Wills contends, “It is not demonstrable that killing fetuses is killing persons. Not even the Evangelicals act as if it were. In that case, the woman seeking the abortion…is killing her own child.” If the fetus is regarded as a person, why would the murderous mother be exempt from the death penalty, in which most Evangelicals believe? And many Evangelicals allow abortion in the case of rape or incest. That won’t work: “We do not kill people because they had a criminal parent.” Some allow for abortion to save a life. Wills asks, “Why should the mother be preferred over the ‘child’ if both are, equally, persons?” Why opt for the “certitude” of murder over only the “danger of death?”
Wills, himself a Catholic, raises the temperature even higher: “Nor did the Catholic Church treat abortion as murder in the past. If it had, late-term abortions and miscarriages would have called for treatment of the well-formed fetus as a person—calling for baptism and Christian burial.” But this was never the case. “And no wonder,” says Wills. The subject of abortion is not scriptural, “it is not treated in the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, or anywhere in the Jewish Scripture, the New Testament or the creeds and the early ecumenical councils.” Augustine? He could never find in Scripture “anything at all certain about the origins of the soul.” And the most notable Thomas Aquinas, “lacking scriptural guidance” and using Aristotelian distinctions, “denied that personhood arose at fertilization by the semen. God directly infuses the soul at the completion of human formation.”
After recalling that homosexuality is also mentioned so few times in the Bible (but is obviously a major wedge issue in this country), especially when compared to issues such as poverty, Harold Henderson asks this question:
… why rely so heavily on a single very old book that offers so little moral guidance (either way) in today’s drastically different world?
(via Daily Harold)
[tags]atheist, atheism, abortion, gay, lesbian[/tags]