Peace or Truth?

Michael Hannon uses a Luther quotation to get at the essential difference between liberalism and conservatism.  (And he concludes that Luther is right.)

“Peace if possible, truth at all costs!” Thus heralded Martin Luther half a millennium ago, and let no man accuse him of failing to practice what he preached. Of course, whether or not a Christian agrees with Luther’s particular interpretation of truth will determine whether he is a Catholic or a Protestant. But less obviously and perhaps more interestingly, whether or not a modern American agrees with Luther’s principle—that despite the very real goodness of peace, truth trumps it each and every time—will in large part determine whether he is a conservative or a liberal.

It’s no secret that these two contemporary political labels are problematic. Unfortunately, ‘conservative’ and ‘liberal’ are too often associated with just two distinct sets of seemingly randomly connected positions on the hot-button issues of our day. But perhaps the two contemporary camps identified by these labels of ‘conservative’ and ‘liberal’ are not as random as they seem. And perhaps Luther has presented the key for understanding their primary difference.

The question is this: Why does the pro-life camp typically align with the anti-“same-sex marriage” camp? Why are those in favor of the death penalty so often the most outspoken critics of euthanasia and assisted suicide? The answer cannot simply be partisan loyalty, for a large number of critically reflective persons today would just as soon have no affiliation with any political party.

There indeed is something deeper linking these various positions together: while the conservative agrees with Luther and recognizes truth as a higher good than peace, the liberal would again and again subordinate truth to peace for the sake of maintaining societal harmony.

Hannon goes on to apply this distinction to positions on gay marriage, abortion, and other issues.  He then analyzes the two concepts, concluding that truth has to be prior to peace, logically and in practice (otherwise, you end up losing them both).  His conclusion:

So while the liberal’s desire for peace is good, he errs in putting peace first, making toleration the summum bonum, and embracing moral relativism for the sake of avoiding conflicts. The conservative on the other hand, following in the longstanding tradition that stretches back to Aristotle and beyond, recognizes that our political order ought to follow from the moral order, which itself flows from our human nature.

Where does this battle between conservatives and liberals finally end? If our opponents emerge victorious, nowhere good. For the logical conclusion of liberalism—which liberalism fights against in the name of peace, but which liberals insofar as they are men must be led towards by the natural reason they try to suppress—is Nihilism, the most terrifying worldview imaginable. Eventually, “my truth” and “your truth” are seen for what they really mean: No truth. And a culture without any grasp of truth is a culture without any connection to reality, a culture thus doomed to die. We can still avoid demise, but to do so, we need a hefty dose of metaphysics, a serious consideration of truth to serve as the guiding principle of our civilization.

via Peace If Possible; Truth At All Costs | First Things.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Philip

    Also liberals have no absolutes, everything is relative. And they pick the criteria on which they apply their judgement. So no debate with a liberal is possible.

  • Philip

    Also liberals have no absolutes, everything is relative. And they pick the criteria on which they apply their judgement. So no debate with a liberal is possible.

  • Tom Hering

    I’d be the last to deny that liberalism has cut itself off from its roots in Christian ethics, particularly the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” Or that there’s been a devolution from ethical root to ethical rot, “Do whatever you want.” Or that this has made moral relativism SOP throughout society.

    But is conservatism the answer? Michael Hannon, very obviously to me, avoids talking about the way “truth at all costs” actually works out in a fallen world, i.e., war and authoritarianism. Or, “truth at any cost.” Truth always ends up being imposed. Just ask the Confederate states, or the Puritan colonists, or …

    In my view, as a liberal, the better answer is a revival of Christian ethics – all of Christian ethics – in liberalism. So we arrive at a society where we do unto others as we would have others do unto us – where we try to live at peace with others because we ourselves want to live in peace. But where the right to live always trumps any supposed right to take life – in both the question of abortion and the question of capital punishment.

  • Tom Hering

    I’d be the last to deny that liberalism has cut itself off from its roots in Christian ethics, particularly the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” Or that there’s been a devolution from ethical root to ethical rot, “Do whatever you want.” Or that this has made moral relativism SOP throughout society.

    But is conservatism the answer? Michael Hannon, very obviously to me, avoids talking about the way “truth at all costs” actually works out in a fallen world, i.e., war and authoritarianism. Or, “truth at any cost.” Truth always ends up being imposed. Just ask the Confederate states, or the Puritan colonists, or …

    In my view, as a liberal, the better answer is a revival of Christian ethics – all of Christian ethics – in liberalism. So we arrive at a society where we do unto others as we would have others do unto us – where we try to live at peace with others because we ourselves want to live in peace. But where the right to live always trumps any supposed right to take life – in both the question of abortion and the question of capital punishment.

  • SKPeterson

    I would have to agree with Tom. We should remember that the American Revolution was a liberal revolution against a conservative monarch. I’m not sure how, or if, Hannon’s criteria are applicable, or that he has seized upon the right descriptor of liberal-conservative variances in the peace-truth dichotomy. Our founding fathers felt that they were fighting for the liberal truth of their natural rights as men (really as Englishmen, originally) against the oppressive, conservative peace consisting of a “train of abuses” by Parliament and the King.

    Now, it may be noted that the Reformation of Luther was originally a “conservative” protest against the “liberal” innovations of the medieval Roman church. In turn, one might take the view that modern American conservatism seeks to conserve, preserve and maintain the liberal virtues and political system created under the Constitution against modern liberalism which seeks to impose various innovations on the system. But, the use of the term ‘conservative’ taken from a religious conservatism embodied by Luther, is not the same as modern American political conservatism embodied by, say, Rick Perry. It is an anachronism to say the least, and a misleading self-justification. Remember, Pontius “What is Truth” Pilate was a politically conservative colonial administrator of the Roman Empire who maintained peace at all costs, up to and including crucifixion of criminals and rebels.

  • SKPeterson

    I would have to agree with Tom. We should remember that the American Revolution was a liberal revolution against a conservative monarch. I’m not sure how, or if, Hannon’s criteria are applicable, or that he has seized upon the right descriptor of liberal-conservative variances in the peace-truth dichotomy. Our founding fathers felt that they were fighting for the liberal truth of their natural rights as men (really as Englishmen, originally) against the oppressive, conservative peace consisting of a “train of abuses” by Parliament and the King.

    Now, it may be noted that the Reformation of Luther was originally a “conservative” protest against the “liberal” innovations of the medieval Roman church. In turn, one might take the view that modern American conservatism seeks to conserve, preserve and maintain the liberal virtues and political system created under the Constitution against modern liberalism which seeks to impose various innovations on the system. But, the use of the term ‘conservative’ taken from a religious conservatism embodied by Luther, is not the same as modern American political conservatism embodied by, say, Rick Perry. It is an anachronism to say the least, and a misleading self-justification. Remember, Pontius “What is Truth” Pilate was a politically conservative colonial administrator of the Roman Empire who maintained peace at all costs, up to and including crucifixion of criminals and rebels.

  • Booklover

    This article’s point of view perhaps rings true when speaking of worldview or of how a liberal wants the world to be; but when it comes to FAMILY, I have seen far to many liberals fail to extend that point of view to their closest blood ties. Their hatred of any conservative viewpoint whatsoever makes for many spoiled family get-togethers and vile arguments. In other words, they may fight for tolerance in the world arena, but when it comes to close loved ones, not at all. They may fight for “societal harmony,” . . .but family harmony? Pssshh.

  • Booklover

    This article’s point of view perhaps rings true when speaking of worldview or of how a liberal wants the world to be; but when it comes to FAMILY, I have seen far to many liberals fail to extend that point of view to their closest blood ties. Their hatred of any conservative viewpoint whatsoever makes for many spoiled family get-togethers and vile arguments. In other words, they may fight for tolerance in the world arena, but when it comes to close loved ones, not at all. They may fight for “societal harmony,” . . .but family harmony? Pssshh.

  • Lou

    It would seem to me that Michael Hannon is misusing Luther’s quote, since I do not take Luther as originally intending such as a blueprint for civil governance. While I agree that conservatives are correct on social values, like abortion, same sex issues, etc.., I do not think that these things are primary concerns of civil government. Hannon seems to confuse and obscure Luther’s doctrine of the two kingdoms. According to Luther, the civil government’s role is simply to keep outward peace in society. The civil government has no business enforcing spiritual laws. “The laws of worldly government extend no farther than to life and property and what is external upon earth,” Luther insisted.

    However, most conservatives incorrectly believe that keeping outward peace in society includes elevating spiritual laws into the civil realm and above proper governance. Spirtual laws legitmately belong to the right-hand kingdom.

    The worst part is that most conservative politicians take on “spiritual issues” to get elected, not because they really, truly believe such things.

  • Lou

    It would seem to me that Michael Hannon is misusing Luther’s quote, since I do not take Luther as originally intending such as a blueprint for civil governance. While I agree that conservatives are correct on social values, like abortion, same sex issues, etc.., I do not think that these things are primary concerns of civil government. Hannon seems to confuse and obscure Luther’s doctrine of the two kingdoms. According to Luther, the civil government’s role is simply to keep outward peace in society. The civil government has no business enforcing spiritual laws. “The laws of worldly government extend no farther than to life and property and what is external upon earth,” Luther insisted.

    However, most conservatives incorrectly believe that keeping outward peace in society includes elevating spiritual laws into the civil realm and above proper governance. Spirtual laws legitmately belong to the right-hand kingdom.

    The worst part is that most conservative politicians take on “spiritual issues” to get elected, not because they really, truly believe such things.

  • Cincinnatus

    SKPeterson: Or, the colonists were fighting a conservative, even reactionary, war to conserve their ancient rights as Englishmen against an increasingly oppressive monarch.

    In short, the terms liberal and conservative are entirely contingent. Especially when applied to an event so nuanced as the American War for Independence, they obscure far more often than they clarify. To call the Revolution either liberal or conservative is an oversimplification.

  • Cincinnatus

    SKPeterson: Or, the colonists were fighting a conservative, even reactionary, war to conserve their ancient rights as Englishmen against an increasingly oppressive monarch.

    In short, the terms liberal and conservative are entirely contingent. Especially when applied to an event so nuanced as the American War for Independence, they obscure far more often than they clarify. To call the Revolution either liberal or conservative is an oversimplification.

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    I have been unable to locate this Luther quote in his writings. Does anyone happen to have a citation for it?

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    I have been unable to locate this Luther quote in his writings. Does anyone happen to have a citation for it?

  • Lou

    Tom @2
    ref: the society we arrive at with Christian ethics — agreed!

  • Lou

    Tom @2
    ref: the society we arrive at with Christian ethics — agreed!

  • kenneth

    Phillip

    To say no debate is possible is to say truth cannot be found in public discourse. It is a tough road to hoe, pardon the expression, I am an old farm hand. Yet truth should win out as many a fine church men and some politicians have stated. Aristotle did sum up the ancient worldview trumping truth but not without a just war theory. Luther really was concerned with truth in both realms, government and church, yet was greatly greivous in, I suppose, in many senarios. Especially the peasant war.

    Cincinatus; I agree with your analysis on America and perhaps another insight into language is the spiritual aspect since words often fail to hit the mark. Hence ambiguity, oversimplication, and misnomers. Yet without generalization we have no way to discover truth. Both the spiritual and the secular are inextricably mixed.

    Ithink the article was mostly spot on and challenges our times.

  • kenneth

    Phillip

    To say no debate is possible is to say truth cannot be found in public discourse. It is a tough road to hoe, pardon the expression, I am an old farm hand. Yet truth should win out as many a fine church men and some politicians have stated. Aristotle did sum up the ancient worldview trumping truth but not without a just war theory. Luther really was concerned with truth in both realms, government and church, yet was greatly greivous in, I suppose, in many senarios. Especially the peasant war.

    Cincinatus; I agree with your analysis on America and perhaps another insight into language is the spiritual aspect since words often fail to hit the mark. Hence ambiguity, oversimplication, and misnomers. Yet without generalization we have no way to discover truth. Both the spiritual and the secular are inextricably mixed.

    Ithink the article was mostly spot on and challenges our times.

  • SKPeterson

    Cincinnatus @ 6 – Your point underscores my point – that the simple use of the peace-truth dichotomy as a shorthand for liberal v. conservative worldviews is an inapt anachronism. Instead of arguing over “what is truth” we can just as easily argue over what is conservative or what is liberal. The “truth” of those terms has changed over time and is contingent upon the context of the era being examined.

  • SKPeterson

    Cincinnatus @ 6 – Your point underscores my point – that the simple use of the peace-truth dichotomy as a shorthand for liberal v. conservative worldviews is an inapt anachronism. Instead of arguing over “what is truth” we can just as easily argue over what is conservative or what is liberal. The “truth” of those terms has changed over time and is contingent upon the context of the era being examined.

  • Carl Vehse

    “Context if possible; the reference at all costs.”

  • Carl Vehse

    “Context if possible; the reference at all costs.”

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Totally off topic.
    Vieth has a new Book out, on vocation. I think he should blog about such a development, even if it hurts his humble sensitivities.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Totally off topic.
    Vieth has a new Book out, on vocation. I think he should blog about such a development, even if it hurts his humble sensitivities.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Liberalism and conservatism are such misnomers at this point. Liberalism was about freedom, but nowadays much that is labeled liberal is not liberal. Same with conservatism. I don’t want to conserve what we have. I want to change some things back to the way they were before (like repealing the direct election of US Senators, and a little less foreign adventures) and I want totally new policies in other areas. But all of our decisions need to face up to policy failures whether they are labeled left, right, liberal, or conservative. We are drowning in perverse incentives. Yes, we need truth. We need to face the truth and we need to act on it humbly.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Liberalism and conservatism are such misnomers at this point. Liberalism was about freedom, but nowadays much that is labeled liberal is not liberal. Same with conservatism. I don’t want to conserve what we have. I want to change some things back to the way they were before (like repealing the direct election of US Senators, and a little less foreign adventures) and I want totally new policies in other areas. But all of our decisions need to face up to policy failures whether they are labeled left, right, liberal, or conservative. We are drowning in perverse incentives. Yes, we need truth. We need to face the truth and we need to act on it humbly.

  • Jonathan

    Speaking of facing the truth, sg, this weekend’s IHOP shooting (4 Guardsmen killed) ought to put the lie to the idea that victims of random gun violence still would be alive if we all were strapped (i.e., the Va. Tech argument)… for about 1 minute.

  • Jonathan

    Speaking of facing the truth, sg, this weekend’s IHOP shooting (4 Guardsmen killed) ought to put the lie to the idea that victims of random gun violence still would be alive if we all were strapped (i.e., the Va. Tech argument)… for about 1 minute.

  • Stephen

    First of all, if Luther said this, I’m guessing it refers primarily to peace with the Catholic Church and the papacy, which at the time wielded a great deal of political power. What is conservative about his “protest” (a good liberal term, eh?) is the return to the scriptures. What is “progressive” about it was the desire to reform what had existed for hundreds of years. In which case, the distinctions this author wants to draw by attempting to co-opt Luther are really ridiculous it seems to me.

    There are inconsistencies on both ends of the political spectrum that have nothing to do with “truth.” The argument is never about truth, it’s about things like money and rights. While political conservatives cry about “my money” and a number of other rights regarding personal liberty and the constitutional guarantee that citizens be secure in their persons (guns for instance), they seem to have no problem with state-sponsored, forced coercion of women, along with violation of their persons and privacy when it comes to abortion. Think Rick Perry and his legislation to force women to be probed and “counseled” about abortion. I am opposed to abortion on moral grounds, but there is never a peep about how legalized prohibition of abortion runs right up against this other sacred cow of the Right.

    Both sides desire the imposition of the law to solve every issue. For liberals, on the one hand, a more libertine life of “choice” is practically inviolable, while at the same time the outcry for social and economic justice wants to use the law to limit the liberties of others (taxation and government takeovers of various services – I think you all know what I’m talking about). There are sacred cows everywhere. I don’t see that either side is consistent with the “truth” it says it believes in, not in some concrete fashion. It seems to me like a clash in priorities, not truth verses relativism.

    Both sides to a large degree place the individual at the center. What is lost is the public commons. We all say we value plurality as long as we (whoever “we” are) can control it. Our own sense, and those of like-minds, are the ones who ought to say what “unum” means to “E pluribus.”

    What Luther actually did have to say about the political sphere can be found in the Large Catechism explanation to the 4th commandment. I won’t quote it but instead urge everyone to read it. We’d all do well, myself included, to see political leadership as God-ordained no matter who it is. In contrast, Luther would have a loaf of bread on the coat of arms to remind the rulers that they have a responsibility to the people to make sure that daily bread in all its forms is provided for. When that isn’t happening, GOD changes things so that it happens. In other words, if liberal or conservative leadership does not or is not capable of seeing to it that goodness and mercy happen for the people, whether that comes in the form of liberty (secure in ones person and possessions) OR justice (economic and political) then He will make it happen. He will send an army if he has to (like he did in WWII perhaps), or he may just see it “fair” that we be taxed until it happens, or he may see to it that waste and abuse is done away with in some capacity. In other words, God’s will – goodness, mercy, love for the neighbor – will be done, like it or not.

    What if conservative meant humility toward the neighbor, backing off, so that we do not impose ourselves over them, but rather seek to serve them? What if liberal meant not just valuing difference, but recognizing the sanctity of each life that affords those differences?

    Nah, it’ll never happen, bunch of sinners that we are. We’d rather have a culture war and see ourselves as always and forever better than the other guy. We all run screaming to the Law, believing it ought to be imposed or place limitations on the other guy while at the same time excusing ourselves. All of it is a vain attempt to make ourselves righteous. This is sin and idolatry, because we do not actually believe it is blessed to be meek, not really. And yet the inheritance is all theirs. Why? Because the meek have nothing to do but trust.

    For a Christian, the most powerful and loving thing anyone can do is to give up their power for another (John 15:13, Phil 2:5-11, 1John 3:16).

    John 6:27 “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”

  • Stephen

    First of all, if Luther said this, I’m guessing it refers primarily to peace with the Catholic Church and the papacy, which at the time wielded a great deal of political power. What is conservative about his “protest” (a good liberal term, eh?) is the return to the scriptures. What is “progressive” about it was the desire to reform what had existed for hundreds of years. In which case, the distinctions this author wants to draw by attempting to co-opt Luther are really ridiculous it seems to me.

    There are inconsistencies on both ends of the political spectrum that have nothing to do with “truth.” The argument is never about truth, it’s about things like money and rights. While political conservatives cry about “my money” and a number of other rights regarding personal liberty and the constitutional guarantee that citizens be secure in their persons (guns for instance), they seem to have no problem with state-sponsored, forced coercion of women, along with violation of their persons and privacy when it comes to abortion. Think Rick Perry and his legislation to force women to be probed and “counseled” about abortion. I am opposed to abortion on moral grounds, but there is never a peep about how legalized prohibition of abortion runs right up against this other sacred cow of the Right.

    Both sides desire the imposition of the law to solve every issue. For liberals, on the one hand, a more libertine life of “choice” is practically inviolable, while at the same time the outcry for social and economic justice wants to use the law to limit the liberties of others (taxation and government takeovers of various services – I think you all know what I’m talking about). There are sacred cows everywhere. I don’t see that either side is consistent with the “truth” it says it believes in, not in some concrete fashion. It seems to me like a clash in priorities, not truth verses relativism.

    Both sides to a large degree place the individual at the center. What is lost is the public commons. We all say we value plurality as long as we (whoever “we” are) can control it. Our own sense, and those of like-minds, are the ones who ought to say what “unum” means to “E pluribus.”

    What Luther actually did have to say about the political sphere can be found in the Large Catechism explanation to the 4th commandment. I won’t quote it but instead urge everyone to read it. We’d all do well, myself included, to see political leadership as God-ordained no matter who it is. In contrast, Luther would have a loaf of bread on the coat of arms to remind the rulers that they have a responsibility to the people to make sure that daily bread in all its forms is provided for. When that isn’t happening, GOD changes things so that it happens. In other words, if liberal or conservative leadership does not or is not capable of seeing to it that goodness and mercy happen for the people, whether that comes in the form of liberty (secure in ones person and possessions) OR justice (economic and political) then He will make it happen. He will send an army if he has to (like he did in WWII perhaps), or he may just see it “fair” that we be taxed until it happens, or he may see to it that waste and abuse is done away with in some capacity. In other words, God’s will – goodness, mercy, love for the neighbor – will be done, like it or not.

    What if conservative meant humility toward the neighbor, backing off, so that we do not impose ourselves over them, but rather seek to serve them? What if liberal meant not just valuing difference, but recognizing the sanctity of each life that affords those differences?

