Levellers

Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Guest Blogger: Jesus & Abortion

Friends (and other readers):
I don’t usually invite guest columns for this blog, but I felt that a conservative acquaintance got a raw deal by some of my fellow progressives. Lex Cathedra is his blogger handle and he asked a very probing question during a debate on abortion, but was simply dismissed. Originally, Lex asked to post this as a comment on my previous “Religious Liberty Dimensions in the Abortion Debate” column, but I argued that enough time and new entries had happened that only he and I would see the column. So, I’m giving him a front and center podium. I have removed personal names from his post, but everything else is just as Lex sent this to me. I will hold my comments until others have had a chance. As usual, I will publish any comment on the subject and not containing bad language.

Now, before I turn you over to Lex, please call the White House Comment Line (202-456-1111) and urge President Bush to use our full diplomatic pressure in the Middle East for an immediate ceasefire and for our governmnet to take quick steps to push for peace in the entire Middle East.
CALL NOW, THEN WRITE YOUR LOCAL PAPER WITH THE SAME MESSAGE.
Michael the Leveller.

++++++++++++
“Of course Jesus would make abortion referrals. He helped anyone who had a need.”

This answer was given in response to a direct question of mine in an e-mail to [BLANK], who is affiliated with [a national progressive organization.][Blank]is one of [the organization’s]”pillars” and regular article contributor.

I replied to him, “YOUR Jesus would make abortion referrals, not mine.”

I mentioned [this person’s]position and mine in an e-mail to a friend that I’d made [there], and here’s how he replied:

“Interesting reaction to [bland’s]post. Here’s mine; My Jesus would have seen if there was any other way and if there wasn’t then only reluctantly and with great sorrow make the referral especially if the mothers life and health were at stake. To me, abortion is the “court of last resort”. It is, after all, an invasive surgical procedure. Aside from the political ramifications that I’ve already talked about regarding women’s equality, I also see it as necessary to protect the health of the woman.

Let me ask you this. Would your Jesus force a woman to carry the child of her rapist if she didn’t want to?”

Here’s how I replied:

“When Jesus sent out the disciples to heal in his name, they did so. Healing was normative, as it was in the early Church. Why isn’t it normative today? I can’t fathom THAT Jesus referring any woman for an abortion. He’d have healed them instead, and I dare say that [Blank] has reinvented Jesus to conform to what he, [Blank], would do in such a situation, i.e., make an abortion referral. Projecting onto Jesus -how shall I describe it? – our lack of faith in God’s promises and abilities, is disappointing, to say the least.

Is it wildly unrealistic for a Christian to believe in miracles today? Does [your denomination] teach Dispensationalism?

My Jesus would so bless the rape victim that she would, for love’s sake, not only forgive her rapist but also carry the child to term. If the only way that we can describe it is in terms of her being ‘forced’ to carry an unintended pregnancy to term, haven’t we misunderstood the power of God? In no way do I see the Jesus as revealed in the NT referring her for an abortion because of how the child was conceived. We’re the ones who rather PRESUME that he would do just that.”

Other faith traditions will do what they think they must. My concern is with Christianity. What do you think Jesus would do?

+++++ Lex Cathedra

July 28, 2006 - Posted by | abortion

17 Comments

  1. The issue of abortion is centered on this question: Does the fetus deserve the same rights to live as other human beings? If not, maybe Jesus would make the referral; after all, no life is being ended. If so, Jesus would no more refer a pregnant woman to an abortionist than he would refer a parent to someone who would kill their unwanted, born child.

    Comment by Chance | July 28, 2006

  2. I’d use to agree with Chance, but, at least in part in recognition of our human condition, I’ve modified my thought: The issue of abortion is centered on Chance’s question AND it is a matter that the family needs to decide. I don’t think gov’t ought to be involved or only marginally involved.

    And you may find it surprising that it is my “liberal” side that is opposed to abortion, but it is tempered by my conservative side coming through – rejecting an over-reaching gov’t’s intrusion into the medical life and death decisions families need to make sometimes.

    For instance, I think life is priceless and precious. As such, if I were to get deathly ill with no chance of recovery (I say this now), I would not want to spend a great deal of money trying to chase away my death by a few days or a few weeks. I’d like the liberty of dying a natural death in the time of my choosing. And I don’t want the Gov’t stepping in and telling me, “You HAVE to accept this treatment…”

    Similarly, if I became incapacitated, I’d want my wife and loved ones to make that decision for me. And I don’t want the gov’t telling her what decisions to make in regards to my life.

