Thursday, August 23, 2012

When Righteous Indignation Is a Red Herring

The news media and politicos have been scrambling all over themselves in righteous indignation over Congressman Todd Akin's poorly-expressed (that's putting it mildly) comments on rape and pregnancy. In all the commentary I've seen and heard, though, no one seems to be talking about the actual babies who are conceived in such circumstances (which until this week both pro-lifers and pro-abortion advocates were insisting was very rare). The unstated, but clear, sentiment has been that, of course, abortion is the righteous response.

Yesterday afternoon Judie Brown, President of the American Life League, offered a more truthful commentary on this week's talk in:

Assault on Akin is Pro-Abortion Red Herring

It is astounding that the media has created such a circus over the awkward comments of Congressman Todd Akin on the subject of "legitimate rape."

While I am not quite sure what he meant to say, I can guess that he was attempting to define an actual criminal act in contrast to the rape claims sometimes attributed to dating experiences gone wrong, when the female in question changes her mind and decides she never said yes in the first place.

Regardless, that is not the point. Akin's position is that when a child is conceived as the result of a criminal sexual assault on a woman, the baby should not have to pay for the sins of his father by dying a violent death at the hands of an abortionist.

This is really not about Akin at all; it is about the red herring that pro-abortion forces have used for years to define genuine pro-life apologists as zealots, fanatics and unrealistic Pollyannas.

For my money, being squarely out in front in defense of preborn children is precisely the right place to be, whether your name is Akin, Ryan or Obama. This is not about political posturing; it is about truth. Preborn children are always and in every case worthy of our respect, no matter how they were created.

Personally, I am grateful that Akin brought the snakes out of their pit so that we can see clearly who they are and what their game is. Bring it on.
Hat tip to David Becker at ALPB Forum Online.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Feast of St. Mary, Mother of God

August 15 is the Christian Festival day commemorating the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ -- and thus properly called, as the Council of Ephesus (in 431) and the Council of Chalcedon (in 451) taught (and the Formula of Concord [1580] affirms), "Mother of God." This morning one of my friends, a priest in the Swedish Church, posted on his Facebook page the following prayer from the Swedish (Lutheran) Reformer, Olavus Petri:
O rena moder Maria, det är dig väl att du har funnit en sådan stor nåd i Gud, att Han i sin stora barmhärtighet och godhet ville utvälja dig att bli hans moder, skänka dig större nåd än till någon annan människa, lovad och ärad vare Hans eviga barmhärtighet och godhet, och välsignad är du, mot vilken han ville vara så nådig.
Google Translate renders it thus (with a couple of adjustments that I think make it more accuriate):
O pure Mother Mary, it is well with you that you have found such a great grace of God, that He in His great mercy and goodness would select you to be His mother, give you more grace than any other person, blessed and honored be His eternal mercy and kindness, and blessed are you, towards whom He would be so gracious.
While there certainly could be a more elegant English translation (perhaps someone knows of one), even here one sees a lovely prayer, no? Thank you, Father Fredrik Norberg.

Over at the For All the Saints blog, Todd Granger reproduces much of a brief essay on St. Mary from Philip Pfatteicher's book, The New Book of Festivals and Commemorations: A Proposed Common Calendar of Saints, where I was struck by the sentence that read,
More is known about her that about most of the apostles.
It is worth reading the entire essay here.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

"...but they assume ... not create the nature of marriage"

Continuing a theme I've been, okay, harping on for several years: the Archbishop of Chicago, Francis Cardinal George, OMI, recently offered some "Reflections on 'Chicago values'." Notice where this Christian teacher's reflection on marriage begins:
It might be good to put aside any religious teaching and any state laws and start from scratch, from nature itself, when talking about marriage. Marriage existed before Christ called together his first disciples two thousand years ago and well before the United States of America was formed two hundred and thirty six years ago. Neither Church nor state invented marriage, and neither can change its nature.

Marriage exists because human nature comes in two complementary sexes: male and female. The sexual union of a man and woman is called the marital act because the two become physically one in a way that is impossible between two men or two women. Whatever a homosexual union might be or represent, it is not physically marital. Gender is inextricably bound up with physical sexual identity; and “gender-free marriage” is a contradiction in terms, like a square circle.

Both Church and state do, however, have an interest in regulating marriage. It is not that religious marriage is private and civil marriage public; rather, marriage is a public institution in both Church and state. The state regulates marriage to assure stability in society and for the proper protection and raising of the next generation of citizens. The state has a vested interest in knowing who is married and who is not and in fostering good marriages and strong families for the sake of society....

People who are not Christian or religious at all take for granted that marriage is the union of a man and a woman for the sake of family and, of its nature, for life. The laws of civilizations much older than ours assume this understanding of marriage. This is also what religious leaders of almost all faiths have taught throughout the ages. Jesus affirmed this understanding of marriage when he spoke of “two becoming one flesh” (Mt. 19: 4-6). Was Jesus a bigot? Could Jesus be accepted as a Chicagoan? Would Jesus be more “enlightened” if he had the privilege of living in our society? One is welcome to believe that, of course; but it should not become the official state religion, at least not in a land that still fancies itself free. Surely there must be a way to properly respect people who are gay or lesbian without using civil law to undermine the nature of marriage....
Read it all here at the Catholic Chicago Blog.

Leroy Huizenga used this on Thursday over at First Things' "On the Square" to offer a cautionary word to both those of us who desire to conserve marriage in our culture and those who desire to re-cast it into something new:
Because of the harmony of faith and reason, thoughtful Christians can speak of marriage in terms of both categories. And we sometimes confuse categories, and that proves confusing to the general public. But make no mistake: Our defense of marriage is no act of legerdemain, in which we try to force what we know solely by revelation on the public. (Observe no one is pushing laws forcing participation in the sacraments or forbidding participation in a particular faith.) Rather, we are concerned for the common good, a rational concern motivated by our very faith. Convinced that reason and nature teach us the truth about marriage, we will continue to make arguments in the public square about the public goods of marriage, for no society or person can long thrive kicking against the goads of reason and nature.
Read it all here in Huizenga's post, "Opposing Gay Marriage Is Rational, Not Religious." And note that I've linked a definition for "legerdemain" in that quote.

Hat tip to Joe Carter at "Mere Comments," the Touchstone blog.