    Nah, it’ll never happen, bunch of sinners that we are. We’d rather have a culture war and see ourselves as always and forever better than the other guy. We all run screaming to the Law, believing it ought to be imposed or place limitations on the other guy while at the same time excusing ourselves. All of it is a vain attempt to make ourselves righteous. This is sin and idolatry, because we do not actually believe it is blessed to be meek, not really. And yet the inheritance is all theirs. Why? Because the meek have nothing to do but trust.

    For a Christian, the most powerful and loving thing anyone can do is to give up their power for another (John 15:13, Phil 2:5-11, 1John 3:16).

    John 6:27 “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @14 straw man alert

    Self defense advocates do not claim that the right to have and carry fire arms will eliminate homicide. Experience shows that efforts to disarm the citizenry are more effective at disarming the law-abiding than the criminals.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @14 straw man alert

    Self defense advocates do not claim that the right to have and carry fire arms will eliminate homicide. Experience shows that efforts to disarm the citizenry are more effective at disarming the law-abiding than the criminals.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “For a Christian, the most powerful and loving thing anyone can do is to give up their power for another”

    Do you hear that dads? Give up your power to defend your wives and daughters. Let all the bad dudes have at.

    I hope that isn’t what you meant, Stephen, but the fact is evil must be opposed.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “For a Christian, the most powerful and loving thing anyone can do is to give up their power for another”

    Do you hear that dads? Give up your power to defend your wives and daughters. Let all the bad dudes have at.

    I hope that isn’t what you meant, Stephen, but the fact is evil must be opposed.

  • Bob

    Great and thoughtful post, Stephen.

    Conservatives are always bellyaching about “evil government.” That’s a crock. Like Stephen said, it all depends on whose ox is being gored.

    What’s sad is that each group uses the law/Law to coerce others, instead of the finding the common good.

  • Bob

    Great and thoughtful post, Stephen.

    Conservatives are always bellyaching about “evil government.” That’s a crock. Like Stephen said, it all depends on whose ox is being gored.

    What’s sad is that each group uses the law/Law to coerce others, instead of the finding the common good.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “What’s sad is that each group uses the law/Law to coerce others, instead of the finding the common good.”

    Maybe we need coercing in order to find the common good.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “What’s sad is that each group uses the law/Law to coerce others, instead of the finding the common good.”

    Maybe we need coercing in order to find the common good.

  • DonS

    I agree that modern liberals desire to subvert absolute truth. I do not agree that the reason is their preference for peace. This quote: “So while the liberal’s desire for peace is good, he errs in putting peace first, making toleration the summum bonum, and embracing moral relativism for the sake of avoiding conflicts” is wrong. Modern liberals embrace moral relativism as a societal value, not for the sake of avoiding conflicts. In fact, they are deliberately imposing the value of moral relativism at the cost of peace. Look at the gay marriage fight, for the latest example of this willingness to forego peace to impose their value of “no values” on society. Look at the Wisconsin capital earlier this year for another example of liberal peace. Or, how about Jimmy Hoffa’s “take ‘em out” Labor Day speech? Very peaceful, that, especially from the leader of the Teamster’s Union, known for its violent methods, and whose dad is wearing cement shoes deep underground somewhere.

    No, modern liberalism certainly doesn’t merely accept moral relativism as the price for a peaceful society. Rather, it desires to re-make society to exclude absolute truth, in the name of tolerance, and is willing to do so at the price of peace, if necessary.

  • DonS

    I agree that modern liberals desire to subvert absolute truth. I do not agree that the reason is their preference for peace. This quote: “So while the liberal’s desire for peace is good, he errs in putting peace first, making toleration the summum bonum, and embracing moral relativism for the sake of avoiding conflicts” is wrong. Modern liberals embrace moral relativism as a societal value, not for the sake of avoiding conflicts. In fact, they are deliberately imposing the value of moral relativism at the cost of peace. Look at the gay marriage fight, for the latest example of this willingness to forego peace to impose their value of “no values” on society. Look at the Wisconsin capital earlier this year for another example of liberal peace. Or, how about Jimmy Hoffa’s “take ‘em out” Labor Day speech? Very peaceful, that, especially from the leader of the Teamster’s Union, known for its violent methods, and whose dad is wearing cement shoes deep underground somewhere.

    No, modern liberalism certainly doesn’t merely accept moral relativism as the price for a peaceful society. Rather, it desires to re-make society to exclude absolute truth, in the name of tolerance, and is willing to do so at the price of peace, if necessary.

  • John C

    Yes sg, you’re right. We need the Truth.
    What truth? Whose truth?
    Your truth or mine?
    What about Rick Perry’s?
    Heck, most of us on this site can’t even agree on evolution.

  • John C

    Yes sg, you’re right. We need the Truth.
    What truth? Whose truth?
    Your truth or mine?
    What about Rick Perry’s?
    Heck, most of us on this site can’t even agree on evolution.

  • John C

    Don, I’m willing to tolerate your absolute truth if you can tolerate mine.

  • John C

    Don, I’m willing to tolerate your absolute truth if you can tolerate mine.

  • DonS

    John C @ 22: That shouldn’t be a problem, John, since absolute Truth is definitively defined in the 66 books of the Holy Scriptures. Looks like we’re on the same page!

  • DonS

    John C @ 22: That shouldn’t be a problem, John, since absolute Truth is definitively defined in the 66 books of the Holy Scriptures. Looks like we’re on the same page!

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Heck, most of us on this site can’t even agree on evolution.”

    And if we did agree, then what? Utopia?

    “What truth? Whose truth?
    Your truth or mine?”

    That basically denies that there is truth. I like empirical truth, the kind that can be measured, defined etc. However, there are so many taboos that folks can’t and won’t even discuss things because they may discover a truth that they don’t like or cannot accept.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Heck, most of us on this site can’t even agree on evolution.”

    And if we did agree, then what? Utopia?

    “What truth? Whose truth?
    Your truth or mine?”

    That basically denies that there is truth. I like empirical truth, the kind that can be measured, defined etc. However, there are so many taboos that folks can’t and won’t even discuss things because they may discover a truth that they don’t like or cannot accept.

  • Carl Vehse

    Under the question of “Peace or Truth?” is ““Obama’s abortion absolutism and the 1st Amendment,” where Timothy Carney writes:

    “It’s abortion absolutism. Everything else — free assembly, free speech, conscience protection, and his party’s other interests — they all take a back seat to protecting abortion.”

    And Jimmy Hoffa is in lockstep with Traitorbama’s war on Truth.

  • Carl Vehse

    Under the question of “Peace or Truth?” is ““Obama’s abortion absolutism and the 1st Amendment,” where Timothy Carney writes:

    “It’s abortion absolutism. Everything else — free assembly, free speech, conscience protection, and his party’s other interests — they all take a back seat to protecting abortion.”

    And Jimmy Hoffa is in lockstep with Traitorbama’s war on Truth.

  • Stephen

    sg

    You can give it that interpretation if you like, but then you must assume that fathers have no vocation to care for their families – to serve them in other words, “giving up themselves” for them in whatever way is necessary.

    Philippians says that Christ “not counting being like God a thing to be grasped, he emptied himself divinity and became a slave.” And who enslaved him but us and our sin. We can spiritualize that and make it sound like this refers only to some otherwordly reality when in fact, God himself was broken on the cross in the very person of Jesus Christ – utterly crushed. He gave up all his power over his person for the sake of all. So when we ask WWJD? well . . . exactly that. The lord must become the servant. The first must become the least, etc. That is real power. It is the power of faith.

    That is my point.

  • Stephen

    sg

    You can give it that interpretation if you like, but then you must assume that fathers have no vocation to care for their families – to serve them in other words, “giving up themselves” for them in whatever way is necessary.

    Philippians says that Christ “not counting being like God a thing to be grasped, he emptied himself divinity and became a slave.” And who enslaved him but us and our sin. We can spiritualize that and make it sound like this refers only to some otherwordly reality when in fact, God himself was broken on the cross in the very person of Jesus Christ – utterly crushed. He gave up all his power over his person for the sake of all. So when we ask WWJD? well . . . exactly that. The lord must become the servant. The first must become the least, etc. That is real power. It is the power of faith.

    That is my point.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    So, is it me, or is it a little odd to champion the notion of “truth at all costs” using a (seemingly) made-up Luther quote?

    Anyhow, while Hannon makes the obligatory nod to the utter mess that is the supposed “liberal”-”conservative” dichotomy, he nevertheless goes on to pretend like it’s a semantically meaningful distinction. Oh, and the “conservatives” are the good guys. Honestly, who saw that one coming? So glad to have a definitive answer to that age-old debate!

    It’s also not clear to me what Hannon means by “truth”. And no, I’m not going all postmodern on you. Consider this passage:

    We can know that truth is more important than peace because the only peace worth having in the first place is true peace. … But truth, on the other hand, is worth having even when it leads to conflict. For example, battling slavery in the United States led to animosity, violence, war, and death. But because of the importance of the cause—namely, upholding the inherent dignity of all human persons—peace could be justifiably sacrificed to defending this truth.

    Did you notice that? He starts off contrasting “truth” and “peace”, but really ends up contrasting “peace” and “defending truth”. The underlying truth in the Civil War — “the inherent dignity of all human persons”, Hannon says, according to which slavery was morally wrong — was always there. But what necessitated the lack of peace (i.e. war) was that some people were actively denying this truth. Or, possibly, that they were denying it to other people. It’s not clear which Hannon thinks.

    Point being, the North always had that truth, and put it into practice. The truth was not in jeopardy there, in theory. The problem, the thing which required war, was what was going on elsewhere.

    But doesn’t this line of reasoning require us to wage war on every country in which people are denied any of a number of truths? Should we attack China, due to their one-child policy? Should we attack Russia, due to its lack of press freedom? Is our failure to attack these countries (and, well, pretty much every other one — they all must be denying some kind of truth) mere capitulation, a weak-kneed desire to keep the peace? And, once we had presumably successfully fought the whole world, would we then begin the presumably necessary civil war in which we took the war to ourselves, since we all deny truths as well? Where does this “truth first, peace second” line of thinking end, exactly? Seems to me you’ll never actually get to “peace”, since there will always be sinners embracing falsehood somewhere — or, really, everywhere.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    So, is it me, or is it a little odd to champion the notion of “truth at all costs” using a (seemingly) made-up Luther quote?

    Anyhow, while Hannon makes the obligatory nod to the utter mess that is the supposed “liberal”-”conservative” dichotomy, he nevertheless goes on to pretend like it’s a semantically meaningful distinction. Oh, and the “conservatives” are the good guys. Honestly, who saw that one coming? So glad to have a definitive answer to that age-old debate!

    It’s also not clear to me what Hannon means by “truth”. And no, I’m not going all postmodern on you. Consider this passage:

    We can know that truth is more important than peace because the only peace worth having in the first place is true peace. … But truth, on the other hand, is worth having even when it leads to conflict. For example, battling slavery in the United States led to animosity, violence, war, and death. But because of the importance of the cause—namely, upholding the inherent dignity of all human persons—peace could be justifiably sacrificed to defending this truth.

    Did you notice that? He starts off contrasting “truth” and “peace”, but really ends up contrasting “peace” and “defending truth”. The underlying truth in the Civil War — “the inherent dignity of all human persons”, Hannon says, according to which slavery was morally wrong — was always there. But what necessitated the lack of peace (i.e. war) was that some people were actively denying this truth. Or, possibly, that they were denying it to other people. It’s not clear which Hannon thinks.

    Point being, the North always had that truth, and put it into practice. The truth was not in jeopardy there, in theory. The problem, the thing which required war, was what was going on elsewhere.

    But doesn’t this line of reasoning require us to wage war on every country in which people are denied any of a number of truths? Should we attack China, due to their one-child policy? Should we attack Russia, due to its lack of press freedom? Is our failure to attack these countries (and, well, pretty much every other one — they all must be denying some kind of truth) mere capitulation, a weak-kneed desire to keep the peace? And, once we had presumably successfully fought the whole world, would we then begin the presumably necessary civil war in which we took the war to ourselves, since we all deny truths as well? Where does this “truth first, peace second” line of thinking end, exactly? Seems to me you’ll never actually get to “peace”, since there will always be sinners embracing falsehood somewhere — or, really, everywhere.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Oh, sorry, I’m supposed to be on about the Culture War. Abortion and gay marriage. Right. But is it okay if I broaden it to straight marriage as well? Because then we can consider divorce.

    Ah, divorce. Let’s see, the truth, obviously, is that God hates divorce. And, if I understand Hannon correctly, this should trump peace. So, while many marriages are obviously in a sorry state, we should not allow couples who hate each other to divorce. That might lead to a (lamentable) kind of peace, but moreover, it would deny the truth, so we can’t let it happen. Which is why God also didn’t allow for divorce.

    Oh wait, he did.

    What was it Jesus said about that?

    Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives

    That’s odd. It’s almost like Jesus is saying that God put earthly peace ahead of his own truth! But allowing for the fact that men’s hearts are hard — isn’t that subjugating truth to peace? Shouldn’t God, according to Hannon, have made no provisions whatsoever for divorce? Wouldn’t that have made truth the top priority?

    But if God allowed for the hardness of men’s hearts when he wrote laws for his people, does that mean that maybe we should, as well? That our laws ought not try to enforce all truths at all times? That maybe we should keep peace by recognizing the hardness of men’s hearts?

    But then … what if that lets the gays marry? Maybe it’s better to suggest that God was wrong to allow divorce?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Oh, sorry, I’m supposed to be on about the Culture War. Abortion and gay marriage. Right. But is it okay if I broaden it to straight marriage as well? Because then we can consider divorce.

    Ah, divorce. Let’s see, the truth, obviously, is that God hates divorce. And, if I understand Hannon correctly, this should trump peace. So, while many marriages are obviously in a sorry state, we should not allow couples who hate each other to divorce. That might lead to a (lamentable) kind of peace, but moreover, it would deny the truth, so we can’t let it happen. Which is why God also didn’t allow for divorce.

    Oh wait, he did.

    What was it Jesus said about that?

    Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives

    That’s odd. It’s almost like Jesus is saying that God put earthly peace ahead of his own truth! But allowing for the fact that men’s hearts are hard — isn’t that subjugating truth to peace? Shouldn’t God, according to Hannon, have made no provisions whatsoever for divorce? Wouldn’t that have made truth the top priority?

    But if God allowed for the hardness of men’s hearts when he wrote laws for his people, does that mean that maybe we should, as well? That our laws ought not try to enforce all truths at all times? That maybe we should keep peace by recognizing the hardness of men’s hearts?

    But then … what if that lets the gays marry? Maybe it’s better to suggest that God was wrong to allow divorce?

  • http://quiacreeds.blogspot.com/ David Oberdieck

    Similar to the peace/truth quote is Walther’s thoughts on love/Word of God. He writes, “Regarding love, you may yield somewhat without harm or danger. But that cannot be done with the Word and faith. Love should suffer all things and yield to everyone. But faith can and should not suffer anything and should yield to absolutely no one. Love, which gladly yields, believes all things, puts the best construction on all things, forgives, and suffers, is often deceived.” (Church and Ministry)

  • http://quiacreeds.blogspot.com/ David Oberdieck

    Similar to the peace/truth quote is Walther’s thoughts on love/Word of God. He writes, “Regarding love, you may yield somewhat without harm or danger. But that cannot be done with the Word and faith. Love should suffer all things and yield to everyone. But faith can and should not suffer anything and should yield to absolutely no one. Love, which gladly yields, believes all things, puts the best construction on all things, forgives, and suffers, is often deceived.” (Church and Ministry)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Stephen (@15), your discussion of abortion seems off. You appear to pit “personal liberty” on one hand with “prohibition of abortion” on the other hand. The problem being that you only appear to consider the “liberty” of the mother, not the child. Yes, abortion laws restrict the “freedom” of the mother — in the desire to protect that most fundamental “freedom” of the child: life.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Stephen (@15), your discussion of abortion seems off. You appear to pit “personal liberty” on one hand with “prohibition of abortion” on the other hand. The problem being that you only appear to consider the “liberty” of the mother, not the child. Yes, abortion laws restrict the “freedom” of the mother — in the desire to protect that most fundamental “freedom” of the child: life.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    David (@29), that’s a good quote, but it doesn’t read the same to me as does Hannon’s take on the “Luther” quote. Of course, the supposed Luther quote also didn’t read the same to me as did Hannon’s take on it.

    The question, again, is what we mean by truth. I would agree with both Walther and Luther by saying that we dare not compromise the truth ourselves in order to gain peace. That is, we dare not gainsay Scripture, saying “yes” where God says “no”, or vice versa.

    What is being debated here, though, is what we should do when others deny the Truth. Hannon appears to suggest that we should at all times wage war on them (whether literal or metaphorical — Hannon doesn’t seem to distinguish), until such time as they stop denying the truth.

    That doesn’t exactly seem to be tantamount to “suffering all things and yielding to everyone”.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    David (@29), that’s a good quote, but it doesn’t read the same to me as does Hannon’s take on the “Luther” quote. Of course, the supposed Luther quote also didn’t read the same to me as did Hannon’s take on it.

    The question, again, is what we mean by truth. I would agree with both Walther and Luther by saying that we dare not compromise the truth ourselves in order to gain peace. That is, we dare not gainsay Scripture, saying “yes” where God says “no”, or vice versa.

    What is being debated here, though, is what we should do when others deny the Truth. Hannon appears to suggest that we should at all times wage war on them (whether literal or metaphorical — Hannon doesn’t seem to distinguish), until such time as they stop denying the truth.

    That doesn’t exactly seem to be tantamount to “suffering all things and yielding to everyone”.

  • Lou

    Todd, excellent, excellent posts. With regard to “But if God allowed for the hardness of men’s hearts when he wrote laws for his people, does that mean that maybe we should, as well? That our laws ought not try to enforce all truths at all times? That maybe we should keep peace by recognizing the hardness of men’s hearts?” Just for the record, this is almost exactly what John Calvin wrote in Book 4 of The Institutes. So, I’m definitely agreeing with your line of thought…

  • Lou

    Todd, excellent, excellent posts. With regard to “But if God allowed for the hardness of men’s hearts when he wrote laws for his people, does that mean that maybe we should, as well? That our laws ought not try to enforce all truths at all times? That maybe we should keep peace by recognizing the hardness of men’s hearts?” Just for the record, this is almost exactly what John Calvin wrote in Book 4 of The Institutes. So, I’m definitely agreeing with your line of thought…

  • Stephen

    tODD,

    I knew I would take some heat for that one.

    It wasn’t my intention to provide an answer to the condundrum that is the abortion debate. I don’t pretend to have a legal answer that is satisfying. If I was pitting anything against anything else, it was intended to show the lack of consistancy when those who so stridently (seem to) defend the sovereignty of the individual against the intrusions of the gov’t, and on the other, are the same people okay with other kinds of intrusions that threaten the security of persons, a right guarunteed by the Constitution. Do you want doctors to be cops? Do you want the police coming around in the event a difficult choice has to be made, say, in a medical emergency, or even a DNC. I can imagine a situation where every miscarriage is scrutinized by the government and citizens must guard their privacy during pregnancy against an overreaching government. The law is always about power (authority) and fear of that power. The question is, as it always is, how much of that should the government be responsible for? Not sure in this case.

    Admitting that life is filled with morally ambiguous situations does not in itself lead to moral relativism. Do we need to be in cohoots with a military dictatorship that assasinates opponents (Pakistan) in order to carry out our policy on terrorism? Maybe. What about bombing Afghan and Iraqi villages and killing those children? What about teaming up with Stalin to defeat the Nazis, or fire bombing and dropping nukes on primarily civilian targets to end that war?
    Can I support the troops and be against the war in Iraq? I think so. I do and I have. Not easy, and ambiguos at best in my experience.

    Those are large issues, but why do we even have the expression “a rock and a hard place?” The point is, any time we think that imposing law upon a siutuation will fix the problem permanently we buy into the false sense that we can “do the law” by following rules. There is no sin, just rules to follow. And both sides in the culture war seem to have rules they believe in, ones they are usually much more comfortable imposing on people they disagree with. If we’d all just get with the rules we would have peace and security. Since we are playing with those terms, it means that the “truth” (as I and my kind see it) is the one that leads to peace via rules. Rules = Truth. They alone will provide peace, justice, liberty – all of it.

    When it comes to abortion, I will teach my daughter that it is a grave sin and that life is a gift to be honored and yes, protected. By the same token, I do not want a world in which a police state is allowed to invade her body “medically” or for that matter, she must succumb to state-enforced indoctrination. If I don’t like what is taught in school, I can choose to take her out. Not so if abortion were illegal. There is no security of persons, not for women anyway. Sorry, I don’t see a legal solution on the horizon. I don’t think it would work anymore than Prohibition did. I can only see it in terms of what we teach our children.

    There are other ways to defend life than imposing draconian laws AND/OR killing. There’s plenty of killing, and according to conservatives, way too many laws. That is what I was talking about.

  • Stephen

    tODD,

    I knew I would take some heat for that one.

