Abortion/Insulation/Politics – Day late – Dollar Short

Now for a topic less controversial than Messiahism – abortion.

I was watching a show today where a Christian person said that a Christian who is ‘pro-choice’ is going to hell. ‘What a leap’ I thought. It also got me thinking about the Christian stand on abortion – or churches or what have you.

I realize that we live in a society that is slightly dis-associated from reality – kind of insulated from it if you will. For example, we all likely eat some fast food from time to time – let’s say a burger. Well most people have no clue how that beef from the cow gets to the point where it can be cooked and put on a burger. No one here is likely slaughtering that cow and going through the whole process of cutting that cow up for various cuts of meat. There is a lot of blood involved and even the removal of a head/limbs – a little gory.

It’s kind of gory – so gory – some people quit eating meat after they find out what is involved in the process. This is what I mean by insulation – convenience. What does this have to do with abortion?

Most people enter into these debates with pro life and pro choice with that same insulation regarding this issue – like it’s only a matter of woman’s choice and that’s all that’s involved. We do not actually see what really happens in these procedures and when we do – it’s sometimes appalling. If you think what you saw in an abortion video was resembling a child – this is your verdict to make.

One has to wonder- and maybe this is just me – but is society making concessions for sexual behavior? If 100,000 abortions happen a year – not all of those can be rape cases/incest – some of that (if not the majority) has to be considered ‘birth control’.

To me, if society as whole wants this to exist – then so be it – that is the country’s perogative. However, I am hard pressed to believe people of the Christian faith have to accept societal pressures to conform on this issue. If Christians feel this is not a teaching they can embrace due to their foundational teachings – then I would say do not – and do not teach it as part of the faith.

However, this issue pulls Christians out of the woodwork into the political sphere – where religion and country meet head to head. I do not think Christians need to impose their faith teachings upon larger society – as much as I disagree with abortion – the faith teachings are for those of the faith – not those of the whole country. Christians should not teach on an issue they do not support – but they also should not condemn a country for not practicing their faith.

How do I arrive at such an idea? The early Christians were surrounded by Roman culture and customs – and many aspects of that they did not follow. Did they turn around and demand the state change it’s policies concerning issues like idolatry? No, they just did not practice them and taught their communities to also not practice them – live according to their communal beliefs. Some would say this also happened with ideas concerning sexual promiscuity. I advocate such an idea also – we live in the country – but we may live contrary to it in some regards.

To me, this is more of a personal question also – what would I advocate in my family? It is not something I feel the need to ‘convert’ others to – let them decide this on their own. I know that within my family we would welcome re-production. What else can I say?

Maybe I am wrong on this issue – maybe as part of your faith this is a little more wide open…I would ask why?


27 thoughts on “Abortion/Insulation/Politics – Day late – Dollar Short

  1. Jason

    You want to hear a controversial one? I was watching a CSI program and in it they had a scene where the bible was used to potentially allow for early abortion.

    Leviticus 17:11 “For the life of the flesh is in the blood”

    When interpreting this passage, a case can be made that “life” begins not at the time of fertilization or conception but when blood first appears in the embryo, at about 20 days following conception.

    Now that definately adds a different way to look at the religious view.

  2. the problem with “voting the Bible” is that the Bible says so many things on so many topics! If we’re looking for a Biblical marriage, it looks nothing like our concept of marriage. If we’re looking for sexual ethics, it’s unlike any concept we have of gender and sex-roles. There are some touchstones, but they are a stretch to say the least. i think i’ll post on this soon…

    as for abortion… same case. Rabbi’s say that the whole of the Torah is about the sanctity of life. but then there’s things like Joshua where all the cananites are exterminated or Hosea’s dipiction of a husband/God and unfaithful wife/Israel where God can beat and rape Israel and is well within God’s right to do so. the biggest text to consider in the abortion case would be Numbers 5:11-33 where a priest can cause an adulterous woman to miscarry… if that’s not abortion, i dunno what is.

  3. oh…and BTW.. it’s interesting to think of why so many women joined the early church… it offered a road to freedom that not many of us consider here in this day and age.. and that’s celebacy. women were able to shed their limited roles as property to be traded (gentile view) or a receptical for the male seed (Jewish view). these of course are boiled down and taken only from parts of scripture and early rabbinic writing (as well as Paul’s view) and in no way is meant to reflect the current Jewish view.

    that’s why the abstinance and anti-abortion stance is so strong not only in the Catholic tradition but also in some protestant denoms. it’s something that’s easy to overlook from our post-feminist culture and miss how celebacy could actually be freedom to some.

