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October 22, 2004

Comments

theAmericanist

The good bishop says something that is simply not true: that 'the choice' in pro-choice abortion law ALWAYS involves killing a baby.

Women whose privacy under the Constitution does not allow the government authority to regulate their wombs, nevertheless choose to have (and even raise) live babies all the time.

Isn't that a choice?

Since it is a choice, why did the bishop say something that isn't true? How is that gonna be persuasive?

Cris

Americanist - you're misquoting the bishop.

This is the quote: "The "choice" in abortion always involves the choice to end the life of an unborn human being."

He didn't say it always involves killing a baby - only that it includes the choice on whether or not to do so.

Michael

Of course it is a choice, there is nothing false about that...every moral decision anyone makes is a choice. You have free will...you can choose to murder or you can choose to do the right thing.

EP

Praise God for Archbishop Chaput. My vote for the first American Pope!

Cornelius

The Bishop said 'The "choice" in abortion always INVOLVES the choice to end the life of an unborn human being.' [my emphasis]

This is true - the 'choice' in abortion involves, i.e., includes, embraces, encompasses, the 'choice' to end a life. It also involves the choice to nurture and bear the child. He didn't say the choice is, was, or will be, the choice to end a life.

theAmericanist

Cris, I don't think you understand.

He said: "The 'choice' in abortion always involves the choice to..." kill somebody.

I restated what he said: The choice always involves killing.

There is no difference between what he said, and what I said he said. I didn't quote him on purpose, because the construction of his sentence (as well as his argument) is to deny that there is any other choice, when obviously there is. (That's what choice means, after all.)

Look at this from the perspective of women who choose to bear their child. If (as the bishop said) the ONLY choice they have involves killing the kid, and they don't: they have no way to choose life. He was clear -- the only choice they have 'involves' killing a child, not giving birth and raising one. It's obviously false to speak this way, but what's even more damning is the mindset that never challenges this concept of 'choice'.

This habit of not thinking deliberately (if unconsciously) disrespects every woman who chooses to bear a live child -- and what's more, millions of women know it: which is why I keep banging the drum that pro-life Catholics need a mite more perspective.

Christopher Rake

People who support permissive abortion laws have no qualms about imposing their views on society. Often working against popular opinion, they have tried to block any effort to change permissive abortion laws since the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. That's fair. That's their right. But why should the rules of engagement be different for citizens who oppose those laws?

You know, in recent conversations with un-like-minded friends, I've had the occasion to cover this point. Some of them seem downright stunned when forced to consider the possibility that Christians have the right, just as secularists do, to press their views in the public square and shape society.

It's true and it's fun.

Cheryl

The money quote:

"People who support permissive abortion laws have no qualms about imposing their views on society. Often working against popular opinion, they have tried to block any effort to change permissive abortion laws since the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. That's fair. That's their right. But why should the rules of engagement be different for citizens who oppose those laws?"

Thank you, Bishop Chaput! Now if only the NYT would only tell people about the full transcript of their interview with him that is sitting on the Denver diocesan website....

Christopher Rake

Americanist, yours is a purely semantic maneuver with no purpose other than to denigrate the bishop. The latter is your right; the former, a waste of time.

In modern political discourse, pro-choice means the right to abort. I have already condemned precious electrons to stating the obvious, so that is all.

theAmericanist

Not so.

When it is acknowledged (as a fact, if not as a good thing) that women have a privacy right to kill their babies before they're born, then it is also true that when they choose to bear their children, they have CHOSEN life. So (because abortion is a bad thing) the question becomes a merely practical one: how to persuade women not to choose abortions?

By refusing (even rhetorically) to acknowledge that women DO have that choice, e.g., the bishop's construction that choice ALWAYS involves killing the kid, the bishop -- and you guys -- are blowing what's important: the choice itself.

That ain't semantics -- it's honest.

gsj

It is tendentious to say that women have a "right to privacy" under the Constitution which allows them to terminate the lives of unborn children. The phrase appears nowhere in that document and is, in fact, the conjuring of Justice William Douglas in "Grisold vs. Connecticut" (1965) and Harry Blackman in "Roe v. Wade". Both rulings were an exercise of "raw judicial power" in the words of a third Justice, and the constitutional logic of neither bears close examination. Some day, perhaps, "Roe v. Wade" will have the same general infamy as the Supreme Court's other attempt to define a section of humanity as non-persons, the Dred Scott decision.

Maureen

No decent person would ever regard a child's murder as a "choice" that's even available to her. That's what Chaput means.

I mean, nobody claims to be "pro-choice" about whether or not I can go to work and savagely gun down everyone in the way of my promotion. And heck, they'd actually have a chance to escape or defend themselves from me! Also, they would have a lot less natural right to expect me to love and care for 'em, or (like a doctor) keep 'em alive and do 'em no harm.

But why should I put up with 'em for nine months of my life? My cube, my sacred womanhood, my right to slay all intruders without even a trial! Mwahahahahaha!

If it wasn't so serious, it'd really make you laugh at how ridiculous it all is. Especially when the same people who are pro-choice dare to object to war or the death penalty. Guantanamo and even Abu Ghraib ain't nothing even worth considering, next to our treatment of our own children.

Donald R. McClarey

A pregnant woman should have no more choice to kill the child in her womb than anyone else should have the choice to kill some innocent person whose existence is burdensome to them. Laws restrict our choices in many areas of life large and small. Pro-choice as a euphemism for pro-abort is one of the more intellectually vacuous formulations of the twentieth century. Bravo Chaput for calling a spade a spade and not a digging implement.

Mike

Americanist-

Let's see if we can clear this up.

Roe v. Wade is generally thought of as protecting "choice". Agreed?

Now, we all know that (in the US) no law is required to protect the right of women to have babies. Agreed?

So the legally protected "choice" is not the "choice" to give birth. Agreed?

That "choice" needs no protection of the law in the US, right?

Rather, the "choice" that the law protects is the "choice" to abort.
Agreed?

THAT "choice" always "involves the choice to end the life of an unborn human being". Agreed?

Mike

Mike

I was thinking this morning that I appreciate Archbishop Chaput for the same reason that I respected John McCain in the early stages of the 2000 campaign: straight-talk. It's a rare thing in the American public forum.

chris K

Playing with semantics while millions die an extremely painful death always amazes me in comment boxes. The Archbishop is not doing that. He is using the term that the culture of death is using in its twisted and evil definition. Look, in the REAL world, the pro-choice movement is a movement to end the lives of millions of human beings - pro-choice in that "ideology" IS only for one choice - death. Or else we would see this vast profit-making conglomerate educating women on all of the ramifications of THEIR choice which are wholly negative vs all of the positives in NOT choosing their option. The choice to allow nature to continue its intention, in a sense, is really no choice except in opposition to the only "choice" intended by anyone in the "pro-choice" movement. May we have more like him to be courageous publicly and perhaps still save at least some of this rotting culture that plays word games and is afraid to face anything anymore with the heart (conscience).

Mike Petrik

gsi is absolutely right. Abortion as a legal option is the law of the land because the Supreme Court said so, but the Roe and Griswold decisions were ntohing more that the raw and unprincipled exercise of judicial power. There is simply no warrant in the Constitution for these decisions, which represent nothing more than the disguised resurrection of the universally discredited concept of substantive due process.

