WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT ABORTION? — PART 5

What Has Already Been Said

This post is the sixth part in a series (Part 5). The topic is what the Bible says about abortion.

This is the final post in this series, and the title below probably suggests more than I have to offer. Like many people, I don’t have a good answer for the problem of abortion, but I do have some thought you may find helpful.

What Can and Should A Christian Do About Abortion?

We have already large examined the ethical considerations. That is, we have looked at Bible, and we have determined abortion is wrong. What else should we do?

  • We can consider the extent of the problem. That is, we can look at how many abortions there are and why?
  • We can assess what the law says about abortion. This a matter of looking up the subject on a legal website and reviewing the Code of Virginia.
  • We can determine what we can change. Here we have the problem of the intractably of human nature. Just because we make something against the law does not mean we have accomplished anything.

The Extent of the Problem

Various sources provide abortion statistics.

Statisticians have processed through about 2008-2009. The Census Bureau says that in 2008 there were about 1,211,500 abortions in the United States (28,520 in Virginia). The CDC observed that about 18 percent of all pregnancies in the United States end in abortion. When?

In 2009, most (64.0%) abortions were performed at ≤8 weeks’ gestation, and 91.7% were performed at ≤13 weeks’ gestation. Few abortions (7.0%) were performed at 14–20 weeks’ gestation, and even fewer (1.3%) were performed at ≥21 weeks’ gestation. (from here)

The primary factor contributing to the decision to abort? “Family planning.” That is, doctors perform almost all abortions just to get rid of an inconvenient baby.

What The Law Currently Says About Abortion

FindLaw provides a set of articles on the subject of abortion here. Here is how abortion is defined as a legal term.

abortion n

1 : the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus
;esp
: the medical procedure of inducing expulsion of a human fetus to terminate a pregnancy
2 : the crime of procuring or performing an illegal abortion [a conspiracy to commit “W. R. LaFave and A. W. Scott, Jr.”] see also Roe v. Wade and Webster v. Reproductive Health Services in the Important Cases section

FindLaw also provides a brief history. Here is the crux of it.

After the founding of the United States, laws regarding abortions did not exist until the 1800s. Women at that time were not allowed to vote and were not allowed to be doctors or members of the American Medical Association, which, along with religious leaders, advocated the passage of laws outlawing abortion. Abortions in the nineteenth century were generally unsafe, and women who survived abortions frequently were left sterile. By the 1880s, all states had laws criminalizing abortions. These laws stayed on the books until the 1960s and 1970s. (from here)

Apparently, until the 1880s, abortions were so unsafe there was no point in outlawing them.

FindLaw observes (here) that since 1992 the Supreme Court has allowed states to impose some regulations on the practice of abortion (from here). These regulations cover subjects such as counseling, waiting periods, doctor and hospital requirements, gestational limits, parental involvement, and so forth.

What does Virginia law say?  FindLaw summarizes Virginia law here. However, what is at this link (here) on Virginia’s Legislative Information System is more current. Essentially, Virginia allows an abortion without any restrictions until the third trimester.  During the third trimester, only one key condition must be satisfied.

(b) The physician and two consulting physicians certify and so enter in the hospital record of the woman, that in their medical opinion, based upon their best clinical judgment, the continuation of the pregnancy is likely to result in the death of the woman or substantially and irremediably impair the mental or physical health of the woman. (from here)

What does substantially and irremediably impairing the mental health of a woman involve? That is not clear from the law. Nonetheless, Virginia has joined with other states and made some progress in discouraging the practice of abortion.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has signed  off on permanent regulations that will hold abortion clinics to the same building standards as hospitals, joining Arizona and Michigan as states looking to tighten their abortion-facility standards to among the most stringent in the  nation.

The new regulations come amid 43 abortion restrictions enacted by states last  year — the second-most on record, after 92 such measures were adopted in 2011,  according to a report released Wednesday by the pro-choice Guttmacher  Institute. (from here)

What Can We Change?

We tend to think of the abortion issue as a dispute over law. It’s not. It’s a dispute over cultural values. What do we believe is the difference between right and wrong and why?

Consider what makes a good law.

  • We clearly understand what is required to obey the law.
  • The vast majority of the population supports the law.
  • The law is enforceable.