  4. “I was watching a CSI program…” (john)

    I knew you were developing your theology from CSI epidsodes (lol).

    I think the controversy concerning abortion and faith is not going to go away anytime soon – I don’t have a problem with people being pro-life within the church – I think that is easily their right and can be a viewpoint from scripture. I think if a church wants to teach their congregation this – it is a good thing – no reason to support something you do not need to.

    Problem is when the language becomes condemnatory towards people that have had abortions (not merciful) or such an issue that your country’s leadership depends on their stance on this issue. To me, that (a) condemning women that may have had ot make tough choices and (b) trying to control the country by virtue of someones religious viewpoint.

    Fact is, many good people in both camps on this issue can defend their reasonable positions and why they hold them. I know for me, I am pro-life, because I feel at this point the reasoning from my faith leads me here – namely concerning the motto ‘seek life’…which could be mine or to consider yours. Also, me and my wife are trying to have children – and to abort one makes no sense to us (in this current scenario).

    But I am very open to people that have had abortions – many women I know have had this process (actually 2 off the top of my head) – and I support them also. But I have noticed both of them have emotional issues concerning that decision – made while they were young. Now in both cases they were landed there by the influence of ‘men’. I don’t want to be the next ‘man’ that is so callous to not think of their well being for the sake of my own (which is selfish). I think in many abortion cases this is part of the problem – us men.

  5. “oh…and BTW.. it’s interesting to think of why so many women joined the early church… it offered a road to freedom that not many of us consider here in this day and age.. and that’s celebacy” (Luke)

    I did not know that – that’s a helpful quip.

    I have to admit – as I did to John – the problem in abortion is men (in many cases). If you think about it – in this ‘convenience culture of choice’ – many men leave women that get impregnated or even demand the woman has the abortion (usually a fear of being responsible to a child as a father). Most women don’t want to have this process done (my opinion) to them at all – yet men sometimes offer them less wiggle room.

    I will tell one of my personal stories. I was having a long range relationship once – with a girI truly cared about. It just happens long distance was not my strong suit and the relationship kind of started to fizzle out (although I really tried to make this work). However, after like a month or 2 of being broken up she calls me and lets me know ‘she’s pregnant’…I froze – went silent – almost dropped the phone.

    Every thought you can imagine went through my head – but the biggest feeling was ‘shock’ and ‘fear’ of being a dad (I was 24 at the time I think). It was so unplanned and so surprising – I just said ‘I guess I am a dad?’. I thought about that for a few days and advice coming my way was to ask the girl to get an abortion. I even weighed that idea for a while. In the end, I came to be content with the idea of being a ‘long distance dad’. She had a miscarriage.

    Point being – as a man I could have influenced this girl into something like that. It also brings in the argument of the ‘pros and ‘cons’ of abortion – cause if she actually had that kid – nothing I have right now would be the same. But in the end, the decision is a personal one – between people to make – and for me – I never felt comfortable with the advice of having an abortion – so why should I advise such?

  6. Luke – “it’s interesting to think of why so many women joined the early church… it offered a road to freedom that not many of us consider here in this day and age.. and that’s celebacy”

    I didn’t know that either! Can you say more?

    A couple of thoughts…
    First, I am pro-life but am very sensitive to the fact that some women and men have participated in the decision to have an abortion for birth control or theraputic reasons and have strong opinions or damage from that decision so I try to be careful not to clobber them with my opinion. I have also worked with my local crisis pregnancy center and have talked to women and girls who are struggling with the decision and totally agree that our culture has this insulation-convenience mentality. I do think letting people know how brutal the process is can be helpful BEFORE they are in the middle of a decision but to show a woman or girl the uncensored reality when they are already pregnant seems like it would compound the trauma. The center I was associated with bought a 3D songogram machine so that they could produce an ultra-sound of the baby making it “real” to the woman in a visual way. This seemed to be very effective in some cases.

