I'm posting today because tomorrow morning I depart for Washington, D.C., where I will participate in the March for Life. (See below for other noteworthy pro-life sites.)
The entire current issue of Touchstone revolves around the right to life and includes many excellent articles. Among them is "The Silent Witness Speaks: Abortion & Richard Hays’s Moral Ambiguity" by W. Ross Blackburn. The nub of the article is captured in the following selection:
In Scripture, people are distinguished (or categorized) in a number of ways: as Jew or Gentile, master or slave, male or female, and even in terms of their stage in life, as children, young men, men, widows, elders, young women/virgins, and so forth. However, nowhere in Scripture is the unborn child distinguished from other children. Nowhere is he set apart as a separate category.
In other words, there is no word for “fetus” in the Bible. The observation is crucial, for this imposition of the category “fetus” upon the Scriptures is the foundation of Hays’s [pro-abortion] position.
Also noteworthy on abortion and politics is an article in The Atlantic Monthly, "Closing the God Gap" by Hanna Rosin, which traces the electoral success of Democrats who are Christians to a firm called "Common Good," headed by Mara Vanderslice and Eric Sapp. The basic idea, as expressed in the concluding paragraph, is good:
At the very least, such a change [shift of religious voters to the Democrats] might take the sting out of the culture wars. If religious voters come up for grabs nationally, both parties will have to try to win them over the old-fashioned way: using substance and politics instead of just rhetoric.
I wholeheartedly endorse this sentiment, but it rings rather hollow, given the content of the article, in particular:
Vanderslice and Sapp helped the candidates create a new language to use in talking about faith and values, aimed in part at neutralizing hot-button issues. On abortion, for instance, they banned the word choice and pushed reduction, going one step further with Clinton’s idea that abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare”: “We must work together across our differences to reduce the need and numbers of abortions by reducing unplanned pregnancies and helping women and families get the support they need when facing a crisis pregnancy,” read a brochure for Sherrod Brown, the Democratic Senate candidate in Ohio.
(Say, empty rhetoric like repackaging "choice" as "reduction"?)
Given the whispered report that many people who claim to be anti-abortion have a secret desire to preserve the "right to choice" as an escape plan for their sexually promiscuous lives, it seems tragically plausible that Christian voters will let themselves be seduced by such insincerity.
Tomorrow I'm flying, which is to say, entering the maw of the national-security apparatus (ah, the joys of the TSA sock hop!), an Atlantic article on the past-glamour of flight hit close to home, and contained a penetrating insight into the chimerical nature of glamour:
Today air travel is just a more or less enjoyable way to get from place to place, not an emotionally resonant symbol of something greater than itself. We frequent flyers forget how unnatural it is to zoom through the air in a metal tube, and we imagine that airline glamour was all about real silverware and perfectly coiffed stewardesses—the experience on the plane. But glamour is always an illusion, an imaginative picture with the blemishes removed. With experience comes disillusionment, no matter how luxurious the reality may be.
I'm reminded of the question in the renewal of baptismal promises, "Do you reject the glamor of evil, and refuse to be mastered by sin?" The attraction of glamour, like that of evil itself, is an illusion. Evil has its day, but it too will pass. The laws of this nation will not forever sanction the killing of the unborn.
W. Ross Blackburn, "The Silent Witness Speaks: Abortion & Richard Hays’s Moral Ambiguity," Touchstone (January/February 2007), 39.
Hanna Rosin, "Closing the God Gap," The Atlantic (January/February 2007), 39. [subscription required for full text access]
Virginia Postrel, "Up, Up, and Away," The Atlantic (January/February 2007), 161. [subscription required for full text access]
Note:I apologize for not having a more original post this week. Next week my post will be substantial and on the subject of Christian unity, the octave dedicated to which we are celebrating now.