The other anti-vax crowd

By now we should all be familiar with the traditional anti-vax crowd. After all, they’ve been responsible for a number of deaths. But there is a secondary anti-vax crowd. These are the people who don’t object to vaccines based upon their unscientific views but instead because of their religion and conservatism:

Bypassing the Legislature altogether, Republican Gov. Rick Perry issued an order Friday making Texas the first state to require that schoolgirls get vaccinated against the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer.

By employing an executive order, Perry sidestepped opposition in the Legislature from conservatives and parents’ rights groups who fear such a requirement would condone premarital sex and interfere with the way Texans raise their children.

Emphasis mine.

Of course the usual suspects are out in force opposing Perry’s (rare) good decision, but the religious right is just as present. The concern is an illegitimate one: they believe their kids will start boning up a storm now that they don’t have those pesky cancer concerns, to put it gracefully. But as we know from failed abstinence-only programs and other pro-ignorant policies, keeping kids away from education and various safety methods only causes harm. Besides, does anyone think cervical cancer is really a big concern for kids who want to have sex? And even if it is, do we want to put them at risk? Think about it. These conservatives want to keep their kids from getting this vaccine because they think the threat of cancer is better than the idea that their kids might lose their virginity. Put in that light, these people are monstrous.

I’ve long been of the position that the general public absolutely does not appreciate the danger of cancer. I don’t know if it’s the “It won’t happen to me” mentality or if it’s general ignorance or if it’s something else, but there really is no appreciation. While Gov. Perry probably made his decision based upon lobbying efforts and campaign donations, we do ultimately have a decision that can be appreciated and lauded by the scientific community. This is good for Texas and its young girls, and I’m glad to see it happen.

Higher gay marriage/abortion support among younger generations

Support for gay marriage is significantly higher among younger generations while support for abortion rights is significantly higher among those under 65 (pdf):

I can’t say I’m surprised. Christians like to spend a lot of time making up lies about gays, but as time and people progress, these myths are being knocked down. In fact, I would be interested to see a survey that asked if homosexuality was all or mostly about sex. I suspect similar generational gaps would be present.

Another significant effect here is that it has become more and more acceptable to be critical of religion. This has brought atheists out of the religious closet. In fact, those claiming “None” when asked what religion they hold constitute the fastest growing proportion of the population. Of those, a significant number are atheist or agnostic. The gross grip of religion is loosening and we’re seeing the benefits of that. For this, at least in part, we have those evil Gnu atheists to thank.

I’m glad that even if there are bumps along the road, I can be confident this positive trend will continue in marriage. It’s just wrong that we deny civil rights to a group (didn’t we learn this 60 years ago?), and it’s even more wrong that we allow the religious to impose their unconstitutional ‘morality’ on the rest of us (didn’t we learn this 235 years ago?). Just as bad is their unscientific positions on abortion (didn’t Terrance promise a response “in a day or two”?). Somewhat surprisingly – and fortunately – the generational divide is not there for those under 65. Yet despite this fact, I’m less confident we can get a positive trend going here, especially with political ‘justices’ like Scalia and Thomas on the Supreme Court. But at least public opinion and the law are on the right side of the issue right now.