The Religious Right’s Trump Card Exposed

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Nicaragua is now picking up where South Dakota left off, banning abortion in all circumstances, and that means ALL. This is obviously a result of the most conservative impulses of a Cathlic Church in other ways more liberal than most protestants. But why? From where does the religious right, protestant or Catholic, get their doctrine about abortion? Certainly not the Bible.

Exodus 21:22, “The Message” Translation-

“”When there’s a fight and in the fight a pregnant woman is hit so that she miscarries but is not otherwise hurt, the one responsible has to pay whatever the husband demands in compensation. But if there is further damage, then you must give life for life—eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise. ”

Notice two things about this – The fetus matters only insomuch as its father wants it to. It has no individual rights whatsoever; until it is born it has value is only insofar as it is valued by its parents. This is significantly less pro-life than most Americans are, even those who are moderately pro-choice.

Secondly, the woman does matter. Lose the fetus? No big deal. Hurt the woman, and you get punished. An obvious distinction between the living woman and the potentially living, but unborn, fetus. And they had this figured out 3000 years ago. Where’s your biblical literalism now?

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The Polish Wolf

22 Comments

  • You’re really just showing your ignorance here.

    First of all, Catholicism is not based on biblical literalism. Many fundamentalist and evangelical offshoots are. Big distinction.

    Catholic opposition to abortion is based on scripture. If you want to know the Catholic rationale on abortion, read Humana Vitae and Evangelium Vitae.

    It’s cited *ahem* Chapter and Verse for your convenience.

  • I understand that Catholicism is not based on Biblical literalism; that remark was more directed at protestant groups’ opposition to abortion. But their teachings should never be in direct opposition to scripture. To place, as is being done in Nicaragua, the life of the unborn ahead of the life of the mother is directly opposed to scriptural teachings which make a clear distinction between actual and potential life.
    That said, I can’t argue with Catholicism effectively as long as the Pope is infallible. On the other hand, the Evangelical forces in the United States that are pushing the pro-life movement should stop and take a good look at the Bible.
    Also, only the latter of the links you provided worked. I didn’t read the whole thing (I don’t have time), but I did notice that the biblical citations dropped to zero as soon as abortion itself was being discussed. Yes, scripture can be used to prove that God values life (conversely, it could be used to prove that God takes life away with such efficientcy and on such a magnitude that life is next to insignificant). Now use it to prove that the unborn are alive. (If they were, wouldn’t the Laws of the Hebrews have protected them as such?)

  • All I have to say is how hypocritical can the Sandinistas be? For a party that has historically been pro-choice, pro-women´s rights, it amazes me how Ortega based part of his campaign on his newly formed negative stance on abortion. What changed? It will be really interesting to see how long this decision (made by the current govt) will stand and if anything, although very doubtful, will change when Ortega assumes the presidency in January. On a side note, I must say that it´s fascinating being down in Nicaragua right now and viewing this whole thing unfold. While not as hot a news topic as it was a few weeks ago, it´s still on the tip of nearly everyone´s tongue and it will be interesting what further action is taken on both sides of this debate.

  • First of all, Shane. It touched a chord only insofar as TPW is just showing his ignorance of Catholicism. But, hey, it’s the last acceptable prejudice, right?

    Further, why bring in Protestantism when Honduras is primarily a Catholic country if not to score rhetorical points.

    And yet again, TPW shows his ignorance by showing that he doesn’t understand what papal infallibility is.

    Hint: It doesn’t mean, “What the pope says, goes.”

    You are hereby sentenced to retake Comparative Religion 101, or just use Wikipedia, for cryin’ out loud.

    Another hint: Psalms 139:13.

    As for me, I’m just working on item #2 in the Spiritual Works of Mercy. It’s a never-ending job, but someone has to do it.

  • I bring Protestantism into it becuase, and I realize this might be a little too complicated for you, I was talking about more than one thing at once. The religious right of both religions utilizes abortion as a dividing issue, so I address them both. Is it that tricky?

    Moreover, “No Catholic should doubt that recent papal encyclicals like Veritatis splendor and Evangelium vitae speak infallibly about such issues as birth control, abortion, euthanasia, and the inadmissibility of the theological fad known as consequential” (Catholic.net) Believe it or not, I’m not entirely ignorant of what papal infallibility is, but various popes have declared in the strongest possible language on the issue of abortion. If not directly invoking Papal Infallibility, the doctrines set forth about abortion by John Paul II are pretty close. And as long as the Pope has that kind of power, I can hardly argue with him.

    That Psalm, though frequently quoted, proves nothing. So God directed your development in the womb; so what? All that says is that you, like everything else, were created, and obviously you had to be created before you were born. God created trees and rocks and pigs. Being ‘created’ in the womb is pretty obviously the case, but God doesn’t value all his creations equally; the ones He values He protects in His laws. (And, the Psalms were written by men who were speaking about God to the best of their knowledge, hardly the most reliable part of the Bible.)

    Lastly, the country in question is Nicaragua, not Honduras. Granted, both are Catholic, but you’d speak with a bit more authority if you kept your countries straight.

  • And one more thing Craig – If you looked at the post a bit more closely, you would notice that I have no bias against Catholics. I agree with them on almost every other issue. And I’m not going to argue that abortion is out and out ok from a Catholic perspective, exactly because there’s nothing to argue about – the Pope has to make the final call; however, in cases as egregious as Nicaragua where women’s lives are at stake, I think the Catholic church needs to reconsider, given the scriptural evidence. On the other hand, protestants claim no higher authority than the Bible, so I don’t know where they get their doctrine about abortion; hence the “where’s your Biblical literalism?” Sorry if that confused you Craig.