    Second, I agree with Luke that in our incredibly over sexualized society the concept that celebacy as a choice could be in any way freeing is often seen as absurd. Of course we are sexual creatures and “free love” (sorry I’m old) is FUN but the freedom from messy or futile emotional attachments, STD’s, unplanned pregnancies etc IS another sort of freedom as well. The path is not always easy for women and men who voluntarily choose this route. Tempations are often high and the stigma is that there is something “wrong” with them or they “don’t want” sex, which is not always true.

    And third, I am one who believes that life begins at conception so it’s important to remember that there is another person who’s opinion is not heard when considering an abortion. People who fight against the procedure often feel as though they are fighting a social justice cause and advocating for the baby who has no voice.

  7. **If 100,000 abortions happen a year – not all of those can be rape cases/incest – some of that (if not the majority) has to be considered ‘birth control’.**

    I’m seeing comments like this come up a lot — not just here, but in quite a few areas. The idea of abortion as a matter of convenience, or birth control.

    Per the link here: http://www.guttmacher.org/media/nr/2008/01/07/index.html

    It finds that a big reason as to why women have an abortion is the desire to be a good mother. Many of those women were already mothers, so I don’t think we can say they treated the decision easily, or weren’t already aware of what they were doing. In many of the books I’ve read in regards to abortion, those who had them found it to be the most moral decision they could make at the time. They weren’t in a good relationship, they weren’t financially secure, or couldn’t provide enough care/attention. Not only that, but many of the women (this isn’t found in the study, I’m pulling this from one of the books I read), felt that they were in the best position to consider what could and could not happen as a result of the pregnancy — and that they weren’t ignoring the fetus.

    So I don’t think we can say these women saw abortion in the same light as they see taking a birth control pill.

  8. One issue I have with a “Christian” view of life. If they are actually waiting for the return of Christ to make themselves whole, then why would it actually matter if a baby was aborted. Because from their perspective, the baby is now with the lord and in Heaven. It almost seems as if they are more concerned that the fetus has not had a chance to live the “physical” existence. Please, someone who is Pro life, tell me why it is you are so concerned about the Fetus if you truly believe that God is a God of Love and will accept them in Heaven?

  9. “Please, someone who is Pro life, tell me why it is you are so concerned about the Fetus if you truly believe that God is a God of Love and will accept them in Heaven?”

    Well I certainly don’t pretend to know everything but from my perspective it’s not just about the fate of the soul of the baby. I do believe that God will accept the soul of that precious child but I also believe that it IS a child/person from the moment of fertilization and that aborting/killing it when it is only a mass of cells is just as wrong as killing a full grown person. A person who if they had a voice might say, “I choose to live.”
    Just a thought.

  10. before we travel down the “the soul comes in at this time” argument, let’s step back. what we’re ultimately engaged in is a discussion of morality where our brains cross-fire. it’s a lot like the “if a train will hit 5 ppl or 1 which do you choose?” sort. it seriously makes your brain fight against itself at a neurological level. so before y’all comment again please listen to this show: http://www.wnyc.org/stream/ram?file=/radiolab/radiolab042806.mp3

    it’s my fav. radio show! Radio Lab! YAY! http://www.wnyc.org/shows/radiolab/

  11. i think people need opinions on abortion (esp. males) like a fish needs a bike. abortion isn’t something you should legislate as that falls into the catagory of morality and ethics and the last bunch of people i want determining that would be those in washington (as you can tell, i don’t have a high opinion of government).

    i’m prolife not because i vote but because i live it. i vote prochoice because i know a few women who’ve had to make that choice due to a variety of factors but only less than 1/4 were for birth control. even those two incidents were for good reasons as those women would have been unfit mothers and were in abusive relationships. Freakonomics claims that Roe v Wade is a reason for a decline in crime because those kids were simply not born… something that’s hard to swallow but he puts together quite a compelling argument.

    there is no one pro-abortion (save Mr. Garrison on South Park). there are people though who can see the complexities and aren’t willing to take away another choice, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t living a pro-life style.

  12. Please, someone who is Pro life, tell me why it is you are so concerned about the Fetus if you truly believe that God is a God of Love and will accept them in Heaven?

    The fetuses are our children, and we are murdering them. God will accept them in Heaven, but He will also kick our asses. Why would He kick our asses? Because He is a God of love. September 11th was a slap on the wrist. Expect much, much worse in the future.

