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Monday, June 01, 2009

Radical Christianists

Though not personally religious, I've argued numerous times that Christianity post-reformation is a peaceful and constructive religion.

Murders like this one undermine my argument.

50 comments:

Susan's Husband said...

Why?

erp said...

Why blame this on Christianity at large?

o/t Doesn't it seem that right wing criminals are apprehended a lot faster than those of the left?

Bret said...

Do you not agree that this murder was committed by someone who believed he had a duty based on his interpretation of Christianity to do it?

At the very least, my anti-religion friends are already saying, "See what evil behaviors religion provokes!" It certainly doesn't make my argument any easier.

erp said...

Why do you feel the need to answer for this guy's motives?

If I were a pro-abortion zealot, I'd find a nutcase like this and goad him into an action like this.

No matter where one stands on the abortion issue, I think we can all agree that killing those who provide the service won't stop the practice.

Hey Skipper said...

Bret:

I think this where the phrase "the exception that proves the rule" applies.

erp said...

Bret, looks like this guy may have gotten you and Christianity off the hook. If your liberal buds give you grief about how the abortionist's murder condemns all Christians, ask them if they think that the shooting of the two soldiers in Arkansas condemns all Moslems?

Bret said...

erp,

For my anti-religious friends that simply reinforces the evil of religion. To them all religions are bad. To them Christianity and Islam are more or less the same thing - an irrational belief.

Of course, for some reason unfathomable to me, their belief in global warmingism is perfectly rational in their opinion.

But I guess we all have to believe in something. I believe I'll have another martini. :-)

Susan's Husband said...

I agree that was his motivation. But consider what your friends are asking of Christianity - perfection. That is, if one Christian goes off the rails, it discredits the entire theology. Ask if they are willing to apply the same standard to their own beliefs. Then ask them abou the UN and forced child prostitution, which seems an inevitable feature of UN interventions.

erp said...

Warming is an easy one. It isn't happening.

Hey Skipper said...

I agree that was his motivation. But consider what your friends are asking of Christianity - perfection.

Not quite. I think this murder, because it is so exceptional, proves the rule that Bret has argued: post-Reformation Christianity is peaceful and constructive (ignoring, of course, how unpeaceful and unconstructive post-Reformation pre-1945 Christianity has been vis a vis Jews).

However, the murder also highlights an inherent contradiction in all religiously based pro-life arguments: they are based upon metaphysical claims many people simply do not find credible.

In a society characterized by freedom of religion, how do the religious justify their attempt to use the legal system to impose their views upon others?

Susan's Husband said...

The same way the non-religious do?

Peter Burnet said...

Bret, when your friends say "See what evil behaviors religion provokes!", the only credible response is to agree with them, because it does. Same with love, family, materialism and sex, too. But nobody believes in a thing called "religion" and besides, it is very naive of your non-believing friends to think faith should or can be tolerated on sufferance provided it can prove to the beautiful people that its pros outweigh its cons. Instead of just rehashing Enlightenment shibboleths about ignorance and irrationality, they would be better advised to take a hard look at why religion persists and is growing worldwide. It may be an overall good thing on many counts, but it might be momentous and there are plenty of reasons to be fearful, especially for a middle-of-the-road Westerner who has compartmentalized faith so firmly.

The Catholic and fundamentalist churches do bear responsibility for the consequences of their rhetoric about abortion being murder and I also think the same about the pro-choice secularists who shriek about women owning their own bodies, etc. Skipper is right about most people rejecting the metaphysical claims of the "life begins at conception" crowd, but that is also true about the other side that argues a foetus is just an appendage to be disposed of at will. The extreme polarization of this debate is a very modern event that started in the mid-19th century with ultramontane Catholicism. Before that, there was a much heavier reliance in both law and theology on the concepts of "ensoulment" and the "quickening" of the foetus, two very unscientifc concepts that nonetheless are much closer to how I believe most folks divide that which they see as none of their business from deeply troubling atavistic rumblings of divine displeasure. As long as public debate is caught between these two extremes, it will remain a nasty, visceral, divisive question.

