Wrestling With the Theo-Con

The only thing worse than a politician posing as an intellectual may be an intellectual posing as a politician. The … Continued

The only thing worse than a politician posing as an intellectual may be an intellectual posing as a politician. The country has paid a steep price for George W. Bush’s aping Neo-Con ideology: now, Catholic America must endure George Weigel dictating in Newsweek our single political option for the 2008 election. Alarmed at the collapse of the anti-abortion position of Catholicism in this year’s political contest, Weigel summons his not inconsiderable intellectual skills to defend some terribly tired dicta.

In Newsweek, he builds upon the idea that abortion is “non-negotiable issue,” while everything else is subject to cafeteria Catholicism. He links Senator Obama with a failed 1980s proposition, the Freedom of Choice Act [FOCA], claiming this legislation is endorsed on the Senator’s own website (it’s not)), and that while an Illinois State Senator, Obama opposed saving the lives of survivors of abortions (he didn’t).

Sadly, Weigel’s recent politicking has cheapened his body of work over a commendable career. As a respected Catholic intellectual, Weigel had held high the torch of insightful commentary on contemporary issues that explained Catholicism in the public forum. True, Weigel almost always wound up on the side of the Republican Party, but then so did Douglas Kmiec, former Catholic University law professor, and Nicolas Cafardi, once the dean of Duquesne University School of Law and adviser to the bishops on the pedophile issue. Yet, these pro-lifers are now supporting Obama on the grounds that he will do more to reduce abortions than McCain and Palin. Weigel’s attack on his former intellectual comrades relies on tired old arguments to counter the new formulations of political strategies. Weigel’s choice of ideological weapons reflects neither the acumen of his intellect or the changed circumstances of today’s Catholic electorate. As observed before in this online column, unless the Pro-Life Movement can soon reinvent itself, it will likely collapse, further damaging the capacity of the U.S. Bishops to guide the faithful on social issues.

Consider also George Weigel’s attempt to support the Bush Administration’s invasion of Iraq. In Against The Grain: Christianity and Democracy, War and Peace, he stoops to identifying himself with a politically toxic label as a “Theo-Con.” Strange to a former advocate of papal teachings, he criticizes popes John XXIII and Benedict XVI for having opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Perhaps the most confused of his politicized comments is the following: “The fact of the matter today is that the just war tradition, as a historically confirmed method of rigorous moral reasoning, is far more alive in America’s service academies and armed forces graduate schools than in our divinity schools and on our faculties of theology; the just war tradition ‘lives’ more vigorously in the American officer corps, in the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and at the higher levels of the Pentagon than it does at the National Council of Churches, in certain offices at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, or on the faculties of Berkeley’s Graduate Theological Union and the Duke Divinity School “(p. 204). One wonders if an intellectual has to turn in his membership card after such an anti-intellectual statement.

The most disturbing tendency in the meanderings of this self-described Theo-Con is his reliance on papal and episcopal documents to the prejudice of the words of Jesus Christ found in scripture. While we Catholics are distinguished by our reliance on both tradition and scripture, we don’t become super-Catholics by ditching the bible in favor of ecclesiastical pronouncements. As argued here once before, Jesus gave us the measure of Judgment Day in Matthew 25. Our test of discipleship is whether we sheltered the homeless, clothed the naked, fed the hungry and the like. Abortion was not on Jesus’ list, so it departs from His teaching to pretend that the “least of my brothers and sisters” really means the unborn. Clearly, Jesus was talking about the living victims of poverty and injustice among us. While sincere Catholics are trying to reconcile a stark political choice either to vote pro-life for the living or pro-life for the unborn, George Weigel has chosen to stay at home. Not helpful.

  • vsylvestre

    No offence, but do you really need another abortion thread? You know it will denegrate into another long series of angry and slanderous posts.Arroyo is certainly right on this issue – Republicans have been proven unwilling to do anything about the rate of abortion. There is no point for anybody who vote only on the ‘abortion’ issue to support Republicans over Democrats. Sadly, I think there was a period where there could have been compromise between people on both sides, but consistantly pro-lifers have prefered the perfect over the good, and now they will get neither.

  • brimartin10

    my very devout Roman Catholic father saw one issue voting as the surest way to get a duplicitous scoundrel on the ticket. And though he never missed a Holy Day of Obligation and went regularly to see his parish priest for confession(and almost as regularly had them over for dinner), he saw the Bishops, Cardinals and the Pope for what they are: politicians who campaigned hard for their positions and who loved their mansions and limosines far too much

  • washpost18

    Catholic America, as well as the rest of us, have to also put up with the blovating Bill Donohue claiming to speak for all Catholics. The only difference is that the BillDo isn’t an intellectual by any stretch of the imagination.

  • spidermean2

    God will settle the issue of abortion and gay marriage. Doomsday is coming.

  • sparrow4

    thank you Mr. Stevens-Arroyo. I have had my differences with you but i have to thank you for writing a well-thought out, truly understanding article on the very complex issue at hand. I am pro-choice, for many reasons and I am sure we differ on this. But thank you for understanding that pro-choice doesn’t mean pro-abortion, and there are few women who undertake it lightly or without regret. Certainly none that I personally know. Obama’s position is to be practical, to do what can be done to reduce abortions, and to have compassion for both mother and embryo,but without making the unborn more important than the living.

  • Enrique-I

    Dr. Stevens Arroyo — It’s frankly disturbing that you attempt to divide Christians on the issue of abortion. To claim that Jesus excluded children in the womb in Matthew 25 twists his central message of coming to bring life in abundance, beyond recognition. Why would wombs even exist if humans did not need the utmost protection upon conception?On the other hand life in abundance was not meant to stop upon emerging from the womb. Human life needs love and protection from conception to death. Denying it at either end, or in the middle, is not Christianity.

  • danjanbee

    Thank you for a thoughtful and reasoned commentary. It is a truth not often noted that being “pro-choice” does not equate with being “pro-abortion” nor does being “pro-choice” mean being “anti-life” — yet this is the construct the language puts on those whose views differ from those who consider abortion the only non-negotiable issue. It is also a truth that one-issue voters are very likely to get a dismally unqualified individual, should they prevail at the ballot box. One poster commented that “God will decide . . . ” How very true! Let’s let Him decide. In the meantime, we should decide these earthly elections on a variety of issues, not just one issue about which devout believers clearly disagree!

  • Mary_Cunningham

    False, Professor. Along with their Judaic ancestors early Christians were vehemently against infanticide. Thou shalt not kill is one of the commandments. Rationalise the One, by all means, and appeal to your new base: atheists and secularists. You should retitle your blog though: how about Anti-Catholic America? Anti-Catholic America on No Faith. Has a nice ring, don’t you think?

  • nicholasjbeck

    Unfortunately, Dr. Arroyo has displayed a common misunderstanding of the Catholic faith: the difference between dogma and prudential judgment. Dogma (e.g. abortion, assisted suicide) is infallible teaching, while matters of prudential judgment (e.g. capitol punishment, the Iraq Wars) are matters in which the Pope doesn’t speak ex-cathedra, thus allowing one to disagree and still be a Catholic in good standing.It is true that Jesus preached a “social Gospel” in Mt. 25. However, it is also true that the sanctity of human life, even in the womb, has been seen as sacred since the earliest days of the Church, as taught by the Apostles and those who knew them personally (the Didache comes to mind). Furthermore, I would remind Dr. Arroyo that it was the Catholic Church who gave him the Bible he quotes in 397 A.D. at the Councils of Carthage and Rome. That provides a pretty good qualification for interpreting the Bible.

  • CCNL

    It is obvious that intercourse and other sexual activities are out of control with over one million abortions and 19 million cases of STDs per year in the USA alone. from the CDC-2006″Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing, and treating certain STDs in recent years, CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.1 In addition to the physical and psychological consequences of STDs, these diseases also exact a tremendous economic toll. Direct medical costs associated with STDs in the United States are estimated at up to $14.7 billion annually in 2006 dollars.”How in the world do we get this situation under control? A pill to temporarily eliminate the sex drive would be a good start. And teenagers and young adults must be constantly reminded of the dangers of sexual activity and that oral sex, birth control pills, condoms and chastity belts are no protection against STDs. Might a list of those having an STD posted on the Internet help? Sounds good to me!!!! Said names would remain until the STD has been eliminated with verification by a doctor. Lists of sexual predators are on-line. Is there a difference between these individuals and those having a STD having sexual relations while infected???And a growing baby is considered by some to be nothing more than an infection? Talk about having no respect for life!!!!! And Nature or Nature’s God is the #1 taker of everyone’s life. That gives some rational for killing the unborn or those suffering from dementia, mental disease or Alzheimer’s or anyone who might inconvenience your life??? We constantly battle the forces of nature. We do not succumb to these forces by eliminating defenseless children!!!!!

  • MikeL4

    Mr. Arroyo,

  • ravitchn

    How can you trust as a moral adviser a church which for almost 2000 years has practiced the persecution and murder of dissenters, the satanization of Jews, and the sexual exploitation of countless young men and women. These pharisees in skirts would be laughable if they were not so terribly dangerous.

  • MaryMiserable

    Although I am not Roman Catholic, I was an active churchwomen in my Episcopal diocese when Roe was decided. Because this was also the period of the thalidomide babies and the always-frightening specter of the back alley, I believe we women were secretly relieved when abortion was legalized and that the Episcopal Church supported it.

  • DavidinDallas

    I could rant about a number of issues that I believe that the oxymoronicly name Pro-Life group foists upon the public. But, a sperm and an egg do not a human make. Sarcastically, when you buy fresh eggs from a farm and the farmer has roosters, do you call your scrambled eggs “fried chicken”? The POTENTIAL for life may begin at conception, but until this creation is more that a few million developing cells that can not survive on its own, I vote for the parent(s) to make the decision on how to manage their lives. A DECISION to have an abortion is not as simple as “choice”. it’s not like chosing whether to have vanilla or chocolate ice cream for dessert. So, Church, get out of our lives.

  • CCNL

    We are a collection of living cells from start to death. Destruction of said collection violates the laws of human evolution, Thou Shalt Not Kill and Thou Shalt Respect Human Life in All Its Forms!!!!

  • ThomasBaum

    DAVIDINDALLASYou wrote, ” But, a sperm and an egg do not a human make.”Really, then what does?Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • sparrow4

    Mary cunningham wrote:” Along with their Judaic ancestors early Christians were vehemently against infanticide. Thou shalt not kill is one of the commandments.Rationalise the One, by all means, and appeal to your new base: atheists and secularists. “2 things are obvious from your post. # 1- Thou shalt not kill says nothing about the unborn. In fact, as with the entire 10 commandments, they refer to the living, and thinking – those who are capable of making choices. Kindly don’t speak for Jews- you know nothing about us, and everything you say is skewed by your extreme religious views.Atheists and secularists, since you have forgotten, are human beings,and Americans. You are so far to the right you think the election is all about what you want, what you believe, what you want to force on other people. that sounds a lot more like a oppressor than a roman catholic. Now, because Mr. Stevens-arroyo says something you don’t agree with, you are insulting him from the vantage point of your self-defined “moral and religious” superiority? Why are you so incapable of acting like a human being or accepting that we’re all entitled to be different? this is America- dig? If you don’t like being an American, there are a few countries in the Middle east that seem a lot more in agreement with your brand of fundamentalism.

