Thursday, July 29, 2010

Don't Like It, Don't Have One [Megan]

 I came across a doozy of an article in the Birmingham Atheism Examiner. The article, “Against Abortion? Then don’t have one…,” takes the reader on a whirlwind tour of the (atheist) abortion advocate’s argument — from dependency of the fetus and women’s autonomy to the theological nature of the pro-life argument and “huge difference between something being human and an actual living, breathing human being.” And more.

 As is often the case, if you’re able to strip away some of the fancy wordage, the claims are fairly easy to debunk if you’re familiar with LTI’s training material:

1.   The author writes, “The fetus may be life, but it is not independent life, and for that reason alone, the mother reserves the right to terminate her pregnancy” (emphasis mine). Hidden in this sentence and the paragraph in which it’s embedded are a couple of things — the assumption that the unborn is not a human being (we call this “begging the question”), and the assertion that the unborn’s degree of dependency is what makes him/her less valuable than a newborn. This is where the “D” in the “SLED” acronym comes in handy. The response straight from LTI’s The SLED Test card reads, “If viability makes us human, then all those who depend on insulin or kidney medication are not valuable and we may kill them. Conjoined twins who share blood type and bodily systems also have no right to life.” This argument by the author ultimately fails because when applied elsewhere, it leads to absurd conclusions.

2.     Later, the author makes a separate claim following several paragraphs that describe the unborn’s early development (which I will address later). He writes, “So, to say that the termination of a human zygote, blastocyst, embryo, or a fetus before viability (there’s that “degree of dependency” thrown back in the mix) is a human being with a right to life is scientifically unfounded and rightfully illegal. (That’s quite a claim. If someone said this in conversation, it would be appropriate to ask how he or she reached such a conclusion.) There is a huge difference between something being human and an actual living, breathing human being. Even a fetus that is prematurely born or removed from a sick or dying mother is not a human being until it is actually apart from the mother,” (parenthetical additions mine). Now the author has combined the “D” from “SLED” with the “E,” “Environment.” The “huge difference” he seems to be referring to is the length of the birth canal — inches. But as we teach at LTI, “where you are” has no bearing on “who you are.” A change in location does not affect one’s value. Not to mention the fact that the author fails to explain why separation from the mother suddenly makes a non-human human.

More to come…

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Francis Beckwith on Neutrality [Jay]

From Francis Beckwith's Defending Life, Chapter 3, Abortion, Liberalism and State Nuetrality:

“Consequently, when abortion-choice advocates, in the name of tolerance and religious liberty, call for pro-life citizens to completely cease employing the legitimate avenues of our constitutional democracy for the purpose of protecting the unborn from harm, these abortion-choice supporters are in fact instructing their fellow citizens to silently, politely, and without resistance acquiesce to the metaphysical status quo, namely, that the unborn are not full-fledged members of the human community and therefore are not entitled to protection by the state. To the opponent of abortion, this request hardly seems tolerant or liberating.”

Monday, July 12, 2010

Hatch on Kagan [Jay Watts]

Here is a link to Orrin Hatch's case against Elena Kagan as a Supreme Court Justice. It is fascinating that a woman capable of being so passionately and professionally outspoken in defense of the law as a means to accomplish social goals, the merits of partial birth abortion, and the grave immorality of the military not allowing admitted homosexuals to serve could suddenly become so reserved in confirmation that she could not muster up an opinion on the wildly controversial Declaration of Independence.

Hatch's argument is summed up in one provocative question: Does this woman, however intelligent and professionally accomplished, represent an appropriate candidate for a judicial position to the highest court in the land?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Friends for Life Camp, Ft. Wayne [Scott]

I'm having a great time at Concordia University training high school and college students to defend their pro-life beliefs. Last night, I joined Lila Rose in a kickoff session and later that night, our student camp was the lead story on the local tv news.

If you'd like the notes from my advanced pro-life apologetics seminar, which I conducted today, you can get them here.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Scott headed to Ft. Wayne

Scott is off to Ft. Wayne to teach advanced pro-life apologetics to a group of very intelligent students at the Friends for Pro-Life Bootcamp. Topics: 1) "Foundations for a Pro-Life Worldview," 2) "Responding to the Bodily Autonomy Objection," 3) "Worse than Abortion? Moral Confusion on the Religious Left." On that last point, see his article here.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Tale of Two Students [Jay Watts]

At Summit Ministries in Dayton, Tennessee a student raised his hand to ask Scott a question. “When did the idea for abortion first come up?” Later at lunch another young man was talking to me about the myth of “the good old days” and was explaining to me all the ways that the modern world is better than the past. Both of these young men were missing an important fact in understanding their faith and the people around them.

