Echoes of Grace

We are so ridiculously attached the law.  I don’t mean the Law as laid down in scripture, but in our own adherence to the law that we establish in our own lives.  It gives us control, or at least, we think it does.  We use our concept of law to set expectations for others to live up to in our eyes.  We all do it, in every aspect of our lives.

We drive with the expectation that other drivers understand the laws of traffic – drive on the right side of the road, stop at a red light, don’t recklessly speed, and yield to traffic when merging or turning.  When someone violates the law, we expect consequences.  Our need for justice demands them – when someone passes us over a double yellow or tailgates us because we’re not going fast enough or runs a red light in front of us, we all look around hoping that a police officer is nearby and noticed so that the person who broke our expectations of adherence to the laws of behavior on the road is caught, made to feel guilty for what they did, and then punished appropriately with a ticket.  Civil society on the road demands adherence to the law because it allows society to function with appropriate actions, reactions, and consequence for failure to behave appropriately.

12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.

1 Timothy 1:12-16

God has given me an insight into grace recently, and how to apply grace in my own life.  How can you show someone grace?  How can you help someone understand it when the world at large does not offer grace?  The world offers small-L law and demands adherence so that the world can continue to function smoothly.

Consider Christ’s command to turn the other cheek.

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic,[a] let him have your cloak as well.

Matthew 5:38-40

Obviously Jesus spoke in multiple layers, like an onion.  Let me peel this back a bit.  Obviously Christ is changing the old law from one of pure, equal justice with appropriate punishment for offense with regard to physical pain and injury caused by one’s action, but he also is changing the old law.  He is providing an insight at grace for us, one more beautiful when you really consider it.

When we sin against God, we slap Christ in the face, because Christ carried our sins to the cross so that we may have reconciliation with God.  God’s justice requires adherence to the Law, which we have failed miserably at keeping, but Christ adhered to perfectly.  When someone sins against us, either violating God’s Law or man’s law (our own expectations whether personal or civil), it is a slap in the face to us.  Our first reaction is to spring to our feet like an NBA player and hold our hands out and look for the ref to call a foul and get awarded our free throws for the perceived wrong.

When we are slapped we have many ways to respond: fight back, demand justice in order to feel whole again, or offer them grace.  We are really really really good at the first two and horribly bad at the latter.

What we have to ask though is cliche.  What would Jesus do?  Would Jesus hold out his hands and demand an apology?  Would Jesus call for a foul?  Or would Jesus turn the other cheek and offer you another chance to get it right?  Isn’t that what grace is?

Somewhat.

Grace isn’t just the opportunity for the offender to try again, but it is a gift from God in another way.  Grace is something that the victim can cling on to in order to feel whole again as well.  By offering grace, turning the cheek, forgiving without apology (a tit for tat exchange – withholding forgiveness isn’t Christlike whatsoever), and providing an alternative to justice for small-L law, we can be relieved of the burdens of justice on the aggrieved.  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  We didn’t ask for mercy, grace, and forgiveness, but it was given without precondition.  What better way to demonstrate grace and the gospel, but to turn the other cheek?

This turns our demand for justice and reparations on its head, and isn’t that exactly what Jesus said he would do?

Grace and mercy.

Advertisements

No More Excuses

Looting.  Rioting.  Arson.  Assault with Intent to Kill a Peace Officer.

These and many other things are occurring nightly in Ferguson, Missouri.  I understand the desire for justice and how the reluctance of police to release everything they know as they know it can feed into our imagination’s need to fill-in-the-blanks with our own prejudices.

18 year old man, 6’4″, 300 lbs, lies dead in the street of multiple gun shot wounds.  A police officer admits pulling the trigger and claims it was in self-defense.  It just happens that the dead man is black and the police officer is white.  A thorough crime scene investigation is conducted at the scene of the shooting and then the rumors begin (thanks to another 18 year old man who happened to be at the scene – more on him in a minute).