In addition, Cris is absolutely right insomuch as TA is misquoting the archbishop. Logically, the sentance "[T]he 'choice' in abortion always involves the choice to end the life of an unborn human being" can be reconstructed to say that abortion involves the ending of the life of an unborn human being. Note *both* phrases (i.e., "abortion" and "end the life of an unborn human being") are preceded by the word "choice." TA's reasoning is wrong as usual.

Mike Petrik

And Mike is right as usual.

Cheryl

People love the word "choice" unless someone else is making a choice they disagree with.

Like the choice to vigorously oppose a law that enables one person (a pregnant woman) to make a choice that deprives a smaller and weaker person of a lifetime of making choices of their own. Or the choice of a parent to be notified when their own child is about to choose a serious and potentially life and soul-threatening medical procedure like abortion. Etc. Etc.

Americanist, when you advocate legal abortion (or embryonic stem cell research, or euthanasia, or "therapeutic" cloning, or any of the many serious foundational issues in what is often denigrated as "one issue voting"), think about the "choice" you're supporting. Why are right choices and wrong choices applicable when it comes to the war, health care, the environment, support for the poor, but not when it comes to critical life issues?

theAmericanist

Mike, that's not how America works. (This is another reason why I keep pointing out that civics has a moral value in itself, because it keeps folks from making dumb mistakes like this.)

Governments don't grant rights. "We, the People" institute governments to PROTECT our rights. If we haven't given government authority to, I dunno, set speed limits or pick which side of the street to drive on, then the government would have no authority to enforce those laws.

The Supremes have consistently held for 31 years now that "We, the Peopl" have provided the government no authority to regulate a woman's control over her womb.

There is a disagreement about whether Roe and Griswold etc. were rightly decided by the Supreme Court. But I'm not a Justice, so unless and until Scalia and Thomas show up here (and how knows who some of y'all are? yukyukyukyuk), that's pretty much moot. We may not pay the Supremes much, but making Constitutional calls like this e IS what we pay them for.

I was just noting that despite the unthinking, self-righteous mindset of pro-life folks, there is actually a choice. So saying that this choice "always involves" killing the kid ain't accurate.

It's an utterly unreflective mindset that is not persuasive. But what's more important, it simply ain't true. The bishop said the 'choice' in abortion ALWAYS involves killing the kid. That isn't so for women in the United States and other countries where abortion is legal, because most women CHOOSE to give birth.

It's not a good idea to remain in the habit of making an argument in terms that are simply false.

Put it another way: what would it have cost the bishop (or you guys) to state the argument in terms that are TRUE? What would you lose?

So -- why falsify it?

Roz

A civilized society sometimes, when necessary, restricts the right to make particular choices when it is in the interest of society as a whole or those of its members not in a position to otherwise protect themselves. The use of "right to choose" when applied to whether or not to abort is a euphemistic label designed to eliminate the word "abortion" from discussion of the topic and should be acknowledged as such.

I support the right of each commenter here to choose whether to discuss the semantic wording of the Archbishop's comments or to discuss the (in my view) more important issue of the content and worth of those comments. But please don't mistake the one for the other.

Laurrie

Americanist:
Wow. Either you are holding up this straw man as some sort of game because you are bored (we used to do this on debate team in high school), or you really have talked yourself into believing it. This conversation has revealed to me how otherwise intelligent people can delude themselves into voting for Kerry.

theAmericanist

Um, Mike Petrik: "Logically, the sentance "[T]he 'choice' in abortion always involves the choice to end the life of an unborn human being" can be reconstructed to say that abortion involves the ending of the life of an unborn human being. Note *both* phrases (i.e., "abortion" and "end the life of an unborn human being") are preceded by the word "choice."

The two sentences do not have the same meaning. You can't legitimately reconstruct a sentence logically to alter its meaning.

"[T]he 'choice' in abortion always involves the choice to end the life of an unborn human being..."

does not mean "abortion involves the ending of the life of an unborn human being..."

any more than "Mike Petrik has a choice to be honest" has the same meaning as "Mike Petrik misrepresents the bishop's argument out of enthusiasm and confusion."

You CAN reconstruct those sentences to alter their meaning, or even to clarify them, but if you reconstruct 'em to reconcile 'em, you have to change one or the other -- presuming, of course, that you're honest and do not wish to misrepresent what the bishop said.

Nobody here disputes abortion kills a kid. You're not disputing the bishop said 'the choice' always involves killing the kid.

So what are you disputing, anyway?

I'm merely noting that the fact that it IS a choice means there is another choice -- which the bishop's construction does not include, since he used the phrase "always involves".

Lord, how much more clear could it be?

Mike Petrik

TA,
As I explained in my earlier post, you are simply not giving the archbishop's statement a proper grammatical construction. And your "civics" lesson is laughably wrong and amateurish. But I won't waste time explaining it to you, since I've gone that route before and your wrong-headedness is exceeded only by your mule-headedness.

Zhou De-Ming 周德明

I like the archbishop's ecumenical start, quoting Karl Barth: "To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world."
I have nothing else to say.

kyle

Governments don't grant rights.

TA, as is often the case, misses his own points. He's exactly right about this one sentence, and it's exactly why he is wrong about nearly everything else. It cuts in the opposite of the direction he thinks it does. Government does not grant basic rights and cannot create them. The corollary is that neither can it legitimately deny them -- that's one of the key points of the Declaration of Independence.

The government's job is to recognize and hopefully protect rights that exist already, inalienable rights granted by the Creator (or by whatever author to whom a secularist might ascribe the natural law). The first of those is the right to life. No government may legitimately murder. Neither can it legitimately legalize murder.

Which is why the point Mike and others have repeated, echoing Justice White, about Roe being an exercise of raw judicial power is correct. Roe was an attempt to create a "right" out of whole cloth while denying the basic right to life, over which the court has no authority. It was and remains an illegitimate act.

TA, one question for you, which I suspect will be very enlightening: You talk a lot about the moral value of civics:

What, if anything, in your estimation, does a government not have the right to do, even if it has the consent of the majority?

I ask because a central premise of the Declaration of Independence and of American civics is that such things -- actions forbidden to governments -- do exist.

Jay Anderson

I think Americanist is squealing like a stuck pig exactly because Archbishop Chaput skewered the "choice" euphemism and showed it to be a fraud. When the pro-aborts talk about "choice", even those with modest intelligence know they're talking about protecting a "right" to abort babies.

The Archbishop's plain speaking and truth telling stands in stark contrast to Americanist's spinning.

Psst. Just between you and me, the dirty little secret is that "choice" is really about choosing to have sex anytime, anywhere, with anyone, and without any consequences. Aborting babies is the mechanism for protecting that "choice".

Esquire

Money quote = "words are cheap, actions matter".

Davi(d)

"pro-choice" has nothing to do with making an informed decision. Just look at how violently planned parenthood and the abortion team oppose any law that informs a woman to make a good decision. If they did have an informed choice, these people wouldn't make their money.

Plus, pro-choice is an accepted term (a ridiculous one) for permissive abortion. Americanist, you are just like the pro-choice movement: Lets not talk about the choice being made, but whether a statement is "technically" true or not. Its ridiculous.

JG

The callous, offhand tone of your discourse is repugnant, 'Americanist'.

