Governor Chafee, in a report out from Channel 10 News, said, “he is “very concerned” about legislation to authorize a “Choose Life” license plate.” Though he did not promise a veto, he did say “he’s opposed to using state license plates to support a religious organization.”
The Governor is right to be concerned. This legislation basically puts the state in the position of passing out the collection plate for an evangelical church. CareNet, the recipient of the money, calls itself a faith-based crisis-pregnancy center, but in reality the center is owned and operated by the Cathedral of Life Christian Assembly. Since when has Rhode Island and the United States been in the business of respecting or establishing a religion?
Of course Representative Doreen Costa, who champions the Second Amendment, shows her usual and absolute disregard for the rest of the Constitution, saying, with a decided lack of cleverness, “If you don’t want it, don’t buy it. Nobody’s forcing you to buy this. It’s your decision. Again, it’s your choice.”
Of course, this isn’t about somebody’s right to put a message on the back of their vehicle. This is about the government co-opting a purely religious message in an attempt to fund a purely religious enterprise. If CareNet wants to sell bumper stickers, let them. But the government should not be involved in marketing them.
One more thing: A putative “Christian” organization like CareNet might be expected to conduct itself in a more honest, straightforward way. Deception and dishonesty are not among the many virtues espoused by Jesus, yet in setting themselves up as a crisis pregnancy center, CareNet gives off the look and feel of an organization that provides full and accurate medical information. They do not. They lie to women.
Their website says that “Common After Effects of Abortion” include depression, eating disorders, increase in drug or alcohol use, difficulty sleeping, flashbacks and loss of self esteem. The truth is that mainstream medical opinion and the American Psychological Association agree that there is no such thing as “post-abortion syndrome.” In fact, there is evidence to suggest that to the extent women do encounter these kinds of issues, it is entirely caused by the rhetoric of religious anti-choice activists.
The Christians I know don’t feel the need to lie to make their point. They espouse honesty, and do not seek to shame and psychologically harm women.
The Channel 10 piece included a statement from a CareNet spokeswoman who said that the center “offers counseling for women who choose to abort,” yet the website says “CareNet Pregnancy Center of RI does not… refer for abortions.” All they offer is post-abortion counseling, a new and lucrative market places like CareNet have created out of whole cloth.
This entire bill is about lies foisted upon Rhode islanders by a small clique of anti-abortion theocrats who would do anything to take away a woman’s right to choose. The Governor is right to be concerned and so should the rest of us. Ask Governor Chafee to veto this bill.
Contact the Governor and let him know. It takes a minute, and might save the country.
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