A Republic in peril: the death of liberty

Q: The conservative Christian group Focus on the Family is sponsoring a pro-life ad, featuring football star Tim Tebow, during … Continued

Q: The conservative Christian group Focus on the Family is sponsoring a pro-life ad, featuring football star Tim Tebow, during Sunday’s Super Bowl. Should CBS show the ad? Should CBS allow other faith-based groups to buy Super Bowl ads promoting their beliefs on social issues? Is a major sporting event, or a TV ad campaign, an appropriate venue for discussing such vital and divisive culture-war issues like abortion?

Nothing, not a plague of Biblical proportions or a President John Edwards, would harm the Republic more than allowing a handsome football quarterback and his mother to give a Super Bowl commercial celebrating life.

The Super Bowl and the commercials that come with it have always been an event that celebrated taste and family values. This year while enjoying flatulent horses, objectified women picked for their silicon valleys, and endless advertisements for gluttony and drunkenness, my family will be forced to endure a woman who looks like a woman and a man who practices chastity sharing their heartwarming story.

It is enough to give a viewer heartburn.

This jarring juxtaposition may induce cognitive dissonance by producing cognition in viewers. How will CBS promote the rest of the amusements if the audience stops being without the muses even for a moment?

Free speech is not an unlimited right either to shout “fire” in a crowded theater, or to praise being alive during modern gladiatorial events. A man cannot enjoy his intellectual slumber if opponents are allowed to disturb him with evidence.

Free speech is abused when speech is used to abuse the dogmas of our intellectual betters. The consensus opinion of the establishment must be protected from the irresponsible ability of people to raise money and share their views. Only the consumer and the intellectually servile are free and this quarterback and his mother are the opposite: selling nothing and thinking for themselves.

It is time to call for a Super Bowl Commercial Czar to police these abuses. Is this commercial the “hope and change” that President Obama promised us?

We are told that this commercial will tell the story of a mother who carried a difficult pregnancy to term. It will celebrate the life and accomplishments of her son. This runs the risk of making people who made a different choice wonder if they have made the right choice. The essence of the pro-choice position is that it hides the fact that only one choice can be celebrated.

This commercial is unfair, because there is no possibility of giving the other side equal time.

How can the abortion industry make something similar? They cannot film a commercial with dead children testifying to the beauty of the choice to abort. This is an undue handicap to those persuaded to choose death.

The hypocrisy of CBS is exposed in this decision. In the past, they have turned down advertisements of a controversial nature. Despite the fact that Americans are overwhelmingly personally opposed to abortion, a commercial celebrating life is controversial to the correct people . . . the minority who like it. After all, any celebration of the choice for life is simply code language for banning abortion. Every thoughtful person knows the phrase “pro-choice” is nothing but clever rhetoric, shorthand for nervous politicians for being pro-abortion. Any argument for choosing life is not about choice at all, because it is not about abortion.

Everybody knows the word “choice” means abortion. Focus on the Family is deceiving the viewers by using it as if it meant the ability to pick between two options. As everyone knows choice is a basis for liberty and so any assault on abortion is an assault on liberty.

Liberty is the basis of this Republic and so this commercial undermines our national life.

The most serious problem with this commercial is the attack on our Constitutional right to the separation of religion and life. Tebow and his mother are forcing all of us, even the non-religious, to think about religion and God. The wall of separation between atheists and a mention of God must remain absolute or the nation will become a veritable theocracy.

Some might argue that “choosing life” need not be religious. Leave aside the shocking news that the commercial was paid for by a religious organization. Forget that Tebow himself insists on giving his religious opinions in public. Think only how uncomfortable this must make mainstream journalists, in particular imagine the pain caused to such a well-known feminist as Keith Olbermann who is charged with protecting the status quo.

Are we willing to live in a society where we must view Olbermann and see him made uncomfortable? It shows the hypocrisy of the “family values” crowd when they confront a man already burdened by his personality and his hair with an offensive commercial. His job already hangs by a thread and such provocation is likely to add him to the swelling ranks of the unemployed undoing half the actual gains of the government stimulus program.