  • Enrique-I

    I believe Jesus Christ’s message ‘…that you may have life and abundantly…’ is as general as it gets. Indeed, he even meant if for all eternity. As I undertstand it, reducing it to this or that, or excluding this one or that one, contradicts it. Thus, it’s as contradictory to be ‘pro-life’ while in favor of the military-industrial complex as it is to be pro-choice (of aborting human life) and against it; or to be pro-life but unwilling to share the wealth necessary to sustain it.Nor can a Christian pro-life position be nationalist or ethno-centric. Christians are not restricted ny national, ethnic or racial boundaries. Nor can Christian compassion exclude humans at the fertilized human egg stage, when they are obviously immensely vulnerable.Why didn’t (or don’t) the candidates have a little deeper debate about something so obvious (at least to me)?

  • journeyer58

    Dr. Stevens-Arroyo, thank you for a well-thought out and intelligent argument that pro-choice does not equal pro-abortion.

  • ThomasBaum

    JOURNEYER58You wrote, “Should I in good conscience remain a catholic when, all around me are people who vote only one issue, do not do the work of the gospel and renounce the Lord for the God of Mammon?”.I will not even attempt to answer this question because as you have said “in good conscience” means that only you can answer it.I would like to comment on it tho, I am a Catholic and I cherish my Catholic Faith which I look at as a gift from God. I also think that if someone is Catholic then they should also be catholic but that is their decision.One of the things that I have learned in my life is that I can’t live anyone else’s life and no one can live my life, in other words, it doesn’t matter what anyone else does.It is important what one does and why one does it and what one knows, but it is up to the individual to make that decision, we have been given free will and whether or not we take responsibility for what we do is also our choice. Doesn’t it seem that there are some “christians” that think that it is their “christian” duty to tell others how they should live and what to do whereas Jesus forced Himself on no one, did He?And by “christian” I mean people of all denominations or no denomination, of course this seems to be quite a human thing considering that no matter what label someone applies to themself plenty like to try to run other people’s lives.I imagine that some will be rather surprised to find out that God is a searcher of hearts and minds and not of religious affiliations or lack thereof.I am thankful that God has a Plan and has had His Plan since before creation and that His Plan will come to Fruition and whether we believe it or not His Plan is unfolding before our very eyes.Hang in there, He hung in there for US and by Us, I mean ALL OF US.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • Enrique-I

    ABORTIONDEATH PENALTYALL LIFE, NOT JUST FERTILIZED HUMAN EGGSPRO-LIFE IS NOT PRO-PREJUDICES

  • Enrique-I

    One more point: Of course Jesus Christ is reported to have told people how to live, and how not to, when asked and when not asked.One just has to read the New Testament to verify.

  • Paganplace

    CCNL:” CCNL”It is obvious that intercourse and other sexual activities are out of control with over one million abortions and 19 million cases of STDs per year in the USA alone. “So you think you ought to be the one to control it?Hate to break it to you, but cars and guns are far worse by your standards, and conservatives scream bloody murder if anyone tries to control use of either.

  • Paganplace

    I mean, seriously, CCNL, if anyone proposed that it’d reduce highway deaths to abolish driver’s ed and make it illegal to crash, perhaps try to make a ‘pill’ to stop people from enjoying driving, you’d be laughed out of the debate. But this seems to be your idea about sex.

  • CCNL

    Hmmm, guns/cars cause more “accidents” then unprotected sex?? i.e. 19 million STD cases and one million abortions. Gun/car (each) accidents to include references, please!!! And it is obvious sex-ed needs some serious upgrading!!! Ditto for “Gun-ed” and “car-ed” if the statistics warrant. And to deride the use of self-control pills is to deride the use of ED drugs, aspirin and anti-depressants, heartburn preventatives et al.

  • Enrique-I

    A fertilized egg is not just any old recombined mass of cells. It’s self evident that when human beings procreate it results in humans, not rabbits; and that the human cells that are joined flourish as other human beings only when protected. In the secular world one cannot of course impose one’s beliefs on anyone else. However, if in the secular world it is illegal to kill, then why should that not apply accross the board? Why should those who claim that some human beings (whether in vitro, in womb, in death row, or enemies) are not human (or less than human) and less deserving of life for whatever reason, be allowed to kill, if killing is wrong for others? On what principle does secular law determine that some can be legally killed but others cannot? Jesus taught people how to live but absolutely did not force anyone to follow his teachings or encourage others to do so. Indeed, it was the other way around. He told his disciples to shake the dust off their feet after departing from whereever they were not received.

  • persiflage

    If we could just get manic-depressives to take their lithium we know everyone else would have a better life – but try convincing the bi-polar person of that self-evident truth. Being high on your own chemistry is pretty indescribable – too bad about the bad behavior that goes along with it! And so it goes with the human race at large – if they’d just take that hypothetical little pill to squelch their frequently inappropriate sex drive, life would be grand for the really boring dead-heads that thought it was a terrific idea. But they’re very old, and very lazy – they need to get to work on discovering that magic formula, because talk is cheap! Of course those idiots are usually about 65+ and with no patience left for anything or anybody that upsets their wobbly little applecart. Spontaneous sex between consenting adults is quite beyond their grasp or their feeble imagination, to be sure. Hey all you old farts, get a grip! The world is going to screw madly, whether you like it or not!! Humans live a life of chaos, because chaos rules – rules and the meaning of life are a human problem. That’s why humans have a human nature – as one of the very highest archangels said at the dawn of time with just a hint of melancholy, ‘it’s divine to be human because you get to make your own rules’. Amen to that…..

  • sparrow4

    “Jesus taught people how to live but absolutely did not force anyone to follow his teachings or encourage others to do so. Indeed, it was the other way around. He told his disciples to shake the dust off their feet after departing from whereever they were not received.” And would they take his advice.Granted, human embryos become human, not rabbits. what’s the point? All life is a miracle and the world would be in better shape if more people felt that way. But again, you’re playing semantics with the word “life.” I don’t believe that a mass of fertilized cells, and its advocates, has a right to hold a woman’s body hostage to a definition they hold but is not universal. Once you take away a woman’s right to decide what she will do with her body, you automatically render her a second class citizen. then it’s a very little step to taking away her vote again, or her right to birth control or to equal pay (a battle that has not yet been won). I also note that the idea that a mass of cells has as much right to live as a life already born really only applies to women. what does a man give up? what rights of his are put on hold for another’s? and not even for an actual living, breathing, human being but a potential person. when does the rights of a potential person override the rights of an actual living one?If we lived that way then every potential would be treated as a reality- every child is not only a potential saint, but a potential sinner. Do people who are perceived as potential murderers have a right to live? You are banking on futures and destroying presents.even more frightening, your Christianity is becoming dependent on taking away the rights of women and gays. You are becoming the arbiters of prejudice and pain, seemingly in the name of christ. And I will never believe this is what he ever intended his teachings to mean. You wonder why there is a culture war, and you demonize those who disagree. Then you sit back and woder why people are so angry and are persecuting you? Well, we’re not. We’re fighting for our rights and our own beliefs. we have no intention of denying you your religion- but why you cannot be content to practice it as a private, personal freedom, why you insist on forcing it into law is something I don’t agree with and will not let you to to us.

  • Enrique-I

    Philosophically speaking, a human being is more accurately described as a purposeful living process, not a ‘thing’. Said process begins upon flourishes if protected and nurtured.The secular space in the US is democratic and Christians are a part of it. Accordingly, they have as much right as anyone else to shape its laws.

  • Enrique-I

    Errata: The second sentence in my last post should read:”Said process begins upon conception and flourishes if protected and nurtured.

  • Paganplace

    Oh, btw. If it comes from a pill, it’s not ‘self-control.’ Go figure.

  • sparrow4

    “It cannot begin unless a woman makes the choice or is raped. No one is taking away her choice; but not few expect her to assume responsibly for the human life that may result, without harming or killing it.”why should the woman assume responsibility for a pregnancy if she is raped? rape is not a choice, it’s a criminal act forced upon a victim. And insofar as a woman becoming accidentally pregnant- excuse me, but women do not become pregnant by themselves. Nor do most get pregnant simply to have an abortion. What I hear are men and strangers telling a woman to be responsible for something they themselves will not do. So, pray tell, by denying a woman the right to terminate a pregnancy, how is that not taking away her choice? How does forcing a victim of rape to bear a child of that rape not punishing her twice over- once by the crime, and then by forcing her into 9 months of servitude to the perpetrator of the rape, thereby rewarding him, and in the process reinforcing how much less valuable her life is than a mass of dividing cells. No thank you. Stay out of my bedroom, keep your hands off my body.”The secular space in the US is democratic and Christians are a part of it. Accordingly, they have as much right as anyone else to shape its laws. ” Indeed they do- but only as long as those laws adhere to the Constitution and Bill of rights. Invading another person’s privacy, denying them the right to live as their religion dictates (and not dictating religion to others)- those they cannot do, no matter how many there are. If that’s your idea of the dictatorship of democracy, you would have loved nazi germany where the majority fell in place behind Hitler. did that make the Holocaust right by democracy? I don’t think so.

  • CCNL

    From the CDC:”In the U.S. for 2001, there were 29,573 deaths from firearms, distributed as follows by mode of death: Suicide 16,869; Homicide 11,348; Accident 802; Legal Intervention 323; Undetermined 231.(CDC, 2004) This makes firearms injuries one of the top ten causes of death in the U.S. The number of firearms-related injuries in the U.S., both fatal and non-fatal, increased through 1993, but has since declined steadily.(CDC, 2001) However, firearms injuries remain a leading cause of death in the U.S., particularly among youth (CDC, 2004).The number of non-fatal injuries is considerable–over 200,000 per year in the U.S. Many of these injuries require hospitalization and trauma care.””Killed by Car AccidentsHighway fatalities account for more than 94% of all transportation deaths. There were an estimated 6,289,000 car accidents in the US in 1999. There were about 3.4 million injuries and 41,611 people killed in auto accidents in 1999. The total number of people killed in highway crashes in 2001 was 42,116, compared to 41,945 in 2000. An average of 114 people die each day in car crashes in the U.S. “vs. one million abortions/year and 19 million cases of STDs.

  • LocalCrank

    “…unless the Pro-Life Movement can soon reinvent itself, it will likely collapse, further damaging the capacity of the U.S. Bishops to guide the faithful on social issues.”Hate to break it to you, but the capacity of U.S. Bishops to guide on social issues has pretty much collapsed already. You can point to a lot of reasons for that, but the Church’s stance against birth control is very high on the list. With the vast majority of Catholics now in the habit of ignoring this bit of Church doctrine, it’s hardly surprising that they’re more comfortable turning a deaf ear to the Bishops on other issues.

  • thopaine

    A pox on all their houses !!

  • nicholasjbeck

    I would like to inject three points:1. Merely declaring oneself Catholic does not make it so. If you disagree with the fundamental tenets of an organization, then don’t join, or find another organization. The Episcopal Church may be more your thing.2. The most essential way of proliferating one’s views is to ensure the creation of a successor generation. Those who complain about Church teachings can contracept themselves into non-existence all they want; Others will fill the void.3. There is a key difference between abortion and the death penalty: Adults sentenced to death have chosen their poison. Unborn children have not.

  • sparrow4

    “3. There is a key difference between abortion and the death penalty: Adults sentenced to death have chosen their poison. Unborn children have not.”Unless, of course you count those who have been wrongfully convicted. there is another difference as well- trial and sentencing are a process society goes through to administer justice (hopefully). In refusing to allow women to make a choice, we have removed that process from them and given it to a mass of cells that certain groups have imbued with “personhood” without a trial and without real proof. We spend time proving someone’s guilt, and think nothing of stealing women’s rights.

