Christian conservatives have taken some noteworthy steps this week.
Anti-abortion site, LifeNews reports:
Pro-life advocates in California and Florida have launched campaigns to get state voters to approve personhood amendments targeting abortion. The measures would make it so unborn children would be defined under state constitutions as people from the moment of conception.
I am all over the map on the issue of whether abortion is wrong. But I cannot think of a way to make it a state issue without, to some degree, declaring a woman's body to be the property of the state. As a matter of jurisdiction, the decision ought to belong to an individual woman.
From the Liberty Council, a program of prayer for the souls of folks like me:
Liberty Counsel has therefore named this special new prayer-in-action program Adopt a Liberal. And that's exactly what we invite you to do -- adopt a liberal who is in authority for regular, intense prayer in accord with St. Paul's admonition to his disciple, Timothy. In fact, we expect that many of our friends and supporters will choose to adopt many liberals as subjects of regular prayer!
Sadly, their list is mostly restricted to office holders. Most hold such anti-Christian views as legal equality for gay people, protection of the environment, separation of church and state, and hate-crime laws protecting people from group-think related violence. The "Unknown Liberal" is one of those mentioned. But there must be a host of competitors for that spot.
And here in St. Louis, a conference called Take Back America features, among others, Rick Scarborough:
By next spring, the spring of 2010, we can turn out the infidels, we can help people like Michele Bachmann return to Congress.
Today, those of us who follow Jesus as revealed in the Gospels and in our hearts will be worshiping in non-politicized services. That is why we were collectively condemned as enemies of God in last week's Values Voters conference. Please consider yourself invited to morning worship.
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Like you, I am torn on the issue of abortion. I consider it to be a human being's most selfish and irresponsible act; a form of legalized murder. But I also see the total relevance of the state not having the right to regulate a woman's body. I think where we're at right now is where we must stay: abortion being legal, but the state not subsidizing it either. And I believe the more counseling against abortion churches and other agencies can do, the better. I say, "Let's have abstinence or adoption be the 'A' words of choice, not abortion."
I never cease to be amazed, though, how so many conservative Christians can claim to be "pro life" but also support war, the death penalty, little or no restriction on guns, and the current economic status quo which permits and actually encourages the co-existence of a small, hugely wealthy minority alongside and exploiting needless poverty and increasing middle class stress. How can such folks oppose, for example, equal rights measures, increased taxes on the top income brackets, and the implementation of a universal health care system? How can they support conservative Supreme Court rulings which effectively give corporations the same (or more) legal rights than living individuals?
It would seem most "pro life" conservatives who oppose maost progressive or liberal egalitarian measures have positions that are not only paradoxical, but woefully inadequate and negligent, too. For their political stance all but ignores or even opposes important QUALITY OF LIFE measures which should not and cannot morally be ignored.
Jack, I think there are certain factors at work which make your two preferred courses of action untenable for a lot of women who get pregnant. As for "abstinence," if you main abstaining from sex (as seems most likely), for a lot of people, this doesn't work. Now maybe you knew this already, and didn't bring it up because it wasn't an a-word, but the best way to prevent unwanted pregnancies is to educate people about safe sex.
I'm also uncomfortable with the idea of proscribing public funding for abortion clinics, as it seems to me this would make it harder for poor women (the ones who, generally need an abortion most) to get an abortion.
On the other hand, Jack, the rest of your comment was so full of win that I don't want to come down too hard on you. Well said.
Oh, and about that "adopt a liberal" idea ... kinda reminds me of last fall, when one of my best friends used to talk jokingly about starting up a Sarah Palin Prayer Group.
Abortion is wrong! Now, let's discuss pro-life. Pro-life is fine, so long as it does not curtail my right to kill something I need to kill. I am definitely pro-life-cycle; not sure if that counts.
Now, there are many things we do not understand about a fetus. We all agree, of course, that it is a parasite one sometimes contracts through “inappropriate” sexual conduct. Proper handling and/or disposal of this bug, however, is highly debated. Some contend that it is not a human and therefore it is ok to kill it. Astonishing at it may sound, these same individuals never consider that any evidence is needed to support the barbaric notion that killing something is ok just because we think it might not be a human.