The white cop had it out for the black guy.  Racism! 

He executed him!

And that’s how the ball got rolling.  Our imaginations are powerful things.  When we don’t know the full story, we can imagine many plausible instances to fill-in-the-blanks of what we don’t know.  This is how conspiracy theories begin. 

I will admit that I understand the desire for justice. I want justice in every instance.

If the officer did in fact act wrongly – either by escalating a normal confrontation unnecessarily or by acting in malice, then he deserves to face a judge and jury.  However, if the officer acted correctly in defense of his life against a larger, aggressive man bull-rushing him after fighting him moments earlier, then his use of lethal force to end a threat to his life is fully justified under the color of law.   You see, more facts have come out since the initial few days that further complicate this situation for the deceased. 

He was walking home after roughing up a shop clerk of a local convenience store after stealing a box of Swisher Sweets (thin cigars used to conceal marijuana and allow it to be smoked in public as “blunts” with plausible deniability).  What began as shoplifting turned into robbery when he was confronted and physically assaulted the shop clerk.  He then began walking home in the middle of the street, evidence of his crime in hand, with his accomplice (the aforementioned man above).  They were acting in a manner that obstructed traffic and in a manner that could cause a traffic accident that would harm someone else or themselves by walking down the middle of the street. 

While the officer involved had not yet heard of the robbery moments before, these two individuals had no way of knowing that.  The deceased likely believed that he was about to be arrested for his crime.  As a thoughtful person, consider that the deceased may have decided in that moment to resist arrest thinking himself larger and stronger and able to do to the smaller officer what he had down to the shop clerk moments before.  That mindset could have been the primary cause of everything that then occurred culminating in the gunshots fired that ended the incident.

The situation has been used by race-baiters like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to further highlight their purported platforms and to keep themselves relevant in the eyes of the nation.  The situation has been exacerbated by the national news media through endless reporting, speculation, and glamorization of violent acts through their broadcasts of such to the world.  The situation has been used by anarchists, criminals, and looters in order to provide cover for their actions within Ferguson.  Buildings have been burned to the ground.  People have been shot.  The police have suffered repeated assaults via bottles, rocks, molotov cocktails, and many other forms of abuse. 

And the politicians, legal authorities, and law enforcement officers in charge have excused this behavior by saying that there are rifts in the community that have been exposed by this situation.

What?  Let me explain.

I am not going to render judgment on the officer or the deceased actions and neither should anyone without all of the facts, yet the calls for justice have been used as an excuse for illegal, harmful behavior and that has highlighted the bigger problem that has been exposed in this instance.

What is white guilt?  White guilt is the faulty belief that white people, regardless of their economic circumstances, have more privileges due to their skin color.  This belief, paired with the equally race-based belief that black people have less privileges and are subject to greater fear, scrutiny, and suspicion in every instance when compared with someone with a paler skin tone, have led many to pardon the behavior of the protestors and rioters in Ferguson.  Those beliefs though are far more insidious than that.  These beliefs permeate the very fabric of society from race-preferential college selection, scholarships, government employment applications, and general societal attitudes toward African-Americans. 

Are we so racist to believe that blacks cannot pull themselves up on their own?  Are they inferior to whites or other skin tones because they happen to be a darker shade?  Are we doing African-Americans any favors by saying that they only have to be 75% as good as whites in order to get a job or get into college?  Are we promoting cultural evolution or are we segmenting that portion of the population and giving them an excuse to not improve by rewarding below-average behavior? 

Were Italians given an excuse for mafia behavior in the early 20th century?  They had just emigrated from Italy due to the Italian Civil War. 

Were the Irish given an excuse for their drunkenness and brawling after having fled Ireland due to a terrible famine and centuries of British occupation?