  • coloradodog

    Why do neocons/neochristians care more about life before it is born than they do after?They casually accept (and demand everyone else to) that pre-emptive war, politically motivated starvation and capital punishment is OK and has no conflict with the same Sixth Commandment they jam down others’ throats with their twisted judgmental finger pointing. The cognitive dissonance is obvious to everyone but themselves.

  • Amlphd

    I have admired the Catholic Church when it stands up for the poor and the oppressed. At different times, individual Catholic priests have made heroic stands on opposing genocide (in Darfur, in Cambodia, and even in Nazi Germany) and, at other times, they have made equally heroic stands in assisting the poor.Unfortunately, the stands many of these priests have taken have been in opposition to that taken by the hierarchy of the Church. In fact, the Catholic hierarchy has an awful track record in caring for the poor, the oppressed and those threatened with genocide (I would argue that this poor track record dates back to the Middle Ages but it is more instructive to point to their track record in the past 100 years—this includes not only collaborating in the Holocaust [Catholic bishops in eastern Europe actively stoked hatred of Jews] to the more recent revelation of their actions in regard to the pedophilia scandal). As a non-Catholic (I am an Episcopalian), I have admired individual Catholics but I have rarely seen much to admire in the Catholic Church per se.Their position on abortion (which actually runs counter to the comments of St. Augustine) leaves me cold. There is little attempt to be compassionate (esp. to women who are raped but also to parents who may be forced to chose between an abortion and carrying a fetus to term…when that fetus will not be viable after birth and will endure a prolonged and agonizing death). There is little attempt to assist women to avoid unwanted pregnancies and there is often very little attempt to assist families in need care for the children they have (many, many of the Republicans who run as opposed to abortion routinely vote to deny financial assistance to poor women and their children). Additionally, if the Catholic Church is so opposed to killing, I would like to see them be greater advocates for peace and, yes, I would like to see them be greater opponents of the death penalty. I realize the latter may be a difficult stance given people’s desire for vengence but, given that Jesus himself was sentenced to death by Roman authorities, I think opposition to the death penalty should be central to any form of Christianity.

  • cdav531

    I’m a recovering Catholic school attendee. It’s almost the same as being a recovering alcoholic or drug addict. No matter how hard one tries to shake it the effects last a lifetime. When I finally went to a public university and was free of the Catholic yoke, I began to realize just how brainwashed I had been and how insane a lot of Catholic doctrine is. A lot of the tenets blatantly contradict themselves and rely entirely too much on “faith.” I’m puzzled, for example by the whole notion of a fertilized egg suddenly becoming a “life.” WHY is it a life? Does it now have a “soul?” And where was that soul 2 minutes earlier before the sperm cell and egg met? (It couldn’t have been in another body because that is reincarnation and only heathen Hindus believe that nonsense, right?) Does every sperm cell have a “half soul” or what? Does every egg as well? If that is true isn’t a woman, in effect, destroying a half soul every month she doesn’t get pregnant? Isn’t every menstruation evidence of a “half-abortion?” Aren’t women duty-bound to go out and get every one of their precious half-souls fertilized? Aren’t they going to hell if they don’t? Exactly where does this madness end? What ultimately disturbs me more than anything, however, is how Catholics preach so much about the importance of the “next” life while dwelling so much on “this” one. If a fertilized egg has a soul aren’t we in a way doing it a favor by aborting it? The poor thing doesn’t need to be born into a world where it can commit “sin” and destroy its opportunity to go to “Heaven.” What happens to the souls of these aborted fetuses? Do they drift around in “limbo” or perhaps “purgatory?” Or are they consigned to hell? Nobody can answer this because they DON’T KNOW! Every election this abortion issue comes up and I am so sick of it. Let’s work on the problems in front of us that we can actually see and explain first, OK? Let’s do the “render unto Caesar” thing. Politicians blind “Christians” with these absurd issues. And it works every time. It’s time for it to stop.

  • jesther

    I’m an ER nurse. Health of the mother is not some left wing liberal idea. My last shift I worked I had a patient with a viable embryo in her fallopian tube. It was tiny but on ultrasound its tiny heart was beating. If the pregnancy had been allowed to progress the mothers tube would have burst and mother and embryo would have expired. I see an occasional patient that comes in from post abortion complications though I must say they are much less frequent than post child birth complications. I always discuss the reason for the abortion with them because I like to reassure them that the reason for the complication is not God punishing them for the abortion. The only reason any patient gives me for an abortion is that they’re unable to afford a baby. I never hear anyone say that they don’t like children, just didn’t want another baby etc. Its always a difficult financial decision for them. The way to prevent abortions is to elect democrats that will provide a social safety net for poor people, single women, children.

  • zjr78xva

    The writer of this post is sadly and badly misinformed.In a speech to an abortion industry group in July 2007, Obama pledged that the abortion industry’s agenda, including FOCA, would be his number one priority if elected. That’s right: Obama promises that pandering to the abortion industry will be job one — ahead of the economy or anything else. According to Obama himself, NOTHING is more important than OUTLAWING sensible regulation of the abortion industry, outlawing protections for minors, outlawing parental involvement, outlawing freedom of conscience, outlawing full disclosure, outlawing dissent.No person of conscience can vote for Obama.

  • ascstsandwvp

    In answer to when does a fertilized egg become a life, the answer is simple biology. Every first year biology student learns the difference between a living organism and a non-living organism. A living organism must meet certain criteria in order be called “living.” These include many things such as having an internal capacity for change or growth, a metabolism, adaptability, etc. In every way, the fertilized egg contains these and all characteristics of a “living organism.” At the moment the egg is fertilized, the cell immediately divides and multiplies and the single-cell organism becomes a multi-celled organism. We know this through the research and development of this field of science in recent years. We also know that at the moment the egg is fertilized, the DNA of a human being is present. So, not only is the fertilized egg a living organism but a living human being.The heartbeat begins beating at 18 days from fertilization.The brain starts to coordinate movements at 43 days from fertilization.All organs are functioning at 8 weeks from fertilization.The list goes on.For more information, please consult any biology textbook or book on pregnancy.For excellent sources of solid Catholic information, please consult the Vatican website or Catholicanswers.com.In regards to the soul, the soul is with God. “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you…” – Jeremiah 1: 5

  • rohitcuny

    Posted by Anthony M. Stevens-Arroyo:”In answer to when does a fertilized egg become a life, the answer is simple biology. The brain starts to coordinate movements at 43 days from fertilization.All organs are functioning at 8 weeks from fertilization”The Catholic Church, by seeking to ban abortions from the moment of conception, creates so many opponents, who are driven into the pro-choice side, that then it becomes impossible to put reasonable restrictions on abortions.

  • zjr78xva

    Sen. McCain is at least nominally pro-life and opposes the flawed Roe regime while Sen. Obama is viciously anti-life and anti-family and would codify Roe.Sen. Obama opposes reform of our educational system. He would reward entrenched interests at the expense of the common good, reinforce monopoly government control of education resources, undermine parental authority, employ government facilities and resources to promote sexual immorality, and perpetuate the unjust practice of penalizing families for exercising their right and responsibility to educate their children according to the dictates of conscience.Finally, Sen. Obama subscribes to an extremist socialist ideology rooted in materialistic atheism that violates personal freedom and dignity. Sen. McCain supports the American free enterprise system that has lifted generation after generation of poor out of poverty.Between these two candidates, on moral grounds the choice is clear.

  • joecct77

    Nurse –If I recall correctly, Ectopic pregnancies can be aborted. Since both mother AND child will die if the pregancy goes to term, it is permissable to abort the baby so that the mother can continue to live, and presumably, bring more children into the world.Repeal Roe v Wade and put it back into the hands of the legislature.

  • DwightHCollins

    you support abortion so much you cannot be a Catholic and you should not be writing about Catholics…

  • rusty3

    Catholics, Catholics, everywhere–does this country have a chance or are we headed for Third World no-think?

  • sparrow4

    “Why shouldn’t women who dont’t fall into either of the foregoing categories be expected to accept the consequences of the choice they made upon agreeing to consensual sex; and be required to offer the child for adoption if they don’t want it?”Why should they and not the man who provided the sperm? No where do you mention men’s responsibility. That’s because you don’t see women as equal. All you want to do is punish a woman for doing what a man does- have sex. Your attitude is unconstitutional, hypocritical and irresponsible.

  • FFCC1

    The solution is fairly simple: Catholics agonize over abortion because they believe only God can take away life, that’s why is so important to understand when life begins. Yet in coding their beliefs into law, Catholics and other believers want to impose their views on people who may have a different interpretation of religion or perhaps even no religion at all. Really, why should somebody who doesn’t share your views be forced to act upon your beliefs and hot her own ones? Why should an atheist woman have her choices limited by your discussions when does life begin? So… the solution is to make abortion legal and ask Catholics and Christians not to have them. So that’s it! Simple, isn’t it? If you’re against abortion, don’t have one. If you are indiferent or are willing to change your mind in the face of necessity you should be free to have one. If believers want to reduce the number of abortions they should abandon their abstinence-only approach to sexuality and be open to sex education. Plus a few easy things that would make mothers think twice before an abortion: paid maternity leave, subsidized daycare and healthcare, educational support, etc. Yes, I know that’s borderline in wellfare state and all these subsidies will likely hinder economic growth. But you have to take sides. What’s more important, economic growth or saving babies? You can’t have both… So far we live the hypocrisy of a pro-life movement which at the same time embraces extreme free-market, right-to-work positions and does not want to discuss sex education. If you’re serious about reducing the number of abortions you have to work on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies and offer support for those who may be tempted to keep one. FFCC

  • fzdybel

    There are so many fallacies. The real problems here are not in thinking of the unborn, but how we think of other things like identity and humanity.The sanctity of life. God made the world, and the world He made demands that thou shalt kill in order that thou shalt live. You get no real choice in the matter. God made us to be the stuff of killing and death. The more crowded we make the world with our “sacred” progeny, the more so. Sometimes, what you have to kill in order to live is a fetus.Every religion on Earth teaches that killing is often okay. Killing humans, killing cows, killing bacteria. This is necessary, because it is always necessary to kill in order to live.The primacy of human life. Call life sacred if you like but you have no right to draw lines around species, which are nothing more than arbitrary taxonomies. Kill animals, kill humans, kill paramecia, it is exactly the same process. Your religion leads you into error because it is anthropocentric. God didn’t just make humans in his image, he made *everything* in his image.When life begins. Life doesn’t have a point at which it begins. It is foolish to try to look for one. It’s all alive, all the time, the sperm, the egg, what comes before, and what comes after. When does the individual begin? It is foolish to look for that too because the individual doesn’t exist. You have no stopping place, much less a starting time. The boundaries between us are illusory. We are all inextricably the same identical entity.With the self realized as an illusion, the Golden Rule falls out immediately from the premise that one does not harm oneself. What we experience in our full self is no less important than what we experience in our illusory self.Yet we must kill in order to live. So we draw the line and say that we will try to avoid distress to conscious life, the more so the more conscious or sentient that life is.Is the fetus conscious? No. Arguing about an abortion at eight weeks is about like two vegetarians arguing about whether it is okay to eat eggs.And for this you would entrain all the evils of a further conservative administration in this country? What a bunch of boobies.

  • hootie1fan

    Catholics who believe that life begins at conception and ends at birth can with a clear conscience support the GOP.

