Scriptures SCOTUS must address before saying Christianity supports abortion
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This article was started by Dave Leach R-IA Bible Lover-musician-grandpa (talk) 02:52, 19 January 2021 (UTC)
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This article is "Appendix E" from the book by Dave Leach, "How States can Outlaw Abortion in a Way that Survives Courts". Available at Amazon in paperback; or see a free PDF.
Roe accepted validation of its alleged ignorance of whether unborn babies of human mothers are humans from the fact that many savage religions of ancient times had no problem murdering unborn babies. Which seems an undesirable precedent for a free people, since those religions had no problem with murdering adults, either, or savagely “sacrificing” them. But Roe thought its ignorance vindicated by elements within Christianity and Judiasm too.
When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer....There has always been strong support for the view that life does not begin until live birth....It appears to be the predominant, though not the unanimous, attitude of the Jewish faith. [Footnote 57: Lader 97-99; D. Feldman, Birth Control in Jewish Law 251-294 (1968). For a stricter view, see I. Jakobovits, Jewish Views on Abortion, in Abortion and the Law 124 (D. Smith ed.1967).] It may be taken to represent also the position of a large segment of the Protestant community, insofar as that can be ascertained; organized groups that have taken a formal position on the abortion issue have generally regarded abortion as a matter for the conscience of the individual and her family. [Footnote 58: micus Brief for the American Ethical Union et al. For the position of the National Council of Churches and of other denominations, see Lader 99-101.] The Aristotelian theory of “mediate animation,” that held sway throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance in Europe, continued to be official Roman Catholic dogma until the 19th century, despite opposition to this “ensoulment” theory from those in the Church who would recognize the existence of life from the moment of conception. Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 159-161
Roe’s treatment of Christianity and Judiasm notes how men choose to respond to the Truth, and ignores what the Bible says is true.
Neither Judaism nor Christianity are understood by taking a poll of how well Christians and Jews live up to their standards. They are understood by reading the Scriptures they claim are their standards. (I hope the views of “secular Jews” who reject Jewish Scriptures is not part of Roe’s evidence of Jewish positions!)
Limiting understanding of any religion to human opinion is like a judge not looking up a law or a case for himself but taking lawyers’ word for what it says. It is like hearsay, compared with cross examining an eyewitness. Citing a book about The Book, as Roe did, is a poor substitute for reading The Book.
You will find varying opinions in various churches about how Christians ought to respond to abortion. But you will not find, even where those statements conflict, significant disagreement about what various verses say about the unborn. Those who base their positions on a careful reading of Scripture pretty much agree. Those who don’t, are no guide to understanding Christianity. SCOTUS can’t rule analysis of the Bible irrelevant, and expect to understand the religions who revere it. Iowa will be totally surprised if SCOTUS conducts an appropriate analysis of Scripture in order to correct Roe’s vague reliance on religion for its alleged uncertainty whether the babies of human mothers are humans/persons. But this analysis must be done or SCOTUS must retract any implication that its legalization of abortion finds any support in any religion.
...says David’s human life began before his tiny body had arms and legs. Before conception. [Footnote 59: Jeremiah 1:5 likewise affirms that our souls begin before conception: “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” ] He was God-recognized before he was legally recognized.
Psalm 139:13-16 You created every part of me; you put me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because you are to be feared; all you do is strange and wonderful. I know it with all my heart. When my bones were being formed, carefully put together in my mother's womb, when I was growing there in secret, you knew that I was there---you saw me before I was born. and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. GNB/KJV
...says that in the womb, a baby (1) can hear voices; (2) can sense the difference between a voice sweet with blessing and a voice coarse with cursing; and (3) can choose which kind of voice to get excited about. In other words, (4) an unborn baby can choose between good and evil.
Luke 1:39 And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; 40 And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. 41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe [John the Baptist] leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: 42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. 43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. KJV
A few verses before that tell us that even from the womb, a baby has a soul for the Holy Spirit to fill: [Footnote 60: This, along with Jeremiah 1:5, supports the capacity of an unborn baby to choose good or evil.]
Luke 1:15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.
Saline abortions, which burn babies alive with acid that blackens over half their skin while eating out their lungs, are our cultural equivalent of the pagan god Molech, into whose red hot brass arms worshipers threw their children, whose screams were covered by the priests’ drums. Today we similarly have what was given as the name of the first video of an ultrasound of an abortion: “The Silent Scream.” God said this is so barbaric that He never even imagined such a thing. This is a remarkable idea for those who believe God foresees every detail of what evils men will do, but all translations and commentators seem to agree that’s what the verse means. Of no other evil in the entire Bible does God say this was so evil that He did not foresee it.
Jeremiah 32:35 And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin. [ERV: I never even thought the people of Judah would do such a terrible thing.]
God also has something to say about how we should respond to abortion. This verse was in Operation Rescue’s masthead, until 1993 when the first abortionist was shot. The scenario is where murderers have so much power over their victims that they can “lead them away” to kill them where they choose, and by a schedule known to others. That pretty much limits the scenario to government-protected murders.