Harry Eagar said...

'Before that, there was a much heavier reliance in both law and theology on the concepts of "ensoulment" and the "quickening" of the foetus, two very unscientifc concepts'

Although I have never heard anyone till now express it this way, I think you are probably right. At least, this would explain how the big majority straddles a middle ground in this controversy.

Curiously, the scientific view should match the extreme Catholic view; from a materialist point of view, the only place an individual life can be said to begin is at the forming of the zygote.

I understand that most people who think themselves scientifically oriented don't take this position, but that is because their arguments, in this case, are not materialist but social.

We have a strong tendency to pick a result and argue back from that. I could never get my chemistry experiments to come out, so that is how I constructed my lab book.

Let me take both sides of the position. Indeed, all religions find ways to justify killing the non-believers and the insufficiently faithful. In that respect, Christianity and Islam are not significantly different.

Christianity has been tamed, it no longer has civil power, so in the recent past, Christians have not been nearly as dangerous as they used to be.

You could argue that, under press of circumstances, Christianity now teaches a non-murderous ideology. I wouldn't press that too far, but there's something to it.

It seems to be learning how to make a virtue of necessity.

Peter, I was raised on a mixture of ultramontane and (I guess) submontane Catholicism (good for me, as I was presented the contradictions at the sources), and when it came to the moral discussion of abortion, I had a young Irish priest who was very far from ultra. He did not advocate anything like ensoulment as defining the beginning, but his understanding of the complications of real pregnancies was humane.

erp said...

You can argue all you want about ensoulment and when it happens, but you can't deny that life begins at conception, i.e., before conception, there's no life and after conception, a tiny little heart starts beating.

Hey Skipper said...

The same way the non-religious do?

That will be far more germane the moment the non-religious force the religious to do something -- in this case, have an abortion.

You can argue all you want about ensoulment and when it happens, but you can't deny that life begins at conception ...

True enough, but that is not the point.

Which is: between conception and what subsequent point does a woman have autonomy over the pregnancy that is, for most of its duration, irrevocably hers, and hers alone?

erp said...

Loses autonomy? Never. I didn't know that was the point.

Bret said...

I didn't know that was the point either.

Does a woman have autonomy over her, say, heart? If she were tired of it beating, could she ask a doctor to cut it out? Could the doctor do so legally?

I don't think it has anything to do with autonomy over things internal to her.

Hey Skipper said...

How could it not be?

Pro-life religionists desire to eliminate a woman's autonomy over her own pregnancy. NB: the moment their argument strays from the absolute, it is completely incoherent; remaining absolute, though coherent, leads unavoidably to its own indefensible consequences.

As if those are not problems enough, there is nothing peaceful or constructive about desiring to impose sectarian beliefs upon those who do not share them.

If I wish to be a Catholic, for instance, the Church obviously can insist I pledge fealty to all manner of things about which they have pronounced.

However, a peaceful and constructive Catholicism has absolutely no business imposing their claims upon non-Catholics.

Clearly, Catholicism (as with all religions) desires to do so, but cannot. It is that post-Reformation / Enlightenment impositional impotence which has made Christianity (nearly always) peaceful and (mostly) constructive.

Peter Burnet said...

Skipper's descent into popular cant is a good illustration of the tragic polarization of this issue and why, in Harry's words, the majority straddles a middle ground and has been cowed. Not only are most folks uncomfortable with the rhetoric of both extremes, that rhetoric isn't consistent with the way many proponents actually feel and behave. Buckley called out the Church on this way back in the 70's when he noted the incongruity of cardinals preaching that life begins at conception and abortion is murder by day and then breaking bread with pro-abortion politicians in the evening. OTOH, what parents would tell their children that while mommy had a little baby in her tummy, she owns her own body and, as an exercise of her autonomy, decided to have an abortion--no further explanation required--without causing the decent to shudder?

