Collective shame

Here is a powerful column from Uwe Siemon-Netto, the German journalist who runs the Institute of Lay Vocation at Concordia Seminary In St. Louis. I post it in full, with his permission. Please read it to the very end, where you will find a detail that will haunt you to your core.

Remembering Collective Shame

By Uwe Siemon-Netto

This column requires a caveat: I am not an American citizen and therefore neither a Republican nor a Democrat. But as a German residing permanently in the United States I believe that I have a duty to opine on at least one aspect of the upcoming elections – the question whether years from now Americans will have to wrestle with collective shame, just as I have had to deal with collective shame over what has happened in Germany in my childhood for my entire life.

It was West Germany’s first postwar president, Theodor Heuss, who coined the phrase, “collective shame” contrasting it with the notion of collective guilt, which he rejected. No, I cannot be expected to feel guilty for crimes the Nazis committed while I was still in elementary school. But as a bearer of a German passport I have never ceased feeling ashamed because three
years before I was born German voters elected leaders planning the annihilation of millions of innocent people.

I am certain that in 1933 most Germans did not find the Nazis’ anti-Semitic rhetoric particularly attractive. What made them choose Hitler, then? It was the economy, stupid, and presumably injured national pride, and similar issues. This came to mind as I read the latest Faith in Life poll of issues Americans in general and white evangelicals in particular consider “very important” in this year’s elections.

Guess what? For both groups, the economy ranked first, while abortion was way down the list. Among Americans in general abortion took ninth and among white evangelicals seventh place,
well below gas prices and health care. Now, it’s true that most evangelicals still believe that abortion should be illegal, which is where they differ from the general public and, astonishingly,
from Roman Catholics even though their own church continues to fight valiantly against the ongoing mass destruction of unborn life. Still, 54 percent of Catholics and 60 percent of young Catholics have declared themselves “pro choice,” according to the Faith in Life researchers.

What I am going to say next is going to make me many enemies, of this I am sure: Yes, there is a parallel between what has happened in Germany in 1933 and what is happening in America now.

The legalized murder of 40 million fetuses since Roe v. Wade in 1973 will one day cause collective shame of huge proportions. So what if this wasn’t a “holocaust?” This term should remain reserved for another horror in history. But a genocide has been happening in the last 35 years, even if no liberators have shocked the world with photographs they snapped of the victims
as the Allies did in Germany in 1945. And it has the open support of politicians running for office
next month.

If most Americans, and shockingly even a majority of Catholics, think physicians should have the “right” to suck babies’ brains out so that their skulls will collapse making it easy for these
abortionists to drag their tiny bodies through the birth canal; if even most white evangelicals think that economic woes are a more important concern (78 percent) than legalized mass murder (57 percent), then surely a moral lobotomy has been performed on this society.

I agree it would be unscholarly to claim that what is happening in America and much of the Western world every day is “another holocaust.” No two historical events are exactly identical.

So let’s leave the word “holocaust” where it belongs – next to Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen and Mauthausen. Still there are compelling parallels between today’s genocide and the Nazi crimes, for example:

1. Man presumes to decide which lives are worthy of living and which are not. “Lebensunwertes Leben” (life unworthy of living) was a Nazi “excuse” for killing mentally handicapped children
and adults, a crime that preceded the holocaust committed against the Jews. Notice that today fetuses diagnosed with Downs Syndrome are often aborted as a matter of course in America and Europe.

2. In German-occupied territories, Jews and Gypsies were gassed for no other reason than that some people considered it inconvenient to have them around. Today, unborn children are often slaughtered because it is inconvenient for their mothers to bring their pregnancies to term.

3. Murder I is legally defined as killing another human being with malice and aforethought. The Nazis killed Jewish and Gypsies with deliberation – and maliciously. But what are we to think of
babies being killed deliberately simply because they would be a nuisance if they were allowed to live? No malice here?

4. Ordinary Germans of the Nazi era were rightly chastised for not having come to their Jewish neighbors’ rescue when they were rounded up and sent to extermination camps. Ordinary
Americans and Western Europeans might find the fad to kill babies disagreeable, but as we see from the Faith in Life poll, most have more pressing concerns. Some future day Americans and Western Europeans will be asked why they allowed their
children to be slaughtered. They would even have less of an excuse than Germans of my grandparents’ and parents’ generation. In Germany, you risked your life if you dared to come to the Jews’ rescue. In today’s democracies the worst that can happen to you is being ridiculed for
being “a Christian.”

As a foreigner I have no right to tell Americans whom to elect on Nov. 4. Recently, though, a friend asked me: “If you worked in an office and a colleague asked you at the voter cooler, whom he should vote for what would you tell him?” Well, I would say: “I am not here to make up your mind for you. But personally I could never give my vote to so-called pro-choice candidates.”

