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Why This Black Catholic Is NOT Voting Obama
Posted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 3:49 am
Human solidarity causes an outrage: Watch this brief video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8dnvUv6nag
Posted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 8:05 am
Tayi, My Dear Spiritual Friend,
First of all, I want to express my great respect for you and my admiration for your having the courage to express forcefully and eloquently your views in a forum that appears to support Barack Obama with opinions, graphics, songs, as well as funds. Yet, in spite of my own deliberate choice of Obama as the next President of the United States, I would be the first to defend the principle that, individually, we all have the right, the freedom, and the duty to vote based on our conscience and personal understanding of the issues. Again, I salute you and welcome you on this forum as a brother that I love and respect, without regard to philosophical and religious differences. Thanks for taking the time to inform us of your stand.
I profoundly disagree with it. I do not think that a vote for Obama translates to a vote for killing babies. Likewise, I do not think that a vote for McCain translates to a vote for forcing a woman to have a baby, when her own life is in serious danger, due to the complications of a pregnancy which happened as a result of rape by an abusive father.
Though the State deliberately kills people in War and capital punishment cases, I don't know of anyone who urges any woman to go and abort an unborn baby. That is, in all cases that I have been exposed to, an individual choice. A woman (with the support of her partner or not) chooses. That woman will not be dictated her choice in the matter by the President of her country. I believe that it is naive to think otherwise.
Let me select this passage from Nekita's recent post:
[quote]During the Clinton Administration, the U.S. abortion rate declined nearly 30 percent without enacting any legal prohibitions on abortion. Under President Bush, this decline stagnated.[/quote]
In fact, while enjoying the support of the religious right and the Christian fundamentalists, U.S. presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush, have not advanced their so-called pro-life option forward in the last 20 years of republican administrations. Do you seriously believe that a McCain presidency would lead to different results?
Obama is not a baby killer. He does not direct anyone to go and abort babies. Your political stand, which stands from your deeply held religious belief, is not only impractical in that it reduces an election to a single issue amid so many other vital ones, but it could in fact lead to an increase in abortions, based on the negative effects of other issues that you choose to exclude in the exercise of your vote.
I know that I will not convince you. In fairness, I am not at all convinced by your moral arguments either. However, we both have the right to state our views freely.
When Obama becomes our next President, I hope that you will find in your heart a place where you can support his life-affirming positions that have sadly been lacking in the last nightmarish eight years.
Guy S. Antoine
Posted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 12:26 pm
I wish I could vote in this election, but I can't.
And, if I had my wish, my candidate would be categorically for the following items:
1) End the wars in Iraq AND Afghanistan
2) End the undeclared war on Africans (theft of natural resources on the continent and the genocides that are fueled to support it..)
3) End the World Bank and IMF fleecing of impoverished nations like Haiti - where through odious debt service - instead of the World Bank fighting poverty, it is fighting the impoverished
4) Stop the Occupation of Haiti
5) Join the movement for France to return the over 40 billion dollars stolen from Haiti at gun point since the 1825 Charles X ransom
6) Close the torture prisons of Guantanamo right away
I doubt in any election coming to a town near me, in my lifetime I will ever get to vote for such a candidate.
Barack Obama may not offer you the ideal candidate for whom to vote but, like Guy wrote, the man is not advocating that women go and have abortions. On the contrary he seems to offer economic options that would make abortions less frequent in the U.S. THAN WHAT WOULD CONTINUE TO HAPPEN IF THE OTHER GUY (THE IRI CHAIRMAN) GETS ELECTED INSTEAD of him.
So, it is a matter of choosing the best you can get for the moment and continue to work hard to advocate, convince and achieve for the causes you hold dear.
Man, it is still early. Your vote is important. I am not sure how many foetuses a vote for Obama will save. But I am 100% confident that if we risk having the other guy elected, many, many millions of us born, and yet to be born around the globe, will be exposed to senseless wars and other life-threatening situations that are otherwise avoidable.
The voting stations have not yet closed brother. Please vote for LIFE for ALL OF US, BORN AND YET TO BE BORN.
Posted: Sun Nov 30, 2008 9:32 pm
If there is any truth in the statistical data mentioned, then it boils down to a very simple choice between a good speech and the life of hundreds of unborn babies.
Posted: Mon Dec 01, 2008 8:18 am
I am sorry, Gelin, you lost me on that one. I appreciate the virtue of conciseness, but your message here is brief to the point of being cryptic. Ann Pale, brother!
Posted: Mon Dec 01, 2008 9:24 pm
I was listening to a talk show on NPR a few weeks ago and this subject came up. They discussed that the number of abortions per year goes down significantly whenever a democrat is in the white house. If that's the case, I thought to myself, then abortion <u>as a practical matter</u> is less prevalent under democrats, meaning more pregnant women CHOOSE to have their babies when a democrat is in power compared to a republican administration. So, if one is concerned about saving the unborn - ONE BABY AT A TIME - then the choice is clear, or it should be.
Back to my earlier statement, some (like Tayi - no offense, brother) can CHOOSE to stand by the pro-life speech for many reasons (theological, philosophical, ideological, other) and disregard the fact that in reality that speech has NOT YET been translated into tangible actions in that regard - and may never be.
That's ironic, isn't it?
Posted: Mon Dec 01, 2008 10:32 pm
Thank you, Gelin. Now, we're talking!
I agree with you 100%. Again, I highlight this excerpt from Nekita's post: [quote]During the Clinton Administration, the U.S. abortion rate declined nearly 30 percent without enacting any legal prohibitions on abortion. Under President Bush, this decline stagnated.[/quote]
I cannot vouch for its accuracy, but if it is valid, one should think that there are more effective ways of reducing the number of abortions (that is the goal, isn't it?) than applying a litmus test to determine who should become the President of the United States.
Fortunately, the 2012 presidential election season will not start for another two years (I hope), which means that we can focus more on the relevant factors that make people behave the way they do.
Posted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 1:59 am
Guy, thank you for your kind words. I felt comfortable to post this video here partly because I knew I was amongst friends in a sense; I also have seen how fairly you have allowed all to express their views even (maybe especially
) when they are opposed to yours. So, thank you for your fairness.
Also, I want to assure you that I accept Obama as my president and am proud of him for being able to make it that far as a black man. I also hope to do my best to help any life affirming policies he has. Of course I still would not vote for him if elections were to happen again today for the reasons I cited in the video and others.
Life issues are not boiled down to one issue; abortion is the FOREMOST, in the PRIORITY of issues. The issue of the right TO life trumps all other issues that PRESUME life. Of course the other issues are important to me (I would like to think I care about the poor and peace since I plan on spending my entire life for that cause).
I believe we are blinded on the issue of abortion. Most people do not really know the horror of an abortion, what it does to the baby, to the mother, the father and all those affected by it. I would recommend that we inform ourselves on what this tragedy really is. This link gives you the option of seeing some photos captured of killed babies in abortions, many of which babies were thrown in the trash: http://www.priestsforlife.org/images/index.htm
(Do not worry the page does not open to a disturbing image, but gives you different options of images to view). Then I hope you agree with me that abortion is not just another "issue" but it is the slaughter of HUMANS.
Jaf, I hear you brother, and given the facts about abortion and the sheer numbers of it (over one million a year--more than 48 million since Roe v. Wade) I hope that abortion is also on your list of points to consider about a presidential candidate.
Friends, I also notice that no one took up my analogy to slavery (back when there was slavery here). Let us replace abortion with slavery in the views of the candidates, would you still argue to support a candidate who said that he will try to decrease the number of slaves, but will fight for the "fundamental right" of every American to own a slave? What if that candidate also promised to sign legislation that would remove all restrictions against owning slaves on the state and federal level? Would you really overlook that stance in lieu of his other policies that may have a positive effect on the economy etc.? Now please note that I am not saying any candidate actually holds those views, but I present the analogy to draw out a principle. I have a feeling that most of you would think such a candidate would disqualify himself by his very views despite the many words he may say about other "common" issues. And yet abortion is even more heinous but we want to cut Obama some slack on that. We need to wake up and stop being desensitized about the killing of 4000 humans every day.
I'm sure there was some decrease in abortions rates under Clinton, but I cannot find any statistics to back up the the claim that the rates dropped by 30% under Clinton. In fact, the statistics I have looked at flatly disprove that number. You can research this claim from a blogger:
[quote] What about...the claim that the abortion rate dropped due to President Clinton's policies? It's not true. We must remember that correlation does not equal causation. In addition to Clinton being President, state legislatures during these years were dominated by Republicans who were able to pass modest legislation (like public-funding restrictions and informed-consent laws) that effectively reduced state abortion rates--as shown most recently by Michael New. Dr. New also shows that increased spending on welfare only marginally effects the abortion rate [/quote] source:
Also, the data show that abortions rate did in fact decrease under Bush.
Factcheck.org writes: [quote]Obama wrongly claimed that abortions "have not gone down" under President Bush. In fact, the abortion rate has gone down 9 percent, and the annual total has declined by more than 100,000.[/quote]
I would have to disagree that Bush has "not advanced [his] so-called pro-life option". He probably could have done more but notice things such as these (as posted by a friend on Facebook):
[quote]PRO-LIFE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION
1) Appointed Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. The appointments resulted in the upholding of the federal partial-birth abortion ban by a 5-4 decision.
2) Reinstituted the Mexico City Policy, begun by the Reagan Administration and reversed by the Clinton Administration (when Congress tried to reinstitute the policy, Clinton vetoed the bill), that bars foreign aid funding to groups that perform or advocate for abortions. In 2003, the Bush Administration expanded the Mexico City Policy to include not just funds dispensed by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), but also the State Department.
3) Discouraged advancement of pro-abortion legislation by announcing early in his administration that he would veto legislation that threatened pro-life policy.
4) Signed the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act, which made it a federal crime not to treat babies who survive abortion.
5) Signed the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban of 2003.
6) Signed Unborn Victims of Violence Act, recognizing the unborn child as a separate crime victim if injured or killed during an assault.
7) Cut off all federal funds to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) for its involvement in China's one-child policy which includes forced abortion and sterilization. President Bush sent a fact-finding mission to China which found that the nation's one-child policy was indeed coercive in nature and that the UNFPA was an integral part of implementing that policy, placing the UNFPA in clear violation of the Kemp-Kasten Amendment that prohibits any aid to any program that involves forced abortion or forced sterilization. Tens of millions of dollars that otherwise would have gone to the UNFPA were redirected to maternal and child health programs.
8 ) Thwarted efforts at the United Nations to promote abortion by instructing U.S. delegates to state at every appropriate opportunity that America does not regard anything in any document before the U.N. to establish any international right to abortion.
9) Issued Executive Order banning the use of new lines of embryonic stem cells in federally funded experiments. Later vetoed legislation passed by Congress to permit federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.
10) Signed the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005, which will fund research using umbilical cord and adult stem cells. The measure provides funding to increase the inventory of cord blood units available to match and treat patients and to link cord blood banks so that doctors have a single source to search for cord blood and bone marrow matches. It also reauthorizes the National Bone Marrow Registry.
11) Launched public awareness of adoption campaign, working with the National Council for Adoption and pregnancy help centers across the country. The campaign sponsored conferences encouraging faith based communities to promote adoption and produced public service announcements featuring the First Lady urging the adoption of foster children.
12) Established the first federal government and national website listing and showing children available for adoption across the country ().
