Frank Schaeffer, You Ignorant Slut! (“Put a bullet in his head while he sleeps…”)

The Greg Rubottom guest column on abortion I posted here generated heated  responses. Here are two unedited as they were posted online originally. One is reasonable and instructive. The other includes this line – “I’ll be over to this man’s house tonight to put a bullet in his head while he sleeps.

The “put a bullet in his head” response is of the SNL “Weekend Update” Chevy Chase v Jane Curtin “Jane you ignorant slut!” ilk but even Chevy Chase never told Jane Curtin he’d “… put a bullet in [your] head…” as did Mark Shea in his Roman Catholic “response” to my guest columnist and to me.

To be fair Shea was just trying to make a point about abortion being murder (or something like that) not actually threatening us. But is talk of “bullets” crossing some sort of line?  

And by the way if you want to know what my actual views are on the issue of abortion — they are significantly different than my guest columnists’ Greg Rubottom’s views – I explain myself rather fully in Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back  where I go into how my family helped launch the “pro-life” movement as well as how I see the issue some 30 years-plus  on. 

Here’s how I conclude the chapter on abortion in Crazy For God

“To most Americans—including me these days—it is gut-check self-evident that a fertilized egg is not a person, because personhood is a lot more than a collection of chromosomes in a Petri dish or in the womb. To most Americans—including me these days—it is also gut-check self-evident that an unborn baby is mighty like one of us, and that a lot of fast talking about reproductive rights and choice or a woman’s mental well being, doesn’t answer the horror of a three-pound child with her head deliberately caved in lying in a medical waste receptacle….

Abortions should be legal…. But advances in science and the exponentially exploding possibilities of human engineering have to be included in our thinking. The situation is not static, and therefore Roe ‘settled’ nothing. The reality is constantly changing, for instance what ‘viability’ is. Roe was merely a snapshot of one moment in time, a pretty extreme moment. It was a sledgehammer where a scalpel is needed. We will never find a ‘good’ solution to the question of abortion. What we need to do is back away from the idea that there is an ideological “fix” to every problem. Then again, that’s just one opinion. And I could be wrong. I often am.”

 

RESPONSE ONE (The “Jane You Ignorant Slut” Approach):

Frank Schaeffer’s Rage and Spite…

November 30, 2012 By Mark Shea

 Evangelicals and Catholics finally finds fruition in this incoherent “Go to hell” to the entire prolife movement.  He is, of course, right that the GOP has largely exploited prolifers and has never been serious about abortion.  But the BS arguments he and his guest contibutor pull out of the worst sort of sola scriptura rationales for abortion on the Emergent Church Left are frankly embarrassing.  I mean, come on, “A fetus is not a life that can be taken.   A life that can be taken is a life that is aware it can be took”?  Great.  I’ll be over to this man’s house tonight to put a bullet in his head while he sleeps.  It’s not murder since he won’t be aware of a thing.

Is Schaeffer even a member of the Orthodox communion anymore?  What does his bishop make of him?  The man seems consumed with rage (and arrogance–Why I Still Talk to Jesus, In Spite of Everything–how gracious of him).  The madness of Christian alliance with the Thing that Used to Be Conservatism at the expense of the teaching of Holy Church is very much to be opposed.  I try to do it here every day.  But nothing is helped by embracing the opposite insanity of opposing anything in Church teaching that happens to be approved by American conservatives.  Yes, it is true that opposition to abortion does not take away the sins of the world and excuse the many blind spots of the Thing that Used to be Conservatism to authentic Christian teaching (torture, just war, just wage, etc).  But that does not mean that the conservative Christians are “lying” to say abortion is, as the Church says, an “abominable crime“.  Talk about throwing the baby out with the bath.

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RESPONSE TWO (A Reasonable View):

Defense of the Pro-Life Movement: A Response to Greg Rubottom

Posted by Matt on 

 

 Earlier today I received an email from a good friend, asking for my feedback on Greg Rubottom’s recent guest post on Frank Schaeffer’s Patheos blog. The original article (“Death throes of a great deception – the fall from grace of the pro-life movement”) can be found here.

About three sentences into my response email, I decided to make this into a blog post. The article is fairly long, so I’ll try to limit myself to the major points.

Rubottom begins by describing “the Republican Party’s nefarious campaign to teach Americans that God opposes abortion”. He includes this paragraph:

“Modern medical abortion is a relatively new phenomenon in the world. When this procedure was unexpectedly legalized in 1972 many struggled to understand it. There were no centuries old church degrees (sic) concerning abortion in existence. The responsibility therefore fell on all believers to decide for themselves what the “will of God” might be concerning abortion.”

I don’t want to spend too much time nitpicking history…but medical abortions have been around for thousands of years (qualifying them as “modern” in order to call it a “new phenomenon” is just being redundant). Christians have been responding to the practice (and generally condemning it) since Roman times. It isn’t as if the moral ramifications of abortion suddenly fell from the sky in 1972, blindsiding Christians everywhere.