You are not interested in establishing the truth. Kindly desist from your abhorrent, grubby little games.

theAmericanist

Jay gives it away: "Psst. Just between you and me, the dirty little secret is that "choice" is really about choosing to have sex anytime, anywhere, with anyone, and without any consequences."

So why didn't the bishop say that?

Which is the answer to Kyle's question. Control over sexuality is an authority the government does not have: it cannot derive this as "a legitimate power from the consent of the governed."

If -- nay, WHEN -- there are effective means (including persuasion) available to help people make better choices, it is abundantly clear that the formal pro-life movement would rather be ineffective, because in the end (as Jay shows) what motivates y'all isn't saving the baby (perhaps by preventing the conception, if that isn't an oxymoron) but condemning the choice to have sex -- in the jargon, the unitive without the procreative function, a wholly private act (sayeth the Supremes).

That isn't a legitimate function of government.

kyle

TA's answer was as enlightening as I expected. In order to accept it, one must believe the government has more right to deny an innocent person's right to life than it does to deny a person's right to have sex.

It's nonsensical -- denying someone the right to life actually also denies that person a right to sex and "privacy" and whatever else.

And thus there's no reasoning with it.

Mike

Americanist-

We're just talking about the Archbishop's words, here. Not the abortion issue as a whole. We're just talking about this sentence:

"The 'choice' in abortion always involves the choice to end the life of an unborn human being."

You have stated that this sentence is false because MANY PREGNANT WOMEN "CHOOSE" TO HAVE THEIR BABIES.

Do many pregnant woman choose to have their babies? Yes.

Do pregnant women have the "choice" to either give birth or abort their unborn children? Yes.

But that's not what the Archbishop was talking about.

Read the words again. The Archbishop is talking about the "choice" (the Archbishop used quotation marks here) "with abortion". In that context, he's talking about the "choice" which is protected by Roe—not the generic "choice" that pregnant women have.

You understand this, Americanist.

Mike

kyle

BTW, TA, I think, also distorts what Jay said (big surprise).

theAmericanist

Yeah, Mike, I do understand it: what I'm observing is that you guys ... don't.

As a rule on controversial subjects, you're not trying to persuade people who agree with you. You're trying to persuade the folks who DON'T.

More precisely, modern politics generally involves the Rule of 4: you have folks who are strongly against something, weakly against it, weakly for it, and strongly for it. (four choices, thus: the rule of 4) You exclude the middle on purpose, so you can draw a line between 'for' and 'against': 2/3s of American are pro-choice (or pro-life, or want to build a moon base, you name it); 1/3 are pro-life. But if you look within that division, you might find that only a fifth of the total is "strongly" pro-choice, while perhaps the whole 1/3 is "strongly" pro-life. So now you know not only more or less (depending on how you phrase it) how many folks are for or against something, but you can also measure intensity of feeling. As a rule, folks who are weakly for or against are easier to persuade than those who are strongly.

That creates a persuadable population that can be substantial, depending on how you approach 'em: the roughly 40% that is weakly pro-choice.

What puts those folks into that category is that they regard the 'generic choice' you're talking about as the one protected by Roe -- and by Griswold before it, the one condemned by Jay, and excluded by the bishop.

By trying ever so hard to explain to everybody who agrees with the bishop what he really meant, you're sorta missing the point of rhetoric in the first place: truth is stronger than falsehood, so if it fails to persuade, it's simply bad technique.

In the case of the bishop, it's also demonstrably false. I didn't misunderstand him -- neither what he said, nor what he meant, but most important of all (arguably) what his PURPOSE was.

His point was that pro-lifers have as much right as anybody to try to persuade. His argument -- with that big clanging flaw in the middle of it -- can't do that.

And if I misunderstood Jay (God knows how), feel free to explain it better: you said what choice really means, and I agreed that's what you meant, and wondered why the bishop didn't say so. What didn't I understand?

Susan F Peterson

About the semantics: the bishop could have been clearer in the exact words he used and that would have been a good thing, but I think everyone knew what he meant: the choice for or to have an abortion always involves killing etc.

About the "is it about sex?" issue: I really think it is a very bad idea for the prolife movement to move onto this ground. I agree that one of the reasons the proabortion folks believe that abortion is absolutely necessary is because on the whole they believe in this "right to sex." But we are not against abortion because we do not believe in the "right to sex." We are against it because it takes a human life. That is why we are against it even when the pregnancy occurs as a result of rape or incest...even if the woman was in a coma when she got pregnant. It isn't about blame for her having sex and getting pregnant-it is about the life of the child. Here we have the moral high ground. Lets stick to it.
Susan F.Peterson

Mike McG...

"Americanist, when you advocate legal abortion...think about the "choice" you are supporting." Cheryl, 10:05 am.

"Nobody here disputes abortion kills a kid." Americanist, 10:19 am.

Folks, please....passion is great, but you have to read the people's words with some level of detachment.

Americanist is a stickler for precision in language. He may well enjoy dubunking anti-abortion discourse, a stance that many on this list understandably find hurtful.

But he is *not,* repeat *not* advocating abortion. It is itself a hurtful charge to suggest that he is. Not only hurtful; it pushes people so charged to more extreme formulations of their views than they would otherwise fashion.

I write this from Illinois where many Catholics watched "prolife" Alan Keyes debate last night and concluded "that's not me!" Beware the type of prolife advocacy that drives people to identify as prochoice! Dive into the abundant literature on the unintended consequences of social interventions.

kyle

Susan, I totally agree, and I am almost positive Jay does, too. However, I think that the fact Americanist leaped to the conclusion he did -- that because Jay said pro-death people think abortion is all about sex, therefore pro-lifers must, too -- is telling. And the choice of priorities if one accepts that premise, as Americanist apparently does, is even more telling: the right to sex even takes priority over the right to life.

But I've gotta leave it there with our friend. It's useless to try to persuade those who will not see.

kyle

Mike McG,

Americanist is advocating a "right" to abortion despite the fact that it takes the life of a human being.

Mike

Americanist-

It's clear that you don't understand words.

Mike

Cali Girl

Some people here are just trying to pick this a part... From me, this is beautiful.... God bless Archbishop Chaput.

SiliconValleySteve

In a previous thread here, someone suggested that if I just ignore Americanist, he would go away. Sound advise.

Does anyone here believe that a dialogue with him is getting anywhere. He just want to play semantic games and stir people up. As was suggested to me and I suggest to others.

Ignore him and he will go away.

Bob Kunz

> Governments don't grant rights. "We, the People" institute governments to PROTECT our rights.

This is a part of our founding principle, but if "governments don't grant rights", they do come from somewhere:

"endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights"

Zhou De-Ming 周德明

Prof. Janet E. Smith boldly links Western sexual revolution and abortion. Two paragraphs:

The Supreme Court decision has made completely unnecessary, any efforts to 'expose' what is really behind the attachment of the modern age to abortion. As the Supreme Court candidly states, we need abortion so that we can continue our contraceptive lifestyles. It is not because contraceptives are ineffective that a million and a half women a year seek abortions as back-ups to failed contraceptives. The 'intimate relationships' facilitated by contraceptives are what make abortions 'necessary'. 'Intimate' here is a euphemism and a misleading one at that. Here the word 'intimate' means 'sexual'; it does not mean 'loving and close'. Abortion is most often the result of sexual relationships in which there is no room for a baby, the natural consequence of sexual intercourse.

