Friday, October 02, 2009

". . . and Our Work is not Done"

When chatting about abortion in the public arena - the pro-life and pro-choice folks have typical things they say. Now, I am not particularly "typical" on the pro-life side - I am not in favor of focusing on making abortion illegal - I am in favor of making it unchosen. To put that positively, I want folks to Choose Life.

While technically pro-choice, I am not typical either - I believe that abortion is (prima facie - not always) immoral: the fetus is a type of life whose life it is seriously wrong to end. There are reasons why it may be moral - but the assumption for me is that abortion must be justified. Suffice it to say here (you can see much longer argument from me starting here), that I believe that the unborn child is a rights bearer from (essentially) conception and therefore falls within this view from David Gushee:

The concept of the sanctity of life is the belief that all human beings, at any and every stage of life, in any and every state of consciousness or self-awareness, of any and every race, color, ethnicity, level of intelligence, religion, language, gender, character, behavior, physical ability/disability, potential, class, social status, etc., of any and every particular quality of relationship to the viewing subject, are to be perceived as persons of equal and immeasurable worth and of inviolable dignity and therefore must be treated in a manner commensurate with this moral status.
The typical pro-choice folks I come in contact with say they think abortion is a terrible thing, and say things like: "Well, no one believes abortion is good - it is just a bad choice from among many bad choices". I believe them as far as that goes. However, I do believe that, to quote the Dred Scott decision, they generally think unborn children to be
"beings of an inferior order . . . so far inferior that they [have] no rights which [we are] bound to respect."
Frankly, they really do not believe that the fetus is a type of life that it is seriously wrong (even prima facie wrong) to end. That is, of course, what those of us who believe the unborn child is such a being have to work on.

As a follower of Christ, I think there is a little more in-depth revelation than that - the argument up to now has been almost all secular in nature. There isn't a direct Biblical case against, or for, abortion - although I think this paragraph from Wiki deals with this well:
. . . this provides for a syllogism, which forms the basis of the modern Christian pro-life movement. Scripture condemns the shedding of innocent human blood. The biblical insight into the order of things is that man is distinct from, and above an animal; and man is uniquely subject to God, whereas animals are given to man; and an unborn child is human and known to God. Therefore, even an unborn child is protected by God, as made in the image of God because it is human (an issue distinct from all speculations of when life begins).
So, what does a follower of Christ do when another follower of Christ says something like this:
When a woman wants a child but can’t afford one, because she hasn’t the education necessary for a sustainable job, or access to health care, or day care, or adequate food, it is the abysmal priorities of our nation, the lack of social supports, the absence of justice that are the tragedies; the abortion is a blessing.

And when a woman becomes pregnant within a loving, supportive, respectful relationship; has every option open to her; decides she does not wish to bear a child; and has access to a safe affordable abortion, there is not a tragedy in sight; only blessing.

The ability to enjoy God’s good gift of sexuality without compromising one’s education, life’s work, or ability to put to use God’s gifts and call is simply blessing. These are the two things I want you, please, to remember – abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Let me hear you say it. Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done.

The first paragraph is the normal "abortion is a terrible choice - we need to give people better choices" kind of argument (and Christians do need to help give folks better choices) until that last word "blessing". Usually, I would not use the word blessing about a choice that was the "lesser of two evils". However, her use of the word blessing becomes clear in the next two paragraphs.

This is not a pro-choice argument - it is a pro-abortion argument. There is no attempt from the first paragraph on to say the woman cannot afford the child, has a terrible home life, no support, etc. - just (essentially) that abortion is a blessing whenever it is chosen by the mother for whatever reason. The key mistake to me:
The ability to enjoy God’s good gift of sexuality without compromising one’s education, life’s work, or ability to put to use God’s gifts and call is simply blessing.
I agree that God gave us the good gift of sexuality for us to enjoy (and for other reasons) - but every good gift of God comes with responsibility for the wise, right use of the gift:
Luke 12:48 But the one who did not know his master’s will and did things worthy of punishment will receive a light beating. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required, and from the one who has been entrusted with much, even more will be asked.
I am sure this person would say that woman have the right "to control their own body" and sexuality - and I agree. Do they have the responsibility, within the context of God gifting them with sexuality, to control their own body and sexuality prior to becoming pregnant? Isn't the child, concieved during the use of God's gift of sexuality, a gift from God as well? If they become pregnant, should that gift from God take second place to everything else in their life? All of those answers really hinge on the first one - Is the fetus a type of being whose life it is seriously wrong to end?
[Read C.S. Lewis's section on sexual morality from Mere Christianity if you want to see how our view of, and use of, God's good gift of sexuality has been twisted in modern culture]
And, the little chant near the end -
abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Let me hear you say it. Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done.
is one of the most horrible things I have heard from someone - especially someone who is a follower of Christ - other than her going on to say that abortion workers are doing "holy work" and are "saints". So folks, let me hear you say it:
Abortion is immoral
and our work is not done

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How to debate charitably (rules are links to more description of rule):
1. The Golden Rule
2. You cannot read minds
3. People are not evil
4. Debates are not for winning
5. You make mistakes
6. Not everyone cares as much as you
7. Engaging is hard work
8. Differences can be subtle
9. Give up quietly