“The pro-life believer feels confident that rape can not be the will of God – because rape is a bad thing. But despite the other obvious “bad things” staring them in the face, a woman required to bear a rapist’s child against her will and a child growing up with a rapist father, they still steadfastly refuse to consider the possibility that God might actually prefer to terminate a conception.”

Are we to play God, then, and decide that a fetus conceived through rape is undeserving of life? Do the circumstances of a person’s conception really determine their worth? Doesn’t this just open the door to prejudices from the not-so-distant past, when “bastards” were socially stigmatized as adults for the circumstances of their conception?

Or consider the following scenario from Dr. Neil Shenvi:

“Imagine a woman living in some remote area. A man breaks into her home and rapes her. But before leaving, he leaves his newborn son in her kitchen. The sight of the baby obviously brings back horrible memories for the woman. But is she morally justified in killing him to avoid the pain? No. Even if it takes the government weeks or even months to come take the baby, he should not be killed for the actions of the rapist. She is certainly a hero for caring for the needs of the innocent child. But her only other option – to kill the child – is morally wrong.”

“The pro-life worldview is promoted in our Evangelical churches [and by the Roman Catholic bishops] almost entirely by means of a very powerful appeal to ones’ empathetic emotions, along with a preference for some scripture over others and a complete denial or perversion of yet others. All to try to make a case for “human soul life” beginning at conception.”

Rubottom makes no attempt to engage with the Scriptural evidence for the pro-life position, but I think it’s worth taking a moment to do so. If you’re at all uncertain about the Biblical basis for the pro-life position, I implore you to read this excellent summary from JW Wartick.

“The teaching of the pro-life heresy in America’s churches (along with other blatant heresies all stemming from the belief in an inerrant Bible) imperils the very survival of Christianity in America.”

I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but I think Mr. Rubottom tips his hand here. After spending several paragraphs explaining why the Christian stance against abortion is in conflict with the Bible, he now claims that it’s a heresy stemming from a belief in an inerrant Bible.

Just think about that.

It’s an implicit concession that there is a Biblical basis for the pro-life position. Furthermore, by claiming that the Bible contains errors, he seriously undermines his previous attempts to refute the pro-life position on Biblical grounds.

“Just like nature, people should choose to allow a conception to proceed if a healthy body is understood as likely and the external environment is favorable for nurturing an emerging soul. Choice is simply another of God’s tools promoting our evolution toward perfection.”

Your eugenics alarm should be going off about now.

“God trusts nature to use her wisdom at times to destroy a fetus to ensure the best “body environment” for the potential soul.”

The author makes the mistake here of assuming that spontaneous abortions are acceptable to God (rather than a form of natural evil). In the absence of clear evidence that a fetus isn’t a “human person”, this is akin to saying, “God trusts nature to use her wisdom at times to destroy (via lightning strikes, flash floods, and eathquakes) newborn infants that lack an ideal ‘body environment’.”

And again, what kind of message is this sending to the physically and mentally disabled living among us, who WERE born with less-than-ideal “body environments”? Are their lives somehow less valuable? Isn’t this essentially telling people from impoverished families and broken homes that their lives aren’t worth living?

Is this the message of Jesus?

“Humanity must follow nature’s and God’s example by judging the “exterior environment” into which the potential soul will be born. The mental and physical fitness of the mother and father. The physical resources. Is there severe damage to the fetal body nature is blind to? Would pregnancy endanger the life of the mother? Is the conception against the will of the mother? All of these external environmental factors must be considered and found acceptable in order for one to truly say that “God approves” that another soul come into the world.”

As Mary Ann points out in the comments section, shouldn’t Jesus himself have been aborted according to this criteria? Wasn’t He born into abject poverty, in a barn, to an unwed mother?

Rubottom argues that babies shouldn’t be carried to term if the external environmental factors are unfavorable. Yet even a child born into a stable, upper-class family is certain to experience some degree of pain and hardship during her life. This “exterior environment” argument just seems so…arbitrary. Is there even such as thing as an ideal environment for bringing a new soul into the world?

Throughout the article, Rubottom spends a good deal of time arguing that the human body is merely a “container”, and that the soul is created as a “process” during human development. Yet, astonishingly, he shows no interest in even attempting to define when a human life becomes valuable and worth protecting.

When should we start protecting human life, and why? This ought to be the first question that’s asked.

About Frank Schaeffer

Frank Schaeffer is an American author, film director, screenwriter and public speaker. He is the son of the late theologian and author Francis Schaeffer. He became a Hollywood film director and author, writing several internationally acclaimed novels including And God Said, "Billy!" as well as the Calvin Becker Trilogy depicting life in a fundamentalist mission home-- Portofino, Zermatt, and Saving Grandma.

