A case for ending abortion on demand

I remember that when I was about nine or ten years old, about 1950, I had discussions with my little friends about abortion.  That was long before Roe v. Wade (1973).  Now, to be clear, we didn’t use the term, abortion.  I wouldn’t have known what it meant.  No, what we were discussing was always framed in the context of who to save in the event a pregnant woman’s life was at risk because of her pregnancy.  Should the mother be saved or the as yet unborn child.  Without knowing very much about the details of a pregnancy and without benefit of research about fetal development or ultrasound imagery, we clearly understood that life was precious and that both the mother and the fetus were living beings and had a right to life.  The mother was already valuable to her husband, other children and likely to many others. And it was presumed that she wanted very much to live. But we also knew that the yet unborn baby was valuable in God’s and the family’s eyes and likewise had a legitimate claim on life.  The mother had enjoyed the benefit of life already — not so the child.  Did not both deserve the same benefit!  At the time some, if not many, women chose their own death in order to save the life of the child.  However, the thought of ending the baby’s life for convenience or for any reason other than to save the mother’s life was unthinkable.  Seriously, my little friends and I would never have considered that an option.  Yes, even within the relatively limited scope of whether to save the mother or the baby, it was a very serious and complex issue.  Not so today for most of society.  Few would take more than an instant to decide to end the baby’s life to save the mother.  I hasten to point out that the official position of the Catholic Church (and many other Christian churchs) differs from that approach.  See Catechism of the Catholic Church, Sections 2258 – 2275, under the heading: Article 5, the Fifth Commandment, Thou shall not kill.  

The following article opposing abortion for convenience by Tyler Blanski appeared at Crisis Magazine as: A Time to Kill.  The image below is titled “The First Mourning” and was painted by William-Adolphe Bouguereau in 1888. The work depicts the moment after Adam and Eve found the body of their son Abel, who was murdered by his brother Cain. This is the first human death recorded in the Bible.  RMF

The First mourning by William Bouguereau

The First Mourning
by William Bouguereau

A Time to Kill
by TYLER BLANSKI

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 5.23.27 PM  In the 1996 crime drama film A Time to Kill, a ten-year-old black girl named Tonya is violently raped by two white supremacists. She survives and the men are arrested, but before an all-white jury they will likely walk free. So Tonya’s father, Carl Lee Hailey (Samuel L. Jackson), takes the law into his own hands and kills the rapists himself. A white lawyer, Jake Brigance (Matthew McConaughey), agrees to defend Hailey. But since the district attorney seeks the death penalty, and the presiding Judge denies Brigance a change of venue, Hailey is left to be tried before an all-white jury in rural Mississippi—he will likely not walk free. During his closing arguments, Brigance tells the jury to close their eyes and listen as he describes the rape of a young 10-year-old Tonya. “Can you see her? I want you to picture that little girl,” he says, and pauses. “Now imagine she’s white.”  Continue reading

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Religious Freedom – Or Not

I’m not an alarmist.  Seriously.  I can spot fear mongers and am able to happily ignore the Chicken Littles and their “the sky is falling,” apprehensions.  But, I must confess to a level of anxiety or at least concern regarding the direction the courts are taking with respect to religious freedom.  And, by religious freedom I mean the ability of people of faith to not only worship privately or in public without fear of intimidation or coercion but also the freedom to live and act in accordance with their faith convictions.   The following article by David Harsanyi describes the way religious freedom, as evinced by one of a number of recent court decisions, seems to be in retreat.  The article  appeared at www.thefederalist.com as: Hey Christians, Say Goodbye To Religious Freedom.

Just to expand a bit on this, I’m not sure that I would have refused to bake the cake for the same sex couple.  To me baking a cake is not the same as approving of the circumstances of the wedding.  Really, I would have the same misgivings regarding circumstances if heterosexual atheists wanted a wedding cake or people professing to be Christians who were already living together, etc.  I believe my goal, were I a baker, would be to provide a quality product at a fair price and have an opportunity to express my faith in Jesus in a loving and becoming way.  My hope and prayer would be that a winsome word spoken would take root and bear fruit.  Now, exactly under what circumstances would I feel compelled to risk my livelihood or freedom or even my life to stand up for my convictions I do not know.  However, I believe it would happen sometime prior to being asked to deny Jesus and His calling on my life.  But, to bake a cake, probably not.  But do I believe Mr. Phillips had the right under the Constitution to deny baking a cake based upon his religious convictions?  Yes.  I believe his religious freedom under the Constitution trumped desire of the gay couple to avoid being offended.       But, I may change my mind tomorrow.  Anyway, I hope the article is useful as you decide your position on the issue.  RMF

The Federalist

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Hey Christians, Say Goodbye To Religious Freedom —
There will be plenty of cake, though.

By David Harsanyi

David Harsanyi
David Harsanyi

  Just in case you need a refresher: Back in 2012, a baker in the Denver suburb of Lakewood was asked by a gay couple to make them a wedding cake—two years before gay marriage was even legalized in Colorado. The owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, Jack Phillips, declined to participate in Charlie Craig and David Mullins’ celebration, because such an event conflicted with his Christian faith.

