"Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning."
"The fingers of your thoughts are molding your face ceaselessly."
"Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere."
"Humility enforces where neither virtue nor strength can prevail, nor reason."
"Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil."
Resistance Thinking Society
'Society' is a term used to describe a grouping of individuals and outlines the structures employed to ensure that the individuals within a society relate to each other in an appropriate fashion. Different societies may have distinctive cultural behaviours and different institutions. In this society section you will find news, articles and reviews that relate to Australian society, or more specifically, individuals who live in Australia.
Topics in this section will cover: science and technology - stem cell research, IVF, cloning, intelligent design, evolution etc.; politics - ideologies (communism, anarchism, totalitarianism, capitalism etc.), state and federal politics, the free market, the United Nations etc.; sociology - globalisation, prisons, welfare, government; environment - global warming, alternative energy etc.; and moral issues - poverty, homosexuality, euthanasia, abortion etc.
The role of the Christian within society is to stand for truth, for justice and most importantly, to represent God's agenda on the earth. As the Resistance Thinking journey continues, our aim is to stimulate engaging dialogue exploring the complexities of how followers of Jesus should engage with society in our day and age.
So when they release an advertisement that centres on abortion it is best to have a degree of scepticism about their motives. Yet at times you can learn much about the mindset of the “pro-choice” camp. Here is their latest clip:
Let us look at some of the central arguments in this video:
Abortion is too complicated for labels. The video begins with the voiceover “Most things in life aren’t simple. And that includes abortion. It’s personal, it can be complicated and for many people it’s not a black and white issue. So why do people try to label it like it is? Pro-choice. Pro-life. The truth is these labels limit the conversation and simply don’t reflect how people actually feel about abortion.”
The majority of Americans want legalised abortions. The video continues “A majority of Americans believe abortion should remain safe and legal. Many just don’t use the words pro-choice. They don’t necessarily identify as pro-life either. Truth is they just don’t want to be labelled.”
Congress shouldn’t have the ability to decide The Planned Parenthood clip then turns its attention to a Politician’s role in the decision-making: “When it comes to abortion who decides? Her Cogressman? Her Governor? Her President? Women don’t turn to politicians for advice about mammograms, prenatal care or cancer treatments, and they shouldn’t. Politicians don’t belong in a woman’s personal medical decisions about her pregnancy.”
As we haven’t walked in her shoes we don’t know enough to take the decision away from her. The video concludes: “When it comes down to it we just don’t know a woman’s specific situation. We’re not in her shoes. Ultimately decisions about whether to choose adoption and a pregnancy or raise a child must be left to a woman, her family, her faith. With the counsel of her doctor or health care provider.”
So there you have it. Four reasons that Planned Parenthood believes the viewer will find compelling. The problem is that none of the really stand up. Let us examine each of the arguments:
1.Abortion is too complicated for labels
This is not so much an argument as an attempt to redefine the argument. To move the goalposts. As revealed in the next argument below Planned Parenthood have identified that the majority of Americans do not identify as pro-choice” or “pro-life”, but somewhere in between. Hence they are appealing to those people who might actually buy the statement that abortion is too complicated for labels.
The difficulty for Planned Parenthood here is that you are what you are, regardless of what labels you want or don’t want to apply. If indeed abortion is the taking of human life (which it is) then no matter how hard you try to paint the pro-abortion stance as ethical the mud still sticks, and stinks. What is more, such a radically important question also does not allow for moderation. If you are ambivalent about the “pro-life” or “pro-choice” camps then you are indirectly helping those who would advocate the killing of babies in the womb and this makes you equally culpable.
Planned Parenthood, as always, is trying to overcomplicate a very straight-forward ethical question – is the unborn fetus a baby? A human? If it is then we must extend them the same protection given to each person who has been born.
2. The majority of Americans want legalised abortions
In this debate Planned Parenthood are trying to paint themselves as moderate, like the majority of Americans. Yet their hands are as red as any organisation in history. They are invested in the continued legalisation of the abortive procedure. But the point of whether the majority of Americans identify with them is irrelevant. The argument from superior numbers holds no credence in the debate on abortion.