13) Increased the tax credit for adoption related expenses from $5,000 to $10,000; for special needs children, the credit was raised from $5,000 for qualified adoption related expenses to $10,000 for any adoption related expenses. This was done as part of the President's tax relief bill.
14) Annually declared Sanctity of Human Life Day.
15) Issued a federal regulation allowing states to include unborn children in the federal/state S-CHIP program, which provides health insurance for children in poor families. This allowed states to include pre-natal care in the health insurance they offer to poor children under the program.
16) The Bush Administration did what it could to stop assisted suicide from taking further hold in Oregon. The state of Oregon passed an assisted suicide law that allows doctors to prescribe federally controlled drugs in lethal amounts to certain of their patients who say they want to die. Federal law holds that federally controlled drugs may only be prescribed for legitimate medical purposes. During the Clinton Administration, Attorney General Janet Reno decreed that assisted suicide was a legitimate medical purpose in those states that permit it.
During the Bush Administration, Attorney General John Ashcroft changed that ruling, saying that assisted suicide was not a legitimate medical purpose, thereby barring doctors from prescribing lethal drugs. A lawsuit was filed and ultimately, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of allowing the drugs to be used for assisted suicide.
17) Signed legislation making it possible for a federal court to hear whether Terri Schiavo's constitutional rights had been violated by being denied hydration and nutrition.
18 ) Dramatically increased funding for abstinence education through the Department of Health and Human Services, although Congress did not approve the full amount the Bush Administration requested.[/quote]
Now of course, Bush may be far from a hero, but we still have to get the record straight.
You may also notice that in my video I critiqued Obama, but I was not enthusiastic about Mccain either. In fact I did not even mention him. Unfortunately, he too is no pro-life hero. But in this race I thought we were choosing the lesser of two evils in several considerations. Sort of like what Jaf said, we work with what we can get.
Now one last thing. How in the world could Obama sincerely say he personally opposes abortion and that he wants it to be "rare" when he promised that the first thing he would do as president is to sign the so-called Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA)? See for yourself here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pf0XIRZSTt8
Do you know what effects that such a law would have?
[quote]The Freedom of Choice Act, or FOCA, eliminates even the most modest regulations on abortion and creates a “fundamental right” to abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy. Despite its misleading title claiming freedom of choice, FOCA, co-sponsored by Maryland Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin and Representatives Dutch Ruppersberger and Chris Van Hollen…
Removes the choice of medical providers to refuse in good conscience to provide morally offensive services.
Removes the choice of taxpayers to decline to have their money pay for morally abhorrent procedures.
Removes the choice of state legislatures to undertake reasonable and widely accepted regulations of abortions, including those that increase education and family involvement while reducing the number of abortions.
Not only does FOCA eliminate legitimate conscientious choice, it actually expands the scope of laws to enhance abortion on demand by…
Making abortion a “fundamental” right: Thus, policies now in place by the will of the people and legislatures in many states would be overridden across the nation. (e.g. informed consent, parental notification, and restrictions on government funding of abortions).
Requiring an expansion of government-assisted abortions through military and public hospitals.
Requiring greater taxpayer subsidy of abortions.
A threat to all life, this legislation would also have a terrible impact on Catholic and other pro-life healthcare providers. Of particular note:
FOCA trumps state laws that protect rights of providers (e.g. Catholic hospitals, pharmacists, etc.) to conscientiously object to performing abortions if such state laws are seen to in any way “interfere” with a woman's decision to have an abortion.
FOCA undermines the freedom of religion upon which our country was founded. [/quote] Source:
We can kiss the possibility of overturning Roe v. Wade (soon) goodbye with Obama who will probably have a chance to elect at least one if not two justices during his first term in office thereby preserving the majority of justices against that move.
Friends, this election is already over but there will be others. More importantly, there are still things we can and ought to do today to not only fight for the most vulnerable in the womb but all human persons, to be a true brother or a true sister to them. We also need to pray that we have a restored vision of the true dignity and value of a human person.
OK, any more comments, I have to save for another post...
Posted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 9:17 am
Sorry, I had to butt in whatever Religious rally you're having. But, the irony is why one worries about saving life when he/she is for death Penalty? How about feeding the Poor?
And it always goes down to the "Believers" against the "Infidels"! The latter love or support abortion therefore they're going straight to Hell. For, god (man made) created us with a lot of rules and regulations which would result in harsh punishments if we disobeyed the laws of the "Dictator"...
I am pretty sure Tayi is pro Sex after Marriage only, because God said so. And whatever feelings one had prior to that moment, one had better keep it inside and deal with it. Because, Mr God is also against "Masturbation"!!!
There is so much to cover in this. But, I think I need to let it slide. Because, with a little bit of wisdom, I understand that People would think whatever that converges with their own Agenda. In other words once someone believes in Fairy Tales, Logic and Reason are out of the question.
By the way, Tayi, God did not believe the same way you do. Obama is President regardless. I believe based on the scriptures, everything is God's will!
Besides, I think there are more important things than unwanted pregnancies. And I am pretty sure that people elected him because of what seems important to them, and against Pat Robertson et al's philosophies.
"Is there a place for the Hopeless Sinner who had fooled all mankind just to save his own Belief" (One Love ) by Bob Marley.
Posted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 1:33 pm
Hi Tayi, you make some dramatic appearances often followed by long periods of silence. But I understand that it takes time to go to the top of the mountain, discover the burning bush (and the like), and then come down to spread the good word to "the infidels" (I am borrowing the term this time from Leonel). I am glad that you don't tire from making the trip, however.
When it comes to abortions, I believe more in personal responsibility than in government intervention. In fact, I believe that it is unwise to expect government to enforce strictly a limited set of moral beliefs that are far from being universally shared, at the expense of other fundamental human values such as Women's Health, self-determination, a right to non-coercion by the State when it comes to what happens inside one's own body, etc. Not that I am in favor of abortions. My respect for Life extends even beyond human life, something that is truly not the focus of Christian religions. What carry my favor are parental and pastoral counseling, financial relief, clear alternatives such as adoptions, practically anything other than enforcing criminality on quite often desperate individuals. If abortion is a sin, then being forced by the State to carry a child will not make one less sinful. In fact, it is not likely to prevent the abortion at all. A look back in history will show that abortions happened in every era in every society, and often in quite unsanitary conditions. Women will go to any extreme in other not to carry an unwanted pregnancy, and when they do because they are forced to, the result is often quite tragic for the newborn and the mother. Therefore, while I respect your moral stand, I urge you to always consider the consequences of moral rigidity when it comes to governing communities of people. As Gelin said in his last note, you do have to consider the problem as a practical matter as well. You may be shooting yourself in the foot unless in your view, it's the principle that counts, much more than the results.
I wrote earlier: [quote]I do not think that a vote for Obama translates to a vote for killing babies. Likewise, I do not think that a vote for McCain translates to a vote for forcing a woman to have a baby, when her own life is in serious danger, due to the complications of a pregnancy which happened as a result of rape by an abusive father.[/quote] To better understand where you are coming from, please let me know this: Is abortion in your eyes ever permissible? All cases considered: rape, incest, abnormalities in embryo development, critical danger to the mother's health, teens and pre-teens' pregnancies (a girl I know of was pregnant at age 11), and any combination of the above factors and more... In ALL those cases, is your view still the same?
As for whether the abortion rate actually went down during Clinton's presidency or not, I confess that I have not researched it. But I am not at all impressed by your list of the ways that President Bush has advanced his "pro-life" stance. [See my earlier opinion, THE CULTURE OF LIFE ] In my own view, Bush has forever cheapened his professed "culture of life" by being such an avid executioner and warmonger during his public career. You seem to prioritize the life of an unborn over that of a grown man or woman. I have to say that, if that is an accurate representation, then we do not share the same platform on ethics, and perhaps never will.
As for your analogy to slavery, it appeals unabashedly to the emotional. What strikes me is that our own ancestors and greatest heroes made tactical and strategic alliances with slave-owners all the time in order to enhance the chances for general freedom. Two hundred years later, we can safely say that we would not vote for this slave-owner or that slave-owner. Well, in the case of slavery, we could not vote... period. But I suspect that if we could.. then, even then, we would make some pragmatic decisions.
As for the hoped for reversal of Roe vs. Wade, I think that such an outcome would be a travesty. We would go back to forcing women to have abortions in unsanitary conditions. Why not engage instead in pregnancy prevention (darn Catholic priests still condemn the use of condoms!!!), promoting alternatives to abortions (one woman is having an abortion, while another is spending tens of thousands of dollars to have an infant that is not biologically hers through adoption or medical experimentation... what's up with that?), and professional counseling/mentoring at every stage of our sex lives from childhood to granmounhood? There are so many other ways to address this problem than this fascination with the political/constitutional enforcement of religious standards.
Let's go one step further: since condoms prevent the conception of life, and that is immoral per Catholic doctrine, shouldn't Catholics also be engaged in promoting a constitutional prohibition on the sale of condoms?
Of course not... There are some limits to that logic.
Posted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 11:32 pm
Leonel my friend,
Thanks for stopping by. You always have an ability to bring some laughter even in the most intense conversations. We need that bro.
My friend, do you really think that opposing the direct and intentional killing of vulnerable innocent lives (abortion) is only a RELIGIOUS issue? I mean REALLY???
By the way, I am against the death penalty too in our society. There is no need to kill a criminal when you can keep him in prison.
Feeding the poor? I'm all for it. I'd like to think I am engaged in these causes and am looking forward to dedicating my life to doing that. If you are talking about the Church, well the Catholic Church is probably the biggest charitable organization on the face of the planet. It has been feeding the poor, caring for the sick, the unwanted, the prisoners, and educating people around the world for a couple millennia now. It has entire religious orders dedicated to just those things such as Mother's Teresa's Missionaries of Charity who take on a fourth vow (in addition to the traditional 3) of giving free and whole-hearted service to the poorest of the poor. These accomplishments should make us stop to ask ourselves how much WE have done to help others. I hope you realize, then, that the Church is not just focused on the unborn but, has been caring for the whole human person from conception to natural death (even after death, I would argue
) for much longer than Roe v Wade ever came onto the scene.
As for the other comments I will let them pass. BUT as to "fairy tales" and "men made gods" my brother you gotta defend your assertions? You have made these hit-and-run accusations before, and I would love to start a new thread discussing the scientific and philosophical arguments for a God who created not just man but the entire universe. We will use only logic and reason for that argument. If you will not defend your atheistic claims that is fine, but do not make it seem that those who believe in God have thrown out logic and reason. Just tell me if you are interested in the new thread and I can put it up soon so we can have some cool and balanced discussions on the existence of God from the scientific and philosophical perspectives.
Posted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 11:37 pm
You ask some really good and hard questions, and I am pleased to take them head on, but first, if you do not find it unfair, I would like to ask you a question. You seem to suggest that you personally oppose abortion (except maybe in some cases). If that is the case, may I ask you why? What are your reasons for opposing it? This will help me understand where you are coming from as well.
Posted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 11:59 pm
I apologize for not being able to participate in this exchange in a more engaged fashion. But, allow me to briefly make the following points:
1) I am glad Obama (and NOT McCAIN) got elected, despite the absence of brother Tayi's vote
2) The abortion issue is far from being a clear cut one for me. It involves highly philosophical questions that I am still trying to grasp in my own mind such as when does human life begin to be "sacred" and endowed of rights - from the independent production of sperms and eggs, from the apparently random meeting of one sperm and one egg, from month x, y or z of pregnancy or at birth? How much control should other people exercise over what is happening inside the body of another human being? etc...