Sadly, this year’s Super Bowl is on CBS and not on NBC and so we will not have an opportunity for Olbermann’s fair-minded commentary during the game to balance out this commercial. Perhaps CBS can hire Olbermann or some other fair-minded person to balance out the commercial.

This we know: the life of the Republic depends on not shouting life in a crowded Super Bowl party.

John Mark Reynolds
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  • wiccan

    “How can the abortion industry make something similar? They cannot film a commercial with dead children testifying to the beauty of the choice to abort. This is an undue handicap to those persuaded to choose death.”Painting with far too broad a brush here, Professor. How about this: we make an ad of the children who lost their mothers and the parents who lost their daughters to botched back-alley abortions? Because if you advocate making abortion illegal, that’s what’s going to happen. But hey, that’s alright; the sanctity of life starts at conception and ends at birth, right? We all know that the only good abortion is the one that kills the mother and doctor and lets the fetus live.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    The first sentence was rude, ugly, and nasty sarcasm, and I am not reading any further past that; I am in no mood for this; and do not care what this fellow has to say anymore on this subject.

  • mykmlr

    No ‘wiccan’, the pro-freedom groups cannot produce a similar pseudo-documentary.

  • HCBerkowitz

    Danielinthelionsden is an efficient man, because the rest of the article is rude, ugly, and nasty sarcasm. Actually, Professor, you wouldn’t find me nearly as annoyed at the hypocrisy had CBS offered the beauty of people being accepted, valued, and welcomed for their uniqueness. But that might have shown a gay man being accepted lovingly into the United Church of Christ, and we can’t have that.Now, let’s look at how the good professor chooses to profess in an academic environment, usually the exemplar of inquiry develops, in an environment that celebrates diversity and differing views. Shall we examine Biola University, whose website states, “Every student, staff, and faculty member will be a professing Christian?” As far as the biological standard relevant to reproduction, “creation models which seek to harmonize science and the Bible should maintain at least the following: (a) God providentially directs His creation, (b) He specially intervened in at least the above-mentioned points in the creation process, and (c) God specially created Adam and Eve (Adam’s body from non-living material, and his spiritual nature immediately from God). Inadequate origin models hold that (a) God never directly intervened in creating nature and/or (b) humans share a common physical ancestry with earlier life forms.”

  • johnmarkreynolds

    I was trying to parody people who get bent of shape over a commercial, but obviously have bent more people out of shape with my parody.As for my University, I teach in a Christian university where a group of like minded people get together to consider ideas and learn. We examine every possible idea (and more!), but can come at these ideas in a supportive place. This is not the only way to do school (I went to a secular University after all), but it works for us. Your mileage may, of course, vary, but really some of y’all should lighten up!

  • johnmarkreynolds

    Wiccan says:”How about this: we make an ad of the children who lost their mothers and the parents who lost their daughters to botched back-alley abortions? Because if you advocate making abortion illegal, that’s what’s going to happen.”Evidently, the only two choices are:Since there are many other options (adoption being one), this is a false choice.

  • HCBerkowitz

    John Mark Reynolds, I salute that you are one of the few Guest Voices who actually have the courtesy to engage people who respond, so I’m certainly willing to accept the basic premise you had parody in mind. Nevertheless, it’s often hard to tell in this medium.Truly, I can have respect for your comment saying “it works for us” in the context of your faith. What I ask is equal respect for other faiths, or acceptance that if you present your beliefs as superior, you may get blasted back. I’m not quite ready to lighten up, as the thing that bothers me most about THE AD, as opposed to the issue, is that CBS had previously had a policy of rejecting things that celebrated faith and religion — such as the United Church of Christ welcoming of LGBT into their congregation. Had CBS announced a policy change before signing a contract with Focus on the Family, and offered to sell airtime for competing views, I’d look at this as not too much more than the absurdity of a hotshot college football player presuming to offer great moral authority.Let me, however, touch on an issue of faith: the only problem I have with abortion is that people get into situations where it is the least bad choice. Nevertheless, I have zero ethical qualms about the act itself, because I do not consider a fetus a human being. I can give biological arguments, and arguments based on life experience, but I can also describe it as a matter of faith. I don’t believe in the existence of the Judaeo-Christian deity, so there’s little point in arguing Biblical authority to me.So, if you want to say your faith is better than mine, take the consequences.There’s a false assumption here that elective abortion is always a matter of convenience. It can be a health decision, and I get especially annoyed by the idea that medically indicated abortion should be banned. You say to “Evidently, the only two choices are:Since there are many other options (adoption being one), this is a false choice. “Mrs. Tebow chose to risk her life for what she considered another human being. Now, consider a pregnant woman who does not believe a fetus to be a human being. That woman may choose to avoid a high-risk or futile pregnancy in order to have a safe gestation and delivery at a later time.Saying an adoption is one choice avoids the situation where the mother wants a child, but, for example, has an aggressive tumor, treatable with chemicals or radiation likely to produce a severely damaged fetus, if destroying that clump of cells outright.