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  • http://http://winter60.blogspot.com/ Lausten North

    “by claiming that the Bible contains errors, he seriously undermines his previous attempts to refute the pro-life position on Biblical grounds.” No he didn’t. Rubottom, intentionally or not, has made the point that the Bible has passages that can be used by either side of many arguments. Some people say they can discern the overall theme and use certain passages to support your argument while ignoring or explaining away others. Personally, I use the Bible like any other collection of books; I acknowledge they contain wisdom, but I bring all the wisdom available to me today when I making a decision.

  • http://patheos Threeten2yuma

    Guess the answer is, “No.” Oh well, I still love ya, man!

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Hi Threeten2… “No” to what? Love you too! F

  • http://patheos Threeten2yuma

    At the end ofthe increasingly-contentious commenting for Greg’s article, I asked you if you personally could never say another word about abortion . . . ever again. LOL, I shoulda known better!

  • Thomas R

    The bullet/sleep thing was meant as sarcasm, not an actual threat. However I did quit going to Shea’s, in large part, because I think he does get excessive and dehumanizing. Maybe he was always that way, but I think their used to be a bit more joy and a bit less rage than now. (Renaming his blog “The Raging Catholic” might fit at times)

    Anyway I think he’s raising the issue of whether consciousness is the only criteria of valuing human life. In fairness to Mr. Rubottom I don’t think you could use his arguments to justify that. A sleeping person still has some awareness. She or he may dream, etc. They have a brain with a level of neural complexity well above that of a fetus, etc. They are in an unconscious state, but they’re not a non-sapient being. His statement is a Reductio ad Absurdum kind of thing.

    However if we judge the value of human life solely by its neurology and awareness we do potentially get into a variety of issues with regard to infants, head trauma patients, and the disabled. An infant, particularly a premature infant, also does not have an adults level of awareness. In fact I think it’s uncertain what level of awareness or mind it has. And if we go on awareness what level to do we go? A fetus has a brain and can respond to stimuli to some degree, whether it feels pain or not, so we are discussing levels of awareness. Is an infant’s sufficient? Or a person with Down Syndrome? Where is the cutting off point? Rubottom, IMO, kind of had no response to his critics on these issues except to suggest the critic lacks common sense or hates him. Which is non-responsive.

    What you’re saying is a bit more sensible, even if I don’t agree with it either, and my mocking of him is not a statement about you as such.

  • Greg Rubottom

    Frank,
    When you offered to post my article I actually was not aware that you still are not really pro-choice. Having read all that I have been able to read now concerning your own personal views I think in my mind anyway your views could best be summed up like this: “I don’t really know if I believe in God or not anymore, so the abortion issue might be moot. However, I realize there are times when abortion is necessary so I have to allow for that. But then again I am still able to project my own emotional empathy into a 3 lb fetus and so I don’t know if we aught to allow abortion in many cases – and of course there is the fear of God thing – in other words I still don’t know”.

    You still have no clarity Frank. I have clarity. I understand that it is best for society that women have choice and that TRUE choice without religious fear would lead to a better world. I understand that it is ALWAYS best for the potential child that a woman have choice. I understand that God wants healthy bodies and healthy environments for the born and is not interested in numbers. I understand that the pro-life world view is driven by a fear that the living have no right to determine life and death situations – even though the living are clearly required to make those life and death decisions every day. I understand and fully accept these things as reality rather than still “questionable”. So my

    Until you have real “clarity” on this issue Frank I think I would have to agree with the voice of another poster who said: You should simply stay away from this issue. Do some art. Write a beautiful story. Wishing you the best. greg

  • http://www.catholic.com// Brennan

    “I understand that it is ALWAYS best for the potential child that a woman have choice. I understand that God wants healthy bodies and healthy environments for the born and is not interested in numbers. I understand that the pro-life world view is driven by a fear that the living have no right to determine life and death situations – even though the living are clearly required to make those life and death decisions every day.”

    Oh dear God, I’ve probably written enough and yet I can’t stay away…

    So, even if, as I’m sure you are aware, the majority of aborted babies are not deformed or physically handicapped it is always best for the baby that he is aborted (if that is the choice that is made)? Even if he could have been placed for adoption it is really better that he has no chance of living, growing up, having a family? No chance that any mistake can ever be made in choosing to abort a perfectly healthy fetus?

    And God is actually interested in each and every single life (“the hairs of your head are all numbered”). Each human being is a unique creation who will live forever so no, God is not interested in mere “numbers” but He is interested in each unique human being.

    And when are the living clearly required to make life and death decisions every day? Unless you’re a cop who happens to have someone pull a weapon on you and you have to decide whether or not to shoot back or a doctor who is trying to figure out how best to save a life I would say the vast majority of people are not deciding who lives and who dies each and every single day.