This would doubtless lead to a heated postmodern dialogue. Perhaps the colleague is not a Christian; he might chastise me for mixing politics and religion. “If you as a Christian oppose
abortion,” he could say, “then by all means don’t get involved in an abortion, just don’t impose your religious views on the rest of us.” How would I answer that? An evangelical might yank out
his Bible and quote passages pertaining to this issue. But to a non-Christian the Bible is meaningless; I am not sure a political debate around the water cooler is a great venue to start
individual evangelization.

My Lutheran approach would be different. I would argue natural law, the law God has written upon the hearts of all human beings, including non-believers. Unless they really have undergone a moral lobotomy they should be open to this story:

Down in Wichita, Kansas, there is a physician by the name of George Tiller. On his website he boasts that he has already performed 60,000 abortions, mostly late-term, and week after week he is killing 100 more unborn babies.

Dr. Tiller does not think of these fetuses as clusters of cancerous cells. He knows they are human because he baptizes some of them before he incinerates them in his own crematorium. You don’t baptize non-humans. Dr. Tiller knows that. He is a practicing Lutheran. His former congregation,
Holy Cross of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, excommunicated him as an unrepentant sinner. But the Lutheran Church of the Reformation, which belongs to the ELCA, communes him.

Did I mention that he kills 100 human beings every week and has already done away with 60.000? Sixty thousand! In Nuremberg they hanged some fiends for murdering less than 60 –zero point one percent of Tiller’s toll.

Perhaps this little tale will give even non-believers pause if they have not discarded their conscience, known to Christians as the law God has written upon every man’s heart. One day, of this I am certain, this will indeed result in collective shame – and God knows what other horrible consequences.

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  • J in FW

    Here in Indiana, Christian groups are in the middle of a 40 day period of fasting and prayer to end abortion: . I encourage all Christians to fast and pray with the 20 some days left before the election.

    “…and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you shall glorify me.” Psalm 50:15

  • The Jones

    Whoa. That was powerful.

    I liked what he said about coming to the rescue of those in need. I think that is not just voting and talking, but adopting and foster parenting and caring for the disabled. All these could be victims of convenience, but with a helping hand, they can have successful and full lives.

    I think this also is a great defense of what is, and should be, the greatest single issue in American politics. Many people deride “single issue voters,” and see them as hard-headed and one sided. Well, after an essay like that, it’s easy to see why we only see one side to this.

    “It’s the economy, stupid!” Wow, so powerful and convicting!

  • This is chilling. I’m posting a link on my blog. Thanks so much for this, Dr. Veith.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    The lesson from history many among us never seem to learn is that monster despots rarely begin their reigns thru force, but by first seizing consciences–hearts and minds–and not imposing ideas, and not even convincing people, but allowing people to accept evil as at least harmless, if not some greater good.
    In the beginning, we’re captive to our own will for self-mastery; brute force is what’s finally required to keep us there. But, long before the brute force, mere words were all it took to turn our consciences–our hearts and minds–and our wills into mush.
    That some Christians choose to use McCain’s weakness on embryonic stem cells as not just a club against him, but as a plank to Obama, proves the power of mushy thought.
    Who knew mush could be so effective. Who needs arms and goose-stepping troops, when you have the power of mush; when you can actually and freely vote for it: will it with your own hand.

  • EconJeff

    This gives new meaning to “What’s the matter with Kansas?” Thanks for posting this.

  • NQB

    To be honest, I don’t know that I felt any collective shame in this issue largely because I suppressed it by denying collective guilt. But the last few paragraphs hit at a group I identify with so much, it’s hard to not crawl under my bed for a few years.

    But what I really want to know is, how do pro-choice Americans feel about someone who is recognizing the unborn as humans yet continues to terminate their lives? At the very least, it indicates a dangerous and sick mentality.

    But then again, they wouldn’t want to impose their morality on anyone. That would be too ignorant and irresponsible.

  • TK

    I am so thankful that he wrote this piece! His opinions and experience matter to me. The one thing that I’ve struggled with lately is the sins of the of the right-wing party (of which I’m naturally part of as a conservative Christian). What about the many instances of breaking the eight commandment, You Shall Not Bear False Witness Against Your Neighbor? Luther interprets that commandment: We should fear and love God so that we may not deceitfully belie, betray, slander, or defame our neighbor, but defend him, think and speak well of him, and put the best construction on everything. BOTH of our current parties put a good face on many commandment-breaking actions (sins). I hate abortion…it is a truly unspeakable evil action. But is it, indeed, worse than other sins? From what I am able to interpret, calling Barack Obama an “Arab” (and mean something bad by it) is also a sin. Thank God that John McCain talked to that old woman in Minnesota and set her straight. To send emails to your
    Christian friends denouncing him as a secret Muslim and Arab is also a sin. Now I am hearing TV reports that many won’t vote for Obama because he is black (nothing new, I realize, but still a sin). As a Christian, am I to rank sins in order to vote? My head is spinning and my heart is sad. I teach my own children that sin is sin. I’ll still vote for McCain – he’s had my vote for years – but not only because he is against abortion (5th commandment). I’d vote for him just as much because he stood up against racism (8th commandment) in the middle of a crowd that booed him for it.