This may not be the age of miracles, but the voyage from foetus to baby is miraculous for most, not simply because of the continuam of biological development, but also because while no one can pinpoint scientifically how or when the transition occurs, they know there is one and that it makes all the difference.

Susan's Husband said...

"That will be far more germane the moment the non-religious force the religious to do something"

You can't possibly be serious! What of the changes to marriage laws? What of public funding for abortion? What of hiring laws? What of the welfare state? Do you live a life of such libertarian freedom that the secular have never forced their beliefs on you?

Bret said...

Yeah, not to mention the global warmenists environmental laws.

erp said...

How far away can forced abortions be the moment we move away from autonomy?

Yes, women have the power to kill their unborn child. That's been true through the ages although it was a little more difficult and dangerous prior to free or low cost planned parenthood abortion clinics on every street corner.

Why don't most women kill their unborn babies? Lots of reasons. Too many to mention here. I'd bet few women who hold a new born baby in their arms are sorry they didn't abort it, but I know women who are emotional wrecks about the baby they aborted decades ago.

The more important question is why so many women opt to kill them rather than making even the most minimal effort at birth control.

The answer to that is the wonderful propaganda campaign the masters of semantics have perpetrated on the public. Unborn babies are garbage to be tossed in the trash or cut up and used for stem cell research. Dear Lord, even Nancy Reagan got caught up in that one! Astrology is a harmless diversion and easily forgiven, but this one is seriously wrong-headed as are photos of her looking up into Obama's eyes.

Start a new campaign against abortion and for the joys of parenthood. Posters and ads of smiling babies curling their tiny hands around besotted parent fingers. Start touting birth control instead of out-of-control.

Again, I don't want abortion made illegal, I want it taken out of the public debate and put into the personal, a debate between the interested parties. What I want made illegal are abortion clinics, classes in public school which treat abortion as a stigma-free easy solution to a potentially embarrassing problem, a popular culture where the most gross situations appear as "normal" on free television 24/7, "songs" with revolting and violent anti-female lyrics, movies that make heroic teenage pregnancies ...

Let everyone consult their own consciences. Let religious leaders speak out as their faith demands, but get the "debate" out of the mouths of congress critters who care only about re-election. If hospitals or doctors decline to perform abortions, that's their right.

Bret said...

Hey Skipper,

The point is not to reduce the autonomy of the woman. That's just an artifact. Peter, as usual, describes the point better than I ever could - to act on the basic feeling that new life is important. Or something like that.

Personally, I think the boundary past conception is rather arbitrary, and that if abortion is legal, then there is no reason, if we all agreed, to not allow the termination of born children as well - say up to a year. After all, in some cultures, unwanted children were left to die after birth, and while it was no doubt considered "yucky", such was life.

So we say before some point it's not murder, after some point, it is. It's one of those majority decision kind of things. The problem being, if you don't agree with the majority, and your feeling is that the arbitrary cutoff is too late, and that it is murder, then, hey, I can kind of understand the inclination towards drastic action.

Killing the doctor is way, way too drastic though.

Harry Eagar said...

The Church is not, in this country, capable of imposing its beliefs.

It is advocating for them, and maybe, some day (there are already 6 Catholics on the Supreme Court) it will persuade the civil government to impose something like its beliefs on conduct.

Lest anyone think I am going soft on religion, the church has indeed imposed its belief when and where it could. It cannot here.

Anybody who knows the history of Semmelweiss has to agree that the church's doctrine has been as murderous as anybody's.

Hey Skipper said...

SH:

You can't possibly be serious! What of the changes to marriage laws? What of public funding for abortion? What of hiring laws? What of the welfare state?

I should have stated [that] will be far more germane the moment the non-religious force the religious to do something. more clearly. I thought the context of Bret's post, and the subordinate clause you didn't include, provided clarity enough. With regard to abortion, until the non-religious force the religious to get abortions, saying "The same way the non-religious do" is simply wrong. (One could also say the same about civil marriage laws: they don't force anyone to get married to anyone else.) As for the rest of your objections, they are off topic.

Hey Skipper said...