As most of us have lamented many times, women have the right to control their own bodies. Fetuses do not have equal rights because they are disposable. If only they could figure out a way to convince us they were human, we might reconsider.
For my next point, I need readers to understand that when I say “fetus,” I mean the organism growing inside a pregnant homo-sapien. I realize that there are other brands fetuses, but I am talking about this one specific kind.
Hmm, the fetus DNA is probably similar to human DNA. We better not eat them. Let me state it thus: that would be cannibalism without the cannibal. I only think this because human cannibals eat humans, which I think is a requirement to be considered a valid member of the fellowship. Actually, even as I think this through it becomes obvious that we are wasting many of our fetuses. I think they may be nutritious; after all, they contain most of what humans need, being so closely related and all.
Most pro-choice advocates, (let us henceforth call them choosers), marvel at how the chimpanzee genome and human genome are 98% identical. That is because Choosers are generally more liberal-minded and forward-thinking and they more readily embrace science, and with it, scientific marvels. Pro-life advocates, (or a better name would be pregnancy police), are generally less progressive, take more on a faith, believe that things should be just as Grandpa said they should. The Pregnancy Police do not marvel at the chimp to human genome ratio because they consider it irrelevant. 2% may as well be 100%; a chimp is a chimp and a human is a human. Let me again emphasize the strangeness of this situation: it is the Choosers who find the similarity striking. One day, once science gets around to it, they will measure how closely fetus and human DNA resemble each other. Once this happens, depending on the test results, we will have better information about how wrong it is or is not to kill them and/or to not eat them.
I realize the abortion debate is a difficult one. It is easy to be on the fence because both sides make such salient points. “What about if a single sixteen year old orphan girl who is raped and whose child will probably be born with an inverted belly button?” The obvious rebuttal is “What if that is not what happened?” That scenario, of course, is the exception, and really only need be decided once handling for the common case is known, which is the 16 year old girl is 32 and she was too drunk to remember everything that happens during unprotected sex. In that case, the fetus would be better off aborted than to be born into a world where he is not wanted,” says the Chooser. The argument is utterly hypocritical in most cases. Rarely does one say, “What can I do to help this poor pre-child escape a horrible fate? I know, kill him!” Euthanasia as an explanation for erasing the “human” inconvenience from the planet really doesn’t work. So, perhaps the “best for the baby” argument is almost always specious. I want to say always, but I will not out of respect for stupid people.
The next common argument is that a woman has the right do what she wants to with her body. It is hers, after all. Now the question of how many rights the fetus has comes to mind. We know it only has rights if it is a human organism, you know, one of us. Some Choosers are more dogmatic and may further say, a human white male organism, but I think that definition is somewhat dated in these modern enlightened times. Nowadays we white males usually grant being-ness to a greater number of life-forms than ever before, which includes many different races and all of the genders. So we know for sure that so long as the fetus is not a white male human and in most of our opinions a human period, then it is only the woman’s body we are talking about.
Now the Pregnancy Police may counter that the fetus also has a body and it is stuck in the woman’s body because she put it there and its rights to the survival of its body are more significant than her rights to control her body for nine months. C’mon Pregnancy Police. She cannot put it there. We gentlemen do that. And C’mon again. It is not just nine months. Typically the parasite is a problem for far longer than the gestation period. I say the Pregnancy Police “may” counter in this way because they rarely do. Instead they point out that the specific god they happen to embrace put a soul in the fetus and thus made it human and deserving of the protection that all humans merit. This argument is pretty good unless the fetus (be he a human), the woman, or the courts happen to question the validity of your god of choice. I agree that it is safe to say that protection is merited based on how human something is. We covered that earlier (q.v.)
Getting off the fence and standing firmly for or against this issue is difficult. It is hard to do what is right. I gave up trying to be good a long time ago and decided to be as good as I can without compromising my own humanity. Unwanted pregnancies will happen as long as people have sex. People will not stop. The desire is built into them and they are not the Carpenter, who is ultimately responsible for all of this. Any time an unwanted pregnancy happens, we have two or more victims. The minimum number is two, the woman carrying the fetus and the fetus, whatever or whoever that is. The woman is not evil for becoming pregnant or for not wanting to be. The fetus is a parasite for sure and possibly a parasitic human. Those are observable facts. Anyone who denies them is trying to make an argument to support a specific position instead of doing an honest analysis of the facts that we do know. The Pregnancy Police usually will not admit that the woman is a true victim of a dreaded infection because their emotions do not want to refer to the fetus as such, or because they have moral imperatives regarding the treatment of humans and cannot maintain both their imperatives and a pro-choice stance on abortion.