    Our pastor gave a really challenging sermon this Sunday, based on Matthew 22:15-21. What can we learn from Jesus’ reply to the Pharisees’ attempt to pull him into the political fray of time. They asked him, “Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” My pastor taught us that Jesus’ response points the way for us on November 5th. No matter who wins and no matter for whom you voted, as a Christian you are called to “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s”. If your candidate doesn’t win, you are still to give honor and respect to the leader that God has placed there. God placed them there and they are His servants, immoral in their actions or not. I will place the rest of my sermon notes on my blog later today.

  • On the list of books that are in the must-read category: Modern Fascism (Dr. Gene Edward Veith)
    Liberal Fascism (Jonah Goldberg)

    These are not doomsday authors, but rather cultural observers (like Siemon-Netto) who prefer that we not ignore history.

  • Billye

    This article is so clear explaining what is happening in the US today. It is so scary–much more than the economy. Somehow, we always survive financial crisis, whether it be personal or national, but thousands do not survive abortion.

    Is there any way you could have someone post this article on World Mag Blog?

    Thank you for posting this powerful reminder, Dr Veith.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Thanks for posting this. A must read for Christians.

    Also, thanks TK, for your comments at #8.

    And pray for more pro-life democrats. Our country needs them.

    In my non-battle ground state I’m not voting for either of the bums.

  • Thank you.

  • The evangelicals flocking to Obama and trying to assuage their consciences by talking up Obama’s “Let’s have fewer abortions” rhetoric (while being championed by the most extreme advocates of genocide) is heartbreaking.

    Ask yourself if you would still vote for a leader if he was for “gassing less Jews” while taking money from and making dramatic promises to the Industry that profits from and advocates for Jews being gassed by the millions.

    This is horrific folly. It is evil. It breaks my heart.

  • Anon

    Ranking sins, can a Lutheran do that? Uwe Simeon-Netto mentions that Lutherans would use natural law. In natural law you rank sins by the degree to which they are against nature. In the Bible, God also ranks sins, and the temporal punishments for them to be administered by the kingdom of the left. So, yes, we Lutherans can and should rank sins, realizing that this doesn’t make any of them ‘ok’.

    There is no moral equivalence between the on-going murder of nearly one and a half million babies per year and stating true things about Barry Soetero a.k.a. Barack Hussein Obama. According to his grandmother and other relatives in Kenya, he is 1/2 white, 7/16 arab and 1/16 black. And, he was born in Kenya – his grandmother and aunt were there. He is not a natural born American citizen – unless his grandmother and aunt are lying. He really was a Muslim and Indonesian citizen as a boy. That also makes him ineligible to run for president. I don’t think he is a believing muslim, though to Islam, he -is- a muslim apostate. There seem to be no baptismal records that can be produced, or any evidence of his legally changing his name back to Barack Hussein Obama. Or of becoming an American citizen. And the Ayers alliance and close working relationship is uncontestable. Now, I don’t think that his ‘racial’ make-up means anything – we are all one race, and are unusually closely related to one another for a species. But it isn’t a lie to believe his grandmother and other relatives about their genealogy.

  • Anon

    What about the 5th and 1st commandment sins involved in voting -for- Obama?

    What about the Biblical and Lutheran (as well as universal Christian) teaching that just because someone seizes power or claims power, doesn’t mean that such a person is actually a legitimate government? What about the Lutheran, Biblical and Christian view that when an office-holder acts outside of the lawful boundaries of the office, it is permissible to disobey such illegla orders, in many cases, an actual duty to do so, to God, and in honor of the office being violated?

    Caesar is not God, and a false messiah is not to be followed. A brigand is not Caesar. Human lives belong to God, not to Caesar (abortion). And so on.

  • Anon

    TK, is not your claim that the crowd in Lakeville was racist not an example of breaking the commandment and bearing false witness?

  • Ryan

    Lutherans, both ELCA and LCMS, do a lot of crazy things that make me cringe, but the ELCA congregation not upholding the excommunication, which seems to have a good basis, gives me a case of collective shame for being Lutheran. I can not tell you how many times as a LCMS pastor I have to explain and defend being Lutheran from things like this as well as making reaching out to the ELCA sometimes so hard.

  • FW

    there is an omission here that startled me.

    gay men and women had to wear a pink triangle during the nazi period. they were included in the extermination.

    what if it was discovered someday that being gay was because of some gene that could be detected in a fetus and that that baby would inevitably be gay.

    it seems mindless to me that any gay person could possibly support abortion.