Humanity is not more evil today than we were 50 years ago or even 2,000 years ago. We are also not less evil than we were 50 years ago or 2,000 years ago. We are as we have always been and Ecclesiastes tells us that nothing under the sun is new to man. The Bible gives us ample illustrations of the selfish and evil nature of man even in the life of some of our greatest heros. It would be difficult to imagine a person doing something more selfish than King David did in taking the faithful and good Uriah's wife and then killing Uriah to try to make it all right again. And how is this selfish fear and desire not to face the consequences of our actions spiritually different from the root causes of abortion?

My answer to the first question is that people have sought to deal with their fear and desperation by eliminating other people, including their own children, for as long as fallen man has been in relationships with other fallen men. Which is to say that we have been capable of and attempting evils like abortion for as long as we have been mankind. Whether it was abandonment of children to exposure on a hill, infanticide, or even abortion (which prior to the mid 1800's was synonymous with suicide when attempted by the mother by taking poison or more often murder when men would beat the women carrying children they did not want in order to produce abortions) we have sought to sinfully serve our self interest from the beginning. Surgical abortion as we perform it today began as an idea about one second after we discovered we were capable of reaching into the womb and destroying the life of the child without necessarily taking the life of the mother. Abortion is not evil because it represents a new low for mankind, it is merely a new manifestation of the evil of man enhanced by our current medical and scientific capacities. It is not necessary for people to be bothered by the constant discovery of murdered newborns as 17th century France was. We now sanitize and hide our evil so that the shame we face as a society can be avoided.

As to the idea that we are better now than we once were, well that is the mistaken belief that time itself is working to improve mankind. As this young man pointed out to me that we are on the verge of a global community and that our elevated morality will spread throughout the world. I had to caution him not to make the opposite error of his counterpart. It is true that in many ways the American commitment to the principles of The Declaration of Independence has advanced our nation through the end of slavery, women's suffrage, and the civil right's movement. At our core was a basic assumption that all mankind is created equal and our rights are given to us by our Creator and not our government. But I explained to this young man that he could not possibly be aware at his age that the very power that once advanced this nation is now the target of disdain. We are on the verge of confirming a Supreme Court justice that cannot bring herself to recognize The Declaration of Independence and the rights central to that document as important to understanding America and as relevant to today. Only rights that can be rooted in the Constitution matter now and we are capable of discovering whatever rights we need through “penumbras and emanations” combined with some clever writing in order to pursue our modern agendas.

Though we have certainly improved in areas, our reproach of racial inequality and hatred for example, we have also lost something that was central to what we are as a people. The understanding of why we are a nation to begin with and our dedication to the principles that our rights are derived from our nature as men. The proper primary goal of government is to secure and protect those rights that are ours by our nature and not to justify our worst impulses with laws designed to empower us to act against that nature. Abortion provides a right to privacy through judicial decree that supersedes the fundamental human right to life. That is madness. It is not our core belief that we are all equal under God that is spreading through the new world order. It is the convoluted notions of government power that we rebelled against 234 years ago that are now holding sway in our country.

These high school and college students are dedicating their vacation time to becoming the generation that will try to hold the line and fight back against what Pope Benedict XVI called the tyranny of relativism. Abortion is the great evil that has fallen to them to face now as generations of Christians before them have faced the evils of slavery, fascism, communism, and a host of others. It is the duty of the eternal church to stand against the evil of this world in all of it reprehensible forms. They must do so knowing that all victories are victories of degrees and that total defeat of evil will only come when our Lord himself sets things to right. In the meantime, it is vital that we keep in mind from what source our fundamental rights are derived and that if our nation loses sight of that the 4th of July will have about as much meaning as Cinco de Mayo. It will be a day to take off from work, drink beer, and blow things up for reasons that are no longer clear to us.

It is an honor to participate in preparing them for this battle and we could not do so without your support.