Unfortunately, in the United States a significant portion of our population sees nothing especially wrong with aborting the birth of a child. Even if we had a clearly stated law against abortion, the law could not be made to work. Because our legal system requires a trial by jury, trial would result in a hung jury.  That means anyone charged with an abortion crime could not be convicted. The inability to convict would render any law against abortion unenforceable.  Therefore, before we can make abortion illegal, we must convince the vast majority abortion is wrong. To do that, we must work to convince people to read the Bible. We must pray that the Holy Spirit will help those who do read the Bible to believe it.

What can we do until then?

  • We can point again and again to the insane hysteria of guilt-ridden abortion advocates. Consider the legislation just passed in Virginia. Because they regard abortion as some kind of sacred rite, not just a medical procedure, for years Virginia has poorly regulated the practice of abortion. What irony! Supposedly, we had to make abortion legal to make it safe–to render back alley abortions unnecessary. Yet until now the schizophrenic desire of Socialist Democrats for a wholly unregulated abortion industry rendered any attempt to regulate abortions next to impossible.
  • We can help parents take back control of their children’s education. We have put politicians in charge of our education system, politicians who insist upon secularized socialist schools devoid of Christian instruction. As Christians we know that is unworkable; we know we must give our children an education steeped in Bible truth. As Christians, we know our children must learn to love each other as God would have each of us learn to love our neighbor. Yet on the sayso of politicians–people we do not trust–we hand our children over to teachers we do not know. And these teachers just happen to be the members of labor unions that contribute to political campaigns.
  • We can attend Bible-based churches. What is the point of going to a church run by men and women who ignore what the Bible says? Instead of helping to bring us to Jesus, that kind of church will just get in the way.
  • We can study our Bibles and ask God to help us understand. We can read, and we can pray. When our own soul and the souls of our loved ones depend upon knowing the truth, we should not completely depend upon anybody else to tell us what the Bible says.
  • We can take a stand.  For example, check out the 2013 Virginia Stands for Life.

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT ABORTION? — PART 4B

This post is the fifth part in a series (Part 4B). The topic is what the Bible says about abortion. Here are links to the previous posts.

This post is the second part of a detour devoted to the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC), an organization started by “moderate” Christian churches. In the last post, I argued that the RCRC promotes abortion. In this post, we will consider the RCRC’s claim that abortion is not wrong.

How Does The RCRC Use The Bible To Explain Its Position On Abortion?

Because the RCRC is an organization created by Christian churches, to justify its involvement in the promotion of abortion the RCRC must use moral arguments that would make logical sense to a Christian. Do the RCRC’s arguments make sense? The RCRC has an “Educational Series.” Let’s examine the top three articles from that series and see for ourselves.

Article 1: Respecting the Moral Agency of Women by Virginia Ramey Mollenkott, Ph.D

What does Respecting the Moral Agency of Women have to say? Mollenkott summarizes the article in her last paragraph.

According to Scripture, God knew that Adam and Eve would misuse their power to choose. Yet God chose to give them that power, creating them “sufficient to have stood, though free to fall.” We human beings should follow our Creator’s example by giving one another moral elbow room. Through the ages, a remarkable number of women have willingly and unselfishly devoted themselves to their children. The way to honor them, and to honor God, is to restrain ourselves from coercion and to seek government polices that support the moral agency of women as well as men, of people of color as well as whites, and of poor people as well as the affluent.

What is moral elbow room? Apparently, we each have a moral obligation to help our neighbors sin. Although Mollenkott makes a lame attempt to show that the “fetus” is merely “incipient life,” she doesn’t care.

Even if we were to accept the highly controversial and recent claim that an embryo is a person from the moment of conception, we would still be looking at only one very important value among many. Other very important values are the quality of life that the unborn could look forward to after birth; the probable impact of that birth on the welfare of the already existing family; the mental health, well-being, and conscience of the potential mother; and the impact on society of laws that repress obedience to the dictates of conscience and remove a woman’s control over her own destiny.

Mollenkott sets aside anything the Bible might say about murder with this statement.

Certainly no passage of Scripture tells us exactly when human life begins, unless we decide to accept Dr. Johnson’s definition that human “life began only once, [when] life was created by the Creator.”