Proverbs 24:10 If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. 11 Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. 12 If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work? ESV
The only citation of any Bible verse in Roe is to Exodus 21:22, in footnote 22. Roe says the verse “may have” influenced Augustine! What was the point of adding such a speculation if it can’t even be documented that Augustine thought about it? Was it an attempt to stick a verse into the record that some have thought minimizes the value of the unborn, even though most do not? Cults use obscure, ambiguous verses as a wedge to get Doubt’s foot in the door. Here is the verse:
Exodus 21:22 - quoted in Roe
Exodus 21:22 And when men fight, and they strike a pregnant woman, and her child goes forth, [literally “so her children come out” according to an NLT note] and there is no injury, being fined he shall be fined. As much as the husband of the woman shall put on him, even he shall give through the judges. [That is, he can sue in a court of equity and a jury will decide any award.] (Literal Translation of the Holy Bible)
The uncertainty is whether “there is no injury” means “no injury to either the mother or the child”, or only “no injury to the mother – who cares about the child?” Commentator John Gill (1690-1771) notes places in the talmud that say the verses are concerned only for women, but he says the verse itself applies also to babies:
and yet no mischief follow: to her, as the Targum of Jonathan, and so Jarchi and Aben Ezra restrain it to the woman; and which mischief they interpret of death, as does also the Targum of Onkelos; but it may refer both to the woman and her offspring, and not only to the death of them, but to any hurt or damage to either.... John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible
Adam Clark (1715-1832) understands it to protect mother and child alike:
But if mischief followed, that is, if the child had been fully formed, and was killed by this means, or the woman lost her life in consequence, then the punishment was as in other cases of murder - the person was put to death.... Adam Clark’s Commentary on the Bible
The Bible Knowledge Commentary is emphatic that the child’s life is revered as much as the mother’s. Commentaries since 1973 take a position on abortion.
21:22–25. If … a pregnant woman delivered her child prematurely as a result of a blow, but both were otherwise uninjured, the guilty party was to pay compensation determined by the woman’s husband and the court. However, if there was injury to the expectant mother or her child, then the assailant was to be penalized in proportion to the nature of severity of the injury. While unintentional life-taking was usually not a capital offense (cf. vv. 12–13), here it clearly was. Also the unborn fetus is viewed in this passage as just as much a human being as its mother; the abortion of a fetus was considered murder.5
Wiersby sees no uncertainty that the unborn are as revered as the born:
Verses 22–23 are basic to the pro-life position on abortion, for they indicate that the aborting of a fetus was equivalent to the murdering of the child. The guilty party was punished as a murderer (“life for life”) if the mother or the unborn child, or both, died. See also Ps. 139:13–16.
Tyndale’s commentary sermonizes about it:
In the case of mothers and children, special laws were given to protect the helpless and innocent (21:22–25). If a man caused a woman to give birth prematurely but the infant was not harmed, then a simple fine was to be levied. If the child or mother was harmed, then the law of retaliation was applied. Punishment was restricted to that which was commensurate with the injury. In these verses God shows clear concern for protecting unborn children, a concern that people today would do well to heed. Surely the abortion of millions of unborn babies will fall under God’s condemnation.
But the NIV FaithLife Study Bible, copyright 2012, on the eve of legal abortion’s 40th birthday, seems to be pro-abortion:
21:22 as the judges determine Describes a situation where the woman who is injured survives the attack but her child does not. The penalty in such a case is a fine. However, v. 23 says that if the woman is killed, the death penalty is prescribed. Consequently, the life of the adult woman was deemed of greater value than the contents of her womb. This passage is frequently used to justify abortion: the woman was viewed as a person; the child was not. [Wow!]
The Hebrew text simply doesn’t specify whether “if there is no injury” applies to both child and mother, or to only one of them. Nor does the Hebrew say whether “the baby comes out” means healthy or dead. The disagreement of translators and commentators is possible because of this textual ambiguity. Commentaries since 1973 face societal pressure to stay out of Roe’s way. Ancient Talmud entries likewise faced the social pressure of the ever present Molech worship surrounding Israel, and too frequently invading Israel. Jesus’ metaphor for Hell was the “valley of Tophet” just outside Jerusalem where children were once burnt alive to Molech.
I would submit that while the text may be unclear, the context is certainly clear. From “be fruitful and multiply”, Genesis 1:28, to “As arrows in the hand of a mighty man, so are the sons of the young. Blessed is the man who has filled his quiver with them....”, Psalm 127:4-5, and all the laws in between about the importance of descendants, it is inconceivable that any jury in Moses’ time could be apathetic about an unnatural miscarriage! The translations that leave this idea implied but not specified are MKJV, RV, YLT, GW, ISV, JPS, KJV, ABP, ASV, ESV, NLT, NIV84, NASB95, HCSB, NCV, TNIV, CPB, NirV. However, these translations limit concern to the mother: BBE, “causing the loss of the child, but no other evil comes to her”; CEV, if she “suffers a miscarriage” but “isn’t badly hurt”; DRB “and she miscarry indeed, but live herself”; ERV “If the woman was not hurt badly”; and Message “so that she miscarries but is not otherwise hurt”. As noted before, “miscarriage” is a poor translation since the Hebrew word as easily means a healthy birth.
The Brenton translation expresses concern only for the baby: “And if two men strive and smite a woman with child, and her child be born imperfectly formed, he shall be forced to pay a penalty....”
Theologians are less likely than lawyers to consider in this verse the difficulty of assessing criminal intent in this situation. Two men are fighting, and a woman gets hit. What is she doing there? What responsibility did she have for getting out of the way? When the man hit her, was he actually aiming at her or was he just struggling against the other man? If he deliberately hit her, was he just defending himself against her attack, or was he deliberately aiming at the womb? These are questions for a jury. They are factors that could make a penalty greater for harm to the mother than for the child, or vice versa, depending not on their relative human worth but on where any culpability was focused.
WEB translation: “If men fight and hurt a pregnant woman so that she gives birth prematurely, and yet if no harm follows, he shall be surely fined as much as the woman’s husband demands and the judges allow. But if any harm follows, then you must take life for life...