  • Greg Rubottom

    Brennan,
    I would think that you would be aware that I am not in the best position to make the important decisions that effect you life. You are. The same is true for the fetuses that you want to intervene on behalf of. You are not in the best position to make the decision if that fetus should be allowed to become a human being or not. The person who is carrying that fetus is. You have no right to pretend you are speaking for the best interests of a potential child by denying the rights of the mother of that child. The conception of that fetus was commenced by an act of the will of the mother. God gives that mother the right to decide if that fetus should become a child or not for the sake of the potential child. A mother knows best if she would be a fit mother for that child or not.

    All of your thinking is perverted by your false belief that a fetus is a child and that a child is lost when a fetus is aborted. A fetus is lost when a fetus is aborted not a child. As long as you keep pretending that a child is lost when a fetus is aborted you will never understand just how wrong you are on this issue.

    • http://www.catholic.com// Brennan

      Greg, when a life is conceived something is brought into existence. It is not a tadpole and it is not a lizard. It is a genetically unique human being in the first stage of development. That is a medical and scientific fact. To quote:

      “The fusion of the sperm (with 23 chromosomes) and the oocyte (with 23 chromosomes) at fertilization results in a live human being, a single-cell human zygote, with 46 chromosomes — the number of chromosomes characteristic of an individual member of the human species. Quoting Moore:

      “Zygote: This cell results from the union of an oocyte and a sperm. A zygote is the beginning of a new human being (i.e., an embryo). The expression fertilized ovum refers to a secondary oocyte that is impregnated by a sperm; when fertilization is complete, the oocyte becomes a zygote.”10 (Emphasis added.)

      This new single-cell human being immediately produces specifically human proteins and enzymes11 (not carrot or frog enzymes and proteins), and genetically directs his/her own growth and development. (In fact, this genetic growth and development has been proven not to be directed by the mother.)12 Finally, this new human being — the single-cell human zygote — is biologically an individual, a living organism — an individual member of the human species. Quoting Larsen:

      “… [W]e begin our description of the developing human with the formation and differentiation of the male and female sex cells or gametes, which will unite at fertilization to initiate the embryonic development of a new individual.”13

      http://catholiceducation.org/articles/abortion/ab0027.html

      Becoming a human being is not something anyone can “prevent” or “allow” as it is what happens at conception. So yes, when an abortion happens a genetically unique individual human being is removed who would have gone on to become a fully functioning adult barring some intervention. A fetus is the name for a human being at a particular stage of development just as the words “infant”, adolescent”, or “adult” are the names of human beings at particular stages of development. God does not give anyone the “right” to murder an innocent human being.

      And again, by your criteria, if a fetus is not a human being just prior to birth there is no reason to consider them a human being after they pass through the birth canal. They really are just as dependent on the mother and have not suddenly developed much further from one moment to the next. Hence it would seem the mother has the “right” to murder her newborn infant since there is no real reason to consider this infant a human being at that point.

  • http://thechurchproject.me Tracey

    Brennan,
    We do make decisions every day that deal with life and death. Just because they don’t directly or instantly cause or avoid death, doesn’t mean they aren’t about life and death. All the other hospital workers make choices about the quality of their work which affects the abilities of doctors and nurses to save lives. We choose whether to drive our cars safely- doing so prevents death/saves life. We choose to take or not take medicines so we don’t die from the flu. We choose to utilize the death penalty on criminals. We choose not to make smokers breathe asbestos. We choose whether or not open soup kitchens to keep the hungry from starving. I think the point Greg was getting at about the pro-life movement is this: one cannot hide behind saying only God is allowed to determine life and death. We determine, by our actions and inaction, life or death of ourselves and others. To say that’s God’s realm is silly for any person who holds an opinion on my above examples. Heck it’s silly for any person who eats food. Shouldn’t God be the one to decide you should live? I realize this isn’t the ONLY argument they make, but I’d say it’s among the weakest.

    • http://www.catholic.com// Brennan

      Hi Tracey, thanks for your comments. I agree with them, we do make decisions which can ultimately affect the life and health of people every day even if they aren’t as dramatic as a cop deciding whether or not to shoot. However, what is the presumption throughout your examples? That you promote life. So you try and remove the asbestos because you recognize that it adversely affects human life. You don’t just drive down the sidewalk because who cares if you hit someone or not? You do try to feed the hungry because you know they have just as much a right to life as any of us do.

  • Greg Rubottom

    Brennan,
    Life and death decisions are forced on us everyday. My mother died of ALS. She had an extended period of her life (about one year) that was extended as the result of the religious fear of my own family that my mother not be taken any earlier than possible and only by the hand of God. I deeply regret my involvement in pressuring my mother to have a feeding tube implanted for “our sakes” when in fact it would have been her desire to let herself die once she she had become unable to eat or drink at all. I am the person who had decided when my mother would die. Not in the next month but a year from then in a much more diminished capacity. You evidently don’t consider my mother’s extended suffering as significant or that my desire to have her live was probably none of my business. When I finally saw the person I had reduced to a rag who in her heart was begging for death every day I knew I was the one who had chose her particular death for her. What type of death she would have.