Instead, with a reference to John 16:21-22, Mollenkott seeks to lend a Christ-like aura to letting women decide.

At the Last Supper, Jesus compared his imminent suffering to the travail of a woman in childbirth (John 16:21-22). In 1973, the Supreme Court recognized that modern legal abortion is many times safer than childbirth; so any woman who chooses to give birth has chosen to run a risk much greater than the risk should she choose abortion, not to mention maintaining the covenant of caring after the birth. Can we, dare we, force another human being to make such a Christ-like sacrifice?

Here is John 16:21-22 in context.

John 16:19-22 Good News Translation (GNT)

19 Jesus knew that they wanted to question him, so he said to them, “I said, ‘In a little while you will not see me, and then a little while later you will see me.’ Is this what you are asking about among yourselves? 20 I am telling you the truth: you will cry and weep, but the world will be glad; you will be sad, but your sadness will turn into gladness. 21 When a woman is about to give birth, she is sad because her hour of suffering has come; but when the baby is born, she forgets her suffering, because she is happy that a baby has been born into the world. 22 That is how it is with you: now you are sad, but I will see you again, and your hearts will be filled with gladness, the kind of gladness that no one can take away from you.

Jesus compared the suffering of his disciples, not his own, to the travail of a woman in childbirth. Just as the woman who gives birth takes joy in the baby she had hidden in her womb we can celebrate the resurrection of Christ Jesus. We can accept the fact that God has always loved us. We can know He forgives those who accept the gift of His love and repent of their sins.

Article 2: Personhood, the Bible and the Abortion Debate by Paul D. Simmons, Ph.D., Th.M.

To give Simmons credit, he does directly discuss the issue of whether an unborn child is a human being. In addition, Simmons discusses relevant Bible passages. Quoting Francis A. Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop, Simmons begins with a Biblical argument.

The religious notion of the image of God had no biological counterpart. Even so, Schaeffer and Koop identified “image” with genotype. Thus, the unborn should be regarded as persons from the time of conception: “No additional factor is necessary for a later time. All that makes up the adult is present as the ovum and the sperm are united—the whole genetic code!”

Simmons says that the “image of God” does not refer to a physical image. Instead the “image of God” refers to certain spiritual characteristics.  What does Simmons think it mean to be made in the “image of God”?

Gen. 1:26-28 declares that “God made man in his own image, in the image of God he created him.” The biblical portrait of person centers on the notion of  the image of God, which is not a physical likeness but a similarity of powers or abilities. These powers are spiritual, personal, relational, moral, and intellectual. Of all the creatures fashioned by God, only people are able to relate to the Creator by obedience or rebellion. Only people experience those godlike powers of self-transcendence and self-awareness. This creature, like God, may be introspective, retrospective, or prospective. This creature may reflect upon the past, anticipate the future, and discern the activity of God in his or her personal life and history.

Perhaps Simmons correctly interprets what it means to be made in the image of God, but he does not address the critical question. At what point does God consider it wrong to kill a human being? Does a new born baby possess the characteristics that Simmons ascribes to the image of God? No. Nonetheless, when idol worshipers made their children pass through the fire–sacrificed their newborn babes to pagan gods–God declared that sinful (Leviticus 18:21). Therefore, we are stuck using physical characteristics that define a human being. Perhaps there is more to being made in the image of God than we understand. Thus, God-fearing people cautiously believe that our lives begin at that moment an ovum unites with a sperm cell.

Simmons brings up quite a few Bible passages.

  • Exodus 21:22-25: We considered what Simmons has to say about this passage in WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT ABORTION?  — PART 1, Case 2.
  • Genesis 2:7: We considered this verse in WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT ABORTION?  — PART 1, Case 1.
  • Psalm 139:13-15: Because this passage is straightforward, it is one pro-life partisans like. Thus, we looked at in WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT ABORTION? — PART 2, Case 1. Rather than debate Simmons interpretation, I suggest the reader simply read several literal translations. For example:

    Psalm 139:13-15 American Standard Version (ASV)

    13 For thou didst form my inward parts: Thou didst cover me in my mother’s womb.

    14 I will give thanks unto thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: Wonderful are thy works; And that my soul knoweth right well.