  • Jonathan

    While abortion is always tragedy, this article is disingenuous on several levels.
    First, it equates under any and all circumstances every abortion for any reason (even to save a mother’s life) with every intentional killing that the Nazis engaged in. While the author limits the term “holocaust” only to the Nazi actions, he nonetheless draws parallels that compel his reader to conclude that abortion and the Nazi murders are morally the same.
    Second, it confuses govt policy that mandates the intentional killing of large classes of people with govt policy that does not prohibit – but does not force – certain citizens (women) from having abortions. This trivializes intentional govt murder. It’s almost like saying that the govt is morally responsible for the 50,000 deaths in American traffic accidents every year (in the sense of having ordered these deaths) because it does not outlaw driving.
    And, of course, it includes the obligatory “vote McCain/Palin,” though the author says he’s not political.
    If the author truly believes that abortion is equivalent to the Nazi killings, he’d call not just for the abolition of abortion, but also for the death penalty for those who have and perform one. Someone who believes that abortion should be criminalized is just blowing air if he does not also say what he believes the criminal penalty should be.
    In America there are too many abortions because too little is done to prevent unwanted pregnancies. That’s a real pro-life point of view.

  • T.V.

    for # 19
    “he nonetheless draws parallels that compel his reader to conclude that abortion and the Nazi murders are morally the same.” Maybe he draws the parallels because they are morally the same? Or does murder change it’s morals when it’s a “choice?”
    Traffic accidents and abortion…c’mon, you can see the difference right???
    I’m guessing the “obligatory “vote McCain/Palin,” ” is when Siemon-Netto writes, “I am not here to make up your mind for you. But personally I could never give my vote to so-called pro-choice candidates.” I think properly understood, he wouln’t vote Obama/Biden or any Democratic nominee because of that pro abortion deal in the party platform.
    Odd leap in logic about the death penalty…since even now few murderers recieve the death penalty.
    And the quickest way to cut down on abortions…take abortion away as a form of birthcontrol or for parental convenience.

  • Jonathan

    T.V. @ 20 – I’m sorry you misunderstand everything I tried to say.

    American Christians are just beginning to see that we haven’t reduced the number of abortions by self-righteously voting Republican (and condemning all who don’t) and by comparing abortion to the practices of Nazi Germany. We’ve just looked foolish.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Jonathan, From God’s point of view, is there ever an unwanted pregnancy?

    We need to insist that abortion be taken away as an option. And just like Jonathan encourages we should insist as a society the common sense logic that a lot more people should keep their pants buttoned up more often (unless their going to the bathroom) until they’re married. He’s also right, we should insist on reasonable civil penalties against abortion providers. This genocide has gone on and on and on and on and on long enough!

  • T.V.

    Actually, abortions have declined.

    And I may look foolish for voting Republican, but I can’t vote for a party that’s ok with murder of our most vulnerable citizens.

  • Jonathan

    Bryan, your question may have rhetorical, but I’m not sure if God sees all pregancies the same. Some women endure several heart-breaking miscarriages. God’s will seems unknowable in those circumstances.

  • Jonathan

    T.V., thank God the abortion rate has declined, but is the decline attributable to our habits of voting Republican and comparing abortion to Nazi policy?

  • NQB

    While I hope and pray that abortion rates decline, I can’t say that is my only motivation for wanting abortion to be illegal.

    I hope murder rates decline, but that isn’t my rationale for supporting capital punishment. I support capital on the basis of Deserts, not Means.

    In the same way, making abortion illegal isn’t just a pragmatic standpoint to reduce murder. It’s about living in a society that stands up for what’s right and stamps out what’s wrong. Abortion is primarily a matter of Deserts, not Means.

    I hope that our politicians can work together to reduce abortion but also that the politicians I support never let that goal overshadow their disgust that we would even consider abortion being legal.

    Comparing abortion to the holocaust puts that disgust at the forefront.

  • There are some of us who don’t like abortion but support different legislative methods than a federal ban.

    I would prefer that Roe v. Wade be overturned, leaving it to the states, and then letting the states decide whether or not to ban it. I realize the Constitution has about as much respect as toilet paper nowadays, but it’s still our form of government.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Jonathan, thanks, regarding miscarriage your right, we do need to be very sensitive to families who have gone through that tragic loss. It is also quite mysterious what God may or may not be doing in those difficult situations, so we do well to stay away from speculation. But even in that light you may be surprised at the Biblical comfort we can give to families during those especially difficult times. I encourage you to find and read, “Comfort For Women Who Have Had a Miscarriage” by Dr. Martin Luther, 1542, in WA 43 (247-250). You will probably be surprised what you find there.

    Anyway, even if you’re right that “God’s will seems unknowable in those circumstances”, it does not follow logically that God doesn’t want those pregnancies.