3) Although I can appreciate Tayi's argument that abortion is in fact taking away a human life. I fail to see how Catholic Church and dogma can be considered foundational to a pro-life movement of any sort. The history of the entire Christian religion - both Catholic and Protestant - especially as it pertains to us deported Africans of the Americas - is one that tells us of murders upon murders committed by the Church. From Bartholemew de La Casas suggesting and participating in the enslavement of Africans in Haiti and Cuba to the current Pope's dirty work in Latin America against Liberation Theologians like Father Romero, Leonardo Boff etc. I fail to see the desire to protect human life. When it comes to protecting the child molesters who destroyed the lives of thousands of children from all continents (Australia, Canada, Latin America, Africa)....the Church sides with the pedophiles, not the victimized children.
When hurricanes devastate Haiti, Ratzinger, now called Pope who sits in his Inca gold-plated Vatican, offers only "prayers" for the thousands of Haitians who - somehow continue to worship on the unrepenting church whose hands are still soaked in the blood of millions.
I cannot take seriously a bunch of robe wearing men - many of whom have fathered countless children they have not recognized - who somehow consider it to be their prerogative to pass judgement on women who go through abortions. What do these men know about carrying a child to birth?
When the Catholic Church deals with her GIGANTIC CRIMES (Racial slavery, theft of indigenous peoples property, pedophiles still on the pulpit)...then I will begin to take half-seriously their pontifications about other people's so-called "sins". Until then, I suggest that a better guide for such difficult subjects is the collective wisdom of thousands of years of human experience on this planet. We can tap into such wisdom by listening to those who have first hand experience with the topic at hand.
Brother Tayi, I do respect your deep spirituality and strong sense of humanism. So please, do not take personally my irreverence towards Ratzinger et.al. I am honestly puzzled by the fact that this morally bankrupt institution can still have so many beautiful and genuinely spiritual men and women in its ranks.
Kote dlo pase li rantre nan kokoye?
Posted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 7:59 am
[quote]You ask some really good and hard questions, and I am pleased to take them head on, but first[/quote]
Oh Tayi, there is so much on the table already... Let's not address them with preconditions. I have expressed my views at length, so has Jafrikayiti. Also Gelin, whom I have personally coaxed to write more than just a few words. And by the way, the thread that you invited Leonel to already exists... you may have forgotten it. Anyway, brother, I have already spoken my piece, and you know that I will answer any question you ask me, but do not hold my own questions hostage.
Posted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 11:20 am
Don't know if this qualifies as a statistic, but I just bumped into this from Fox News, quoting Hillary Clinton:
[quote]"The abortion rate fell by one-quarter between 1990 and 1995, the steepest decline since Roe was decided in 1973," Clinton said. "The rate fell another 11 percent between 1994 and 2000."[/quote]
Wouldn't that be a 36% drop?
I have no idea where Hillary got her numbers.
Posted: Fri Dec 05, 2008 12:14 am
Would that statement imply a 36% drop? No, it would be closer to 30% and I will try to explain that mathematically.
However, let me preface by saying that I have not at all looked at the data concerning the incidence of abortions during the Bush and Clinton administrations. Gone are the days when statistics so appealed to me that I would go digging at the available numerical data and formulate statistical inferences to make a point. I will leave those tasks to the up and coming generation (Anacaona, Shelony, etc). However, it seems eminently sensible to me that there would be fewer abortions when we were not fighting two wars abroad, when we were not engaged in a disastrous war OF CHOICE, when jobs were more plentiful, when the economy was much stronger, when our lives were not ruled by the fear of our own government, that the abortion rate would have declined. Don't read into my words any intended praise for the Clinton administration. I simply mean to say that I sense that the downbeat mood of the last eight years would be more conducive to a woman choosing to have an abortion than not.
But back to the math embedded in this sentence: "The abortion rate fell by one-quarter between 1990 and 1995, the steepest decline since Roe was decided in 1973...The rate fell another 11 percent between 1994 and 2000." Outside of any other empirical data, I would estimate that if the abortion rate (at the end of 1989) fell by one-quarter in 5 years (1990-1995) then it must have fallen approximately by 20% in four years (1990-1994). Let's say that the abortion rate at the end of 1989 was X%. Then at the end of 1994, it would be (.80) times X%. If the new rate then fell 11% in the next six years, then at the end of 2000 it would stand at 89% of the 1994 rate, which can be expressed as: (.89)(.80) X% or (.71) X%, meaning 71% of the 1989 rate or a decline of 29% in the abortion rate during the last decade of the 20th century. Incidentally, this would conform (more or less) to the quote I cited earlier from the Catholics United website, which stated: "During the Clinton Administration, the U.S. abortion rate declined nearly 30 percent without enacting any legal prohibitions on abortion."
One big caveat though: Though the Clinton administrations dominated the 90's, the first 3 years of that decade belonged to Bush (Senior). Therefore, if those statistics stand, then Clinton would have to share some of the credits with the father, regardless of his son's failures in the end.
Posted: Fri Dec 05, 2008 8:36 am
Guy, you explained that statistical analysis so clearly that even a non-mathematical mind like mine was able to understand. That's what I love about Ann Pale! We're members because we love Haiti and want to learn more about her, but in the process we get to learn about so many other things. Thanks, Guy!
Posted: Fri Dec 05, 2008 10:16 am
You're welcome, Marilyn! And thank you for the Fox News article that you referenced, http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,145342,00.html
, because I think that it addresses squarely a point that I (and Gelin) have tried to make, namely that whether one is "pro-life" or "pro-choice", there is common ground in working together in reducing the rate of abortions and that this is a more productive way of "saving the lives of the unborn" than in continuing a divisive political debate that is so polarizing that it prevents people from working together for the common good. The key factor in all of this is the number of "unwanted pregnancies". Let's be serious in analyzing what will effectively reduce/eliminate that number or convert some of it, if possible, to highly anticipated and much welcome pregnancies.
In the end, the Bush White House now appears to agree:
[quote]Asked about the Clinton criticism, White House spokesman Ken Lasaius said, "The president believes we ought to work together to promote a culture of life."
"He's made it very clear that whether we agree or disagree on the issue of abortion, that we can all work together to take practical steps to reduce the number of abortions that occur," Lasaius added. (...)
The president, speaking by telephone to an anti-abortion rally in Washington, said Monday that "we need most of all to change hearts and that is what we're doing." (...) "seeking common ground where possible" (...) "This is the path of the culture of life that we seek for our country." [/quote]
I commend President Bush for those statements. However, it still puzzles me how he's embraced the fight against abortion and euthanasia so enthusiastically while bequeathing such a strong ["horrible" is the word that truly comes to mind] legacy in war and capital punishment.
"The culture of Life", it appears, is not a universal concept.
Posted: Fri Dec 05, 2008 10:51 am
I also want to take a little time out of this discussion to compliment Tayi for engaging to dedicate the rest of his life to the service of the poor. I hope that he will do so with vigorous social awareness rather than a platform of ideological rigidity. I already know him to be an exceptional young man and brilliant mind. I am just a bit suspicious of the Catholic dogma influence, because I have been through it (believe me...)
Well, let me stop this white lie and confess that I am more than just "a bit suspicious" ... I am not as prosecutorial as Jafrikayiti, only because I do believe in much of the work of some Catholic or otherwise religious organizations, like Pax Christi International for instance, of which my sister happens to be the current Secretary General.
If I never have the opportunity to say it again, "Best to you, Tayi" and I do hope to count you always among my friends and in a line of priests like Padre Ruquoy and Christopher Hartley, and closer to me Jack Martin and Eugene Squeo whose pastoral service has been invaluable.
Posted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 2:01 am
I just want to check in to let you know I have not abandoned the dialogue. Other things keep getting in the way. I hope to have some time today (Sat.) to put something up...
Guy, I am truly honored to be counted among your friends. I look up to you even when we (strongly) disagree about some things...
OK, if I continue to write now, it is so late, I will fall asleep on the keyboard
Obama's Dreams to my Father
Posted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 11:37 pm
I don't know where the following comments fit in the abortion debate. But I simply want to say that based on reading President-Elect Obama's best seller, I found out that his organizing started in the Catholic Church in Chicago. In "Dreams from my father" one will see a lot of issues that are being discussed in Windows. If you are interested on a complete culturally mosaic world view on religion, poverty, race, cross-/inter-/multi-/cultural issues, you wont put President-Elect Obama's book down.
In an interview by US Catholic magazine (October issue, I think) President-Elect Obama said that his organizing was partly financed by Catholic Charities USA. The Catholic Church has her saints and sinners. The late Cardinal Bernadin's support and introducing young Obama to the Chicago's Catholic community had a long term impact. From his organizing in the Catholic church communities, President-Elect Obama went on to organize in Protestant churches.
I think as we debate the abortion issue, each one of us could take a moment to reflect on the role that religion has played in our lives for over 500 years.
And for churchgoers, deeply spiritual folks, looking at Obama´s ascent to US presidency, let each one of us ask ourselves how we are living the true Gospel of service, of leading the brethren, of helping the downtrodden´s lives get better as Obama did in both Catholic and Protestant churches, and most importantly how we are preparing our young churchgoers to be future leaders. Praying and coming to church every Sunday, getting the sacraments, dress nicely for baptism, communion, or wear our Sunday's best are not enough to prepare other Obamas or simply contributory, engaging members of society.
In reading "Obama's Dreams from my father", you will also see him refer to the individual achievement and collective decline in the Black community which is also observable in the Haitian community.
Hence, I think Obama's ascent in the White House should not be used as a framework to argue on religious dogmas, but rather to reflect on personal, communal and collective change that is needed in different segments of society, particularly in our Black community.
I will reiterate my suggestions to Tayi to download and read Faithful Citizenship. Catholics are not one-issue voters.
Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 5:06 am
To begin, I want to reiterate what I said about the honor of being able to interact with and learn from great persons like yourself. You challenge and encourage me. You push me to intellectual integrity and honesty. I am very grateful for that, not to mention the Haitian patties you graciously shared with me at your house :-} We'll keep that secret to ourselves.
Now, I realize that several people mentioned the idea of working together on several different issues, such as relief for the poor, counseling to women, help for the pregnant mother etc. so we can alleviate diminish abortion. I receive that enthusiastically. YES, let us work together on those fronts to better the situations of women and the poor! In fact many of the pro-life organizations and individuals that I know are engaged in precisely those things! They have so many crisis pregnancy centers to give counseling to women and tell them what an abortion really consists of and about the other alternatives to abortion. But we must not do these things instead of the direct fight to pass legislation to ban the killing of the most vulnerable and the most innocent among us. Interestingly enough, Guy (and I have experienced this first-hand) there are many in the so-called pro-choice movement who simply DO NOT want women to know the whole truth about abortion. I guess it makes sense since the abortion business is a multi-million dollar business; you want people to keep coming. So much for choice! Also, since abortion is probably the most common surgical procedure that is done everyday why don't the media show the American people that procedure? If the thing they are killing is not human, what are they worried about?
You wanted to get a sense of where I was coming from on the issue. Thank you for caring enough to want to know. This is my motivation: Every single human being is sacred and has an intrinsic dignity and value, no matter how small, no matter how poor, no matter how mentally retarded, no matter how fat, no matter how ugly, no matter how literate, no matter what sex, no matter what religion, no matter what race, no matter how small! I love humans. My hero is Mother Teresa who saw such dignity in every person that even the untouchables in Calcutta received her undivided attention and love. I see each person as a miracle to be admired, loved and protected. There is something special there, a beautiful mystery not to be messed with. And brother, do not worry about the influence of Catholic Dogma on me. It only strengthens this basic human intuition and provides a transcendental anchor point for this intrinsic value of the person.