So, invariably the discussion becomes about if a fetus is a human, if it is a victim and if the woman is a victim and if the fetus is a part of the woman’s body or an entity unto itself. The arguments people make to support or refute these questions are mostly disingenuous regurgitations of the best thing they have heard to support their emotion-based beliefs about what is right. We kill the baby to help the baby; the woman kills the baby because it is not a baby; monkeys have almost human DNA; a woman has a right to rid herself of a parasite, no matter how it was contracted; god wants the fetus; the woman is selfish because she does not want god’s fetus; the woman was probably raped; the fetus is probably retarded; the fetus is not a person; the fetus is a person; the fetus has a soul; the fetus is food; only human organisms have rights; and the list goes on and on.
If we wash away all the fertilizer, it comes down, not to the question of how human a fetus is, but the reality of how human we are. I will do the best I can to live life as virtuously as possible while remaining true to my humanity. I cannot fight my human nature and I should not have to. Man is the only species who runs away from what he is born to be and tries to be something else, something more virtuous, less subject to his nature. Notice he does not try to evolve into something better, but tries to be the better thing instantly. It is a lie he tells himself, an illusion he may embrace until the day he dies.
I do not know what I am; much less do I know what a fetus is. I think it is a little under-developed person. This does not tell me a whole lot. If I think hard enough, I soon become aware that I do not really know what a person is. I know one when I see one. I say: “There’s a person, whatever one of those is.” Since we know that a fetus is taxonomically one of us, and we do not know what the non taxonomical portion, the soul, the thing that comprehends, really is, I do not think we really know any more about what a fetus is than we do a new born, then we do an old man. There is no significant spiritual difference that we can detect, other than one is older and at a more developed stage of a person than the other.
Here is what I know. I know I enjoy sexual intercourse and I try to be as careful as possible along the way. If something happens where my life as I know it can be ruined by the attack of an innocent “person parasite” and I can defend against the attack, I will. Just as a woman who wear’s the low cut half shirt has the right not to be raped by the lustful observer, me, I have the right to defend myself, even if I am attacked because I answered the call of humanity and put myself and a fetus at risk, resulting in me contracting a horrible disease (pregnancy, if I were a woman that statement would have been a little more powerful, but you get the idea). Humanity’s collective instinct toward survival sustains our sexual additions, which in turn ensures that humanity lives on. A human’s instinct to survive, which includes at all costs, preserving life as he knows it in favor of a dreadful alternative, will cause him to tend to fight it off infection of any form, even when his conscious nags at him relentlessly to stop.
Do I think abortion is murder? Not sure about the label “murder” and how we want to use it, but a decision should never be made based on a label, anyway. Abortion is the termination of a person, strictly from a non-spritual taxonomic DNA-based perspective. That person is as innocent as a soldier in battle whom you must kill, lest he kill you, as innocent as he is when you execute him to preserve your own life. When you choose yourself over the preservation of another, you are opting for survival, following your instinct, the same instincts that seduced you into conceiving this enemy in the first place. You are reacting to the thing you are, a human. Natural section quickly kills off the majority of those who would treasure the life of another over his own, as it should, for that person’s genetic line will not survive long. Your problem, Pregnancy Police, is my problem. We both resent the human condition and wish we could do something about it. Perhaps we will evolve over time into something that does place in higher regard the life of the fetus over our own. I am not saying that would not be a better world. In the meantime, we will kill the unwanted fetus armies as they form; and we will continue to excuse ourselves with false arguments and sophistry. What choice do we have? We cannot be burdened with guilt and we cannot let them live.
I'd like to engage with some of your arguments (if I thought I could figure out which parts you were serious about), but I know I would only be sucked into a churning black hole of rhetoric.
I quite understand your problem. I also would like to know which parts I am serious about, in which case I may engage myself.
I think I was sincere about some of it.
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