I could go on and on asking the same question of every race, creed, and color of people that has come to the shores of America.  Chinese?  Japanese?  Arabs?  Vietnamese?   Every type of person regardless of color, nationality, or religion has faced discrimination in these United States.  We are not perfect, but we always are seeking to improve in order to forge a more perfect union.  Until the press for affirmative action and the lowering of standards for blacks, the impetus to strive for better was there for that entire community, but in an effort to socially engineer full integration due to the falsehood that is white guilt our society has told the entire black community that they are not good enough or smart enough to “make it” without our help. 

I will say it again – because of a perceived advantage by whites over blacks within our society, whites have had pity on blacks and lowered the standards that are expected of everyone else in order for this class of people because it’s supposedly impossible for them to do anything with their lives without a subsidized advantage.

That is racist and it must stop right this very minute or we will never kill and bury racism within our society.

The excuses that white America makes enables the behaviors that led to the rioting in Ferguson and it generates a standard below that which the average American is expected to meet. 

Until we encourage a truly level playing field where all are equally expected to behave there will be no justice because the black community will not clean itself up.  Without an incentive to do better, why should they?

It worked pretty damn well for the Irish-Americans, German-Americans, Italian-Americans, Greek-Americans, Hungarian-Americans, Polish-Americans, Chinese-Americans, Lebanese-Americans, Syrian-Americans, Korean-Americans, and Cuban-Americans.  Every group faces prejudice and setbacks, but rose to the challenge presented by this country to contribute greatly and become part of the whole because our standards for them were not lowered.  It is time to do the same and it should start in Ferguson.

The Truth – It Burns

OK – the truth actually doesn’t burn – it sets you free, and sometimes freedom can hurt.  I’m reposting this in full to help disseminate this information.  Read below.

FORMER LAWYERS?

I knew they had both lost their law license, but I didn’t know why until I read this.

This is 100% legit. I check it out at https://www.iardc.org/ Stands for Illinois Attorney Registration And Disciplinary Committee. It’s the official arm of lawyer discipline in Illinois ; and they are very strict. (Talk about irony.) Even I, at the advanced age of almost 65, maintain (at the cost of approximately $600/year) my law license that I worked so hard and long to earn.

Big surprise.

Former Constitutional Law Lecturer and U.S. President Makes Up Constitutional Quotes During State Of The Union (SOTU) Address.

Consider this:

1. President Barack Obama, former editor of the Harvard Law Review, is no longer a “lawyer”. He surrendered his license back in 2008 in order to escape charges he lied on his bar application. A “Voluntary Surrender” is not something where you decide “Gee, a license is not really something I need anymore, is it?” and forget to renew your license. No, a “Voluntary Surrender” is something you do when you’ve been accused of something, and you ‘voluntarily surrender” your license five seconds before the state suspends you.

2 Michelle Obama “voluntarily surrendered” her law license in 1993. after a Federal Judge gave her the choice between surrendering her license or standing trial for Insurance fraud!

3. Facts.Source: http://jdlong.wordpress.com/2009/05/15/pres-barack-obama-editor-of-the-Harvard-law-review-has-no-law-license/

4. A senior lecturer is one thing, a fully ranked law professor is another. Barack Obama was NOT a Constitutional Law Professor at the University of Chicago .

5. The University of Chicago released a statement in March 2008 saying Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) “served as a professor” in the law school-but that is a title Obama, who taught courses there part-time, never held, a spokesman for the school confirmed in 2008.

6. “He did not hold the title of Professor of Law,” said Marsha Ferziger Nagorsky, an Assistant Dean for Communications and Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago School of Law.

Source: http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2008/03/sweet_obama_did_hold_the_title.html ;

7. The former Constitutional Senior Lecturer (Obama) cited the U.S. Constitution the other night during his State of the Union Address. Unfortunately, the quote he cited was from the Declaration of Independence … not the Constitution.

8. The B-Cast posted the video: http://www.breitbart.tv/did-obama-confuse-the-constitution-with-the-declaration-of-independence/

9. Free Republic : In the State of the Union Address, President Obama said: “We find unity in our incredible diversity, drawing on the promise enshrined in our Constitution: the notion that we are all created equal.

