between those of us in the West and Muslims who are not Extremists.

When I read that the construction workers would not work on the mosque, I knew the Extremists have won.  They have won the battle to turn the United States into a nation that is no better than the countries from which they come.  They have turned us into a country who is willing to now go against our very own Constitution, against one of the very reasons our country has been so successful, Freedom of Religion.  Really, the very reason that this country was founded.  This is a very sad day for the United States and I would personally like to apologize to every single soldier who have put their life on the line in defense of our Freedoms.  Apparently, a few Extremists have defeated you all.

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I just read two posts by women who are anti-Natural Birth.  They seem to think that because doctors are involved, a hospital interventionist birth is the safest, best way to have a baby.  And these are women that are posting on the Skepchick blog (http://skepchick.org/blog/2010/06/reader-rants-doulas-vs-doctors-vs-dolphins-lexicakes/).  Women who supposedly look at scientific evidence and use their brains to come to logical decisions.  But see, here’s the thing.  You can’t prove almost anything about birth because you can’t do controlled studies.  Every woman’s birth is different, period.  So the OB’s don’t know any more than the midwives.  All they know is what others have taught them, what they choose to believe is true and what their observations have told them.  The skeptics use the example of an epidural slowing birth.  Apparently, there are statistics floating around that epidurals slow down the birth process.  She goes on to say that this can only be seen as a correlation, and causation cannot be proved because there is no way to know where the woman’s birth would have gone without the epidural.  I completely agree with that argument.  At the same time, OB’s will tell you that a baby’s heart rate dropping during birth is a sign that the baby is in trouble.  However, from what I’ve read, that’s a “cover my ass” response.  All baby’s heart rates drop somewhat during contractions. 

Which brings me to my main point – you cannot discuss birth in a purely scientific manner.  It is emotional and I will argue with you to the end on this.  For the same reason that you cannot prove the epidural slows birth, you cannot prove that it doesn’t.  For the same reason you cannot prove that a baby removed by a caesarean section was not in trouble, you cannot prove that they were.  Unfortunately, the only way to know these answers is to let the process go without any interventions and risk losing a mother or a baby.  Not an acceptable outcome.

Here is where we disagree and why I bring this up – I choose to give birth with no interventions.  That was MY choice and it was my right to make that choice.  With my second child, I was forced to have Pitocin (which really freaking sucked) and, if it were not for my husband, other interventions that may have led to a C-section.  If you choose to do as the OB tells you and you end up having a C-section, that is YOUR choice.  We should both be allowed to make these choices for ourselves and all of the choices in between without being treated with condescension and disrespect. 

Why should I have to listen to women who say that no rational woman would choose to give birth naturally when I am very rational woman and did a lot of self-educating to come to that decision?  Why is my decision less rational because it does not match theirs and why is it less rational because I chose not to put all my faith (that’s right, because during birth it is more faith than science) in the medical establishment?  Why can’t women support each other in their choices, no matter what form those choices take?  Until that happens, we are going to continue to be second class citizens in this world. 

Another blog that I frequent, The Feminst Breeder, has the right idea.  Although I am sure if you were to direct the oh-so-thinking Skepchicks to the link, they would say she is too conspiracy theorist.  Maybe partially true, but she has the right idea (and she’s also a thinking, intelligent woman). http://thefeministbreeder.com/indepenent-women-will-be-cut/

I’ve had some very interesting experiences while at college.  Being in my 40’s in college is so great because I really appreciate all of the knowledge that I am receiving.  It still amazes me, being in classes with older, non-traditional students, how many people are just there to “get the piece of paper.”  Most of those pieces of paper are worthless as the person receiving them has made no real effort to expand their sphere of knowledge while in attendance. 

In my sociology class last night we were discussing women and religion and whether religion was anti-feminist.  It became obvious to me, very quickly, that no one in the class had any knowledge about anything outside their own sphere.  In other words, the Catholics knew nothing outside of Catholicism, the few Jewish people didn’t know much outside of Judaism, etc.  The professor asked questions about religions specifically, if we knew of any religions that were more “women friendly” etc.  The subject of Atheism came up and the opinion that people in the class had of Atheists obviously came from a place of ignorance.  I had no choice but to come out of the closet.  I discussed how I was an Atheist and how I knew many who were Atheist.  None of them were Atheist because they “wanted to do their own thing” and “not be bothered by rules,” rather they became Atheists after much thought and scholarly inquiry.  Also, all of the Atheists that I know are very liberal and strongly believe in equal rights/opportunities/justice for all and work to make it happen.  Speaking only for myself, I try to follow the Golden Rule as best I can because it’s the right thing to do, not because I am afraid of future consequences.  If the class had been quiet before, you could now hear a pin drop. 

I had several people in the class remark to me afterward “How do you know so much?”  It’s simple – I read.  I read a lot.  My husband reads a lot and then we talk, a lot.  You get the idea.  And this isn’t the only example that I could give you.  This happens over and over and over again in my classes.  People do not attempt to educate themselves, they do not attempt to stay informed.  They trust someone else to tell them how to think.  I think that is sad and I think that it is a big reason that our country is falling apart.  So go ahead and blame it on the godless heathens if you must, but my money is that it’s more the fault of the mindless lemmings.

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