The connection between contraception and abortion is primarily this: contraception facilitates the kind of relationships and even the kind of attitudes and moral characters that are likely to lead to abortion. The contraceptive mentality treats sexual relationship as a burden. The sexual revolution has no fondness - no room for - the connection between sexual intercourse and babies. The sexual revolution simply was not possibly until fairly reliable contraceptives were available.

Survivor

I say we vote the Americanist troll off the island. Maybe he can take Esquire with him.

Intelligent debate is one thing. This sort of semantic baiting is another. Its frankly dreadfully boring stuff.

Faith

Americanist- Do you know what "is" is?

alicia

Many women who "choose" abortion do so because they feel they really have no other choice. Pro-choice presents abortion, adoption, and parenting as being choices of equal value. When the archbishop says, <> I hear that death isn't always the choice that is made. The evil here is that abortion is even a thinkable choice.
I am personally getting burned out from hearing women cry about their abortions. I hear about them weeks later, months, sometimes years. Even those who believe that it was 'the best they could do' have enormous guilt, anger, and regret. I don't try to pick at their wounds, and where I work is aggressively secular in its provision of health care, so it isn't like I am at a project Rachel or Post-abortion healing group!
We do need to provide support, preferably before some one gets into the situation where abortion seems to be even an option. Giving women permission to be chaste might be a good start. Encouraging men to also be chaste would also help.

Davi(d)

Mike McG wrote:

"I write this from Illinois where many Catholics watched "prolife" Alan Keyes debate last night and concluded "that's not me!" Beware the type of prolife advocacy that drives people to identify as prochoice! Dive into the abundant literature on the unintended consequences of social interventions."

What did Keyes say that you disagreed with? Is there a transcript of his debate up? Usually, Keyes is very well spoken on abortion.

Don

It seems to me that the bishop’s statement, “The "choice" in abortion always involves the choice to end the life of an unborn human being”, is objectively true.

The “choice”, of course, also involves the choice to carry a child to term. These are the two “choices” involved that a pro-choice mother must choose between: the first, to abort her child, and the second, to carry that child to term. These are also the two “choices” involved that pro-choice people support: the legal right for a mother to abort her child, and the legal right for that mother to carry her child to term.

Being pro-choice does not, for example, refer to the choice of whether to root for the Cardinals or the Reds Sox, or whether to have chicken or fish for dinner.

It always “involves” the choice to end the life of an unborn human being, and the choice to carry that unborn human being to term.

The fact that the bishop did not include the second “choice” involved, carrying a child to term, does not disprove his statement that, "choice in abortion always involves the choice to end the life of an unborn human being".

- Don

Neil

Those who, like Zhou De-Ming, liked the Archbishop's quotation of Karl Barth might like to read what Barth wrote about abortion in his Church Dogmatics (in the fourth part of the third volume):

"At this point again we have first and supremely to hear the great summons to halt issued by the command. Can we accept this responsibility? May this thing be? Must it be? Whatever arguments may be brought against the birth and existence of the child, is it his fault that he is here? What has he done to his mother or any of the others that they wish to deprive him of his germinating life and punish him with death? Does not his utter defencelessness and helplessness, or the question of whom they are destroying, to whom they are denying a future even before he has breathed and seen the light of the world, wrest the weapon from the hand of his mother first, and then from all the others, thwarting their will to use it? Moreover, this child is a man for whose life the Son of God has died, for whose unavoidable part in the guilt of all humanity and future individual guilt He has already paid the price. The true light of the world shines already in the darkness of the mother's womb. And yet they want to kill him deliberately because certain reasons which have nothing to do with the child himself favour the view that he had better not be born! Is there any emergency which can justify this? It must surely be clear to us that until the question is put in all its gravity a serious discussion of the problem cannot even begin, let alone lead to serious results.

"The fact that a definite No must be the presupposition of all further discussion cannot be contested, least of all to-day. The question arises, however, how this No is to be established and stated if it is to be a truly effective No. In face of the wicked violation of the sanctity of human life which is always seriously at issue in abortion, and which is always present when it is carried out thoughtlessly and callously, the only thing which can help is the power of a wholly new and radical feeling of awe at the mystery of all human life as this is commanded by God as its Creator, Giver and Lord. Legal prohibitions and restrictions of a civil, moral, and supposedly spiritual kind are obviously inadequate to instil this awe into man. Nor does mere churchmanship, whether Romanist or Protestant, provide the atmosphere in which this awe can thrive. The command of God is based on His grace. He summons man to the freedom in which he may live instead of having to live. At root, the man who thinks he must live cannot and will not respect life, whether his own or that of others, far less the life of an unborn child. If it is for him a case of 'must' rather than 'may,' he lacks perspective and understanding to what life is. He is already burdened and afflicted with his own life. He will only too readily explore and exploit all the supposed possibilities by which to shield himself from life which is basically hostile. He will also fall into the mistake of thinking that the life of the unborn child is not really human life at all, and thus draw the inference that he has been given a free hand to maintain or destroy it. Mothers, fathers, advisers, doctors, lawgivers, judges and others whom it may concern to desire, permit, execute or approve this action, will act and think in true understanding of the meaning of human life, and therefore with serious reluctance to take such a step, only if they themselves realise that human life is not something enforced but permitted, i.e., that it is freedom and grace. In these circumstances they will not be at odds with life, whether their own or that of their fellows. They will not always desire to be as comfortable as possible in relation to it. They will not simply take the line of least resistance in what they think and do concerning it. Those who live by mercy will always be disposed to practise mercy, especially to a human being which is so dependent on the mercy of others as the unborn child."

Barth considers exceptions to this No. He asks, "What grounds have we for the absolute thesis that in no circumstances can God will anything but the preservation of a germinating life, or make any other demand from the mother, father, doctor or others invoves? If He can will that this germinating life should die in some other way, might He not occasionally do so in such a way as to involve the active participation of these other men?" Barth seems to mean cases involving the life and health of the mother. The existence of the "exceptional case" does compel Barth to write about abortion and the law, "The legal rules are obviously useful, and even have an indirect ethical value as general directions to those involved, particularly doctors and judges. On the other hand, they are not adapted to serve as ethical criteria, since obedience to the command of God must have the freedom to move within limits which may sometimes be narrower and sometimes broader than even the best civil law." The Church, says Barth, must not oppose the horror of abortion by becoming a teacher of the Law; she must oppose abortion by proclaiming the free mercy of God which, though irreducible to human law, truly grants freedom to man.

Thank you.

Neil

ben

I agree with TA that the Archbishop's MAIN point was to argue that the pro-life community has just as much a right to make its case as those who favor legal abortion. However, the Archbishop was not speaking to this MAIN point when he made the remark about "choice" always being to kill an innocent human being.

So, I don't see how it could possibly be a "big clanging flaw", if it was tangental to his MAIN point.

That being said however, even with the sentence in question the good Archbishop here is guilty of nothing more than a sloppy grammatical construction, not saying something that is not true. I think that ALL reasonable people understand him to be clarifying that the issue in the abortion debate is the legality of killing unborn human beings. Nobody thinks (not even TA) that the archbishop is opposed to women giving birth to live babies. So, to construe his words to mean anything else is to engage the argument in bad faith. We are, after all, seeking the truth here, aren't we? Or are you just interested in scoring sophistic points?