    Don’t tell me we don’t make life and death decisions every day. We do. And they had better be truly wise ones based on reality and rationality instead of fear and selfishness or religious uncertainty.

  • http://patheos threeten2yuma

    “Jesus Christ!” (That’s not blasphemy, boys, it’s a quick prayer for help.) Are you all still at this? Now this bar fight has spilled out into the streets and over onto another blog!

    Greg, the name’s, “Threeten,” if you please. It’s alright. You can refer to me by name rather than by the more disdainful, “the voice of another poster,” as you did above when you kissed Frank off. You’re hurt, and now you’re lashing out. It’s OK. You’re hurt because Frank coaxed you way out there onto that flimsy extreme political limb and then climbed back down the tree to relative safety leaving you to fend for yourself, aren’t you? Hey, man, join the club! That’s what Frank does with all of his friends! It’s nothing personal. Frank’s just still trying to figure a few things out . . . but aren’t we all? I don’t know you, of course, but you seem young to me, Greg. Me, I’m gonna be fifty-six next month, and I’ve seen some stuff . . . some “Dr. My Eyes” kind of stuff . . . in my time. You sound young to me because you sound so certain. Frank and me, we both remember when we were once so damned certain about everything too. But you, Greg, you remind me of Rolf from the movie, The Sound of Music, remember him? He was the young brown shirt who tries to turn the Von Trapp family, including his own true love, Liesl, over to the Nazis. Something tells me that you could do that too, Greg . . . or am I wrong about that?

    Frank, I’m tellin’ ya, man, the real hardline abortion people are never gonna accept you until you’ve gotten a sex change, undergone some kind of artificial insemination and implantation so that you actually carry around a fetus inside of you for a while, and then have it ripped right out as a kind of sacrificial rite . . . and even then, you’ll always be suspect to them because you were once upon a time, way the hell back when, ardently “pro-life,” yourself! And even though I’m fairly certain that you could just about bring yourself politically to do something so extreme, especially if The One asked you to do it just for Him, I know that you never will, Bro. I know that you never will because you’re way too damn heterosexual for that! Am I right or am I right about that.

    Brennan, old Pal, we gotta get ourselves into some kind of addiction therapy to get the hell off this cyber-crack! You’re right. You’ve said enough on this topic. You said it clearly, compellingly, and in a holy call to conscience that by any correct standard ought to be irresistible. But without the Holy Spirit’s active involvement, people can and do resist even the Gospel of Jesus Christ! So let’s go do something else now, and pray that the Holy Spirit will do His Thing with any and all who read your stuff. I know for a fact that his will be my last post for a long time to come. My loving and long-suffering bride of almost thirty-three years is going to kill me if it’s not, and then this debate really will have ended in bloodshed!

    As for me, I found in this conversation over the last few days my New Year’s Resolution for The Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Thirteen. I always like to make New Year’s Resolutions because I like to dare God to help me keep them. And you know what? For the most part, He does! So this coming year, I’m going to get involved with our local Crisis Pregnancy Center. I’m gonna do it for two reasons that come to mind presently. First is because they need the help, and I want to put my money (and time) where my mouth has been these past couple days. No one is ever going to do much about abortion in this country that’s going to be any more compassionate and effective than what gets done day in and day out, week after week, year after year at our Crisis Pregnancy Centers. Secondly, I’ve been haunted the past couple of years by something I’ve read many, many times in the Bible. It’s found in The Epistle of St. James. (Brennan, you’ll like this. Ol’ Martin Luther couldn’t stand this New Testament book, but it’s always had some good effect on me, and now, by God’s Grace, will have even more!)

    Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this: To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. (James 1:27, KJV)

    Are there any more “fatherless” than those children born to women who visit a Crisis Pregnancy Center, and are there any more “widowed” than those women who must turn there for assistance because, most likely, they have no where else to turn?

    Peace and Love, Brothers! Now let’s go do something.

    • http://www.catholic.com// Brennan

      Whoops threeten, I posted twice before I heard your call to get off the cyber-crack. I like your writing style though and your quote of James 1:27 (and I’ve always had a particular fondness for the KJV). God bless.

      • http://patheos threeten2yuma

        Brennan, Thanks for the kind words and new friendship. I won’t be posting for a while, but I’ll be following some of what you all write from time to time. Keep me in your prayers, Bro. God bless you too! Love, 3:10

        • http://www.catholic.com// Brennan

          Thanks 3:10. And in response to a previous question I just saw, no, I am not Brennan Manning (though I believe I know who that is). Brennan is just my name. Take care.

          • http://patheos threeten2yuma

            BTW, Brennan, my Karen said that she won’t “kill” me if I post occasionally and that she didn’t really appreciate me writing that anyway! I’d enjoy talking some more with you about our mutual faith. Can you be contacted on that website that appears when one clicks on your name? -3:10

  • Greg Rubottom

    Brennan,
    Just so you understand completely what I said in my last post I will add this. A death from starvation and dehydration is a death that is actually a death that is very humane. Most people are never really in pain and simply drift off.