  13. September 11 happened because of abortion? Wow! Everyone who was killed that day supported abortion? I guess it was good all the anti-abortion people stayed home from work that day and didn’t fly on any planes. I suppose God told them what was going to happen so they knew to stay in bed since God is a ‘God of love’ and would never destroy the innocent with the guilty, right? Anyway, it’s good God always kicks the shit out of someone else since all of us who are still living are such good, upstanding, holy people, unlike THOSE other reprobate dead people.

    Anyway, I thought it was the homosexuals that caused 9/11. The culprits seem to change depending on the pet cause being pushed…Wish people would all get their stories straight. Otherwise I’m not going to know what person to toss into the fire to appease this angry, out to get everyone, god.

    Luke, I’m with you man.

  14. “Why would He kick our asses? Because He is a God of love. September 11th was a slap on the wrist. Expect much, much worse in the future.” (Jim)


    Did you forget to take your meds today? Sometimes you are such an intelligent, reasonable and caring individual, and then, WHOOPS wacko man shows up.

  15. JJ,

    dude, you’re the worst kind of crazy… this inconsistent kind! i never know if your rational side or your crazy side will show up.

    thanks Yael, i’m happy to have your approval… before i superceed your religion! it’s all part of the plan! haahahaha! >:-D

  16. Luke,
    Keep trying, keep trying. When you were a little kid did you ever play that game where you whack the gopher on the head only to have it pop up somewhere else? Anyway, I don’t want you to supersede me just yet. I need some help lugging virgins to the fire pit. Since you are studying at seminary, do you think two would be enough for now to keep god from getting me and my kids this week?

  17. okay, i’ll take a rain check on the supersede’n for now.. let me know what date works best for you! as for the virgins, i think just a smaller offering of doves or some sort of animal burnt offering will do… cause that’s what you Hebrews do right? it’s in the bible after all!

    keep rawk’n out Yael, you’re a joy to banter with!

  18. Abortion is such a tough issue to deal with – because as a man – I cannot have one (nor do I really know that type of choice). So on that level – I am more than empathetic. I can admit the obvious – how well can I understand something I cannot do?

    But if we have to follow the logic of ‘life’ – as in how we got here…and deduct backwards to how this happened – it gets hard for me to decline what happens in a women’s womb isn’t ‘life’? Just stating the obvious there.

    Maybe this is the woman’s choice – but I also see it as the woman’s great responsibility and gift. The woman carries that child for 9 months – and they go through the labor of bringing that child iinto this world. Men are a support system in that endeavor – but we do not bring this gift to the world.

    As for Freak-a-nomics and the story there – there is an obvius rebuttal to the idea crime is down because less people are being born (which I also think is slightly racist in it’s vent). Those children being lost could also be some of the people that solve some of the world’s toughest problems – maybe if they were given the chance. Something strange that also happens from children born into tough environments (ie: poverty) – they end up wth some of the greatest insights into humanity.

    I have heard this argument about ‘children being into poverty’ as a verifiable good reason for abortion…if this is the case – someone like myself should have been aborted (or the basest of reasons existed to justify this). My mom and dad were poor, struggling staying together at this time (my dad had left for a bit), there were already 6 kids to take care of, and my mom had some health issues (actually my next brother almost killed her). The reasoning behind using ‘poverty’ as a reason to abort a child could have been used against me very easily…do I like that as a reason? No.

    In the end, someone that was born in a poverty stricken environment has become an asset to the society as a whole. Some of the nicest people I meet come from poverty and these struggles – and their insights into the problems with poverty may end up changing the way things are done in the next 30 years. These kids could of been aborted due to the situation they were born into – but then if we only keep children born into the middle class (or rich) – then we are we not selectively choosing who we want in our midst – and ignoring the fact people in poverty can be a great asset.

  19. SVS,

    i agree with you there.. as i am one of those kids in a poor appalachian kids from a single parent with no future… but i wasn’t born into that, i became that when i was 6. plus is there the inherent racism marked by Freakonomics? i thought he was coming from a purely mathmatical standpoint and making the connection. wouldn’t have the crime if the criminal was simply not born… however, also in freakonomics he states that the % of those who get out of poverty and those who are criminals are the minority… the majority are those who simply do what their parents did.

    ultimately on this issue of when life begins and when to end it is a moot point as it causes our brains to misfire. we can’t comprehend it… ergo we should avoid situations that put us in such an impossible situation. ethical means make ethical ends sort of thing. for me that was waiting until marriage. for others, it’s simply using protection. there have been wonderful children born from “unwanted” pregnancies but that’s not the point. the point is not getting to that in the first place… like the 311 song “First Straw” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xw6_NUgbWtQ
    no need to get to that last one!

    it would be nice if the Christian Right was correct and that the sole purpose of marriage was for procreation… so you could fool around all you wanted but couldn’t get pregnant b/c you weren’t married. but the world doesn’t work like that.