If one has the above understanding of the human being, it is easy see that it is NEVER permissible to intentionally and directly kill an innocent human being (let alone one who is vulnerable, defenseless and voiceless) either as a means to an end or as an end in itself. Period! Victims of rape suffer in a way that we cannot grasp. We must help them, and I am told that pro-life organizations such as Fortress International and Life After Assault League do just that to bring them healing and to help them get on with their lives. This explanation for a woman who is pregnant due to rape may help:
[quote] Will an abortion help her? First of all, the abortion will not un-rape the woman. The tragedy has happened and nothing can change the past. Second, abortion brings a trauma of its own. To see abortion as a magic wand that brings relief but no pain is to ignore the pain of countless women who suffer for years and decades after abortion...I know of women who have been raped and then had abortions, and are in counseling not for the rape but for the abortion! In rape, the trauma is "Someone hurt me." In abortion, the trauma is "I hurt and killed someone else -- my child." That brings even more grief… We should also know the results of some important studies. Pregnancy occurs in 0 to 2.2% of rape victims. Furthermore, most rape victims who become pregnant want to keep their babies. The pressure to abort often comes from someone else. Of all the abortions performed in America, fewer than 1% are because of rape.[/quote]
The child conceived in a rape is another human being who is not responsible for the act of the father and should not be punished for what his/her father did. He/she deserves a chance at life like everyone else.
The other cases you mentioned (incest, teenage, complications etc) are also difficult, and our efforts should be toward helping those who are in the problem rather than to promote a “choice” to kill another human being. The very intuitive principle stands: It is NEVER permissible to intentionally and directly kill an innocent human being (let alone one who is vulnerable, defenseless and voiceless) either as a means to an end or as an end in itself.
If by “moral rigidity”, you mean the unshakable conviction not to compromise on this fundamental reality of our human experience then indeed I am guilty of it. We MUST be “rigid” about, rape, kidnapping, slavery etc. But all these things presume the basic existence of LIFE. Thus we are “rigid” about that, too. And just because that may cause some division is no reason to stop fighting for the unborn. I hate division too, but I'd rather have division provoked by truth and justice than a false unity based on falsity and injustice.
I brought up the analogy to slavery, and I think, maybe by my wording, it was misunderstood. I understand we could not vote during the time of slavery and that we made tactical decisions that would gradually win our freedom later. But if we COULD vote and one candidate held the view that he was pro-choice as to the issue of owning slaves, i.e., people could own slaves “on demand” and continue the cruel system, I have a feeling we would think this guy was automatically off the ticket unless the other candidate had equally grave intentions and views. Some issues stand above all other issues. Thus, I say I am a priority voter, not a “one-issue” voter as Nekita suggests. I repeat: the issue of the right TO life is very different and much higher than the issue of the rights IN life (such as jobs, gas prices etc.), as important as they are. The right to life comes first and foremost. It requires the greatest attention. Once you realize that the unborn is (or even could be) a human being, the issue stands out as the most important problem of our country. So, no Guy I do not “prioritize the life of an unborn over that of a grown man or woman.” My whole point is that they are equal and just like we would not stand the government to bless the killing of innocent vulnerable grown men and women, so too we cannot stand it when the person is in the womb. Now, it seems that you agree with the former but not the latter. Why such an arbitrary discrimination? Is it the size of the unborn? Is it the location in relation to the womb (in the womb, no government protection; out of the womb yes)? Also, the pro-life movement HAS been making tactical decisions and has even gained ground in some states and even federally with the ban on partial birth abortion (where they literally puncture the skull of the child and then suck out the brain) and others. But Obama wants to remove ALL of those advances by signing the Freedom of Choice Act. How can this possibly be a PRACTICAL way to end abortion by removing all restrictions on it???
You stated your belief in personal responsibility. I am right there with you. That is what we need to be teaching our young men and women. Abortion on demand removes that sense of responsibility, Guy, and that is what Obama wants to encode. If you know you can get an abortion as easily as going for a check-up [and if Obama has his way, without parental notification or waiting period] how can that possibly help the young person to be responsible when he/she does not have to face the consequences of his/her actions?
By the way, although I would not push for a ban on contraception at the level of government (except for those that act like an abortifacient, meaning they are not really contraceptives but instruments to kill an already conceived being) I do not think promoting it as a solution to abortion is practical. These words sum up my thoughts ():
[quote]It is noteworthy that as acceptance and use of contraception have increased in our society, so have acceptance and use of abortion. Couples who unintentionally conceive a child while using contraception are far more likely to resort to abortion than others. Tragically, our society has fallen into a mentality that views children as a burden and invites many to consider abortion as a "backup" to contraceptive failure. This is most obvious in efforts to promote as "emergency contraception" drugs that really act as early abortifacients.
With Pope John Paul II we affirm that contraception and abortion are "specifically different evils," because only "the latter destroys the life of a human being," but that they are also related (The Gospel of Life, no. 13). It is important to remember that means that are referred to as "contraceptive" are, in reality, sometimes also abortifacient. An end to abortion will not come from contraceptive campaigns but from a deeper understanding of our human sexuality, and of human life, as sacred gifts deserving our careful stewardship.[/quote]
Response to Jafrikayiti
Jaf, my dear friend.
I am glad you are here and we can discuss these things together. I find it a privilege (I mean it) to be able to interact with you so we can teach, support and challenge each other.
You made some interesting points that I will try to address:
1. Argument from Uncertainty
You express that,
[quote] The abortion issue is far from being a clear cut one for me.[/quote]
I can understand your philosophical and scientific questions you may have about the status of the unborn. But consider this about the little being at conception as found here:
[quote] It has its own unique genetic code (with forty-six chromosomes), which is neither the mother's nor the father's. From this point until death, no new genetic information is needed to make the unborn entity a unique individual human.
Her (or his) genetic make-up is established at conception, determining her unique individual physical characteristics -- gender, eye color, bone structure, hair color, skin color, susceptibility to certain diseases, etc. That is to say, at conception, the "genotype" -- the inherited characteristics of a unique human being -- is established and will remain in force for the entire life of this individual.
Although sharing the same nature with all human beings, the unborn individual, like each one of us, is unlike any that has been conceived before and unlike any that will ever be conceived again.
The only thing necessary for the growth and development of this human organism (as with the rest of us) is oxygen, food, and water, since this organism -- like the newborn, the infant, and the adolescent -- needs only to develop in accordance with her already-designed nature that is present at conception.
This is why French geneticist Jermoe L. LeJeune, while testifying before a Senate Subcommittee, asserted:
To accept the fact that after fertilization has taken place a new human has come into being is no longer a matter of taste or opinion. The human nature of the human being from conception to old age is not a metaphysical contention, it is plain experimental evidence. 
There is hence no doubt that the development of a unique individual human life begins at conception. [/quote]
But even if these reasons do not convince someone of the full “humanness” of the unborn, one is still morally obligated to oppose abortion. Here is why:
There are really three positions to take about the status of the unborn:
1. You KNOW that the unborn is a human being.
2. You KNOW that the unborn is NOT a human being.
3. You are NOT SURE if the unborn is a human being but it could be.
The only option that can justify abortion on demand is # 2, where you KNOW that the unborn is NOT a human being. If you are in # 1 where you know this is indeed a human being, you must apply the full protection of the law to that being. If you are in # 3, where you are unsure, you are STILL morally obligated to protect that being because it COULD BE human. Yes that is how great a regard that we must have for humans that as long as something might be human we must not harm it. Our law already has that principle codified. If you are out hunting, and from a distance you see what sort of looks like a deer but also like a person moving on the ground; there is a chance it might be a person. What do you do? Do you shoot anyway? If you do and it turns out that you just killed a person you are charged with manslaughter. If it was not a person you can still be guilty of criminal negligence.
2. Beef Against the Church/Christianity
My brother, I feel your pain as you express your anger against those who have acted very horribly in the name of God and the Church. There can be no excuses for them. I accept the consequences of being in the same institution in which they were/are. Instead of having a big fight over the accuracies of some of the statements, I will rather say this: Count me in the ranks of the worst sinners, but also please do not forget to see the light of the abundant saints (canonized or not) who have literally given their lives for others and who are doing that today, the likes of St. Francis and his followers, the likes of Mother Teresa and her followers and many many many more.
[quote] I am honestly puzzled by the fact that this morally bankrupt institution can still have so many beautiful and genuinely spiritual men and women in its ranks.[/quote]
Perhaps those who are attracted to this church do not feel called because they are perfect but precisely because they are sinners, imperfect, weak in need of salvation. The grace is there to freely receive. There are those who come and reject that grace (such as those you mentioned) and there are many who come and are transformed by it like Mother Teresa. So even with all the wrinkles in the face of this church, I love her still.
[quote] When hurricanes devastate Haiti, Ratzinger, now called Pope who sits in his Inca gold-plated Vatican, offers only "prayers" for the thousands of Haitians who - somehow continue to worship on the unrepenting church whose hands are still soaked in the blood of millions.[/quote]
Brother, I think there is a double standard here. When Catholics do evil things you condemn the whole Church, but when they do good things you ignore the whole Church. I believe the first people to reach the victims of the hurricanes in Haiti were relief workers from Catholic Relief Services. Many other Catholic individuals and groups went along doing what they could. There are others who could not go but sent money. Are they not part of the Catholic Church? This is precisely the type of work that the Church calls its members to engage in and has been doing for two millennia despite failures in other areas.
But you know I digress because I actually never used the Catholic Church or any Church as authority to make my arguments against abortion. Ironically, the first person to bring up God in association with the question was the atheist Leonel! The Church does indeed support the fight against abortion but the issue is a basic HUMAN problem that anyone can see without special revelation from God. So even if you indict the Church, that actually does nothing to the argument!
3. Collective Wisdom
[quote]I suggest that a better guide for such difficult subjects is the collective wisdom of thousands of years of human experience on this planet. We can tap into such wisdom by listening to those who have first hand experience with the topic at hand. [/quote]
This begs the question because it already assumes that those who are killed in an abortion are not part of humanity. If they are then how can we factor in their "wisdom" when we have killed them. If we could somehow get the victims of abortion to give us an opinion, what do you think they would say? Also, I am not aware of a majority or a collective of human beings from the beginning of our race who thought that abortion on demand is to be the law of the land.
Now what about legislation? Is that route necessary? YES! For the reasons I have argued above. Also, legalizing abortion made it socially acceptable and so many more people did it. There were only about 100,000 abortions (per year?) before Roe v. Wade but now we have over 1 MILLION every year. The government should never have discriminated against a special class of humans, the unborn. It must overturn Roe because it was never constitutional. That will be one of the biggest practical steps. Of course other things must be done and that is why I like much of what the pro-life groups are doing in terms of caring for the mother and others involved.