10. Um, wrong citing, wrong founding document there Champ, I mean Mr. President. By the way, the promises are not a notion, our founders named them unalienable rights. The document is our Declaration of Independence and it reads:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

11. And this is the same guy who lectured the Supreme Court moments later in the same speech?

Symptom

I recently got into a long conversation with someone regarding a stance that I published on this blog.

The conversation was enlightening for me in one way, and not in the way that the other participant anticipated.  They were hoping to either trap me in a rhetorical loop or get me to recant my position by being unable to defend it aside from the Bible.  I refused to play that game as there is only One Truth and why should I deny it in order to win a rhetorical argument?

That entire episode and my reflections on it have encouraged me to write a little further on the topic of sin.  In that conversation, we were focused on the political hot-button topic of gay marriage.  Gay marriage as a topic of conversation is merely a symptom of an all-consuming sickness that this world is suffering from – sin.

Sin is not a fun thing to talk about.  Sin is an infection that we are all born with.  Whether you want it or not, sin is there.  It is rooted in man’s fall from our created state and has been the root cause of every moment of heartbreak, malice, vice, and destruction in our collective history.

The fundamental truth that we need to recognize in order to fully understand grace and mercy is that we are fully incapable of correcting the infection of sin.  It is insidious and amazingly survivable.

There are many avenues that people take in trying to cope with their infected state.

Some deny it and live as if they are perfectly normal.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:8-9

Some try to equate or rhetorically minimize their sin by either pointing out the sin in someone else’s life as worse than their own, or by using someone else’s sin as an excuse for their own shortcomings.  The problem is that sin is sin.  Small or big – the blackness on your soul from sin is impossible for God not to see.

Your iniquities have separated
you from your God;
your sins have hidden his face from you,
so that he will not hear.

Isaiah 59:2

Your eyes are too pure to look on evil;
    you cannot tolerate wrongdoing.

Habakkuk 1:13

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

Matthew 7:3

Or perhaps the sinner disagrees with the correctness of the translation or of the validity of the scriptures themselves – disagreeing that their sin is not prohibited based on language, societal, or cultural differences.

For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

1 Peter 1:21

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.

2 Timothy 3:16

Others will just, with full knowledge of their state of sin, refuse to change, or believe themselves as being honest about their sin state by flaunting it rather than abrogating themselves of it.

For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

Romans 8:13

So what will it be?  Own up to your sin?  Refuse to assist your brother in committing a sin that may cause him future pain as he goes through the agony of the infection that sin truly is?

Just as I should avoid sin in my own life and invite Christ and the Spirit to purge me of those fleshly desires, should I not also do everything in my power to help my brother to do the same even if they are still horribly infected with sin?  Is it not my responsibility to teach, rebuke, correct, and train up in righteousness as Paul instructed Timothy and as I cited above?

So, to those that would say that I or anyone else firmly planting our feet and saying that we will not concede an inch to the infection of sin as being bigots, or old-fashioned, or bible-thumping?  How dare I!

How dare I stand with the Law?

How dare I be willing to stand with Christ and overturn the money tables with Him?

How dare I look at the woman at the well and love her, but tell her to stop sinning?

How dare I speak the Truth?

Is it love if you give in to sin and allow it to continue unimpeded in this world?

Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves.

Romans 14:22

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?

Romans 6

 

 

 

Empty Air

The following is the testimony of Darrell Scott, father of Rachel Joy Scott.  Rachel died at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999.  Mr. Scott was invited to testify to the U.S. House of Representatives’ Judiciary Subcommittee.

The first recorded act of violence was when Cain slew his brother Abel out in the field. The villain was not the club he used.. Neither was it the NCA, the National Club Association. The true killer was Cain, and the reason for the murder could only be found in Cain’s heart.

