When the religious view is the just view

Here is a question I’ve seen posed many times and in many ways when it comes to abortion (or marriage, for that matter):

“Why is it that the United States is one of the very few countries where large numbers of people insist that their religious views become the law of the land?” (Source)

Answer: because the religious view is the just view.

Don’t defend your “religious” beliefs directly. Go straight to justice. Make it an argument about justice, and how your religious views on the matter uphold justice better than the alternatives. That is one of the points of religion, after all. See, for example, Micah 6:8:

He has showed you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?

God cares very much about justice, so make the argument about justice.

The Eucharist is literal: John 6:22-71

The following video has some great Biblical exegesis as to why the Eucharist is literal, not figurative. Among other things, it compares the “bread of life discourse” in John 6, to other Bible passages where Jesus was speaking figuratively, people thought he was speaking literally or they did not understand him, and he corrected them (“We brought no bread,” “I am the door,” “Destroy this temple and I will raise it in three days.”). No correction happened in John 6 when the people indicated that he was speaking literally, but correction happend at those other times.

Plus, in every other passage regarding the Eucharist (ie, Last Supper, Paul’s admonition at 1 Cor 11), there is no indication that that the Eucharist was figurative. 1 Cor 11 is especially interesting to me. Since St. Paul was correcting the Corinthians anyway for the way they were treating the Lord’s Supper, it would have been a good time to explain or at least indicate somehow that it was not literal. But he didn’t do that.

I don’t know who this guy his, but I’ve watched a number of his videos. The name of his YouTube channel is “How To Be Christian.” He argues each topic thoroughly, and completely from the Bible. Check him out and see if you agree.

The Wolves

lion witch wardrobeSetting: My son Joel’s bedroom. About 9:30 pm on a Wednesday night. I’m there to tuck him in. He’s been in bed for at least 15 minutes before I get there.

Joel: I can’t stop thinking about the wolves.

Mom: What wolves?

Joel: The wolves in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. I keep thinking about them chasing me and attacking me.

Mom, pensively: Hmmmm.

I’m wondering how to help him over this. I remember being that age, when things like this are very real. I spend several minutes thinking about it, to no avail. I decide to “go fishing,” to ask him questions and see if his answers can help me help him.

Mom: How do we make the wolves go away? What can we do?

Joel: I don’t know. I just want them to disappear.

A swing and a miss. Spending more time thinking about it, an idea springs to mind:

Mom: Is my love stronger than the wolves?

This is an honest question: I do not know what is true for him. I want him to answer honestly.

Joel: Yes.

This is spoken without hesitation. Slightly puzzled, I proceed:

Mom: Is Daddy’s love stronger than the wolves?

Joel: Yes.

Again, spoken without hesitation. I need to know if this is his truth, or if he’s just telling me what he thinks I want to hear.

Mom: Are you sure?

This time he looks puzzled.

Joel: Yes.

Inside, I hope he’s told me the truth, because if he has, I’ve found the key.

Mom, with determination: Ok, I want you to remember something: love is stronger than the wolves. Love always wins against hate, because love is stronger. It always wins. Always. Can you remember that?

He nods his head and sets it on the pillow. I wait by his side, my hand on his arm. Without saying another word, he’s asleep within five minutes, and stays in bed all night. Next morning….

Mom: So, how did you sleep?

Joel, smiling: Fine.

Mom: What happened to the wolves?

Joel, puzzled: What?

Mom: The wolves. Remember, last night?

Joel, still smiling: Oh yea! They went away.

Mom: Wow! That’s pretty cool, isn’t it Joel?

Joel nods his head, still smiling. I say a silent prayer of gratitude. The wolves have never returned.

[Note: I don’t remember exactly when this happened. It probably happened a year or two before 2006, which was when I wrote this.]

Quaker Chewy Granola Bar commercial and egg donation

I’ve been saying that we now define freedom like this:

“The state must annul my familial obligations without cause whenever I choose.”

With that in mind, check out this Quaker Chewy Granola Bar commercial that I saw on Youtube:

Here’s another one:

It’s sort of funny… but eerily close to being real. Imagine if the mother was somebody who used an egg donor to conceive the boy. So the boy isn’t from her egg, but somebody else’s. These commercials are an extreme example of what legal relationship that looks like to me.