    15 My frame was not hidden from thee, When I was made in secret, And curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

    With respect to verse 15, Simmons goes off on a ridiculously weird tangent, but the reference to the lowest parts of the earth is simply a metaphor for the womb. To the ancients, one was almost as secret as the other. The reference also reminds us that God made Adam from the earth.

  • Jeremiah 1:5 and Isaiah 49: 1-5: Here Simmons tries to dispose of God’s word with legalistic verbage.  In these passages, each prophet unambiguously states God that consecrated him or formed him in the womb to be his servant, but Simmons still wants us to believe that is not directly applicable to the subject of abortion.
  • Luke 1:39-45: As Simmons explains, this passage “deals with the meeting between Mary and Elizabeth, both of whom are pregnant. Elizabeth, now six months pregnant with John the Baptist, the one destined to be the forerunner of Jesus, hears the voice of Mary, who had just discovered that she is pregnant.” Because this passage makes it so blatantly obvious that the unborned John the Baptist is filled with the Holy Spirit, we referenced it WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT ABORTION? — PART 2, Case 2. Nevertheless, Simmons insists that only Elizabeth not the babe in her womb, responds to the presence of the baby Jesus in Mary’s womb. He willfully ignores what Elizabeth states: “the baby within me jumped with gladness.” The unborn John the Baptist perceived the unborn baby Jesus.

Anyway, Simmons wrote twelve pages of twisted nonsense, and we are only about halfway through it. Enough is enough. Let’s go onto the next article.

Article 3: Is the Fetus a Person? The Bibles’ View by Dr. Roy Bowen Ward

Here the author focuses on three Bible passages. Let’s take them one at a time.

Ward raises the issue of Genesis 2:7, and he belabors the term “nephesh.” Because the Bible uses the term “nephesh,” Ward wants us to believe that the soul does not enter a baby until after a baby begins to breath. Why? “Nephesh” implies a living and breathing being.

Here, here, here, and here are some websites that define the term”nephesh.” “Nephesh” refers to the soul, and yes, men do breath, but the primary meaning of nephesh is soul. We can see that the unborn are alive and dependent upon their mothers for the breath that gives them life. Given what other Bible passages say about babes in the womb, we can also rightly affirm that babes receive a soul before birth.

Because we are imperfect, our language is imprecise. We struggle to communicate. Over time the meaning of the words we use drift erratically. For example, many now use the word “gay,” once a very complimentary term, to refer to homosexual males. Given the path “gay” took to arrive at this usage,…  Well, check out gay in the Online Etymology Dictionary, and you may wonder why homosexuals don’t consider the term “gay” an insult.

Ward raises the issue of Exodus 21:22-25, adding something a little new to this discussion.  How this passage should be translated is the subject of some debate (See here and here, for examples.).

Assuming the pregnant woman referred in Exodus 21:22-25 is struck and delivers her baby, what is the status of the baby? Is it dead from a miscarrage or merely a bit premature? Here is a example of a translation that makes it clear that harming an unborn child is equal to harming the mother of the child.

Exodus 21:22-25 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

22 “When men get in a fight and hit a pregnant woman so that her children are born prematurely but there is no injury, the one who hit her must be fined as the woman’s husband demands from him, and he must pay according to judicial assessment. 23 If there is an injury, then you must give life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, bruise for bruise, wound for wound.

Note in addition the way the King James Version (Exodus 21:22-25) was written. Consider also that the King James Version was written well before the abortion controversy erupted in its present glory. This version also suggests harm either to the mother or the child would result in equal harm to the culprit.

Nevertheless, Ward wants us to believe Moses copied Exodus 21-22-25 from the Code of Hammurabi. Here are the relevant parts of that code, including portions that Ward did not cite.

  • 209. If a man has struck a free woman with child, and has caused her to miscarry, he shall pay ten shekels for her miscarriage.
  • 210. If that woman die, his daughter shall be killed.
  • 211. If it be the daughter of a plebeian, that has miscarried through his blows, he shall pay five shekels of silver.
  • 212. If that woman die, he shall pay half a mina of silver.
  • 213. If he has struck a man’s maid and caused her to miscarry, he shall pay two shekels of silver.
  • 214. If that woman die, he shall pay one-third of a mina of silver.