“In the days that followed the Columbine tragedy, I was amazed at how quickly fingers began to be pointed at groups such as the NRA. I am not a member of the NRA. I am not a hunter. I do not even own a gun. I am not here to represent or defend the NRA – because I don’t believe that they are responsible for my daughter’s death.

Therefore I do not believe that they need to be defended. If I believed they had anything to do with Rachel’s murder I would be their strongest opponent.

I am here today to declare that Columbine was not just a tragedy — it was a spiritual event that should be forcing us to look at where the real blame lies! Much of the blame lies here in this room. Much of the blame lies behind the pointing fingers of the accusers themselves. I wrote a poem just four nights ago that expresses my feelings best.

Your laws ignore our deepest needs,
Your words are empty air.
You’ve stripped away our heritage,
You’ve outlawed simple prayer.
Now gunshots fill our classrooms,
And precious children die.
You seek for answers everywhere,
And ask the question “Why?”
You regulate restrictive laws,
Through legislative creed.
And yet you fail to understand,
That God is what we need!

“Men and women are three-part beings. We all consist of body, mind, and spirit. When we refuse to acknowledge a third part of our make-up, we create a void that allows evil, prejudice, and hatred to rush in and wreak havoc. Spiritual presences were present within our educational systems for most of our nation’s history. Many of our major colleges began as theological seminaries. This is a historical fact. What has happened to us as a nation? We have refused to honor God, and in so doing, we open the doors to hatred and violence. And when something as terrible as Columbine’s tragedy occurs — politicians immediately look for a scapegoat such as the NRA. They immediately seek to pass more restrictive laws that contribute to erode away our personal and private liberties. We do not need more restrictive laws. Eric and Dylan would not have been stopped by metal detectors. No amount of gun laws can stop someone who spends months planning this type of massacre. The real villain lies within our own hearts.

“As my son Craig lay under that table in the school library and saw his two friends murdered before his very eyes, he did not hesitate to pray in school. I defy any law or politician to deny him that right! I challenge every young person in America , and around the world, to realize that on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School prayer was brought back to our schools. Do not let the many prayers offered by those students be in vain. Dare to move into the new millennium with a sacred disregard for legislation that violates your God-given right to communicate with Him. To those of you who would point your finger at the NRA — I give to you a sincere challenge.. Dare to examine your own heart before casting the first stone!

My daughter’s death will not be in vain! The young people of this country will not allow that to happen!”

Mr. Scott makes a fantastic point that must be reiterated.  You cannot legislate or outlaw evil.  You must combat it.  You must prepare for it, but you cannot rid the world of it because it entered the world because of our refusal to obey God.  When we took on the mantle of kingship for ourselves by thinking that we know better than Him, we took on a responsibility that we could not and will never be able to handle.

You can pontificate.  You can preach that guns are the problem. You can point your fingers at the pharmaceutical industry and pharmatropic drugs.  You can point out the skeletal remains of our mental health infrastructure.  You can point your finger at legislators, Presidents, Governors, Mayors, or any other governmental official, but until you recognize that the ONLY solution to the human condition is found in the person of Jesus Christ, you are only deluding yourself.  What you should be doing is pointing the finger at yourself, because ultimately only you are responsible.

Emotions after tragedies run high.  Rationality flies out the window.  All because we have had the wool momentarily pulled down from our eyes and can say the evil in the world, if only for a short time.  We react in a kneejerk fashion every time because we assume the mantle of God in knowing good and evil and how to control the latter and promote the former when in reality we know nothing at all.

The Law

We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

1 Timothy 1:8-11

What is the law?

The Apostle Paul was a highly educated man, so it is understood that he was talking about the Old Law here, the Judaic norms, practices, etc.  This is an interesting passage though because of the phrase “the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels…”

It is fairly well understood as well as in my observation that the law was instituted so man would understand that he could never live up to the righteousness necessary to be in God’s presence.  The law’s purpose was to convict the people in their hearts of their need for grace.