    It wasn’t my intention to provide an answer to the condundrum that is the abortion debate. I don’t pretend to have a legal answer that is satisfying. If I was pitting anything against anything else, it was intended to show the lack of consistancy when those who so stridently (seem to) defend the sovereignty of the individual against the intrusions of the gov’t, and on the other, are the same people okay with other kinds of intrusions that threaten the security of persons, a right guarunteed by the Constitution. Do you want doctors to be cops? Do you want the police coming around in the event a difficult choice has to be made, say, in a medical emergency, or even a DNC. I can imagine a situation where every miscarriage is scrutinized by the government and citizens must guard their privacy during pregnancy against an overreaching government. The law is always about power (authority) and fear of that power. The question is, as it always is, how much of that should the government be responsible for? Not sure in this case.

    Admitting that life is filled with morally ambiguous situations does not in itself lead to moral relativism. Do we need to be in cohoots with a military dictatorship that assasinates opponents (Pakistan) in order to carry out our policy on terrorism? Maybe. What about bombing Afghan and Iraqi villages and killing those children? What about teaming up with Stalin to defeat the Nazis, or fire bombing and dropping nukes on primarily civilian targets to end that war?
    Can I support the troops and be against the war in Iraq? I think so. I do and I have. Not easy, and ambiguos at best in my experience.

    Those are large issues, but why do we even have the expression “a rock and a hard place?” The point is, any time we think that imposing law upon a siutuation will fix the problem permanently we buy into the false sense that we can “do the law” by following rules. There is no sin, just rules to follow. And both sides in the culture war seem to have rules they believe in, ones they are usually much more comfortable imposing on people they disagree with. If we’d all just get with the rules we would have peace and security. Since we are playing with those terms, it means that the “truth” (as I and my kind see it) is the one that leads to peace via rules. Rules = Truth. They alone will provide peace, justice, liberty – all of it.

    When it comes to abortion, I will teach my daughter that it is a grave sin and that life is a gift to be honored and yes, protected. By the same token, I do not want a world in which a police state is allowed to invade her body “medically” or for that matter, she must succumb to state-enforced indoctrination. If I don’t like what is taught in school, I can choose to take her out. Not so if abortion were illegal. There is no security of persons, not for women anyway. Sorry, I don’t see a legal solution on the horizon. I don’t think it would work anymore than Prohibition did. I can only see it in terms of what we teach our children.

    There are other ways to defend life than imposing draconian laws AND/OR killing. There’s plenty of killing, and according to conservatives, way too many laws. That is what I was talking about.

  • Stephen

    tODD,

    Thinking back to our discussion months ago on “womb estate” and a woman’s right to rent out her womb to gestate the child of another couple, I see the same trouble with detaching a child from its mother inherent in the “defense of life” politics that in a fundamental way positions the life of a child over and against the life of a mother. It is not only antagonistic for women and their own bodies, it is antagonistic toward the children they birth. Neither situation regards the mother/child relationship in its fullest sense.

    What I think is postitive about the pro-life movement is the attempt to recast abortion in terms of its very real dangers to women physically and psychologically, let alone spiritually. Taking back the meaning and language of “health care” for women seems to me the strongest argument going. The focus for so long has been primarily on the child as a separate entity deserving of “rights” and I frankly think this is a weak argument. It seems to stumble on its own premise. In an attempt to support the value of family relationships, the mother and child relationship must necessarily (paradoxically?) become detatched from each other in order for it to be logically consistent. Women (and families for that matter) are pitted against the life of the child in the womb. That is how it seems to work out when we talk about rights.

    I think the problem with this antagonistic stance is that it plays right into the idea that children are commodities to be bartered, both politically and economically. Either way, they are still powerless to control outcomes. The same with renting out womb space. If we say that is the “economic right” of women because they are free economic agents over what they do with their wombs (read: bodies), then why not prostitution? Maybe so. The same reason I am morally opposed to abortion is the same reason I am opposed to wombs as economic real estate and prostitution as a moral use of a woman’s body. And yet our laws are not morally consistant it seems to me. Do women have the control of what happens in and with their bodies or not? I’m not convinced we have yet arrived at a good legal answer or that we ever will.

    Even if we could stop it somehow through legislation it would not stop the accusations of the law. Consciences would still be burdened under whatever solution was imposed. The Patriot Act becomes the OB-GYN Act, allowing the gov’t into every aspect of a woman’s gynecolocical care.

    Totalitatrianism is a bitch, especially when one is not among the oligarchy.

  • Stephen

    tODD,

    Thinking back to our discussion months ago on “womb estate” and a woman’s right to rent out her womb to gestate the child of another couple, I see the same trouble with detaching a child from its mother inherent in the “defense of life” politics that in a fundamental way positions the life of a child over and against the life of a mother. It is not only antagonistic for women and their own bodies, it is antagonistic toward the children they birth. Neither situation regards the mother/child relationship in its fullest sense.

    What I think is postitive about the pro-life movement is the attempt to recast abortion in terms of its very real dangers to women physically and psychologically, let alone spiritually. Taking back the meaning and language of “health care” for women seems to me the strongest argument going. The focus for so long has been primarily on the child as a separate entity deserving of “rights” and I frankly think this is a weak argument. It seems to stumble on its own premise. In an attempt to support the value of family relationships, the mother and child relationship must necessarily (paradoxically?) become detatched from each other in order for it to be logically consistent. Women (and families for that matter) are pitted against the life of the child in the womb. That is how it seems to work out when we talk about rights.

    I think the problem with this antagonistic stance is that it plays right into the idea that children are commodities to be bartered, both politically and economically. Either way, they are still powerless to control outcomes. The same with renting out womb space. If we say that is the “economic right” of women because they are free economic agents over what they do with their wombs (read: bodies), then why not prostitution? Maybe so. The same reason I am morally opposed to abortion is the same reason I am opposed to wombs as economic real estate and prostitution as a moral use of a woman’s body. And yet our laws are not morally consistant it seems to me. Do women have the control of what happens in and with their bodies or not? I’m not convinced we have yet arrived at a good legal answer or that we ever will.

    Even if we could stop it somehow through legislation it would not stop the accusations of the law. Consciences would still be burdened under whatever solution was imposed. The Patriot Act becomes the OB-GYN Act, allowing the gov’t into every aspect of a woman’s gynecolocical care.

    Totalitatrianism is a bitch, especially when one is not among the oligarchy.

  • John C

    Sg at 24
    If we could agree on evolution we could then go on and argue about other things. One less battle in which warriors in the culture wars would have to engage.
    It is not utopia but it is a step in the right direction.
    Take tax cuts for the rich. Lots of empirical data, tons of the bloody stuff but not much much agreement between the two political parties.

  • John C

    Sg at 24
    If we could agree on evolution we could then go on and argue about other things. One less battle in which warriors in the culture wars would have to engage.
    It is not utopia but it is a step in the right direction.
    Take tax cuts for the rich. Lots of empirical data, tons of the bloody stuff but not much much agreement between the two political parties.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Stephen (@34), I am deeply disturbed by what your comment appears to say.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Stephen (@34), I am deeply disturbed by what your comment appears to say.

  • Cincinnatus

    Stephen, you raise some thoughtful questions, but you seem to use them to little more purpose than, in the end, to support the pro-choice position, even if not in so many words.

    That said, you’re also blatantly incorrect. It is the progressive left that has captured (as usual in the domain of moral choice) the language of individual autonomy and radical self-determination. The government has to get its hands off my body, it’s my choice, my individual right, etc. As I see it, the pro-life movement is actually attempting to recover a recognition of the insoluble bond between mother and fetal child–a bad, as it so happens, that no one has the “right” to break. Acknowledging that the fetus may represent an individual human being, actual or potential, with rights and duties appertaining, along with the consequent protections of the State, isn’t the same as claiming that the fetus is an autonomous individual in the libertarian sense.

  • Cincinnatus

    Stephen, you raise some thoughtful questions, but you seem to use them to little more purpose than, in the end, to support the pro-choice position, even if not in so many words.

    That said, you’re also blatantly incorrect. It is the progressive left that has captured (as usual in the domain of moral choice) the language of individual autonomy and radical self-determination. The government has to get its hands off my body, it’s my choice, my individual right, etc. As I see it, the pro-life movement is actually attempting to recover a recognition of the insoluble bond between mother and fetal child–a bad, as it so happens, that no one has the “right” to break. Acknowledging that the fetus may represent an individual human being, actual or potential, with rights and duties appertaining, along with the consequent protections of the State, isn’t the same as claiming that the fetus is an autonomous individual in the libertarian sense.

  • Cincinnatus

    a BOND*, as it so happens, that no one has the right to break…

  • Cincinnatus

    a BOND*, as it so happens, that no one has the right to break…

  • kerner

    Stephen:

    Last week, when I pointed out how people have used love to rationalize the legalization of abortion, you said:

    ” I see what you are saying. What people say they are doing, all those things you list are EXCUSES. People try to excuse themselves from the law written in the mind all the time precisely becasue of sin (the “law” of the flesh as in Romans 8). “

    And here you are today @33-34 making those very excuses.

  • kerner

    Stephen:

    Last week, when I pointed out how people have used love to rationalize the legalization of abortion, you said:

    ” I see what you are saying. What people say they are doing, all those things you list are EXCUSES. People try to excuse themselves from the law written in the mind all the time precisely becasue of sin (the “law” of the flesh as in Romans 8). “

    And here you are today @33-34 making those very excuses.

  • fws

    Kerner @39 and todd @ 36

    Kerner… instead of using the word Love, try inserting the phrase Fatherly Goodness and Mercy. God provides the same Fatherly Goodness and Mercy by way of the Law and the Gospel.

    In all your arguments with me, insert the word Mercy (which by definition is always undeserved) as a substitute for the word Love, and see how that might shift the center of what you are aiming for ok…

    Todd and Kerner… I dont see stephen arguing for abortion or even legalized abortion. he is saying that this , like many other scourges and evils simply will not be cured by a majority imposing their will on a minority. There needs to be a change of thinking, and how can we do that….. ? I think Stephen would suggest we do this one person at a time by persuasion.

    In the first century the head of household had life and death power over wife slave and children. this was the social order of the time. legalized abortion I suggest is merely a return to that older order. only now women are the head of household in this case.

    was infanticide by exposure or abortion good back in the 1st century. Of course not! but who was accountable? the head of household. In that time the government would have been seen as improperly interfering in those relationships.

    Here is the argument of stephen couched in a different context:

    this would be like the usa interfering in the government of iraq for instance. God appointed saddam hussein over his nation. He killed alot of people. why was it not the duty of the usa to intervene there? Would we americans be sinful for not stopping hussein from killing, , or the n korean government? or better even , china with its enforced abortion policy.? why dont we wage war against china to make them stop killing infants? the question is one of jurisdiction.

  • fws

    Kerner @39 and todd @ 36

    Kerner… instead of using the word Love, try inserting the phrase Fatherly Goodness and Mercy. God provides the same Fatherly Goodness and Mercy by way of the Law and the Gospel.

    In all your arguments with me, insert the word Mercy (which by definition is always undeserved) as a substitute for the word Love, and see how that might shift the center of what you are aiming for ok…

    Todd and Kerner… I dont see stephen arguing for abortion or even legalized abortion. he is saying that this , like many other scourges and evils simply will not be cured by a majority imposing their will on a minority. There needs to be a change of thinking, and how can we do that….. ? I think Stephen would suggest we do this one person at a time by persuasion.

    In the first century the head of household had life and death power over wife slave and children. this was the social order of the time. legalized abortion I suggest is merely a return to that older order. only now women are the head of household in this case.

    was infanticide by exposure or abortion good back in the 1st century. Of course not! but who was accountable? the head of household. In that time the government would have been seen as improperly interfering in those relationships.

    Here is the argument of stephen couched in a different context:

    this would be like the usa interfering in the government of iraq for instance. God appointed saddam hussein over his nation. He killed alot of people. why was it not the duty of the usa to intervene there? Would we americans be sinful for not stopping hussein from killing, , or the n korean government? or better even , china with its enforced abortion policy.? why dont we wage war against china to make them stop killing infants? the question is one of jurisdiction.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @35

    “If we could agree on evolution we could then go on and argue about other things. One less battle in which warriors in the culture wars would have to engage.”

    I have a better idea. How about celebrating the diversity of opinion and treating people with different beliefs with respect?

    Diversity is great, until someone does something different.

    Celebrate diversity by forcing conformity. The whole thing is absurd. It reminds me of a drill sergeant with his new recruits telling them he doesn’t care what religion they are, what color they are, where they come from because from now on they are all going to eat, sleep, shoot, sh*t like United States Army soldiers.

    The whole totalitarian, no dissent, no debate, constant personal attack climate of our politics is a farce. No wonder folks tune out.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @35

    “If we could agree on evolution we could then go on and argue about other things. One less battle in which warriors in the culture wars would have to engage.”

    I have a better idea. How about celebrating the diversity of opinion and treating people with different beliefs with respect?

    Diversity is great, until someone does something different.

    Celebrate diversity by forcing conformity. The whole thing is absurd. It reminds me of a drill sergeant with his new recruits telling them he doesn’t care what religion they are, what color they are, where they come from because from now on they are all going to eat, sleep, shoot, sh*t like United States Army soldiers.

    The whole totalitarian, no dissent, no debate, constant personal attack climate of our politics is a farce. No wonder folks tune out.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Do we need to be in cohoots with a military dictatorship that assasinates opponents (Pakistan) in order to carry out our policy on terrorism?”

    Hey, I thought we were the ones assassinating our opponents. In which case, Pakistan could help us find our targets.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Do we need to be in cohoots with a military dictatorship that assasinates opponents (Pakistan) in order to carry out our policy on terrorism?”

    Hey, I thought we were the ones assassinating our opponents. In which case, Pakistan could help us find our targets.

  • kerner

    sg @42:

    In fact, I thought we were assassinating our opponents in Pakistan.

  • kerner

    sg @42:

    In fact, I thought we were assassinating our opponents in Pakistan.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I dont see stephen arguing for abortion or even legalized abortion. he is saying that this , like many other scourges and evils simply will not be cured by a majority imposing their will on a minority.”

    Imposing their will on a minority?

    Not even close.

    Opposition to abortion is about protecting the innocent and punishing evil.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I dont see stephen arguing for abortion or even legalized abortion. he is saying that this , like many other scourges and evils simply will not be cured by a majority imposing their will on a minority.”

    Imposing their will on a minority?

    Not even close.

    Opposition to abortion is about protecting the innocent and punishing evil.

  • kerner

    fws @40:

    God appointed saddam hussein over his nation.

    Sure, but in 2003, God appointed the USA and the coalition of the willing over Iraq. Then a few years later He appointed the current Iraqi Government, with US assistance, over Iraq.

    I guess we can all agree that George W. Bush was the instrument of God’s will, then. ;) I feel better now.

  • kerner

    fws @40:

    God appointed saddam hussein over his nation.

    Sure, but in 2003, God appointed the USA and the coalition of the willing over Iraq. Then a few years later He appointed the current Iraqi Government, with US assistance, over Iraq.

    I guess we can all agree that George W. Bush was the instrument of God’s will, then. ;) I feel better now.

  • kerner

    sg@44:

    Well…if the perpetrators of that particular evil are a minority, I suppose you could phrase it that way.

    On the other hand, aren’t all criminal laws the imposition of the will of a majority (who disapprove of a particular act) on the minority (who want to commit the act)? I mean, every crime, from drunk driving to insider trading sexual assault to arson (and on and on) is something a minority wants to do that a majority wants to prohibit. And no criminal law, not one, has ever stopped the minority from doing those things anyway. It usually reduces the number of “criminal” acts, because some peole will be deterred by the threat of punishment or the stigma of prosecution. But no human society has ever eliminated any behavior by imposing a criminal penalty for it.

    Does that mean we should abandon the concept of criminal law? Because criminal law can’t ever put an end to crime?

  • kerner

    sg@44:

    Well…if the perpetrators of that particular evil are a minority, I suppose you could phrase it that way.

    On the other hand, aren’t all criminal laws the imposition of the will of a majority (who disapprove of a particular act) on the minority (who want to commit the act)? I mean, every crime, from drunk driving to insider trading sexual assault to arson (and on and on) is something a minority wants to do that a majority wants to prohibit. And no criminal law, not one, has ever stopped the minority from doing those things anyway. It usually reduces the number of “criminal” acts, because some peole will be deterred by the threat of punishment or the stigma of prosecution. But no human society has ever eliminated any behavior by imposing a criminal penalty for it.

    Does that mean we should abandon the concept of criminal law? Because criminal law can’t ever put an end to crime?

  • kerner

    Slight revision: sometimes criminal laws are the will of a minority that want to prohibit an act that a majority want to commit.

    But the principle stands. No criminal law ever, not ever, “cured” a particular evil. So, is criminal law then useless?

  • kerner

    Slight revision: sometimes criminal laws are the will of a minority that want to prohibit an act that a majority want to commit.

    But the principle stands. No criminal law ever, not ever, “cured” a particular evil. So, is criminal law then useless?

  • kerner

    fws @ 40:

    In the first century the head of household had life and death power over wife slave and children. this was the social order of the time. legalized abortion I suggest is merely a return to that older order. only now women are the head of household in this case.

    Now, that is a statement I absolutely agree with. And I dare say it was the influence of Christianity that changed that order. There are in the world today societies where infanticide is still practiced. The question remains, whether we should allow the practice. Most of our laws still say no. To harm a child, even unintentionally, by neglect, is a crime. Failing to financially support ones own child is a crime. Parents have no “choice”, when it comes to their duty in these matters.

    Only in the case of unborn children do we deviate from the guiding principle of most of our law concerning children. The question is whether the relationship between mother and unborn child is fundamentally different than the relationship between mother and recently born child.

    I think the evidence is overwhelming that any differences are of degree, not essencial differences. A newborn child, like a preborn child, is utterly dependent on others for his/her survival. There is no such thing as an infant that can “live on its own”. All infants die without care from adults.

    Advances in medical technology have made it possible for developing fetuses to survive outside the womb at much earlier stages of gestation. If we try hard enough, I have no doubt that it would someday be possible for a embryo or a fetus to survive outside the womb at almost any stage of gestation. It would then simply be a matter of taking the trouble and spending the money necessary to provide for this utterly dependent human life.

    So, if we believe that parents have an enforceable duty to protect and care for their children, such that they do not die, do we really want there to be certain times when we want to give parents the power of life and death over a child? And if we do, what would be the rational basis for giving the parent (in this case, the mother) that exceptional power?

    No atter how I look at it, I just can’t find any reason for giving pregnant mothers that exceptional power. Either you have a duty to care for and protect your children or you don’t. Now, if you want to delgate that duty to someone else (by adoption) I can understand that. But if the duty exists at all, I don’t see the basis for an extraordinary exception such as we have today.

  • kerner

    fws @ 40:

    In the first century the head of household had life and death power over wife slave and children. this was the social order of the time. legalized abortion I suggest is merely a return to that older order. only now women are the head of household in this case.

    Now, that is a statement I absolutely agree with. And I dare say it was the influence of Christianity that changed that order. There are in the world today societies where infanticide is still practiced. The question remains, whether we should allow the practice. Most of our laws still say no. To harm a child, even unintentionally, by neglect, is a crime. Failing to financially support ones own child is a crime. Parents have no “choice”, when it comes to their duty in these matters.

    Only in the case of unborn children do we deviate from the guiding principle of most of our law concerning children. The question is whether the relationship between mother and unborn child is fundamentally different than the relationship between mother and recently born child.

    I think the evidence is overwhelming that any differences are of degree, not essencial differences. A newborn child, like a preborn child, is utterly dependent on others for his/her survival. There is no such thing as an infant that can “live on its own”. All infants die without care from adults.

    Advances in medical technology have made it possible for developing fetuses to survive outside the womb at much earlier stages of gestation. If we try hard enough, I have no doubt that it would someday be possible for a embryo or a fetus to survive outside the womb at almost any stage of gestation. It would then simply be a matter of taking the trouble and spending the money necessary to provide for this utterly dependent human life.

    So, if we believe that parents have an enforceable duty to protect and care for their children, such that they do not die, do we really want there to be certain times when we want to give parents the power of life and death over a child? And if we do, what would be the rational basis for giving the parent (in this case, the mother) that exceptional power?

    No atter how I look at it, I just can’t find any reason for giving pregnant mothers that exceptional power. Either you have a duty to care for and protect your children or you don’t. Now, if you want to delgate that duty to someone else (by adoption) I can understand that. But if the duty exists at all, I don’t see the basis for an extraordinary exception such as we have today.

  • Stephen

    Kerner @ 39

    That is exactly what I am doing. You nailed it.

    So what if we did make abortion illegal? What do you imagine it looking like, the Patriot Act or something like it? How would it be enforced in our day?