  • PSolus

    John,Would your responce to Wiccan have been the same, if she had decided to NOT do any of the following:- Drink a cup of coffee or CokeNote that each of the above is considered wicked by at least one group of people.

  • PSolus

    Feel free to apply the following corrections:response

  • johnmarkreynolds

    Wiccan,I salute your choice to do what was right.Since an abortion takes an innocent human life, it is not a choice I think any human has the right to make . . . but if we are to live in a culture where the option to be wicked is allowed we should celebrate those who walk the hard road of virtue. John Mark

  • emonty

    Nice parody! Of course, most people who post to blogs do not look for parody or nuance. The comments should be fun to read!

  • kert1

    Mr Reynolds,It is somewhat amusing that instead of debating real issues and personally examining our lives, we are arguing about whether a Super Bowl commercial is allowed to do this. You certainly brought this out in a humorous way (bring on the half naked ladies and endless beer). It is saddening that people are just so opposed to even considering morality. Certainly something to pray about.

  • johnmarkreynolds

    Psolous,I think you have confused activities forbidden to members of a particular group as a sign of “belonging” with acts that are (by their very nature) wicked.The first category of actions are not permissible to the particular group, but are “accidentally” impermissible. The group could have picked different tests of membership and indeed might over time.The second category are actions wicked in all places at all times.Taking an innocent human life is in the second category.One might argue about shellfish consumption after all and still be a good neighbor, but one would not want to live next to a fellow who thought taking innocent life was good.The question with abortion is: “Is the fetus an innocent human life and is all innocent human life worthy of legal protection?”I think we should answer: “Yes.” As one reader already pointed out, that is just my opinion, but it is an opinion supported by the findings of medical science, sound ethical reasoning, and centuries of human experience.

  • johnmarkreynolds

    One final point:Abortion is an action so obviously morally distasteful that most Americans are either in favor of making it illegal in most cases or in favor of keeping it legal, but opposed to doing it.Let’s assume the second position (the present legal situation.) Some things are legal (and should be legal in a free society) that are immoral. It is legal to drink . . . even to the point of alcoholism, but it is not moral to drink to excess and become a slave to liquor. In such a case, ads celebrating the right choice would encourage sobriety. Liquor companies actually make such ads encouraging moderation. They strengthen the right without using the force of law. In the same way, most Americans welcome ads that encourage life . . . whatever their views on the legality of abortion, because they think overwhelmingly think abortion a bad thing.Imagine introducing your child at a party as: “My child the abortionist . . .” and you get the idea!Americans pretty much agree abortion is bad, but just don’t agree on how legal the choice should be.The fairly tiny pro-abortion minority hides behind this debate to gain disproportionate power. The reaction to Tebow points the hypocrisy of many such persons. If we are really “pro-choice,” but “personally opposed” then the Tebow ad reflects our position. If we are “pro-life,” the Tebow ad strengthens the cause of the right choice.Even those who favor some abortions include large numbers who view “abortion as birth control” with distaste. Those people too should applaud the Tebow ad. Only abortion zealots (and they are few) would be upset by such a video.