 So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

Romans 7:4-6

So Paul, again, was writing that striving for obedience to the law only bore “fruit for death.”  Why is that?  If the law is God-given, isn’t it holy and just?  How could attempting to adhere to it cause “sinful passions” to be aroused?

Paul goes on and states:

I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead.

Romans 7:7-8

Is Paul saying that he would not have known how to sin or what was a sin if it were not for the law?

So is the law there to bind our behavior?

Imagine a metaphor.  As a father, I have to lay down rules of behavior for my children.  My children, before these rules are laid down would just go on not knowing that anything they were doing was “wrong” in my eyes.  The rules I laid out were designed to constrain certain behavior, but they did not put an end to it.  Rather, they provide a guideline for them – if you do X, you will be punished.  This doesn’t mean that such behavior is instantly curtailed, but rather they test the limits of this new rule in any number of ways.  They also do their best to get away with the behavior and hope that they don’t get caught.  How are we any different as children of God?

If the law is meant for the ungodly, then it is meant for people that are spiritual infants at best.  They need direction on how to be and how to act.  They need that direction that touching something hot will mean you get burned so don’t touch it.

Does this excuse the rest of us that have come by faith to Christ and mean that sin is no longer an issue for us because the law no longer binds us?  Not at all.  If you take Christ’s commands to love your neighbor as yourself and love God with all of your heart, mind, and soul, then you will act in accordance with the law of God without needing the law to convict you daily.  Instead of striving to obey the law, you will strive to love fully, and by doing so you will fulfill the law as Christ did with his death and resurrection.

The Argument

Recently, I answered a challenge from an acquaintance to provide a non-religious argument that provides a rationale for limiting abortion.  Always up for a challenge and hyper-competitive, I got my legal mind rolling.

Back in college, I was at one point a legal clerk, a legal assistant (pseudo paralegal), and eventually the accounts receivables manager for a small law firm in town.  The benefit of such a firm was that my role in the firm was not just limited to filing papers, sending bills, collecting on delinquent customers, and drafting letters.  I actually did legal research and helped formulate pleadings.  So I am not a stranger to the ballet that is jurisprudence.

In light of the Presidential debate on social issues tomorrow night, let’s delve into this.

If someone were to stab a woman in the belly outside of an abortion clinic (before she went inside to have an abortion) and she survived but the baby didn’t, he would be charged and convicted of murder in 38 states. So is it murder or not? Civil law acknowledges that life within the womb, when terminated (by someone other than the mother), is murder. Why is it different when it’s the mother? The life within the womb is forced to take a back seat in that case simply because it is dependent on the mother for survival. Is this not a legal paradox that conveys a superceding right to the mother over anyone else?

The counter to that statement was that the mother had not gone through the abortion yet and could have backed out.  There is merit to that statement, but let’s expand the legal paradox a bit more.

The child must have some sort of legal protection which merits the prosecution and ultimately the conviction due to an attack from outside regardless of the mother’s intent. Opponents of fetal homicide laws, which I linked to above, argue that those same laws could endanger abortion as a right.  The end result is the same in both situations where the child is concerned, yes? Pro-abortionists argue that the laws are a slippery slope and could lead to severe restrictions or prohibition of abortion.

Let’s embrace the slippery slope.  If it’s not murder when the mother is the decider (I know it’s not a word, but it works in this case) then what does the gestational state matter?

Let’s say at one year the mother decides that they no longer want the responsibility of motherhood. They drop their kid off a cliff and go back to being childless (same end result). Why do we equate that last action with murder and abortion, which is effectively the same thing, as an healthcare issue?  This is not a question of morality or religion at all anymore when you view it in this light.  When it is a moral or religious issue, opponents of abortion can be isolated and minimized due to their “dogmatic theology.”  What we have here is an issue of equality before the law.  Is the child, whether it is born yet or not, have equal standing before the law as the mother?