The Code of Hammurabi and the Bible do not uphold the same beliefs. Moses, for example, did not make class distinctions.

Using an unusual translation, Ward also brings up Psalm 139:13-15. Ward argues that “the passage really says no more than that God was his creator and therefore knew him before he was born, as is the point of Isaiah 49:5.” But the passages are not ambiguous, and there are so many. One only has to read the passages to know God knew each of us in the womb.

General Observations

Each of the articles above makes much of the “fact” that Bible says nothing about abortion and the “fact” that abortion has a long history.

  • Numerous Bible passages speak of the unborn as a person with a soul. Since murder is a sin, killing the unborn (abortion) would also be a sin. Moreover, the Bible condemns promiscuity. In ancient times, the pregnancies resulting from illicit relationships would have been the primary motive for abortions.
  • Contrary to what is said in these RCRC “educational publications,” abortion has become commonplace only in modern times. The reason is so obvious it shows how  the pro-abortion crowd lies. Why does Planned Parenthood hire doctors? To make an abortion “safe” for the mother requires specialized skills and knowledge. Those specialized skills and knowledge did not exist in ancient times. In order to end her pregnancy, in ancient times a pregnant woman risked her own life. To end her pregnancy, she had no choice except to risk severe harm herself.

    Many of the methods employed in early and primitive cultures were non-surgical. Physical activities like strenuous labor, climbing, paddling, weightlifting, or diving were a common technique. Others included the use of irritant leaves, fasting, bloodletting, pouring hot water onto the abdomen, and lying on a heated coconut shell. In primitive cultures, techniques developed through observation, adaptation of obstetrical methods, and transculturation. Archaeological discoveries indicate early surgical attempts at the extraction of a fetus; however, such methods are not believed to have been common, given the infrequency with which they are mentioned in ancient medical texts. (from here)

None of these RCRC articles considers the obvious solution, abstaining from sex outside of marriage. In fact, the RCRC condemns what it calls abstinence-only education (Just Say Know!).

Closing Observation

Amongst it publications and articles, the RCRC lists Conscience Violated. That article explains why the RCRC believes “‘Religious  Exemptions’ Deny Reproductive Health Care to Women.”

So‐called “conscience clauses” are being enacted into law that exempt health care institutions receiving public funds, managed care organizations, and health care insurers from providing or covering certain services, even if their patients or those they insure want these services. (from here)

What the consciences clauses do is allow people who don’t want to be complicit in the sin of another the right to exercise their own freedom of conscience. Yet the RCRC regards a third party’s right to choose as heinous. Why? In his article, Simmons provides what seems to be the best clue. Here, using grandiose language, he explains the pregnant woman’s monumental decision. To abort or not to abort?

This is a godlike decision. Like the Creator, she reflects on what is good for the creation of which she is agent. As steward of the powers God has given her, she uses them for good and not ill—for herself, for the fetus, and for the future of humankind itself. She is aware that God wills health and happiness for her, for those she may bring into the world, and for the human race. Thus, she is engaged in reflection on her own well-being, the genetic health of the fetus, and the survival of the human race. (from here)

What the folks at the RCRC worship is not the God of the Bible. What they worship is a sin. Sin is a fact we want to deny, but sin is why Jesus said He came to save sinners. We sin, each and every one of us. We violate the dictates of our conscience and do what we know is wrong. Then, when we should repent, we look for excuses.

Only the power of love and the fear of a guilty conscience protects the unborn, and sometimes that is not enough. We each suffer from the temptation to exercise power over someone weaker than ourselves. We would transfer our troubles, and unborn children are the weakest of human beings. The unborn cannot resist. The unborn are totally dependent upon the protection and mercy of their mothers. Therefore, when pregnant women decide to destroy the child they bear, they can do so.

The RCRC exists to soothe guilty consciences. The RCRC tells those mothers who have and would abort their unborn children what they wish to hear. The RCRC seeks to remove any vestige of guilt by denying there was ever any child to love. The RCRC says God does not care, but the RCRC is wrong. The Bible says God does care.

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT ABORTION? — PART 4A

This post is the fourth part in a series. The topic is what the Bible says about abortion. Here are links to the previous posts.