  • Quoth TPW:

    “If you looked at the post a bit more closely, you would notice that I have no bias against Catholics.”

    But, from the post:

    This is obviously a result of the most conservative impulses of a Cathlic Church

    Alrighty, then.

    Further:

    I can’t argue with Catholicism effectively as long as the Pope is infallible

    I know I’m a simpleton, but the implication of that statement is that you have no clue what papal infallibility truly means. George Sims Johnston’s opinion notwithstanding.

    On the other hand, protestants claim no higher authority than the Bible, so I don’t know where they get their doctrine about abortion; hence the “where’s your Biblical literalism?” Sorry if that confused you Craig.

    From your post, again:

    This is obviously a result of the most conservative impulses of a Cathlic Church in other ways more liberal than most protestants.

    Look, I know I’m not going to change your mind on this, and even as I present to you what most people would consider to be the scriptural basis against abortion — right or wrong — you’re ignoring the argument I’ve laid in front of you.

    That was the original question, yes?

    And, the Psalms were written by men who were speaking about God to the best of their knowledge, hardly the most reliable part of the Bible.

    In the Catholic tradition, the entire Bible is not literally the word of God, but rather, inspired by God. In other words, “written by men who were speaking about God to the best of their knowledge.”

  • Craig –

    Do you deny the statement I made? Do you deny that Nicaragua passed a law banning abortion due to the Catholic influence on that Nation, for better or worse? And moreover, do you deny that this is a more conservative impulse than the Cathlic church’s stance on, say, the death penalty? That’s all I’m saying. Just because I happen to disagree with the Church on this issue, while agreeing with them on many others, does not make me biased against Catholicism.

    Moreover – given the tradition of Catholic infallibility, which I’m almost certain has been used in regards to the Church’s view of the right to live, I can’t argue. That’s the simple truth; as long as they accept as a postulate that those statements made cannot be wrong, I cannot be right. So I don’t argue with them as to that point.

    No, I’m not ignoring the argument, Craig. Catholics have every reason to oppose abortion, though I don’t see how they can fail to make exception for the safety of the mother. However, you are stringing to parts of the post together that do not belong together – a refutation of the Biblical Literalism of Evangelicals, and a statement regarding Conservative Catholic influence on Nicaragua. The Catholic view of abortion is defensible if we take as true their doctrines and dogmas; however, even accepting those, the law they helped pass in Nicaragua is unethical from a scriptural perspective.

    The Protestant view, on the other hand, is not. That Psalms verse proves nothing. The Law was handed down from God; the Psalms were sent from men up to God. Which do you suppose is of more import? I know that Pslam 139 is what protestants would cite. The problem is, it only restates the obvious – God creates all that exists, I exist in the womb, God created me in the womb. Yeehaw. God also created the chicken I just ate. God’s Law, however, protects people. It doesn’t protect chickens; God doesn’t value the life of chickens. God’s law also doesn’t protect fetuses. If we follow only the Bible, as a protestant must, what conclusion is inevitable?

    No similar argument, however, can be made to convince a Catholic, because they accept more than just the Bible as the basis of their belief. All I can say to a Catholic is, look, the Law values a woman more than a fetus, so if you must outlaw abortion, do it in such a way that doesn’t endanger women. Where are you picking up on a bias?

  • By golly, it would seem I’m not Catholic. Thanks for filling me in. That’s why I don’t try to argue with the Catholic church over abortion in general. However, I’ll let them have their infallible church if they don’t force women to give birth to babies that will kill them. Sound like a deal? Well obviously not, because the Catholic church, at least in Nicaragua, doesn’t agree with that altogether reasonale proposition. Sure, I can’t change their minds, but I can certainly point out where their teachings are in direct conflict with the Bible.

  • Eric-

    You show in two sentences the ignorance that dominates the religious right. You always have had a tendency to dumb things down, but this one is rather convenient.

    This is what I mean: If you are Catholic, you probably should reject abortion. By rejecting abortiion, I mean: don’t get one. Same thing with gay marriage. If you don’t agree with it, then you should refrain from kissing other dudes.

    You guys think that “rejecting” something means not only refraining from it yourselves, but doing your best to make sure everyone else has to refrain from it as well. It’s the height of ignorance. But then again, I wouldn’t expect any less of you.

  • Polish Wolf, I am responding to one of your earlier posts. Specifically your statement, “To place, as is being done in Nicaragua, the life of the unborn ahead of the life of the mother is directly opposed to scriptural teachings which make a clear distinction between actual and potential life.”

    First of all, the rights of the unborn do not supercede the rights of the mother. Conversely, the rights of the adult never supercede the rights of the unborn. Niether has a superceding authority.

    The mother has the right to live, as well as the unborn child.

    The mother does not have the right kill the child nor the child kill the adult.

    Also, the definition of actual and potential life has no bearing in this conversation. We are talking about humans, not sperm or egg cells. Any way you try to slice it, once the egg is fertilized by the sperm it is human as evidenced by 42 chromosomes. Once that is established, you can then follow the logic to discern whether a human a person OR a person a human. If you get in on the wrong side of the question, you get Dred Scott, Nazism, and Roe. Get it right, and the logic that all humans are persons and all people have the right to life follows.

    Speaking to the exception that abortion can be done to save the life of the mother deserves attention. A tubal pregnancy is not ended in an abortion. In this case, the loss of the child must be so as to save the life of the mother. Uninterrupted, they both will die. It is a medical condition where the treatment is applied appropriately with dignity and sadness. The child is not sucked out with a vacuum after being burned with chemicals nor is it delivered partially only to puncture its skull and destroy its brain. The mother will lose a fallopian tube (and a child) in the process.

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