My acquaintance then made the following statement: “Depending on the method used abortion is an operation or administration of drugs to end a pregnancy. Whether or not a separate entity is using her to live her body is still her own. So if a woman does something to her own body which results in what could be considered an abortion then she has every right to do so because it is her own body regardless of another being requiring it to maintain a certain state to survive. This avoids the drop kicked baby cliff problem.  On a more emotional level I feel mid to late term abortions are abhorrent. I think there is a responsibility of the mother to protect the life of the child after a certain point. Perhaps after it can survive outside the womb or maybe once a heart beat/brain is developed… I’m not a doctor and don’t understand such things well enough to make a certain decision one way or another on that.”

Side note: according to a quick internet search, the baby’s heart rate (or “pole”) can be detected as early as 5 to 6 weeks after conception. You’d find many women hard pressed to even know they were pregnant 5 or 6 weeks in beyond a suspicion.

I believe that by splitting hairs between chemical extermination and surgical extermination is the same as saying that putting arsenic in someone’s food is somehow less of a moral wrong than taking their head off with an axe. It’s less “bloody,” but the end result is the same.

They countered “I do understand why you might think I’m “splitting hairs.”  I don’t this “bloody” idea has anything to do with my argument. A person has rights to their own body. Why does a pregnancy suddenly remove these rights from a woman? Do the rights of the unborn child take precedence?”

They do not take precedence, but they must be treated equally if you want to have a fair, just, and legally sound society.

The paradox that you have legally with rights of the mother to her body and the rights of the child are that you have an inequality under the law with the current status quo.  So the paradox in this issue is that your rights only go so far until they limit the rights of someone else. If the fetus has legal protection in the case of a murder, they have been acknowledged as having the right to life, so the mother’s right to her body only can go so far as to not intervene on the fetus’ right to life if we acknowledge equality under the law.

So what is equality before the law?

Webster’s New World Law Dictionary defines the concept.

The doctrine that all persons, regardless of wealth, social status, or the political power wielded by them, are to be treated the same before the law.

So, the crux of the issue is personhood.  When is the fetus a person entitled to legal protection?

Biologically, life is defined from the cellular level up.  Between one and two weeks from conception, the blastocyst will adhere to the uterine wall and begin receiving oxygen and nutrients that allow it to grow and develop into an embryo.  However, at just three days post-conception, the cellular organization of the blastocyst is classified as an human organism by science (How Should We Define Life and Personhood?).

So, how can we reduce personhood to a definition that all accept?

When considering the criteria for personhood, we would do well to ponder if we should reduce personhood to a set of capacities or a biological marker. Should moral significance come from who we are or from the functional capabilities we express at a given moment of our existence (How Should We Define Life and Personhood?)?

Can we remove religion from the abortion debate and maintain an ethical system grounded in the value of life?

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
    before you were born I set you apart.

Jeremiah 1:5

Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

Luke 12:7

The Mob

Much will be made in the coming few months of the will of the majority.  (Expect much hay to be made about the Electoral College and the popular vote if Romney takes the most Electoral College votes, but comes away on the short side popularly).

Justice being taken away, then, what are kingdoms but great robberies?  For what are robberies themselves, but little kingdoms? The band itself is made up of men; it is ruled by the authority of a prince, it is knit together by the pact of the confederacy; the booty is divided by the law agreed on. If, by the admittance of abandoned men, this evil increases to such a degree that it holds places, fixes abodes, takes possession of cities, and subdues peoples, it assumes the more plainly the name of a kingdom, because the reality is now manifestly conferred on it, not by the removal of covetousness, but by the addition of impunity. Indeed, that was an apt and true reply which was given to Alexander the Great by a pirate who had been seized. For when that king had asked the man what he meant by keeping hostile possession of the sea, he answered with bold pride, “What thou meanest by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, whilst thou who dost it with a great fleet art styled emperor.”

Saint Augustine

In Morality, I wrote about moral populism.  I described it as mob rule at it’s core.  Now imagine moral populists taking the reigns of government and enacting laws based on the mindset of “majority rules.”  I went on to explain how the majority’s will does not make anything good, or morally right, it just makes it popular.