Does a woman have autonomy over her, say, heart? If she were tired of it beating ...

She can stop her heart beating anytime she wants, without even bothering to find the Doctors, Medical portion of the yellow pages. And, of course, she also has autonomy in ways more germane to the point at hand: she can refuse any medical treatment, including prenatal care.

Except for her uterus, there is no part of her body over which she does not have autonomy (excepting, of course, the largely insane war on drugs that chooses what she can put in it.

Skipper's descent into popular cant is a good illustration of the tragic polarization of this issue and why ...

Oh, for Pete's sake, address the argument I am actually making, instead of the one you preferred to hear.

I will restate it, although I think I said it pretty clearly above: During the portion of the pregnancy where the woman is the sole and irrevocable owner, the State has no business imposing its will upon the woman. I would bet that, in fact, this is the majority opinion. Clearly, although it requires actual reading to obtain this conclusion from what I wrote, late term abortions are not included.

At least a couple states (Colorado and Montana, IIRC) in the last two elections tried to pass laws strictly limiting, to the point of prohibition, a woman's autonomy over her own pregnancy in precisely the way I say the state should have no business whatsoever.

Both attempts overwhelmingly failed.

Whether the "decent" do, or should, shudder is fine pejorative language, but you certainly must have noticed I wasn't talking about the decent or depraved. Rather, I was focusing on the sectarian attempt to impose a theologically based viewpoint upon those who do not share that theology, or even acknowledge any theological claims whatsoever.

This is, of course, directly on Bret's initial point. Christians, increasingly since the Reformation, and especially since 1945, are unable force their views upon others. Dr Ritter's assassination is so rare that it provides the exception the demonstrates Bret's point, with which I agree despite my disinclination towards religion.


erp:

Yes, women have the power to kill their /unborn/ child. That's been true through the ages although it was a little more difficult and dangerous prior to free or low cost planned parenthood abortion clinics on every street corner.

You should review the etymology of the surname "Esposito."

The more important question is why so many women opt to kill them rather than making even the most minimal effort at birth control.

Of the many things I find wholly mystifying about women, that might very well be number one on the list. However, as the derivation of Esposito shows, it is difficult to pin the blame on wonderful propaganda campaigns, even if they existed.

Again, I don't want abortion made illegal, I want it taken out of the public debate and put into the personal, a debate between the interested parties. What I want made illegal are abortion clinics ...

I agree completely with your first sentence, and am left mystified with how you got from there to the beginning of the second.

Are there really classes in public school which treat abortion as a stigma-free easy solution to a potentially embarrassing problem?

Bret said...

hey skipper wrote: "She can stop her heart beating anytime she wants, "

Yes, but even as recently as a couple of decades ago, it was lot legal to do so in at least some states here in the United States. It is generally illegal for a doctor to help stop a beating heart.

A woman has always been able to and will always be able to abort her child. Therefore she certainly has autonomy over all of herself. The question is whether or not it is legal and whether or not others may assist.

Hey Skipper said...

The question is whether or not it is legal and whether or not others may assist.

Which means, in effect, that there are those who wish to use the power of the state to strictly limit, or eliminate, a woman's autonomy over her own pregnancy.

erp said...

Classes in sex education in the public schools are very comprehensive.

Abortion is treated casually in every media and is the jewel in the crown of the feminist movement. It's touted as an entitlement and most politicians, apparently even in the Vatican, pay lip service to it even if they may feel different privately.

Even during the millennia when the rule of esposito was in force and even in Moslem, Hindu and Chinese harems, you can bet that abortions happened. If all the smart guys in today's information age world can't figure out women, what chance did the those ancients have.

Abortion clinics make it easy and cheap for women to get abortions and if the girl is underage, they just get a judge to okay it.

That's a pretty straight forward statement.

If they had to make the necessary arrangements and pay for it themselves, they might be more careful about becoming pregnant in the future, and obviously teenagers would at the very least need a parent's permission.

Also I think except when a woman's life is at stake, the co-parent should need to agree to kill the child as well.

