Thursday, April 26, 2007

"Let the Python Eat Its Tail."

You know how there are some very difficult issues that one would love to stay out of. The abortion debate is one of them.

I declare right now that I would like to run away. Right away.

But I can't. I simply can't run away.

You see, I want to be gracious, empathetic, caring, and yet at the some time, strong, bold, and protective of young life. And it feels like an impossible road to go down. And so I say nothing. On top of that, I'm nervous that my words will offend someone who reads this. And more, I feel the weight of the exceptions (danger to the mother’s life etc). I am not unaware of the reality and complexity of our society’s sexual ethics. I want to be seen as reasonable. And I've been in one or two situations where I've had my head bitten off. And my head has been twice shy.

But I can't be like this any more.

John Piper wrote THIS today about a ruling in the US Supreme Court about Partial Birth Abortions. (Don’t click if you don’t want to read something disturbing). It has some deep and obvious clarity. At one point:

This use of catch phrases is surely tired. “Right to choose.” “Equal rights for women.” The grandchildren of the sixties are waking up to the vagueness and danger of those phrases. Right to choose what? Anything? All laws that protect children limit the rights of moms (and dads) to choose. You can’t choose to starve them. You can’t choose to lock them in closets for three weeks. You can’t choose to abandon them. You can’t choose to strangle them five minutes after they are born.

And “equal rights for women”—equal with whom? Equal with the irresponsible dad. Dad has sex and bears no responsibility for the baby. Mom should be equally able to have sex and bear no responsibility for the baby. Young people are looking at this and saying: Something is wrong with this picture. Maybe our lives are as broken as they are because our parents have twisted their hearts and minds so deeply to justify equality in irresponsibility.



Goldy said...


That is a very clear and thoughtful observation. I love it when you read something that just smacks you in the forehead and says "think, really THINK about what you believe".

Stephanie Dosch said...

Now, I'm not a python, so I don't know if I'm allowed to post here, but I do have a little bit of something to say. Firstly, your blog is quite lovely for two reasons. The first being the little 'husband of one wife, father of two kids phrase'. Very charming sense of humor; I like how you announce that your a pastor there for the ones who would pick it up. I like that. Second, and more generically, your writing is extraordinary. You write EXACTLY how you speak. Perhaps even better, you speak how you write- clear, humorous, persuasive. I look forward to reading your thoughts and getting to know you, and the lovely Dr. Moffatt this coming year.

Julia said...

read the Piper response...had no idea that these things took place...
I remember going to a seminar led by the amazing Mike Kwan on the extremities of life...very helpful for someone who a few short years ago would have thought nothing of having an abortion. Am wiser now that I have friends with young babies: I could never end the process that gives you a new life who has feelings and personality and prospects of Salvation.

Anonymous said...

i like the fact that Piper has bothered to read the judge's opinion- why he came to the conclusion he did. For someone with Piper's influence, it gives me great relief to know he does not base his opinions on the 2 paragraghs he gets off papers or the (terrible) 'news' channels, but actually cares enough to find out, and make an informed decision/statement - whether you agree with his conclusion or not. q-dos!
but BTW, i think the women of the 60's, knew what 'equal rights for women meant' - so did that society.
I wish i had not read his entry - isn't that terrible. It's easier not to know ... Rhea
PS: Em and L - so jealous you too are having so much fun!

Tim Adeney said...

Thanks for this Justin,

It got me thinking again about an issue that is so much easier to ignore.


Em said...

I don't actually think that equal rights and the abortion debate are even on the same page anymore. Wouldn't fighting for the right to terminate a pregnancy under 'Equal Rights for Women' suggest that men already have that right? Or am I the only one confused by that?

So ok, there are at times extenuating circumstances (rape victims, health concerns and so on), but where then does the line get drawn? If abortion is ok, then what about the implications of ending the life, however short, of one of God's creations? If abortion is out, then what about contraception, or the morning after pill? Surely at some stage the arguments follow the same path?

I don't think we should get ourselves tangled up in all the reasoning for and against abortion. There doesn't really seem to be a fence to sit on, and I think that's why we end up having such fervent discussions on the topic...if we're to choose a side then which? Who would we rather risk offending?

I am happy where I stand.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand where anyone stands? In a christian world, life is sacred in the womb and out right? Sex is a sin outside of marriage. Therefore christians can choose not to have abortions - no legislation is required for these people. God's legislation does.

In a secular world, where laws are made for a broader group of people and beliefs, abortion is a choice that can be made - either in a legal clinic or on the streets. Isn't it best to make it legal without predjudice so that the people who are often the poorest and weakest in our society can be helped?

Justin said...

Dear Anonymous,

Hi. Do I know you? Happy to hear from you personally -- jmoff at Hotmail etc.

I haven't even raised in this post the legislative questions. That is much harder. And that is what you are raising.

However, here is the best way to understand it, I reckon: Any adult who willingly takes a child's life when that child is 6 months old is usually charged for that crime.

And pro-lifers (like me) believe that a life is precious(and human) IN the womb.

And so there is no difference between 6 months before or after leaving the womb.

Thats why I find it so hard.

And so it is not a matter of preference or choice or belief any more than is the taking of the life of a child)

Lawmakers, on the other hand, have a tough job...