Thursday, March 31, 2005

How Dare Christians Be Involved In Politics?

May Michael learn what the "full weight of conscience" means. And may he be graced with repentance and forgiveness. Sometimes you only see things clearly after you get what you thought you wanted. It'll be that much tougher to think straight with a $10 million dollar book deal and all (come on, you know that's got to be coming), but, hey.

I take it that Krugman and many of the usual suspects are aghast and appalled that with this case, the country is sliding down the slippery slope. To theocracy that is.

Back in January I attended the West Coast Walk For Life. I had an extensive running blog post about it. Oh, the anti-Christian hatred we saw on that march! One of the interesting things that happened was a debate I had in my blog comments. I looked it over again, and it seems to bear on this current question of Christians daring to stick their theocratic noses into politics. So I excerpt it below:


I honestly don't understand the pro-life point of view. I was raised Fundamentalist Baptist Christian and as soon as I was old enough, fled. It's all about oppression, in my opinion. Everyone is "pro-life", otherwise we all would have committed suicide a long time ago. I would really like to know, in your heart, why you identified with the others who took part? I identify with the left because of it's emphasis on freedom (of course absolute freedom is not a good thing), and thinking sanely about matters to curtail that freedom, as opposed to putting "faith" in some ethereal being. It feels great to let go into a higher being and not be responsible for your actions, but is that the right way to be? No one WANTS to have an abortion, circumstances put them there, but the option MUST be offered, or we are living in a fascist country. Walk for Adoption, Walk for Condoms, but Walk for Life makes no sense to me.


Thanks for being so gracious with your post. You've asked an honest question, and honestly and kindly stated your position. As you may have noticed in my profile text at the top of the page, I am not unfamiliar with the left, so I do understand what attracts you to it. 10 years ago, before I became Catholic, I held a strong pro-choice position.

The conversion to the Catholic faith came first, the turning to the pro-life position was a result of that.

My embracing of Catholicism is not based on an ethereal and vague "faith", in other words, something mysterious that you either feel or don't. It is the opinion of this Electrical Engineer and Software Engineer (and former technical manager, as well as author of 5 technology patents; I state all this not to boast, but simply to indicate that I'm not some sort of simpleton driven by illogic), that the Catholic faith rests on a sound and demonstrable logical, factual, and historical basis. More demonstrable than scientific atheism, more demonstrable than an "everyone is his own God" New Age pantheism, more demonstrable than Buddhism, more demonstrable than hedonistic leftism, and more demonstrable than Fundamentalist Baptist Christianity. Mathematically demonstrable? No. Court-of-law demonstrable? Yes. Is it possible that I am wrong? Maybe. But with less probability than for the other world views I listed.

Of course, I can't lay out the case in a simple blog comment. There are many excellent books out there that make the case. It's somewhat rare that someone who hates the whole idea of the Christian God or the Catholic Church would bother to read them. It takes a strenuous act of open-mindedness, and it's not a particularly comfortable process. It wasn't for me. The truth can hurt at first. Are you certain that you have heard the best arguments in favor of what you are rejecting? Have you really listened to the case for the Defense, and not just the case for the Prosecution? Really? Honestly?

It is part of my belief (for which there are solid reasons) that the Catholic Church has been empowered by The Almighty with the ability to teach infallibly on faith and morals. When I came to see this, without knowing much about the specific anti-abortion arguments, I switched my position. Then I was willing to read the arguments against abortion (and somewhat more specifically, the refutation of every pro-abortion argument out there). And these arguments are not based on "because the Church says so".

Are you open minded enough to read "Politically Correct Death by Francis Beckwith and "Pro Life Answers to Pro Choice Arguments" by Randy Alcorn? There's nothing vague or sentimental about any of what they say. Just sharp, shiny-as-surgical-steel, logical arguments.