Hey Skipper said...

Abortion is treated casually in every media and is the jewel in the crown of the feminist movement.

I must admit a disadvantage here: I am almost completely unaware of the popular media.

However, the few instances of awareness I do have do not corroborate what you say. For example, "Six Feet Under" was a very popular series on HBO. One of the main characters elected to get an abortion, and the treatment of the decision, and its consequences was anything but casual, or approving.

I can see why feminists (or my wife, or outspoken daughter, neither of whom would be considered feminists by feminists) consider choice to be so important. All three resent the deeply intrusive imposition of heartfelt, but incoherent, arguments.

That said, I don't think it should be viewed as an entitlement. To the greatest extent possible, the public purse should not be emptied for private decisions. So, while I think religiously based anti-choice efforts are fundamentally flawed, I do not think public money should be spent on abortions any more than health insurance should cover Viagra.

If they had to make the necessary arrangements and pay for it themselves, they might be more careful about becoming pregnant in the future ...

You would think. However, I don't. Women are not as accountable for their actions as men, and when it comes to pregnancy, accountability practically disappears.

Also I think except when a woman's life is at stake, the co-parent should need to agree to kill the child as well.

I think the co-parent should get as big a vote in the decision as the co-parents investment and risk deserves.

In other words, none.

erp said...

I'm surprised that you don't think fathers should have a vote in aborting their child and there are risks for fathers, they will be legally responsible to support the child should the mother opt to let it live.

We've never subscribed to HBO (pre-DVR I rarely watched TV).

You may be too young to remember when in 1972 Bea Arthur had that famous abortion on the TV sitcom, "Maude." She was hailed as cutting edge (pun intended) for having an abortion because a baby would have been an inconvenience, rather than because of any health issues.

Why do you believe women aren't held as financially accountable as men?

Like the distaff members of your family, I'd prefer no intrusion on abortion than going back to the bad old days.

On public money policy we agree.

o/t -- I miss Duck's comments on strings like this.

Bret said...

Hey Skipper,

I agree that a secondary effect is to limit the woman's autonomy. But it's not the goal (the goal being to preserve life or prevent "murder" or whatever) and society limit's its citizens autonomy over their behaviors all the time - the mechanism to do so is called "law".

Bret said...

Hey Skipper wrote: "In other words, none."

None?

Did you really not invest even one nanosecond of time and effort into your children prior to them coming into the world?

You didn't consent to try and have a child or put together a crib or go see the doctor with your wife or see the ultrasound images of the baby or run out to the store to buy some special food or worry about the future or...????

None?

Harry Eagar said...

It seems to me that, if (as I conclude) unborn people are people, then the state has an interest in not seeing them destroyed for no good reason.

I am not so naive as to think there are never medical conditions where the mother's life is at stake. (We were taught that even at Cardinal Gibbons High School, for pete's sake.)

Balancing the interests, it doesn't seem to me that 'because I am autonomous' constitutes a 'good reason.'

And, in the real world, autonomy doesn't necessarily work. I have experience with women who did not want abortions but who were pressured to have them anyway -- more than once.

erp said...

Harry, pressured by whom?

Harry Eagar said...

Boyfriend in the case of repeated abortions.

Hey Skipper said...

I'm surprised that you don't think fathers should have a vote in aborting their child and there are risks for fathers, they will be legally responsible to support the child should the mother opt to let it live.



There are two reasons. I will take the simplest, yet least obvious first.

You have used the word "vote" notionally. Because of that, you have accidentally relieved yourself of the burden of addressing what you really mean.

Here there are two votes: the woman's, and the man who impregnated her. If they choose differently, there is a voting deadlock. Since a null option is impossible, there must be some way of resolving the deadlock.

Magnitude of physical investment and risk lies decisively with the woman; because of that, her vote should get more weight. Of course, having arrived at that conclusion, the consequence is that the man's vote might as well have no value at all.

If the he wants an abortion, but she doesn't, too bad for him. Vice versa, still too bad for him.