  • PSolus

    “I think you have confused activities forbidden to members of a particular group as a sign of “belonging” with acts that are (by their very nature) wicked.”I think that you are confusing belief with fact. ”Wicked” is a superstitious word based on superstitious beliefs. Nothing is “wicked” by its very nature.“The first category of actions are not permissible to the particular group, but are “accidentally” impermissible. The group could have picked different tests of membership and indeed might over time.”All of the actions are considered “wicked” based on superstitious beliefs.“The second category are actions wicked in all places at all times.”Again, ”wicked” is a superstitious word based on superstitious beliefs. Nothing, at any time or in any place, is “wicked”.“Taking an innocent human life is in the second category.”Assuming that by “taking an innocent human life” you mean having an abortion, abortion is not “wicked”.“One might argue about shellfish consumption after all and still be a good neighbor, but one would not want to live next to a fellow who thought taking innocent life was good.”Well, that statement is just silly.“The question with abortion is: “Is the fetus an innocent human life and is all innocent human life worthy of legal protection?””Oh, I see; you choose to believe that a fetus is an innocent human life. I hear that many people also choose to believe this, just as many people choose to believe that educating women is “wicked”.“I think we should answer: “Yes.”“Who are “we”? Do you think that everyone should believe exactly as you choose to believe?“As one reader already pointed out, that is just my opinion,…”I agree with that reader.“… but it is an opinion supported by the findings of medical science,”This is simply something that you choose to believe. “… sound ethical reasoning,…”There is also sound ethical reasoning that disagrees with your opinion.“… and centuries of human experience.”Again, this is simply something that you choose to believe.

  • PSolus

    “One final point:”You sound like a politician when you use “most Americans” and “Americans pretty much agree” as excuses to force your supersticious beliefs on the general population.BTW, children cannot be licensed to perform abortions.

  • coloradodog

    yawnMore drivel from a “Christian” Huckabee in lock-step with the right-wing agenda of pre-emptive war, torture and capital punishment. You get together with “like minded people” to drink each others bath water infested with racial, religious and political intolerance and nothing more.Pro-life indeed.

  • johnmarkreynolds

    As a person whose Super Bowl party is including a discussion of Metaphysics (geek out!) . . . I cannot tell you how delighted would be if there was a meaty and controversial ad from anybody. Planned Parenthood? Bring it on! It would all be meat for discussion. Oh, wait. . . I forgot that if you only stereotype people you think conservative Christians are all offended by contrary views.We are mostly not.John Mark

  • PSolus

    “But I don’t agree that morality is that badly defined. . .”I disagree; morality is based on religion, not fact. Different religions define morality differently, and even the members within each religion don’t always agree on what is moral or immoral.Many pro-choice people are religious believers, some of whom invoke their supreme being in defense of abortion (my god is a forgiving god; my god is an understanding god; my god does not want a mother, a child, or both to suffer their entire lives for a single mistake made by the mother; etc.).”…there is enough agreement amongst humans after all that it would not be hard to find a list of what most people at most places at most times have believed to be moral.”Perhaps, for example murder (the legal term “murder”, not the emotional term “murder”), but abortion is not one of those things, as you can see by the wide range of comments to your article alone.If there was as much agreement that abortion is immoral as you claim, abortion would not be legal, or as protected, in as many countries as it currently is.

  • Catken1

    “How can the abortion industry make something similar?”By the “abortion industry” I assume you mean women who have the gall to believe that their bodies do not become their fetus’s property upon conception?Simple. They could point out that most women who follow Pam Tebow’s advice in a similar situation would die. She risked her life, which was her right, and good for her! But is it reasonable for her not only to ask that other women risk their lives for dangerous pregnancies, but also to advocate for laws _forcing_ women to do so?”After all, any celebration of the choice for life is simply code language for banning abortion”The “choice for life” is code language, too – after all, it might be a choice for death for a different woman, whose pregnancy doesn’t work out as Ms. Tebow’s did. But that’s only the worthless woman’s life, after all not the all-important valuable fetus’s. What is controversial about this ad is precisely the idea that a fetus’s life _is_ more important, and more valuable, than its mother’s – that women should take dangerous risks with their lives in order to continue a pregnancy, with a rosy assurance that everything will be OK because it was OK for Pam Tebow. It is additionally the idea that a woman _should not by law have the option to refuse_ to risk her life for her fetus.It’s not OK to show an ad that might *gasp* suggest that gay men exist and *gasp* want to date each other. But it’s perfectly non-controversial to show an ad that seeks to persuade women to take dangerous risks with their lives, using misleading information (an anecdotal story from one woman who survived, without mentioning that most women in her situation wouldn’t have). After all, it’s FAR more important that we don’t interfere with anti-gay folks’ happy little gay-people-aren’t-real-people bubble than that we don’t kill women.