I take this time to acknowledge the presence of Gelin, Marilyn and Nekita who have also contributed but whom I have not yet formally greeted. HELLO FANMI :-}
Lastly (yes it is coming to an end, you can start rejoicing :-}), my friends I want you to know this is not just a debate for me to iron out my arguing skills. No, this is much more. To most people the word abortion does not really convey the killing of another human being. I beg and challenge you then to view this video on the link below where Dr. Nathanson, a founding member of NARAL explains what actually happens in an abortion. He also shows an ultrasound of what goes on with an 11th week child in the womb. If we are going to continue this discussion it is absolutely important to see this clip so you can be truly informed. After the video, if you do not believe we must stop abortions through all proper means, then….I have no words that will change your mind. Please take the time to se the whole video especially starting around time 12:40 on the Youtube video (and excuse some corny sound effects): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjNo_0cW-ek
Note if it took you about 10 minutes to read this, 24 babies have already been killed in the womb during that short time.
Thank you for having read all the way to here. You will now be rewarded with a stop :-}
Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 9:15 am
I appreciated the depth and breadth of your argumentation on a subject that is so often merely trivialized, politicized, and sloganized.
You lost me, however, when you brought Obama into the subject:
[quote]...the pro-life movement HAS been making tactical decisions and has even gained ground in some states and even federally ... But Obama wants to remove ALL of those advances by signing the Freedom of Choice Act.
Abortion on demand removes that sense of responsibility, Guy, and that is what Obama wants to encode. If you know you can get an abortion as easily as going for a check-up [and if Obama has his way, without parental notification or waiting period]...[/quote]
You have resorted to the ugliest of scare tactics used in a political campaign which, thank God, is now over. Why perpetuate the memes? Why portray Obama as the hater of babies in the womb who just can't wait to do all manner of harm to them?
I have listened to Obama very closely on this subject and many others that come even close to touching this one. Personal responsibility is at the top of his list of what he expects out of all Americans. And he's anything but an extremist on any subject, including this one.
Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 1:02 pm
Thank your for the quick and honest response and for your kind words, too.
My intention is not to use "scare tactics". All these things I have said are well documented. The reason Obama came in the discussion is because that is what started the whole thread. See above in the first post.
Mr. Obama himself promised on camera "the first thing I'd do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act". Watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pf0XIRZSTt8
What is the Freedom of Choice Act?
Read the definition from Wikepedia here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_Choice_Act
You will see that FOCA will remove all restrictions on abortion including the Partial-birth Abortion Ban, parental notification for a minor having an abortion and may even threaten to remove the conscience clause for doctors who choose not to do abortions--a move that could close all Catholic hospitals in the country. There is much more damage that it will do.
That is abortion on demand. As much as Mr. Obama wants to treasure personal responsibility (and I believe he wants that) I am simply saying that encoding abortion on demand is not going to help that goal.
I know this sounds radical, Marilyn and that is EXACTLY what I have been saying. My concern is why these things were not brought out by the media so good people like you could be well-informed on the matter. Now we can play around with words in regards to whether Obama is an extremist candidate (now elect), but he has gone further than any other democrat or republican in his views to remove restrictions on abortion. You do not make something rare by making it more accessible.
Like I said before, Mr. Obama is our president elect and I am prepared to work under him to help in any life-affirming policies he proposes, but I will stand right there to oppose his "pro-choice" agenda.
Stand with me.
Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 1:45 pm
I realize that not voting for Obama because of his stance on choice is what began this thread.
But the thread had evolved and was getting to some really serious and sound arguments way beyond the rhetoric of the recent political campaign. Reasoning was taking precedence over polemics.
Then, bam, we were back to polemics.
Something not absent even in your most recent reply where, in the midst of citing fact, you slipped in a maybe:
[quote]...may even threaten to remove the conscience clause for doctors who choose not to do abortions--a move that could close all Catholic hospitals in the country...[/quote]
Now Obama even wants Catholic hospitals closed?
I don't think we need to go there in order to discuss this subject, which in the end, is a conscience issue.
Perhaps more folks deep in their souls are closer to being anti-abortion than pro-choice, if only anti-abortion rhetoric were not so polemic.
Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 2:52 pm
I carry in my wallet the picture of the a 21 week old little boy who was aborted, after they had devoured his little body and scattered his limbs. The picture was given to me by a friend. Abortion is ugly and brutal...has been and will always be...Some of that however has been avoided when the abortion rate went down.
More progress can be made if people make an effort to look at the WHY</b> of abortion. Tayi's position, although beautifully stated, is not new at all. I have heard it before, and it's centered mainly on the WHAT</b> of abortion.
Posted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 5:01 pm
Thanks for keeping me on my toes. I appreciate your comment. I reread the quote and realized it could be misleading if someone thinks I mean Obama himself wants to close hospitals. Of course that is not what I said, but that FOCA would threaten conscience protection laws that protect a doctor or hospital from being compelled to provide abortions, the killing of innocents members of the human family. Some people, including bishops, have expressed some fear about that possible move and would be prepared to go to prison instead of having to provide abortions or even in the worst case scenario, if forced to choose between doing abortions and closing their hospital, they would do the latter rather than formally participate in the killing of innocent human beings.
Not everyone thinks FOCA would remove the conscience laws but if you read the text (especially section 4) you will see that is a definite possible interpretation. Also go here to read a legal analysis of it by a professional legal counsel. Click on "Legal analysis" to see the breadth of this bill's scary reach.
[quote]I don't think we need to go there in order to discuss this subject, which in the end, is a conscience issue. [/quote]
Marilyn, the moment it is realized that abortion is the intentional killing of innocent members of the human family, it is no longer merely a matter of conscience but also of public interest. It behooves us to make sure ALL members of the human family are equally protected.
Hi Gelin. You mentioned:
[quote]More progress can be made if people make an effort to look at the WHY of abortion. Tayi's position, although beautifully stated, is not new at all. I have heard it before, and it's centered mainly on the WHAT of abortion.[/quote]
I look at both. In fact the WHY and the WHAT are inseparable. There are several different reasons why people do abortions, but would you not admit that one of the WHY's of abortion is that many people actually do not know the actual WHAT it is? If women considering abortions saw the picture you carry in your wallet or saw the video in this reply, do you think most women would proceed to do the same thing to the baby in their wombs? A mother will always remain a mother, and thus many abortion providers would not want them to know what actually happens in an abortion. Instead of saying the "death of the fetus or the baby in the womb" they say "fetal demise". Words can change much. For example compare this explanation from Planned Parenthood with an actual procedure as seen through an ultrasound in the video I suggested! In fact, the lady I told you about in my own video who had an abortion was shocked to see the picture of an aborted baby and now wants to speak out against that practice. We cannot look at the "what" without the "why" nor can we really look at the "why" without the "what". And there is a battle against showing the actual "what".
We must have a full frontal battle against the killing of innocent human beings looking at the WHY, and the WHAT! We must stand together to do this.
Posted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 8:33 pm
[quote]...In fact the WHY and the WHAT are inseparable.[/quote]
The WHY can be separated from the WHAT because they are different. Can you think of 3 or 4 reasons why a pregnant woman would decide to have an abortion?
Posted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 10:11 pm
Here are a couple of cases to test the "NEVER" stance. Granted, they are not representative of the majority of abortion cases. Nevertheless, they are real and I'd like to hear Tayi's thoughts on each one:
A) A 10- or 11-year-old girl becomes pregnant, due to ill-conceived, highly precocious sexual activity. Her doctor advises her family that carrying a baby would seriously destabilize her health and carry a significant risk of death. Please do not tell me that this does not happen. I knew of such a case. What would you advise if the girl's family came to you for guidance? Remember, we are not dealing here with generalities...
B) The second case, I am happy to say, has nothing to do with a sad situation: no imminent death to a familiar being, no fetus dismemberment, no rape, no incest, no underage sex, and even no manifest will to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. In fact, it's just the opposite. It involves a strong desire for the procreation and renewal of life within a marriage, but in a fundamental aspect it clashes with some of the above definition of a human life and "the sacred obligation to preserve each instance of it". Confused? It's a case that is not at all unusual, yet it is not representative of the cut-and-dry pro-life and pro-choice in your face debates. Though not representative, it centers on a fundamental aspect of that debate: when does a human life begin and what power is anyone allowed to exert over it? Still confused? Read on.
Melissa and Gérard were married for 11 years and were not able to have a child of their own, though they tried... and tried... and tried... That situation began to put a lot of stress in their lives, to the point that the sex between them was getting to be "disappointing" for never yielding the desired outcome. Then after reading and discussing an article in "Your Health and Happiness", they both decided to visit a fertility clinic. One thing led to another, and after thorough consultation they were advised by the medical staff that the best course to follow was to accept a fertility treatment that would result in the fertilization of multiple eggs and the insertion of one of those eggs back into Melissa for its critical attachment to the wall of her uterus. What would happen to the remaining fertilized eggs? They would be discarded (as microscopic waste, truly, for failing to be selected either by luck or for reasons only known to a microbiologist). Well, the upshot of the treatment was that Melissa and Gérard became the parents of a healthy and bouncing baby XX/XY and their marriage got stronger than ever. They look at their baby as the best thing that has ever happened to them and they take their parental responsibilities to heart.
Now, one day, Tayi's argument comes knocking at the door: "You and your doctors have conspired in aborting 8 human lives (could have been more) in order to carry one pregnancy to term successfully and having that one baby of yours, though I admit he/she is very cute...!" And Tayi's argument kept insisting: "You murdered those human lives. I am sorry, but there isn't any other word that is more appropriate. In fact, all those fertility clinics should be shut down and we should work hard to defeat any politician that supports them."
Melissa and Gérard showed the door to Tayi's argument, but it stubbornly refused to leave. "Those 8 discarded eggs have now died with respect to their temporal human life, but they continue to live in Limbo. Their souls will never be able to enter Heaven, the residence of God, the Angels, and those lucky human beings who actually regretted their sins before dying. Due to your decision, they have now joined the hundreds of trillions souls also in Limbo, awaiting eternally for a Day of Amnesty for unchristened souls that would allow their entrance into heaven via the port of St.Petersbug. Those fertilized eggs, you should have fought for each and every one of them. You should have told your doctor 'it's either all or none of them'. Then who knows? One of them might have also become a baby and grown up to be a sinner, like the rest of you, and given equal opportunity to choose between the Gates of Heaven and the Gates of Hell, but not to be condemned to a state of limbo, never to be able to secure a place in the House of the Lord for not having been baptized."
And, hearing all of this, Melissa and Gérard's cherished baby got to be thinking in his/her crib "Oh no, what happened to my twin baby brothers and sisters? I sure hope that Limbo is not a bad place. But since they were human beings, according to Tayi's argument, why did not a priest come to the fertilization clinic and baptize all those fertilized eggs? Why in fact the Church does not hold a massive baptism ceremony somewhere to christen all of the fertilized eggs everywhere in the World that are getting discarded through natural and unnatural causes (Nature, being by far the greatest Abortionist of them all)... and keep that ceremony running forever? A majority of sexually active women lose fertilized eggs without even knowing. Those human beings are not mourned by anyone, not even by the Church. Could it be that only a conscious act of abortion humanize those otherwise forgotten fertilized eggs, that is 'eggs that have survived the instant of conception' ? Oh, Tayi's argument is finally departing, not a minute too soon. I am so glad that I was wanted by my Daddy and Mommy and that Tayi's argument did not come sooner to prevent "Me" from being born."
All right, those are the two cases I had in mind. I know that Tayi's argument takes a licking and keeps on ticking... so it will be interesting to watch this particular debate evolve for its impact on our continued enlightenment .
Posted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 3:49 pm
By the way, when Tayi writes "I actually never used the Catholic Church or any Church as authority to make my arguments against abortion...", I wonder why he titled his intervention on this forum "Why This Black Catholic Is NOT Voting Obama". I am just wondering...