  • NQB

    And I would add that I believe God does see all pregnancies as life to be protected. I doubt you would say that a person contracting cancer makes God’s will unknowable. God has revealed His will concerning the sanctity of life through His Word, but we live in a sinful world.

  • Nemo


    Please see this article by Robert George, and then explain what Obama is going to do to reduce abortions.

    Supporting links are here:

  • Jonathan

    Nemo @30, the most commonly given reason for abortion is lack of money to support the child. Read T.V.’s article @23. Any president, therefore, must work with congress to improve the economy, to make health insurance more affordable and available, to reduce unemployment, to provide more day care, to provide more sex education, etc. It seems to come down to such things. What are the alternatives?

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Or let me make the argument more clear. What if we could detect and prevent all miscarriages? Wouldn’t that be great if we could “take care of” the little mass of tissue before the unfortunate end of a miscarriage would happen? Let’s say in the first couple weeks we could tell which babies would miscarry and which would not. Would we not then save untold grief by aborting this “tissue” earlier rather than letting “nature” take its course? We would certainly be more efficient and “humane” than “Nature” (or God) in these instances. Can’t you almost hear the nurse’s encouraging words for this “new test” now? I shudder at the thought.

    Even worse yet, imagine the next form of over-the-counter abortion: 99.9% guarantee against miscarriage. Boy you would sure want to read the fine print on that one!

    I just don’t think our view is the same as God’s view in these unsearchable matters. The fact that miscarriage happens in a sinful world is a poor argument for… for… Hmm, what were you arguing for?

    I would also like to shout out an amen to what NQB and Dan at Necessary Roughness say at #s 26 & 27.

  • Nemo

    Jonathan @ 31,

    You didn’t read the George article, did you?

    If an Obama presidency is supposed to lead to fewer abortions, than why does the candidate himself not support legislation that is designed to reduce abortion without criminalizing it? Why does he appear to go out of his way to support legislation that encourages abortion?

    You do believe abortions should be reduced, no?

    Besides, if abortion rates are tied to economic health, than they should have been down in the 90s and up now. (Oh, and the USA Today article does not say that economic factors are the leading reason for abortion.)

  • Jonathan

    Bryan, I agreed @24 with you that “our view is [not] the same as God’s view in these unsearchable matters.”
    All I’m arguing is, if we really want to reduce the number of abortions in America, we need to do more than demonize Democrats and compare it to what the Nazis did. We also need to expand our understanding of “pro-life” beyond the unborn child.
    Having said that, I think that reasoning like that in the Siemon-Netto article gets us nowhere.

  • Jonathan

    Nemo @ 33. I read the George article.
    And those who want to see what the USA Today article says @23 can read it for themselves.

  • Carl Vehse

    Newsbusters’ Who’s ‘Fierce’ on Abortion? discusses the MSM clymers and 0bama’s support for abortion:

    ABC, CBS, and NBC together have unloaded more than a thousand stories on Obama’s presidential campaign, and we’re still waiting for the first broadcast network TV story devoted to examining Obama’s abortion record.”

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Why, Jonathan? You don’t think there’s room in the Democratic Party for Uwe’s reasoning? Perhaps not, but what about Pro-life Democrats? That’s what I’m after. He didn’t name any parties here. From the article, I would assume that Uwe would consider voting for a pro-life democrat.

    What specifically about his reasoning do you find unreasonable? Is it just that he mentioned the word “Nazi”. I’ll agree that that card is overplayed very frequently in arguments (probably giving you your and my gut reaction against it), but aren’t there some real similarities we ought to at least open our eyes to?

    I really am afraid the “sides” have almost moved past meaningful conversation about this topic. We need to at least be able to put it all out there and discuss the pros and cons of each sides argument. If we can’t do that, things get more dangerous.

  • Carl Vehse

    Check out the interview of Brandy Lozier, a saline abortion survivor.

    In the interview Brandy also criticizes those pro-life Christians who engage in only polite and politically correct opposition to murder-by-abortion.

  • Jonathan

    Bryan @37, now that Carl’s in the mix, it’s time to withdraw. My wife and I, by the way, belong to the organization Pro-Life Democrats. Dues-paying members, actually. As for my problems with the article, I simply stand by my comments @19.

  • Bri

    This article is truly gut wrenching to me. I looked at Tiller’s website because I couldn’t really believe this to be true – but it is. He has a chaplain on staff that performs baptisms after the abortions. How can these men live with themselves?? How can a man of God participate in this brutality? I am sickened beyond belief.

