I am an anti-abortion Christian. My views might lead those who voted to ban nearly all abortions in Alabama, and now Missouri, to think I am cheering on their actions. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, the news coming out of Georgia and Alabama — as well as Ohio and other states — that lawmakers continue to pass increasingly restrictive abortion bans has made me angry in a way I cannot remember being in a long time. These laws, which are aimed at challenging Roe v. Wade, serve as a sickening reminder of the ways much of what I hold most sacred has been weaponized by the forces of the American religious right.
First, the obvious: Laws that restrict access to abortion are not an effective way to end or greatly reduce the number of abortions because people will continue to have abortions regardless of the law. We actually know how to reduce the number of abortions. Most of those ways involve being honest about how and when people have sex and giving people the information they need to have sex responsibly.
Yet most who favor these highly restrictive laws do not seem terribly interested in pursuing policies that would do any of these things. Every state that has passed a restrictive law around abortion in recent weeks requires that sex education “stress” abstinence. Neither Alabama nor Missouri mandates sex education, though when it is taught, both states require that it emphasize the importance of “sex only within marriage.” Georgia, which does mandate sex education, does not require that information about contraception be included.
This simple fact suggests to me, when I am in a less generous mood, that they are not concerned about preventing abortions. They are instead interested in enforcing their own reactionary views with regard to women and sex.
I believe that abortion always ends a unique, irreplaceable human life. I also understand, of course, that there is a multitude of circumstances in which the moral calculus is not easy. But I want a world in which unintended pregnancies are exceedingly rare and in which no one is the victim of rape or incest. Lawmakers in Alabama and Georgia do not seem to want to work toward these goals.
If laws like those recently passed in Alabama and Georgia succeed, they will not bring an end to abortion. Instead, they will punish the most marginalized and the most vulnerable. Low-income people, women of color, and victims of rape and incest are among those most likely to be harmed. These are the very people that my Christian faith demands I protect.
And using abortion policy as a covert means by which to dictate the sexual behavior of another person strikes me as a deeply un-Christian act. Claiming that you are defending the innocent when in fact you are trying to find a way to enforce highly debatable standards of “purity” runs counter to everything I understand about the message of Jesus. At the heart of that message, after all, is the central demand that we love God and others and that we act to protect and serve the most marginalized people in our society. And it is in this that these laws truly fall short.
Draconian bans on abortion — and frankly anything other than liberal access to abortions along with comprehensive sex education and access to contraception — fail to protect human life, both in the womb and outside of it. This, in itself, should be intolerable to any Christian, particularly one who views abortion as morally suspect.
Every human being is made in the image of God. For this reason, I cannot compel the actions of others with respect to their bodies and lives. I cannot tell them when to have sex or when to have children. I cannot tell another woman what to do when she finds herself pregnant after a rape or pregnant with cancer or pregnant without a paycheck.
I can only work to create a world in which people are truly making decisions without fear or coercion. Nothing about these terrible laws does any of that.
That is why, now more than ever, it is imperative that people of faith, particularly those for whom their faith compels them to adopt an anti-abortion position, speak up against these draconian measures. These laws are not a pro-life or Christian response to abortion. They are entirely the opposite.
Katherine Kelaidis is a writer and scholar whose work focuses on the intersection of religion and politics. Find her on Twitter at @katiekelaidis.
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Lil Nas X and Wrangler’s “Old Town Road” clothing line inspires country music fan backlash
“Old Town Road” star Lil Nas X’s latest move is into fashion, courtesy of a collaboration with Wrangler, the legacy denim and apparel brand that’s become a signature element of the Western aesthetic.
The chart-topping rapper has partnered with the company to launch a capsule clothing collection inspired by his hit song and featuring graphic T-shirts, jeans, and other denim apparel. The collaboration is essentially an extension of one of the most memorable lyrics in “Old Town Road,” which shouts out Wrangler by name: “Cowboy hat from Gucci / Wrangler on my booty.”
Wrangler describes the capsule collection, which launched May 20, as “fresh remixes of classic Wrangler styles for the kind of modern cowboy that can’t be put in a box.”
That’s a cheeky reference to “Old Town Road” itself, which sparked an intense debate over whether the song counts as country music when it debuted on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart in March, and was subsequently removed. Despite its references to established Western themes and imagery — the song’s lyrics revolve around a lone cowboy riding his horse into the sunset, after all — Billboard said the song “does not embrace enough elements of today’s country music to chart in its current version.”
Some country music fans and industry observers agreed, arguing that “Old Town Road” qualifies more as hip-hop than country. Others criticized Billboard for feeding rigid ideas about who or what qualifies as country enough, and suggested that Lil Nas X’s race played a part in the song’s reclassification; the fact that Lil Nas X is a black teenager from Atlanta and country is a predominantly white genre did not go unnoticed.