  • Enrique-I

    4 points on recent comments:1. A woman makes her choice when she agrees to have sexual relations. Surely she is aware that a child may result. However, it’s her, not a man, who can decide to abort. Holding her responsible for that decision does not mean that she does not have equal rights. Indeed, abortions occur even when the man objects, as he should.2. It’s irrational to argue that all life is the same and that therefore any life being can be killed. It’s self evident that we differ from protozoa and chicken.3. Dictatorship by democratic mayorities is certainly a danger absolutely worth discussing.4. Anyhow, I thought this discussion was about abortion but it’s quickly degenerating into who knows what. Did it happen because some people ran out of arguments and began regressing to pseudo-justifications?

  • fzdybel

    “The pro-choice position wirth respect to abortion is analogous to the pro-choice position with respect to slavery.”You are saying that a fetus should be equivalent in justice to a fully formed human being. That’s a conclusion not based on science, but on dogma. It’s based not on what the fetus actually is, but only on what it might some day become. But if that day never comes, then how does that potential future matter?

  • FFCC1

    FZDYBEL, your last paragraph “And for this you would entrain all the evils of a further conservative administration in this country? What a bunch of boobies.”hits the mark. I was recently talking to a Christian friend who told me my lack of faith is my weakness because, he believes, I can be swayed by one or another candidate. He believes his faith is his strength because he always know whom to support. However, if you think in terms of the current political process, faith is a major weakness. Being faithful and becoming a single-issue-voter creates a huge blind spot. People who oppose abortion voted for the Republican Party twice, yet after eight years Roe is still the law of the land but in the process we legalized torture, made away with the principle of Habeas Corpus and entered two wars, one of which I believe just, the other not. The unjust war resulted in who knows how many lives taken. How’s that for pro-life? Your election of Pres. Bush resulted in… 100,000 deaths? 200,000? We’ll never know. And you have yet to save a single fetus… because let’s face it, late-term abortion is very rare and only used when the mother is at risk. The “partial birth” (what a politically charged term!) abortion ban is useless and hasn’t saved a single fetus. Thus, let’s face it, your blindness when it comes to abortion has been a boom for the Republican Party. They can act against your economic interests and yet you’ll vote them again because they’ve recorded their opposition to Roe in their platform… yet you must come to terms with the fact that no Republican would never repel Roe. Besides the backlash from most Americans, if they repel Roe… what reason are they going to give you when they ask for your money, when they need you at the polls? The Republican Party has been using you to get to power and gave you nothing in return. Well, next to nothing. Bush gave you late-abortion restrictions and restrictions on stem cell research. Both, however, are only temporary setbacks. Late (or partial) abortion will change under a likely Democrat administration, stem cell research will be legal no matter who wins the election. The point is all these issues (abortion, stem cell, etc.) are lost causes and it’s just a matter of time before they follow the way of Prohibition. In twenty years we will be asking ourselves what was all this noise about Roe. So, let’s face it: you have been used. Your faith, your strength, became a major weakness when it comes to your political choices. You would be much better off leaving your faith at home when you head for the polling booth. I think people of faith should avoid becoming single-issue-voters for their own good and chose their candidates over a broad range of issues. This will be much better for them and for the country.

  • fzdybel

    “It’s self evident that we differ from protozoa and chicken.”We are also the same, as well as different. In particular, as with any other form of life, it is sometimes necessary to kill human beings in order to live. The church, your church, any church that exists, readily sanctifies necessary killing of human beings, just like necessary killings of chickens and protozoa. God says killing is okey dokey.

  • secretscribe

    Those advocating this controversy seem to care most about the political advantage attained by prolonging the controversy than anything else. If they cared for the unborn, they would build a more compassionate world to receive children once these children were born, but instead they stand together at rallies and shout KILL HIM.

  • drbill21

    fzdybel : “You are saying that a fetus should be equivalent in justice to a fully formed human being. That’s a conclusion not based on science, but on dogma.”This is NOT sheer dogma (which, I assume, you mean “religious”). A fetus is a “fully-formed” human being. What is the difference between an unborn child and a “born” child that is relevant to its right to life. It has all 23 chromosomes that define a homo sapiens.So yes an unborn child should be equivalent in justice.

  • sparrow4

    “A woman makes her choice when she agrees to have sexual relations. Surely she is aware that a child may result. However, it’s her, not a man, who can decide to abort. Holding her responsible for that decision does not mean that she does not have equal rights. Indeed, abortions occur even when the man objects, as he should.”Most women make a choice to have protected sex. Anyone who has seen the accidental pregnancies that result knows for a fact that no method is 100%- except of course abstinence. the GOP platform is no abortions even in cases of rape or incest. All of these positions punish a woman for FYI- in many states, a man can object and stop an abortion. Again we get into the constitutionality of that position. So I find it difficult, if not impossible to believe that women should be forced to give up their rights because they happened to be born with an xx gene, not xy. i find it even more difficult to understand how you blather on about the rights of the unborn with nary a mention of the rights of the living. By playing the semantics of life/ human being/baby/ born and unborn, you are still giving rights and privileges to a mass of cells (alive, as every cell in your body is alive, that is growing and changing -as cancerous cells also do) not yet formed into a biological entity capable of living outside its mothers body. but to do this, you remove rights and privileges from the mother. Some of you take it so far as to deny a women birth control, thereby giving unfertilized eggs more rights than a woman.Yet how many of you are willing to guarantee those children a roof over their heads, an education, health care, a job? The truth is, conseratives aren’t willing to do that. You want all of the power and none of the responsibility fo the lives you demand must be born. in fact, many of you agree with McCain that such things are “big” government, or socialism.So not only are you denying women their constitutional rights and equality, you’re also denying them and the children you force them to bear, options, therby not only punishing thr mother but also the child.

  • fzdybel

    “What is the difference between an unborn child and a ‘born’ child that is relevant to its right to life.”The child is conscious. The fetus is not. The child has developed to the point where it can live somewhat independently of its “host.” The fetus has not. There are endless differences. Because you have already reached your conclusion, you point only to the similarities.The final point of this argument: if you are a vegetarian who doesn’t eat eggs, if you are against abortions, then you should vote for whatever administration is likely to have such social effect as to reduce the number of abortions. In my book, that would mean voting agains those who advocate abstinence only sex education and against contraception for young people. We have already seen that making abortions illegal does not stop them.One idiot on that path took here the position that children should be given pills to dampen their sex drives. Sure, let’s give all the school kids Depo Provera, and make them safe for our religion! God will really love us for maiming our children chemically.Kids have sex. You want fewer abortions? Deal with that problem in a sensible manner.

  • persiflage

    The decision to undergo an abortion is surely traumatic to a majority of women that reach this decision. It is the ultimate exercise of free will and make no mistake – the vast majority of women undergoing an abortion believe they are terminating a potential life, rather than an individual life as we perceive it in a world of independent life forms. Full consciousness is by definition the only predicate of life. While men will invariably make their own considered judgements about all of this, women are in fact the final arbiters of right and wrong in this matter. Men are no longer in exclusive charge of making decisions regarding the issues of sin and morality in the Catholic Church – nor should they ever have been. This is really what Stevens-Arroyo has been saying right along. The hierarchy of the Catholic Church and their thought processes are forever embedded in the apsic of medievalism and ancient history. The Catholic Church is lagging far behind the times. Men are very often bad decision makers, and certainly where it comes to the well-being of women in particular. Their track record here and elsewhere is abysmal. The fact that any number of Catholic women succumb to the domination of an all male hierarchy makes the problem worse, rather than better. They swear that this male hegemony is writ large by God (Himself). So practice what you preach, and preach what you practice – but don’t expect everyone else to abide by your own personal decisions – based on free will. Individuals can be counted on to exercise free will, and according to law, the choice to terminate a pregnancy is legally sacrosanct. In the world of man, that is really the end of the discussion – if you expect God to second any of your ethically relativistic human decisions regarding absolute morality as related to abortion rights, I warn you in advance that it will not happen. Free will is as free will does. Freedom is the perfect equivilant to free will.

  • barker3320

    Stevens-Arroyo: “Abortion was not on Jesus’ list, so it departs from His teaching to pretend that the ‘least of my brothers and sisters’ really means the unborn.”We are way beyond Cafeteria Catholicism here — we are in the soggy lowlands of Steam-Table Catholicism.From the Didache: “You shall not murder a child by abortion or commit infanticide.”The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (2005) comments: “Although in the past many English and American scholars tended to assign [the Didache] to the late second century, most scholars now place it in the first century.” At least one prominent scholar (Alan J. Garrow) puts the date prior to 50 A.D., and argues for it as a basis for parts of The Gospel of Matthew. A question for Sally Quinn: Why does this forum give unfettered access to so many people who misrepresent the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church?

  • drbill21

    fzdybel:I said:”What is the difference between an unborn child and a ‘born’ child that is relevant to its right to life.”You replied:”The child is conscious. The fetus is not. The child has developed to the point where it can live somewhat independently of its “host.” The fetus has not. There are endless differences.Surely you are not serious. If someone is not “conscious” they lose their right to life. There are many “born” persons who lose consciousness. Furthermore, dependence on a “host” is not relevant either. There are many senior citizens in nursing homes who are utterly 100% dependent on their “hosts.”The only relevant criteria for human rights is that one being a living human.”Kids have sex. You want fewer abortions? Deal with that problem in a sensible manner.”Some do some don’t. I didn’t and it never occurred to me that I was doing something remarkable or exercising any superhuman self-control.If you have sex you get pregant. Once you’re pregant you already have a baby. The only issue is whether you should be allowed to kill the baby in order to avoid inconvenience to your future (which IS the primary reason women have an abortion). If you don’t want kids, don’t have sex. This is not complicated and it is very simple to teach.

  • persiflage

    Men argue endlessly about right and wrong as regards childbirth issues – while women do all the work. What’s up with that? I don’t hear all that much from women that disdain the pro-choice position.In the end, Catholicism has changed little since the winners of the great theology debates began making the rules some 2000 years ago. It’s always been all about men and the rules that men make. What reasonable man could stand it??

  • fzdybel

    “The only relevant criteria for human rights is that one being a living human.”You define the terms to suit yourself, then tell me I am “wrong.” But the fact remains that your church – any church – does not forbid the taking of human life. What the church has to say about abortion is simply and purely about abortion, it cannot be justified in terms of its “sometimes yes, sometimes no” position on the taking of human life.You say human life is sacred. I say all life is sacred. Neither of us can avoid killing.Is the fetus a living human being? No, it is not. It is a living human fetus. “Pupa” and “butterfly” are different things too, not the same. See, I can define terms too.

  • drbill21

    fzdybel:I didn’t say that my “church” forbids the killing of human beings (it does not)…. it forbids injustice…the killing of innocent human life and those terms — “innocent,” “human,” and “life” — accurately describes unborn human children.The taking of human life is limited to matters of self-defense, just war, and punishment by the state for capital offenses. In none of these instances can the “victim” be considered innocent. In NO instance is the determination of “innocent human life” left to the judgement of the person doing the killing. Even in cases of self defense, the individual must persuade the state that it was indeed self-defense.Abortion appears to be the one case in which the determination of whether an innocent human being shall live or die rests solely with the one individual who is least capable of being objective about the worth of that human being.

  • fzdybel

    “Surely you are not serious. If someone is not ‘conscious’ they lose their right to life.”That is an intentional misreading of the first two items on a long list of differences. But this consciousness thing is in fact very, very serious. For example, if it appears that I will never be conscious again, even though alive, I may have left instructions that would result more quickly in my eventual death. And most people agree that this is perfectly proper.