This post is something of a detour. As we observed in the last post, many of the self-described “moderate” Christian churches are members of an organization named the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC). Because the Bible clearly condemns abortion, members of the Christian churches that belong to the RCRC should examine exactly where the RCRC stands on abortion.

  • With respect to the issue of abortion, what does the RCRC advocate? The answer to this question is the subject of this post.
  • With respect to the Bible, how does the RCRC explain its position on abortion? We will consider the answer to this question next week.

The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice‘s Case For Abortion
What Does The RCRC Advocate?

The RCRC advertises itself as:  Pro-Faith · Pro-Family · Pro-Choice.  Is it?

Deciphering A Model Of Ambiguity

What is evil? Some describe it as willful ignorance (See I STAND CORRECTED). Is the RCRC’s website just a model of ambiguity or is it willfully ignorant. It is difficult to know, but the RCRC orginally called itself the “Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights” (from here). Is it possible the RCRC decided that the original name identified the organization’s mission too clearly?

Unless you already know what reproductive justice means to the RCRC, to determine the RCRC’s mission from its Our Mission webpage is actually rather difficult. Until we get to the History section, we don’t really have a clue.

RCRC was founded in 1973 to safeguard the newly won constitutional right to privacy in decisions about abortion. The Coalition founders were clergy and lay leaders from mainstream religions, many of whom had provided women with referrals to safe abortion services before the Supreme Court legalized abortion in Roe v. Wade. The founders believed that there would be at most a ten-year struggle to secure the right to choose. In fact the struggle is far from over. It has changed and intensified, and the stakes are growing. (from here)

So what is the RCRC’s mission? The RCRC does not frankly state its purpose. What the RCRC wants us to believe is that its members advocate religious freedom, but the RCRC promotes abortion. Is there a right to abortion in the Constitution? No. Mainstream Christian churches founded the RCRC to protect a right that does not exist.

Consider the RCRC’s Common Questions webpage and how they quote an expert in legal sophistry.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun, in the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion, had these wise words to say about abortion and religious beliefs: “… We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer.”

“It should be sufficient to note briefly the wide divergence of thinking on this most sensitive and difficult question. There has always been strong support for the view that life does not begin until live birth. It appears to be the predominant, though not the unanimous, attitude of the Jewish faith. It may be taken to represent also the position of a large segment of the Protestant community, insofar as that can be ascertained; organized groups that have taken a formal position on the abortion issue have generally regarded abortion as a matter for the conscience of the individual and her family.” (from here)

“We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins.” Nonetheless, isn’t that is exactly what the court did? As the direct result of the Blackmun court’s decision, our Law sanctifies the “right” to kill babies up to the time when pregnancy would normally result in the live delivery of a baby.

Moreover, to protect what it calls the freedom of conscience of the mother, RCRC supports government funding of abortions. Here are some examples:

  • Faith Leaders Fight for Reproductive Justice at the State Level: The subject is government funding of Planned Parenthood. What is ironic is that the supposedly “moderate” RCRC works closely with abortion organizations that most people would consider abortion extremists.
  • White House revises on insurance mandate for contraception: Supposedly, the White House backed off a mandate that would have forced private employers to violate their conscience and pay for contraceptives.

    The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, an organization of liberal  religious bodies that had supported the original mandate nevertheless praised the revision.”We will also diligently monitor the implementation of this new rule to ensure it preserves the intention of these services to be easily accessible by all women,” its statement said.

    The so-called revision did not really change anything. The Obama administration just attempted to find “better” weasel-words.

Whereas the RCRC supports government funding for abortions, some RCRC affiliates support abortion “charity.”

FundAbortionNow

Fund Abortion Now is a “charity” that funds abortions. Fund Abortion Now links to the New Mexico (here) and Oklahoma (here) chapters of the RCRC.

What Does “Reproductive Justice” Mean To The RCRC?

What does “reproductive justice” mean to the RCRC? If you want to learn, then check out Reproductive Justice, an article on the RCRC’s website.