Faith

The opposite of pro-life is pro-death... calling it pro-"choice" is a lame attempt to make it sound less barbaric. As Catholics we know the truth... luke-warm, fence-sitting is an attitude the Bible warns against, and that is what a pro-choice vote is. Is voting pro-life too much for Christ to ask, after everything He's done for us? It is the very least we can do for Him!

BA

TA:

"truth is stronger than falsehood, so if it fails to persuade, it's simply bad technique."

I'm sorry but this is just sloppy. Aristotle wrote the first manual on rhetoric precisely because it's so much easier to persuade people with falsehood than with truth. (And, he said, it would be a shame if those who had the truth did not render their due diligence to the truth's prevailing). Socrates died to show the Athenians how corrupt and corrupting democracy was, that it destroyed the truth when it came among them.

Jesus said men like darkness better than light. The darkness cannot overcome the light, but it can easily overpower men's minds. Men crucified the Way, the Truth, and the Life when he walked among them. Let's have no sentimental, American pieties about the honest people.

Heck, even Carl Sandburg and Walt Whitman with all their pious patriotism could not and would not swallow that one. (Or else Whitman would not have written pseudonymous reviews of his own Leaves of Grass praising himself as the "true" American poet).

Feminists are wrong about abortion but right on another thing. Men are pigs. They devour slop and trample pearls.

theAmericanist

No, the bishop is opposed to the idea that giving birth to a live baby is a choice that the woman makes -- morally or legally,

That's why he excluded it, when he said that the choice ALWAYS involves killing the kid. It does not -- that's why the way he conceives (I think just rhetorically, but it's revealing) of this is false. Women who can choose abortion can also choose to give birth -- but he didn't frame the question of "choice" that way, because he excludes the latter from what 'choice' means.

To clarify (as Zhou De-Ming can tell you), China regards the issue in precisely the opposite way: pregnant women often do NOT have the choice to give birth. That view is just as anti-choice as a ban on abortion, and for the same reason.

Neil, I don't understand Barth when you quote him: "[God] summons man to the freedom in which he may live instead of having to live. At root, the man who thinks he must live cannot and will not respect life, whether his own or that of others, far less the life of an unborn child. If it is for him a case of 'must' rather than 'may,' he lacks perspective and understanding to what life is. He is already burdened and afflicted with his own life. He will only too readily explore and exploit all the supposed possibilities by which to shield himself from life which is basically hostile...."

If I read that right, it supports what I'm saying, that 'choice' is a moral value in its own right, which is precisely the opposite of what the bishop said.

So when you go on to say of Barth: "The Church, says Barth, must not oppose the horror of abortion by becoming a teacher of the Law; she must oppose abortion by proclaiming the free mercy of God which, though irreducible to human law, truly grants freedom to man," I dunno if you're saying that it is a good thing that women have the (moral) choice to give birth, or a bad thing -- because it means they also have the (legal, not moral) choice to abort a baby.

Which is it?

Jay Anderson

"About the "is it about sex?" issue: I really think it is a very bad idea for the prolife movement to move onto this ground. I agree that one of the reasons the proabortion folks believe that abortion is absolutely necessary is because on the whole they believe in this "right to sex." But we are not against abortion because we do not believe in the "right to sex.""

I only point out the sex thing when pro-aborts try to make the "choice" issue sound like they are protecting something of high value (i.e. when they claim it's about protecting women's lives and health). They do that to place their position on par with the pro-life position (i.e. they claim to be protecting lives, too).

The problem is that they are not. They are protecting "free love". But, when you place protecting "free love" against protecting the lives of an entire class of people, they lose. They sacrifice that which has the greatest value to selfish hedonism. But to put it in such stark terms is a loser for them. So, they try to make abortion about women's lives and women's health.

I merely point out their true agenda. The pro-life agenda is not about sex, it's about protecting innocent lives. Protecting innocent lives trumps protecting "free love". Human rights trumps selfish hedonism.

Bob Kunz

Karl Barth's working through the issue of abortion adds an interesting sidebar to the piece, though I would suggest it endemic to the "disorder of the world" that should drive one to "clasp the hands in prayer" (the difficulty presented in any intellectual treatment of the subject, that is).

Jay Anderson

Americanist: "Jay gives it away: "Psst. Just between you and me, the dirty little secret is that "choice" is really about choosing to have sex anytime, anywhere, with anyone, and without any consequences.""

The only thing I've given away is the selfish hedonistic motives behind why the pro-aborts want to protect the "choice" to kill innocent unborn babies (hint: it ain't about "women's health").

I doubt very seriously any pro-lifer cares one bit about the sex lives of those who would choose to kill their unborn children. Our concern is with seeing those children brought into the world alive.

But you seem to be grabbing at any string you think available in order to argue that the "choice" is about ANYTHING other than abortion.

Don't confuse motives with means. "Free love" may the motive of the pro-aborts, but abortion is the means of "choice".

RP Burke

A reply to Faith.

The opposite of pro-life is pro-death... calling it pro-"choice" is a lame attempt to make it sound less barbaric.

Actually, the terminology is the result of the completely different worldviews of the principal antagonists.

There's no need to explain to this group how "pro-life" came about. Thus, the opponents of the pro-life movement are "pro-death," and pro-lifers' general slogan would be, "Take your hand off that baby, you murderer!"

The term "pro-choice" has its origins in a secular feminism that doubts the right of a church -- especially one that denies women any authority in its power structure -- to intervene in the secular realm with what it sees as a woman's personal decision. Its opponents are "anti-choice," and pro-choicers' general slogan would be, "Take your hand off that woman, you oppressor!"

That these terms attempt to define opponents as evil drives editors nuts.

Faith

RP B: Are you referring to the secular feminism whose aging members are now busily deluding themselves into thinking they're all pagan goddesses? Yeah, we've met...

Libby

It is SO sad that American(s)- people use an intellect, a learning through study and university to fight semantics and things - really I can not, because I do not have THAT same education.

All I know is that EVERYTHING that is discussed now-a-days is delved into far too deeply, and we need to stick to basics and facts and not the games and the head-reeling discourses that you all seem to partake in on a regular basis (some to soothe their guilt?).

abortion KILLS a human being - period.

Sam Schmitt

OK, let's go over this one more time, shall we? When Kerry et al speak of "protecting a woman's right to choose" he is not, repeat NOT, talking about protecting a woman's right to choose to have a baby, he is talking ONLY about a woman's "right" to choose to have an abortion. Everyone in the United States of America - including theAmericanist - knows this. So the "choice" Kerry is talking about "always involves abortion", which is what the Archbishop said and what he means by his (now-famous) quote.

theAmericanist

Hear, hear -- I'm all for clarity. So here's what it looks like:

Psst.... "pro-choice" simply means the woman gets to decide. It doesn't mean women in comfortable shoes who think they're pagan goddesses. It doesn't mean sex without consequences. It doesn't mean that men are pigs -- nor paragons. It simply means that SHE gets to decide. Not the government. Not ... you guys. She does.

So long as the baby is inside her body -- and it is HER body -- the civic issue is: her body, her choice.

The less pro-life folks admit that as a simple fact, somehow found in the Consttution and upheld by the Supremes for 31 years, and continue t preclude its centrality to the argument (as the bishop did by excluding that most women actually CHOOSE to give birth), the more you alienate the very folks you want to persuade.

