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Rozlee Donating Member (821 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-14-11 12:52 PM
Original message
The Bible and Abortion
I've been pre-occupied a great deal with the subject of choice lately. It's been all these Rethug assaults on choice that have got me reeling and the knowledge that if Obama is defeated in '12, new conservative Supremes could be elected that might be in a position to overturn Roe v. Wade. As I've said before in other posts, I think the Supremes would balk at doing it at the last minute and Obama so far seems to be secure for a second term, but currently, these extremists have commandeered our government and are launching stealth attacks on womens' right to choose in several states with ringing success.

I've been in a lively discussion, sometimes not too pleasant, on Political under the handle of roz. I'd like to transcribe some of the arguments I've laid out in hopes that DU'ers might have some better perspectives.

The anti-choicers base their arguments mostly on religious reasons, on the Bible for the greatest part. But, does the Bible mention abortion or say anything about the sanctity of the unborn?

Christians constantly quote scripture about God "knowing you when you were in the womb." "God knitted me together in the womb." "I called you from the womb." These are their claims that God considers life to begin at conception. But, God seems to be kind of bipolar about the innocent in said womb.

In Hosea, the prophet commanded pregnant Samarian women to be ripped open. In Genesis, the Jewish patriarch, Ruben, ordered his daughter-in-law, Tamar to be sentenced to death by burning after learning that she was pregnant out of wedlock. As she was being taken to the fire, she told Ruben he was the father of her twins; she'd punked him three months earlier by seducing him dressed as a hooker. Oops. But, it seems as if the practice wasn't uncommon if their laws could sentence a pregnant woman to death. If the unborn were expendable, double that for born infants. Moses commanded his men to kill the Midianites in Exodus "down to the last suckling babe and to keep the virgins for yourselves." He ordered the men, women, children and babes in arms of Jericho to meet the same fate in the Book of Joshua as well as everything that breathes of the Canaanite people. In Numbers, a pregnant woman accused of adultery was given "bitter waters" to drink. If she was innocent, her pregnancy would proceed with no problem. If guilty, she'd miscarry. No one knows what was in the bitter waters, but some scholars have theorized that a cocktail including the now extinct silphium, an herb that was used as an abortifacient, might have been one of the ingredients.

In the New Testament, Jesus similarly never mentioned abortion. And during his life and ministry, there were several cultures and people around that practiced it. Yet, Jesus and his disciples never picketed any of the places where the procedures were going on. Jesus never included the practice in one of his many parables. He remained silent on the subject completely. Modern day Christians point at vague references to him gathering children around him, saying, "Suffer the little children to come unto me...such is the kingdom of Heaven." Seems to me he'd have grabbed a pregnant woman instead and rubbed her belly saying that you'd be impaled on the devil's pitch fork if you got rid of the fruit of her womb or something.

The subject is a lightning rod here on DU and all over the country. I feel ambiguous about it myself, especially during it's last trimester when higher brain and nervous system functions have developed. However, that's my opinion, my decision and I wouldn't ever presume to take it from another woman. But, anti-choicers are trying to take the choice not just of abortion in it's first, second and third trimester, but of every form of contraception altogether except the "natural" calender rhythm method and some even criticize that, saying God never mentioned birth control in the Bible at all and told his creation to multiply ad infinitum. Many anti-choicers can have 20 kids if they want. It's their choice, if they can afford them. If they can't my heart goes out to them. They'll need public assistance and with the way Republicans are cutting funds for programs for the poor left and right, they'll be pretty much screwed.
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rurallib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-14-11 01:01 PM
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1. I have been thinking much about this aspect of choice
Republicans have little left in their fear arsenal but abortion.
Gay bashing is no longer the automatic victory it once was and gets less and less so daily.
Muslim and dark skin fear mongering seems to be waning also.
While neither of these will go away completely, the internet and access to real news and real people has surely lessened the hate.

But thumping the bible on abortion still seems to be a tried and true winner for them and they will ride that horse as far as it can.
Let's face it, they can't run on fiscal management, they can't run on their governing style. Abortion is about all they have to run on.
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AndyTiedye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-14-11 01:18 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. Odd that a Position that the Majority Opposes Should be a Winner for the Repigs Politically
A landslide majority supports the right to choose. This has been true for decades.