This argument presupposes that ethics are decided by the majority. Perhaps from a naturalistic worldview this idea holds some weight. Yet when innocent lives are at stake we really should not leave decision-making up to the majority if they choose the wrong course of action.
The idea that the majority can decide on this issue relies on the misconception that all that is at stake is a difference of opinions. The stakes are much higher than that. Therefore even if the vast majority want the woman to make the decision we must oppose them, point out the fallacy of their view and the consequences of their support.
Indeed if we bought into the argument that the majority should always hold the moral high ground that what are we to do with the 1973 ruling of Roe v. Wade? After all, the right to have an abortion was not supported by a majority back then.
As Charles Spurgeon notably said “Long ago I ceased to count heads. Truth is usually in the minority in this evil world.”
3. Congress shouldn’t have the ability to decide
Regardless of whether you believe this assertion, Congress does have the ability to decide. At the moment we have a President who is severely “pro-choice”. The reason any woman has the ability to have a legal abortion is because of the opinions of seven men serving at the US Supreme Court. So not only do our elected politicians have the ability to legalise abortion but unelected Justices were the initial instigators of the “rights of the woman”. If you believe that the parliament or the courts shouldn’t take what they gave then you are essentially arguing that these institutions should only make decrees that prescribe to your ethos.
This video tries to lump abortion with other procedures like mammograms, prenatal care and cancer treatments and argues that women don’t turn to politicians about these issues so they shouldn’t have to about abortion. Of course, this argument is significantly inhibited by any national healthcare system which suggests that politicians do play some sort of role in women’s health. Beyond this Planned Parenthood receives a great deal of funding from the US Federal Government so such an argument feels very much like Planned Parenthood are having their cake and eating it too.
Regardless, abortion is not a procedure that is similar to mammograms, prenatal care and cancer treatments. All of these treatments mentioned are undertaken upon parts of the body that have the same genetic code as the woman. The baby inside her does not have the same genetic code. If a fetus is left it does not remain a limb, or a mere internal organ. A fetus does not exist inside a women’s body to perform some specific task, it is a being in its own right. To compare the violent removal of this being to procedures on organs of a woman’s body (which will always remain her organs) is dishonest.
I agree that politicians shouldn’t have the final say on abortion, nor should the court system. The sanctity of life is too precious to be left in the fallible hands of men. Indeed even the mother should not have the power to terminate the life of her baby. So we can agree that this issue should not be determined by Congress, or by the US Supreme Court, or by popular vote. The right to life is so valuable that it stands beyond the reach of any man. It is only those who wish to destroy innocence that brought it into our legal systems in the first place. They had no right to do so, no justification and now they argue that this distortion of reality (that the unborn is not a human) should be protected from the reach of the law. How despicable, how vile this argument is.
4. As we haven’t walked in her shoes we don’t know enough to take the decision away from her
It is true that the decision that many women may face regarding abortion is a tough one. There are many different pressures and considerations. Having acknowledged the incredible difficulties it is to have a child (and then perhaps to raise that child) this argument is merely a rehashed version of the argument “It is a woman’s right”. Sure it is more palatable when it is framed “You haven’t walked in her shoes” but the sentiment remains the same – “You have no right to take this decision away from a woman because you don’t know all the facts”. Well, perhaps the facts need to be stated:
The fact that life starts at conception.
The fact that every child (born or unborn) is precious.
The fact that the pre-born is vulnerable, particularly to the one person whose job it is to protect it.
The fact that there is no absolute right to make an absolutely wrong decision.
The fact that this issue is not as complex as Planned Parenthood would have you believe.
It is a rare thing to have good news from the courts of the United States but this week the Alabama Supreme Court affirmed the rights of the unborn. Amanda Kimbrough was charged and convicted of chemical endangerment to a child but sought to argue that this should not extend to the unborn. The Alabama Supreme Court disagreed:
"The Supreme Court of Alabama issued a ruling this week concluding that the definition of the word “child” includes the unborn.
While the case was not related to abortion, it did involve the central question of whether preborn babies could be protected under the law as children. The issue before the bench was a criminal matter where two women had been prosecuted for using illegal drugs while pregnant. Alabama state law prohibits exposing children to controlled substances, which is considered child endangerment.