  20. Luke,
    I missed your response! Hey, sacrificing virgins is in the Bible, too! Have you forgotten Jepthah’s daughter?

    Anyway, we don’t do sacrifices anymore. We think it’s really neat to just do good deeds, which are really sins in disguise, so we can fry, fry, fry when we die. I used to worry about that until I watched Mr Bean in hell but he laid my fears to rest. You probably shouldn’t watch him though since he has some bad news for you….

  21. Yael,

    crap! damnation without relief! glad that most ppl poo when they die anyway, so i’ll be set! at least i’ll have fine french cooking!

    put another strike against being a Christian…. the first strike being that we have the crazies, unlike you Jews…….. oh wait…. nevermind! 😉

    awesome stuff! rawk!

  22. My tribe does not contain ANY crazies. It is perfectly rational to consider someone driving their child to the hospital on Shabbat to be a desicration of the day but that throwing rocks at that car is not. It is perfectly rational to riot in response to a gay pride parade in Jerusalem and then later on go to a certain park to have sex with another man, standing up of course, since Torah only prohibits laying with a man as one would with a woman but says nothing about standing with a man…..

    I’m sure just from these two things you can clearly see that we are totally, totally, free of the lunacies which come with excessive religious zealotry!

    I probably shouldn’t draw attention to these things, however, because no doubt someone will say, “See! This is how those blinded Jews think they’re following the law! Isn’t it great we are free from all of that? Hallelujah! ”

    This is a light conversation however, so I just have to say, this is exactly how all of us Jews live! Hell, yes! I would even try to convince you to join us in this wonderful, meaningful life of nit-picking about what you do while explaining away everything I do, a strangely unique Jewish mindset with which I am sure you are totally unfamiliar having never seen any such thing in the world of Christianity, but alas, you are merely a goy and thus unworthy of our elevated chosen to sit right by God status.

    I don’t know though. If God really likes best the ones who claim to be the most godly, I’d probably be happier joining you for some fine French cooking…..

  23. Yael, don’t forget liberals and feminists were responsible for 9/11, too. 😉 (notice sarcasm.)

    Which means I must be doomed; because even though I consider myself Christian, I’m also liberal, feminist, pro-choice, and pro-gay rights. (more sarcasm, of course)

    Seriously, though.

    I used to be pro-life (read: anti-abortion…IMO, to be truly “pro-life”, one must also be anti-death penalty, anti-war, and anti-genocide). But then I began to think about it a bit. What if a female friend/acquaintance was raped? Or was a victim of incest? What if their life was threatened and there was no other option available? What if, heaven forbid, a little girl got pregnant — someone who was just starting to go through puberty? (I’d think there’s no way a young pubescent girl could carry a baby to term without serious complications.) The other thing was in regards to Roe v. Wade itself. What would overturning that accomplish? Ultimately, wouldn’t it just make things worse? (Some say overturning it would return the issue to the states. I’m not sure I buy that arguement.)

    I don’t like that abortions happen. Yet, I find it very irritating that, to some, the only solution to decreasing the number of those that take place is to overturn Roe v. Wade.

    there is no one pro-abortion (save Mr. Garrison on South Park). there are people though who can see the complexities and aren’t willing to take away another choice, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t living a pro-life style. (Luke)

    A-freakin’-men to that. *nods*

  24. John,
    Watch the video and you’ll understand. I was thinking about this and realized, hey, if I’m already in hell that means I can eat escargot, calamari and sauteed frog legs again!

    As a liberal, pro-choice feminist I could be single-handedly responsible for 9/11 if only I could meet the right woman! Well, later tonight I’m going to have dinner with some lesbian friends so maybe that will allow me to qualify on that count as well?

    I’m reminded of my favorite Pat Robertson quote: “(T)he feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.”

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