You really have to admire the courage of Religious Right figures who, like Jerry Boykin and the Benham brothers, say they are willing to die for their beliefs, especially when there is absolutely no risk at all of that actually happening.
I guess it makes them feel like men (or women) and they get some martyr sex when they get home. It’s all good.
Now we have a Republican politician, Oklahoma State Rep. Kevin Calvey (R), boldly proclaiming that he would set himself on fire to show his opposition to women having access to reproductive healthcare – if only his religion did not forbid it.
Oh the courage of what Oklahoma’s KFOR calls the “hypothetical suicide threat”!
Check it out courtesy of KFOR News Channel 4:
If I were not a Christian, and didn’t have a prohibition against suicide, I’d walk across the street and douse myself in gasoline and set myself on fire! To protest the evil that is going on over there, killing, giving the death penalty, to the will of the people and the will of this body and protecting the least among us.
Doesn’t that make you swoon? What a man!
The problem is that the “threat” was made, as Jenny Kutner writes at Salon, during a debate “that was (at least in theory) about a bill to increase judicial salaries.”
You see, SB 548, sponsored by two Republicans, has to do with raising the pay of Supreme Court Justices – by a whopping 6 percent.
KFOR reports that,
Authors of the SB 548 say it’s not a pro-life or pro-choice issue.
“I personally do not connect this bill the way he did, and made this that we punish the justices because of a ruling they made,” Rep. Earl Sears, co-author of SB 548, says.
Now we are used to women’s reproductive health being the topic of agriculture hearings but I do believe judicial salaries is a new one.
The would-be self-immolator’s logic was that, “The problem is, our state supreme court has killed every law going before it that is designed to protect women and babies form the predatory abortion industry.”
Geez, a “predatory abortion industry”? Hard not to laugh when you read this nonsense. But then, how do you take hypothetical martyrdom seriously?
Calvey said he made the non-threat, “To protest the evil that is going on over there, killing, giving the death penalty, to the will of the people and the will of this body and protecting the least among us.”
You see what he did there: invoking Jesus to legitimize his desire to control women. Jesus never said word one about abortion though God in the Old Testament aborted the hell out of fetuses with wild abandon, ordering them torn from their mothers’ wombs.
Let’s face it: if there is one thing YHWH is not, it is “pro-life.” I suggest Calvey re-read his Bible.
Still, he doesn’t regret threatening to hypothetically turn himself into a crispy critter:
“No, not one bit, I think that I’m hopeful to draw attention to this serious issue.”
It’s easy to be brave when you’re not risking anything.
Of course, Christian martyrs were suicides, provoking Roman authorities or mobs to execute them, so Calvey is doing the typical Religious Right thing and dancing around the facts. All right, he’s lying.
He can martyr himself. He just won’t.
In fact, it got to the point where Roman officials became quite vexed. The second century apologist Tertullian (ad Scap. 5) tells us about the Roman proconsul of Asia, C. Arrius Antoninus, who cried out: “You wretches, if you want to die, you have cliffs to leap from and ropes to hang by.”
By the same token, if abortions are still not easy to get in Oklahoma, gasoline is easy to come by. Please proceed, Rep. Calvey.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.