Ya know, the more I read these comments, the more I think that folks don't WANT to persuade anybody, just as it is somehow not a legit goal for many to actually seek policies that result in fewer abortions (if they're avoided for the WRONG reasons, of course -- and by the wrong methods). Folks are just much more comfortable dissing people who disagree, denigrating their motives -- and avoiding clarity like it's cooties.

JG

Ever felt as if your being played?

JG

Ahem...you're

ben

A thought experiment:

Let us suppose the US Supreme Court found that I have a right to privacy in my living room. Let us suppose that my privacy interests in my living room were given sufficient prioity by the court that I was found also to have the right to kill people in my living room: my living room, my choice.

Now, if I had such a right, certainly people might come and go in my living room often, without my killing them. In fact, since I am personally opposed to living room killing, I would choose to let all who entered my living room live. In this I would be exercising my right to choose. Even if others killed people in their living rooms (especially those who were not invited in, like police and firemen).

Now suppose somebody didn't think that my right to choose to murder people in my living room was legitimate; they might say something like, "This right to choose you talk about, it just means the right to murder people in your living room."

Would make sense to reply to them, "No, you don't understand, I want to protect my right to choose to let people live in my livingroom, this is a choice I make, why are you denying that? It's not like anybody is going around forcing people to kill people in their living rooms. Why are you denying me the choice to let people live?"

Would that make sense?

al

Ben,
Substitute "Nazi Germany, a Soveriegn State which holds the power of putting citizens to death" for "your living room", and I think you'll have an even stronger analogy.

Faith

Unfortunately, there are too many people who have nastily remarked how horrible the Catholic Church is, and that Catholics have no right to impose their pro-life beliefs on anyone else. This is America, and we Catholics can thank God that we have the opportunity to serve Him by voting pro-life, without being convicted.

Roz

So long as the baby is inside her body -- and it is HER body -- the civic issue is: her body, her choice.

There, straight out, is the arrogant fallacy.

My money, sitting on deposit in Joe's bank, is not Joe's money but mine. He is responsible to me for his stewardship. The owner of a beating heart inside me with a gene map different from my own is not me, and that being is not mine to dispose of. He or she is being held in a trust account for which stewardship I am responsible.

Accepting this is part of being a grown up.

Cheryl

Well Mike McG, has Americanist FINALLY cleared it all up for you?

"Her body, her choice" is what he said. Except he left one person out of the equation. Americanist can jump through all the semantic hoops he wants, the difference between his position and Bishop Chaput's couldn't be more clear.

If saying so is "the type of prolife advocacy that drives people to identify as prochoice..." then I guess I'm guilty as charged.

BA

TA:

First, no, this isn't a forum for persuading non Catholics, duh. It's a place where Catholics meet to talk to each other.

Second: "So long as the baby is inside her body -- and it is HER body -- the civic issue is: her body, her choice."

Ok, I'm pro-choice on taxes then. So long as the money is in my bank account, I shouldn't have to pay taxes on it. Do you, TA, support a national sales tax and the repeal of all income and property taxes? That's the only "pro-choice" as far as taxes go. If you don't want to pay taxes, don't buy anything. Your choice.

Of course, few adhere to such nonsense. If government money, which does not live and breath and have a human heart, can be so protected, why can't the government uphold the inaliable right to life of the citizens who will in the future sustain it?

theAmericanist

Roz is right morally, but wrong as a matter of civics. Confusing the two is a mistake.

Clear it up any?

(patiently) I keep noting that it is -- as a matter of fact and law -- a choice that pregnant women have, to give birth or abort the kid. Habitually insisting that no, it isn't a choice because the only "choice" involved is killing the kid, denies that -- as a matter of a fact and law -- most women CHOOSE to give birth.

Lordy, is there ANYBODY reading this thread who notices that I keep describing with strict accuracy what the Supremes have consistently upheld are the Constitutional facts of the matter?

Why DO you guys try so hard to live in a parallel universe where "choice" means "no choice", where "she decides" "ALWAYS involves" killing the baby?

Why bite somebody who simply says how it is, not how you wish it would be?

(BA, you might seek the advice of an accountant. I don't believe you're required to pay taxes until they're due.)

Neil

Dear Americanist,

Thank you for your questions about choice being "a moral value in its own right." I think that they resolve into the basic question: Does Karl Barth agree with Archbishop Chaput? I am not an expert on Karl Barth (or Archbishop Chaput!), but I think that the answer is yes and no. I hope that the following discussion doesn't get us away from the major issue here; I hope that it helps clarify what we mean by "choice."

1. Barth and Chaput believe that the state can and should restrict abortion. Barth writes, "The medieval period, which in this case extended right up to the end of the 18th century, was therefore quite right in its presuppositions when it regarded and punished abortion as murder. It is indeed an action which in innumerable cases obviously has the character of murder, of an irresponsible killing which is both callous and wicked, and in which one or more or perhaps all the participants play more or less consciously an objectively horrible game." Barth does not protest against the Swiss Penal Code and claims that "the legal rules are obviously useful, and even have an indirect ethical value as general directions to those involved, particularly doctors and judges." I suppose that, for both Barth and Chaput, "choice" is not a moral value in its own right if it logically entails that the state cannot punish an obvious form of murder, because then the state would completely lose its identity as "an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer" (Romans 13.5).

2. In his few pages on abortion, however, Barth criticizes the Roman Catholic Church twice. About the then present situation, which he laments, Barth writes, "Nevertheless, there can be no doubt that the abstract prohibition which was pronounced in the past, and which is still the only contribution of Roman Catholicism in this matter, is far too forbidding and sterile to promise any effective help." Barth also talks negatively about the "attitude of the Roman Church" which "has been primarily a teacher of the Law." Barth believes that the Protestant Church (of which he is a member) should not be more lax than the Roman Catholic Church, but, instead of delivering abstract and sterile prohibitions, must preach a "Thou mayest" which includes a "Thou mayest not," "the No having the force not merely of the word of man but of the Word of God."

Barth would worry, I think, that Archbishop Chaput has written 1,000 words without finding any need to mention Jesus Christ at all. Barth would say that we can only respect life when we grasp two things that are revealed in Scripture. First, life is a mystery given from God, which must be affirmed and willed in obedience to God and in charity to others, not lived irresponsibly while measuring everything according to one's own needs. Second, life does not consist in a desperate, absolute will to live, but in free obedience to God's decrees and commands, combined with hope in the life to come. Barth would suggest that the Christian Church needs to combat abortion not with the negativity of the Law - "Thou shalt not" - but with a proclamation of the Gospel that clearly manifests the respect for life against which abortion is an offense. Archbishop Chaput does not do this.

3. While Barth does not oppose the criminalization of abortion, he thinks that it cannot be fully dealt with by the law. "The required calculation and venture in the decision between life and death obviously cannot be subject to any human law, because no such law can grasp the fulness of healthy or sick, happy or unhappy, preserved or neglected human life, let alone the freedom of the divine command and the obedience which we owe to it." But in difficult cases that the law cannot deal with, Barth does not suggest that "choice" can run amuck. "Choice" proceeds with an intensified sense of obedience to God - it realizes that what is at stake must be life against life, it proceeds with caution and resolution, it proceeds always before God and in responsibility to him, it only proceeds with faith that God will forgive any elements of human sin involved. Archbishop Chaput has more faith in laws than Karl Barth - Chaput believes that abortion is a matter of societal principles, views and laws. Barth instead suggests that "obedience to the command of God must have the freedom to move within limits which may sometimes be narrower and sometimes broader than even the best civil law."