Men need to take on board that they should have no control over the outcome, and they should treat that lack of control with all the suspicion it deserves.

Bret:

None?

Did you really not invest even one nanosecond of time and effort into your children prior to them coming into the world?

You didn't consent to try and have a child or put together a crib or go see the doctor with your wife ...


What I said above. Plus:

My wife was sufficiently, umm, mature when we had our children that Down's syndrome was a risk, and we did the amniocentesis to find out. We discussed what we would do in the event. Fortunately, that discussion was a complete waste of time. However, faced with that eventuality, I don't really know what I would have advised, or she decided.

Of course, it is very possible my advice might have swayed her decision. But if it didn't, her decision prevails.

That is what I mean by "none."

Why do you believe women aren't held as financially accountable as men?

I don't think women are, in general, ever held as accountable as men. But that is way o/t; I shouldn't have even brought it up.

Hey Skipper said...

Harry:

It seems to me that, if (as I conclude) unborn people are people, then the state has an interest in not seeing them destroyed for no good reason.

That is an excellent example of taking as decided that which is not.

It seems to me that unborn people, for most of their unbornedness, do not have an existence separate from their mother's. It seems to me that during that time, the unborn person is completely subordinate to the mother.

Since your antecedent is precisely what is at stake, then the consequence is, also.

Which also invalidates this:

Balancing the interests, it doesn't seem to me that 'because I am autonomous' constitutes a 'good reason.'

It is a good reason for those who simply do not buy into your, or more pertinent to the thread, religionist assertions.

Contrary to what you say, autonomy always works; however, women do not always choose to be autonomous.

Or smart: there simply is no other explanation for serial abortions.

Unfortunately, we can neither legislate morality, or intelligence.

erp said...

Skipper -- smile when you say ... you have accidentally relieved yourself of the burden of addressing what you really mean.

What a sentence! I haven't laughed so much in a long time.

Of course, you're absolutely correct that men don't have the same kind of control over their unborn children that women do.

That's why young people need to be educated that conceiving a child is a job for committed adults who wish to love and cherish each other till death do them part and in the between time nurture those children they bring into the world jointly.

Those not ready to make that sort of commitment to each other and any conceptions that might follow chance meetings between sperm and egg, must be discouraged with the full weight of public disapproval.

Birth control and abstinence must be taught in the schools.

Abortions must be made costly and difficult to arrange and the full cost of raising any live births must fall on the parents, not society.

Harry, what do you think would happen if abortion were a lot harder to arrange and and a lot more expensive?

Harry Eagar said...

Girls would either have the baby or throw themselves into the river. Isn't that how it used to be?

I recommend John Boswell's 'The Kindness of Strangers' for an historical view of how unwanted children were handled a couple thousand years ago.

Susan's Husband said...

Skipper;

You are proving your point by restricting your dataset. I think it's quite relevant that in other areas the non-religious force the religious to do things, or prevent the religious from doing things.

erp said...

Harry, at about the half century mark of the 20th century, something happened to change things so radically for women, few men can understand the impact.

That was the birth control pill -- a practically 100% effective method of preventing pregnancy. With that came the breakdown of laws prohibiting the sale of any kind of contraception and the legal ban on even physicians talking about it. (BTW - In the truth is stranger fiction category, Obama appointed Alexia Kelley who is opposed to birth control even for married couples to a post at HHS)

In 1953 in an all female health class I attended taught by a female instructor at a CUNY college, a student asked about contraception. The teacher blanched and said by law she could not comment on the question. We didn't all walk out and march around campus carrying signs protesting such a stupid law, we all just sat there and behaved like the proper young ladies we were.

Them days are over. Girls now need not be ignorant naifs used and tossed away the way were for thousands of years. They don't have to throw themselves into the river anymore.

If women continue to allow themselves to be manipulated by their boy friends, they do it with their eyes wide open, so if they still opt for the river, I say Bon Voyage.

Skipper says you can't legislate morality or stupidity. That's true, but we don't have to subsidize it either.

Eric Guinn said...