    I’m not talking about euthanasia or murder or suicide, really. I’m talking about heartbreaking medical decisions that sometimes need to be made.

    And, just as I’d want my wife to make that call if I were incapacitated and NOT want the gov’t involved, I’d extend that same grave duty and responsibility to people contemplating the intrusive and serious medical procedure of abortion. And NOT the gov’t.

    If Jesus wanted to help me in any of these sorts of decisions, I’d be glad to accept the help. An audible voice would help clarify things. But while I know wayyy too many individuals have made what I consider poor choices, I trust the individual to make that call more than the gov’t.

    And them’s my thoughts.

    Comment by Dan Trabue | July 29, 2006

  3. Hey Dan,
    I don’t want to turn this into a debate, because people argue about abortion all the time, and I don’t think anything will be settled in the comment section on a blog post. But I wanted to bring up this point.

    I admit, end of life situations are tricky. I think that is why it is so important for someone to let their loved ones know what they want to happen should that situation occur. As you brought up though, this does not always happen, and the family does have to make a tough choice. However, I don’t see where this applies to abortion, except in the instance where it threatens the mother’s life, because one life may possibly be ended anyway. Other than that, I don’t see what the heartbreaking medical decision is. In end of life situations, someone is dying, where it’s only a matter of time, or they are brain dead, which could mean they are essentially dead anyway.

    I understand the argument of trusting the individual more than the government, but the freedom of the individual should go no further than the freedom of the other individual. When someone makes a choice to have an abortion, it’s not like someone deciding to smoke, do drugs, or get drunk, because those things only affect them, abortion affects the fetus as well. Again, it all depends on the one central point: is the fetus, in fact, a person. If so, we should no more trust an individual to make such a decision than we would trust them to own a slave, or kill another person. That’s just my view.

    Comment by Chance | July 29, 2006

  4. Just to clarify, I am not saying you or other pro-choice people are murderers or slave owners, I am just illustrating a point of victimless actions vs. those that claim victims. And the central quesition is whether or not the fetus counts as a person, and therefore, a victim. My point is not to persuade anyone to become pro-life, because it would be pointless, but I think the abortion issue is less confusing than people think, because it hinges on the central question.

    Comment by Chance | July 29, 2006

  5. Point understood, Chance. I am inclined to agree that the fetus counts as a person. I’m of the mind that if a person shoots a pregnant woman and the fetus dies, that person is guilty of murder (I’m no lawyer and don’t know the laws on this point, I just know how I’d feel in that circumstance).

    But even with the assumption that the fetus is a person, this still seems to fall under the same example of an incapacitated person and their family having to make medical decisions for them. Doesn’t mean that they’re not a person, just that they’re not in a position to make the decision for themselves.

    Regardless, it is a tragic circumstance to find oneself in.

    Comment by Dan Trabue | July 29, 2006

  6. For reasons that escape me, Lex has been having trouble posting to the comment section. This was his first reply to Chance:
    Friday, 28 July, 2006

    You’ve nailed a big chunk of our problem today, chance, that is, the whole layer of “rights” language that we have superimposed on the question of what Jesus would do if presented with a “problem” pregnancy. This is where the danger of reinventing Jesus to suit our personal preferences becomes quite real, especially since there is no indication in the Gospels that Jesus was ever faced with this particular question.

    EVEN SO, what we DO know is that Jesus spent his entire 3 year ministry healing the sick of the House of Israel, but also those who were not under the Mosaic covenant, the Syro-Phoenecian woman’s daughter, for example, (while at the same time emphasizing that it was sheer mercy on his part that he did so. He referred to her and hers as “dogs,” if you recall. Tough love!) He was so generous with healing, in fact, that his enemies used it as an argument against him! How dare he heal on the Sabbath!!!

    You also need to be much more careful, if I might give you a pointer, with lines like, “no life is being ended.” You shouldn’t assume that anyone knows what you mean by this.