The song quickly became the catalyst for an industry-wide discussion about the definition of country music and racially tinged gatekeeping within the genre. It also became the top song in the country, and has now been No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks straight.
Just like the song itself riled some country music fans amid an outpouring of support for Lil Nas X from his own expansive fanbase, the rapper’s collaboration with Wrangler has met with a polarized response.
The Lil Nas X capsule collection is clearly intended to celebrate and capitalize on the success of “Old Town Road.” Although many Lil Nas X fans have expressed interest in buying the collection, Wrangler is also facing criticism from some consumers, many of whom are threatening to boycott.
Much of the backlash is playing out on social media, where Wrangler has received thousands of comments from customers expressing anger and “disappointment.” (It is unclear if customers have also been contacting the company via other, less public methods; Vox has reached out to Wrangler for comment.) And much of the current conversation revolves around how Wrangler seems to be promoting inclusivity by branching out from its reputation as a brand worn by cowboys and farmers.
Two recent Instagram posts from Wrangler showcasing items from its Lil Nas X collection have received more than 1,000 comments each. While plenty of people have commented on how awesome it looks or asking questions about where to buy, several have declared that the “Old Town Road” items are “ruining the cowboy name that y’all have.”
“Wranglers are to be worn by cowboys and farmers not rappers this is very disappointing,” reads one representative Instagram comment.
Some commenters have more explicitly mentioned race — or called out others’ racism.
“This is the dumbest thing i have seen all day,” one user wrote. “Wtf @wrangler? Why is it about diversity and equality ? There jeans. Quit playin politics.”
WRANGLER JUST PARTNERED WITH LIL NAS X AND THE RACIST ARE MAD GO BUY UP ALL THE WRANGLER LIL NAS X COLLAB JEANS YOU CAN PEOPLE SUPPORT DIVERSITY pic.twitter.com/gwH2G7dULj
— tyler (@tylerujhazy) May 21, 2019
Lil Nas X, for his part, seemed mildly surprised by the response.
i mean honestly white people act like they are the only ones who are cowboys. come to my town in louisiana, we pull up to mcdonalds on horses and have rodeos every weekend.
— Blair Waldorf (@teonnyspears) May 21, 2019
These comments are in the same vein as those used by some country music fans to describe “Old Town Road” when the song made its chart debut, arguing that rappers have no place in the genre (often while neglecting to acknowledge modern country’s own hip-hop influences). Lingering over this debate is race, which many Instagram users have called out in the comments on Wrangler’s posts. Country music is perceived as an insular, predominantly white genre, while Lil Nas X is a black rapper who draws influences from black artists and musical styles.
But Wrangler’s continued support of Lil Nas X is clear; the brand has been actively responding to its detractors on social media, simply repeating on that is devoted to creating high-quality products for all of its customers.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the drama over the Lil Nas X collection has only served to draw more attention to it. Some pieces have already sold out, like a pair of shorts that say “Wrangler” on the booty, in keeping with the lyrics of “Old Town Road.” Considering that items in the collection cost between $39 for a graphic T-shirt and $129 for a pair of jeans, the outcry, at least from Wrangler’s perspective, seems to have paid off.
20 Times People Snapped Something Truly Exceptional and Shared the Pics With the World
We are living in the world that is full of surprises where every single day is a new chance to see something so unusual that it makes you doubt your own vision. A treble clef in a bag of fries, a cat whose fur went gray only on his ears, or a person with 6 fingers — these are just a few extraordinary sights that made people reach for their phones and take a pic.
Here at Bright Side we can’t wait to share our list with you of pics showing the standout things people snapped on their ordinary days.
20. Someone found a treble clef in their fries.
19. The pattern on this dog’s chest resembles a cat’s silhouette.
18. Someone saw a landscape on the bottom of their coffee mug.
17. This stone looks like a pile of mini chocolate bars.
16. This cloud looks like a shark.
15. “This stick I found looks like a burning torch, flame included!”
14. “My sweater sort of matches my pillowcase.”
13. “This truck is carrying nothing but a toy dump truck.”
12. “My empanadas have the filling stamped into them.”
11. “I randomly found the tiniest snail I’ve ever seen! (standard bobby pin for scale)”
10. “My cat has double fangs on both sides.”
9. “This tree near my school track has absorbed a fence and shows the pattern on its bark.”
8. “This is an X-ray of my hedgehog.”
7. “My 12-year-old sister made this perfect cake on her first ever try making one.”
6. “I won every single prize on this lottery ticket.”
5. “I made a giant cardboard statue of my face.”
4. “My cousin’s wedding dress from last night has its own pockets.”
3. This is one million dollars in $10 bills.
2. “A customer came in and let me take a picture of her hands that had 6 fingers on each.”
1. “My aunt’s cat’s ears grayed to here a couple years ago and haven’t changed since.”
Have you ever spotted something truly rare? Did you manage to take a picture of the unusual sight?
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