AOG:

No, I am not proving your point by restricting my data set.

Where you are on topic, you are wrong, and were off topic are making category mistakes.

Here is what you said above:

You can't possibly be serious! What of the changes to marriage laws? What of public funding for abortion? What of hiring laws? What of the welfare state? Do you live a life of such libertarian freedom that the secular have never forced their beliefs on you?

The single biggest category mistake comes simply from putting the characteristics of any civilized society into a secular v. sectarian dichotomy.

All societies have laws that at least some do not agree with; those with specific attitudes towards any given issue may be correlated with belief, or lack thereof.

Your choice of marriage laws is most telling. Marriage laws are, by definition, civil. The changes to the laws, the resistance to which is strongly correlated to religious belief, in no way forces the religious to do anything. However, leaving the laws unchanged prohibits the non-religious (or, in no small number of cases, the religious who do not buy the sectarian argument) from doing something.

The religious are imposing their will upon those who are not, or those who are, and disagree.

I have already said public funding for abortion is wrong, for the same reason that public subsidy for any private choice, say the AFDC that follows choosing not to abort, is wrong.

Similarly, hiring laws and the welfare state exist because, in the end, people in sufficient number supported the politicians who put those laws in place. That is no more a secular imposition on religionists than Operation Iraqi Freedom was a religionist imposition on the secular.

There are those who make the latter argument, but that doesn't mean it isn't silly.

Hey Skipper said...

... who are not religious, or those who are, and disagree.

Peter Burnet said...

Girls now need not be ignorant naifs used and tossed away the way were for thousands of years. They don't have to throw themselves into the river anymore.

Then why have any sympathy for them when they become pregnant? Also, doesn't all this talk about autonomy work just as well for infanticide as for abortion?

Susan's Husband said...

"The single biggest category mistake comes simply from putting the characteristics of any civilized society into a secular v. sectarian dichotomy."

"The religious are imposing their will upon those who are not, or those who are, and disagree."

...

You also state my point, even though you disagree with it

"Similarly, hiring laws and the welfare state exist because, in the end, people in sufficient number supported the politicians who put those laws in place."

Why doesn't this apply to the people who support anti-abortion laws? Why impose a sectarian / secular diochotomy on that issue in particular?

Bret said...

Peter Burnet wrote: "...doesn't all this talk about autonomy work just as well for infanticide as for abortion?"

Objectively, I think it does. A 20 week fetus is usually sustainable outside the womb. A 20 week old baby can't take care of itself and needs to be sustained by others. What's the difference?

So it's only partly about autonomy. It's also about when the mother is allowed to have killed an otherwise sustainable entity.

erp said...

Peter, I don't have sympathy for them, that's the point of my comment.

Harry Eagar said...

Well, I have some sympathy for them, although I find their behavior exasperating.

To revert to the young woman with the serial abortions that my wife and I knew, she was none too bright, had been brought up in a destructive way and was not well set up for independence.

I know, I know, those are excuses, not justifications. Still, I think I'll save my lack of sympathy for bankers.

Hey Skipper said...

Why impose a sectarian / secular diochotomy on that issue in particular?

Because the arguments underlying the pro-life argument are almost entirely religionist, that's why.

In most of the other cases you cited, there are material arguments on either side you agree with, or not. (we will ignore for the moment how the religious should -- but do not -- favor, say, extremely progressive taxation).

By your line of reasoning, eliminating blue laws, or compulsory religious broadcasting on Sundays (you may be too young to remember that) is an example of secular imposition on the religious.

And I just don't see how I am making your argument to note that changes in non-religious marriage laws are resisted by the religious, for religious reasons, in order to govern others' behavior.

Bret:

Objectively, I think it [autonomy work just as well for infanticide] does. A 20 week fetus is usually sustainable outside the womb.

Well, I think 20 weeks is shy of reality, but no matter.

Up until some point, whether it is 19 weeks or 24, there is no way the woman can transfer ownership to someone else.

As opposed to after birth -- adoption happens all the time.