    This also goes to the heart of our “modern” problem, namely, the way in which language has been used to dehumanize so as to destroy “life” in ALL of its forms and states of dependency. The nebulous word “person,” as withheld by the U.S. Supreme Court from the unborn for the duration of pregnancy in Roe v. Wade, is a prime example. “Potential life” is another expression the Court used. What does this mean when ACTUAL life remains undefined?

    Reinventing Jesus as a hand wringing dispenser of bandaids, oozing with empathy but impotent? Hiding behind dehumanizing “rights” language and euphemisms like “choice?” What does all of this say about the state of Christianity today?

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | July 29, 2006

  7. Seeing Lex’s response, I urged him to post it on the comments, not knowing the problems he was having with blogger. I also said:

    I must tell you, you are likely to get a strong reply from me over this. I had some sympathy with your initial post, but I don’t think “rights” language is imposed on Christianity. Richard Overton first coined the term “human rights,” but similar language was used by Origen, Tertulliam and other church fathers in defending Christians against Roman persecution. The Natural Law thinking of St. Thomas Aquinas (although it has its own problems) was another root of “natural rights” which became “human rights.” I spend much of my time arguing against those who want to prevent Christians from using “rights language.”

    Lex Cathredra replied:
    Michael,

    It isn’t “rights” language in and of itself that is the problem, but how words have been divested of meaning under the umbrella of human rights in general. The specific instances that I mentioned, “person,” “potential life,” and “choice,” have indeed been used to exclude rather than include the unborn.

    Put another way, those who stake their own claims to freedom at the expense of others’ very right to life have usurped the entire human rights project.

    I fail to see a parallel between folks like Origen making the argument that they shouldn’t be killed by the State because they were Christian, and those who argue today that Christian freedom means that they MAY kill the unborn for whatever reason seems appropriate to them. They’ve gotten it completely backward, in my opinion.

    Please consider this as well before replying to my reply to chance. It was delivered by Cardinal Ratzinger in 1991.

    “…[A] State which arrogates to itself the prerogative of defining which human beings are or are not the subject of rights, and which consequently grants to some the power to violate others’ fundamental right to life, contradicts the democratic ideal to which it continues to appeal and undermines the very foundations on which it is built. By allowing the rights of the weakest to be violated, the State also allows the law of force to prevail over the force of law. One sees, then, that the idea of an absolute tolerance of freedom of choice for some destroys the very foundation of a just mode of social life. The separation of politics from any natural content of law, which is the inalienable patrimony of everyone’s moral conscience, deprives social life of its ethical substance and leaves it defenseless before the will of the strongest.”

    It is precisely this false notion of freedom in the name of “rights” that has been superimposed on the Gospel, and is why [Blank’s] Jesus would make abortion referrals and mine would not.

    I have turned off the moderation feature on my comments, hoping this helps Lex and other comment freely. I’m still waiting before adding my own comments.

    Where, pray tell, are my very pro-life critics Roger, mom2, and D.R.? I would have thought that you guys would be all over this thread, supporting Lex. What gives with the silence, folks?

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | July 29, 2006

  8. They have lives, unlike us, apparently…

    Comment by Dan Trabue | July 29, 2006

  9. Arggh, I tried to post a carefully thought out comment and it got lost in cyberspace! Too tired to try again, tonight!

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | July 29, 2006

  10. Trying again.

    I partly agree with Lex Cathedra. Although I am a huge human rights defender, I do think that some have misused the language. I have complained in speech and writing that far too many in the pro-choice camp of the abortion debate have talked as if the civil liberties of pregnant women were the ONLY moral issues at stake.

    While I don’t share Lex’s Catholic view (shared by many Protestant evangelicals from traditions similar to mine) that fetal personhood begins at conception, I don’t believe that agreement is necessary for mutual valuing of gestating human life and mutual desire to protect the potential persons of developing fetuses. Even being a potential person should under all normal circumstances be allowed to move toward that potential. From conception onward, a fetus has a right to life. Unlike some, I believe that right to life can be overridden by the rights of the mother, but only in extreme circumstances–and the closer to birth the gestating fetus is, the stronger the circumstances would need to be, until in the 3rd trimester, only the need to save the life of the mother could justify such a late-term abortion.

    I also agree with Lex that rights, important as they are, are not the end-all and be-all of Christian faith.