    My mother spent her last months gasping for air and trying to not look terrified whenever the children were in the room. However that had also become impossible for her since her face had become frozen in a mild look of terror from the lack of getting breath for weeks and the pain that cause a person.

    A mother that knows that she is unfit or that her environment is not fit to raise a child but she will be having that child simply out of fear of God – that the pro-life world view inflicts on people.

    That child’s suffering in life is on your head. And really for no reason. God is good Brennan. God created a way for children to not be born into the world with needless suffering. And God will continue to expand on that way by providing more and more women with the ability to do what is best for a potential child before that child becomes a child.

    A fetus is not a child.

    • http://www.catholic.com// Brennan

      “A fetus is not a child”.

      See my previous post. We do not get to decide whether or not a human being gets to live or not.

    • http://www.catholic.com// Brennan

      And by this logic, if the summum bonum of life is to avoid suffering shouldn’t every mother abort every baby? After all, most likely the baby will end up suffering either during or near the end of life. Aborting every child would help ensure that no one has to suffer ever. And hence wouldn’t that be the most humane thing to do?

    • Thomas R

      Although I’ve mocked you, justly I feel, when do you think the offspring (what fetus means in Latin) becomes an infant? I know some Pro-Choice Christians go for the old idea of ensoulment or quickening, but that places it before birth. At latest it puts it around the 20th week. An Oxford published book indicates 20 weeks is also when a fetal brain has “a normal complement of 109 neurons.” (Life Before Birth: The Moral and Legal Status of Embryos and Fetuses, Second … by Bonnie Steinbock) Although other sources I’ve read indicate sentience doesn’t began until the 33rd week, meaning sufficiently premature infants are not babies and have no rights. The ensoulment view placed it more as the 12th week and by then there is a fetal brain.

  • Greg Rubottom

    threeten,
    You couldn’t be more wrong concerning all your assumptions about me – the least of which is that I am 61 years old.

    • http://patheos threeten2yuma

      Greg, I may be wrong more times than I am right . . . but I know Someone who loves me beyond all measure. I hope you know Him too! Love, 3:10

  • http://thechurchproject.me Tracey

    Threeten,
    Your name is blue but I can’t get it to give me any info on who you are. Do you keep a website? It would be nice if I had some idea who I was talking with/next to.

    • http://patheos threeten2yuma

      Tracey, Just think of me as a “voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Prepare ye the way of the LORD!’” Either that or as Balaam’s ass, through whom God also spoke! I hope my smart-assedness wasn’t too overdone in some of my postings the past couple of days. I ask only that everyone remember me in prayer, and I’ll try to return the favor! Love, 3:10

  • ginmemphis

    “I’ll be over to this man’s house tonight to put a bullet in his head while he sleeps.“ No matter how it is “meant,” it is a threat of violence, and any threat of violence should be taken seriously. If the police could pay the writer a visit, it might encourage him to use his words more carefully. Abortion is a volatile subject–people have been killed for their opinions/actions.

    • M Smith

      The point the writer intended could have been better made with less direct phrasing; e.g., “It would be like using this as a justification for shooting someone while they’re sleeping.”

      The rest is the same-old same-old. Men arguing among themselves about abortion.

  • Greg Rubottom

    Brennan says: “No Greg, believe it or not I am sorry about your mother’s suffering. ”

    Why would I care or give consideration to your idiotic worship of the pope then?

    Right from wrong is deduced by reason. Not the various farts the pope has emitted recently.

    • Thomas R

      Let’s see your Christianity is Anti-Catholic. It goes against Calvin and Orthodoxy too. And I doubt it fits Luther any better. Or the Gospel of Luke. (Luke 1:41) How are you a traditional Christian again? What denomination are you? What’s your credentials?

      What you believe really sounds more like some form of utilitarianism. Even then though you have not shown that those of us born in unhealthy bodies or environments would be better off not born. I certainly don’t think that and I’ve known only a few people, even kids whose parents abused them terribly, who think that.

      But then again I’m a Papist. If it weren’t for the Pope maybe I wouldn’t be so deluded as to think my life is worth living.

      As for clarity if you have it, and think like this, than I can certainly feel sorry for you. If you were someone very young or confused perhaps there’d still be hope. If you’re a 61-year-old man with such a warped yet “clear” view on existence, your opponents, Catholics, etc than there is much less hope. For me I have hope. I don’t want kids like me to be born because I’m in fear God will punish the mothers if they’re not. I want them to be born because life, even with suffering, has meaning and is worth living. I guess I should be sorry for you if to you life is only sweet if it’s “becoming perfect” with an environment and body remaining healthy.

  • Greg Rubottom

    Brennan,
    Forgive me for the tone of my last comment to you. I had misread your comment to say that you were NOT sorry about my mother’s suffering. That set me off a bit and I responded with the least amount of furry I thought such a comment deserved.