  • Catken1

    “Since there are many other options (adoption being one), this is a false choice. “Adoption is an option if the woman and the child survive the pregnancy. Most women and babies in Pam Tebow’s position won’t. The options in her case were: take a dangerous risk with her own life in order to give the fetus a small chance of survival, or have an abortion in order to keep the mother safe (and possibly ensure her continuing ability to bear future children in healthier pregnancies). Adoption wasn’t an option in her case, as her child was a wanted child. Luckily, her choice worked out well for her. But what the commercial failed to point out is that in most cases where a woman makes the same choice she did, both mother and baby will die. You have three possible outcomes:Is option 2, the most likely outcome for women who make Ms. Tebow’s choice, really preferable in your eyes to option 3? Do you want to force women to gamble with their lives like that, or even to encourage vulnerable women to do so, knowing that in most cases they will lose?

  • twmatthews

    Well said CatKen1. I hadn’t looked at the “risk to the mother” side of the argument.

  • PSolus

    justillthennow,My argument was that morality cannot be absolutely defined because it is based on personal beliefs, not facts.Many people believe that abortion is immoral because they believe that conception is an act of a supernatural being, and that the fertilized ovum is imbued, by that supernatural being, with a human soul the instant that the sperm fertilizes the ovum.This is not a fact; it is a belief.”Pro-lifers see abortion exactly as the murder that you cede to a collectively agreed upon morality.”Again, that is a belief; murder is a legal term; an abortion is murder only if a legitimate legal entity rules that it is a murder.Believing that something is murder, does not make that something legally murder.”The abortion debate is alive and kicking, (please excuse the poor analogy!), and is not going away quickly.”I didn’t say there was no debate; I said that there is not as much agreement that abortion is immoral as John seems to think. If there were the extent of agreement that John seems to think, abortion would not be as widely available as it is today.

  • justillthennow

    Hello again, Psolus,I agree that morality cannot be absolutely defined and is, effectively, an individuals choice and position. Morality therefore is mutable based on the variable of individual perspective.There is no shortage of people that are in agreement that abortion is immoral, and this position is being pushed often and with a continuing insistence. Abortion is legal in most cases in America, but the debate is not over by any stretch, it seems. For those that believe in legalized abortion it is no time to sit back in the assumption of that freedom continuing, without having to continue to fight for it. And again, abortion is quite close enough to murder for many, and they perceive it as such. Most would place murder outside of the collective common well of moral good. It is not much of a stretch to view abortion as related to murder, particularly if one sees an embryo as “human life”. “Again, that is a belief; murder is a legal term; an abortion is murder only if a legitimate legal entity rules that it is a murder.”No insult intended here, but that is a bit cold and cerebral. Fairly detached, no? One could say, for instance, that Idi Amin was not a murderer unless “a legitimate legal entity”, like the international court in the Hauge, ruled him so. Yet, by all account, (all believable ones!), he was a murderer and worse.”Believing that something is murder, does not make that something legally murder.”Doesn’t mean it is not, either! And again, here we bat around definition of what is legal or not, but whatever the act is, it is. “I didn’t say there was no debate; I said that there is not as much agreement that abortion is immoral as John seems to think. If there were the extent of agreement that John seems to think, abortion would not be as widely available as it is today.”This is a simplistic view, I think, and I question it. Again, I am essentially pro-choice. While at the same time I question this simplistic and detached view of abortion that you forward.