    I am very reluctant to speak in terms of “my Jesus” vs. someone’s “your Jesus” since this suggests that “Jesus” is a cypher we may create in our own image. Historical study and biblical study reconstructing “the historical Jesus” as closely as humanly possible interacts with my experiences of the risen Christ in corporate worship and personal devotion, as well as the best theological reflection on Christology through the ages. This composite picture is not “the real Jesus” whom I know in part now, but will not know fully until the Last Day (either history’s last day or my personal one).

    As far as I can tell, Jesus of Nazareth would not make any abortion referrals. I agree with Lex that he would have healed any problem pregnancy in vitro and/or would have brought enough healing to any rape victim that she could choose to bear and raise the child of violence as a hope and further healing instead of it being a barrier to her healing.
    Yet, despite the popularity of the phrase “What Would Jesus Do?” we followers cannot always imitate the Master perfectly. The disciples could not cast out all demons, nor heal everyone Jesus sent them out to heal. The gift of healing is still with the church, but not as it was with the Incarnate One.
    Nevertheless, we in the churches should do all in our power (and the power granted us by the Spirit) to intercede creatively so that other options are available than abortion. Some of those efforts will be in public policy but others will be strictly independent.
    In the area of public policy, however, we must allow for other options than Christian ones. Liberty of conscience must be respected. There is a vast difference between Jesus healing a rape victim (or even Christ-followers doing so) and a secular government ordering such a victim to carry to term.
    Also, here differences over when personhood begins will be sharpest. Even in Catholicism, it has only been since Mendel’s genetics that “ensoulment” was said to happen at conception. Acquinas believed female “ensoulment” happened 11 days later than that of males! In that older Catholic view, all abortions were sinful, even before “ensoulment,” but as part of the “sin” of artificial birth control–since procreation is viewed as the primary (at some points in history the ONLY) justification for sex. (This led to weird medieval moral judgments such as considering rape and incest to be less evil than masturbation or same-sex acts because, at least with the former, procreation was possible!!!)
    Since up to 40% of all fertilized ovae never attach to the uterine wall, but pass from the mother’s body without even awareness that she was so-briefly pregnant, I cannot consider a conceptus a person or a woman’s natural biology to be a murderer. So, I would have ZERO moral qualms in giving morning after pills or emergency contraception to rape victims. I would not see that as abortion, but as preventing pregnancy.
    These diverse views show that we cannot simply legislate one view. That was the point of my column on abortion and liberty of conscience.
    But if public policy must allow for a plurality of moral convictions, and even behavior that many will consider sinful, that is not everything to be said. Christians must still work for a “culture of life,” i.e., to create the kinds of conditions in society where abortions will be rare–where the small % of “hard cases” will be all that occur.
    I’ll join hands with any that will have me in pursuit of those goals.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | July 30, 2006

  11. I think everyone involved has good reasons for their views, and they have stated them very effectively.

    That being said, I still disagree with allowing a “plurality of moral convictions” when it affects other people. For instance, there was a “plurality of convictions” concerning slavery, and the woman’s right to vote. I am curious what the difference is here.

    So, how do we decide on what the one view is? Again, the argument should focus on the livelihood of the fetus, and their rights. But what if this question cannot be resolved? Okay, why is the burden of proof on the pro-lifers, instead of being in favor of the unborn?

    Comment by Chance | July 31, 2006

  12. Well, as I said before in an earlier post, on moral issues laws will inevitably favor some views over others. It takes convincing the majority that your views should prevail. The majority of Americans, as poll after poll shows, believe abortion should be legal and do not believe that human personhood starts at conception. The burden of proof is on pro-lifers because it is always on the minority view to change minds–that’s why the struggles against slavery and for women’s suffrage were so long.
    What I object to is that pro-lifers have largely abandoned this effort to persuade the majority of their views. The whole “stack the Supreme Court” approach (with justices who are against abortion–all that pro-lifers care about in regard to justices, it seems–but also have views on many other issues that would fundamentally harm the body politic) instead of seeking a constitutional amendment is abandoning the road of persuasion in a pluralistic society for one of coercion.
    Am I supposed to agree that fetal life is not just a potential person but an actual person from conception onward because the pope says so? Sorry, I don’t accept the pope’s authority and neither does the constitution. The Bible doesn’t say so and the constitution can’t recognize biblical authority either.

