Sunday, January 25, 2009

abortion

When I started this post, it began, "Today is the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade."

I think my stance on abortion is atypical. I don't think that abortion should necessarily be made illegal in our country. As I type that, I question it, asking myself "Don't you think murder should be illegal?" And I do. Murder is and should be illegal.

I guess I'm just not sure what role the state should play in determining the morality of certain actions. Morality is easy in a theocracy, or a tyranny. It's hard in a democracy. We end up with a moral law code which is based on the majority vote. Has no one read Lord of the Flies? Democracy must believe in a rational human being, and I think it must believe in an inherently good human being, or at least that the collective consciousness of a people is morally good. Perhaps a democracy has no regard for an actual, absolute good and evil. Right and wrong are defined by the vote. The vote is cast by the mob, and the mob made of people spoon-fed by the media (please note: this is not an anti-media rant), which itself is just made of more powerful individuals whose moral compass is questionable.  People are not naturally good.  Democracy will not naturally choose a Godly morality without a significant movement of the Holy Spirit.

So, I guess when it comes to abortion, I don't think it's a wise use of my energies to work for legislation against murdering unborn babies.  St. Paul doesn't attack slavery, he tells Christians how to live within it.  Granted, I think he's really saying more about how the human relationship to God, but that's another thing altogether.

In summary, I'm pro-life in the sense that I think abortion is wrong, but not in the sense that I think it's worth trying to make it illegal.  If you think I'm wrong, I'm willing to hear your arguments.  I guess my new passions for socail justice haven't turned me into a political activist yet.


6 comments:

Elliot said...

I wouldn't say your views are completely atypical. I see it about the same way.

Jon S said...

One can view morality on a few different levels. In this instance you seem to be in favor of holding the moral decision to a personal level. By keeping abortion legal, the government is basically leaving the moral question in the hands of each individual. Alternatively, when an action is outlawed, the government is basically dictating morality to the people. The question then becomes, what is the purpose of a democratic government in morality?

You used the example of murder. Clearly there should be laws against committing this act. Why is it that people feel the government should enforce some issues of morality and not others? One thought would be that almost everyone is against murder, but not everyone is against abortion. Then it simply becomes a numbers game. We just pick a certain percentage of people needed to be in disagreement with and act and then take a vote on every moral issue. I don't think that's it though. Or at least that's only a small part of it. If murder were to become a question of individual morality, society would crumble. The legality of abortion is sustainable in our society. The legality of gay marriage is sustainable. In fact, many argue that making issues like these permissible actually leads to a better society. Abortion makes life better for the mother if having the baby would cause her to sacrifice a great deal on the baby's behalf and society is better overall for having one person in a better position to contribute than having two people being a drain.

The problem in this logic is that if we set a standard of passing laws that force sacrifice of individuals for the benefit of society overall, we become something less than civilized. (In the case of abortion, we are forcing sacrifice from the unborn baby/fetus (whatever your moral view is).) Societies of the past would make human sacrifices to placate the gods. How is abortion much different from this? There is something inherently wrong in forcing others to sacrifice this much in exchange for a small societal benefit. This is why I believe it necessary to make abortion illegal.

I know there are arguments against what I have said and I have some counterpoints to them but I've already written too much so I'm going to leave it at this.

Michael Serra said...

I don't really know who you are, but this is what I think of the implications of abortion...

Choice is the holy grail of our pluralistic culture. Both corporate hegemony and abortion are justified in the liberal individualist language of autonomy and self-ownership. Abortion becomes realistic as a potential practice only when the organization of work prevents and precludes the reproductive habits of sex, birth, and parenting. Abortion is nothing less than a hallmark of a culture that is centered around the accumulation of capital. A discussion about the practices of abortion are inseparable from a discussion about a political economy whose patterns of work warp our work and distort our practices of love so that they are both in service to the illusions of freedom through the enchantments of mammon.

Work is a liturgical practice, as is sex. Many following Christ still believe, ultimately, that the meta-narrative of the ontology of scarcity (aka: capitalism...there is not enough to go around so we must fight to survive and protect what is ours first of all) takes precedence over the meta-narrative of a people unfit for the world, undefined by its parameters, and whose work and practices of love are first and foremost, valuable through the value given them by God.

The Gospel throws into doubt every assumption and philosophical foundation of the institutions and structures that we live under.

The question is, are those claiming to follow Christ offering any alternative vision of economics and happiness apart from the alluring promises of freedom/happiness through the right to buy or choose happiness, pedaled by corporate nihilism and the philosophers of European democracy?

There are children in uniforms dying for our right to buy or choose happiness, and our cultural values are aborting their lives at an early age too, as they abort the lives of those whose moral quality is believed to be less than ours, because they do not prize our precious right to do as we please. The illusions of individual autonomy are destroying the gift of life given by God to unborn babies, soldiers, and ourselves, who still believe this Gospel of death with its false promises of happiness.

inos said...

Thanks for the comments so far...

Michael, what your closing sentence immediately brought this to mind:


"I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!"
~Galatians 1:6-8

Moses said...

Michael, you know inos. You have met him several times, notably on a friday afternoon with myself and RJ.

Michael Serra said...

Thanks Moses.

Inos, say what's up sometime and reintroduce yourself if you recognize me. I am a bastard when it comes to remembering people I've been introduced to once, if I fail to see them afterward.