So, on one hand, Barth may seem to value "choice" more than Chaput, because he appeals to a "testimony of freedom" against "abstract and sterile prohibition," and he suggests that the "decision between life and death obviously cannot be subject to any human law." But, for Barth, this "choice" is the freedom of the Christian which always proceeds in responsibility and obedience - it is always bound to the God whose light shines in the darkness of the womb. Thus, it is more opposed to the secular version of "choice" than even Archbishop Chaput's hopes of prohibition.

Thank you again.

Neil

Rich Leonardi

But he is *not,* repeat *not* advocating abortion. It is itself a hurtful charge to suggest that he is. Not only hurtful; it pushes people so charged to more extreme formulations of their views than they would otherwise fashion.

That's right. He just semantically fiddles and parses while abortion rages on. All that moral obfuscation is really in defense of good grammar.

Mike McG...

Let me see if I understand:

People for whom abortion policy...not abortion, mind you...is conflictual enter into dialogue in an arena dominated by people for whom abortion policy is both obvious and incontrovertible.

The former explore certain positions distinct from those espoused by the official church. Met with derision and contempt by the latter and not permitted to inhabit any middle ground, exploration of the merits of prochoice policy hardens into firm prochoice conviction. Attempts at mutual understanding are sabotaged and both 'sides' walk away wounded but even more firmly entrenched in the discourse as so framed.

Who wins?

I submit that no one wins. Certainly not the vulnerable unborn for whom a productive reframing of abortion is a matter of life and death. And certainly not the American Catholic community that is being irreparably rended by disputes, not over the morality of abortion, but over the appropriate public policy response.

The most politically absolutist prolifers can easily converse with other politically absolutist prolifers just as the most politically absolutist prochoicers can easily converse with other politically absolutist prochoicers. But conversation, let alone persuasion, in the critical center is *impossible* until we have an honest conversation about having a conversation about abortion.

There *is* a better way, as demonstrated by the Public Conversations Project. (See: www.publicconversations.org). They actually assisted prolife and prochoice advocates to *understand* each other, a much needed first step.

For a quick summary of literature on social psychology of communications specific to abortion, check out "Character Strengths and Virtues" by Peterson & Seligman, Oxford University Press, 2004, pages 146-153.

c matt

Lordy, is there ANYBODY reading this thread who notices that I keep describing with strict accuracy what the Supremes have consistently upheld are the Constitutional facts of the matter?

Yes, you have described with strict accuracy what the SCOTUS has held. But, as you should well know, these discussions are not about what the SCOTUS says the Constitution means, but what the Constitution, in reality does mean,a nd more importantly, what is proper and just in a civilized society. Yes, thank you for your accurate, but rather irrelevant, exposition of current SCOTUS majority writing. And incidentally, the SCOTUS has not upheld Constitutional "facts" (no such thing), but Constitutional "law," on the matter. So what you said is, in a technical sense, FALSE.

c matt, CPA

BA, you might seek the advice of an accountant. I don't believe you're required to pay taxes until they're due.

Actually, you are required to pay them before they are "due". Taxes are withheld by employees at every disbursement throughout the year. Because a tax return (with all final deductions, allowances and credits) is not due until the 15th of the first quarter of the year following the the earnings, a final "amount due" is not determined until then. If more has been withheld, then you are entitled to a refund. Thus, you have advanced the government money that it is not due (interest free, I might add).

Likewise for the self-employed who are required to make quarterly deposits in the same fashion.

c matt, CPA

Sorry, s/b "taxes are withheld by employers"...

theAmericanist

LOL -- interesting pair to juxtapose:

"He just semantically fiddles and parses while abortion rages on. All that moral obfuscation is really in defense of good grammar."

And:

"...thank you for your accurate, but rather irrelevant, exposition of current SCOTUS majority writing. And incidentally, the SCOTUS has not upheld Constitutional "facts" (no such thing), but Constitutional "law," on the matter. So what you said is, in a technical sense, FALSE."

Um, c matt: you're not a Justice. Neither am I. Seven of the current 9 Justices were nominated by Republicans (five? I think) by ostensibly pro-life Presidents. Yet it's been 31 years, and ... (sigh).

Neil: I'm glad you cleared up the Barth thing. LOL -- "yes and no". Gotta love the clarity.

The thing about Archbishop Chaput's argument, that pro-lifers generally and Catholics in particular being more or less like anybody else in the great scrum of ideas, is that it is an AMERICANIST ideal, first articulated by Bishop Ireland and Monsignor Denis O'Connell 115 some years ago.

You all -- and the Archbishop, as well -- oughta take the lesson.

It is NOT morally superior to fail to persuade folks to do the right thing -- especially based on demonstrably false arguments that simply do not reflect (sorry, c matt) the facts of life.

One last time: the bishop said the choice ALWAYS involves killing the kid. That's not so, because most of the time, the choice is actually to give birth.

I still wanna know what the pro-life argument would lose by stating the choice accurately.

Anybody wanna explain that?


theAmericanist

(smile) c matt, it's a technical point and off topic, but since you're bragging that you're a CPA: I know it is standard practice for employERs to withhold income tax, but I do not believe it is actually a requirement of the law. Am I wrong? That is -- can't you opt for no withholding?

Does it not merely impose an extra burden on the employee, if they choose (the W-4 form, if memory serves?), to accurately calculate their taxes from income and pay it in a lump sum each year? (I forget what the law says about the employer, but I was talking about the employee taxes, not the employer's responsibility for witholding, whcih is what I think got Willie Nelson, right?)

Likewise, I believe the example the guy cited was to try comparing taxable income and capital gains in his accounts, which he analogized to the right to privacy tht women have in their wombs: 'pro-choice', he argued, would mean he didn't have to pay taxes on what is "his".

Of course it doesn't.

That's why I noted that I don't think he has to pay taxes before they're due -- the government doesn't require people to make those no-interest loans, do they? it;s just standard practice, for good reason.

You're a CPA, tell us: isn't it true that lots of folks who are self-employed or who have other forms of income (e.g., writers) without employers doing withholding make a point of managing their tax payments so that they get the use of money for investment purposes as long as possible before paying what they owe in taxes, precisely to avoid that problem?

(grin) Wasn't I right?

c matt

The pro-life argument wouldn't lose a thing - the problem is, 70 some odd posts later, you are still incorrect about the Bps. words.

"The "choice" in abortion always involves the choice to end the life of an unborn human being"

You are translating, changing, rewording this to say:

"The "choice" in abortion always results in the choice to end the life of an unborn human being." This, he simply did not say.

To use a less controversial subject "the "choice" to step up to the plate always involves the "choice" to swing the bat." Doesn't mean you will swing the bat every time. And by saying that, you are not saying someone will swing every time.

ben

TA,

Nobody disputes the notion that people have a choice to kill or not to kill. What they dispute is that there is a choice to give birth to a live child or not. Because if you choose not to give birth to a live child it really MEANS you have decided to kill him.

I don't understand what your objection is. The Archbishop is saying that we should outlaw the choice of killing unborn children. Everybody knows that is what he is saying.