  • fzdybel

    “… the killing of innocent human life and those terms — “innocent,” “human,” and “life” — accurately describes unborn human children.”It also accurately describes the waging of airborne warfare against population centers, something that the church compasses quite readily.

  • CCNL

    Sex in out of control in the USA as noted in the following statisticsOne million abortions/year plus the following:”Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing, and treating certain STDs in recent years, CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.1 In addition to the physical and psychological consequences of STDs, these diseases also exact a tremendous economic toll. Direct medical costs associated with STDs in the United States are estimated at up to $14.7 billion annually in 2006 dollars.2″

  • drbill21

    fzdybel : I said:”… the killing of innocent human life and those terms — “innocent,” “human,” and “life” — accurately describes unborn human children.”You said:”It also accurately describes the waging of airborne warfare against population centers, something that the church compasses quite readily.”This is simply not true. No church would “quite readily” accept the bombing of a population center.In the context of a just war (which is not remotely analogous to the abortion decision by a woman), difficult decisions must be made concerning whether certain actions will ultimately save lives. For example, the atomic bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima was justified because it resulted in the saving of more lives by ending the war. One may agree or disagree with this judgment (and I offer no opinion one way or the other) but no one would argue that the church support bombing of population centers just for the “convenience” of it, as is the excuse of women having abortions.

  • mbarvick

    The problem with the author and Barack Obama is that they try to hide facts with eloquence and hope that “joe six pack” won’t have the intellegence or attention span to confirm or deny their claims. In this post Arroyo calls Wiegel a liar for telling people that Obama claims on his website that he would sign the “Freedom of Choice Act” as president. He tells readers who trust his post that no such claim exists on the Obama site. It took me all of 30 seconds to go to the Obama site and find the following quote, “And I will continue to defend this right by passing the Freedom of Choice Act as president” (referring to the right to abortion). Arroyo then continues to confuse American Catholics by telling them that Scripture trumps tradition and that Jesus didn’t specifically condemn abortion in the Gospels. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (yeah that damn pesky tradition) says in point 85 that, “The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ.”47 This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.” Therefore, contrary to Mr. Arroyo’s opinion, the Church and it’s tradition continue to make strong statements about the grave moral evil that is abortion and the risk that observant Catholics are putting themselves in by participating in a grave moral evil by supporting pro abortion politicians. I don’t know about the rest of the readers of this post but I’ll sleep easier following the guidance of the 2000 year old bride of Christ vs the 70 year old purveyor of bad facts.

  • fzdybel

    “…difficult decisions must be made concerning whether certain actions will ultimately save lives.”I think it is just the same with abortion. And by the way, I think the mother is the one best able to make the decision, the one to be most honored as the decision-maker. She’s the best one to know if conditions are right for a child to be viable. A death in childhood is not preferable to an abortion of a fetus.As a general rule, the church is against bombing population centers. But when pressed, it can always come up with some reason why this is okay. The only signiicant difference between this compromise and a compromise on abortion is that the church does not yet understand how its own survival is involved.But it will.

  • conloftus

    Your use of Matthew 25: to support your attack on Mr. Weigel and the Pro Life Movement is silly. Certainly, Matthew 25: does not catalogue all that is sinful. Rather, it directs us to serve the least of our fellow human beings. Certain babies are not human beings in your eyes, but don’t hide behind Scripture to support your policy preferences. By the way, where does one obtain an Intellectual Membership Card? Your feeble citation to Matthew 25: certainly places your Card in jeopardy.

  • zjr78xva

    j2hess, with respect, upon considering your somewhat uncharitable response I believe I am at least as well informed as you are.Obama takes the most extreme possible position on abortion and doesn’t even bother with the boilerplate mendacity of “personally opposed, but”. He has pledged that the abortion industry’s agenda would be his number one priority if elected (including FOCA, contrary to the above writer’s patently false assertion). That’s right: According to Obama himself, NOTHING is more important than OUTLAWING sensible regulation of the abortion industry, outlawing protections for minors, outlawing parental involvement, outlawing freedom of conscience, outlawing full disclosure, outlawing dissent. There is nothing subtle, nuanced or morally defensible about his position.My dismiss the rest of my comments without actually bothering to refute them except to characterize them as blather and based on lies.Obama is manifestly unqualified for the office of President. His ideology and policies would be extremely harmful to our country and the world, in particular to the unborn and unwanted, families, and anyone who values religious or educational liberty or who simply seeks a better life.

  • drbill21

    I said with respect to war (i.e. bombing populations centers):”…difficult decisions must be made concerning whether certain actions will ultimately save lives.”You said:”I think it is just the same with abortion. And by the way, I think the mother is the one best able to make the decision, the one to be most honored as the decision-maker. She’s the best one to know if conditions are right for a child to be viable. A death in childhood is not preferable to an abortion of a fetus.”As I stated in my post, abortion is not even remotely analogous to war decisions. The mother’s decision never has anything to do with whether killing her baby will someone end up saving other lives (except in the case where her own life is in danger in which case everyone agrees abortion is allowed). Indeed her decision never has anything to do with the welfare of the baby at all (except as a rationalization… essentially a “mercy-killing” defense).I have no idea what you mean by a “death in childhood is not preferable to abortion of fetus.” Are you suggesting that some women abort their babies in order to prevent their babies from dying after they are born? I suppose in the case of serious genetic abnormalities, this is possible but this is such a rare scenario (which I still don’t think justifies abortion… intentionally killing someone to prevent a natural death later is still murder) that discussing it distracts from the core issue which is that over 90% of abortions are for no other reaon than pure selfishness.

  • dadugganagain

    You (Stevens-Arroyo) are absolutely right. The fixation of the “theo-cons” and Bishops on the presidential race (and of course all Catholic Democrats running for office)confirms that we are being subjected to nothing more principled than the Karl Rove cafeteria Catholicism of the past eight years. Thanks to Bush, we now have a majority of relatively young, conservative Catholic judges on the Supreme Court, one being the Chief Justice. Not one of them is likely to retire in the next four years, probably not the next eight years. Whatever Obama’s position on abortion, the most he can do is replace possibly two or at most three of the “liberal” judges who will remain in the minority. In truth, the theo-cons have no interest in any kind of effective action. The effort is to divide people of good will and unfortunately to give the racists among us an excuse.

  • cdav531

    Oh, OK, ASCSTSANDWVP, I guess you told me. “The soul was with God.” That’s what the OT says. What does “Christ” say? Probably nothing. Catholics are “Christians” aren’t they? So, God sits there with all these little souls gathered around him, right? That, in my definition, would have to be “heaven” if you’re sitting there hanging out with God. Why screw up a good thing by attaching a soul to the fleshy prison a human body actually becomes? Would you rather stay with God or come down here to Earth to suffer and die? Personally, I’d rather stay with God. Isn’t the purpose of life to serve Him so some day you’ll meet up with Him in heaven? We can just cut out the middle man by simply never being born, right? Does God sit up there, wherever the heck he sits, with a number system sort of like a bakery and assign a soul to a fertilized egg at the moment of conception? What happens to the souls if there aren’t enough bodies to go around? Is there a predetermined number of souls waiting for bodies and then the world ends when God runs out of souls? And, once again, what happens to the assigned soul if the fetus is aborted? Limbo, purgatory, hell? Which? How can any reasonably educated, rational person believe this nonsense? Why do we allow subjects like this to seep into our political system while actual problems in THIS LIFE go unsolved? It’s maddening to me.

  • acarsaid

    Martin Luther did a lot of things wrong, but one thing he did do was make the irrefutable argument that one must follow one’s informed conscience. The Archbishop of Denver and others obviously don’t believe that nor do a majority of posters on this topic.It is interesting that the majority, including said Archbishop, will inform their votes according to a politician’s view on abortion (about which [s]he will have very little to say, given the state of constitutional law in this country) and ignore that same candidate’s steadfast opposition to every single item of social welfare to which the Church, in its more sober moments, subscribes

  • fzdybel

    “Are you suggesting that some women abort their babies in order to prevent their babies from dying after they are born?”That’s a fact, and not only because of genetic defects, which happens often in our society with its advanced medicine, but because the mother finds herself in a time and place where a child cannot be raised, cannot survive, because conditions are too difficult.You used the word “convenience” earlier. I think you really do not understand or care about the terrible decisions that some prospective mothers face. You have your book and your cookie cutter and you are all set to help them tell right from wrong. Besides, it is so much easier to bully women than it is to bully Generals.And no, this is not a “mercy killing” idea, it is a “mercy not-birthing” idea. There is a vast difference between what has ever been conscious and what has *never* been conscious.

  • sparrow4

    Again I note, the pro -lifers refuse to deal with questions of the mother’s right to her own body.they refuse to deal with the reality of accidental pregnancy because as far as they are concerned, women shouldn’t be having sex before marriage anyway. Never mind what men do-A fertilized egg is not a baby.Talking about a fetus as an “innocent” imbues an embryo with far more qualities than it possesses in reality. Yes, there is a stage of development when a fetus is a baby, but prior to that, it is a developing mass of cells, and secondary to the mother.And I notice only 1 or 2 people even addressed the question of what society should guarantee these children whose mothers have been forced to bear them. nor have they answered the question of what the ethics are in voting for the abortion issue and forgetting all the other more pressing issues of the day. they’ll lie and attack Obama on abortion, but ignore everything else he will do for this country.Sorry- I don’t need desperate presidential candidates and rabid religo-fascists making decisions about my body for me.If abortion is the only issue you care about i have to say, you have no business in a voting booth.

  • asoders22

    The Republican leadership are the Pharisees. What are Christians even doing in that Party?The anti-abortion issue is used as an excuse to run with the wealthy, gain power to church hierarchy, control women, start wars and neglect the poor. Great work. Great thinking.

  • Mary_Cunningham

    Since launching “Catholic America” Professor Stevens-Arroyo has become, well, Episcopalian. (Like his boss, Jon Meacham). Now these folks are not so much anti-Catholic as opposite-Catholic: a good Episcopalian is a fully-paid-up member of the Liberal Project and is pro: abortion, women priests, (openly) gay priests, gay marriage. The Professor has written in favour of all these things, so rather than attempting to change the Catholic Church, (unlikely), he could change himself (more probable) and become—Afterwards could a *Catholic * could write “Catholic America”? (Outlandish—but stranger things have happened in WaPo-land!)

  • timscanlon

    I don’t agree with the anti-abortion people.I want abortion available without a lot of hassle, and without any state involvement. I absolutely want it available in the case of rape or incest, or in the case of incestuous rape, or any combination singly or alone of those conditions.What I find particularly disgusting is that the right spends so much time and money on a zealots quest, but only spends a pittance, and not without heaps of crazy religious ideology, on the conditions that create it’s necessity.

  • Mary_Cunningham

    CDAV531 : You’ve asked a lot of good questions. But you’ve also constructed a straw-man kind of heaven, easily inflamed. We live, as the material girl herself sang, in a material world, we are integrated into it and we suffer its fate and the fate of all living things, which is death. But we alone— amongst all the animals— know we are going to die. The philosopher Henri Bergson wrote religion sprang up almost coincident with this consciousness, attempting to answer existential questions. Bergson placed huge emphasis on the role of the Christian mystics: after Christ, only these people experienced the love of the Creator first hand, and it was more—more—than they conceived. By their lives and actions afterwards, they maybe give us a clue of how to live. What they have written and demonstrated is God’s love for EVERY ONE of his creatures, especially the weak and the marginalised, and they don’t get more weak, helpless and defenceless than these aborted infants, hundreds of thousands of scraps of humanity flushed and incinerated for no reason other than their arrival is inconvenient. So I guess the reason to bother about these children, is because they are unable to defend themselves. And because they are as fully deserving of the love of the Creator as we are, probably moreso because they are innocent of any wrongdoing (yet!)As to the rest of your questions, well, one at a time.