Posted: Sat Dec 13, 2008 9:56 am
One more thought: I prefaced my presentation of the two cases above as such: "they are not representative of the majority of abortion cases". That's exactly what I meant, though in my own mind I made a distinction between the word "case" and the word "instance". The second case that I presented is in fact highly representative of the majority of abortion instances. As mentioned above, it is generally accepted among students of life processes that Nature is the greatest Abortionist of fertilized human eggs, which Tayi defines as human lives or human beings. Nature being God's personalized Creation, the ultimate expression of her mind and will [at least from what I can remember of my burgeoning theological education], it is curious to me that the God of Life would set out such a terrible precedent. If indeed a fertilized human egg is equivalent to a human life, and that fertilized human eggs routinely make their way through the Fallopian tubes, the Uterus, the Cervix and the Vagina, without bonding anywhere to allow the viability of those so-called "human lives", then I am left to wonder why God expects from her servants higher standards of respect and protection for human life than what She herself has set in motion.
Would that be the ultimate case of "Do as I say, not as I do!" ?
Posted: Mon Dec 15, 2008 10:33 am
I would like to know if an unfertilized egg is considered Human?
How about a spermatozoid?
A fertilized egg or zygote (i believe)?
A Fetus or embryo?
Mwen ta renmen konnen.
You know, those of us who are pro-choice actually, do not condone someone to have an abortion after the first trimester. Unless, it is really necessary and vital. But, the other side is thinking otherwise. They are thinking that we are those God-less nuts who want to kill "innocent lives". Speaking of Hypocrisy! Those gun-lovers, death-penalty'ists, dropping-nuclear-bombists etc etc are on the right side... They are doing everything "a la volonte de leur Pere (Dieu). For, they have God-given-rights to kill "Infidels" for their sins...
Si se pousa, mwen pito rete Ate. Paske mwen poko wE oun ate atake moun paske yo kwE nan ti jezi ak Mari ansanm ak Dieu le pere.
What is Life?
When does life starts?
Is miscarriage an abortion performed by the Magnificent, the Omnipotent Architect Himself who seems to destroy what He does not like?
A la de zen papa.
M'ale anvan Gelin ak Tayi lapide'm.
Posted: Mon Dec 15, 2008 11:55 am
[quote]...M'ale anvan Gelin ak Tayi lapide'm.
M pa kwè nan lapide, m kwè nan lavepye menmjan Jezi te di l la.
Posted: Mon Dec 15, 2008 1:46 pm
Monchè Gelin, fò w fè atansyon, wi. Gwo zotèy Leonel yo kab kraze men ou wi.
Posted: Mon Dec 15, 2008 2:42 pm
Posted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 1:14 pm
By the way, I believe that we (Humans) are the only Species that can use Sex for Fun.
The other species use it to reproduce!
Kidonk Tayi si w'al f'on ti degaje epi ou tonbe nan tchouboum, mwen t'a renmen konnen kijan w'ap demele'w.
Let's say you're in High school. Or, you have no job or income. How about you liked the fun part not the Woman. And there is a lot of other issues...
By the way, I used Tayi. But, this is no pun intended!
How about rape victims, or incest etc???
jwEt pou nou.
Posted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 4:51 pm
[quote]Let's say you're in High school. Or, you have no job or income. How about you liked the fun part not the Woman.[/quote]
Very likely, the matter would be "you liked the fun part not the young man" and not the way you put it, Leonel. I do believe that in the vast majority of cases, the young man never faces up to his responsibility. The decision to choose between teenage parenting and abortion would be made by the young woman, perhaps after advice from a counselor and likely a great deal of pressure from her parents.
I went to a teacher's meeting once at my son's high school in South Orange. On my way to the conference, I could see and distinctly hear a Haitian mother openly berating her daughter who had become pregnant. She was called by the school and had probably just learned that her daughter was sexually active. God, you should hear her insults: "Mwen voye ou lekòl epi, gade, oumenm se bouzen w'al fè!" And a few more remarks in that same vein, one more insulting than the other. I remember too that she was pushing her daughter around, right in the school hall and in full view of everyone (not so violently as to precipitate action from the security guards, but you can just imagine what will happen when they arrive home).
What about the young man who was just "having fun" with that young girl? I don't really know, but it is likely that he got some high-fives from his buddies and nothing more that would cause him the trauma visited on his sex partner. Of course, I am conjecturing here and I do know that it's really not like that in all cases. But for the most part, that is indeed the reality. In fact, these attitudes are reinforced in our culture. You know the saying,"mwen gen yon ti kòk, li met deyò... manman poul, veye ti poulèt ou". [ "I have a young rooster, he took to the street (eh eh), mothers of young hens out there, it's up to you to watch over your chickies."]
So at that young age, the issue of abortion is largely the female gender's decision. Beyond adolescence, as young and older adults, the burden still falls disproportionately on women's shoulders. This isn't right, but it is a reality.
Also, Leonel, I would hope that the decision to have an abortion or not would ALWAYS be based on factors more serious than "Oh, I liked this person enough to have sex with him/her, but not enough to have his/her baby." When abortion is decided on to escape any sense of responsibility, it lends credence to the assertion that responsibility should be enforced at any cost.
On a different topic...
It is also not true that in the animal world, only humans have sex for fun. I believe that dolphins too have sex for fun, and other species, like bonobo macaques, use sex primarily for social bonding and only secondarily for reproduction. If you explore YouTube, you can also see plenty of evidence of masturbation among higher animals. In fact, recent observations of Nature have shown that there is even an abundance of gay and lesbian sex in thousands of animal species. Surely, the animals involved are not having sex for the purpose of procreation. Here's a reference: http://seedmagazine.com/news/2006/06/th ... ingdom.php
Finally, consider this: Tayi is indeed a fun person to be with, but he also is very serious about the path of life he is engaging in. So, when you want to make comments about "sex for fun", please leave the brother alone. Make fun of me instead... I will not be insulted. I don't know about you, but I don't think that we should be so irreverent about the brother. He is open but serious, he likes to engage in intellectual pursuit with his Ann Pale family, but "pun intended or not" let's spare him sexual jokes that can be construed at his expense. I do not think that they are fair, because as a Catholic priest, he is supposed to renounce sexual activity (unless he has a non-conventional approach to this issue... a development that would surprise me very much). I have to say though that there is one theological point that does surprise me: Sex is often described by Catholic theologians as "a gift or the most precious gift from God". Say again? How does Jesus/God know and understand so much about that particular gift? Same thing goes for straight-laced Catholic priests
Anyway, man, I think that you are being very tough on Tayi, and I think that we should allow him to continue to expose his ideas on abortion. While I appreciate them, I am afraid that they are particularly rigid. Let's see if Tayi will come back and talk about some of the cases that we have cited in this long and fascinating thread, and show how they answer our arguments.
I hope that Tayi will come back. [What about Shelony, Anacaona, and all the others?]
Posted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 2:27 am
I am pleased to jump back into the dialogue. Thanks for all the input. I would like to review and synthesize my argument against abortion, which I do not feel has been dealt with substantially:
1.It is never permissible to intentionally and directly kill an innocent human being (let alone one who is vulnerable, defenseless and voiceless) either as a means to an end or as an end in itself.
2. Abortion is the intentional and direct killing of an innocent, vulnerable, defenseless and voiceless human being either as a means to an end or as an end in itself.
3. Therefore abortion is never permissible.
Premise (1) is indisputable. If you wish to deny it, please bring the convincing arguments. Premise two (2) is true. Therefore the conclusion necessarily follows since the argument has a valid logical form. Some may try to dispute the status of the unborn but see above in my long reply to see why that doubt is not justified and that even if there is doubt about the state of the unborn, it is still the safest and most logical thing to at least treat the fetus as if it were human.
I will now try to respond to some objections:
Gelin: The WHY and the WHAT are inseparable in that we must look at them both to have a comprehensive solution to the abortion problem. Some reasons some women may consider an abortion are: pressure from someone, shame, discomfort of pregnancy, lack of funds, career advancement, back-up contraceptive, etc. But above these I think there are two major reasons that are behind many of the ones people often talk about: 1. Lack of understanding or appreciation for the intrinsic dignity and value of the unborn and 2. Not knowing all the true facts of an abortion. A comprehensive solution must at least include education on those two major problems, promotion of alternatives to abortion (such as adoption), encouraging personal responsibility, and of course fair legislation that protects ALL members of the human family from conception to natural death. This last point should not be shelved just because other elements of the solution are have not yet been fully completed.
Guy, you brought up several points, I will try to answer in order:
1. I know a girl in Steubenville who would not be here had her mother followed the doctors' advice to abort her child because of serious health risks. The mother decided that she would sacrifice her own health for the sake of allowing this new life in her to have a chance. And now both mother and daughter are living joyfully. Would you go up to the girl and tell her “you know little missy, as beautiful as you are, it really would have been the wiser thing for your mother to have killed you in the womb for her own health?” Of course not! In fact we would applaud the noble self-sacrifice of the mother. I believe that is an innate part of women to be self-giving and self-sacrificial, even the 11 year-old girl. Of course this is a very difficult case, but I think it is even more difficult when you consider the fact that we're dealing with two persons here: the mother and the child, both with intrinsic value. Since you are asking what I would personally do, I would hope I'd have the compassion and courage to pray with the girl and help obtain the best care for both herself and her baby, but would never advise that she kills her unborn baby.
2. The case where a couple does in vitro fertilization: A few things:
A. There is real pain when a married couple cannot have children of their own through the marital/conjugal act so I pray that as time passes we can develop better techniques to assist (not replace) the marital act in procreating for such couples. Also I would hope adoption of children who need such loving parents would be an option.
B. The act of fertilizing eggs to discard later on is still wrong because you are discarding little human beings, albeit tiny ones at the very beginning of their development. Such as act is not justified by any “end” or outcome.
C. This does not at all diminish, however, the value of the baby who was successfully placed in the mother's womb, although I do not commend the process of having a stranger mix sperm and eggs in some petri dish to bring about fertilization. I do not think conception should be some experiment outside of the conjugal act, the proper context for such a dignified beginning of a human being. (This is another subject though)
D. I would never approach that mother in such a fanatic way as you just mentioned indicting her for “the murder of her fertilized eggs”. That would be silly especially since that mother probably does not even know exactly what happens in an abortion. Although I would indeed oppose politicians who refuse to protect human life from beginning to natural end.
3.You asked a great question when you said: [quote] If indeed a fertilized human egg is equivalent to a human life, and that fertilized human eggs routinely make their way through the Fallopian tubes, the Uterus, the Cervix and the Vagina, without bonding anywhere to allow the viability of those so-called "human lives", then I am left to wonder why God expects from her servants higher standards of respect and protection for human life than what She herself has set in motion.[/quote]
You do realize, brother that this objection would not just be limited to abortion but also to the natural death of everybody. If indeed God is the creator of all things and that each person owes every ounce of his existence to Him then His allowing death for His reasons cannot be equated to some creature (another person) killing someone else whom said creature did not create. This is especially clear if you factor in the idea if the afterlife.
4. By the way the title of the video “Why This Black Catholic Is NOT Voting Obama” includes “Catholic” because I first posted it in a Catholic venue and wanted to provide an argument contrary to what a couple Catholics were saying…I kept “black” because almost everyone would expect a black man to vote Obama.