Do you understand him to be saying something different?

Nobody in the pro-life movement would object to saying that it would be good to outlaw the killing of unborn children.

You are arguing against nothing, a strawman.

You are using grammatical sleight-of-hand to suggest tht the Archbishop has caught himself in a contradiction. I have no doubt that the good Archbishop would agree with the proposition that all women should CHOOSE not to kill their children.

WHAT IS YOUR POINT?

It is not news that a person can choose good or evil, and it is not news that many evil choices ought to be illegal. The choice of abortion is one of them.

The pro-life side looses nothing by saying that. Indeed, they say it all the time. Aoborting children should be illegal, women should carry them to term.

You aren't really saying anything.

al

C Matt,
Not that it'll help, but case closed in you're last post. Its to bad the html doesn't support flashing, as well as bold and ital. Maybe it'd get the point across.

Zhou De-Ming 周德明

These comments make my head hurt. Like trying to understand Dao De Jing. I post chapter 1 here.

The Dao that can be told of
Is not the Absolute Dao;
The Names that can be given
Are not Absolute Names.
The Nameless is the origin
of Heaven and Earth;
The Named is the Mother
of All Things.

Therefore:
Oftentimes, one strips oneself of passion
In order to see the Secret of Life;
Oftentimes, one regards life with passion,
In order to see its manifest results.

These two
(the Secret and its manifestations)
Are (in their nature) the same;
They are given different names
When they become manifest.
They may both be called
the Cosmic Mystery:
Reaching from the Mystery
into the Deeper Mystery
Is the Gate to the Secret of All Life.
----

Sometimes I think it is better to stop reasoning and just smile, drink tea, and pray, and wash the dishes.

Rich Leonardi

Somehow when tP/tA writes "LOL" I imagine more of a snicker or a cackle.

Han Ng

"Choice" in the way Americanist wishes to define it really has nothing to do with civics or with the law. "Choice" is not a moral good. "Choice," in the abstract, is nothing more than the term given to the activity of human free will. "Choice" in this sense, then exists whether or not there is legalised abortion because "Choice" as an abstract concept has nothing to do with the law. His Grace was not using the word "Choice" in this way, the Pro-Choice lobby does not use the word in this way, and nobody on this blog but Americanist is using the word in this way. To use an abstract definition of "Choice" obscures the issue and does not really add anything worthwhile to the debate. It is like insisting that "Green" is such-and-such wavelength in a debate about whether a particular skirt matches a particular hat.

Choice in the parlance of American political discourse always means "right to have an abortion." The Pro-choicers are not defending a woman's right to carry a child to term. This was a right before Roe and it is a right now. What is new is the "right" to abort the child, and "right to choose" always means the right to abort the child and not face civil or criminal sanctions. It does not mean the right to carry the child to term, it does not mean the right to eat at McDonalds rather than Taco Bell, it does not mean the right to carry a firearm (I may choose the pack heat or I may choose not to, but nobody says that the legalty of carrying a firearm is part of the "Right to Choose"). It is Americanist who is living in a parallel universe where political euphamisms do not carry the meanings commonly accepted, not the other posters on this blog who are using the word "Choice" in the way the rest of the country understands it.

The reason why the Pro-Choice folks use the word "Choice" as a euphamism for "abortion" is because they do not understand the nature or purpose of human freedom. They correctly believe that others believe (erroneously) that "choice" in the abstract is some sort of moral good, and therefore disguise thier evil under cover of this supposed good. But as his Grace implied in his editorial, "choice" is nothing more or less than the human condition, and it is the content of the decision that has moral content. To be "Pro-Choice" in the abstract is entirely meaningless since nothing can take away a person's abilty to choose. To be "Pro-Choice" in the context of American life, on the other hand, is evil because it is support of a regime in which there are at least no penatiles for, and perhaps even official encouragement for, choosing to engage in an objectively evil act, namely the killing of innocent life.

Everybody knows that the Supreme Court has created, and tenaciously upheld, the right to engage in this objectively evil act called abortion, against all reason, morality and the democratic will of the American people. The fact remains, however, that the Court is wrong. It should be obvious that Abp. Chaput was writing a normative opinion asserting that the law is not what is ought to be.

To bring up the fact that the Supreme Court has created the right to abortion, then, really is unnecessary in a blog such as this. Everyone here is very much aware of the current sad state--that is why there is a Pro-Life movement. To write "the Supremes said this..." or "the Supremes said that..." as merely a positive statement of fact is not at all on point. The only thing it does is introduce a confusion since the mentioning of such an obvious fact in a forum such as this implies the unspoken conclusion "...therefore it is the way is ought to be." Combined with empty talk about "civics," is it any wonder that many on this blog got the impression that Americanist was encouraging us all to put our trust in princes or in sons of men in whom there is no salvation? Is it any wonder that many got the impression that Americanist had set up a false Magisterium, i.e. the U.S. Supreme Court against the true Magisterium that is protected and guided by the Holy Spirit? To say that the Supreme Court has created and upheld a right to abortion under the circumstances is an inanity on par with standing outside and saying "I am standing outside." To state such an obvious fact introduces confusion not clarity, because the rest of us naturally assume that Americanist is trying to make an argument (and therefore try to figure out what it is), not merely reiterate what everybody already knows.

c matt

Um, Americanist, you still don't get it.

This discussion isn't about what the beknighted idiots on the SCOTUS have or haven't said about the Constitutional "right" to abortion; its about what logic, reasoning and plain English would say about the Constitution "right" to abortion.

And what you were wrong about is the SCOTUS determining Constitutional facts. There is no such thing as Constitutional "facts". There is Constitutional "law". I know it seems a bit overly semantic - like saying something "involves" a choice means it "results" in a certain choice, but, there you have it.

P.S.

IIRC, the w-4 is not optional - you can "opt" for "additional amounts" to be withheld. But if you do not fill one out, assuming an employer would still pay you, they would have to withhold the maximum on you (single, no dependents). So you don't have a choice to "opt out" of any withholding.

c matt

Al, Han, et al:

Sometimes I wonder why I bother (must be bored). But for some reason I keep banging my head against the brick wall known as The Americanist. Sometimes, he, she, it comes close to almost making sense. Then, TA spends 70 posts talking about some absolutely nonsensical thing that is obvious to everyone else on the planet.

JG

TA:

Give it up; there's a good chap.

Joseph R. Wilson

Dear The Americanist,

Glory to you, sir. While it is a crime for you to murder me, you don't have a "choice" to legally take my life. When abortion is eventually made illegal (as we must hope for as faithful Catholics), a mother will no longer have a "choice" to legally take the life of her baby (born or unborn).

BA

Americanist:

You can shift the ground all you want. Allowing millions a choice between A and B means, all things being equal, that both A and B will be chosen. Ergo pro-choice means abortions will be chosen. Given Dignitatis Humanae and other authoritative sources of Tradition and Revelation, no Catholic can opt to allow the "choice" of abortion.

The folks in this country who generally support the choice, actively or by default, generally don't support "choice" for taxes, corporate or individual. Also, whether the government takes my taxes once a week, once a month, or not until April 15, the fact remains, I ain't got a choice.

The word "choice" is a smokescreen.

Please excuse any over tartness in my communications. Life and the ending of life sometimes leave me cranky.

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