In 2000, Hope Ankrom and her newborn son tested positive for cocaine following his birth. She was put on probation for a year. In 2008, Amanda Kimbrough’s newborn son died less than 20 minutes after being born due to “acute methamphetamine intoxication.” She was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.
The question at hand was whether the law applied to the women since their children were yet unborn at the time that they were exposed to the narcotics. The Alabama Supreme Court concluded that it did.
“The plain meaning of the word ‘child’ in the chemical endangerment statute includes unborn children,” the unanimous ruling affirmed.
It then proceeded to outline that most case law recognizes the unborn as being protected under the law as persons.
“The decision of this Court today is in keeping with the widespread legal recognition that unborn children are persons with rights that should be protected by law,” the court ruled. “Furthermore, the decision in the present cases is consistent with the Declaration of Rights in the Alabama Constitution, which states that ‘all men are equally free and independent; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’”
When Family First MP Robert Brokenshire responded to the death of a pregnant woman and her baby by calling for the protection of the unborn this was sure to anger some people. Typically pro-abortion advocates are concerned about the implications of protecting the unborn and what effect that will have on "women's rights". It is disturbing that rationality and compassion are undercut by political persuasions.
"A Family First MP will push for national laws he says will better protect unborn babies and their mothers.
The move comes after a pregnant woman and her unborn baby were killed in a car crash in Adelaide. The driver was charged with one count of causing death by dangerous driving as South Australian law does not recognise the foetus as a person.
State MP Robert Brokenshire will introduce a private member's Bill to the South Australian Parliament, and told news.com.au that he then hopes to push for nationally consistent legislation on foetal homicide.
However, the moves to change the legal status of foetuses have been labelled "sneaky" and "backhanded" attempts to change abortion laws and challenge women's rights.
The states and territories all have different laws governing the death of a foetus, and the debate promises to be a fiery one as it will have to consider at what point a foetus or baby is considered a person – a central element of the abortion debate.
Mr Brokenshire met with Attorney General John Rau yesterday and said that he had acknowledged that there is a gap in the law "when it comes to the protection of a pregnant lady".
The clause Mr Brokenshire wants introduced reads: "Any person who unlawfully assaults a female pregnant with a child and destroys the life of or does grievous body harm to or transmits a serious disease to a child before its birth commits a crime".
He agreed that state and territory laws were a "hodge podge" and said if his Bill was successful he would talk to his Federal colleagues about uniform national laws.
"I'm not always in favour of national uniformity ... but if I had my way I would hope to see (it) with this ... there are a lot of times when it pays," he said.
Mr Rau said the draft Bill was "something we need to look at" but added the devil was in the detail.
"People need to be very, very careful about moving the goal posts on the very important definition of when a person is alive because the implications of that roll out across the whole legal system," he said.
Prominent author and columnist Dr Leslie Cannold, an adjunct at Monash University's Gender, Leadership and Social Sustainability Research Unit, said people who were anti-choice on abortion were "desperate, desperate, desperate" to change the laws on foetuses and that it was "sneaky, backhanded".
"It's no accident that every time (these laws) get proposed it's by organisations like Family First who are known to be anti-choice," she said.
"To me that speaks volumes. They've gone at it directly before by attacking women's right to choose, and now they're going by the back door.
"Either they're silly or they think we are. Everyone knows that the minute you pass legislation you are no longer in control of how a future Parliament or future judiciary will interpret it."
Dr Cannold said it should be possible to deal with such deliberate assaults on pregnant women through other legal avenues.
In the US, laws that increased the protection of foetuses were used against women who had late-term abortions.
Mr Brokenshire said the rights of unborn children were often put in the "too hard basket" and emphasised that his legislation was about people committing criminal acts such as assault and that abortion was a "red herring".
"We've got to be mature enough now to separate this debate from other debates," he said.
Family First's official "life" policy states: "We believe in the right to life and are distressed at the abortion of 100,000 unborn babies in Australia each year."
The Family First Bill is modelled closely on the legislation that already exists in Queensland. Most other states have had debates in recent years about the rights of expectant mothers and their foetuses."