Woe to those who call evil good
    and good evil,
who put darkness for light
    and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
    and sweet for bitter.

Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes
   and clever in their own sight.

Isaiah 5:20-21

As Christians, what should our stand be when faced with an unjust law?  Should we tolerate it as mere temporal folly?  Should we not speak up about the law if it does not effect us?

If society deems evil to be good, should we do nothing?  How much evil should be tolerated regardless of how popular?  Where do you draw the line?  If the culture deems evil to be acceptable and normal, how should we act?

Darkness looms and doubts seed your thoughts:

“What can you, a single person, do against the will of the mob?”

“We live in a democracy and it is the will of the majority.”

It even calls scripture to mind when it tries to force evil down your throat in the form of an unjust law by quoting scripture.

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

Romans 13: 1-2

Despite the doubts, despite the popularity of whatever law, there are some that are unjust at their core.  These laws would have you sacrifice your core beliefs, your principles, and ultimately force you stand and choose between obedience to Christ or obedience to men.  I pray that all Christians have the resoluteness to stand together and say “ENOUGH.  We will not bend.”

Let the world threaten you with fines, penalties, ridicule, and shame.  They will drag you through the mud and try to convince you of how wrong and regressive you are.  They will try to minimize you with their attacks, but each one that you resist successfully will strengthen you against them.   They may even try to imprison you.  They may even try to kill you.

Regardless of how common the beliefs are, the goodness of God is founded in pure righteousness and if the fight you find yourself in is one where you are rooted in the righteousness of God and His Word, then you will win the day.  They may destroy your earthly body, but in the words of Obi Wan Kenobi, “If you strike me down I will become more powerful than you can imagine.”

Stand against the mob and tell them “No. You move.”

One who breaks an unjust law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God… Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.

Romans 12: 2, 9

If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

John 15:19-20

Friendship with the world is enmity to God.

James 4:4

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

John 1: 5

If sinners entice you, do not consent.

Proverbs 1:10

There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

2 Timothy 3:1-4

Will you follow the unjust for the sake of keeping the peace on Earth?

Just because the majority wills something does not make it right or just.  To paraphrase St. Augustine, an unjust law is no law at all. I answer to the One above it all, not to men.

The mob can rule itself.

LadyRaven's Whisky In A Jar - OH!

Coffee? Tea? Whisky! - Aspirin anyone?

Stately McDaniel Manor

Culture, Politics, Firearms, Education, Literature, Philosophy, Music, And Other Musings

High Heels and Handguns

This princess is armed- The prince can't always be there to rescue you

Sheeple: People unable to think for themselves

Here to help educate the Sheeple before the slaughter

Fellowship of the Minds

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."

Reality Check

American Patriot's Reality Check

The Firewall

Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it

Freedom Is Just Another Word...

Rules?? What Are rules? I don't need no stinking rules!!!

Evil of indifference

"Now, we must all fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good men. " from Boondock Saints

The Radio Patriot

Because I have so many words...

Eatgrueldog

Where misinformation stops and you are force fed the truth III

Reality Of Christ

Christian, End Time, and Conspiracy News!

DAYLIGHT DISINFECTANT

DAN SANDINI'S NEWS OUTSIDE THE MAINSTREAM

WR2A: The Line In The Sand

We Are the Second Amendment, and you cannot stop that.

The Longwood Institute

A site dedicated to the appreciation of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness along with the responsibilities these God-given unalienable rights invoke.

Ten Smiths Blog

What does the Declaration of Independence really say?

Short Little Rebel

Because loving Christ is the most rebellious thing you can do

Deaconmatson's Blog

observations from America

America: Going Full Retard...

Word: They are acting. They are creating. They are framing their reality around you. And we … we bark at the end of our leashes. Our ambition for freedumb is at the end of our leash.