  • PSolus

    justillthennow,“There is no shortage of people that are in agreement that abortion is immoral, and this position is being pushed often and with a continuing insistence.”A large group of people in agreement in a belief does not make that belief a fact.“And again, abortion is quite close enough to murder for many, and they perceive it as such.”A large number of people perceiving a belief as fact does not make that belief a fact.“It is not much of a stretch to view abortion as related to murder, particularly if one sees an embryo as “human life”.Viewing something to be related to murder does make that thing murder, whether one sees an embryo as a human life, or as a magical entity.“No insult intended here, but that is a bit cold and cerebral.”No insult taken; I am attempting to be objective.“Fairly detached, no? One could say, for instance, that Idi Amin was not a murderer unless “a legitimate legal entity”, like the international court in the Hauge, ruled him so. Yet, by all account, (all believable ones!), he was a murderer and worse.”Again, murder is a legal term, not a statement of fact. Calling Idi Amin a murderer does not change what he did, just as not calling him a murderer would not change what he did.“Doesn’t mean it is not, either! And again, here we bat around definition of what is legal or not, but whatever the act is, it is.”You’re confusing killing (a fact) and murder (a legal term). If I were to kill someone, it could be legally determined to be murder, manslaughter, homicide, self defense, or any other legal term, depending on the circumstances. But, at the end of the day, I killed someone.“This is a simplistic view, I think, and I question it. Again, I am essentially pro-choice. While at the same time I question this simplistic and detached view of abortion that you forward.”I disagree; again, I am simply attempting to be objective.The reason that abortion is legal and protected in so many countries is because of the large number of people who recognize that it is often a necessary medical procedure, and that the pregnant woman is the only person who can adequately judge whether it is the correct procedure for her.

  • twmatthews

    Hello John and thank you for your post. I enjoyed the sarcasm and recognize how difficult it is to convey that in print. That said, I disagree with your conclusions because they are based on a moral compass that you think everyone shares but evidence contradicts that assumption.Your use of the word wicked in subsequent posts reminds me a lot of George Bush who believed he could detect good and “evil”. I am too human to assume that my moral standards should be adopted by all.The point that PSLOSUS made was both serious and accurate — that one man’s definition of evil is not necessarily another’s. Whereas the bible says that eating shellfish is abhorrent to god, many people (myself included) find pleasure in shrimp and lobster (I served shrimp yesterday during a super bowl party). Yet, a literal interpretation of the bible would have me conclude that I was offending god.To you abortion is morally wrong and everyone should recognize that. But trying to define morality is a little bit like trying to define pornography — pretty soon you’ll be saying that you know what is immoral when you see it.Is it moral for someone to be forced to have a baby when they are emotionally, economically, and/or physically unable to care for that baby? Is it possible that having a baby, knowing the father is abusive, may cause more suffering than not having the baby?You nor I can ever answer that question and for every Tebow that was carried to term there is as much potential for a Timothy McVeigh to be born.Neither you or anyone else can predict whether bringing an unwanted baby into the world is the best alternative. In many cases, bringing an unwanted baby increases suffering and that is immoral in my book.

  • PSolus

    First rule of commenting: Never comment drunk.

  • johnmarkreynolds

    Psolus:But I don’t agree that morality is that badly defined. . . there is enough agreement amongst humans after all that it would not be hard to find a list of what most people at most places at most times have believed to be moral. (We don’t live up to our ideals, but we have them.) Every society has blind spots . . . but most major (non-inbred) societies get the big stuff generally right. See C.S. Lewis in “Abolition of Man” for an argument in this direction.As to posting drunk . . . that too would be fun to read. Anybody confess to it?JMNR

  • justillthennow

    OK, OK…. I have made one or more comments “under the influence” of that evil, alcohol. Morality meter on that one? Mixed, (not my drink, mind you, as I tend to like a nice potent and supremely flavorful micro-brew). Some think it perfectly moral and right(eous) to down a few and move into philosophizing and spouting commentary. Others find it a spiritual weakness, and morally depraved.Sometimes it is tough to get this True Morality thing. The mark does often change on an individual level. ‘Tis confusing…