    The inability of solving such a debate is one reason to adopt the approach of Belgium, Holland and elsewhere: allow the abortion laws to stay liberal, but work on the reasons why abortions are sought. The abortion rate is lower in Belgium than in Ireland where all abortions are illegal.
    Prolifers agree that outlawing abortion will create a large underground illegal abortion industry. Well, that’s not “protecting the unborn” very well then, is it? So, let’s remove as many causes for why abortions are sought as we can. This approach can unite pro-lifers and pro-choicers rather than divide, at least on some campaigns. Those pro-lifers who equate birth control and abortion will not want to make birth control far more widely available and educate the young on it, but others will.
    Then there’s working on creating jobs because unemployment leads to more abortions. Why? Because single women are more likely to abort than married women, but if men are employed they are more likely to marry a woman they get pregnant than if unemployed–and she is more likely to trust the context for raising a child. This unites the move for economic justice and the move to protect fetal life, not pitting them against each other.
    While we are at it, let’s work on male sexual aggression and irresponsibility, including date rape, manipulation, playing on the emotional fragility of young women and their need for love, etc. This campaign will unite feminists, always ready to see women get more respect, and conservatives who want to curb both promiscuity and abortion. Male heterosexual promiscuity is far greater than female and the power differential favors males–but the consequences of such behavior fall far more often on women.
    Sadly, easy abortions have only let men find new ways to avoid responsibility: “Hey, baby, I’ll pay for the abortion, but if you want to keep the kid, you’re on your own.”

    If we work creatively, we won’t have to make abortions illegal–they will be thought unnecessary except for rare cases, and unthinkable for most people. Because this approach doesn’t threaten people’s religious or moral convictions, you can get cooperation you don’t get otherwise.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | July 31, 2006

  13. “Well, as I said before in an earlier post, on moral issues laws will inevitably favor some views over others. It takes convincing the majority that your views should prevail. The majority of Americans, as poll after poll shows, believe abortion should be legal and do not believe that human personhood starts at conception. The burden of proof is on pro-lifers because it is always on the minority view to change minds–that’s why the struggles against slavery and for women’s suffrage were so long.”

    Yes, but if I’m not mistaken, the pro-choice view says that pro-lifers should not even try to outlaw abortion. Using that same logic, abolitionists and suffragists should have never tried to pass their views. I suppose it is a democracy, so the only solution is to battle things out.

    Anyway, we’ll have to agree to disagree on this issue. I like your blog, even though I don’t think we agree on anything, but it’s nice to have someone with differing political views that is a brother in Christ than someone with common political views that is not.

    Comment by Chance | July 31, 2006

  14. “pro-choice view says that pro-lifers should not even try to outlaw abortion”

    They may come across that way, but that is because they firmly believe in their position’s righteousness, I’d suppose. But I further suppose that if you confronted them directly on it, 99% would say, “Well, of course, the pro-life side has a right to express their views and try to change the laws…”

    …well, maybe only 95%.

    Still, as you said, it is a democratic republic and that’s how it works.

    Michael and I are the minority view on pacifism and even our current accepted levels of warring, and we certainly don’t want our voice quieted just because we’re the minority. We want the opportunity to make our best case based not on our religious views (Let’s stop warring because God says so) but based upon ethical and civic reasoning.

    To the extent that some may want to quiet the pro-life voice, I’d guess it’s when the pro-lifers are making religious arguments (don’t allow abortions because God says not to…).

    Comment by Dan Trabue | July 31, 2006

  15. I assume that I am here. The comments that follow relate to Michael’s first post in this thread.

    “From conception onward, a fetus has a right to life.”

    You know how dangerous that assertion makes you, Michael? Not even the Supremes have recognized this. The Declaration hints at it, but it’s nowhere in the COTUS. One might reasonably ask, then, why the Supremes are willing to look at international law in formulating an opinion, and not at this nation’s founding document?

    “Even being a potential person should under all normal circumstances be allowed to move toward that potential.”

    Again you go beyond what the Supremes allowed; they didn’t even address the question of whether the “potential life” would EVER become actual pre-birth.

    “in the 3rd trimester, only the need to save the life of the mother could justify such a late-term abortion.”

    You have just modified Doe v. Bolton’s health exception, which makes you perhaps the most dangerous liberal Christian on the planet!

    “As far as I can tell, Jesus of Nazareth would not make any abortion referrals.”