So adultery seems to be the new in-vogue thing to discuss because I have encountered several articles on the topic over the last few weeks. It was ranked as the most morally wrong thing to do on a recent Gallup poll in America:
Yep, that's right. 89% of respondents say that cheating on your spouse is morally unacceptable. It is concerning that 7% of the group asked actually think that it is morally acceptable.
Yet it seems that we are getting a confusing message from people. After all another recent article suggests that the percentage of men cheating on their wives may be as high as 48.5% and women cheating on their husbands at 36.1% (click here to read this article). These are significant figures. So almost 90% of the community believe it is wrong yet 42% of all spouses participate in it. This is blatant hypocrisy and betrayal of trust. We need to be revolted at the idea of cheating on our spouse, yet we merely fly the “moral” flag while, much of the time, we clearly don't believe it is so wrong that we should not do it given the chance.
Writer Alain de Botton in his new book How to Think More About Sex had this to say:
"No one can be everything to another person. The real fault lies in the ethos of modern marriage, with its insane ambitions and its insistence that our most pressing needs might be solved with the help of only one other person."
Besides, he says "adultery grabs headlines, but there are lesser, though no less powerful, ways to betray a partner, including not talking to him or her enough, seeming distracted, being ill-tempered or simply failing to evolve and enchant."
This is typical nonsense. Being distracted and ill-tempered is on par with adultery? Failing to evolve and enchant (whatever that means) is as much a relationship fault as cheating is? Such logic has been bred from society's flirtations with the erotic nature of an affair. It is no wonder that people say it is wrong yet have no inclination to avoid its snares and webs.
A new series is about to start on the ABC over in America. Titled Mistresses it follows four friends who have illicit relationships with married men. Here is the trailer:
Did you hear the comments at the end? We are told that “life is about the choices we make. The chances we take. And the friends who see us through it all”. Indeed, life involves choices. Yet somehow these four girls seem to have voided their moral consciousnesses in their choices. Perhaps it is easier on the conscious when it is the other person who has to deal with the betrayed spouse?
Another show that deals flippantly with adultery is Episodes. This show exemplifies all sorts of post-modern weirdness as the story centers around Matt LeBlanc (of Friends fame) joining the cast of an American show ripping off a British show. LeBlanc plays himself (and is oddly similar to his Friends character) hamming up his fame and self-loving. In the two seasons that have aired thus far LeBlanc's character sleeps with the wife (Beverly Lincoln) of the director/creator of the television series (Sean Lincoln) and the wife of the network boss (Merc Lapidus). At the same time the network boss is cheating on his wife with his network underling (Carol Rance) and Sean, after finding out about his wife's indiscretion has an affair with the female star of this fictitious television show (Morning Randolph).
Episodes is convoluted and disgusting and has little redemptive value. It displays humans at their most vulgar, lusting after others that they should not have. So what do the critics think? Well it holds a 73% ranking on Metacritic and has been nominated for numerous Golden Globe awards. Apparently critics love the twists that are injected into this show by all the fornication.
Herein lies a strong example as to why we, though we know the incorrectness of an action, are influenced by culture in such a way that our inhibitions can be overcome and we may even get a kick out of how “raunchy” an affair is. We are spoon-fed these notions of love being complicated and unpredictable and so we can find love in many situations, even an adulterous relationship. Case in point - the fictional Sean and Beverly Lincoln couple. Sean was married to another woman previously when he had an affair with Beverly. At this time we are to assume that he chose to leave his wife and get remarried to Beverly. And yet this is presented to us as a legitimate couple's back story.
Putting adultery in titles is a very popular of ensuring people read or watch whatever you are selling. We seem to love a great marital scandal. This is unfortunate as marriage is the biggest loser in the continuous redefinition of permissible “love”. A further lesson must come from the vast amount of people who think it is morally wrong to cheat on your spouse but still do. Just because the statistics say that society holds some semblance of a biblical worldview in one area it doesn't mean it translates into anything tangible. Unless a transformation is seriously desired by a nation's people we will inevitably remain stranded with a broken moral compass.