    But I stand by the substance of the comment. Not the tone.

  • Greg Rubottom

    Brennan let me ask you this, Why did Jesus say of Judas “It would have been better for that man had he not been born”? Why would Jesus say such a thing. Jesus had already said that Judas would be among the 12 that sat on thrones with Jesus in heaven. Jesus also called Judas “friend” AFTER Judas betrayed him with a kiss in the garden. Jesus never called a single other person in the Bible a friend other than Judas. However, Jesus gave a teaching that where he explained to his disciples that if a person does the will of the father then they are no longer his servants but his “friends”.

    Jesus could not have been making a sarcastic comment about WOE coming to those who betray him when he made the comment about Judas that he did.

    He was being literal. He was speaking of the life that Judas had lived and probably why he had lived it – as it is also said in scripture that Judas was a common thief.

    Jesus was acknowledging that it would have been better for Judas to have not been born. Better for Judas. He was not talking about retribution coming upon Judas.

    If you are going to be the victim of various superstitious religious beliefs all your life you should at least consider the possibility that being born into this world is not what is best for some. As Jesus stated. Unless of course you want to hear to the words of Jesus in such a way that makes Jesus sound vengeful by singling out Judas as the one who should have “Woe” upon his head for his impending death – rather than the ones who actually took up the task.

    • Thomas R

      I think it’s generally understood Jesus didn’t say that because Judas was depressed, deformed, or had bad parents. It’s because he would be remembered for all times as a betrayer who got his friend killed. How many unborn people are going to grow up to betray a friend and get them killed? Jesus didn’t tell the disabled people he healed “better you were never born, but as you were I’ll fix you.” In some cases Jesus actually asked the disabled if they wanted to be healed, although I guess an argument could made that was just a formula response.

      Anyway if we could know that a fetus, Latin for “offspring” or “the young while in the womb or egg”, was going to grow up to be a killer I do agree this could raise some issues. If there is a “pedophile gene” or “psychopathic killer” gene maybe it would be better a person not be born than live as a twisted threat to others. But this is rather speculative and much more limited than I think what you mean. Most unhealthy people, poor people, or people from dysfunctional homes are not serial-killers or rapists. I doubt you could prove otherwise.

  • Greg Rubottom

    Thomas there is lots of data out there that pretty conclusively explains that the vast majority of children born specifically “unwanted” and raised resented and “unloved” develop anti social behaviors that are typically chronic and debilitating. The worst kind of life imaginable I would think.

    Thomas, Your explanation of why Jesus said what he did of Judas makes Jesus sound like a dork attempting to write some dramatic sounding history.

    • Thomas R

      I could claim there’s all kinds of data for all kinds of things. Assertion isn’t evidence. What we know is there is a higher rate of those things, I don’t know of evidence that the “vast majority of unwanted and unloved” children become anti-social. In fact you’d think this would mean we would see higher rates of anti-social behavior from the pre-Roe generations and I’m interested to see you prove that. (Not that you’re likely to even really try)

      And yes the Gospels are dramatic and history. It’s not dorky to say Jesus was crucified or Judas committed suicide. Even if that’s too dramatic for you.

      • Thomas R

        Although I intended to be done with you I take it you might be referring to studies like “Born Unwanted.” It did show triple the rate of incarceration as well as increased illness and poorer intellect. It could seem to support your conclusion, but I don’t know that it indicates “the vast majority” are a certain way. Still I’ll concede it’s interesting.

        http://birthpsychology.com/content/born-unwanted-developmental-effects-denied-abortion

  • Greg Rubottom

    Thomas, Why do you give me examples of people that have been born and act like these are examples of people that I personally think should have been aborted? Why do you jump to such absurdities? Show me a woman who did not want the child and then raised the child unloved. Find me one of those Thomas. Pull that one out and look at him.

    If you have ever spent any time in a large prison you will find it very common to hear the testimonies of people born unwanted and raised unloved. The kind of people who looking back on their lives might say they would have preferred to have never been born because of the circumstances of their lives point to no redemptive value. Life can still be enjoyed but the preference would have been to have never been born because the misery far outweighed the enjoyment.

    There isn’t a special reward in heaven for living the life of an unloved, unwanted child.

  • http://www.catholic.com// Brennan

    “Brennan says: “No Greg, believe it or not I am sorry about your mother’s suffering. ”

    Why would I care or give consideration to your idiotic worship of the pope then?

    Right from wrong is deduced by reason. Not the various farts the pope has emitted recently.”

    “Brennan,
    Forgive me for the tone of my last comment to you. I had misread your comment to say that you were NOT sorry about my mother’s suffering. That set me off a bit and I responded with the least amount of furry I thought such a comment deserved.

    But I stand by the substance of the comment. Not the tone.”