    Tell that to Rev. [Blank] and [blank] and God knows how many others.

    “we followers cannot always imitate the Master perfectly. The disciples could not cast out all demons, nor heal everyone Jesus sent them out to heal. The gift of healing is still with the church, but not as it was with the Incarnate One.”

    Agreed, but Jesus did give them a way to succeed against demons: fasting and prayer. The gift of healing is indeed still with the Church, but I dare say that those like Rev. [Blank] who basically support an unlimited abortion right have erred gravely by not even considering that Jesus would flatly oppose being cast as an abortion rights apologist. This is why I had no choice but to reject HIS “Jesus” as an impotent reinvention, deserving only of contempt.

    “Liberty of conscience must be respected.”

    I admittedly have trouble with this concept as it relates to this issue within Christendom. The Medieval folks didn’t know what we know now. There is no “homunculous.” Those outside of the Church, on the other hand, will do what they think is right in terms of public policy, which begs the question of how intertwined with the machinations of government Christians of any persuasion should be. Liberals complain that the conservatives have “taken over,” and vice versa, but each camp is trying to shape the “pagan” culture to its liking. What Would Jesus Do indeed!

    “Christians must still work for a “culture of life,” i.e., to create the kinds of conditions in society where abortions will be rare–where the small % of “hard cases” will be all that occur.”

    As opposed to the current reality, where something like 95% or higher of the one million or so per year abortions in this country alone are elective, and utilized as a form of birth control, and which prompted David Souter to write that for this very reason Roe could not be overturned. Too many had come to rely on this “cheap” solution to unwanted pregnancies, even though he also admitted that Roe may have been wrongly decided!

    I can’t begin to tell you how frustrating the Court’s stance is. Stare decisis my ass! The Court has reversed itself before. Its refusal to do so with Roe has polarized the entire nation and severely damaged nearly everything that this “miscarriage of justice” has touched. This is where I fault mainline liberal Christianity as the primary “theological” engine of this appalling embrace of death as a solution to life’s problems. When NARAL and NOW have offices in Churches, and its ministers are on the board of the local Planned Parenthood chapter, hasn’t hell moved in?

    Lex

    Comment by Lex | July 31, 2006

  16. These comments relate to Michael’s second (third) posting

    “What I object to is that pro-lifers have largely abandoned this effort to persuade the majority of their views. The whole “stack the Supreme Court” approach (with justices who are against abortion–all that pro-lifers care about in regard to justices, it seems–but also have views on many other issues that would fundamentally harm the body politic) instead of seeking a constitutional amendment.”

    As though Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton weren’t rammed down the nation’s collective throat, Michael. They didn’t need no stinking amendment. They just made it up out of the “penumbras and emanations” of the Constitution. The political process was usurped by 7 of 9 unelected lawyers, and it is in this nation’s Courts that the “champions of choice” have ALWAYS fought their battles because they lose at the ballot box.

    It isn’t that pro-lifers are trying to “stack” the court, but rather to bring it back into compliance with its original constitutional mandate, of interpreting the COTUS instead of finding ways to insert new “rights” into it that simply aren’t there. Privacy means abortion-on-demand? Yeah, right.

    “Am I supposed to agree that fetal life is not just a potential person but an actual person from conception onward because the pope says so?”

    I’m a Catholic but I have NEVER made that argument. It’s a non-starter, and it was precisely this ATTACK from the “choice” crowd, i.e., “Keep your rosaries off our ovaries,” that diverted attention from the issue, besides being sheer unadulterated bigotry.

    “Sadly, easy abortions have only let men find new ways to avoid responsibility.”

    I could not agree more. Roe v. Wade gave a green light to sexual predators everywhere. Most teens who have abortions were impregnated by adults. These men should be castrated in the public square, in my humble opinion.

    Comment by Lex | July 31, 2006

  17. Glad you could post, Lex. I think my turning off the comment moderation helped. Not sure how much further I want to pursue this thread, though.

    I’ll sleep on it. Hopefully, some others will engage you. This “dangerous liberal” has to go.

    P.S. The comment about the pope was not aimed at you or even at Catholics in general–or even Catholic pro-lifers. It was strictly about the impossibility of using religious authority to decide questions of public policy in a pluralist democracy.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | July 31, 2006


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