Nonetheless, opposing the majority position on this issue is a winning position politically
for the Repiglickins, because those who oppose abortion don't care about anything else.
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rurallib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-14-11 01:19 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. and they vote at a near 100% clip. Votes is what counts
along with who counts the votes.
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AndyTiedye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-14-11 02:00 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. Yeah, Sometimes They "Vote" at 110%
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just55650 Donating Member (46 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-14-11 08:24 PM
Response to Reply #1
11. +1
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Bluenorthwest Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-14-11 01:04 PM
Response to Original message
2. Great perspective for Biblical horrors
The Genesis story says Adam was a fully grown created thing, laying there. Then the breath of life made him a person. Do you need a picture painted for you? Without the breath of life, Adam was not a person. That is how the story goes.
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-14-11 01:09 PM
Response to Original message
3. observations like this are important -- because it high lights selective useage of scripture.
now catholics -- unlike other christians -- have as part of their teachings {going back to before st augustine} 'corporeal semen'.
Generationism traces the origin of the human soul, as well as the origin of the body, back to the act of generation performed by the parents. According to it, parents are the originators of both body and soul. The cruder forms of generationism, i.e., the traducianism expounded by Tertullian, teaches that with the corporeal semen, a part of the soul-substance of the parents (tradux) is transmitted to the child. A less crude form of generationism, which was held by St. Augustine to be possible, and in the past century <19th century> by Klee, Rosmini and others to be probable, holds fast to the spirituality of the soul, and makes the soul of the child emerge from a semen spirituale of the parents. -- Ludwig Ott, Op. cit., pp. 99-100
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damntexdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-14-11 01:18 PM
Response to Original message
5. When does a human person begin?
For Xianity, Jewry, and Islam that was traditionally at quickening, when a fetus started moving in the womb. The RC Church more recently switched to conception in it's "prolife" ideology; but it still claims it cannot say when a soul exists.

For reasonable discussion, it COULD NOT POSSIBLY BE before there was a working brain (at about 22 weeks), but that does not mean that that is the point of the beginning of a person. How would we know when, or if, perception of self begins in the womb? Well, Roe v Wade in effect gave some benefit of the doubt by allowing restrictions in the third trimester, but it still effectively preserved the greater weight to be given to who is a known human person -- the mother.
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Kurmudgeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-14-11 01:44 PM
Response to Original message
7. You do realize The Bible is more than one book?
If so, then bashing Christ or Christianity for Old Testament actions that break the 10 Commandments is really duplicitous at heart.
I've pointed out here before that Christ said He came to instruct the "stiff necked" and others who abused or didn't truly understand God's Law.
It's as basic as this, if it broke the 10 Commandments, the person will be called to task for it, whether in antiquity or now.
I find abortion abhorrent when done for convenience sake , it's still the taking of innocent human life.
However, there are some situations where it is the best thing for the mother and the unborn child. So outlawing it would be harmful in the extreme.
I've just gotten tired that when some get upset at either a certain sect of Christianity or even people who are obviously not listening to Christ in their heart in the actions, then use that upset at the wrong target to bash the whole faith.
People have figured out that Islam has many sects, why can't people figure out that's true for other faiths as well?
Hosea and Ruben were Jews, yet your ire seems pointed to Christians. The reasons some of us are hesitant or flat against abortions have little or nothing to do with the Old Testament.
False prophets and other doers of violence will get their reward, don't use them to justify attacks on others.
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Rozlee Donating Member (821 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-14-11 02:49 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. You've made your point.
The bible does have many books. And I have been painting all Christians with the same brush. I admit, some Christian faiths have done a great deal of good in the world. Even churches I tend to dislike like the Catholic faith have had members that have led protests against the Vietnam War and for Civil Rights. Witness one of my greatest heroes, Archbishop Oscar Romero and the admirable creator of the Big Bang theory, Father Georges Lemaitre. But, I will agree to disagree. Like Thomas Paine pointed out in his book, The Age of Reason, the only book in the Old Testament that I consider fairly free of violence and punishment to God's, or the Israelite's image of evil-doers, is the relatively benign Book of Ruth. I realize that those were violent times, but for some reason, the three god religions have tended to be the most violent of all. Not that other religions have been so saintly, but witness the genocide of 19 million Native Americans, the Holocaust, the over 400 million estimated dead from the religious wars in medieval Europe from the Crusades, the Protestant Reformation, the Inquistion, and it boggles the mind. There are many verses in the Bible, both in the Old and New Testament, that tell their adherents to show mercy and compassion. The memo didn't make it to the adherents. Admittedly, I'm the only atheist in a huge family of Roman Catholics and I feel kind of piqued. I'm trying to see your point of view and respect it. It's hard. I'm constantly getting lambasted by every member of my family for being a godless, hellbound infidel.
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SheilaT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-14-11 03:25 PM
Response to Original message
10. It's also very important to understand that until
relatively recently, abortions tended to be very dangerous for the mother. For almost all of human history, any attempt to get rid of an unwanted pregnancy stood a pretty good chance of killing the mother. With infant and child mortality very high, it mattered a lot to most cultures that women's lives be preserved so they could have children, only a few of whom would live to grow up. And so laws and cultural mores that strongly condemn abortion make a lot of sense.

But things are a lot different now. Most babies -- especially in first world countries -- do live to grow up. Women can do better for the children they do have if they don't have very many, and control just when they actually come. Birth control is not a perfect guarantee against unplanned/unwanted pregnancy. Modern methods of abortion don't kill or maim women.

Oh, and in a lot of pre-modern cultures, leaving unwanted babies to die was fairly common. Kind of abortion after birth, so to speak.
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