  • Mary_Cunningham

    Sparrow4 12.58, Oct. 18 postWell, I suppose I’m going to have to answer you and get it over with, although I’ve answered you before when you were posting as Farnaz (No Faith’s resident Iranian Jewish atheist lover-of-Pakistan) or Merry Anonymous (No Faith’s ex-resident , atheist, Jewish-expert—but not Jewish–lover of blogslams) or whoever. But this is the only time.Your assertions are erroneous. You deny “thou shalt not kill” applies to the unborn as they are not living, thinking or making choices. Firstly the child in the womb is alive, heart beating, it can hear, move, react to stimuli. Thinking and making choices: others posters have dealt with this. But what is the difference between a four-month (from conception) infant and a one two months (from birth)? Minor, with one HUGE difference: the latter has the protection of the state.Your Second point:— “ Kindly don’t speak for Jews- you know nothing about us, and everything you say is skewed by your extreme religious views.”—Well, I was talking about ancient not modern-day Judaism. I previously cited a source (Martin Goodman, probably the pre-eminent authority on ancient Roman and Jewish history). You, OTOH, make much of your atheism and in the last blog stated you would rather live under Trotsky than under a religio-fascist regime (of which you declined to give an example). Whose “extreme religious views” is colouring WHOSE views?Sorry, Farnaz, your arguments don’t hold. And you buttress weak contentions with ad hominems. You harbour enormous hostility towards Catholicism, that is clear, but if that is so, why are you here? I don’t see many Catholics on the atheist sites, but then, I don’t see many Catholics on ‘No’ Faith …full stop.

  • Mary_Cunningham

    Tim Scanlon–finds right-wind spending on a zealot’s quest without spending on social benefits disgusting. If you look at the behaviour of the Christian Democratic (mildly right wing) parties in Western Europe (which started out quasi-affiliated with Catholicism), you will find that there was no false choice between social welfare and abortion: social benefits were set high *and* abortion was capped at 12 weeks. This is still the case today.

  • Mary_Cunningham

    Finally to all:American Catholics (well, most contemporary Catholics) are well defined as economic liberals but social conservatives. They want state protection from the harshness of Anglo-Saxon capitalism but they are distinctly UNenamoured with the ideology of secularism and liberal atheism.The Prof. thus is posing the following false choice: if you want economic protection you have to accept abortion. Currently the economic situation is so poor that most will opt for economic protection over abortion. But the abortion problem will not go away, as the times will improve and abortion will still be as high; today it is NOT used for rare cases of pregnancy due to incest or rape, but as a cheap contraceptive.

  • drbill21

    Pro-choicers:You state that you would like abortion to be “safe, rare, and legal”.Us pro-lifers find this a little disingenous and that there is nothing you would actually do except making it “safe” (for the mother only) and legal (in virtually all circumstances).My question is:Exactly what policies would you propose that would make it “rare” and how many babies (below the current 1.3 million that are aborted each year) do you think these policies would save?If every woman who was contemplating an abortion was offered, say, $100,000 to have the baby and put it up for adoption, what percentage would take the money? I would think that this would more than pay for the “burden” of bearing a child for 9 months.(btw, i also understand that this is very hypothetical because there would be no way to identify those women who would have had an abortion from those who would have born the children without the subsidy but I am rather curious exactly how effective liberal policies — whatever they might be — would be in making abortion “rare”)

  • asoders22

    The mere self-righteousness of anti-abortionists calling themselves “pro-lifers” is disgusting. They more often than not don’t give a damn about either women or kids. They more often than not flatly refuse the actions to minimize the very need for abortion through sensible sex education and use of contraceptives and day-after-pills, or reasonable welfare for young and/or poor mothers who actually want to bear their babies and not put them up for adoption. What they do seem to want is endless troubles for those women, preferably a heavy burden of guilt and an absolute feeling of helplessness. Then those so called Christians really thrive.Late abortions are not good and should be a last resort in emergency cases, but early abortions should be easy to come by – an so should sex information and contraceptives. Real Christians, who actually do care about life, should work against what causes warfare, crime and poverty. They should certainly work for redistribution of wealth in order to ease the burdens of the less fortunate and the sick, instead of what they are doing now, which is yapping around extremely rich people like lapdogs.

  • drbill21

    The reason “pro-lifers” may not appear to you to care about women or children is because they don’t think it is the responsibility of government to take moeny from responsible citizens and give it to irresponsible citizens. Moral hazard theory says that when you subsidize bad behavior you get more of it.Pro-lifers don’t view life as a game of chance, where the rich are merely lucky and the poor are simply unlucky and therefor govt should, by force of course, take money from the lucky and give it to the unlucky.Pro-lifers tend to believe in private charity, not government welfare, although most believe in a sufficient safety net (although not too generous so as not to discourage work).It is simply not unreasonable to expect people to wait until they get married to have sex nor to expect those who have sex to be responsible enough to own up to the consequences. That is why the Roman Catholic position (though I am not catholic) is so consistent and beautiful.Most do not mind instruction on contraception and other sex education but they also believe in sexual morality and are suspicious of allowing the education system to undermine the values they try to teach at home. In any case, if kids can’t follow abstinence instruction what makes you think they will follow contraceptive instruction. Rarely is pregnancy due to lack of birth control, but self-control. All teenagers know where babies come from.For pro-lifers, pregnancy is not the problem, pre-marital sex is. For pro-choicers its all about not accepting consequences rather than conduct.A good way to tell the difference is to study the reaction of parents when asked what would disturb them most if their 16 year old daughter told them she was pregnant or had an STD. Would they be more distrubed at the immorality of her conduct or would they be more disturbed by the pregnancy or disease. Prolifers would say the former, prochoicers would say the latter.The Bristol Palin situation is a good case in point. I have no doubt that the Palin family was quite disappointed to find that Bristol was behaving immorally. But they did NOT view the baby as a “punishment” (unlike Obama). The conception of human life is an unconditionally positive event no matter how challenging the circumstances. It is ALWAYS a cause for rejoicing. Pro-lifers support the Palin family because, while disapproving of the sexual immorality, they took responsibility for their conduct and did not compound the first sin with an even greater one.

  • marcedward1

    *sigh* Arroyo must feel starved for attention to be bringing up the useless subject of abortion again. Last time I heard, there were other subjects of concern to Catholics.One hopes that President Obama and the Democrats in congress will put an end to this issue once and for all. Under Reagan and Bush, abortions skyrocketed, under President Clinton abortions went down. Probably the rate of abortion will start to go down again under President Obama.

  • CCNL

    Sex in out of control in the USA as noted in the following statisticsOne million abortions/year plus the following:”Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing, and treating certain STDs in recent years, CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.1 In addition to the physical and psychological consequences of STDs, these diseases also exact a tremendous economic toll. Direct medical costs associated with STDs in the United States are estimated at up to $14.7 billion annually in 2006 dollars.2″

  • djk2450

    Arroyo is a cafeteria Catholic and therefore is not in line with the Vatican and therefore is not truly Catholic. As a Catholic, it is a all or nothing commitment and abortion is killing the most innocent of human beings. He may do catholic-like things but he is not Catholic. He should be speaking as a preacher, minister, reverend, etc. of a Protestant denomination, but not as a Catholic BANG! no more to be said.

  • indypendent

    I was married briefly to an accomplished, intelligent fellow Catholic. About a year into our marriage, I was bewildered at how to escape the physical emotional abuse as well as the discovery of his alcohol and cocaine addiction. He stopped me from getting an abortion by threat of physical harm. I had the baby, and three weeks after our son was born, he killed someone while drunk driving. His family (staunch Catholics, as well) told me I was on my own, they had to pay for his lawyer bills and felt the child was my and my families’ financial responsibility. I have a wonderful little boy and have created a good life for us but will never get over the sheer hypocrisy and fear that was used to control me and my circumstances, with absolutely no commitment to helping me deal with the outcome. Pro-life is Pro-guilt, pro-shame, pro-consequences, for everyone else.

  • shell08

    I’ve a slightly different opinion on things. I’m from Ireland, a Catholic country, where abortion is illegal. What happens here is that if a woman becomes pregnant and doesn’t want the child, if she has money she travels abroad – the UK or Netherlands mainly, for an abortion. If she doesn’t have money, evidence suggests that many try to buy abortion pills from international websites, have an illegal abortion or they will have the child. Ireland has social welfare for single pregnant women, but depending on social welfare means that you will live in relative poverty with not much chance of escape. So I suppose I live in the country most anti-abortion people want- but it doesn’t work. The rich will have access to abortions still and it is just the poor that suffer the consequences of this law in a globalised world.

  • Mary_Cunningham

    Shell08I’m sorry but I cannot agree about the horrible effects of no abortion in Ireland. The statistics on the Republic are excellent! The Republic has managed to bring its fertility rate down to 1.85 (without abortion but with contraception), its GDP per capital 40% ABOVE the four largest EU countries, real growth rate of 6% and per capital GDP of $46,000 vs. the US of $45,000 (2007 estimates).And it did this without the huge income disparities plaguing the latter: a Gini index which measures the income dispersion from the richest to the poorest–lower the better– of 32 (the same as Canada and much better than the US), with 7% of the population below the poverty line vs. 12% for the US and 14% for the UK. It was rated as one of the most politically stable countries in the world by Transparency International and one of the happiest by the UN, although God knows how that org. defined happiness! (Consumption of Guinness?)So there is nothing–nothing!–in the official statistics to support your contention that lack of abortion in Ireland has increased poverty and widened the gap between the miserable poor and the cruel, Catholic rich. Quite the opposite–the country is doing *extremely* well. OK–the traffic in Dublin is awful.Are you sure you still live in the Republic or did you emigrate many years ago?

  • asoders22

    DRBILL21: “The reason “pro-lifers” may not appear to you to care about women or children is because they don’t think it is the responsibility of government to take moeny from responsible citizens and give it to irresponsible citizens. Moral hazard theory says that when you subsidize bad behavior you get more of it.”—-That-s pro-lifers in a nutshell. Let a girl’s life (and her baby’s) go down the gutter because of poverty and pregnancy, as long as you get to keep your money.

  • shell08

    Mary,

  • shell08

    Con’d

  • Mary_Cunningham

    Look folks, there is *no * correlation between:abortion and high economic growth, When you run those numbers on their own, you fail to adjust for the largest factor in declining birth rates: cheap and readily available contraception. I would note that this became available a few years *before* abortion was legalised and has had far more to do with declining fertility than abortion.My hunch is that if, in the UK at least, abortion became less available, the birthrates would not budge one little bit. Women would just pay more attention to contrapception. Shell08,In my professional opinion the cause of declining fertility rates in Ireland was NOT the result of abortions in neighbouring countries, but was due to cheap and readily available contraception and the increasing readiness of Irish women in the Republic to avail themselves of it. I would use respective fertility rates for Catholic Northern Irish and Protestant Northern Irish as evidence. Abortion has been freely available in Northern Ireland since 1967, yet the birth rates for the respective communities differed (Catholics with a much higher birthrate) until the late 1970s when both began to decline.