  • justillthennow

    Hello Psolus,”A large group of people in agreement in a belief does not make that belief a fact.””Viewing something to be related to murder does make that thing murder, whether one sees an embryo as a human life, or as a magical entity.””Again, murder is a legal term, not a statement of fact. Calling Idi Amin a murderer does not change what he did, just as not calling him a murderer would not change what he did.”I understand that you are saying that you are “attempting to be objective”. That is fine, but you miss my point. I am clear that abortion is legal and that abortion itself is not murder, using your insistence on a “legal term”. Two things.One is that you can safely say that “murder” may be defined as a legal term, but it is also interchangeable with killing in common usage, when both are referring to taking anothers life outside of law and law enforcement. Indeed, in most cases that humans kill other humans it would rate legal definition of murder. Here I stretch the term a bit, as warfare kills the largest number of humans these days, and though governments sanction war it remains a ‘legalized’ or sanctioned murder, in my view. The root of the act is very much the same. Second is simple and should be self evident. Abortion is viewed by many as a legalized or sanctioned murder of humans. You may not see it that way, but as I said it is not much of a stretch to see it from that perspective. You somewhat casually refer to legal terms, and they do make a huge difference. My point is that it is a thin barrier that differentiates what is legal and what crosses the line, and when there is little contrast it is harder to justify the difference in outcome. It is highly conceivable that public opinion, and judicial opinion all the more in this case, could change enough that your “legal term” murder could be spread to include abortion. It is not a light and certain issue as you suggest. Potentially, very little would need to change for the definition of abortion to go from legalized to illegal.Food for thought.

  • PSolus

    justillthennow,I am not disagreeing with you when you say that “many people believe X, or Y, or Z”. Many people do indeed believe many things; however, a large number of people believing X, or Y, or Z does not make X, or Y, or Z fact.I am also not disagreeing with you when you say that “many people see something as “murder”, “wicked”, “evil”, etc. Many people see things as they want to see them; however, simply seeing something as “murder”, “wicked”, or “evil” does not in fact make that something “murder”, “wicked”, or “evil”. As I pointed out, the first term is a legal term used loosely for emotional effect; the other two terms are based on personal and/or religious beliefs, again used for their emotional effect.Many people oppose abortion for personal and/or religious beliefs. Some believe that there is a supernatural being who is responsible for bestowing the gift of pregnancy upon women, irrespective of the women’s wishes.Some believe that a woman gets pregnant because of a supernatural master plan in which she has no say. Some believe that a fertilized human ovum is a human life. Some believe that a fertilized human ovum contains an eternal soul, imbued in it by a supernatural being.None of the above is fact, they are all beliefs, irrespective of how many people believe them.Abortion is already illegal in some countries, however, that does not make abortion “evil”, “wicked”, or any other superstitious term one chooses to use, in those countries, or in any country.Additionally, making abortion illegal does not stop women from having abortions; it does, however, potentially make abortions more dangerous for women.

  • wiccan

    JMR-You read my post but still don’t understand. I do not deserve your accolades because I did not have an abortion, nor would have I deserved your condemnation if I had aborted.Lets try this thought experiment: Medical science has advanced to the degree that doctors can tranfer any fetus one to twelve weeks old to any other person, male or female, and that person could carry the pregnancy to term (with the usual risks pregnancy brings). If the mother cannot continue the pregnancy, should the father be compelled to accept the fetal transfer and bear the pregnancy to term? If he doesn’t want the pregnancy, should he bear any moral responsibility? At what point does the government get to say, “We don’t care what you want, the one with the best chance of completing the pregnancy must bear the child!”?Many women have said that if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament. Prove me wrong.