    No matter what we choose, there will still be pain and suffering and the need for mercy and charity that enforcing such laws would inflict, just as it did in the past, and we will need to make excuses for that too.

    So go ahead and make some. Rationalize away.

  • Stephen

    Kerner @ 39

    That is exactly what I am doing. You nailed it.

    So what if we did make abortion illegal? What do you imagine it looking like, the Patriot Act or something like it? How would it be enforced in our day?

    No matter what we choose, there will still be pain and suffering and the need for mercy and charity that enforcing such laws would inflict, just as it did in the past, and we will need to make excuses for that too.

    So go ahead and make some. Rationalize away.

  • kerner

    Stephen:

    When Jeffrey Dahmer was caught and punished, he suffered. So what are you saying? That no one should have tried to enforce the criminal laws he was violating because the enforcement of criminal laws causes suffering?

    Every criminal defendant I represent suffers when he is prosecuted. Exactly what do you suggest we do about that?

  • kerner

    Stephen:

    When Jeffrey Dahmer was caught and punished, he suffered. So what are you saying? That no one should have tried to enforce the criminal laws he was violating because the enforcement of criminal laws causes suffering?

    Every criminal defendant I represent suffers when he is prosecuted. Exactly what do you suggest we do about that?

  • Stephen

    For all you Libertarians out there, let’s go to the source – the much beloved Mr. Ron Paul.

    He admits that he makes a slippery slope argument that allowing abortion leads to a disrespect for life. Well, we all know how we feel about those kinds of arguments. Buzzer!

    He goes on to say that he believes it is up to the states because the Federal Government has no place in the matter either way you slice it. Interesting idea, and yet he voted for the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. Good for him. I don’t like the idea of that either. But then he’s not really being honest is he? The federal gov’t must, by necessity, be involved. He says it was to “offset” Roe. Right.

    Even if it is true that the left is responsible for the idea of personal autonomy, we all use it as an excuse to get what we want. “Leave me alone big government” translates to “I am as autonomous as I wanna be.” Nothing surprising there when the Constitution guarantees that we be safe in our persons and possessions.

    Now we can disagree about what that last sentence means. But I haven’t heard anyone describe how making abortion illegal would not impinge on persons such as women, couples, families, let alone doctors in a way that isn’t invasive, intimidating and a violation of civil rights, not from the conservatives who deride gov’t for being too intrusive already.

    Oh, and Ron Paul also thinks only doctors ought to be prosecuted. Leave the women out of it. Really? Are they too weak or dumb to know what they are doing, as if being pregnant is mental condition that gives them a pass? So they aren’t baby killers after all, is that it? I hardly believe that they aren’t culpable, so why not throw them in prison too? I think that’s a dodge. You see the divine law of conscience accusing him there? Somehow we’ve got to wrench some mercy out of this situation. He feels it. That is exactly what he’s doing, and it’s inconsistent and hypocritical on the face of it.

    Excuses everywhere.

  • Stephen

    For all you Libertarians out there, let’s go to the source – the much beloved Mr. Ron Paul.

    He admits that he makes a slippery slope argument that allowing abortion leads to a disrespect for life. Well, we all know how we feel about those kinds of arguments. Buzzer!

    He goes on to say that he believes it is up to the states because the Federal Government has no place in the matter either way you slice it. Interesting idea, and yet he voted for the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. Good for him. I don’t like the idea of that either. But then he’s not really being honest is he? The federal gov’t must, by necessity, be involved. He says it was to “offset” Roe. Right.

    Even if it is true that the left is responsible for the idea of personal autonomy, we all use it as an excuse to get what we want. “Leave me alone big government” translates to “I am as autonomous as I wanna be.” Nothing surprising there when the Constitution guarantees that we be safe in our persons and possessions.

    Now we can disagree about what that last sentence means. But I haven’t heard anyone describe how making abortion illegal would not impinge on persons such as women, couples, families, let alone doctors in a way that isn’t invasive, intimidating and a violation of civil rights, not from the conservatives who deride gov’t for being too intrusive already.

    Oh, and Ron Paul also thinks only doctors ought to be prosecuted. Leave the women out of it. Really? Are they too weak or dumb to know what they are doing, as if being pregnant is mental condition that gives them a pass? So they aren’t baby killers after all, is that it? I hardly believe that they aren’t culpable, so why not throw them in prison too? I think that’s a dodge. You see the divine law of conscience accusing him there? Somehow we’ve got to wrench some mercy out of this situation. He feels it. That is exactly what he’s doing, and it’s inconsistent and hypocritical on the face of it.

    Excuses everywhere.

  • Carl Vehse

    … And so the Demonrats’ war on America begins.

  • Carl Vehse

    … And so the Demonrats’ war on America begins.

  • kerner

    To answer your questions, probably the best(most merciful) way to enforce laws prohibiting abortions would be to impose substantial penalties against abortionists. People who commit crimes as a business will be deterred by severe punishment unless the financial rewards outweigh the risks

    The other side of that coin would be to make adoption or foster care and other help for stressed mothers more attractive options. The best way to fight a criminal enterprize is to decrease demand for the product.

    This is certainly the short version of what I think would be the best way to alleviate the pain an suffering inherant in this kind of crisis including the surviving child, whose suffering seems to mean so little to you. Maybe I’m being unfair, but the suffering and death of the child does not seem to register in your analysis.

    But, very generally speaking, this is the approach I would take.

  • kerner

    To answer your questions, probably the best(most merciful) way to enforce laws prohibiting abortions would be to impose substantial penalties against abortionists. People who commit crimes as a business will be deterred by severe punishment unless the financial rewards outweigh the risks

    The other side of that coin would be to make adoption or foster care and other help for stressed mothers more attractive options. The best way to fight a criminal enterprize is to decrease demand for the product.

    This is certainly the short version of what I think would be the best way to alleviate the pain an suffering inherant in this kind of crisis including the surviving child, whose suffering seems to mean so little to you. Maybe I’m being unfair, but the suffering and death of the child does not seem to register in your analysis.

    But, very generally speaking, this is the approach I would take.

  • Stephen

    Today I read the Large Catechism’s explanation to the 5th Commandment. It was a tough read. I tried to hear it from both sides of this thing. Did I feel accused? Yes. Please read it and see if that is not how you feel too.
    I came to this:

    193] Therefore it is God’s ultimate purpose that we suffer harm to befall no man, but show him all good and love; 194] and, as we have said, it is specially directed toward those who are our enemies. For to do good to our friends is but an ordinary heathen virtue, as Christ says Matt. 5:46.
    195] Here we have again the Word of God whereby He would encourage and urge us to true noble and sublime works, as gentleness, patience, and, in short, love and kindness to our enemies, and would ever remind us to reflect upon the First Commandment, that He is our God, that is, that He will help, assist, and protect us, in order that He may thus quench the desire of revenge in us.

    I don’t believe abortion is a good thing. I think it is abhorrent. I feel like I have some experience with what children mean. I have a new son. I also know what miscarriage is like. I can’t imagine either of my children being sacrificed for my own “well-being” or my wife’s. But neither can I imagine a world where our family would be scrutinized by the government in such a personal, bodily way. Neither can I imagine my neighbor having to submit to the same scrutiny and gov’t coercion. That is what Mr. Perry wants to happen in Texas, and it seems to me to be counter to all the other rhetoric of liberty from the right. If you don’t see that as a contradiction, then I can’t convince you. That was my point in the first place. In politics, no one has exclusive rights to claim truth for themselves. Everyone makes excuses, everyone lies, and everyone wants the gov’t to do for them what they are unwilling to do for others or to others. That is its purpose I suppose.

    I haven’t got an answer. I am on the fence. So shoot me.

  • Stephen

    Today I read the Large Catechism’s explanation to the 5th Commandment. It was a tough read. I tried to hear it from both sides of this thing. Did I feel accused? Yes. Please read it and see if that is not how you feel too.
    I came to this:

    193] Therefore it is God’s ultimate purpose that we suffer harm to befall no man, but show him all good and love; 194] and, as we have said, it is specially directed toward those who are our enemies. For to do good to our friends is but an ordinary heathen virtue, as Christ says Matt. 5:46.
    195] Here we have again the Word of God whereby He would encourage and urge us to true noble and sublime works, as gentleness, patience, and, in short, love and kindness to our enemies, and would ever remind us to reflect upon the First Commandment, that He is our God, that is, that He will help, assist, and protect us, in order that He may thus quench the desire of revenge in us.

    I don’t believe abortion is a good thing. I think it is abhorrent. I feel like I have some experience with what children mean. I have a new son. I also know what miscarriage is like. I can’t imagine either of my children being sacrificed for my own “well-being” or my wife’s. But neither can I imagine a world where our family would be scrutinized by the government in such a personal, bodily way. Neither can I imagine my neighbor having to submit to the same scrutiny and gov’t coercion. That is what Mr. Perry wants to happen in Texas, and it seems to me to be counter to all the other rhetoric of liberty from the right. If you don’t see that as a contradiction, then I can’t convince you. That was my point in the first place. In politics, no one has exclusive rights to claim truth for themselves. Everyone makes excuses, everyone lies, and everyone wants the gov’t to do for them what they are unwilling to do for others or to others. That is its purpose I suppose.

    I haven’t got an answer. I am on the fence. So shoot me.

  • kerner

    I don’t know about Ron Paul, but I wouldn’t leave women out of it entirely. But punishing a one time criminal who was in a tough spot less severely than a career criminal is an act of mercy that the criminal justice system has extended for centuries.

  • kerner

    I don’t know about Ron Paul, but I wouldn’t leave women out of it entirely. But punishing a one time criminal who was in a tough spot less severely than a career criminal is an act of mercy that the criminal justice system has extended for centuries.

  • Stephen

    I do think you are unfair in saying that children are diminished in my analysis. Maybe I am. Touting the virtues of Bush’s war in Iraq and making light of it seems to me to diminish the thousands of innocent children maimed and killed there, as well as the young people we’ve sent over there. They are still dying and being maimed in Vietnam from unexploded land mines, as well as all over the world from mines we sold them. There’s that market at work too. How shall we rationalize that one?

    But we both have our excuses. The law always accuses. Nobody I know wants dead, neglected, abused or maimed children. Sometimes the softness and miracle of children does not work on people when we think it should, but that law will still accuse all of us for what we do to the least of these.

    I don’t believe in the invisible hand of the market will solve things. Maybe it can placate or soothe a little, but not solve. I only believe in what is in, with and under the sins we commit – the hand of God that promises his goodness and mercy to all us wicked people.

    Like I said, we will still need excuses before the divine law that nags at us telling us that children should not be victims, and yet we let it happen for any number of reasons. They starve while we go out to dinner. They die of diarrhea while we golf. They become prostitutes for business men and factory slaves while we enjoy (enjoy!) the products they sell us.

    And yet our reason tells us that we really ought to love and protect them. Why don’t we? Like the poor, there will always be dying and abused children until Christ comes. And we will all be judged for what we did or did not do. In which case, thank God for Jesus Christ who takes away my sin and yours.

  • Stephen

    I do think you are unfair in saying that children are diminished in my analysis. Maybe I am. Touting the virtues of Bush’s war in Iraq and making light of it seems to me to diminish the thousands of innocent children maimed and killed there, as well as the young people we’ve sent over there. They are still dying and being maimed in Vietnam from unexploded land mines, as well as all over the world from mines we sold them. There’s that market at work too. How shall we rationalize that one?

    But we both have our excuses. The law always accuses. Nobody I know wants dead, neglected, abused or maimed children. Sometimes the softness and miracle of children does not work on people when we think it should, but that law will still accuse all of us for what we do to the least of these.

    I don’t believe in the invisible hand of the market will solve things. Maybe it can placate or soothe a little, but not solve. I only believe in what is in, with and under the sins we commit – the hand of God that promises his goodness and mercy to all us wicked people.

    Like I said, we will still need excuses before the divine law that nags at us telling us that children should not be victims, and yet we let it happen for any number of reasons. They starve while we go out to dinner. They die of diarrhea while we golf. They become prostitutes for business men and factory slaves while we enjoy (enjoy!) the products they sell us.

    And yet our reason tells us that we really ought to love and protect them. Why don’t we? Like the poor, there will always be dying and abused children until Christ comes. And we will all be judged for what we did or did not do. In which case, thank God for Jesus Christ who takes away my sin and yours.

  • kerner

    Stephen:
    You said:

    But neither can I imagine a world where our family would be scrutinized by the government in such a personal, bodily way.

    But your family is being scrutinized by the government in a very personal way right now. If harm comes to one of your children through your intentional act, or through your neglect, of if you should fail to financially support your children, the government will prosecute you. You may not be able to imagine government scrutiny, but it’s our there right now, watching you.

  • kerner

    Stephen:
    You said:

    But neither can I imagine a world where our family would be scrutinized by the government in such a personal, bodily way.

    But your family is being scrutinized by the government in a very personal way right now. If harm comes to one of your children through your intentional act, or through your neglect, of if you should fail to financially support your children, the government will prosecute you. You may not be able to imagine government scrutiny, but it’s our there right now, watching you.

  • DonS

    Stephen @ 54: I appreciate the dilemma you feel — I really do. Many (but not all) parents who abort their babies do so out of desperation and in deep emotional anguish. To prosecute them through the criminal system doesn’t seem right or just under the circumstances.

    However, the alternative system we are under now, where everyone who kills their unborn baby, including the abortionist (who clearly does not deserve the same sympathy), is immune from punishment, and, in fact, is guaranteed the fundamental Constitutional right to do so, regardless of the circumstances or reason, is clearly unjust, and clearly contrary to the passage you quoted: “Therefore it is God’s ultimate purpose that we suffer harm to befall no man, but show him all good and love”. For, certainly, the unborn child is still man, and should be shown all good and love, and not intentionally suffer harm at the hands of man.

    There is no logical distinction between the parent who kills their child 5 minutes after birth, and the one who does so 5 minutes before birth.

    Kerner has it right. The answer is not to render immune the indiscriminate murder of unborn children from the criminal law, but rather to impose punishment taking into account all of the facts and circumstances of that murder, as is done now with other murders. Take the mercy killing of a sick senior, for example. It is most certainly an act of murder, taking responsibility for something only in God’s realm, but is punished far differently, by both judge and jury, than is a cold blooded murder for evil purpose. Statutes, and sentences, can be designed to tailor the punishment in accordance with the deed, its motivations, and the state of the killer. But, in our compassion, we should never forget or excuse the act of murder.

  • DonS

    Stephen @ 54: I appreciate the dilemma you feel — I really do. Many (but not all) parents who abort their babies do so out of desperation and in deep emotional anguish. To prosecute them through the criminal system doesn’t seem right or just under the circumstances.

    However, the alternative system we are under now, where everyone who kills their unborn baby, including the abortionist (who clearly does not deserve the same sympathy), is immune from punishment, and, in fact, is guaranteed the fundamental Constitutional right to do so, regardless of the circumstances or reason, is clearly unjust, and clearly contrary to the passage you quoted: “Therefore it is God’s ultimate purpose that we suffer harm to befall no man, but show him all good and love”. For, certainly, the unborn child is still man, and should be shown all good and love, and not intentionally suffer harm at the hands of man.

    There is no logical distinction between the parent who kills their child 5 minutes after birth, and the one who does so 5 minutes before birth.

    Kerner has it right. The answer is not to render immune the indiscriminate murder of unborn children from the criminal law, but rather to impose punishment taking into account all of the facts and circumstances of that murder, as is done now with other murders. Take the mercy killing of a sick senior, for example. It is most certainly an act of murder, taking responsibility for something only in God’s realm, but is punished far differently, by both judge and jury, than is a cold blooded murder for evil purpose. Statutes, and sentences, can be designed to tailor the punishment in accordance with the deed, its motivations, and the state of the killer. But, in our compassion, we should never forget or excuse the act of murder.

  • kerner

    Touting the virtues of Bush’s war in Iraq and making light of it seems to me to diminish the thousands of innocent children maimed and killed there, as well as the young people we’ve sent over there.

    I didn’t mean to make light of that. I meant ot make light of the common Lutheran attitude about political power being ordained by God. Under that simplistic analysis, anyone who actually gains political power has received it from God, and it is rebellion against God to try to take it away. It being the case that the United States won its political power by combat in 2003, then using that analysis the USA was ordained by God to have that power. i.e. we were rebels against God right up until the time we won, but anybody who opposes us now is a rebel. But this is a digresion.

    I don’t believe in the invisible hand of the market will solve things. Maybe it can placate or soothe a little, but not solve.

    I agree with that.

    thank God for Jesus Christ who takes away my sin and yours.

    Amen.

  • kerner

    Touting the virtues of Bush’s war in Iraq and making light of it seems to me to diminish the thousands of innocent children maimed and killed there, as well as the young people we’ve sent over there.

    I didn’t mean to make light of that. I meant ot make light of the common Lutheran attitude about political power being ordained by God. Under that simplistic analysis, anyone who actually gains political power has received it from God, and it is rebellion against God to try to take it away. It being the case that the United States won its political power by combat in 2003, then using that analysis the USA was ordained by God to have that power. i.e. we were rebels against God right up until the time we won, but anybody who opposes us now is a rebel. But this is a digresion.

    I don’t believe in the invisible hand of the market will solve things. Maybe it can placate or soothe a little, but not solve.

    I agree with that.

    thank God for Jesus Christ who takes away my sin and yours.

    Amen.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “So what if we did make abortion illegal? What do you imagine it looking like, the Patriot Act or something like it? How would it be enforced in our day?”

    It would be extremely effective at protecting innocent children. Well over a million lives a year would be saved. It would rival the polio vaccine in saving lives. It would be enforced on the providers. Taking away a doctor’s medical license and a year in the state pen for providing abortions would be extremely effective as a deterrent.

    Also, mothers die all the time from “safe” legal abortion. So, it would save some mothers, too.

    Right after abortion was legalized, the conception rate went up as birth rates went down. People are more careful when they know they can’t get an abortion.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “So what if we did make abortion illegal? What do you imagine it looking like, the Patriot Act or something like it? How would it be enforced in our day?”

    It would be extremely effective at protecting innocent children. Well over a million lives a year would be saved. It would rival the polio vaccine in saving lives. It would be enforced on the providers. Taking away a doctor’s medical license and a year in the state pen for providing abortions would be extremely effective as a deterrent.

    Also, mothers die all the time from “safe” legal abortion. So, it would save some mothers, too.

    Right after abortion was legalized, the conception rate went up as birth rates went down. People are more careful when they know they can’t get an abortion.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Everyone makes excuses, everyone lies, and everyone wants the gov’t to do for them what they are unwilling to do for others or to others.”

    Man, I do not see that. I see plenty of folks doing their duty, doing it honestly and then going above and beyond doing extra to help others while shaking their heads in disbelief at the destructive influence of government programs on the lives of people it is supposedly helping.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Everyone makes excuses, everyone lies, and everyone wants the gov’t to do for them what they are unwilling to do for others or to others.”

    Man, I do not see that. I see plenty of folks doing their duty, doing it honestly and then going above and beyond doing extra to help others while shaking their heads in disbelief at the destructive influence of government programs on the lives of people it is supposedly helping.

  • Cincinnatus

    Stephen, I really don’t understand your objection on the grounds of “civil rights.” Nor does the Supreme Court. Roe v. Wade stipulated that legal prohibitions on abortion violated the (manufactured, not enumerated) “right” to privacy because all questions of reproductive “choice” are the purview of the mother, not because such prohibitions required an oppressive and intrusive state instrument. In fact, it doesn’t. Prior to Roe, many states prohibited abortion.

    sg and kerner have dealt aptly with some of your other contentions, but this one in particular confuses me. Prohibiting abortion doesn’t mean that the state must then knock on the door of every woman and interrogate her as to the status of her past pregnancies. Nor does it render every miscarriage or failed pregnancy a matter of criminal interest unless it appears blatantly suspicious–which is something the government already investigates anyway. In short, I don’t see how a vague appeal to civil rights is at all relevant, unless you buy the claim that any restriction on “reproductive choice” is facially problematic. Which I assume you don’t…?

  • Cincinnatus

    Stephen, I really don’t understand your objection on the grounds of “civil rights.” Nor does the Supreme Court. Roe v. Wade stipulated that legal prohibitions on abortion violated the (manufactured, not enumerated) “right” to privacy because all questions of reproductive “choice” are the purview of the mother, not because such prohibitions required an oppressive and intrusive state instrument. In fact, it doesn’t. Prior to Roe, many states prohibited abortion.

    sg and kerner have dealt aptly with some of your other contentions, but this one in particular confuses me. Prohibiting abortion doesn’t mean that the state must then knock on the door of every woman and interrogate her as to the status of her past pregnancies. Nor does it render every miscarriage or failed pregnancy a matter of criminal interest unless it appears blatantly suspicious–which is something the government already investigates anyway. In short, I don’t see how a vague appeal to civil rights is at all relevant, unless you buy the claim that any restriction on “reproductive choice” is facially problematic. Which I assume you don’t…?