  • CCNL

    Sex is out of control in the USA as noted in the following statisticsOne million abortions/year plus the following:”Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing, and treating certain STDs in recent years, CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.1 In addition to the physical and psychological consequences of STDs, these diseases also exact a tremendous economic toll. Direct medical costs associated with STDs in the United States are estimated at up to $14.7 billion annually in 2006 dollars.2″No wonder that the drug companies are not doing research into sex-control pills/methods!!!!

  • mdpotter

    The author’s response to Mr. Weigel’s article is glaring in its lack of counter-arguement. “It’s not” and “he didn’t” don’t exactly rebut the arguments of Mr. Weigel. And claiming that Mr. Weigel relies on “tired old arguements to counter the new formulations of political strategies” does nothing to rebut these consistent, Catholic teachings, nor does it articulate how these new political strategies adhere to or advance Catholic teaching about the sanctity of human life. Nor does the author articulate an argument against the just war tradition that Mr Weigel mentions in his column. Mr. Weigel has laid out a substantive arguement as to why he believes the Church has not followed its own teachings on this subject, yet the author can bring no counter-point that would indicate that Mr. Weigel is wrong. His only tactic is to simply dismiss recite Mr. Weigel’s point and then dismiss it without comment. Hardly the stuff of an intellectual.The author is also lazy in his analysis of scripture. Apparently, if one were to believe the author and Sen. Obama, one only deserves clothing, shelter, and food IF we deem that person fit to live in the first place. Kill the innocent yes, but if you are gracious enough to spare them, then you must feed, clothe, and shelter them – it’s a moving and beautiful arguement and I’m sure the author can articulate how it conforms to Catholic teachings. For “Thou Shalt Not Kill” apparently has disappeared from the pages of scripture. If these are the formulations of the new political strategies, then I’ll just stick to the tired old arguements that actually value human life for the most vulnerable among us.

  • paulc2

    I read recently that the rate of out of wedlock births in the US in 1960 (prior to easy access to Birth control and abortion on demand) was 5%. It is now 37%, even with ready availability of abortion. It seems that safe sex has been anything but…

  • drbill21

    Enrique-I : I can assure you that if a “pro-life” amendment were submitted simultaneously banning abortion and the death penalty, virtually ALL pro-lifers would vote for it.Having said that, the death penalty is clearly endorsed by the Bible from almost the very beginning (i.e. pre-Israel). Nothing Jesus said or did contradicts it and Paul specifically endorsed it. The story of the woman caught in adultery was not a statement on the death penalty. The Pharisees were trying to trick him with a “gotcha” question and he exposed their hypocrisy by turning it back on them. It is a very weak case for arguing that Jesus did not approve of death penalty.In any case, I am sympathetic to Roman Catholic Church’s position on death penalty and would not oppose banning it or strictly limiting its application.

  • fzdybel

    “Having said that, the death penalty is clearly endorsed by the Bible from almost the very beginning (i.e. pre-Israel)”Why should I care that some scruffy heathen didn’t mind the state killing a few innocents in its quest to become ever more terrible? I find it unacceptable, not to mention it’s a bad deal economically. What we call the death penalty is completely different from what your precious Bible is talking about. Only the words are the same anymore.

  • drbill21

    fzdybel:I was replying to Enrique-I in my comments about the Bible and the Death Penalty because he had made his own sort of biblical argument that Jesus did not support the death penalty. I didn’t expect you to care what the Bible says and I only make those arguments in response to someone who apparently does.I suppose there are differences between the death penalty in the Bible and today but the basic biblical principle of “eye-for-an-eye tooth-for-a-tooth” (i.e. the punishment must fit the crime) still undergirds our justice system.In theory the death penalty is appropriate as a matter of simple justice. In practice in today’s world I have my concerns and would not be overly troubled if it was abolished (which is why I would gladly include it in a Pro-Life amendment also banning abortion)

  • fzdybel

    “Pro-choice people are unable to argue out of any fundamental principles except absolute freedom of choice, which is not self evident.”That’s false. The most usual argument is that the pro-choice policy reduces the amount of human misery in the world.If every fetus that got aborted in this country actually turned into an orphan, the majority would wind up state supported through adolescence and you would start to hear a very different tune out of many of the “pro-life” crowd.The way to the hearts of social conservatives is through their pocketbooks. It needs to be repeatedly proven to them: being a purist is expensive. Just engage their self-interest, they’ll come around.

  • fzdybel

    “…which is why I would gladly include it in a Pro-Life amendment also banning abortion”Yeah, I appreciated that I didn’t agree with either of the two of you. So let me get this straight. the matter about abortion, it’s not really an issue with you what the Bible says, it’s just whatever seems more just to you personally?

  • drbill21

    “The most usual argument is that the pro-choice policy reduces the amount of human misery in the world.”So you are saying that mercy/altruism is the most common motive for abortion (as opposed to mere selfishness)?Of course, the surest way to reduce human misery is to simply kill everyone!It is also an argument that would justify killing children (deemed to be “miserable” by their parents) AFTER they are born. I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you would not agree to “choice” laws that would permit this.Once it is conceded that unborn children are living human beings, no amount of misery avoided can justify killing them.

  • Enrique-I

    It’s true that Jesus’ defense of the adulterous woman about to be stoned is only reported in John’s gospel so we are less sure that it occured exactly as told. Yet this story and its message resonates with that of Luke’s sinful woman (Luke 7: 36:50) and with his rejection of talion law (“an eye for an eye…'”) in Matthew 5 38:42 and Luke 6 27-35 where he argues that one should pray for those who offend, rather than hurt them. Nowhere does Jesus advocate one human being punishing another, let alone kill them, thus implicitly rejecting the punishing of a woman who commits the grave sin of abortion. Prevention of sin is another matter and that he supports, but on one´s self first.Insofar as ‘innocent human life’ is concerned, Christian theology claims we are all born with original sin. Jesus argued that we need to be born again in Spirit, and become innocent, if we are to truly live.As I see it, Jesus message is about true life for all; not about punishment, or about ‘reducing human misery’ by killing others through abortion, the death pernalty, poverty or so called ‘just wars’.

  • fzdybel

    “Of course, the surest way to reduce human misery is to simply kill everyone!”Nice try, but some of us don’t look like something that means it’s time to clean the aquarium again. Some of us are autonomous, have a history of consciousness, etc. You need to actually show how the equivalence of a fetus to a human being has any practical significance. You can’t. And lately you are even declining to take holy writ as your basis.What it boils down to: you’ve made your choice, and your choice is that nobody else gets any choice, just “consequences” that could be avoided with rational public policy in place. Abstinence works for you, so it should work for everybody. That’s some role you play there: standard for the world. Is it lonely? You asked for policy ideas to reduce the number of abortions? Public sex education in the schools, public health care, and freely available contraception for both men and women.

  • fzdybel

    “Autonomous? How can that be possible in an absolute sense?”Why does everyone on this thread head unerringly to the most absolute sense of everything? Is there anything operating here other than absolutes? Hmmm. Maybe I’m beginning to get a glimmer of what it would mean to be a Catholic.I mean you won’t die if your Mom dies. As for consciousness, one of the prerequisites is having a nervous system. This stuff is not rocket science.

  • zjr78xva

    When will the Post and/or the amply-surnamed Mr. Stevens-Arroyo post a CORRECTION for his FALSE assertion concerning Obama and FOCA and false claims against the brilliant Mr. Weigel?

  • Enrique-I

    So by autonomous one person understand: “I mean you won’t die if your Mom dies.”In other words, autonomy increases in direct proportion to insensibility?’Consciousness’ requires a nervous system? Hmmm. I would think that before the ‘system’ come the ‘nerves’ or receptors and the human genes that make it possible. The genes exist from conception. Can a biologist enlighten us as to when nerve receptors appear?

  • Enrique-I

    One could have as easily described ‘autonomy’ with an example like: “It’s protesting torture and killing when no one else does.”In such case autonomy would increase in direct proportion to sensibility.This supports the contention that the root cause dividing sides is sensibility and not autonomy.

  • CCNL

    Sex is out of control in the USA as noted in the following statisticsOne million abortions/year plus the following:”Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing, and treating certain STDs in recent years, CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.1 In addition to the physical and psychological consequences of STDs, these diseases also exact a tremendous economic toll. Direct medical costs associated with STDs in the United States are estimated at up to $14.7 billion annually in 2006 dollars.2″No wonder that the profit-driven drug companies are not doing research into sex-control pills/methods!!!!

  • sparrow4

    “‘Consciousness’ requires a nervous system? Hmmm. I would think that before the ‘system’ come the ‘nerves’ or receptors and the human genes that make it possible. The genes exist from conception.Actually, consciousness requires a brain. genes contain coding that cause different cells to develop into various organs and parts of the body. Your genes exist in every cell of your body.Everyone’s body is sacrosanct.Your concept is to define a fertilized egg as a human being at the moment of conception when at that point it is simply a fertilized egg. So while you are according full human rights to a mass of cells at this stage, you refuse to consider the rights of the mother. this is a thinking, breathing, feeling human being whose body is now being treated as an incubator by strangers who have no interest in her life personally, nor wish to take any responsibility for the child that will eventually develop from that fertilized egg.there is an underlying misogyny to most pro-lifers. They either assume the woman gets pregnant for fun, wants an abortion because a baby is a crimp in their lifestyle, or simply doesn’t care to use birth control. somehow, the woman is always doing something wrong, or is at fault- even if she is raped. I wonder how many of these pro-life men would opt to carry a baby to term if the technology was available for them to carry the fetus? It happens to be a real possibility, FYI.

  • cdav531

    Hey Mary. You never did answer me. What happens to the soul of an aborted fetus? Will you be honest and say you don’t know or start quoting passages from the Bible or a philosopher? Why would a philosopher know? Why should I trust what he says? My “philosophy” is that if you want to believe in completely irrational, unscientifically provable nonsense, it’s your right to do so and I’ll fight to the death for you to keep that right. In return all I ask is for you to keep your beliefs away from my body and my government. Abortion is never going away, legal or not. The very fact that books nearly 2000 years old mention it is proof of this. Pray for the poor aborted souls if you must, but please find another cause to pour your passion into. There are lots of good causes out there that could use you.

  • Mary_Cunningham

    cd–I answered one of your questions–why religion–and referred to Bergson because he makes the very most sense to me. But if your view of this universal phenomena and my description of it is:–” if you want to believe in completely irrational, unscientifically provable nonsense” I don’t see how we can discuss. I would only say your assertion that religion is unscientific is irrelevant. You would value everything on whether it is scientific or not. I very much disagree with the reductionist element of that world view. Science describes, religion attempts to explain, to contemplate the conundrum of man’s existence. We need to respect eachother’s view before any dialogue can commence and clearly we are not on the same wave length. And somehow, somehow, given the track record of atheistic scientism and its wholesale war *against* traditional religion I am slightly leary of your pledge to “fight the death for you to keep that right .” Sorry CD, but I certainly wouldn’t want you to be put to that test. I’ll do my own fighting if you don’t mind.

  • Mary_Cunningham

    Shell08,Found these graphs of fertility and abortion rates in the Republic and the UK. Haven’t been able to access Carroll’s presentation as of yet. The BSPS (British Society for Population Studies) is an outgrowth of my old stomping grounds, the LSE. What’s interesting is that Carroll treated the British isles as one unit, for fertility purposes, and this included the Republic. I would discount Irish women travelling to Holland for an abortion as it is capped at 13 weeks, not enough time really.It’s a while since I worked as a demographic analyist but I am happy to say my hunch held: that the decline in fertility rates had far more to do with contraception than abortion. Fertility fell sharply in the Republic during the 1980s, but the abortion rate stayed constant (and small).However, I was *completely* in error on Northern Ireland and for that I apologize. The law legalising law in 1967in the UK did not apply to the province! (Birth rate in NI declined anyway, though.)This is the press release for the Labour life group, but as it was presented in an academic setting I regard Carroll’s conclusions as valid, although I would like to read the entire presentation. (add www)and then click on the charts for the presentationlabourlifegroup.co.uk/html/pressrelease.html

  • shell08

    Mary,Regarding NI and abortion – it could become legal there this year. There will be a vote relating to this issue in the Commons soon. If made legal, Irish women in the Republic will just go over the border for an abortion. That is what we call ‘an Irish solution to an Irish problem’.