  • justillthennow

    Hello Psolus, Yes yes yes, I have understood what you are saying. Perhaps I should simplify.Regardless of what is ‘belief’ or ‘fact’, good, wicked, bad, superstitious, rational, whatever, it is public opinion and (shhh!) cultural moralities that shape the rules, laws and enacted legislation that form the culture, and support an ordered society.Public belief and morality shape that cultures laws. The beliefs may be rational or superstitious, but laws are enacted based on the beliefs of the people. Currently abortion is legal in America, after an epic battle decades ago. Forces have been at work since then, but those that wish to overturn Roe feel they have a greater opportunity now than in recent decades and are working full tilt to that end. They may love the opportunity to push it to the Supreme Court again now that the Court is more conservative leaning. Thanks in no small part to 8 years of Bush at the helm and the induction of conservative idealogues in the lineup.As you say, it is all in the legal definition, yes? I am saying, regardless of validity of popular belief, definitions can change with collective beliefs.

  • PSolus

    “As you say, it is all in the legal definition, yes? I am saying, regardless of validity of popular belief, definitions can change with collective beliefs.”I am saying that definitions based on popular beliefs, collective beliefs, personal beliefs, superstitious beliefs, or any other beliefs, are meaningless to people who do not share those beliefs.Abortion is a medical procedure of which some pregnant women choose to avail themselves.A woman who chooses to have an abortion is not “evil”, “wicked”, “sinful”, or any other superstitious term that others may want to attribute to her, or a killer, or necessarily a murderer.A woman who chooses not to have an abortion is not “holier”, “more virtuous”, “more saintly”, “more angelic”, or any other superstitious comparative that others may want to attribute to her, than a women who chooses an abortion.Making abortion illegal in a country changes only the legality of abortion, nothing else.

  • wiccan

    PSolus, you understand. Thank you.

  • justillthennow

    Hello again Psolus,”I am saying that definitions based on popular beliefs, collective beliefs, personal beliefs, superstitious beliefs, or any other beliefs, are meaningless to people who do not share those beliefs.”Perhaps those definitions are meaningless if they do not translate into laws that forbid them to follow their own beliefs. I’d wager that they are quite meaningful if it impinges on their ability to freely do what they would do. I am not making a value judgment here on abortion per se, and certainly not on women that avail themselves of it or those that would not consider it. All these meanings are subjective moral judgments. They make their choices, which again reveals which side of the equation I tend to find myself.”Making abortion illegal in a country changes only the legality of abortion, nothing else.”Here I disagree. As we have determined, legalities are important little affairs. If abortion were made illegal it would make a dramatic change in this country. Women would be forced into distasteful choices, as if they had not already had challenging choices while it was legal. Lives could and would shift dramatically. Child services, welfare services, health care services would all be further taxed. It is easy to imagine poverty would continue for low income women and families, while middle and upper class women and families would find themselves pregnant without a legal alternative to childbirth. Adoption services would be overwhelmed and tapped, and population would make a steeper uphill rise. The economy would be further weighted.Hey, it would make a difference!

  • PSolus

    “Perhaps those definitions are meaningless if they do not translate into laws that forbid them to follow their own beliefs. I’d wager that they are quite meaningful if it impinges on their ability to freely do what they would do.”I agree, but I would change the word “meaningful” to “problematic”. While superstitious beliefs are meaningless, they can become huge problems for many people if they are codified into law.”Here I disagree. As we have determined, legalities are important little affairs. If abortion were made illegal it would make a dramatic change in this country. Women would be forced into distasteful choices, as if they had not already had challenging choices while it was legal. Lives could and would shift dramatically. Child services, welfare services, health care services would all be further taxed. It is easy to imagine poverty would continue for low income women and families, while middle and upper class women and families would find themselves pregnant without a legal alternative to childbirth. Adoption services would be overwhelmed and tapped, and population would make a steeper uphill rise. The economy would be further weighted.Hey, it would make a difference!”You’re right; I wrote that sentence much more quickly, and with much less thought, than I should have.

  • PSolus

    “Thank you.”You’re welcome.

  • Chapel_Hill_Science

    John Mark:Or should I call you Luke Matthew? How about Romans Acts? OK, really bad joke…Anyway, you said “Oh, wait. . . I forgot that if you only stereotype people you think conservative Christians are all offended by contrary views.”I’ve never heard a conservative Christian say they would welcome a Planned Parenthood ad on TV or anywhere else. So maybe my experience is very unique, but I’m willing to bet it wouldn’t go over very well. But thanks for your reasonable response.Cheers.