At that point it took a turn that surprised the hell out of me. One of our members actually called for the governmental licensing of prospective parents. Evidently the state would administer a test and if the prospective parents passed then they would be afforded permission to procreate. Procreation without said license would be a criminal act.
The primary proponent, who found at least two other similarly minded supporters, opined that since the government requires a permit prior to building an extra bedroom, or a license prior to purchasing a gun , why not ensure prospective parents are adequately knowledgeable in child rearing. He went so far as to suggest fine, imprisonment, and child confiscation if parents didn’t submit to testing and licensing…even stating that those who prostested and would circumvent such a law would, by definition, be unfit parents and should have their children forcefully confiscated by the state..
This person is approximately twenty years old (my guestimate), I know he doesn’t have children and isn’t married, and for all I know has been raised in a cave and fed road kill during his formative years. More likely he is upper middleclass, well fed, and living with his unlicensed parents. But his adamant stance that the government, in order to protect the relative few, would impose on all their role as supreme and sole arbiter of who can and can’t reproduce frankly scared the shit out of me.
I had always given atheists more credit than that. I had always assumed (yeah, I know…spare me the ASS/U/ME diagram) that any thinking person even vaguely familiar with 1984, “Big Brother”, Brave New World, all of the gross excesses of Totalitarian, Authoritarian, Utopian societies that Huxley and Orwell warned us of , would shun the concept of sacrificing basic human rights and biological imperatives and willingly turn their control over to a central authority. I had always given credit to Free Thinkers as being the keepers of the flame of Ben Franklin’s admonishment that (and I paraphrase here) "Those who would sacrifice a little liberty to gain safety deserve neither.”
I was wrong on both counts. Atheism and intellect is no guarantee, no assurance, that they are all defenders of freedom and human rights, anymore than every theist can be tagged as a theocratic suborning intolerant fascist. Live and learn.
Personally, given the choice, I'd prefer to live in a "Christian Nation" ruled by mindless, medieval, science hating Christian Fundies, to one where Utopian Authoritarians assume the role of regulators of reproduction and become the arbiters of the nuclear family.
Hopefully I'll be long dead before either of those two scenarios present.