Reproductive Justice begins by defining the foe, those vile schemers of the “Religious Right.” Supposedly, the “Religious Right” is just using “reproductive rights as a wedge issue to divide progressives.” However, the article finally gets to the point. That is, after enough examples, we get the message. Getting “reproductive justice” is getting government to pay for contraceptives and abortions. If taxpayers are not paying for everyone’s contraceptives and abortions, then selfish souls and religious bigots must be throwing up barriers to progress.

Consider this part of the article.

Creating the Conditions for Strong Families and Wanted Children
Religions including The United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church  (USA), The Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ, Unitarian  Universalism and all branches of Judaism agree that human life is sacred – and  include the life of the woman as well as the potential child. It is because of  this belief that many religious communities work for a world in which every  child is wanted, loved and cared for and support birth control, family  planning, safe and legal abortion, and health care for all.

What is a “wanted child”? That is a emphemism for a child the mother did not want to abort. What is the perfect solution for a potentially “unwanted child”? “Reproductive justice” has the answer. Call the unborn child an it, and kill it before it is born. Then call that murder “family planning.” Sadly, members of the Christian clergy support such sophistry.

In the name of freedom of conscience, the RCRC demands that abortion to be easily accessible. The RCRC demands that everyone, even those who think abortion is murder, pay to make abortion easily accessible. Apparently, the freedom of conscience of abortionists is more important than anyone else’s freedom.

The RCRC is a Socialist Democrat, activist group.  Ironically, the same folks who tell us to separate religion and politics have dragged Christian churches into the same political party that claims to despise religion in the public square.

Check out Voter Mobilization by Religious Progressives. Watch the following video and note the irony, the lovely children the RCRC failed to see aborted.

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT ABORTION? — PART 3

This post is the third part in a series. The topic is what the Bible says about abortion. Here are links to the previous posts.

This post discusses the “moderate” position.

The Case For Ambiguity On Abortion

Although there are many articles that discuss what the Bible says about abortion, few take an ambiguous position. ‘s article, What does the Bible say about abortion? (considered in The Case For Abortion), might be described as making the case for ambiguity, but the overreaching and misleading nonsense it contains unambiguously suggests the author’s personal bias. That suggested we might have difficulty finding examples for a couple of other cases, but there is no shortage of “moderates.”

Case 1

At Christian Bible Reference Site, What does the Bible say about
abortion? explains the “moderate” position. What makes this article somewhat unique is that the authors actually do make some effort to explain both the pro-life and the pro-abortion arguments. Then they proceed to call both positions extreme. Eventually, the authors get to their point with this argument and bible passage.

Avoiding Self-righteousness

The strong emotions surrounding the abortion issue may lead those on both sides of the issue into the sin of self-righteousness. Jesus was greatly offended by self-righteous religious people who thought they were better than those they considered “sinners.”

The Pharisees were a Jewish sect noted for their strict observance of the laws of God. Tax collectors were among the most despised people in Israel. As agents of the occupying Roman forces they often extorted excess taxes and were considered traitors to their people. That is why Jesus used a Pharisee and a tax collector to illustrate the sin of self-righteousness:

Then [Jesus] told this story to some who boasted of their virtue and scorned everyone else: “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a proud, self-righteous Pharisee, and the other a cheating tax collector. The proud Pharisee ‘prayed’ this prayer: ‘Thank God, I am not a sinner like everyone else, especially like that tax collector over there! For I never cheat, I don’t commit adultery, I go without food twice a week, and I give to God a tenth of everything I earn.’ “But the corrupt tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed, but beat upon his chest in sorrow, exclaiming, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner.’ I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home forgiven! For the proud shall be humbled, but the humble shall be honored.” (TLB, Luke 18:9-14)

(from here)

This section on Avoiding Self-righteousness contains a self-contradiction. To “prove” their charge of self-righteousness, the authors cite passages from the Bible. If that’s okay, to prove abortion is evil, why can’t pro-life advocates cite passages from the Bible? After all, what is self-righteousness?  Here is the best definition I could find.

self-right·eous adjective
confident of one’s own righteousness, especially when smugly moralistic and intolerant of the opinions and behavior of others.

In the passage from Luke 18:9-14, the prideful Pharisee errors because he believes himself the source of his righteousness. Whereas, he should, like the tax collector, seek the righteousness of God.