  • fws

    Kerner

    Indeed, the logical consistency of legalized abortion that is letting the head of household decide would be to allow ANY form of child abuse/killing as long as it was done by the parents.

    I don’t see anyone wanting to be consistent like that.

    And in the other direction, women and doctors should be executed for having an abortion wherever murder is a capital crime, and there should be NO exception for rape or incest.

    So what to do?

    Here is what I do object to:

    Steven is saying that he is in favor of legalized abortion.

    People read this to only be able to mean that a) stephen doesnt care about the suffering of either the mother or the aborted baby and b) he favors abortions being done as something that is good, or at least a necessary evil.

    Here in Brasil abortion is illegal. This means that noone talks about it. Yet the abortion rates are astronomical I am told. And the abortions happen in the most dangerous circumstances imaginable. Yes abortionists (who are NOT doctors) are prosecuted, and severely so, if found out. It does not seem to be diminishing the numbers of abortions. I am told that they continue to increase here.

    So what to do? I say legalize abortion. And start a very loud and public conversation on it. Change minds and hearts. Don’t sweep it under the rug. Does this mean that I favor even one single abortion? If you think that then you are very wrong about my opinion.

  • fws

    Kerner

    Indeed, the logical consistency of legalized abortion that is letting the head of household decide would be to allow ANY form of child abuse/killing as long as it was done by the parents.

    I don’t see anyone wanting to be consistent like that.

    And in the other direction, women and doctors should be executed for having an abortion wherever murder is a capital crime, and there should be NO exception for rape or incest.

    So what to do?

    Here is what I do object to:

    Steven is saying that he is in favor of legalized abortion.

    People read this to only be able to mean that a) stephen doesnt care about the suffering of either the mother or the aborted baby and b) he favors abortions being done as something that is good, or at least a necessary evil.

    Here in Brasil abortion is illegal. This means that noone talks about it. Yet the abortion rates are astronomical I am told. And the abortions happen in the most dangerous circumstances imaginable. Yes abortionists (who are NOT doctors) are prosecuted, and severely so, if found out. It does not seem to be diminishing the numbers of abortions. I am told that they continue to increase here.

    So what to do? I say legalize abortion. And start a very loud and public conversation on it. Change minds and hearts. Don’t sweep it under the rug. Does this mean that I favor even one single abortion? If you think that then you are very wrong about my opinion.

  • Stephen

    DonS

    Thanks for making an attempt to understand the dilemma and find a way through. That’s really what I would like to see happen. It seems most have breezed past what I thought is more effective, but I understand the intensity that this inspires and why there isn’t much room for compromises.

    “It is most certainly an act of murder, taking responsibility for something only in God’s realm, but is punished far differently, by both judge and jury, than is a cold blooded murder for evil purpose. Statutes, and sentences, can be designed to tailor the punishment in accordance with the deed, its motivations, and the state of the killer. But, in our compassion, we should never forget or excuse the act of murder.”

    I think you are excusing murder. Is aborting a child evil or not? If so, then it is for evil pruposes. As murders go, it is done intentionally, planned and perpetrated. It is done to benefit the perpetrator. What is not “cold-blooded” about that?

    My point there is that we all excuse ourselves from the law. Eye for an eye. That is the law. Turn the other cheek, that is forgiveness.

    In a system that seems to look for opportunites to bring children to trial as adults, I’m not so sure that were Roe actually overturned an abortion was illegal, the consequences for eveyone in olved in an illegal abortion would not be incredibly grave. In a country where the library books you check out can be inspected by the gov’t without you knowing it, I’m not so sure that the medical records of certain types of women – single, college students, the poor, suspected “liberals” – would not be easily commandeered by the same gov’t conservatives go on and on about as being too intrusive already.

    What of women who are raped who then become murderers out of torment and horror? Incest? What about women repeatedly raped by their own husbands? Will they really receive mercy in a court system that has turned against them.

    There is no way this situation would not be enforced by the feds as I see it. That means bureaucrats poking around in people’s sex lives and medical histories.

  • Stephen

    DonS

    Thanks for making an attempt to understand the dilemma and find a way through. That’s really what I would like to see happen. It seems most have breezed past what I thought is more effective, but I understand the intensity that this inspires and why there isn’t much room for compromises.

    “It is most certainly an act of murder, taking responsibility for something only in God’s realm, but is punished far differently, by both judge and jury, than is a cold blooded murder for evil purpose. Statutes, and sentences, can be designed to tailor the punishment in accordance with the deed, its motivations, and the state of the killer. But, in our compassion, we should never forget or excuse the act of murder.”

    I think you are excusing murder. Is aborting a child evil or not? If so, then it is for evil pruposes. As murders go, it is done intentionally, planned and perpetrated. It is done to benefit the perpetrator. What is not “cold-blooded” about that?

    My point there is that we all excuse ourselves from the law. Eye for an eye. That is the law. Turn the other cheek, that is forgiveness.

    In a system that seems to look for opportunites to bring children to trial as adults, I’m not so sure that were Roe actually overturned an abortion was illegal, the consequences for eveyone in olved in an illegal abortion would not be incredibly grave. In a country where the library books you check out can be inspected by the gov’t without you knowing it, I’m not so sure that the medical records of certain types of women – single, college students, the poor, suspected “liberals” – would not be easily commandeered by the same gov’t conservatives go on and on about as being too intrusive already.

    What of women who are raped who then become murderers out of torment and horror? Incest? What about women repeatedly raped by their own husbands? Will they really receive mercy in a court system that has turned against them.

    There is no way this situation would not be enforced by the feds as I see it. That means bureaucrats poking around in people’s sex lives and medical histories.

  • Stephen

    Kerner

    “I meant ot make light of the common Lutheran attitude about political power being ordained by God.”

    Read the Large Catechism on the Fourth Commandment. That is exactly what it says. But that doesn’t mean it agrees with our observations or desires or beliefs of how it ought to be. But that is what obedience is.

    Does Auschwitz make sense to you? Of course not. We can’t make sense out of it, especially not in light of the claim we make about loving a merciful God. The only possible thing to pull out of it in any universe is that in, with and under it God was at work to do goodness, mercy and love to ALL. How do we say we know this? The cross. There, within the greatest crime in history, the killing of the Son of God, is the very mercy of God we claim being done.

    That is how it works. It is something God works for us – undeserved mercy for all the sinners in the world. Does that make suffering something to be excused? No. That is what we do, make each other suffer from our sins.

    We won’t change the law until we change the minds of people. The polarity of concerns is getting nowhere as I see it. You may be right about some kind of “market correction” (I know that isn’t how the temr is used) and making it expensive will make it less appealing. Given the value we place on popular culture in this country, we would also get some traction in this culture by making it “unpopular” somehow. Troubling consciences through marketing. I see some of that, but it’s not very good.

    Anyway, I think we all want to have our cake and eat it too. If it is murder than it is murder. If parents have authority over their families, then they do. That was the earthly authority in the bible and how it was understood even in Luther’s time. But we are all more “progressive” than that. And I am not convinced (yet) that we have a good solution to a horrible situation that owuld not involve and overly intrusive state that is becoming evermore . . . overly intrusive.

  • Stephen

    Kerner

    “I meant ot make light of the common Lutheran attitude about political power being ordained by God.”

    Read the Large Catechism on the Fourth Commandment. That is exactly what it says. But that doesn’t mean it agrees with our observations or desires or beliefs of how it ought to be. But that is what obedience is.

    Does Auschwitz make sense to you? Of course not. We can’t make sense out of it, especially not in light of the claim we make about loving a merciful God. The only possible thing to pull out of it in any universe is that in, with and under it God was at work to do goodness, mercy and love to ALL. How do we say we know this? The cross. There, within the greatest crime in history, the killing of the Son of God, is the very mercy of God we claim being done.

    That is how it works. It is something God works for us – undeserved mercy for all the sinners in the world. Does that make suffering something to be excused? No. That is what we do, make each other suffer from our sins.

    We won’t change the law until we change the minds of people. The polarity of concerns is getting nowhere as I see it. You may be right about some kind of “market correction” (I know that isn’t how the temr is used) and making it expensive will make it less appealing. Given the value we place on popular culture in this country, we would also get some traction in this culture by making it “unpopular” somehow. Troubling consciences through marketing. I see some of that, but it’s not very good.

    Anyway, I think we all want to have our cake and eat it too. If it is murder than it is murder. If parents have authority over their families, then they do. That was the earthly authority in the bible and how it was understood even in Luther’s time. But we are all more “progressive” than that. And I am not convinced (yet) that we have a good solution to a horrible situation that owuld not involve and overly intrusive state that is becoming evermore . . . overly intrusive.

  • Stephen

    Cinncinatus,

    I’m not sure I connected it in the way you say. Regadless of what Roe was decided upon, I do think that civil rights will play into it in the future should it become illegal. It is far too easy these days for the gov’t to plow a road right into people’s lives. Unless one has money and influence, and a good lawyer, most of us are at its mercy. Isn’t this the general conservative fear?

    Well anyway, I have to go back to my real life.

  • Stephen

    Cinncinatus,

    I’m not sure I connected it in the way you say. Regadless of what Roe was decided upon, I do think that civil rights will play into it in the future should it become illegal. It is far too easy these days for the gov’t to plow a road right into people’s lives. Unless one has money and influence, and a good lawyer, most of us are at its mercy. Isn’t this the general conservative fear?

    Well anyway, I have to go back to my real life.

  • kerner

    fws:

    Here in Brasil abortion is illegal. This means that noone talks about it. Yet the abortion rates are astronomical I am told. And the abortions happen in the most dangerous circumstances imaginable. Yes abortionists (who are NOT doctors) are prosecuted, and severely so, if found out. It does not seem to be diminishing the numbers of abortions. I am told that they continue to increase here.

    As I said, sometimes criminal laws are the minority imposing its will on the majority. When that happens, the result is almost always widespread lawlessness. I don’t know how you could measure the abortion rate in Brasil, it being underground, but consider this.

    The USA is not Brasil, and there are ways to approach this. For example, in the United States the anti-tobacco people have done a very effective job of making tobacco use more and more socially unacceptable. Since so many people disapprove of tobacco, its use has been gradually restricted by regulation. I don’t know if we will see the end of it in my lifetime, but we have seen it diminish gradually through a combined campaign of media persuasion, taxation and legal regulation.

    I concede that we cannot just waive a majic wand and change this culture. We can, however, embark on a broad campaign, similar to that of the anti-tobacco folks. Some of this has already been accomplished. In many parts of the USA, abortion is very socially unacceptable. I am told that there are no abortion clinics in a couple of states, while others have only one. On the other side of the coin, pro-life forces greatly expanded the options for pregnant women. There are many agencies that will support expecting mothers in high stress situations. But this requires walking a fine line. While we want to encourage childbirth, we don’t want to encourage promiscuity. Still, we have been living with an increase in illegitimacy for the sake of life.

    One area that is far behind is the evolution of our attitudes toward adoption. My information is anecdotal here, but I think some people have come to see “giving up your baby” as an ignoble thing. Which is ironic, but I think it has something to do with the unavoidable publicity. It is difficult to hide a pregnancy when it goes to term, and while many people seem to tolerate single motherhood these days, they seem ashamed of not wanting to raise the child. But abortion can be done in secret, so some women would rather kill their child in secret rather than give away their child publicly. The weird thing is that no one expects single women to be chaste anymore. So we have the strange situation in which women are not ashamed to be sexually active, but they are ashamed to get pregnant at an inconvenient time, and they are ashamed to allow a childless couple adopt their unwanted children. There is clearly room for improvement here and that will take time.

    Legally, the federalist approach advocated by Ron Paul would allow those states where abortion is socially unacceptable ban it. This would probably reduce the number of abortions further, but those wealthy enough and determined enough to travel would still get them. A problem with that approach is that we would have a polarized country, like the slave states and free states pre 1863. That situation did not end well. But there may be little alternative.

    But, one necessary prerequisite to making any progress on the legal front is that Roe v. Wade must be overturned. As long as we are operating under the constraints of that very flawed decision, a campaign of gradual legal restrictions on abortion is hamstrung. I still believe this goal is attainable in our lifetime, provided the right presidents are elected to appoint the right justices to the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, this puts us squarely in the “Culture War” that tODD deplores. But I don’t see any alternative.

    Holding something to be a “Constitutional right” is more than legalese. It is a statement by our society that the “right” is something we are endowed by our creator to have. Therefore, it is a powerful statement that the “right” is something intrinsically good. Roe v. Wade simply has to go. And that means that Republicans have to be elected, unless some of you democrats can bring a few of your fellow travelers around. If there were still pro-life Democrats to be found, this would not be a problem, but alas.

  • kerner

    fws:

    Here in Brasil abortion is illegal. This means that noone talks about it. Yet the abortion rates are astronomical I am told. And the abortions happen in the most dangerous circumstances imaginable. Yes abortionists (who are NOT doctors) are prosecuted, and severely so, if found out. It does not seem to be diminishing the numbers of abortions. I am told that they continue to increase here.

    As I said, sometimes criminal laws are the minority imposing its will on the majority. When that happens, the result is almost always widespread lawlessness. I don’t know how you could measure the abortion rate in Brasil, it being underground, but consider this.

    The USA is not Brasil, and there are ways to approach this. For example, in the United States the anti-tobacco people have done a very effective job of making tobacco use more and more socially unacceptable. Since so many people disapprove of tobacco, its use has been gradually restricted by regulation. I don’t know if we will see the end of it in my lifetime, but we have seen it diminish gradually through a combined campaign of media persuasion, taxation and legal regulation.

    I concede that we cannot just waive a majic wand and change this culture. We can, however, embark on a broad campaign, similar to that of the anti-tobacco folks. Some of this has already been accomplished. In many parts of the USA, abortion is very socially unacceptable. I am told that there are no abortion clinics in a couple of states, while others have only one. On the other side of the coin, pro-life forces greatly expanded the options for pregnant women. There are many agencies that will support expecting mothers in high stress situations. But this requires walking a fine line. While we want to encourage childbirth, we don’t want to encourage promiscuity. Still, we have been living with an increase in illegitimacy for the sake of life.

    One area that is far behind is the evolution of our attitudes toward adoption. My information is anecdotal here, but I think some people have come to see “giving up your baby” as an ignoble thing. Which is ironic, but I think it has something to do with the unavoidable publicity. It is difficult to hide a pregnancy when it goes to term, and while many people seem to tolerate single motherhood these days, they seem ashamed of not wanting to raise the child. But abortion can be done in secret, so some women would rather kill their child in secret rather than give away their child publicly. The weird thing is that no one expects single women to be chaste anymore. So we have the strange situation in which women are not ashamed to be sexually active, but they are ashamed to get pregnant at an inconvenient time, and they are ashamed to allow a childless couple adopt their unwanted children. There is clearly room for improvement here and that will take time.

    Legally, the federalist approach advocated by Ron Paul would allow those states where abortion is socially unacceptable ban it. This would probably reduce the number of abortions further, but those wealthy enough and determined enough to travel would still get them. A problem with that approach is that we would have a polarized country, like the slave states and free states pre 1863. That situation did not end well. But there may be little alternative.

    But, one necessary prerequisite to making any progress on the legal front is that Roe v. Wade must be overturned. As long as we are operating under the constraints of that very flawed decision, a campaign of gradual legal restrictions on abortion is hamstrung. I still believe this goal is attainable in our lifetime, provided the right presidents are elected to appoint the right justices to the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, this puts us squarely in the “Culture War” that tODD deplores. But I don’t see any alternative.

    Holding something to be a “Constitutional right” is more than legalese. It is a statement by our society that the “right” is something we are endowed by our creator to have. Therefore, it is a powerful statement that the “right” is something intrinsically good. Roe v. Wade simply has to go. And that means that Republicans have to be elected, unless some of you democrats can bring a few of your fellow travelers around. If there were still pro-life Democrats to be found, this would not be a problem, but alas.

  • kerner

    Stephen:

    “I meant ot make light of the common Lutheran attitude about political power being ordained by God.”

    Read the Large Catechism on the Fourth Commandment. That is exactly what it says. But that doesn’t mean it agrees with our observations or desires or beliefs of how it ought to be. But that is what obedience is.

    The George W. Bush was God’s annointed one, and our conquest of Iraq was His Holy Will. Better get over it.

    Frankly, I don’t believe that is all there is to it, in light of some of what the rest of the confessions have to say.

  • kerner

    Stephen:

    “I meant ot make light of the common Lutheran attitude about political power being ordained by God.”

    Read the Large Catechism on the Fourth Commandment. That is exactly what it says. But that doesn’t mean it agrees with our observations or desires or beliefs of how it ought to be. But that is what obedience is.

    The George W. Bush was God’s annointed one, and our conquest of Iraq was His Holy Will. Better get over it.

    Frankly, I don’t believe that is all there is to it, in light of some of what the rest of the confessions have to say.

  • kerner

    Argh, I messed that up. The first part was Stephen’s response to me, the second is my reply.

  • kerner

    Argh, I messed that up. The first part was Stephen’s response to me, the second is my reply.

  • John C

    There will always be a market for illegal abortions. And being illegal, it will not always be doctors who provide these services in conditions that will not always be clinical.
    Some women will suffer agonoizing deaths and others will be rendered infertile but desparation will overcome their fear of death or prosecution.
    As Kerner said , Brasil is not the USA. Nor is the Phillipines. But According to Wikipedia there were 400 000 abortions in the Phillipines in 1994 and 80 000 hopitalizations for abortion related complications: 12% of all maternal deaths were due to to unsafe abortion and 66% of Filipino women who have abortions seek to self induce.
    These statistics are stark. To legislate for moral purity in this case does have real life consequences for women and their families. Women have always sought to control their fertility.
    To deny women the right to choose and to criminalize a safe medical proceedure may be morally ambiguous than the act of having a legal abortion.
    I for one, do not wish to deny the the right of my sisters and daughters or women in general, the right to choose.

  • John C

    There will always be a market for illegal abortions. And being illegal, it will not always be doctors who provide these services in conditions that will not always be clinical.
    Some women will suffer agonoizing deaths and others will be rendered infertile but desparation will overcome their fear of death or prosecution.
    As Kerner said , Brasil is not the USA. Nor is the Phillipines. But According to Wikipedia there were 400 000 abortions in the Phillipines in 1994 and 80 000 hopitalizations for abortion related complications: 12% of all maternal deaths were due to to unsafe abortion and 66% of Filipino women who have abortions seek to self induce.
    These statistics are stark. To legislate for moral purity in this case does have real life consequences for women and their families. Women have always sought to control their fertility.
    To deny women the right to choose and to criminalize a safe medical proceedure may be morally ambiguous than the act of having a legal abortion.
    I for one, do not wish to deny the the right of my sisters and daughters or women in general, the right to choose.

  • Stephen

    Kerner, Don, and anyone else disturbed by what I have said,

    If you read the explanation in the Large Catechism to the 4th Commandment (God’s Divine Law written down) you will find that this commandment is to be prized above all others in the second table of the law. It is the primary duty next to love of God (first table) that we owe on earth. And what does our conscience say? Exactly the same thing. Family is a divine institution. It is to be prized above all else on earth. To have a mother and a father – a family, that is – is the greatest gift one can possess.

    Is there anything about that which is not in concord with the conservative political platform? That is exactly why conservatives emphasize it so strongly. They also make the point quite stridently that a family is a father and mother, sometimes to the exclusion of every other version of family.

    Why is it so “weird” that a woman would be ashamed to be single and pregnant? It has always been the case. Unwed single mothers had their babies in secret. They were often forced to, shuttled off somewhere for a year or so. That was the norm for most of civilized history, specifically in Christendom. And we even have a derogatory term for the children they birthed. That shame did not cease once the baby was born. It followed them their whole lives. women have always born not only the brunt of responsibility for children, but also the shame when they cannot provide when they had no husband. Men, of course, get away clean. Only the ones who obey their conscience do their duty to women. And as we all know, their are not enough of those kinds of men, something else that conservatives (rightly) decry. We still live in a man’s world.

    And who was often the source of all that shame? The church and the Christians who showed them little mercy, because, I guess, they see family as sacred. But i don’t think that’s why. Shame abounds in this situation. The law always accuses, and we will often try to impose law to avoid shame rather than offering mercy. Not always, but I think it is much more often than the other way around.

    Most women I know KNOW that children need fathers. Even lesbians know this and often try to provide some kind of surrogate, usually from their own family, but if abandoned or ostracized by their family, then they find a trusted friend. Gay men know it too, and do the same thing in trying to provide a woman for their child. The divine law of the 4th commandment exists in all of us.