Leftism is supposed to be about protecting the weak and the defenseless, and those who are "different", against the strong who would abuse them for reasons of convenience, vanity, or what have you. Slaughtering the unborn who "get in the way" is an egregious violation of this principle. I'd argue that modern leftism is merely a hollow shell because it has embraced this contradiction, and that a great deal of activist fury (Save the Whales, Save the Trees, No Fur, PETA, Save Mother Earth, Don't Eat Meat, Bush is Hitler, No WAR!, etc, etc) is a desperate attempt to compensate for the total abandonment of this principle where it counts the most.

If you think that believing in God somehow lets you take less responsibility for things, then I don't think you understand faith at all. I didn't know what responsibility WAS until I became Catholic. The Civil Rights movement in this country in the 50's and 60's was not driven by atheists and hedonists, was it? Wasn't MLK a Christian?

You say that no one WANTS to have an abortion. Why not? Is there something wrong with it? If abortion is murder, then I can't see that the option MUST be offered and that it is a component of freedom. Are we living in a fascist country because a mother MUST NOT kill her inconvenient toddler? Is this a missing freedom?

Do you have a convincing proof that abortion isn't murder? Do you know beyond the shadow of a doubt that it isn't? That's the central issue. Everything else ("You guys don't care about anybody after they're born!" (like most of you would know; I mean don't you avoid churches and religious people like the plague? How would you _know_ what we do?) "It's my body!" (Yeah, and your baby's is your baby's) "You have no right to force your religious views on me!" (like the person saying this and pushing for laws that favor HIS point of view doesn't have some major rock-bottom assumptions about the nature of God, Man, the universe, moral repsonsibility; hence a religious viewpoint)), everything else is a red herring.

PROVE to me that abortion is not murder and I'll be a pro-choicer. I don't have to PROVE that it is (although a probable case from many converging directions can be made). If it merely might be, then prudence and responsibility says we shouldn't allow it. You wouldn't do target practice at a barn door using a high-powered rifle if you weren't DARNED sure that kids weren't playing in there, would you?

I have a motto, that, while in the form of a jest is actually quite serious:

"I am personally in favor of abortion, but I would never dream of imposing MY values on unborn babies".

Chadster, I thank you for asking the question and I hope this makes things a little clearer...


Wow- thanks for the reasoned discourse. I don't know what I expected when I commented on your post, but your time spent in replying is appreciated. :)
I don't know however, if there is a middle ground for this issue. Murder is bad, we all know that. In my mind, that's not the basis for this argument. The basis is whether it should be legal or not. Should we base our state laws on faith? Faith being the arbitrary decision that the definition of murder begins at conception. Abortion is never entered lightly, it's a tough decision for all involved, and brings forth obviously extreme emotional elements. But who is to say whether the life of a child brought forth by a 14 year old girl in the trailer park will be of much less quality than the life of that same child if the girl had an abortion, went to college, bought a nice house, could afford groceries and then had the child. The word "convenience" in this case is taking lightly the situation of human well-being. It's not convenience when you cannot afford to feed your child. According to the Bible, we are the stewards of the earth. We have the intelligence and freedom to take things and make them better (or worse as the case may be). We can make choices, and be held accountable for those choices by the circumstances that arise from them.
Now, playing devil's advocate, one could say that the child brought forth from that 14 year old girl needed to learn certain lessons that being well-off would have precluded- that God wanted that child to be born, that we cannot understand God's ways. Again, should that be something that the state decides for us?
A woman does not get an abortion just because she can, it's because it seems to be the best option at the time. "So let's offer other alternatives." Great, but I really wish there was as much energy, or any energy, on the conservative side, for expanded sex education, and condom distribution in schools.


Chadster, thanks for the second response.

Aren't all laws based on faith? As I said before, no one has a "neutral view" when it comes to their idea of the rock-bottom nature of reality, the nature of God, what a human being is, what morality calls for, etc. To say that we shouldn't legislate on faith is really only to say, "your faith is wrong, mine is right".