Because God inspired it, Christians study the Bible and seek to live by its wisdom. Further, we pray that God will help us to understand His Word. Thus, Christians seek the righteousness of God through the Bible. That includes considering what the Bible says on the subject of abortion.

In their section on Church Doctrine, the authors note that Christian churches take varying positions.

Many churches, including United Church of Christ, Episcopal, Presbyterian (USA), and United Methodist, do not approve of abortion as a means of birth control. However, they support the right of a woman to obtain an abortion, if she deems that is the best choice in her circumstances, and they favor keeping abortion legal. Other churches, including Roman Catholic and Southern Baptist, oppose all abortions and favor making abortion illegal. (continued here)

What exactly are the positions of the United Church of Christ, Episcopal, Presbyterian (USA), and United Methodist Church? That will be the subjects of Cases 2-4.

Case 2

The United Church of Christ (UCC) offers this subtitle for its position paper on Reproductive Health and Justice: Why the UCC is a leader in this area. Exactly how does the UCC lead?

The United Church of Christ is one of the founding faith groups of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, formed in 1973 as the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights. Over the years, RCRC has continued to bring a strong voice of faith on the moral and religious issues that swirl around public debate over abortion, contraception and pregnancy prevention. Because there are many religious and theological perspectives on when life and personhood begin, the UCC joins others in advocating that public policy must honor this rich religious diversity. Our position is not a pro-abortion position but a pro-faith, pro-family and pro-woman position. (from here)

Effectively, what the UCC wants us to believe is that they are pro-choice, not pro-abortion, but that raises a question. Is that a distinction with a difference?

Case 3

The Episcopal Church is also a member of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) (confirmed here). The document that provides that church’s position on abortion is Reaffirm General Convention Statement on Childbirth and Abortion. Here is what they resolved.

Resolved, That this 71st General Convention of the Episcopal Church express its unequivocal opposition to any legislative, executive or judicial action on the part of local, state or national governments that abridges the right of a woman to reach an informed decision about the termination of pregnancy or that would limit the access of a woman to safe means of acting on her decision. (from here)

Case 4

Presbyterian (USA) is also a member of the RCRC (confirmed here). The document that states Presbyterian (USA)‘s position on abortion is Abortion Issues.

This paragraph explains Presbyterian (USA)‘s attitude towards Biblical authority on the subject of abortion.

There is [both] agreement and disagreement on the basic issue of abortion. The committee [on problem pregnancies and abortion] agreed that there are no biblical texts that speak expressly to the topic of abortion, but that taken in their totality the Holy Scriptures are filled with messages that advocate respect for the woman and child before and after birth. Therefore the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) encourages an atmosphere of open debate and mutual respect for a variety of opinions concerning the issues related to problem pregnancies and abortion.

So what does Presbyterian (USA) conclude?

The strong Christian presumption is that since all life is precious to God, we are to preserve and protect it. Abortion ought to be an option of last resort …

The Christian community must be concerned about and address the circumstances that bring a woman to consider abortion as the best available option. Poverty, unjust societal realities, sexism, racism, and inadequate supportive relationships may render a woman virtually powerless to choose freely. (from here)

Case 5

The United Methodist Church (UMC) is also a member of the RCRC (confirmed here). The UMC addresses the topic of abortion in a book it calls Social Principles of the United Methodist Church. Abortion is extracted from that document. Here is UMC’s bottom-line.

Governmental laws and regulations do not provide all the guidance required by the informed Christian conscience. Therefore, a decision concerning abortion should be made only after thoughtful and prayerful consideration by the parties involved, with medical, family, pastoral, and other appropriate counsel. (from here)

What is almost comical about this statement is that the abortion industry is largely unregulated.

Closing Observations

Each of the churches listed above provide position statements that either ignore scripture or suggest the Bible does not provide clear guidance.  Each is also a member of RCRC, and the RCRC does cite scripture on its website. Therefore, next week we will take a little detour and examine what the RCRC says about the ethics of abortion.

Note that the RCRC provides a list of its member churches at this webpage, We Affirm. Is your church a member? If you do not agree with policies of the RCRC, you may wish to consider moving your membership to another Christian church. Frankly, that is my motivation for studying the RCRC’s website.