    Women do not seek choice for no reason, or simply so they can be promiscuous. In my experience, that is simply a lie. They seek it because they realize that the deck is stacked against them in just the way I described. It is a man’s world and they will shirk their responsibilities. Men are violent. Men avoid children for as long as they can, even after they get married. Not all of them, but many. This to is not in accord with conscience, the divine law regarding what families ought to be written int he minds of all. Family is to be prized as the greatest treasure and men cannot be trusted in that regard. What is worse, when a woman tries to claim she is raising a family when she is doing it on her own, conservatives are quick to distinguish and say “no they’re not, not really. Where’s dad?” Think Dan Quayle and Murphy Brown as an example of the rhetoric that continues to this day. It also plays out in the unwillingness of conservatives to support programs to help them. The conservative rhetoric is constantly threatening to take things way that women need.

    So why should they trust the very people who ladle on the shame, deride them as illegitimate, and believe they are just protecting the right to be promiscuous (whores)? They want power and authority over their own lives, their own families for that matter because they are tired of being manipulated, abandoned and abused by men. the contradiction I was pointing to that all this began with is just that – conservatives who say the gov’t has no business in my business are the very same ones who want to take that away from women.

    Everyone’s conscience is bothered by this. Not enough you might say. I doubt it. I doubt it because God says it to every conscience. He wrote it down too. I believe it is far worse for women to have abortions than to keep their babies. It will haunt them for the rest of their lives because the divine law is written in the mind. This is the kind of mercy I was encouraging in my own “solution” to ending, or at least curtailing abortion to almost nothing. But again, women do not sense mercy from the right. All they hear is law, and so they too run to the law for justice and mercy. They are killers, murderers. That’s not merciful rhetoric.

    Do some Christians provide that mercy? Certainly, but we’ve got a long way to go before most women will avail themselves of that. Adoption is one form of that, but they are already alienated from the church because mostly what we offer is condemnation. We are much better at that than anything else. In fact, Christians are experts at it I’d say.

    Reading further in the catechism on the 4th commandment you will also notice how strongly Luther writes about the duty of gov’t to the family. It is the primary duty of gov’t and why we should also prize the give of that “ordinance” (not anointing like your joke about Bush). Gov’t is to provide for the needs of families in any number of ways, all under the heading of daily bread. God will punish and remove a gov’t, taking away the God ordained power given to them, in the event that this does not happen. That is the divine law, and we all know in some way that this is right, we have different ideas of how that is accomplished, but we still all know that gov’ts should protect families and insure they are treated with justice, that they are provided for, and that they are able to live in peace. The gov’t is to serve that and not interfere with it because family is the primary institution in the earthly kingdom.

    We have messed that up badly. I don’t think it is because we now allow gays to have families. I don’t think it is because we can, if we choose, to support women who try to make a family against all odds when men are shirkers and demand the same respect as the nuclear family. I think it is because the divine law accuses us and so in an effort to meet its demands, instead of supporting the broken world with love and mercy, we (conservatives) generally make the mistake of turning the nuclear family into an idol. It is done by believing we can do the law. No sin or savior in that, just us making an idol of the rules, making them the ultimate truth.

    I understand this (I think). Family is so very close to God himself. I think of this whenever I have to discipline my child. It pains me and it pains God to discipline us as well. Parents are like gods to children. In our faith, we even call God Father which is right to do. Fathers are to emulate the father in heaven and are his instrument on earth. But again, we fail at this. We simply cannot meet that standard of perfection that the law demands. Many men run from the accusations of the law. I can be a shirker even as I am faithful to my wife and children. How can that be? I’m a sinner who needs a gracious God to forgive me for not being the father I ought to be, for not meeting the law’s demand. Something else is at work in my members (Romans 78). Thank God for Jesus Christ who takes away my sin.

    So we have different ideas of how families can/do remain the primary institution on earth. Frank’s point is that in biblical times, no one could mess with that bond and men had complete and utter authority over families – life and death. This was not an ordinance Paul saw fit to mess with in his time. Obey fathers and obey gov’t. That is it. He did, however, enjoin these things to mercy.

    So what does that mercy look like? In looks like the things he describes in terms of family relationships – loving the other as if they were you – the whole of the law. Who is to hear that primarily? Fathers. And that is exactly why abortion is wrong AND why it is wrong for the gov’t to intrude into the authority of fathers over that family. This divine law already existed from the “things that are seen” and understood by all. It was already the way society worked. Paul preaches that yes, this is as God desires, and shows that the whole purpose of it is that love is done.

    The problem is that this creates in our time a fundamental enmity between family and gov’t because of how we view the individual. In our time, they are distinct and have “rights” that at one time were always and only the providence of free men in the Roman world. Both situations are what God has ordained. For gov’t to rightly administer these rights to all, in your view, they must intrude into the family, whatever form that is (and yes, this means the nuclear family too). We all know that intrusions by gov’t into the family are somehow just not right, and yet we are faced with this issue of protecting the rights of all. What to do? Impose law? On way or the other that is what we are doing – coming up with law solutions. They are not working. They cannot take away the sin of the world.

    What is left? Mercy. God was in Christ reconciling himself to the world. Since that is the case, says Paul, we need not be at odds with it either. We are free to be merciful. That is how we are reconciled. And even that is law, the whole entire purpose of it on earth.

    Okay, maybe none of that makes sense. The comeback is always “what about the unborn? Where is the mercy for them?” And the response to that is “where is the mercy women, or for all the other children dying in the world from bombs and hunger and disease (you know, things that conservative rhetoric says gov’t has no business wasting “my money” on even though the family ought to be supported by gov’t according to our faith). We are at an impasse when it comes to the law.

    How can gov’t best support families as the divine law requires? I have not got a law answer to that, but I do know why we have law – so that love and mercy are done on earth by accusing our consciences ALWAYS. I think we all, right and left, make an idol of the law just like the Pharisees did, and we have lost sight of why it exists in the first place. And yet something within us (the divine law) strains to meet that end of love and mercy. But because we are sinners we can’t, and yet we try. So we run to the law to tame it so that we can manage it. But we do not do the law, it does us. We are stuck with that until the end of time.

    So there you go. Family comes first and gov’t should not intrude. We all know this deep down, we just have different ways of understanding how that can be so. This is why, I think, some Republicans and Libertarians can be for abortion rights. It is also why some liberal and independents (I consider myself to be the latter) can find the whole thing troubling and difficult to legislate and/or at least talk about and still sound compassionate. Is everyone in that situation being completely forthcoming? Probably not. Even conservatives think the law can and should make allowances of some sort for mothers who “murder” their children through abortions. And yet they are murderers, right? They are murderers with intention and premeditation, right? Do you see any inconsistency there? Why is that so? It is because the law is always accusing us to do love and be merciful. That is the whole end and purpose of any law, all law. And yet our consciences will not let us rest in law because it always accuses. We all need and know we need to give love and mercy.

  • Stephen

    Kerner, Don, and anyone else disturbed by what I have said,

    If you read the explanation in the Large Catechism to the 4th Commandment (God’s Divine Law written down) you will find that this commandment is to be prized above all others in the second table of the law. It is the primary duty next to love of God (first table) that we owe on earth. And what does our conscience say? Exactly the same thing. Family is a divine institution. It is to be prized above all else on earth. To have a mother and a father – a family, that is – is the greatest gift one can possess.

    Is there anything about that which is not in concord with the conservative political platform? That is exactly why conservatives emphasize it so strongly. They also make the point quite stridently that a family is a father and mother, sometimes to the exclusion of every other version of family.

    Why is it so “weird” that a woman would be ashamed to be single and pregnant? It has always been the case. Unwed single mothers had their babies in secret. They were often forced to, shuttled off somewhere for a year or so. That was the norm for most of civilized history, specifically in Christendom. And we even have a derogatory term for the children they birthed. That shame did not cease once the baby was born. It followed them their whole lives. women have always born not only the brunt of responsibility for children, but also the shame when they cannot provide when they had no husband. Men, of course, get away clean. Only the ones who obey their conscience do their duty to women. And as we all know, their are not enough of those kinds of men, something else that conservatives (rightly) decry. We still live in a man’s world.

    And who was often the source of all that shame? The church and the Christians who showed them little mercy, because, I guess, they see family as sacred. But i don’t think that’s why. Shame abounds in this situation. The law always accuses, and we will often try to impose law to avoid shame rather than offering mercy. Not always, but I think it is much more often than the other way around.

    Most women I know KNOW that children need fathers. Even lesbians know this and often try to provide some kind of surrogate, usually from their own family, but if abandoned or ostracized by their family, then they find a trusted friend. Gay men know it too, and do the same thing in trying to provide a woman for their child. The divine law of the 4th commandment exists in all of us.

    Women do not seek choice for no reason, or simply so they can be promiscuous. In my experience, that is simply a lie. They seek it because they realize that the deck is stacked against them in just the way I described. It is a man’s world and they will shirk their responsibilities. Men are violent. Men avoid children for as long as they can, even after they get married. Not all of them, but many. This to is not in accord with conscience, the divine law regarding what families ought to be written int he minds of all. Family is to be prized as the greatest treasure and men cannot be trusted in that regard. What is worse, when a woman tries to claim she is raising a family when she is doing it on her own, conservatives are quick to distinguish and say “no they’re not, not really. Where’s dad?” Think Dan Quayle and Murphy Brown as an example of the rhetoric that continues to this day. It also plays out in the unwillingness of conservatives to support programs to help them. The conservative rhetoric is constantly threatening to take things way that women need.

    So why should they trust the very people who ladle on the shame, deride them as illegitimate, and believe they are just protecting the right to be promiscuous (whores)? They want power and authority over their own lives, their own families for that matter because they are tired of being manipulated, abandoned and abused by men. the contradiction I was pointing to that all this began with is just that – conservatives who say the gov’t has no business in my business are the very same ones who want to take that away from women.

    Everyone’s conscience is bothered by this. Not enough you might say. I doubt it. I doubt it because God says it to every conscience. He wrote it down too. I believe it is far worse for women to have abortions than to keep their babies. It will haunt them for the rest of their lives because the divine law is written in the mind. This is the kind of mercy I was encouraging in my own “solution” to ending, or at least curtailing abortion to almost nothing. But again, women do not sense mercy from the right. All they hear is law, and so they too run to the law for justice and mercy. They are killers, murderers. That’s not merciful rhetoric.

    Do some Christians provide that mercy? Certainly, but we’ve got a long way to go before most women will avail themselves of that. Adoption is one form of that, but they are already alienated from the church because mostly what we offer is condemnation. We are much better at that than anything else. In fact, Christians are experts at it I’d say.

    Reading further in the catechism on the 4th commandment you will also notice how strongly Luther writes about the duty of gov’t to the family. It is the primary duty of gov’t and why we should also prize the give of that “ordinance” (not anointing like your joke about Bush). Gov’t is to provide for the needs of families in any number of ways, all under the heading of daily bread. God will punish and remove a gov’t, taking away the God ordained power given to them, in the event that this does not happen. That is the divine law, and we all know in some way that this is right, we have different ideas of how that is accomplished, but we still all know that gov’ts should protect families and insure they are treated with justice, that they are provided for, and that they are able to live in peace. The gov’t is to serve that and not interfere with it because family is the primary institution in the earthly kingdom.

    We have messed that up badly. I don’t think it is because we now allow gays to have families. I don’t think it is because we can, if we choose, to support women who try to make a family against all odds when men are shirkers and demand the same respect as the nuclear family. I think it is because the divine law accuses us and so in an effort to meet its demands, instead of supporting the broken world with love and mercy, we (conservatives) generally make the mistake of turning the nuclear family into an idol. It is done by believing we can do the law. No sin or savior in that, just us making an idol of the rules, making them the ultimate truth.

    I understand this (I think). Family is so very close to God himself. I think of this whenever I have to discipline my child. It pains me and it pains God to discipline us as well. Parents are like gods to children. In our faith, we even call God Father which is right to do. Fathers are to emulate the father in heaven and are his instrument on earth. But again, we fail at this. We simply cannot meet that standard of perfection that the law demands. Many men run from the accusations of the law. I can be a shirker even as I am faithful to my wife and children. How can that be? I’m a sinner who needs a gracious God to forgive me for not being the father I ought to be, for not meeting the law’s demand. Something else is at work in my members (Romans 78). Thank God for Jesus Christ who takes away my sin.

    So we have different ideas of how families can/do remain the primary institution on earth. Frank’s point is that in biblical times, no one could mess with that bond and men had complete and utter authority over families – life and death. This was not an ordinance Paul saw fit to mess with in his time. Obey fathers and obey gov’t. That is it. He did, however, enjoin these things to mercy.

    So what does that mercy look like? In looks like the things he describes in terms of family relationships – loving the other as if they were you – the whole of the law. Who is to hear that primarily? Fathers. And that is exactly why abortion is wrong AND why it is wrong for the gov’t to intrude into the authority of fathers over that family. This divine law already existed from the “things that are seen” and understood by all. It was already the way society worked. Paul preaches that yes, this is as God desires, and shows that the whole purpose of it is that love is done.

    The problem is that this creates in our time a fundamental enmity between family and gov’t because of how we view the individual. In our time, they are distinct and have “rights” that at one time were always and only the providence of free men in the Roman world. Both situations are what God has ordained. For gov’t to rightly administer these rights to all, in your view, they must intrude into the family, whatever form that is (and yes, this means the nuclear family too). We all know that intrusions by gov’t into the family are somehow just not right, and yet we are faced with this issue of protecting the rights of all. What to do? Impose law? On way or the other that is what we are doing – coming up with law solutions. They are not working. They cannot take away the sin of the world.

    What is left? Mercy. God was in Christ reconciling himself to the world. Since that is the case, says Paul, we need not be at odds with it either. We are free to be merciful. That is how we are reconciled. And even that is law, the whole entire purpose of it on earth.

    Okay, maybe none of that makes sense. The comeback is always “what about the unborn? Where is the mercy for them?” And the response to that is “where is the mercy women, or for all the other children dying in the world from bombs and hunger and disease (you know, things that conservative rhetoric says gov’t has no business wasting “my money” on even though the family ought to be supported by gov’t according to our faith). We are at an impasse when it comes to the law.

    How can gov’t best support families as the divine law requires? I have not got a law answer to that, but I do know why we have law – so that love and mercy are done on earth by accusing our consciences ALWAYS. I think we all, right and left, make an idol of the law just like the Pharisees did, and we have lost sight of why it exists in the first place. And yet something within us (the divine law) strains to meet that end of love and mercy. But because we are sinners we can’t, and yet we try. So we run to the law to tame it so that we can manage it. But we do not do the law, it does us. We are stuck with that until the end of time.

    So there you go. Family comes first and gov’t should not intrude. We all know this deep down, we just have different ways of understanding how that can be so. This is why, I think, some Republicans and Libertarians can be for abortion rights. It is also why some liberal and independents (I consider myself to be the latter) can find the whole thing troubling and difficult to legislate and/or at least talk about and still sound compassionate. Is everyone in that situation being completely forthcoming? Probably not. Even conservatives think the law can and should make allowances of some sort for mothers who “murder” their children through abortions. And yet they are murderers, right? They are murderers with intention and premeditation, right? Do you see any inconsistency there? Why is that so? It is because the law is always accusing us to do love and be merciful. That is the whole end and purpose of any law, all law. And yet our consciences will not let us rest in law because it always accuses. We all need and know we need to give love and mercy.

  • fws

    what stephen says @ 71

    wanting to end the tragedy and murder of abortions can take many forms. Steven is not wrong, nor is kerner, nor are the others here. there is room here for debate about what would best achieve that end without accusing all who favor legalizing abortion of favoring murder . abortion is murder.

  • fws

    what stephen says @ 71

    wanting to end the tragedy and murder of abortions can take many forms. Steven is not wrong, nor is kerner, nor are the others here. there is room here for debate about what would best achieve that end without accusing all who favor legalizing abortion of favoring murder . abortion is murder.

  • fws

    Kerner,

    I simply do not agree that reversing roe vs wade is the holy grail on this.

    why not? Our constitution is not about enumerating the rights of the populace. You mistake our constitution with those of countries that substituted a monarch for a constitution. In those countries constitutions exist to enumerate the rights that the monarch, er, government, grants to its vassal/chattle citizens.

    In the us constitution, the purpose is to enumerate (and hence limit) the “rights” of the government. Roe vs wade had that govt power not supercede the right of head of household.

    This seems to be a return to the “natural law” position of the pre christian era. But only partially and inconsistently.

    Maybe it is simply what needs to be the default position in an age where there are muslims who insist on sharia law in their family relationships and those who wish to practice polygamy.

    Women acheiving more equality is the overcoming of the same list of curses that includes weeds, work as odious, and women needing demerol at child birth. And overcoming those gen 3 curses presents yet other problems doesnt it? The Law always accuses. And it does this for our good, even in the Order of Creation as it is now in it´s fallen state. And this female equality has only happened where holy baptism has worked it´s influence. Ditto for all the other blessings of a 40 hour work week, and medical advances, etc etc.

    And maybe christians need to be cool with all that? It worked out well for 1st century christians after all.

    Why the insistence to be the minority that seeks to use the sword to mandate the behavior of others? And why make this correlation between christianity, “conservatism” and voting in this way? Like some sort of litmus test. Like it is simply impossible for an abortion hating christian to also be pro “choice”?

    It could be argued that abortion, exposure and many horrible crimes happened with the head of family having so much power. Ditto the evils of slavery , rape as merely a property right violation (women as property??!!) Yet the bible says not one peep about this except this : “Obey”.

    Only faith can accept and understand this and not reach for the sword but merely drop dead to all this in Holy Baptism

  • fws

    Kerner,

    I simply do not agree that reversing roe vs wade is the holy grail on this.

    why not? Our constitution is not about enumerating the rights of the populace. You mistake our constitution with those of countries that substituted a monarch for a constitution. In those countries constitutions exist to enumerate the rights that the monarch, er, government, grants to its vassal/chattle citizens.

    In the us constitution, the purpose is to enumerate (and hence limit) the “rights” of the government. Roe vs wade had that govt power not supercede the right of head of household.

    This seems to be a return to the “natural law” position of the pre christian era. But only partially and inconsistently.

    Maybe it is simply what needs to be the default position in an age where there are muslims who insist on sharia law in their family relationships and those who wish to practice polygamy.

    Women acheiving more equality is the overcoming of the same list of curses that includes weeds, work as odious, and women needing demerol at child birth. And overcoming those gen 3 curses presents yet other problems doesnt it? The Law always accuses. And it does this for our good, even in the Order of Creation as it is now in it´s fallen state. And this female equality has only happened where holy baptism has worked it´s influence. Ditto for all the other blessings of a 40 hour work week, and medical advances, etc etc.

    And maybe christians need to be cool with all that? It worked out well for 1st century christians after all.

    Why the insistence to be the minority that seeks to use the sword to mandate the behavior of others? And why make this correlation between christianity, “conservatism” and voting in this way? Like some sort of litmus test. Like it is simply impossible for an abortion hating christian to also be pro “choice”?

    It could be argued that abortion, exposure and many horrible crimes happened with the head of family having so much power. Ditto the evils of slavery , rape as merely a property right violation (women as property??!!) Yet the bible says not one peep about this except this : “Obey”.

    Only faith can accept and understand this and not reach for the sword but merely drop dead to all this in Holy Baptism

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I for one, do not wish to deny the the right of my sisters and daughters or women in general, the right to choose.”

    What about the right of the child to live?

    The mother’s rights should not supersede the child’s rights just because she has more power.

    I don’t buy the “might makes right” argument.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I for one, do not wish to deny the the right of my sisters and daughters or women in general, the right to choose.”

    What about the right of the child to live?

    The mother’s rights should not supersede the child’s rights just because she has more power.

    I don’t buy the “might makes right” argument.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Here in Brasil abortion is illegal. This means that noone talks about it. Yet the abortion rates are astronomical I am told. And the abortions happen in the most dangerous circumstances imaginable. Yes abortionists (who are NOT doctors) are prosecuted, and severely so, if found out. It does not seem to be diminishing the numbers of abortions. I am told that they continue to increase here.

    Why such credulity?

    If the numbers are there, let them produce the evidence.

    They probably can’t.

    In the lead up to Roe v. Wade, there were all the same wild unsubstantiated claims, and later some admitted that they outright lied including Bernard Nathanson M.D. who was a leading proponent.

    Folks who may have wanted to help the desperate ended up issuing a carte blanche license to every predacious guy who would rather coerce his girlfriend to submit to abortion than be responsible for his child.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Here in Brasil abortion is illegal. This means that noone talks about it. Yet the abortion rates are astronomical I am told. And the abortions happen in the most dangerous circumstances imaginable. Yes abortionists (who are NOT doctors) are prosecuted, and severely so, if found out. It does not seem to be diminishing the numbers of abortions. I am told that they continue to increase here.