  • sml

    There was a comment earlier about economic circumstances influencing the choice to abort–that prosperity would, in effect, prevent many unnecessary abortions (those not needed to save the mother’s life). I have to take issue with that. Poverty in our country is so very unlike poverty around the world. We are a nation of wealth and a nation where unwed mothers/mothers who have little funds can, with relative ease, find someone to pay for their healthcare and adopt their children on birth. Increasing wealth will not noticeably alter the situation–it is a lie. Consider the discussion that I’ve had with a number of Christian women/girls contemplating the possibility of future abortion. The consensus was that they would abort, because they weren’t ready financially and/or by maturity to become a mother. The follow up, of course, is Why not carry the child to term and adopt it out to a family who is ready and willing? The answer is chilling. The hypothetical mothers don’t want to have to spend time regretting that their child is alive and unknown to them. Somehow, it is preferable for the child to be dead and known to no one.

    The problem is not truly money. The problem is one of the heart. It will not be changed by legislation or by prosperity. It will be changed by propogation of the gospel and solid teaching on the Word, in so much as it can be changed in this flawed world.

    But the law exists to restrain those who would not seek to follow what is right. And government exists partially for the protection of those within its country. Therefore, it is within God’s intentions for government that it should protect the unborn and punish those who would kill them with forthought.

    I will never knowingly vote for a “pro-choice” candidate.

  • The Jones

    The thing I don’t understand about “reducing” the number of abortions, is this: if you don’t believe that it’s killing an innocent person, why is abortion a bad thing?

    I mean, there are two sides to this issue, those that believe that a fetus is a human and should be protected, and those that believe it is not, so that the mother’s choice over her own body should be protected. A few other views have come up, but they seem to be based on ignorance of the humanity of a baby or the rejection of the value of human life. They are fringe enough to where I don’t think they matter for this argument.

    If a fetus is just a blob of tissue, and there is no life there, then WHY SHOULD WE CARE how many abortions happen. You know, a couple years back, I got my appendix removed, a blob of tissue that was growing in my body and which I wanted removed. That thing came right out and it didn’t give me any moral quandaries. Why not? Because it’s just a blob of tissue! I don’t want to reduce the number of appendectomies! It’s no big deal!

    So why reduce the number of abortions if there is no life involved?

  • Susan aka organshoes

    the Jones: That’s what you call ‘paying lip service,’ revealing a person who has a conscience, but no conviction.
    A moral coward/moral midget. Either description suffices.

  • kerner

    The Jones:

    Oh for godness sake. There is such a thing as objective fact, and, as a Christian, it’s nice to see mainstream scientists on our side in this. An unborn fetus is a distinct human life. All we know and continue to discover in the fields of biology, genetics, gynocology and obstetrics confirms this unarguable fact. People who resort to the “blob of cells” routine are simply kidding themselves, or trying to deceive others. Period.

    150 years ago someone might have argued that Africans weren’t really fully human, so what was the problem with buying and selling them like other lower forms of life? Southerners (and many northerners)were “pro-choice” on this subject. What right did anyone have to interfere with the personal choice to buy and own an African? No one should impose his personal morality on slaveowners.

    This is simply self serving, twisted, logic used by the strong to de-humanize the weak. If you can convince yourself that a human being is less than human, you can justify doing anything to him/her that you have the power to do. The powerful have been using this line to justify their selfishness forever.

  • Booklover

    Thank you very much for printing this article. I have always been a one-issue voter (meaning that issue trumps all), and I have not apologized for it.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    kerner: with due respect, the jones was being facetious.
    But his underlying point was serious: If pro-choicers think it’s no baby there–just cells–then why worry about how many abortions there are.
    I’m certain of his intent because of other positions the jones has taken here.

  • The Jones

    Thank you Susan @ 47, and yes. That’s what I meant. If pro-choicers are serious about their position, then their attitude of “we want to reduce abortions” is absurd. The inconsistency in their reasoning reveals the willful ignorance and the moral weakness of the pro-choice position.

    Kerner @ 45, I was a little confused by your post. At first it looked like you were really mad at my post, and then you went on to argue my exact same point. I was just being the devil’s advocate in mine. Blog responses are not the most effective medium for getting my point across.

  • BWS

    As one who, once upon a time, had the difficult task of excomunicating a politican who defended the pro choice momvement with millions of dollars only to watch him walk down the street and join the ELCA, I feel for the congregation and pastor at Holy Cross – Kansas, give thanks to God for His grace that helped them standing firm and fighting the good fight of the faith.

  • Jason

    What consistently amazes me is how every four years the Republicans dupe evangelicals into thinking that they will do something about abortion, and evangelicals fall for it every.. single.. time.

    The Republicans held every branch of government for the first six years of W’s worst presidency in modern history. What was done about abortion? Name one thing. That’s right. Nothing. Nothing was done. Not for six years with both Senate and House and Presidency. Stop being sheeple and wake up. Your pro-life commitments don’t mean anything to the current Republican party. They use your naivete to win elections. It’s a known fact that McCain wanted Lieberman as his running mate, yet he ended up choosing Palin, because she would “excite the base”. As much as I admire her commitment to pro-life principles, her selection as the Vice Presidential nominee is one of the most cynical actions I’ve ever witnessed in politics. She was picked because evangelicals were deeply concerned about McCain’s less than stellar record on abortion.