I don't know if you expressed yourself the way you meant to, or if there is something revealing in this, or whether it's just metaphysical confusion, but you said, "But who is to say whether the life of a child brought forth by a 14 year old girl in the trailer park will be of much less quality than the life of that same child if the girl had an abortion, went to college, bought a nice house, could afford groceries and then had the child." You know, the child she had later is not the same child she aborted, so there is no better life in store for it. It's dead. Right?

You speak about convenience and affordability. Now, unless you are willing to say that abortions should only happen if the mother is poor, then why bring it up? Most abortions are undergone by women who are far, far, from destitute. Are you saying that the children of poor women have less rights than those of rich? Or that the rights of rich and poor women should be different? If you instead are saying that there should be no restrictions whatsoever, then what does poor or rich have to do with the basic right?

As far as expanded sex education and condom distribution, I don't see how it helps. The frequency of abortion, out of wedlock births, and pregnancies of 14 year old girls have all gone up with the explosion of sex education since the 60's. Speaking for myself, I know that exposure to sex ed as a kid in the 70's definitely made me want to go out and have sex. There was no abstinence message whatsoever in the sex ed I got. The leftists who are so enamored of pushing sex-ed HATE the abstinence message. You know, that's the message of the joy-hating FASCISTS. So it's not like sex ed as practiced today is free of "religious faith", it just happens to be the religious faith of the leftists, whose anthropology of Man says that we are little different than animals (Peter Singer), we've got urges we can't control, "they're going to do it anyway", and that it is mentally unhealthy not to be gettin' it on.

So is there a middle ground on this issue? Probably not. What compromises has the Democratic Party and the liberal judiciary been willing to make? None. Partial Birth Abortion Ban? Struck down. Parental Notification? Struck down. Limiting abortion to the first trimester? Nope. It is legal up to the point of full term as long as the head is still in there ("My body"). Letting the Legislative Branch be the one to make the, you know, laws concerning abortion? No. The liberal Judiciary shall write these laws.

It's reached the point where Democratic Senators have effectively said, "no serious Catholic can serve on the federal bench", despite the ban on religious tests for office clearly stated in the Constitution.

If anybody needs to be doing the compromising here, it's not my side.

Now, would I want abortion to be banned as an imposition from a minority, by way of the courts? No.
32 years ago, Roe v Wade did just that. If the last 32 years have taught anything it is that nothing but discord and bitterness will result from such methods. If abortion is so important and necessary to so many people, then surely it would not harm anything to put the question back into the state legislatures where it belongs? BTW, this could include a Constitutional Amendment banning abortion. That's got to get past the state legislatures also, so it's not more unfair in any way.

The Democratic Party has been suffering greatly at the ballot box for many reasons, one of which is certainly their rigid adherence to no-holds-barred abortion "rights". You are basically asking, "Who are you to impose your moral views on other people?" The answer to that is simple. I am a voter in a democracy. I am *supposed* to be the arbiter of such moral questions. I am a member of The People (In Greek: The Demos). Democracy is instituted for the very purpose of upholding the Good. That's why we have it, instead of Monarchy. The whole point is that you are far more likely to find morality and wisdom amidst the mass of common men, than you are in some royal family or oligarchy or hereditary aristocracy, or chamber of Nine Robed Masters. So, in that sense, it is my very DUTY to do what I can to impose my morality on others. As it is yours. But let's not fool ourselves that there is somebody out there who is morally neutral.

Now as far as other options for the destitute 14 year old girl, are you aware that NARAL, Planned Parenthood, etc, are doing everything they can to prevent women from knowing what these other options are? Want to pass out information at an abortion clinic? RICO laws will let them bankrupt you. Want to pass a law instituting a waiting period or requiring abortionists to provide information about fetal development, an opportunity to have an ultrasound done, and information about alternatives? In other words a simple, informed CHOICE? Uproar! FASCISTS!

If the 14 year old in the trailer park were allowed by the pro-abortion absolutists to be told what her options and sources of help were, maybe she'd see something like this [followed by a very long list of organizations that want to support women with crisis pregnancies]

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