    Why such credulity?

    If the numbers are there, let them produce the evidence.

    They probably can’t.

    In the lead up to Roe v. Wade, there were all the same wild unsubstantiated claims, and later some admitted that they outright lied including Bernard Nathanson M.D. who was a leading proponent.

    Folks who may have wanted to help the desperate ended up issuing a carte blanche license to every predacious guy who would rather coerce his girlfriend to submit to abortion than be responsible for his child.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Why is it we are so gullible that we can’t imagine that those who would murder would also lie?

    Consider the situation recently in Mexico.

    http://www.jillstanek.com/msm-antilife-bias/those-gazillion.html

    Back in March of this year, before the legalization, Tobar reported a claim from abortion activists that “about 1 million [largely illegal] abortions are performed in Mexico each year.” In April, a Times editorial echoed the line: “It’s estimated that up to 1 million Mexican women seek abortions every year.”

    Yet on Saturday (11/3/07), Tobar reported that in the first six months since abortion was legalized, “more than 3,400 women have received abortions at 14 of the capital’s public hospitals.”
    Let’s do some math. The 3,400 number covers the first six months since legalization. At this pace, Mexico City’s public hospitals will perform about 7,000 abortions in one year’s time.

    Seven thousand is 0.7% of one million. Tobar and the Times apparently want us to believe that one million women a year used to seek out dangerous, costly, and (almost entirely) illegal abortions, yet now less than one percent of that number will have a “safe,” legal, and free abortion over the same period of time in the capital’s public hospitals?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Why is it we are so gullible that we can’t imagine that those who would murder would also lie?

    Consider the situation recently in Mexico.

    http://www.jillstanek.com/msm-antilife-bias/those-gazillion.html

    Back in March of this year, before the legalization, Tobar reported a claim from abortion activists that “about 1 million [largely illegal] abortions are performed in Mexico each year.” In April, a Times editorial echoed the line: “It’s estimated that up to 1 million Mexican women seek abortions every year.”

    Yet on Saturday (11/3/07), Tobar reported that in the first six months since abortion was legalized, “more than 3,400 women have received abortions at 14 of the capital’s public hospitals.”
    Let’s do some math. The 3,400 number covers the first six months since legalization. At this pace, Mexico City’s public hospitals will perform about 7,000 abortions in one year’s time.

    Seven thousand is 0.7% of one million. Tobar and the Times apparently want us to believe that one million women a year used to seek out dangerous, costly, and (almost entirely) illegal abortions, yet now less than one percent of that number will have a “safe,” legal, and free abortion over the same period of time in the capital’s public hospitals?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Do some Christians provide that mercy? Certainly, but we’ve got a long way to go before most women will avail themselves of that.”

    This is a misunderstanding of female thinking. Women who are pregnant are always asked about their pregnancy. These questions will mean that she will have to deal constantly with the fact that she has been rejected by the father of the baby. Rejection by him is the stigma, not rejection by the church, others etc. She has to wear the badge of being undesirable. That is what she wants to avoid. Women hate that. That is why there are billion dollar industries hawking wares promising to make customers more desirable.

    “Adoption is one form of that, but they are already alienated from the church because mostly what we offer is condemnation. We are much better at that than anything else. In fact, Christians are experts at it I’d say.”

    Are you describing the folks at your congregation? Are you speaking from personal experience?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Do some Christians provide that mercy? Certainly, but we’ve got a long way to go before most women will avail themselves of that.”

    This is a misunderstanding of female thinking. Women who are pregnant are always asked about their pregnancy. These questions will mean that she will have to deal constantly with the fact that she has been rejected by the father of the baby. Rejection by him is the stigma, not rejection by the church, others etc. She has to wear the badge of being undesirable. That is what she wants to avoid. Women hate that. That is why there are billion dollar industries hawking wares promising to make customers more desirable.

    “Adoption is one form of that, but they are already alienated from the church because mostly what we offer is condemnation. We are much better at that than anything else. In fact, Christians are experts at it I’d say.”

    Are you describing the folks at your congregation? Are you speaking from personal experience?

  • DonS

    Jonathan @ 14: You do realize that the guardsmen killed in the IHOP tragedy were unarmed, right? Or were you so intent on making a cheap political point that you didn’t investigate or care to know the facts?

  • DonS

    Jonathan @ 14: You do realize that the guardsmen killed in the IHOP tragedy were unarmed, right? Or were you so intent on making a cheap political point that you didn’t investigate or care to know the facts?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    You know, I don’t have it in me to participate in the rest of this discussion. Sorry.

    But as for your comment, SG (@76), I thought you were supposed to be better at statistics than that. Did you not notice the serious apples-and-oranges (or, less charitably, bait-and-switch) tactic that Jill Stanek did?

    Read it again. The author is attempting to compare an estimate for the entire country of Mexico with an actual number from … Mexico City.

    Um, come on. Mexico City is only 8% of the population of Mexico. Which is still off by a factor of 10 (compared to the 0.7% figure that Stankek was all “Whaaa?!” over), yes, but suddenly things are not so disparate.
    But several other factors have to be taken into account. First, it’s an estimate. A very round estimate. Obviously, there were no hard statistics available. Second, nobody seems to consider that it’s possible that illegal abortions are still taking place. Third, is it possible that abortion rates are different in Mexico City than they are throughout the rest of the country?

    And yet you swallowed that story hook, line, and sinker, and then used it as a justification for accusing people of lying. Huh.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    You know, I don’t have it in me to participate in the rest of this discussion. Sorry.

    But as for your comment, SG (@76), I thought you were supposed to be better at statistics than that. Did you not notice the serious apples-and-oranges (or, less charitably, bait-and-switch) tactic that Jill Stanek did?

    Read it again. The author is attempting to compare an estimate for the entire country of Mexico with an actual number from … Mexico City.

    Um, come on. Mexico City is only 8% of the population of Mexico. Which is still off by a factor of 10 (compared to the 0.7% figure that Stankek was all “Whaaa?!” over), yes, but suddenly things are not so disparate.
    But several other factors have to be taken into account. First, it’s an estimate. A very round estimate. Obviously, there were no hard statistics available. Second, nobody seems to consider that it’s possible that illegal abortions are still taking place. Third, is it possible that abortion rates are different in Mexico City than they are throughout the rest of the country?

    And yet you swallowed that story hook, line, and sinker, and then used it as a justification for accusing people of lying. Huh.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    tODD, first, Nathanson admitted to lying. Also, Mexico City has 21 million out of Mexico’s 110 million people. I think your point about being sloppy conflating Mexico with Mexico City is fair. However, the basis for the 1 million abortion estimate is sloppier still as well as likely a complete fabrication. It is fair to ask why the numbers are so radically far off and not just take someone’s word it. Finally, those are not my numbers. I didn’t write it, just cited it. Adjusting the numbers to account only for Mexico City, demand was apparent grossly over estimated. 20% of 1 million would be 200,000 but actual demand was only about 7,000.

    The joke at our house when the numbers are that far off is, “Rounding error!!!”

    And yes, I accuse them of lying.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    tODD, first, Nathanson admitted to lying. Also, Mexico City has 21 million out of Mexico’s 110 million people. I think your point about being sloppy conflating Mexico with Mexico City is fair. However, the basis for the 1 million abortion estimate is sloppier still as well as likely a complete fabrication. It is fair to ask why the numbers are so radically far off and not just take someone’s word it. Finally, those are not my numbers. I didn’t write it, just cited it. Adjusting the numbers to account only for Mexico City, demand was apparent grossly over estimated. 20% of 1 million would be 200,000 but actual demand was only about 7,000.

    The joke at our house when the numbers are that far off is, “Rounding error!!!”

    And yes, I accuse them of lying.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SG (@80), I think Tobar himself actually did a better job than you did of (re)assessing the numbers. He ends up concluding that “the 1-million figure appears too high”, though his estimates indicate the actual number might be well within an order of magnitude (perhaps as high as 250,000?) — which I do not consider “radically far off”. For what it’s worth, I hadn’t realized that “Mexico City is the only place where abortion on demand is legal in Mexico”.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SG (@80), I think Tobar himself actually did a better job than you did of (re)assessing the numbers. He ends up concluding that “the 1-million figure appears too high”, though his estimates indicate the actual number might be well within an order of magnitude (perhaps as high as 250,000?) — which I do not consider “radically far off”. For what it’s worth, I hadn’t realized that “Mexico City is the only place where abortion on demand is legal in Mexico”.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    The thing is there are always these assumptions and they are given far too much weight. FWS implies that he believes the unsubstantiated claims which makes me ask why. Why believe them?

    Tobar concedes he couldn’t come up with anything close to 1 million even if when he speculated that private abortions were twice as high and, demand was higher than those able to obtain abortions, etc.

    So, why believe these estimates?

    Why are we so credulous of numbers alleged by these folks?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    The thing is there are always these assumptions and they are given far too much weight. FWS implies that he believes the unsubstantiated claims which makes me ask why. Why believe them?

    Tobar concedes he couldn’t come up with anything close to 1 million even if when he speculated that private abortions were twice as high and, demand was higher than those able to obtain abortions, etc.

    So, why believe these estimates?

    Why are we so credulous of numbers alleged by these folks?

  • Stephen

    Your comments and corrections are fair. It was not my intention to impugn all Christians and especially not my own congregation. What I had in mind there was the perception about what the church means (or maybe just “church” and the people who attend). To the unchurched and those who have fallen away, I think what I describe is generally correct. Often I find myself attempting to correct this perception, and it is certainly true that personally I have a long way to go in terms of my own relationships with people who fit in the categories I indicated. I have no stats for you, but I think my experience is consistent with a general perception. There is a fundamental disconnect for these people as far as what the church says it is about and what they experience from Christians. One of the problems with this is that religion is seen as being primarily about morality. We can find all kinds of social and theological reasons for that, like the one that we are all sinners, but then we are also making excuses. And doing so becomes quickly transparent when such excuses or justifications for behaviors and attitudes only increase and consequently confirm the diagnosis, that religion is more of a problem than a solution. It’s for suckers. The sense I get is that mostly what is felt is the church threatens them even as it tries to welcome them. Fool me once . . .

    Why is this situation the case? We could blame the liberal media perhaps. Maybe it is accurate to do so to some degree. But it does not all fall on their shoulders to correct that perception. Jesus did say that the world would hate us. Maybe the law is accusing me of wanting to find a workaround so that what is heard (generally) is the love and mercy of God when it seems that what comes to mind is only judgment. I don’t think he meant that the world would hate us for the Law but for the Gospel. I do believe Lutherans, as a whole, do this “gospeling” thing much better, and that is because our confession squares with the Jesus given to us both in scripture and in the “cloud of witness” that has gone before us.

    And I have to agree with you about what you say about women. I think this is very true. The beauty industry is undeniable. And what is at the root of it but the desires of men that women feel they need to meet? Wouldn’t you agree? So likewise, as far as those perceptions I referred to about the church and the kinds of people who have them, women (some/many?) see the church as the providence of men as well. They rule and control there too. They don’t like that for the reasons I have already given. That is my experience talking, as well as things I read.

    I’ll leave that particular discussion on what women want there. Bear in mind that I am not offering a prescription, but more of a description of what I see as being (for now) unworkable in regards to the categories of what should be legal and what should be illegal. I admitted to being on the fence in this regard, but personally in how I interact or speak about the morality of abortion, I have absolute certainty that an actual life is being ended. I don’ t even think one needs to be a Christian to see, understand and believe that to be true. I didn’t use the term “murder” on purpose. Is it also murder to let children starve, be killed in unnecessary wars, through greed and corruption from which we experience benefits? If you read the Large Catechism, I would think it is. I think we all countenance murder by the standards of the divine law, the same law that nags at our conscience daily to seek solutions. That is partially my point about being consistent. None of us are as consistent in our ideology as we like to believe. The law always accuses. That is why, either politically or personally, I believe, it is a lie to believe that imposing laws will always solve our dilemma. Some laws that we create are better and more workable than others. I don’t really have an opinion on whether Roe is a good or bad law, whether in itself it is Constitutionally sound or not. For now it is the law of the land, and I have to believe that God will have his will done regardless. What I am not convinced of (yet) is that, in our age, making abortion illegal will not lead to invasions by the gov’t into the family, that which is primary in the divine law, however family is construed in our time (read about the 4th commandment), and/or that another kind of human suffering will not ensue that is any more tolerable.

    This seems significant as I write:

    1 Cor 9:19 I am not anyone’s slave. But I have become a slave to everyone, so that I can win as many people as possible. 20When I am with the Jews, I live like a Jew to win Jews. They are ruled by the Law of Moses, and I am not. But I live by the Law to win them. 21And when I am with people who are not ruled by the Law, I forget about the Law to win them. Of course, I never really forget about the law of God. In fact, I am ruled by the law of Christ. 22When I am with people whose faith is weak, I live as they do to win them. I do everything I can to win everyone I possibly can. 23I do all this for the good news, because I want to share in its blessings. (CEV)

    Like I said, I don’t have an answer other than looking to what God desires on earth and trying to do it in my own life (at which I know am failing at miserably), and that is to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8). This is the whole of the law. This is love. Maybe I am not trying hard enough. Maybe what I say is rather exasperating for you. It is for me too. This whole thing accuses my conscience terribly. What exasperates me is trying to pilot some way through this liberal/conservative bifurcation of truth (the subject of this post, and every other discussion these days) without becoming some kind of fanatic. I am thankful that, because of God’s claim on me in Jesus Christ, I am forgiven for not being able to do that very well, if at all. Maybe it is just not possible. If not, I am forgiven for that too. I am just as responsible for an impossible world as anyone. But with God, all things are possible. (Mat 19:26).

  • Stephen

    Your comments and corrections are fair. It was not my intention to impugn all Christians and especially not my own congregation. What I had in mind there was the perception about what the church means (or maybe just “church” and the people who attend). To the unchurched and those who have fallen away, I think what I describe is generally correct. Often I find myself attempting to correct this perception, and it is certainly true that personally I have a long way to go in terms of my own relationships with people who fit in the categories I indicated. I have no stats for you, but I think my experience is consistent with a general perception. There is a fundamental disconnect for these people as far as what the church says it is about and what they experience from Christians. One of the problems with this is that religion is seen as being primarily about morality. We can find all kinds of social and theological reasons for that, like the one that we are all sinners, but then we are also making excuses. And doing so becomes quickly transparent when such excuses or justifications for behaviors and attitudes only increase and consequently confirm the diagnosis, that religion is more of a problem than a solution. It’s for suckers. The sense I get is that mostly what is felt is the church threatens them even as it tries to welcome them. Fool me once . . .

    Why is this situation the case? We could blame the liberal media perhaps. Maybe it is accurate to do so to some degree. But it does not all fall on their shoulders to correct that perception. Jesus did say that the world would hate us. Maybe the law is accusing me of wanting to find a workaround so that what is heard (generally) is the love and mercy of God when it seems that what comes to mind is only judgment. I don’t think he meant that the world would hate us for the Law but for the Gospel. I do believe Lutherans, as a whole, do this “gospeling” thing much better, and that is because our confession squares with the Jesus given to us both in scripture and in the “cloud of witness” that has gone before us.

    And I have to agree with you about what you say about women. I think this is very true. The beauty industry is undeniable. And what is at the root of it but the desires of men that women feel they need to meet? Wouldn’t you agree? So likewise, as far as those perceptions I referred to about the church and the kinds of people who have them, women (some/many?) see the church as the providence of men as well. They rule and control there too. They don’t like that for the reasons I have already given. That is my experience talking, as well as things I read.

    I’ll leave that particular discussion on what women want there. Bear in mind that I am not offering a prescription, but more of a description of what I see as being (for now) unworkable in regards to the categories of what should be legal and what should be illegal. I admitted to being on the fence in this regard, but personally in how I interact or speak about the morality of abortion, I have absolute certainty that an actual life is being ended. I don’ t even think one needs to be a Christian to see, understand and believe that to be true. I didn’t use the term “murder” on purpose. Is it also murder to let children starve, be killed in unnecessary wars, through greed and corruption from which we experience benefits? If you read the Large Catechism, I would think it is. I think we all countenance murder by the standards of the divine law, the same law that nags at our conscience daily to seek solutions. That is partially my point about being consistent. None of us are as consistent in our ideology as we like to believe. The law always accuses. That is why, either politically or personally, I believe, it is a lie to believe that imposing laws will always solve our dilemma. Some laws that we create are better and more workable than others. I don’t really have an opinion on whether Roe is a good or bad law, whether in itself it is Constitutionally sound or not. For now it is the law of the land, and I have to believe that God will have his will done regardless. What I am not convinced of (yet) is that, in our age, making abortion illegal will not lead to invasions by the gov’t into the family, that which is primary in the divine law, however family is construed in our time (read about the 4th commandment), and/or that another kind of human suffering will not ensue that is any more tolerable.

    This seems significant as I write:

    1 Cor 9:19 I am not anyone’s slave. But I have become a slave to everyone, so that I can win as many people as possible. 20When I am with the Jews, I live like a Jew to win Jews. They are ruled by the Law of Moses, and I am not. But I live by the Law to win them. 21And when I am with people who are not ruled by the Law, I forget about the Law to win them. Of course, I never really forget about the law of God. In fact, I am ruled by the law of Christ. 22When I am with people whose faith is weak, I live as they do to win them. I do everything I can to win everyone I possibly can. 23I do all this for the good news, because I want to share in its blessings. (CEV)

    Like I said, I don’t have an answer other than looking to what God desires on earth and trying to do it in my own life (at which I know am failing at miserably), and that is to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8). This is the whole of the law. This is love. Maybe I am not trying hard enough. Maybe what I say is rather exasperating for you. It is for me too. This whole thing accuses my conscience terribly. What exasperates me is trying to pilot some way through this liberal/conservative bifurcation of truth (the subject of this post, and every other discussion these days) without becoming some kind of fanatic. I am thankful that, because of God’s claim on me in Jesus Christ, I am forgiven for not being able to do that very well, if at all. Maybe it is just not possible. If not, I am forgiven for that too. I am just as responsible for an impossible world as anyone. But with God, all things are possible. (Mat 19:26).

  • Stephen

    Ha! All that and I forgot to write “sg”

    It’s for you.

  • Stephen

    Ha! All that and I forgot to write “sg”

    It’s for you.

  • fws

    sg @ 82

    http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1993205,00.html

    This article refers to studies without indicating where to find those studies. Google abortions in brasil. there are alot of links.

    My point: One abortion is ONE too many. Abortion is murder.

    But ….to legalize or criminalize not to approve or disaprove of abortion. You all seem to equate the two. This is alone what I am objecting to. You tacitly agree actually by pointing to statistics.

    This is tacit agreement in that you are accepting that the real issue is really what policy is more effective at discouraging abortion from happening.

    But we will probably never get to zero abortions. so will less damage happen by legalizing and regulating abortions and keeping the problem in the open and public debate? or will we manage to acheive less damage by making it illegal and driving it underground?

    So then the argument shifts to this: why not make murder in general legal ? Well now. I also happen to consider euthanasia or suicide also murder. So if we treat all murders or attempted murder identically in the same way, that means we would try all attempted suicides in court as attempted murder. Huh? Nope. that is not it. Why not? It IS murder, as is abortion, BUT… it is circumstancially different and so requires a different remedy.

    It is a different task to control what someone does in their own person in suicide or abortion than what one person does to the person of another. And NO, I am NOT denying that the fetus IS another person inside the mother. To home in on that would be to miss, entirely so, my point here.

  • fws

    sg @ 82

    http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1993205,00.html

    This article refers to studies without indicating where to find those studies. Google abortions in brasil. there are alot of links.

    My point: One abortion is ONE too many. Abortion is murder.

    But ….to legalize or criminalize not to approve or disaprove of abortion. You all seem to equate the two. This is alone what I am objecting to. You tacitly agree actually by pointing to statistics.

    This is tacit agreement in that you are accepting that the real issue is really what policy is more effective at discouraging abortion from happening.

    But we will probably never get to zero abortions. so will less damage happen by legalizing and regulating abortions and keeping the problem in the open and public debate? or will we manage to acheive less damage by making it illegal and driving it underground?

    So then the argument shifts to this: why not make murder in general legal ? Well now. I also happen to consider euthanasia or suicide also murder. So if we treat all murders or attempted murder identically in the same way, that means we would try all attempted suicides in court as attempted murder. Huh? Nope. that is not it. Why not? It IS murder, as is abortion, BUT… it is circumstancially different and so requires a different remedy.

    It is a different task to control what someone does in their own person in suicide or abortion than what one person does to the person of another. And NO, I am NOT denying that the fetus IS another person inside the mother. To home in on that would be to miss, entirely so, my point here.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    The beauty industry is undeniable. And what is at the root of it but the desires of men that women feel they need to meet? Wouldn’t you agree? So likewise, as far as those perceptions I referred to about the church and the kinds of people who have them, women (some/many?) see the church as the providence of men as well. They rule and control there too. They don’t like that for the reasons I have already given.