    Case in point. Oh, the irony of this:

    From the article, about James Dobson:

    “In 1998 he told a reporter that the GOP was in danger of losing its ability to ‘claim to speak for those of us with deep moral convictions.’

    He said at that time the party has ‘ignored the moral issues year after year, term after term’ and said at that time it was ‘time to fish or cut bait.’

    At that time he also warned the GOP Christians and conservatives ‘will abandon them if they continue to ignore the most important issues.'”

    Dobson says this in 1998. TEN YEARS AGO. And the evangelicals carried the election for both Bush terms. Then earlier this year, from the article:

    “Speaking as a private individual, I would not vote for John McCain under any circumstances,” said James Dobson, founder of the Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family as well as the Focus Action cultural action organization set up specifically to provide a platform for informing and rallying constituents.”

    And then finally, after Palin is picked from

    “A genuine reformer. A deeply committed Christian. If I went into the polling booth today, I would pull the lever for John McCain.”

    Does it get anymore obvious than that? Wake up!

  • I keep hearing this, Jason, that Republicans really haven’t done anything about abortion. That just isn’t true. Under the current administration, we have had a partial birth abortion ban. Taxpayer money may not be spent on abortion, which the pro-abortion crowd desperately wants. The USA has not supported international abortion programs. Judges have been put in place who are sympathetic to pro-life issues. The Supreme Court may be one justice away from repealing Roe v. Wade.

    If you think the Republicans have done nothing, look at the rhetoric coming out of the pro-abortion movement, such as NARAL and feminist groups. They maintain that the Republicans have done great damage to the “right to choose.” Are they wrong too?

  • Michael the little boot

    The Jones @ 42,

    “[T]here are two sides to this issue, those that believe that a fetus is a human and should be protected, and those that believe it is not, so that the mother’s choice over her own body should be protected.”

    Oversimplification defined.

  • PT Ben

    Dr. Veith,
    I’m glad I found your blog. Your books are awesome and the few things I’ve read on your blog do not disappoint.

    good points about the Republicans and abortion. This year will have me voting for a Republican candidate that I dont’ really like or agree with but when it comes to abortion he’s almost a complete opposite to Obama.

    I think I read that Abortion is only ranked as the 7th or 9th most important issue to voters. How sad

  • Susan aka organshoes

    It ain’t complicated.
    There are only 2 sides: either in favor of it, or against it. Right now, more Americans are outraged over the prices they pay and over the lack of jobs, than over the safety of babies not yet born. Want job security? Want a guaranteed minimum wage? Well, how about wanting to live, but being forced instead to die?
    Are they to gladly let go of life, because ‘the time’s not right’ ‘I’m too young’ ‘it wasn’t my fault’?
    The unborn are our neighbors. Trouble is, they’re silent and unseen. That not only makes them vulnerable; it makes them fair game.
    That constitutes shame. That’s what shame is.

  • Gary

    Abortion can indeed correctly be called the American Holocaust. We do not need a particular religion to know abortion kills our fellow citizens. We only have to ask ourselves if a fetus is a baby, or a blob of grape jelly. Ask any mother.
    Killing a baby is illegal unless two conditions exist; 1) you are the mother of the baby, and, 2) you cannot see the baby. We lost our claim to being a great nation in 1973. How did we come to this?

  • Booklover

    Anyone who claims that abortions are needed for mothers who are too poor to support a child, is making a claim that poor people have less moral fiber than the wealthy. If I were poor, I would be hotly offended. In many countries, poor families happily accept their 10th child. Here in America, we stop having them after our third because we “can’t afford it.” People who, with false compassion, announce that we must allow abortion for the poor are, I believe, trying to get rid of the poor in the way that Margaret Sanger tried to get rid of the blacks. Mother Teresa went abroad to help the poor and their children, not to destroy them. Maybe we could learn something from her.

  • Bart

    This election is a no-vote….I am decidedly PRO-LIFE on all fronts…NO to killing for the Empire…NO to abortion…NO…NO…NO…

    Pro-Lifers(myself included) need to step up and expose the injustice of abortion by reaching out to hurting mothers and their families and by commiting to adoption for unwanted babies. Compassion and Love will bring the horror of the sins to LIGHT…God Have Mercy on Me!

  • Jason

    Did anyone actually watch the debate last night? Particularly where McCain repeatedly and clearly asserted that abortion would not be a litmus test for any Supreme Court nominee? Have evangelicals all forgotten his mixed record on abortion?

