Last updated 6/18/09

Friday, February 20, 2009

North Dakota, Abortion, and C.S. Lewis on Liberal Christianity

I'd like to share some thoughts on related issues.

First of all, here is an exciting bit of news(Hot Air).  Reported here (Life News) and here (AmP), too.  Although I don't expect it will get passed the state senate, North Dakota's house just recently passed a piece of legislation, one "Personhood of Children Act."  Its aim is to obtain "personhood" status (the right to exist and be recognized as a person) for each individual from his or her conception.  If it does pass, it will serve as a challenge to Roe and should cause quite a stir.  Pray for a favorable outcome (or cross your fingers if that is your preference).

As those of you who know me are aware, abortion is a real hot-button issue for me.  I haven't done as much throughout the years as I should have, but when I return to the States I will make an honest effort to become more active in the Pro-Life movement.  That said, I have been debating (or arguing) and following Pro-Life news for quite some time.  Recently, with the election of Mr. Obama and the scandal surrounding Mrs. Pelosi, a lot of liberal Catholics have been coming out of the woodwork both in the public forum and on internet ones.  I've been reading a lot of "abortion is just one issue" and "politicians should not legislate morality."  What I struggle with is that fact that there seem to be just as many "Pro-Life" Democratic Catholics that agree with these arguments as Pro-Abortion "Catholics."  I've presented the comparison of abortion to slavery (despite abortion actually being murder), but I have found time and time again that there are those who close their minds to reason. 

 To those who believe that legislators should not dictate morality: In America, we live in a republic.  We elect officials to represent our best interests, and we trust that they will do what they feel is right.  We know that they obviously cannot represent the interests of every single voter who cast a ballot for them.  Thus, if they are convinced that society needs to be protected from something, it is their duty to act according to those beliefs.  If a politician believes abortion to be murder, they must fight tooth and nail to protect those lives rather than let them be quashed.

To those who believe Catholic politicians should promote welfare and charity: I agree.  However, what is the message when they are Pro-Abortion?  That it is ok for the government to decide that I should give my money to those less fortunate and in need of help, but that even when a politician believes an unborn child is a human being, it is not ok for the government to tell the mother they cannot kill their child?  On one hand, the government can tell me how to spend my money, but on the other hand, the government cannot protect a dependent and helpless life?  The "abortion is only one issue; my candidate helps the poor and promotes welfare" argument fails here.

To those who believe that people should have the right to sin or make the wrong choice (see Fray): Your argument falls apart unless you are willing to concede that we should all have the right right to kill, steal, and rape at will.  If your sin or wrong choice affects someone else, it is not something that should be left up to you.  Society has a duty to intercede.

I think one of the major problems with liberal Catholics who place more import on charity than justice and life is that they have a misconception of God.  Recently I've been reading C.S. Lewis' The Problem of Pain.  Lewis is a brilliant writer and theologian, and I love his works.  I think he should be required reading for all sincere Christians.  But I digress.  Here are a couple of passages that I found enlightening and relevant to this subject:

"By the goodness of God we mean nowadays almost exclusively His lovingness; and in this we may be right.  And by Love, in this context, most of us mean kindness--the desire to see others than the self happy; not happy in this way or in that, but just happy.  What would really satisfy us would be a God who said of anything we happened to like doing, 'What does it matter so long as they are contented?'  We want, in fact, not so much a Father in Heaven as a grandfather in heaven--a senile benevolence who, as they say 'liked to see young people enjoying themselves' and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of the day, 'a good time was had by all.'[...]I do not claim to be an exception: I should very much like to live in a universe which was governed on such lines.  But since it is abundantly clear that I don't, and since I have no reason to believe, nevertheless, that God is Love, I conclude that my conception of love needs correction (31-32)."

"There is kindness in Love: but Love and kindness are not coterminous, and when kindness (in the sense given above) is separated from the other elements of Love, it involves a certain fundamental indifference to its object, and even something like contempt of it.  Kindness consents very readily to the removal of its object -- we have all met people whose kindess to animals is constantly leading them to kill animals lest they should suffer.  Kindness, merely as such, cares not whether its object becomes good or bad, provided only that it escapes suffering.  As Scripture points out, it is bastards who are spoiled: the legitimate sons, who are to carry on the family tradition, are punished.  It is for people whom we care nothing about that we demand happiness on any terms: with our friends, our lovers, our children, we are exacting and would rather see them suffer much than be happy in contemptible and estranging modes.  If God is Love, He is, by definition, something more than mere kindness.  And it appears, from all the records, that though He has often rebuked us and condemned us, He has never regarded us with contempt.  He has paid us the intolerable compliment of loving us, in the deepest, most tragic, most inexorable sense (32-33)."

Something to think about, perhaps.