Many years ago, my wife became pregnant during her first marriage. She was abnormally large for only carrying the child for 14 weeks and went to the doctor. Because of her condition, she was given an ultrasound. By way of explanation, this was back in the days before ultrasounds were routine parts of examinations. It was quickly determined why she was so large. She was not carrying one child, but two. Since she was 14 weeks along, the gestation period for the twins was probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 weeks. This is important, so keep it in mind as I relate the second part of the story.
She watched in real-time as the twins, jockeying for space began to push, shove, and even slap one another, with whatever force a 12-week-old fetus can, which admittedly, probably is not much. When the disagreement was over, they turned their backs on one another, apparently in a huff.
Something that is not alive or is a mere clump of cells, has no concept of personal space. But even at 12 weeks, these kids were already arguing, such as they could. They didn’t even wait for the traditional disagreement that one of them had “crossed the line” in the back seat of the car during a family trip. Sibling rivalry had commenced even before these two had left the womb.
If that does not constitute signs of life, no matter how undeveloped, I would like to know what does. They still give each other fits to this day, and they are in their thirties.
But as far as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Instagram) is concerned, only Christian fundamentalist theocrats hold that a baby in the womb is alive and should not be aborted. She contends that many religions permit abortion, including Judaism.
Lost her Marbles: AOC claims Abortion is a Jewish "religious" sacrament. pic.twitter.com/p6kpG9IgRX
— Ethan Harsell (@ethan_harsell) December 21, 2022
To be fair, between Twitter, Ukraine, Sam Bankman-Fried, the border, and the spending bill, AOC probably decided that people were not talking about AOC enough these days, hence the latest rant. And there are plenty of armchair apologists out there who wrangle scripture to suit their desires, not on just this issue, but plenty of others, including abortion.
But when reading the Bible, it is important to first understand what the passage in question meant at the time it was written, the contemporary circumstances, and for whom it was originally intended. Then, we can begin to distill what meaning it may have for present-day readers. And that is a mistake made by believers and non-believers of all stripes. That AOC and countless others should fall into that trap in pursuit of a desired outcome is nothing new.
Take, for example, Leviticus 19:19, which in the New International Version reads, “Keep my decrees. Do not mate different kinds of animals. Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed. Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material.”
Sounds rather silly by today’s standards, doesn’t it? Following this particular passage, we would all have to tear up our backyard gardens and get new wardrobes. I’m wearing a cotton blend shirt right now, and chances are good that someone reading this is wearing one, too. So what is the point of following these seemingly ridiculous dictates? None today at first blush.
That passage was not written for us in the 21st century. It was written for the children of Israel who were entering a land in which the pagans performed those practices as part of their fertility rites. Since Israel did not worship fertility gods, they were not to be a part of those rites in any way. If there is a message for us today in that passage, it is that people of faith are not to follow the whims and trends of the world. So, no need to run to Walmart for new clothes, and your vegetable garden is just fine. But it is easy to cherry-pick passages to make your point while completely ignoring the historical and socioeconomic conditions in which the Bible was written.
Further, the argument that God mandated abortion or that the Bible does not address it ignores a multitude of passages that would indicate that a baby in the womb constitutes life.
David Harsanyi, in an article for The Federalist, opines that AOC may have gotten her talking points from progressive Jews. And may I add that progressive Jews do not represent all Jews, just as progressive Christians do not represent all Christians. Progressivism can be found in any faith. Harsanyi goes on to say:
Now, I’m not a rabbi, but I feel slightly more qualified to comment on the Jewish faith than Ocasio-Cortez — and, while we’re at it, the “rabbi” of any cosmic shul. It would be misleading to assert that Jews adhere to the “pro-life” position in the way many Evangelicals or Catholics do. But it would be far less misleading than calling the Jewish traditional view on abortion “pro-choice” — a position that, in its contemporary meaning, means on demand throughout nine months for any reason.
He also added this statement from The Orthodox Union:
The Orthodox Union is unable to either mourn or celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v Wade. We cannot support absolute bans on abortion — at any time point in a pregnancy — that would not allow access to abortion in lifesaving situations. Similarly, we cannot support legislation that does not limit abortion to situations in which medical (including mental health) professionals affirm that carrying the pregnancy to term poses real risk to the life of the mother.
Indeed, Judaism stresses the preservation and celebration of life. Nothing about the contemporary leftist position on abortion — an inherent “right,” not merely used in rare instances when a pregnancy imperils a life, but whenever, and for any reason, a person demands — aligns with that tradition or culture.
I would also submit that shoot-from-the-hip theology rarely does little more than serve to advance a personally held desire or worldview, both on a macro and micro level.
Father Frank Pavone, who was dismissed by the Vatican recently, told Fox News Digital that he was ostensibly laicized for using the word “g****mn” in a heated exchange on social media and thereby engaging in blasphemy. Pavone maintains that in reality, there is a segment in the leadership of the Catholic Church that is opposed to his outspoken pro-life activities and that wishes to avoid offending people.
But using the word “g****mn” does not constitute blasphemy or even a violation of the Third Commandment: “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.” It is irreverent, tasteless, rude, and insulting and should not be done. However to take the Lord’s name in vain means to use His name for purposes contrary to His. It is co-opting the Lord’s name for reasons that will benefit oneself or one’s causes. With that in mind, who is the blasphemer? Fr. Pavone or the nominally Catholic AOC?