    How can you all be so convinced that McCain is going to get RvW overturned when he just said that he wouldn’t have a litmus test? Abortion is a moral problem. It does not have a political solution. Blindly voting on a single issue to the exclusion of all else results in, well, the last 8 years of utterly failed leadership. If evangelicals are so committed to being pro-life, where is the outrage over the thousands upon thousands of Iraqi civilians that have been killed in an unjust war propagated by the man they overwhelmingly voted for twice? Being pro-life means being pro-life at all times for all things. Where is the consistency? And why are so many evangelicals pro-death penalty? How is that not a clear contradiction? How about birth control, contraception, IUDs, morning after pills? Just how pro-life are you?

    Where is the evangelical commitment to eliminating poverty in the United States, a major factor in minorities having abortions, and one which the Democratic platform is far more assertive on than the Republican? And have evangelicals actually thought through the implications of RvW being overturned? Are you willing to pay more taxes to fund more social services because of the explosion in children born to underage and unwed mothers? The return of back-alley abortions with coat hangers? So many evangelicals vote Republican based solely on abortion with zero thought to how the rest of the Republican platform policies do nothing to alleviate, or worsen, the root causes of abortions. Just making abortions illegal is not going to make them go away. It just drives them underground, and makes them far more dangerous to the mother, particularly poor mothers who can’t afford a trip to Canada.

    There’s a lot of heat and light when evangelical Christians talk about abortion, but I have yet to see a clear and substantive consistency on the issue. Perhaps evangelicals should look to the Catholics for guidance. John Paul II’s encyclical on contraception is far more consistently pro-life than anything I’ve seen from evangelical leadership.

  • Jason

    Sorry, one last addendum. To back up my last point:

    The article states that the abortion rate is the same around the world for countries where it is legal and countries where it is illegal. THE SAME. The only difference is the degree of danger involved for the mother seeking the abortion. So, tell me again, exactly what would repealing RvW do for abortion in this country, other than make evangelicals feel good about themselves for winning part of the culture war?

  • Michael the little boot

    Susan @ 56,

    “It ain’t complicated. There are only 2 sides: either in favor of it, or against it.” It’s a very big problem to see things in terms of contrasts. You’re committing a logical fallacy here, Susan. The false dichotomy. Unfortunately it undermines your other point, which I think is valid and would be better served if removed from this rigid way of thinking.

    “Well, how about wanting to live, but being forced instead to die?” Agreed. What does this have to do with two sides?

    “Are they to gladly let go of life, because ‘the time’s not right’ ‘I’m too young’ ‘it wasn’t my fault’?” No. Someone SHOULD stand up for them. But that doesn’t mean the choice is yours, nor is it easy.

    “The unborn are our neighbors. Trouble is, they’re silent and unseen. That not only makes them vulnerable; it makes them fair game.” Exactly. So we should go about doing the work of helping people not get into the situation. Once they do, however, we should try to care for them and be compassionate. The mother, the father, all those who are alive, they are going through this as well. We should not boil this down to either/or; rather, we should try to be as compassionate as possible, while staying away from making distinctions. They only divide, while not solving the problem.

    I’m trying to say both sides really agree there’s a problem. We disagree on how to solve it. Either side pointing at the other saying they’re wrong does the unborn baby, the mother, the father, and anyone else involved no good.

  • It takes guts to write something like this. Thank you for the will and determination. I pray that we may all find ways to help our society avoid the drastic turn it seems to be taking.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    That is sophistry very well done. Kudos.

  • Michael the boot

    Susan @ 64,

    Man, Susan, you just refuse to be open. Sophistry? Here’s the definition: “a subtle, tricky, superficially plausible, but generally fallacious method of reasoning.” I don’t know how my comment above fits that definition. This is a difficult issue, and people like you who treat it like it’s all black and white, that there is a readily discernible right or wrong position, or that it is a problem with an easy solution just make it harder for those of us trying to be realistic about it. But you’ll probably just say “Nope. Sorry. The Truth is The Truth.” Which is true. I’m just not convinced this has as much to do with “Truth” as you seem to think.

  • kathy

    Why don’t we take most of the blame away from the President (which conservatives, if I am correct, is currently George W. Bush, a conservative, –and abortion is still in fact legal and happening in horrifying late terms and partial birth fashion)and put the spotlight on those whose conscience allow them to perform them with their own curettes and suction machines run by their own hands. Obviously, neither party is working to banish abortion; it is not a priority and really is based on moral/religious beliefs. No one, the government nor the President (or President-elect), is going out and promoting abortion so to liken it to the Holocaust is kind of silly to me. We don’t harbor hate for the fetus as a collective society, but don’t we damn and judge a woman for what she has done to get herself into the situation of being pregnant and desiring or “in need” of an abortion?
    I think we need to stop with all the judgement, blame and rhetoric and just try to make the world a better place starting in our own homes, by our own actions and how we live our own lives. Vote for who we believe will make the world a better more peaceful place to live in and stop the killing of innocent people OUTSIDE of the womb.