Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pro-Life and Pro-Death? Easy!

Tom Flynn at WaPo blogs about how some Christians can be against abortion but for the death penalty at the same time.  For me, this is the money quote:
How can so many Christian conservatives prioritize abortion above social causes that seem, objectively, far more urgent? Abortion is unique in that it cheats the fetal soul of its one shot to earn salvation, making it quite literally the fate worse than death.
I've long held the position that abortion doesn't cheat the unborn fetus of salvation, but that it cheats the church of a shot to bring that soul to the church.

Not that I don't understand the idea that life begins at conception.  I recognize the work of something infinitely intelligent, divine even, in orchestrating the many trillions of successful biological and chemical events that have to take place between conception and birth.  I can even agree to some extent that God enters that zygote at conception.  But where I fall on the side of choice is that the so-called rights of the unborn do not trump the rights and choices of the born -- that is, the mother -- in order to have its "one shot to earn salvation."  I do not subscribe to the notion that the mother's life becomes forfeit, should such a moment present itself, in order to preserve the life of the unborn.  I also do not subscribe to the notion that a mother, who has the ultimate responsibility of hosting those trillions of chemical and biological events inside her body for nine months, cannot make the choice not to have those events happen in her body under any circumstances.  The reason why Roe vs. Wade has not been overturned in nearly 40 years is not because social conservatives lack the right mix of justices on the Supreme Court.  It's because there is no constitutional or moral justification for a country to legislate what is a very private matter for a woman.

I knocked up my then-girlfriend in 1987 and she immediately aborted the pregnancy.  There was no discussion, there was no accompanying her to the clinic where, in her mind, I might have tried to talk her out of it.  In her mind, I simply had no say in the matter.  And I was fine with that.  I was not emotionally mature enough to be a father, and she had absolutely no desire to have children (ever, as it turned out, which led to our divorce 10 years later).  That child would have been 23 years old today, and I think about that sometimes.  But I would never want my government telling her or me that that pregnancy could not be terminated.  The government has no compelling interest in that microscopic collection of cells, even if "God ensouls" it at the moment of conception.

Now, to hold the view that all life is precious must include the view that even the lives of the post-born who have committed terrible crimes are precious.  To be selective about which lives are precious and which lives can be forfeit is to play God.  Seems logical then, that Christian conservatives can want to save babies but kill killers.  But it is a flawed theology that has less to do with God's eternal grace than it does with the need of a church for power.

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