Abortion and the Foundations of Our Religious Country

October 28, 2012 — 6 Comments

MLK Jr and son

TO ABORT OR NOT TO ABORT IS NOT A QUESTION ANSWERED BY OUR GOVERNMENT

When life begins is a matter of religious belief.

Whether or not a woman decides to have a child is part of her belief system.

Freedom of religion is protected under the  Bill of Rights .

Want to play my Christian card? Then listen to what Jesus has to say.  He says: “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21)

This country was founded on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, preserving  rights to all men and women. To abort or not to abort is not the right of the government; those rights are with the individual for they are religious rights tied to one’s beliefs as to when life begins.

Check it out:

THE HISTORY OF SACRED LIFE: ARISTOTLE, RABBINIC COMMENTARY, AND THE BIBLE

Way back when,  Greek philosopher Aristotle said life began 40 days after a baby boy was born and 80 days for a baby girl…. That was when the “rational soul” took hold…well, it was a long time ago but that was his “religious point of view”.

Anyways, it stayed that way, as a belief system with some minor revisions pretty much until the late 19thcentury.   In 1875, the German embryologist, Oscar Hertwig, discovered the fusion of the sperm and the ovum in fertilization. That year, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in Rome declared that a human being exists and becomes ‘ensouled’ the moment the spermatozoa enters the ovum. By the way. that’s not Biblical necessarily, that’s a church doctrine.

Today, the Jewish rabbinic commentary regards the fetus to be part of the mother’s body and it is only at the moment when the head or the greater part of the breech is delivered that the fetus becomes an individual. But it continues to be regarded as a non-souled entity until after 30 days. Again, that’s a religious belief.

Interestingly enough, The Bible does not give a direct answer to the question, “When does human life begin?”  Jesus is silent on the matter. Attempts have been made by various scholars to cite evidence that God considers the fetus to be fully human.  Evangelical  John Stott made an ingenious argument by  using  Psalm 139  as the indicator.  The Psalmist , King David, sings that God  “knit” each of us into our mother’s womb.  I belive that Life begins at conception.   But that is my religious belief. It is protected under the Bill of Rights. Just as a secular humanist has the right to worship humanity alone; or a bodybuilder can  worship his or her body. Or Scientologists, Mormons, or Wiccans are able to worship.

A RELIGIOUS NATION, NOT A CHRISTIAN NATION

Like it or not, our country was founded as a religious nation, not a Christian nation. Most of the our Founding fathers were Deists, not Christians. Washington and Jefferson were Deists; Adams was a Christian. The great Abraham Lincoln was a Deist, there is no indication that he became a Christian although some believe he did after the death of his youngest  son. Lincoln learned to read by reading the Bible; that doesn’t make Lincoln a Christian. Nor does it make  William Shakespeare a Christian even though there are 1400 references in his collected works to Biblical prose.  Why as Christians do we not want to recognize the truth of our country? While all polls still indicate that Christiainity is still practiced by the majority of Americans, that doesn’t make it a Christian nation.

BLAME IT ON THOSE  BAPTISTS

It was the  Baptists who started it all. They didn’t like being thrown into jail in Virginia for the way they worshipped. Imagine that!  It wasn’t   about when Life began, it was about how they worshipped.

The Baptists were rather messy in their worship. They liked to  be baptized in the  Virginia rivers, just like Jesus had been baptized in the River Jordan. When they were “slain in the Spirit”, they hollered and cried, for the gift of the Holy Spirit is powerful. This did not fit well with the uppity ups. The Anglican Church had become the official state church in  Virginia (yes, the state had already decided on a church – it didn’t take long).

The Anglican Virginians didn’t like that form of worship. They found it shocking and outrageous, and so they threw those Baptists into jail. What did the Baptists do? They went to the Virginia Assemblyman  Thomas Jefferson,  and begged for help.

Thomas Jefferson agreed with the Baptists: they should have the ability to worship as they chose,  This is America! Well, not quite yet….

Thomas Jefferson penned and executed the concept of “Separation of Church and State”. The phrase shows up in no official government document. Jefferson merely mentions it  in a single letter — nowhere else.The irony, in it, is that Jefferson was protecting the church against the state. This was due to the  Virgina state church and those Anglicans messing up the Baptists with what was right in worship.

Look at what Jefferson said in that one letter from 1802:

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

To clarify, as a result of Christians fighting with one another, the foundations of a religious nation, not a Christian nation came to pass: a nation governed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

WHY IS THE GOVERNMENT TRYING TO MESS WITH OUR CIVIL RIGHTS?

I do not agree with abortion,  but I have no business trying to regulate another woman’s body because that is not the America I was born into. Here, I agree with Vice President Joe Biden who said the other night at the debate, “With regard to abortion, I accept my church’s position on abortion … Life begins at conception in the church’s judgment (Biden is Catholic). I accept it in my personal life. But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews, and I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the congressman. I do not believe that we have a right to tell … women they can’t control their body.”

SCREAMING FUNDAMENTALISTS

Recently a fundamentalist Christian started screaming at me because I am supporting Obama as President. She was screaming because of Obama’s stand on abortion. No one gets it, do they?  Obama is not saying he supports abortion  in his personal life (we really don’t know).  He is saying he supports it as judicial policy as the leader of the free nation.

To be  honest, I could not reason with my friend,  for she just drowned me  out with her ire and her words….this is always frustrating especially since I am a follower of Jesus Christ. He is my Lord and my savior.

This screaming jag also happened recently when I visited the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial with her. I have so much admiration for MLK, and for this fundamentalist to ruin an afternoon at the capital by shouting about King’s infidelities and not look at the whole person, made me understand why secular humanists have such a problem with we Christians.

LOVE FORGOTTEN

So many Christians have forgotten how to love, and have taken over the judgment seat, pitch-hitting for the Lord (as if He had asked us).  What a statement, really: We Christians have forgotten how to love. We have become the very Pharisees that Jesus scorned, who plotted for Jesus’ death because He was messing up their own religious aspirations. Jesus found religion to be a dirty game. It can be if not controlled. Jesus says the Spirit moves like the wind, we also know that according to Galatians 5:22, the nine-fold fruit of the Spirit includes “restraint”.

Jesus said there were two commandments, Love God and Love One another. How can we start to love, if we can not even respect one when we disagree?

MLK-dream

Photograph of the Civil Rights Movement – The Bronx Museum

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6 responses to Abortion and the Foundations of Our Religious Country

  1. Nicely said. Thank you.

  2. Well reasoned, whether I agree or not. The dilemma that so-called pro-life (more typically pro-pre-birth) people find themselves in this election is that there is no anti-abortion candidate. Obama is declared pro-choice, but Romney will go whichever way the wind blows. When he was governor of MA, he steadfastly waffled on the position, as he did on almost everything else while here.

    The matter is more complicated, however. With the advent of “partial birth” (can one be partially born?) abortion, we are ending the lives of living, breathing, viable babies that have been carried to term and have been delivered except for the head. And there is already talk in scientific literature about “post-birth” abortions.

    The line must be drawn somewhere. Who will draw it? And where?

  3. Nice contribution, David. The death penalty is so much easier to me. How about juxtaposing them for us when you have the time? Best regards.

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