5. Oh and thanks for having my back with our friend Leonel ☺
6. Finally, Guy I realize you haven't had a chance to answer my question to you: It seems that you oppose some abortions. What are you reasons?
I have already addressed several of your questions in my previous long post. You can refer to that and to this one for questions about the beginning of human life and about the hard cases of rape, incest etc.
You said: [quote] you know, those of us who are pro-choice actually, do not condone someone to have an abortion after the first trimester. Unless, it is really necessary and vital.[/quote]
Why do you not condone an abortion after the first trimester but you do up to the first trimester. Do you have a good argument that would justify abortion in one stage but not in another? In fact, is there any good argument for abortion that could not also (unintentionally maybe) be used for infanticide?
Oh, and not all “pro-choice” people feel the same way you do about the trimester limits.
Also you asked:
[quote] Kidonk Tayi si w'al f'on ti degaje epi ou tonbe nan tchouboum, mwen t'a renmen konnen kijan w'ap demele'w[/quote]
Although my friend Guy already got my back on this one, I will make a quick comment. If I were to find myself in a position where I got a girl pregnant, I would not have her kill the baby for my mistake. That would be the height of irresponsibility and hypocrisy. I would hope to have the courage to stand with the mother and take care of our baby or to give the baby up for adoption if there really were no way for us to care for him/her.
OK, I think my time is up. Thanks for your patience friends.
Posted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 11:33 am
I wonder why I am getting a sense of deja vu. Oh... OK, that's right!
Bear with me. Here's an extract from a previous discussion:
[quote]I have come across the Moral Argument from Dr. William Lane Craig (www.williamlanecraig.com
), and I highly recommend browsing his website for formal debates and other materials on these issues and others.
Here is the argument:
1. If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist.
2. Objective moral values do exist.
3. Therefore, God exists.[/quote]
[quote]The argument immediately appealed to me, due to its apparent conformity to mathematical logic structure (of which I was quite fond in my student days). . The structure of the argument is of course unassailable. But it's the premises you wrap around that structure which make the argument itself subjective and not universal in any interpretation one may conjure up so to stretch reason and to comfort him/herself with a predetermined conclusion.
Your argument, for all I see, is analogous to:
1. If the moon is not made of Swiss cheese, then there are no craters on its surface.
2. There are craters on the moon's surface.
3. Therefore the moon is made of Swiss cheese.
Laughable, right? Yet the substantive difference in your argumentation and mine resides only in the validity (or lack of) we attach to its premises. Here is another: that there are craters on the moon's surface may be a bit more believable than the existence of "objective", that is absolute, unchanging, "moral values".
... ... ...
Note that it is not at all my purpose to attempt to prove that God does not exist. I believe that I believe in a divine nature that is immensely greater than anything that I can possibly conceive and for that matter that any passionate human advocate of "God" can.
The argument appears logical, but ultimately it is bogus. It belongs not in the field of logical proof, but in a probabilistic realm of thoughts that merely make us feel good about our innate and "eternal" search for the how and why we exist.
Tayi, since objective moral values do exist, please name them. After you do, it would be interesting to find out whether the Biblical God has not violated them at any time or commanded others to do so. Oh, sorry about that, because some might infer that if he violated those objective moral values, then they would not be so objective after all or God himself would have been immoral on occasion... something that I am sure would be an impossibility in your mind, in the believer's mind. To deny the possibility of immorality in God, to make that strictly impossible no matter what is on the record, we must then agree that whatever the Biblical God says or does is the unique expression of absolute moral values. [He cannot do wrong because, by definition, everything he does is right. How could it be otherwise?]
Since God is the expression of absolute moral values [God cannot be immoral] and the premise states that absolute moral values cannot exist without God [which remains unproven, but is accepted as a matter of faith], then I would argue that God and the existence of absolute moral values are really the same concept. In the mind of the believer, one cannot possibly exist without the other: God cannot be immoral and absolute morality is not conceivable without God. Therefore, the argument can be reduced to this (by substitution): God exists because God exists. And there is no stronger argument, from the believer's standpoint than just that.
let me name a couple objective moral values: Justice and love!
nothing so far has been brought forth to show that the two premises are not more plausible than not. It follows, then, necessarily from the structure of the syllogism that the conclusion is more plausible than not and that the theist is rational in his belief that:
[quote]Rational? yes (there never was any doubt).
Convincing? you bet (anpil moun ap pran kominyon nan men w san konfesyon).
Conclusive? far from it, Tayi.
You have argued for the plausible validity of two premises that were crafted for the purpose of demonstrating a predetermined conclusion. In so doing, you end up reinforcing that notion to yourself, and in reality... that's not a bad thing.
But even if convinced of that plausibility, whenever you say the word "God", I feel absolutely certain that you cannot distance yourself, let alone divorce yourself, from the concept of the Biblical God, because your faith in (him) is irrevocable. You truly set out to prove that the Biblical God does exist, because you accept no other notion of God (because your God is extremely jealous of any consideration of non-existent Gods other than (himself) !! Yet, your so-called "moral" argument does not advance one iota the identification of that metaphysical supreme being (whose existence is merely plausible by your arguments) with that of the Biblical God which you have been programmed to believe in by an accident of history, culture, and geography.
By the way, I do not think that Justice and Love are objective moral values. I think that they are mere ideals that mark our common humanity. I was not arguing from a "moral relativism" standpoint. I am simply stating that those ideals change according to our own capacity to define them and yes, "evolve" them. Other such concepts to consider are the discreteness of a single life (as opposed to the continuity of a life force), the existence of a soul associated to the discreteness of a single human life, and a universal sense of beauty (there are indeed faces that only a mother could love). [/quote]
[/quote] Excerpts from: The Moral Argument for the Existence of God
I am afraid that some people may not see the reason for the extended quotes above, but I am hopeful that at least a few will recognize the parallels between the "unchallengeable" determination that objective morality exists and the "unchallengeable" determination that a human life begins at conception and that a detached zygote must be protected, even at the cost of an army.
My dear Tayi, please understand that a rigid set of principles only makes you seem right, it does not make you right or confer rightness unto you. While I greatly revere life, I do not accept as "unchallengeable" the premises in either of your arguments above. I do not agree (and your god does not agree) that a human life is inviolable (The Bible has a lengthy and remarkable record of godly-sponsored infanticides and murders... and no, by no means, am I intent to blaspheme; I am just pointing to the biblical record, and leaving unaddressed the dubious historical record of the Catholic Church, a point already addressed by Jafrikayiti.) You are quite often pointing to "absolutes" that are not supported by the fundamental precepts of your own beliefs which have been on the record for a few centuries less (or arguably, a few centuries more) than two millennia.
Yes, I generally oppose abortion. I oppose it in as much as it can be construed as the wanton termination of a human being, prior to actual birth. But I believe that there are reasons for abortions, that simply should not be dismissed in the dismissive way of a so-called irrefutable argument. I believe that different cases can be judged differently, based on their special circumstances. I believe that the denial of merit to special circumstances is counterproductive, and in the end possibly detrimental to the aims of a universal reverence for Life.
I also believe in the continuity of Life on our planet. Life thrives on life, even when it devours it. If, in a wild science-fiction type of scenario, I had to choose between the termination of, let's say, the last pair of healthy Siberian tigers on Earth and the development of a human zygote (that carries with it the potential of a human being), I would not hesitate and save the last of the Siberian tiger species. In fact, right now, I would not hesitate to shoot down some poachers dead, if I could and IF that proved the way to preserve for a while longer the existence of some higher forms of animal species on Earth. Higher forms, you say? What about a human being, isn't that the highest form of animal life on the planet? Of course, it is! But if you had to choose between the potential of a zygote and all the plankton in the sea, would you choose to disappear the plankton, the elimination of which would in turn, for sure, result in the destruction of all human life on the planet, which way would you lean? The absolutist nature of your argument which protects absolutely a human zygote would not leave you a choice. If it were up to me, on the other hand, my decision (like yours) is preordained.
Some people will judge me crazy for engaging in fantasy or in some unrealistic extremes to test the limits of your argument ("Tayi's argument"). I do agree with them. I am sort of crazy. However, I do see no other way sometimes than to engage in extremism to demonstrate the fallibility of arguments that embrace absolutism, in a world where nothing human can truly ever be "absolute" except in the minds of pure theologians and straitjacket believers (I mean no offense).
Tayi asked me why I oppose abortion in some cases. I will come back to formulate for him, if I can, a very specific answer since it does not appear that my answer is already embedded in all of my previous statements on this issue. Yes, I know that it is a loaded question, not one just borne out of curiosity. Tayi wants to seize on my answer to validate his own argument. But he should be aware that I exercise a preferential option for the quality of a human life and not just its numerical value or potential. He should be aware that I do not engage in saying "never". He should be aware that I am in favor of considering each case on its own merit. He should be aware that he and I are in the same camp perhaps 90% of the time (I am of course not certain of that mathematical average, but you get my meaning). He should be aware that on some of the cases that we have already cited, I have profound disagreements with him, even though I would like to think that to a large extent we do share a culture of, perhaps even a reverence for, Life.
Posted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 7:33 pm
OK, I am back and I would like to complete my previous answer in some ways that will satisfy Tayi (NOT!)
Why do I seem to object to some abortions? Well, Tayi, when I conceive of abortion as infanticide, I generally oppose it, but nothing you have said convinces me that a clump of cells or the constitution of the zygote (fertilized egg) defines a human life. That's the operating premise of your argument. I do not buy it. When does a human life begin? I don't know. When I get to heaven, if by miracle I access it (through Gelin's powerful and incessant mediation on my behalf) I will ask your God myself. I don't claim to have all the answers, but while I believe that a human zygote, totally lacking any brain cells and any possible trace of consciousness, does in fact contain intrinsically the potential of a human being, just like the acorn contains the potential of an oak tree, I do not postulate that a zygote is a human life just as I do not postulate that an acorn is an oak tree (though it must be said that the acorn is much further along in its potential to become an oak tree than the zygote a human being). At some point in time though, which I would personally associate with the development of the brain and the nervous system, the ability to be conscious or self-conscious, the ability to feel pleasure and pain, I would then be inclined to recognize that we are facing a person that is living inside another person. I don't necessarily abide by the arbitrary legal definitions of "first trimester", "second trimester", and "third trimester" and what is permissible based on those legal markers, but I do in fact factor in both "viability" which begins first of all with the attachment of the zygote to the uterine wall and subsequent stages of embryonic development. I make no distinction between the "Morning After" pill and the mysterious processes that happen inside a woman's belly that cause a very high proportion of fertilized eggs to simply slip away. In fact, the "Morning After" pill in many cases will prevent conception in the first place. Life is not conceived quite often until a few days after intercourse.
But let's move on to the two cases that I described earlier and your responses to them. I do so to make my point that abortion should be strongly considered in some cases. I totally disagree with your "never" stance. In the case of the 10-year child that becomes pregnant, I would consider it completely irresponsible to force that child or even counsel her into carrying on with a pregnancy that, based on medical opinion if not just common sense, would seriously endanger not only the child's health but even her life. I say so, while being completely assured that you, Tayi, are a responsible human being with an admirable pastoral vocation. I do believe that you are misguided on this point. You gave me an example of a girl you know in Steubenville (though you did not state her age and whether the pregnancy seriously threatened her life). However, I want to believe that the case you describe may have been a "human miracle". Fine, but what if she had died.. and her baby also died in the process? Would that have been a worthwhile sacrifice for the possibility of the joyful situation that you describe? Only if you can assure me that some Catholic Saint (those darn Catholics), between beatification and full sainthood, will intervene each and every time to save the life of the pregnant child! [miracle #1, miracle #2, bingo!]