Here are a few things Phillips didn’t do: He didn’t query consumers about their sexual preferences. He didn’t bar same-sex couples from purchasing a cake at a place of public accommodation. He didn’t ask consumers traveling in same-sex pairs to leave his shop. He didn’t hang a ‘No Gays Allowed’ sign in his window.

Jack Phillips at Masterpiece Cakeshop

Jack Phillips at Masterpiece Cake Shop

What he could never have known when he first opened his shop was that celebrating gay marriages would be a precondition for making a living. And when you consider that there are at least a few dozen other bakeries within a short drive from Masterpiece Cakeshop that could have accommodated the couple’s celebratory pastry needs, why would he?   Continue reading

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Respect and gentlemanliness in an age of political correctness and offendedness

For many elites, views not adhering to liberal and progressive orthodoxy don’t have to be addressed or engaged at all.  For them contrary views and opinions are simply met with a dismissive mean swipe sending the message that any dissenter is utterly beyond contempt.  That as I recall his words  is the observation of Jonathan S. Tobin, executive editor of Commentary magazine, the monthly journal of opinion, ideas and literature.  This condescending attitude is pervasive in the media, including the social media.  There is simply no tolerance for even moderately conservative views.  And, right leaning folks, though usually not having much of a platform, are not free from caustic and often mean-spirited and clearly biased language.  What we have is a lack of civility and respectful discourse.  An article by Gracy Olmstead in The American Conservative addressed this type of issue in terms of diminished respect for others and a lack of gentlemanliness.  The article appeared at: The American Conservative as: The Way We Speak Now. We may not agree with every view expressed by Ms. Olmstead but they are certainly worth considering.  RMF

The Way We Speak Now

By Gracy Olmstead

Gracy Olmstead
Gracy Olmstead

  When Megyn Kelly leveled her (I think good) question about women to Trump during Fox News’s presidential debate last .  Thursday, and received his disdainful response, my first thought was, “How ungentlemanly.” Regardless of Trump’s political views, churlish insults do not encourage a civil or thoughtful political discourse—they are designed only to enrage and insult.

Yet there are many who seem to revere Trump for his lack of political correctness—for the way in which he laughs in the face of the “PC” police. These Americans are tired of the way in which we spread a cloak of niceness over political discourse, and the resulting quagmire that we face.

You need look no further for evidence of this “niceness” promotion—and its resulting paralyzing effect—than The Atlantic’s recent article, “The Coddling of the American Mind.” In it, authors Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt consider the escalating crackdown on anything even remotely controversial on college campuses:

The thin argument “I’m offended” becomes an unbeatable trump card. This leads to what Jonathan Rauch, a contributing editor at this magazine, calls the “offendedness sweepstakes,” in which opposing parties use claims of offense as cudgels. In the process, the bar for what we consider unacceptable speech is lowered further and further.  Continue reading

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Now — How did God do that?

For about 40 years I have followed the so called “war between science and religion,” and have felt wonderfully blessed that I haven’t been called upon to offer an opinion about the nature of the origin of life, the age of the earth, the role of evolution if any in the way things exist today, or any such thorny issues.  And, even if I had been pressed for an opinion it certainly would not have carried much weight.  My theological and scientific credentials are so totally lacking in substance that an opinion in either arena would be laughable.  I do take the Bible as the infallible Word of God and also believe that the God of the Bible is the creator and also the one who designed the mathematics and physics which describe and in a sense control the working of everything which has ever existed, exists today, or will ever exist.  I’ve been perfectly content to let Him do that using whatever method and in whatever time frame He pleases.  I simply marvel at His glory as displayed in creation. 

The author of the following blog posting, Professor Justin Topp, does have some opinions and reports that his opinions have not remained constant over time.  His article does not push one to accept his views or conclusions on the issues but rather deals with the perspectives and worldviews that tend to drive one’s opinions.  His observations are interesting to me and I hope will interest you as well.  His article appeared first at: The BioLogos Forum

Justin Topp is Assistant Dean of Science, Technology, and Mathematics and Associate Professor of Biology and Bioengineering at Endicott College. He previously taught at Gordon College and North Park University. His Ph.D. and post-doctoral training was in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.  He also pursues research on the integration of philosophy, science, and theology, and maintains a blog on science and religion.RMF

Creation and Evolution “Research Programs”
(And Why It’s So Hard to Change Perspectives)
by Justin Topp

Professor Justin Topp

Professor Justin Topp

In a previous two-part series on this blog[1][http://biologos.org/blog/lakatos-and-the-creation-evolution-discussion-part-1], I wrote about the interplay in science between hypothesis, data, and theory, focusing on Lakatosian epistemology of science. Lakatos is but one philosopher of science who wrestled with how to aptly describe “how science works” from the individual scientist’s perspective and how different scientific disciplines progress as entire fields. Lakatos coined the term, “research programmes,”[2] for the former and argued that competition between programs drives the latter. Briefly, research programs are composed of a core hypothesis (akin to a theory, this encompassing statement is an a priori, unchangeable commitment if you are to remain within the same research program), auxiliary hypotheses (akin to explanations, which aim to connect the core hypothesis with data as it is acquired), and a positive heuristic (akin to the guiding principle that describes the methodology and principles used by the researcher; this is the fuzziest of the research program components).[3],,[4] The most important aspect of the research program for this discussion is that, in practice, two or more research programs are in competition when their core hypotheses are mutually exclusive.  Continue reading