    That is the whole point. It is a part of the fallen world that we can’t change. Women aren’t going to stop desiring men. It is part of who they are.

    “…Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” Genesis 3:16

    Even in just plain biological terms, dominant males and submissive females have the reproductive advantage.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    The beauty industry is undeniable. And what is at the root of it but the desires of men that women feel they need to meet? Wouldn’t you agree? So likewise, as far as those perceptions I referred to about the church and the kinds of people who have them, women (some/many?) see the church as the providence of men as well. They rule and control there too. They don’t like that for the reasons I have already given.

    That is the whole point. It is a part of the fallen world that we can’t change. Women aren’t going to stop desiring men. It is part of who they are.

    “…Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” Genesis 3:16

    Even in just plain biological terms, dominant males and submissive females have the reproductive advantage.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    What exasperates me is trying to pilot some way through this liberal/conservative bifurcation of truth (the subject of this post, and every other discussion these days) without becoming some kind of fanatic. I am thankful that, because of God’s claim on me in Jesus Christ, I am forgiven for not being able to do that very well, if at all. Maybe it is just not possible. If not, I am forgiven for that too.

    Yes, you are fine. You are forgiven. It is the neighbor, the helpless child, that needs good works.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    What exasperates me is trying to pilot some way through this liberal/conservative bifurcation of truth (the subject of this post, and every other discussion these days) without becoming some kind of fanatic. I am thankful that, because of God’s claim on me in Jesus Christ, I am forgiven for not being able to do that very well, if at all. Maybe it is just not possible. If not, I am forgiven for that too.

    Yes, you are fine. You are forgiven. It is the neighbor, the helpless child, that needs good works.

  • kerner

    fws:

    Let’s examine your statement a second:

    So then the argument shifts to this: why not make murder in general legal ? Well now. I also happen to consider euthanasia or suicide also murder. So if we treat all murders or attempted murder identically in the same way, that means we would try all attempted suicides in court as attempted murder. Huh? Nope. that is not it. Why not? It IS murder, as is abortion, BUT… it is circumstancially different and so requires a different remedy.

    Now let’s make a few changes:

    So then the argument shifts to this: why not make murder in general legal ? Well now. I also happen to consider [Nazi death camps] also murder. So if we treat all murders or attempted murder identically in the same way, that means [the Nazis] would try all [death camp guards] in court as attempted murder. Huh? Nope. that is not it. Why not? [genocide] IS murder, as is abortion, BUT… it is circumstancially different and so requires a different remedy.

    My point is not to set up a straw man, but to illustrate that you could make the same argument about any kind of murder, and your argument does not explain when or why we should treat one murder differently from another. I mean, in the case of attempted suicide, the perpetrator is also the victim. I can see why there would be a different approach when the perpetrator is only hurting himself.

    What bothers me about the argument you are making is that you are failing to give any reasons that actually make a difference. No murder is ever exactly like another. Simply identifying superficial differences doesn’t justify radically different legal approaches to similar murders. A certain level of consistancy is usually a good thing in a legal system, and you haven’t really explained why the murder of a newborn infant should be treated differently than the murder of a preborn infant.

    For that matter, why should there ever be any legal punishment for any kind of sin? The law always accuses, no matter whether society imposes a punishment. We are not justified by obeying the criminal statutes. Criminals are not redeemed by serving their time. Why even limit this discussion to criminal penalties. Why should there even be civil penalties for wrongful behavior? If a person runs over another by accident, does making the driver pay the medical bills redeem his sin of negligence? The law always accuses, so whether the law forces him to pay the medical bills or not doesn’t really accomplish anything, or does it?

    Why should any kind of sin be driven underground by imposing a governmental punishment for it? Why would it not be better if all sins were out in the open. You said:

    I say legalize abortion. And start a very loud and public conversation on it. Change minds and hearts. Don’t sweep it under the rug.

    But why not also legalize rape, murder, arson, tax fraud, insider trading, drunk driving, environmental (pollution related) crimes, kidnapping, identity theft, trespassing, vandalism, robbery, child abuse, or any other crime on the books. Wouldn’t starting a very loud and public discussion about those all those things (and not sweeping them under the rug) be an equally good idea? None of those criminal prohibitions really solve any problems. The law still always accuses. All that ever happens is the problems may be somewhat diminished and comtained, and driven underground. But the law always accuses. Hearts and minds never really change (except by the Holy Spirit). So, what’s the point of imposing any legal penalties at all? For anything?

  • kerner

    fws:

    Let’s examine your statement a second:

    So then the argument shifts to this: why not make murder in general legal ? Well now. I also happen to consider euthanasia or suicide also murder. So if we treat all murders or attempted murder identically in the same way, that means we would try all attempted suicides in court as attempted murder. Huh? Nope. that is not it. Why not? It IS murder, as is abortion, BUT… it is circumstancially different and so requires a different remedy.

    Now let’s make a few changes:

    So then the argument shifts to this: why not make murder in general legal ? Well now. I also happen to consider [Nazi death camps] also murder. So if we treat all murders or attempted murder identically in the same way, that means [the Nazis] would try all [death camp guards] in court as attempted murder. Huh? Nope. that is not it. Why not? [genocide] IS murder, as is abortion, BUT… it is circumstancially different and so requires a different remedy.

    My point is not to set up a straw man, but to illustrate that you could make the same argument about any kind of murder, and your argument does not explain when or why we should treat one murder differently from another. I mean, in the case of attempted suicide, the perpetrator is also the victim. I can see why there would be a different approach when the perpetrator is only hurting himself.

    What bothers me about the argument you are making is that you are failing to give any reasons that actually make a difference. No murder is ever exactly like another. Simply identifying superficial differences doesn’t justify radically different legal approaches to similar murders. A certain level of consistancy is usually a good thing in a legal system, and you haven’t really explained why the murder of a newborn infant should be treated differently than the murder of a preborn infant.

    For that matter, why should there ever be any legal punishment for any kind of sin? The law always accuses, no matter whether society imposes a punishment. We are not justified by obeying the criminal statutes. Criminals are not redeemed by serving their time. Why even limit this discussion to criminal penalties. Why should there even be civil penalties for wrongful behavior? If a person runs over another by accident, does making the driver pay the medical bills redeem his sin of negligence? The law always accuses, so whether the law forces him to pay the medical bills or not doesn’t really accomplish anything, or does it?

    Why should any kind of sin be driven underground by imposing a governmental punishment for it? Why would it not be better if all sins were out in the open. You said:

    I say legalize abortion. And start a very loud and public conversation on it. Change minds and hearts. Don’t sweep it under the rug.

    But why not also legalize rape, murder, arson, tax fraud, insider trading, drunk driving, environmental (pollution related) crimes, kidnapping, identity theft, trespassing, vandalism, robbery, child abuse, or any other crime on the books. Wouldn’t starting a very loud and public discussion about those all those things (and not sweeping them under the rug) be an equally good idea? None of those criminal prohibitions really solve any problems. The law still always accuses. All that ever happens is the problems may be somewhat diminished and comtained, and driven underground. But the law always accuses. Hearts and minds never really change (except by the Holy Spirit). So, what’s the point of imposing any legal penalties at all? For anything?

  • John C

    “But why not also legalize rape, murder, arson, tax fraud, insider trading, drunk driving, environmental (pollution related) crimes, kidnapping, identity theft, trespassing, vandalism, robbery, child abuse, or any other crime on the books.”
    Why is abortion legal? Because society regards abortion as a medical proceedure and not a criminal offence.

  • John C

    “But why not also legalize rape, murder, arson, tax fraud, insider trading, drunk driving, environmental (pollution related) crimes, kidnapping, identity theft, trespassing, vandalism, robbery, child abuse, or any other crime on the books.”
    Why is abortion legal? Because society regards abortion as a medical proceedure and not a criminal offence.

  • kerner

    Why is abortion legal? Because society regards abortion as a medical proceedure and not a criminal offence

    Actually, “society” has nothing to say about it. They Supreme court made that decision for us 38 years ago. That’s why Roe vs. Wade must be overturned. We won’t really know what “society” thinks until it has the freedom to act. If you really thought society agreed with you, you wouldn’t care if Roe vs. Wade were overturned, because it wouldn’t make any difference.

    Besides, you are begging the question of what makes something worthy of being a criminal offense. What characterizes a “crime”? Why should it be a crime to kill a newborn child, but not a crime to kill a preborn child? Even if you were correct about what society thinks, simply saying, “Because society wants it that way”, does not answer the question.

  • kerner

    Why is abortion legal? Because society regards abortion as a medical proceedure and not a criminal offence

    Actually, “society” has nothing to say about it. They Supreme court made that decision for us 38 years ago. That’s why Roe vs. Wade must be overturned. We won’t really know what “society” thinks until it has the freedom to act. If you really thought society agreed with you, you wouldn’t care if Roe vs. Wade were overturned, because it wouldn’t make any difference.

    Besides, you are begging the question of what makes something worthy of being a criminal offense. What characterizes a “crime”? Why should it be a crime to kill a newborn child, but not a crime to kill a preborn child? Even if you were correct about what society thinks, simply saying, “Because society wants it that way”, does not answer the question.

  • fws

    ok kerner,

    why shouldnt there be criminal penalties for adultery, why shouldnt divorce be outlawed. why shouldnt we criminalize alcohol? what makes alcohol worse than pot?

    Yes kerner. the confessions tell us that the Law always accuses. You either dont like that I am pushing that point, or you dont agree where I am pushing it to. which is it? I dont know how you are connecting that truth in your post. You lost me man. connect the dots.

    I made the point , because luther makes in in is sermon that is the basis for the formula of concord art VI that God will make his will that the law demands happen whether we do it willingly or not. but if we refuse to do it willingly, God will send the government and punishment and if the government devolves into chaos, then God will even overthrow the government.

    so that means that we should learn to do Gods Will Kerner because we fear God. and we believe that he will punish us if we fail to do love and mercy to others in conformity with Gods Word. This is not an appeal to be anarchists or for not needing the Law. again you lost me.

  • fws

    ok kerner,

    why shouldnt there be criminal penalties for adultery, why shouldnt divorce be outlawed. why shouldnt we criminalize alcohol? what makes alcohol worse than pot?

    Yes kerner. the confessions tell us that the Law always accuses. You either dont like that I am pushing that point, or you dont agree where I am pushing it to. which is it? I dont know how you are connecting that truth in your post. You lost me man. connect the dots.

    I made the point , because luther makes in in is sermon that is the basis for the formula of concord art VI that God will make his will that the law demands happen whether we do it willingly or not. but if we refuse to do it willingly, God will send the government and punishment and if the government devolves into chaos, then God will even overthrow the government.

    so that means that we should learn to do Gods Will Kerner because we fear God. and we believe that he will punish us if we fail to do love and mercy to others in conformity with Gods Word. This is not an appeal to be anarchists or for not needing the Law. again you lost me.

  • fws

    kerner @ 88

    so you are arguing for what position Kerner?

    abortion is murder.

    So we should make it a capital crime for the mother and the doctors and nurses participating? and so your position is that we should prosecute all the women and doctors and the penalty should be the death penalty in those places where capital punishment is the penalty for murder… and this should also be the same punishment for the victims of rape and incest?

    I am cool with that. So you wont vote for anyone who is not anti abortion in this real and honest sense?

  • fws

    kerner @ 88

    so you are arguing for what position Kerner?

    abortion is murder.

    So we should make it a capital crime for the mother and the doctors and nurses participating? and so your position is that we should prosecute all the women and doctors and the penalty should be the death penalty in those places where capital punishment is the penalty for murder… and this should also be the same punishment for the victims of rape and incest?

    I am cool with that. So you wont vote for anyone who is not anti abortion in this real and honest sense?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    abortion is murder.

    So we should make it a capital crime for the mother and the doctors and nurses participating?

    Let’s say that actually happened and a mother and the doctor were actually executed.

    Then, what would you predict would be the likelihood of mothers seeking and doctors providing abortions?

    Do you honestly believe that it would make no difference?

    The fact is folks know that abortion is killing but they are more influenced by men than morality. So they go along with the status quo.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    abortion is murder.

    So we should make it a capital crime for the mother and the doctors and nurses participating?

    Let’s say that actually happened and a mother and the doctor were actually executed.

    Then, what would you predict would be the likelihood of mothers seeking and doctors providing abortions?

    Do you honestly believe that it would make no difference?

    The fact is folks know that abortion is killing but they are more influenced by men than morality. So they go along with the status quo.

  • kerner

    why shouldnt there be criminal penalties for adultery, why shouldnt divorce be outlawed. why shouldnt we criminalize alcohol? what makes alcohol worse than pot?

    fws @91:

    ok, so rather than answer my question, you respond by asking me the converse question. Rather than play the game of “hey! I asked you first!!” (even though I did), let’s put the issue into into its general form.

    1. We, as Christians know that the law (God’s Law, I mean) cannot be kept. God’s Law always accuses. All of us sin and fall short. I’m sure you are with me so far. But,

    2. In an organized society, i.e. the left hand kingdom, we have to have actual laws that the government enforces. At least I believe that. I haven’t been able to get you, Frank, to admit it so far, but I’m pretty sure you believe it too. So, the question is:

    What kind of behavior needs to be the subject of criminal law? (by which I mean, that has a criminal penalty, i.e. incarceration, associated with it.) Actually, there is a criminal penalty for adultery on the books in Wisconsin, but it is never enforced, which is pretty silly. Which means, yes, why marijuana and not alcohol? Why stealing, but not coveting? Why arson, but not divorce?

    Here is how I am “connecting the dots” as you say. I am not disagreeing with your oft repeated statement that God’s “Law always accuses”, and I don’t disagree that it is a confessional statement. Further, I am sure you agree that the law is deadly to us all. We all deserve eternal death for our sins.

    But when we draft a criminal code for a nation or a state, we cannot adopt God’s Law and penalties. If we are all guilty of violating God’s Law daily, and if we all deserve eternal death, a criminal code that adopted those standards would basically require the extinction of the human race. So, we’re going to have to develop something else. Even the Laws of ancient Israel, as recorded in the pentateuch, didn’t really reflect God’s Law of the wages of sin, all sin, being death…for everyone.

    This means any organized society that develops a criminal code has to pick and choose which sins it will criminalize, and what penalties it will assign for each. No-one is going to assign the death penalty for every minor crime.

    The reason I went into my tirade about this, is your analysis seems to lack any rhyme or reason. Maybe this is unfair of me, because I have some professional training in this field, but a criminal code should have some underlying philosophy behind it. Without such a philosophy, it is difficult to know what kinds of acts are going to be punished, and people will break laws they don’t know about or couldn’t anticipate. For example, most states recognise degrees of murder, and also have different statutes for causing a human death by recklessness or gross negligence. This is a based on a common understanding (the law written in our hearts?) that killing a human being wrongfully needs to be deterred by society and should have a criminal penalty. The reason I have asked multiple times, “Why should the murder of a newborn infant be treated differently than the murder of a preborn infant?”, is first of all because there is no reason (the acts are pretty much identical) but secondly to try to get you to understand that the decisiont to penalize one act but not penalize another should not be simply arbitrary. There ought to be a reason for why we do it.

    Most criminal codes tend to focus on the negative sides of the 5th 7th and 8th commandments. Penalties are imposed for acts that harm another’s person, harm another’s property, or involve dishonesty that harms another in some way. Ancient Israel also penalized sins against the 6th commandment severely, but today we tend not to punish unciaste acts anymore (although we used to not that long ago) unless a person is harmed in some other way. We tend not to penalize behavior that is merely self destructive, unless the degree of destructiveness harms society as a whole.

    I should tell you that the basis of criminal law is that it is confined to those acts that are considered so bad that all society suffers when they are committed. That is why the caption always reads “State” or “people” versus the defendant. The act was bad enough that it is not simply a private matter between the wrong doer and the person harmed. All society needs to step in.

    That is why I, I reiterate, that your analysis makes no sense. The rationale for all our law concludes that one person may not kill another innocent (as our left hand kingdom law defines innocent) person. If she does, the law may take mitigating circumstances into account in assigning a penalty, but there will be a penalty. Which brings us back to my question: why should the murder (by definition, the killing of an innocent person) of a newborn child be treated differently than the murder of a preborn child? Both are helpless. Both are innocent in the sense that they mean their mother no harm. Both are completely dependent on others for their survival. What is the defining factor that justifies treating the one as a person that is entitled to all the rights and privileges that our society recognizes as belonging to all human beings, while the other is treated like property, something its owner can keep, give away, or destroy at will? Well Frank…why?

  • kerner

    why shouldnt there be criminal penalties for adultery, why shouldnt divorce be outlawed. why shouldnt we criminalize alcohol? what makes alcohol worse than pot?

    fws @91:

    ok, so rather than answer my question, you respond by asking me the converse question. Rather than play the game of “hey! I asked you first!!” (even though I did), let’s put the issue into into its general form.

    1. We, as Christians know that the law (God’s Law, I mean) cannot be kept. God’s Law always accuses. All of us sin and fall short. I’m sure you are with me so far. But,

    2. In an organized society, i.e. the left hand kingdom, we have to have actual laws that the government enforces. At least I believe that. I haven’t been able to get you, Frank, to admit it so far, but I’m pretty sure you believe it too. So, the question is:

    What kind of behavior needs to be the subject of criminal law? (by which I mean, that has a criminal penalty, i.e. incarceration, associated with it.) Actually, there is a criminal penalty for adultery on the books in Wisconsin, but it is never enforced, which is pretty silly. Which means, yes, why marijuana and not alcohol? Why stealing, but not coveting? Why arson, but not divorce?

    Here is how I am “connecting the dots” as you say. I am not disagreeing with your oft repeated statement that God’s “Law always accuses”, and I don’t disagree that it is a confessional statement. Further, I am sure you agree that the law is deadly to us all. We all deserve eternal death for our sins.

    But when we draft a criminal code for a nation or a state, we cannot adopt God’s Law and penalties. If we are all guilty of violating God’s Law daily, and if we all deserve eternal death, a criminal code that adopted those standards would basically require the extinction of the human race. So, we’re going to have to develop something else. Even the Laws of ancient Israel, as recorded in the pentateuch, didn’t really reflect God’s Law of the wages of sin, all sin, being death…for everyone.

    This means any organized society that develops a criminal code has to pick and choose which sins it will criminalize, and what penalties it will assign for each. No-one is going to assign the death penalty for every minor crime.

    The reason I went into my tirade about this, is your analysis seems to lack any rhyme or reason. Maybe this is unfair of me, because I have some professional training in this field, but a criminal code should have some underlying philosophy behind it. Without such a philosophy, it is difficult to know what kinds of acts are going to be punished, and people will break laws they don’t know about or couldn’t anticipate. For example, most states recognise degrees of murder, and also have different statutes for causing a human death by recklessness or gross negligence. This is a based on a common understanding (the law written in our hearts?) that killing a human being wrongfully needs to be deterred by society and should have a criminal penalty. The reason I have asked multiple times, “Why should the murder of a newborn infant be treated differently than the murder of a preborn infant?”, is first of all because there is no reason (the acts are pretty much identical) but secondly to try to get you to understand that the decisiont to penalize one act but not penalize another should not be simply arbitrary. There ought to be a reason for why we do it.

    Most criminal codes tend to focus on the negative sides of the 5th 7th and 8th commandments. Penalties are imposed for acts that harm another’s person, harm another’s property, or involve dishonesty that harms another in some way. Ancient Israel also penalized sins against the 6th commandment severely, but today we tend not to punish unciaste acts anymore (although we used to not that long ago) unless a person is harmed in some other way. We tend not to penalize behavior that is merely self destructive, unless the degree of destructiveness harms society as a whole.

    I should tell you that the basis of criminal law is that it is confined to those acts that are considered so bad that all society suffers when they are committed. That is why the caption always reads “State” or “people” versus the defendant. The act was bad enough that it is not simply a private matter between the wrong doer and the person harmed. All society needs to step in.

    That is why I, I reiterate, that your analysis makes no sense. The rationale for all our law concludes that one person may not kill another innocent (as our left hand kingdom law defines innocent) person. If she does, the law may take mitigating circumstances into account in assigning a penalty, but there will be a penalty. Which brings us back to my question: why should the murder (by definition, the killing of an innocent person) of a newborn child be treated differently than the murder of a preborn child? Both are helpless. Both are innocent in the sense that they mean their mother no harm. Both are completely dependent on others for their survival. What is the defining factor that justifies treating the one as a person that is entitled to all the rights and privileges that our society recognizes as belonging to all human beings, while the other is treated like property, something its owner can keep, give away, or destroy at will? Well Frank…why?


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