Sharron Angle’s lemons, lemonade, and medicine

4 October 2010

Sharron Angle’s run to replace Harry Reid in the US Senate is hardly the only alarming political race this fall, but it’s certainly full of appallingly awful quotes about her positions.  Take abortion, which Angle opposes in all cases, even when a child has been raped and impregnated.  “I think that two wrongs don’t make a right,” Angle told the interviewer Alan Stock back in July.  She described having helped two girls, aged 13 and 15, decide to bear their children.  “They found that they had made what was really a lemon situation into lemonade,” she concluded.  For Angle, the rights of a fetus (even when as tiny as a few cells) outweigh those of a child raped by her father.  “You know, I’m a Christian and I believe that God has a plan and a purpose for each one of our lives and that he can intercede in all kinds of situations and we need to have a little faith in many things,” Angle told Bill Mander in a June interview.  

Once she put it like that (“a lemon situation” was especially eloquent) I was completely won over — because what she’s really advocating here is the END OF MEDICINE.  I mean, God’s plan has given a lot of people cancer, which is a life form a lot more tenacious than most embryos; we need to stop trying to cure it.  God has also given people plaque to clog up their veins and leads to strokes and heart attacks — don’t tell me that God didn’t mean for those people to get suffer.  And while we’re on the subject, it was God’s will to give you a headache while you listened to radically anti-choice Ken Buck (running for Senate from Colorado) trying to weasel out of his support for a bill that would outlaw IVF treatments and many common forms of birth control — so you just have to live with that headache.  If we take this argument seriously — and who wouldn’t? — we need to stop using medicine altogether.  See that image of the brain tumor?  Seems like a lemon situation to me!

Our country’s health care problem has been solved, and oh so cheaply.  Now I understand why Angle spoke up advocating privatizing the Veterans Administration, which helps vets with prescriptions and visits to the doctor — we don’t need the VA because we don’t need medicine.  Sure, she backed away from that position, but only because people didn’t get its true brilliance.  And this argument works on so many levels.  Can the Nobel Peace Prize be far behind?

3 Responses to “Sharron Angle’s lemons, lemonade, and medicine”

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  2. servetus Says:

    This is a brilliantly snarky discussion of something that’s hugely frightening.

    To take a theological viewpoint on it, from the stance of orthodox Christian teachings until the twentieth century or so, it seems difficult to claim that pregnancy, or sex at all, was originally in “G-d’s plan.” Whatever that is. There’s no chapter in the Bible entitled “G-d’s plan.” It of course depends on how you interpret the supposed omniscience of G-d, but the conventional Christian reading of Genesis until extremely recently emphasized that sexuality as we experience it now was part of what Eve (and later Adam) learned through their consumption of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and that Yahweh didn’t plan for them to have this knowledge (as he told them not to eat from that tree or they would die). It’s not clear from the text that the Fall into Sin necessarily involved sex, only shame about nakedness, but for centuries Christian philosophers interpreted the sexual sin they saw implied by the Fall as a synecdoche for human sin in general. And of course, once they had eaten, Yahweh informs Eve that part of her punishment will be pain in childbirth. Even so, the command to the first humans to “be fruitful and multiply” notwithstanding, nothing in the statements about the original plans G-d might have made for humanity as reflected in the books of Genesis that precede the Fall says anything about how he intended his creation to reproduce.

    The theological problem here is whether G-d knew or planned that humanity would fall into sin. If he planned the Fall, he cannot be benevolent, as it would make him the author of evil in the world and imply that something about his creation was not perfect. If he knew it, the implication goes, his omnipotence is called into question, since given his benevolence, why would he not have prevented it? These are the twin problems upon which statements about the significance of the Fall for humanity must find balance. Theologians and philosophers debated this question for centuries, developing multiple theories about divine foreknowledge and the extent to which G-d was involved in foreknowing or causing the Fall. But the orthodox Christian position on this issue would be that nothing that happens in the world as we know it since the Fall reflects G-d’s plan in its original form. Everything we experience, at least in the forms we experience it, is tinged by sin. This caveat applies to marital pregnancies as well as unplanned ones. All humans are tainted by sin, as are all their actions. If we had been following G-d’s plan, we wouldn’t be here, where we are, in the first place. Saying that anything about the unplanned pregnancy of a teenager is part of G-d’s plan makes him the author of evil — and is patently heretical.

    As you can see I tend to get angry when politicians spout off about theological matters as if they are entitled to make pronouncements without considering the logical and biblical consistency of the statements they make. For crying out loud.

    • didion Says:

      You’re very generous, Servetus, to take this post seriously. But despite its snarkiness, it’s true that I feel stymied by two things: the fact that we’re all supposed to feel now that abortion is bad, and the fact that the statement “this is God’s plan” takes things out of the realm of logical argument and into personal belief. Yet politicians like these not only want to change people’s minds about abortion; they want to legislate their personal beliefs. What I’m less good at is offering an opposing opinion on the “God’s plan” part — and that’s why I’m so grateful for reasonable, knowledgeable people like you.

      One of the things that makes me angriest about the abortion debate is the way Hollywood has conspired in shutting out narrative portrayals of women who seriously consider and choose abortion as a necessity. It’s shocking. But they want to earn money, and money comes with strings attached. So on TV and in film, women get pregnant over and over again, and they bear those children — no wonder my students are part of a generation ever more opposed to abortion. All they hear and see are the scaremongering, sanctimonious statements of people like Angle and Buck to go on, and the Hollywood writers too afraid to say anything else.

      But the thing is, with Angle and Buck it’s getting more extreme. Snarkiness isn’t sufficient to address it; I’m searching for another kind of voice, but you might have to be patient with me while I find it.

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