In the second case, I profoundly disagree with you as well. Why do you object to my saying " Tayi's argument kept insisting: "You murdered those human lives." " That IS EXACTLY what your argument states in its absolutism, though I did not imply that "the mortal Tayi" would phrase it exactly the same way as "his argument". In the particular case of fertility clinics, I believe that they make human lives possible that would not have existed otherwise. I also do not sense that they engage in murders of any kind, though they do willfully engage in the discarding of fertilized eggs for the purpose of procreation. Who gave those doctors the knowledge and ability to play like God? Your God, of course, or would you characterize what they do as the fruit of Evil?
I do agree with you on several points however. I do think that adoption should be very seriously considered by all couples before experimentation in a fertility clinic. I also think of adoption as a preferential option to those methods and a much better alternative to abortion in the vast majority of post-initial stage of human development instances, when the mother and baby's lives are not in critically serious danger.
I also believe that every child should be wanted. I am always in favor of counseling a troubled woman who is not absolutely sure about keeping the life in her belly, but in the end I will trust that woman to decide for herself what happens in her body rather than criminalizing her like the "pro-life" people want to do. Regardless of how absolutist many profess to be, I for one do not equate "pro-choice" with "pro-abortion". Most reasonable "pro-choice" people do not in fact advocate for abortions but for the right of a woman to decide for herself. I would suggest that the "pro-life" people stop labeling those who do not share their absolutism about what constitutes a human person as murderers. There is more in common between the two groups than meets the eye. A late-term abortion, for instance, is rejected almost universally, because women everywhere do know that a baby's life precedes the date of its vaginal or Cesarean passage.
Tayi, I know that you are convinced of the infallibility of your argument, but I was willing to address it precisely because I do not share that sense. However, rather than attempting the impossibility (?) of reconciling our views, I would hope that other people would express theirs. After all, you and I are just two men. What do we know? I would hope to hear some women's views as well. Come on, sisters.
Posted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 10:01 pm
Thank you for a sincere and well argued response! Just a few things:
1. You would be surprised about some things my argument would allow...
2. I have some responses to some of your arguments
3. but, like you said I will hold for a couple days and see if we can get some sisters to comment (I'm not naming names Shelony, Anacaona, etc
Posted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 6:33 pm
Someone should have hit me upside the head already for this dreadful statement that I made, but since no one did, I have the privilege of withdrawing it from the debate and hitting myself with my own hand:
[quote]In fact, right now, I would not hesitate to shoot down some poachers dead, if I could and IF that proved the way to preserve for a while longer the existence of some higher forms of animal species on Earth. [/quote]
Well, in fact, that was simply an intentional exaggeration on my part, and I am confident that every member of this forum who read it saw it as such. I couldn't shoot anyone, in any circumstance, except perhaps in self-defense or if necessary to protect my loved ones. However, when I just read my note again, something terrible occurred to me: that some forum visitor might see in what I wrote some vindication for the crazy pro-lifers who went on a shooting rampage against doctors who performed abortions. They might think that if I would stand ready to shoot some poachers (who actually are at the low end in the line of responsibility in this shady business; it is mostly a matter of supply and demand), then those crazy pro-lifers would be doubly justified in killing doctors who perform abortions of human fetuses, that is "human beings" in their eyes. I condemn those actions, of course. That's why I want to state for the record that I would never, in real life, do as I said in my statement. It was said in this way, simply to express a strong sentiment. What would I wish to do to the poachers? I don't know. Vaporize them, maybe. Turn them into pillars of salt...yes, that's the ticket! The biblical God knows all the tricks, doesn't he, and boy did he use them to spectacular effect!
Posted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:23 am
Well, Tayi, it appears that there are no takers. So, you're on your own.
By the way, isn't it curious that the fierce abortionist Obama (excuse my sarcasm) would invite the fierce anti-abortionist Rick Warren to deliver the inaugural address of the new administration on January 20? The choice of Warren may be nearly as contentious as it might have been had Obama picked Jeremiah Wright, Louis Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson, or Al Sharpton. Does Obama's politics of inclusion consist of the tolerant embracing the intolerant (as long as he is not black apparently), the sinner embracing the righteous, or the righteous embracing the sinner? Is Obama's stance as bold as Jesus embracing the adulteress Mary Magdalene, in an attempt to cast seven demons of intolerance out of Rick Warren? It's funny to observe that the evangelicals are highly upset that Warren accepted Obama's invitation just as the pro-choice and pro-gay rights seem even more upset that Obama extended the invitation in the first place. Who is playing with fire here? And who will try to extinguish the fires here and there before they turn into wild forest fires that consume everything in their paths?
This society has become far too polarized along fault lines of biblical interpretation and religious redlining practices, and this is Why This Black ex Catholic Has Voted Obama and continues to support his presidency which is already in full swing before its time. He invites you to join together and pray hard to the divine nature of your intellect that Obama continue to defy social expectations as successfully as Jesus defied scientific ones, allegedly, by walking on water.
Posted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 11:07 am
[quote]It's funny to observe that the evangelicals are highly upset that Warren accepted Obama's invitation just as the pro-choice and pro-gay rights seem even more upset that Obama extended the invitation in the first place.[/quote]
I've been mulling over the very same dynamic.
Why is it that extremists/activists at both ends of the spectrum are so displeased with Obama?
Are they fearful that a less polarizing approach to issues which have so divided our nation in recent years might marginalize them?
"Wedge" issues have been used quite effectively as voter mobilization tools -- until 2006 and 2008. In both elections, "wedge" issues had lost their "get out the vote" oomph. "Bread and butter" issues had become uppermost in the minds of voters. And voters were less willing to be tricked into voting against their own economic interests, in the name of some "wedge" issue.
There was a time when the Left dominated in the arena of "wedge" issues. More recently, the Right has dominated. Could it possibly be that the American People have "self-corrected" to the point where Moderates will dominate in the foreseeable future, leaving by the wayside (and in the minority) extremists at both ends of the political/ideological spectrum?
Posted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:17 pm
I think this article is relevant to this discussion
http://www.lenouvelliste.com/article.ph ... 2008-12-15
[quote]Le Vatican oppose aux chercheurs la "dignité" de l'embryon humain
Avec un document doctrinal affirmant la "dignité" de l'embryon humain, le Vatican a relancé vendredi la controverse sur les enjeux éthiques des nouvelles techniques biomédicales, au moment où certains pays, dont les USA et la France, s'apprêtent à réexaminer leurs pratiques en ce domaine.
L'instruction intitulée "dignitas personae" (la dignité de la personne) actualise, à la lumière des avancées de la recherche, le document "donum vitae" (le don de la vie) datant de 1987, qui condamnait déjà sans ambiguité toute atteinte à l'intégrité de l'embryon, considéré comme un être humain créé à l'image de Dieu dès la conception.
Le document fait la liste de toutes les techniques biomédicales qu'il juge "illicites", de la fécondation in vitro au clonage ou à l'utilisation de cellules souches embryonnaires pour soigner ou fabriquer des vaccins, en passant par la pilule du lendemain.
Il est également très réticent devant les perspectives ouvertes par la thérapie génique, car elle risque de favoriser "une mentalité eugénique".
L'Eglise catholique justifie ces interdits par le fait que "la dignité de la personne doit être reconnue à tout être humain depuis sa conception jusqu'à sa mort naturelle".
Il s'agit d'un pas de plus vers la reconnaissance de l'embryon non seulement comme être humain, mais comme "personne" à part entière avec toutes les conséquences philosophiques ou juridiques que cela pourrait entraîner, mais qui n'est cependant pas totalement franchi.
"La reconnaissance est implicite, mais nous ne tranchons pas dans le débat philosophique", a précisé le secrétaire de la congrégation pour la doctrine de la foi, Mgr Rino Fisichella, en présentant le document.
Le texte qui s'impose à tous les catholiques devrait avoir des conséquences pratiques comme ce fut le cas pour "donum vitae".
Il devrait ainsi fournir des arguments à l'Eglise américaine, au moment où l'entourage du président élu Barack Obama a laissé entendre qu'il envisage de remettre en cause une décision de George W. Bush de limiter la recherche sur les cellules souches embryonnaires.
Il sera aussi utilisé par les évêques français lors des Etats généraux sur la bioéthique prévus en 2009 en France en vue d'une modification de la loi.
Après "donum vitae" de nombreux hôpitaux catholiques à travers le monde avaient été contraints d'interrompre leurs services d'aide à la fécondation pour les couples stériles ou le financement de certaines recherches médicales.
En Italie, l'Eglise catholique a contribué en 2005 à l'échec d'un référendum d'initiative populaire visant à libéraliser le recours à la fécondation assistée.
L'instruction "dignitas personae" demande aussi aux chercheurs catholiques de "se dissocier, dans l'exercice de (leur) propre activité de recherche, d'un cadre législatif gravement injuste et d'affirmer avec clarté la valeur de la vie humaine".
Le Vatican est conscient d'aller à contre-courant des recherches de pointe menées notamment en Grande-Bretagne sur l'embryon et s'attend à des "réactions diverses", a reconnu Mgr Fisichella.
"Certains préfèreront ignorer" l'instruction, "d'autres auront recours à la dérision, d'autres encore classeront ces pages comme des manifestations d'un obscurantisme empêchant le progrès et la libre recherche. Mais beaucoup d'autres partageront notre préoccupation et notre analyse", a-t-il dit.[/quote]
Posted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 6:50 pm
I had forgotten to tell you about my trip to the homeland (Haiti) from Dec. 22 till now. I did not have much internet access here so I could not keep up with the discussion. But I am having such a wonderful time here that if I told you details you would be too jealous--so I will spare you
Hope to get back soon and chat with my friends...
Posted: Sat Mar 07, 2009 12:42 am
[quote]...When I get to heaven, if by miracle I access it (through Gelin's powerful and incessant mediation on my behalf) <u>I will ask your God myself</u>...[/quote]
Guy, all of us will meet God on the time of his chosing either as a believer who received his grace or as an unbeliever summoned by his majesty for indictment-trial-sentencing. If you show up as an unbeliever you won't ask anything. God will do the questionning...
Posted: Sat Mar 07, 2009 9:27 am
Gelin. ki fE la'a, God s'on jeneral tou?
A la zafE papa.
Si pa gen God vre, m'ap lan zen avE'w wi, lE'n mouri...
Posted: Sat Mar 07, 2009 9:28 am
Oh now, I am really scared... but say, how do you know what you affirm? The Man upstairs and I are good pals and he tells me that the whole idea of indictment-trial-sentencing is so hilariously human in nature. Let's not let this distract us though and go back to the original issue. It seems like Tayi had so much fun in Haiti (the details of which he did not tell us about so we would not get too jealous) that he is still involved with the aftermath of his vacation. Good thing he is a man, otherwise I would begin to wonder...
Posted: Sat Mar 07, 2009 7:18 pm
[quote]By the way, when Tayi writes "I actually never used the Catholic Church or any Church as authority to make my arguments against abortion...", I wonder why he titled his intervention on this forum "Why This Black Catholic Is NOT Voting Obama". I am just wondering...[/quote]
You got that right, Guy. Tayi's title lets you know where he is coming from. It's not simply Tayi's opinion...