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With Marriage “Ain’t Nothing Never Easy or Simple”

Here is a repost of a blog by I follow, To Love, Honor, and Vacuum, by Sheila Wray Gregoire.  Having spent hundreds of hours counseling with individuals and couples who experienced marriage difficulties I can truly attest to the basic thesis of Ms. Gregoire’s article.  It reminds me of the old Kentucky saying I grew up with, that “ain’t nothing never easy or simple.”  The grammar may be off a click, but the substance is right on target.  Marriages are difficult and complex interpersonal relationships between a man and woman (yeah, I still see it that way) who are each locked in sinful patterns of self-seeking, pride, and foolish thinking and action.  More is needed in dealing with the inevitable issues which arise than simply a cherry-picked verse or so from Scripture.  The entire counsel of God is required along with hearts finely tuned to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  Anyway, the following is a taste of Ms. Gregoire’s wisdom in the matter.  Perhaps you will be inspired to subscribe to her free blog postings at: www.tolovehonorandvacuum.com. And, You can follow this link to see the blog post describing the Top 10 Pat Answer Christian Marriage Advice. RMF

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When Pat Christian Marriage Advice Doesn’t Work

by Sheila Wray Gregoire

Shiela Wray Gregoire

Sheila Wray Gregoire

When my oldest daughter was married last month and we were planning the service, we had to choose Scripture readings.

And so we googled “Bible readings for weddings.”  And all the typical ones showed up: 1 Corinthians 13:1-8; 1 John 4:16-19 (about how God is love, even though the passage has nothing to do with marriage); Ecclesiastes 4:12 (a cord of three strands is not easily broken).
It seems that only certain passages are deemed worthy of a wedding. But in reading many of them I didn’t even think they fit a wedding all that well. So we chose different ones instead:
Romans 15:5-6
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
and:
Colossians 3:12-14
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

We thought those were beautiful for a wedding–and for a marriage! In fact, I’ve been praying that passage from Romans over my own marriage ever since, because I think it’s so wonderful.  But it occurs to me that we do something similar when it comes to marriage advice. Continue reading

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What we need to know about sanctuary cities

Time after time our Founding Fathers recognized God’s hand in the shaping of America.  Today, God is continuing His work in America, but it’s in a nation that has clearly lost its moral compass.  One area of concern is the manner of dealing with criminal behavior.  Most recent in the news is the role of  Sanctuary Cities.  Just how do Sanctuary Cities compare with the Cities of Refuge which God instituted in Numbers 35:1?  Here is a nice little article that describes the backgrounds for these two types of cities where persons who have come athwart the law can receive asylum.  How similar are they?  What is the story on how they came into existance?  Carol Hatcher answers these questions in her article that appeared first at: The Presidential Prayer Team.

Morality in America

Morality in America
Does the Bible support cities of sanctuary?
By Carol Hatcher

More than 16,000 people are murdered in America each year, according to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That factors out to approximately 44 people a day – a sobering number. While the numbers are not likely to decrease before the return of Jesus, both national leaders and police officers work to keep that number as low as possible.

So how does the death of 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle make sense? Kathryn was walking along Pier 14 in San Francisco with her father when she was shot and killed by an illegal immigrant with quite the criminal record – seven felonies and five deportations to be exact. If you are wondering how a convicted criminal like Juan Lopez-Sanchez was on the streets, you aren’t alone. Everyone is pointing fingers and no one is taking blame.  Continue reading

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Great Christian Authors

Here is a brief article listing the author’s choice for Top 10 Christian Authors of All Time.  The article by Daniel Threlfall appeared first at: ShareFaith.com.  RMF

Top 10 Christian Authors of All Time

By Daniel Threlfall

 

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Ever since Moses, Christians have been writing books. These books have been written in stone, on papyrus, and in codices. They’ve been stored in scrolls, museums, and Amazon’s cloud. They’ve been read in catacombs, monasteries, churches, and subways. They have incited revolutions, sparked reform, and hit the top of the New York Times Best Sellers list.

Culture and the world at large have been shaped by Christian authors.

But who are these authors? They are martyrs, saints, scholars, missionaries, preachers, tinkers, and shepherds. There are thousands of them, maybe millions. Some are well known. Others are unknown. Some are good. Others are really good. Selecting a mere ten Christian authors from two millennia of church history is like trying to choose a “favorite” Bible verse. It’s not easy to do, and not fair to the 31,092 (verses) that don’t get picked.But in the interest of your patience and this article’s brevity, I’ve chosen ten Christian authors who have shaped Christianity.   Continue reading

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