    Greg, I can’t say I’m upset at all by your comment, rather I’m amazed. You must know literally next to nothing about Catholicism if you think we “worship the pope” or don’t use reason regarding teachings on Faith and Morals.

  • http://www.catholic.com// Brennan

    Greg, I take Jesus’ comments to Judas to mean that He had a pretty good idea that Judas would end up in Hell for his actions. And not just because Judas betrayed Jesus but because he did not repent in the end (as Peter did) and instead hung himself. In that case I can understand why Jesus would tell Judas that it would have been better if he had never been born. Now, this is just my opinion and in one way, I hope I am wrong because I really don’t want Judas or anyone else to end up in Hell.

    Yet one of the main points is that even though God had foreknowledge of all this He did not prevent Judas from being born. We all have free will and each person has to be allowed to live out their life. It’s not up to us or anyone else to decide who gets to be born or not. Yes, most inmates come from broken, fatherless homes (and by the way, have you talked to a bunch of these guys who’ve told you that they really wish they had never been born?).

    The way forward on this would be to stop treating sex as if it has nothing to do with procreation and endeavor to place sex and procreation within marriage so that more children can grow up with a mother and a father. But I don’t foresee this happening anytime soon since that would take away men’s “freedom” to treat sex like a contact sport while women and children bear the consequences.

  • http://thechurchproject.me Tracey

    Well I only asked because I do like to look a person’s blog to see who they are/ where they are coming from. Also I was under the impression the blue meant a link, except your name doesn’t do anything when clicked. Maybe my phone is confused.

  • Bryan
  • Greg Rubottom

    Brennan,
    You raise points that explain exactly why you will go to your death bed not understanding the better future that awaits mankind. Those who can’t see the future fight against it.

    • http://www.catholic.com// Brennan

      Greg, I think you’re right. I will go to my death bed not understanding and fighting against this “better future” that awaits mankind, thank God.

      • Thomas R

        Amen. But I think we’ve been told of this new and glorious future since at least H. G. Wells. Maybe we’ll be lucky enough it’s never going to happen.

  • Greg Rubottom

    Probably the most misunderstood and exploited by posters to attempt to remain the most misunderstood aspect of my article is the belief that I advocate eugenics in any way. I do not. I advocate the clear conscience of the individual and their God to decide if a conception should continue to come to term. Only an individual can decide what is best for the potential child – not a eugenic road map.

    A person who decides to give birth to a severely handicapped child born into severe poverty but in good conscience in sight of their God has done exactly what I advocate.

    • Thomas R

      No. We think that because you said “Just like nature, people should choose to allow a conception to proceed if a healthy body is understood as likely and the external environment is favorable for nurturing an emerging soul. ”

      It’s very magnanimous of you to allow disabled people like me to be born, yesterday was International Day for the Disabled, but the implication was pretty clearly that it’s better for some people not to be born. And you’ve been clear on that.

      We think what you’re saying is eugenic, because it is. If you’re reconsidering that’s good, but it is a reconsideration.

  • Pingback: Frank Schaeffer Continues to Disappoint

  • Mark Shea

    Greg Rubottom, apostle of tolerance, write in my comboxes of his longing for the day .”when the full blown assault on Catholic and fundamentalist evangelical spiritual ignorance is launched in the coming years”. Good news! Your kindred spirits have launched the assault: http://www.kgw.com/news/Religious-statues-beheaded-at-Portland-Grotto-181584961.html?fb_action_ids=10151208352259900&fb_action_types=og.recommends&fb_source=aggregation&fb_aggregation_id=288381481237582

    You are going to make an outstanding court prophet for the post-Christian police state, Greg. Your whole “Wait till we line you up against the wall” appeal to raw authoritarian power, plus your “it’s okay to murder for the great good of the species” schtick will serve you well–so long as you can ride the tiger. My suggestion: get on the horn with the White House right now and volunteer your services to explain why highly evolved people such as you and our God King have every right to unilaterally approve secret drone strikes on the lower orders. They can use a man like you to give that veneer of smug enlightenment to the murder of innocents.

  • Sunny

    I gave birth twice. I loved my babies as soon as I became aware of them and they were my sons long before birth. But nothing, nothing will ever convince me that any woman should be forced to carry a pregnancy that she wants to terminate. A fetus that cannot sustain itself is not the equivalent of the woman inside whom that fetus gestates. When does a soul enter a body? I don’t know and neither do you. As long as the fetus will die when removed from the womb, then it must be considered an extension of the mother’s body and thus dependent upon her decisions and her choices. If society can force a woman to bear a child, it can force a woman to abort. Leave women to make these hard decisions with their partners, their doctors and — ultimately — with themselves. No one knows what God intends for a non-viable (or even viable but still unable to live without massive intervention) fetus. Law should not be based on emotion and women should not be considered vessels.

    • Steve

      Fetuses should not be considered chattel to be disposed of at will. Actions have consequences and people can be expected to take responsibility for their actions.


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