  • cdav531

    Hey Mary.Your response doesn’t surprise me. It’s the typical “just believe it” nonsense I endured year after year in Catholic school. If you’re not into science let’s try math. How many people have been killed in wars fought over the principles of scientific atheism? How many scientific atheists are blowing stuff up right now to further their cause? It is folks like you who make rational discussions impossible, not folks like me. I have no problem with “Christians” at all as long as they’re not trying to force their views on the rest of us. Your attitude that I’m somehow not even good enough to help you defend religious freedom is also sadly typical of those of your ilk. You’ve exposed yourself as the chauvinist you, and most Catholics, sadly, truly are. When I was a kid I remember we used to joke that there are only two religions: Catholic and public. It was a joke but it had a basis in truth. The Catholic Church has always had this stubborn streak that it is always “right.” It’s a major reason that many rational people are turning away from it in droves and the church in America has taken to importing priests from other countries while an obvious solution, ordaining women, isn’t even permitted to be discussed. I have 6 siblings, and of the 4 with children only 1 made any effort at all to raise his his kids Catholic.(And gave up when he saw how silly it was when his kids brought home their moronic catechisms.) This despite the fact that all of us went all 12 years to Catholic schools. You assume I’m an atheist though in none of my postings did I say I am. You just assume that anyone who dares question the tenets of Catholicism MUST be. Sounds like the George W. Bush school of religion: You’re either with us or against us. We’ve seen how well that has worked as a political philosophy. I’m sure you voted for him twice because he is “pro-life.” You were taken for a fool both times.

  • Mary_Cunningham

    Shell08* Firstly, large-scale Irish emigration has been the norm in the Republic since 1845 so I would discount your point that it was especially important for fertility rates in the 1980s.*Secondly, the 1970s were a time of economic hardship in the Republic and the TFR (total fertility rate) stayed constant although the abortion rates rose.No abortion in NI this year. Harman has removed the amendments concerning abortion, as the amended bill was due to go to the Lords who would have had a full scale debate on abortion.”Not enough time” regarding induced abortion in the Netherland: well, usually unplanned pregnancies would be spotted at 4 to 6 weeks–remember the woman is not expecting pregnancy. That leaves six weeks to arrange the flight, take the time off work, find a friend to accompany, &tc. book the abortion, versus 18 weeks for an abortion in the UK. So I would expect the bulk of Irish abortions to be performed in the UK. No Irish solution to the Irish problem yet, although if you look at today’s Irish TFR IMHO Ireland has no population problem at all. Traffic in Dublin is due to rising prosperity, not too many children.Regarding abortion in the US, I had a look at the numbers a few weeks back and they are terrible to contemplate. Abortion is a phenomenon primarily of poor black women, secondly poor Latina, only thirdly by white. There seems to be a covert principle of eugenics here, as if the only way to deal with the children of the poor is to abort them. IMO limiting abortion in the US *would* result in an increase of the birth rates as the abortion rates are highest in areas where poor AfAmericans and Latinas live, far from Canada & abortion is illegal in Mexico. I have to think about it. Anyway, Prof S-A has moved onto another point.Best,

  • Mary_Cunningham

    How many people have been killed in wars due to a scientific atheist ideology? Communism was such an ideology and it killed plenty, usually of its own people, but if it invaded another country the communists killed people there as well. The communists generally began their time in power by eliminating Churches and traditional religion whereever they were found.Where do you want to start?France during the terrorPlenty, cdav, plenty.Anyway, like I said the Prof. has moved on.

  • Mary_Cunningham

    Sparrow4 wrote: “And FYI- I have never been on an atheist blog. what were you doing there?”[Sigh] Why do you *do* this? Why lie when it’s so easy to check?Susan Jacoby: The Worst Angels of our Naturesparrow4: Anonymousoops- the anon is me. sign in foiled again! (and I meant Harlem, not jarlem. A little fumblefingered tonight)October 15, 2008 2:52 AMJacoby described as Agnostic/Athiest

  • sparrow4

    Excuse me? Jeez louise, mary- I suggest you read her bio: “Susan Jacoby is the author of The Age of American Unreason. She began her writing career as a reporter for The Washington Post, and has been a contributor to a wide range of periodicals and newspapers for more than 25 years on topics including law, religion, medicine, aging, women’s rights, political dissent in the Soviet Union and Russian literature. Jacoby has been the recipient of grants from the Guggenheim, Rockefeller and Ford Foundations, as well as the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 2001-2002, she was named a fellow at the Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. Jacoby’s other books include Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism (2004); Wild Justice: The Evolution of Revenge, a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1984, and Half-Jew: A Daughter’s Search for Her Family’s Buried Past. She is working on a book about the relationship between American anti-intellectualism and political polarization, to be published by Pantheon in 2008. “Gee… where does it say “atheist/agnostic?” And why would it matter if she was? That’s the thinking of a religious bigot. And for the record you said —-“but if that is so, why are you here? I don’t see many Catholics on the atheist sites, “. —- you said atheist “SITES.” Ms. Jacoby posted a THREAD on On Faith – hardly an “atheist site.” yet for someone who weeps and bemoans the “No Faith” website- as you often call it- you spend a lot of time on it. Lessee- that makes you a hypocrite.To be more blunt, Mary, if you want to spar with me, you’ll have to become a lot smarter and improve the “quality” of your thinking. Maybe if you did, you could win all those honors Ms. Jacoby has.

  • Mary_Cunningham

    I think, sparrow, my little twittering friend that YOU should tighten the quality of your dialectic: more meat and less mean. In that last you charged (from the beginning):—That’s the thinking of a religious bigot.—Lessee- that makes you a hypocrite—Awfully paranoid, aren’t you?And you finish:That’s all from me on this, sparrow, little bird.

  • sparrow4

    mary- you obviously don’t know what keywords and search terms are. they refer to topics. It doesn’t necessarily mean the author is one. and again, if she is, so what? I post on threads with questions I am interested in. The title she chose for her post “The Worst Angels Of Our Nature: Rage And Racism On The Campaign Trail” certainly doesn’t sound like an atheistic one, nor does the subject matter. You are deliberately ignoring what I did say- and I stand by- I don’t go on atheist sites. those are your words-now had you said atheist/agnostic threads, i would have said yes, as well as catholic, jewish, Muslim, buddhist,Hindu- because unlike you, I am interested in what others think and I don’t condemn them for not agreeing with my faith. I’m an equal opportunity knowledge seeker- you’re a fundamentalist bigot who thinks no one else should post on “catholic ” threads, and you have condemned Mr. Stevens-Arroyo because he does not agree with your fundamentalism in all things.So my question is, why are YOU here?As far as insults, beyond the many slams to liberals, pro-choicers and other religions by you, you are the one who called me a liar. sounds like an insult to me. Sounds like an ad hominem argument as well. Whereas you should note, I took you to task over your word usage and your misrepresentation of facts. Ms. Jacoby writes about the clash of religion and politics, and rational thought. I have yet to find her described as an atheist. this is your ad hominem argument. And you use it a great deal. In your mouth atheist and agnostic are dirty words. this doesn’t make you more “godly.” It simply makes you more bigoted.

  • sparrow4

    Mary- you really can’t stand being called on your bigotry, can you? You accused me of being farnz2 and some other poster I never heard of- will you now claim you are omniscient? You’ve turned “Episcopalian” into a dirty word, and denied Mr. Stevens-Arroyo his Catholicism (and on his own thread!). I hardly think you are the one to preach about dialogue quality.The quality of my dialogue has everything to do with the quality of the dialogue I am responding to. If you catch my meaning?

  • Mary_Cunningham

    Sparrow, less ad homs. but still not good, probably D, well D+.Let’s see: bad words: “you’re a fundamentalist bigot” “It simply makes you more bigoted.”Try to think one rational thought without recourse to insults. You did lie, when you said you NEVER posted on atheist blogs, and I pointed out that fact. That doesn’t make me a bigot.You must learn to express yourself more calmly and expand your repetoire (sic) of insults. It would greatly improve the calibre of your prose, and maybe–even of your thoughts. (Well, probably you are too far gone for that but hope is one of the three virtues. We should never lose hope!)

  • Enrique-I

    It’s unclear what point ‘pro-choicers’ are trying to make about ‘consciousness’ which one in this forum has vaguely defined as that which ‘requires a nervous system’.Is their point that if an embryo can be proven to have ‘consciousness’, then it should be considered a human being and not aborted? Or would they still argue that a woman has the ‘right’ to kill it anyhow?

  • Mary_Cunningham

    Congratulations sparrow! Not one insult! See, it was easy, although unfortunately it greatly diminished the length of your missive. (Now if you can only work on the content.)A little tip: usually praising ourselves to the sky is not the best technique for winning others to our POV. Praise works best when it comes from others. PS The Prof views are similar to those of ECUSA. Calling him Episcopalian was not meant as an insult, only as a suggestion that he might be happier in a more liberal Christian Church.

  • Mary_Cunningham

    Good grief! I take back my congrats! Sparrow started out with “your bigotry” BAd word, bad bird, Sparrow. Try again. A rational statement without an insult. You can’t do it can you? Oh dear.

  • Mary_Cunningham

    And I’m uncertain how saying the Prof. was really an Episcopalian makes me a “fundamentalist bigot”? Didn’t think Episcopalian was a swear word. If you want a decent exchange, sp4, look at the dialogue between myself and Shell08 about the situation of ‘no’ abortion in Ireland. We disagreed, but without animosity. I did not call him an Episcopalian and he did not call me a bigot.Anyway…

  • sparrow4

    Gosh mary- and you said several posts ago you were done. But you’re right- you shouldn’t praise yourself as the arbiter of Catholicism in America. very unbecoming. I suggest you read your initial post re Mr. Stevens-Arroyo. First you insult him for not being “your” type of catholic and then you have the nerve to try to tell him what church he would be happier in. Seems to me he’s the kind of guy who has a very clear idea of who he is without your help. Nice try at facetiousness, and fake civility. I’d rather be honest as to how i feel. I don’t call you a bigot without good reason. Your comments to Mr. Arroyo, your comments on farnaz2, your incessant insistence that all who disagree are evil atheists, and anti-Catholic. You have made a habit of it on the blogs. One thing I’ll give you. You’re a master at insinuation and innuendo. – I wonder the McCain campaign doesn’t use you as a consultant. But your wide-eyed who me? attitude doesn’t wear well.I’m so happy that you managed a civil dialogue with someone. Probably because yu didn’t call him a liar perhaps? Or perhaps you didn’t say anything to him as you did in your first post on this thread to Mr. Arroyo:”Rationalise the One, by all means, and appeal to your new base: atheists and secularists.You should retitle your blog though: how about Anti-Catholic America? Anti-Catholic America on No Faith. Has a nice ring, don’t you think? “But no- you don’t insult anyone. Please. As I say, I deal with people as they deal with me. sorry, dear- you don’t win on upmanship or truth.