Can you see better why the libertarian cry for contracts to replace marriage (and by extension, all family ties) doesn’t actually decrease the state’s role in people’s lives? Kinship ties that are established by marriage and nature, then recognized by the state, require less of the state than business-style contracts.

Today is the anniversary of Roe v. Wade

Today is the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the infamous SCOTUS decision that required all states to allow unrestricted abortion. It is the day that our government officially installed a “might makes right” ideology. My size and power means that I have the “right” to destroy human life inside my body that I find inconvenient, untimely, or otherwise undesirable. Will this human life hinder my goals in life? Am I just “not ready” to be a mother? Does this human life have some characteristic I find objectionable? Then I get to destroy it. There is so much wrong with this way of thinking, but that’s what we are up against.

Many people used to support abortion but changed their minds. Here are a few:

Here is a list of more people who used to support abortion but are now against it, including some former Planned Parenthood workers, abortion doctors, and politicians. Here is another list (there might be some overlap).

Even though Democrats get the rap for abortion, not all Dems support it. For example, there is an organization called Democrats for Life of America. Evidently, one in three Democrats is pro-life. Isn’t that wonderful? So refreshing. There is also a Facebook page called:

Whole Life: Pro-life Democrats, Progressives, and Feminists

I am unsure how many people it represents but I follow them to show support for our common cause.


The public institution of private property

If you go to a friend’s party, and decide to take something from his home without permission, that’s called stealing.

Let’s say you saw a laptop computer tucked away in a corner at the party, and decided to take it without saying anything to anybody.

You stole it.

Let’s break this down to understand the dynamics a little better. Why was it stealing?

One reason is that we have something that I call “the public institution of private property.”

We all understand what private property is. In that sense, our collective understanding of private property is a public institution–we all agree to the rules that establish what constitutes private property. That agreement, to live by those rules, is a public action.

We don’t get to decide for ourselves what constitutes private property. There is no “privatizing private property.” If we all got to decide for ourselves what constitutes private property, then it should be obvious that chaos would be the result. Anybody could take anything they wanted at any time.

It would be hard to accumulate goods and wealth. It would be hard to even take care of your own family. Trust would decline dramatically, being replaced by suspicion and fear.

The strong would prey upon the weak. It would become a might-makes-right culture.

Privatizing the rules for private property would not strengthen private property rights. It would eliminate them.


I wish I had a dad

According to my analytics, last week somebody found my blog by searching for the phrase, “I wish I had a dad.” I haven’t written on that exact topic, so I searched for that phrase to see where my blog appeared, and which post appeared, in the results. I couldn’t find it, but while scanning it became clear to me that a lot of others have written on that exact topic.

If by some chance you are here because you were searching for that phrase, and you wished you had a dad, let me offer this little bit of information and hopefully comfort to you.

1) You aren’t alone. A lot of people wish they had a dad.

2) It’s not your fault that you don’t have a dad.

3) Our culture believes that the definition of freedom includes having the State annul familial obligations whenever adults want. So part of the reason you don’t have a dad is because our culture was more concerned about your dad’s freedom (from you and your other parent) than your feelings about him, and your legitimate need for him.

4) If you don’t have a dad because you were donor conceived, then it’s also true that our culture is more concerned about your mom’s ability to choose how to reproduce than what those choices do to you, your long term prospects, and your feelings.

I say things as plainly as I can because I don’t want to be misunderstood. But I also hope for something else:

It doesn’t have to be that way for future generations. YOU can be part of the change. You can tell your story and speak out so that others don’t choose to do to their children what was done to you. If enough people speak out, then laws can be changed so that these injustices aren’t condoned by the State. The adults around you failed in their duties, but the State and the wider culture has a large part of the blame. When the State annuls people’s familial obligations without cause, it is acting unjustly and outside of its authority.

5) If you are grieving alone because you don’t have a dad, then you may be experiencing disenfranchised grief. This is grief that is not acknowledged or accepted by the wider culture. As a way to be part of a community who understands you, you might want to consider publishing your story online for others to read. It will help you see that you’re not alone, and there is a small movement afoot that calls attention to the injustice you are facing. If you want to tell your story, there are a couple of websites that want to hear what you have to say. They will publish your story, anonymously if you prefer:

  • Donor conceived people can do that here.
  • Others without dads can do that here (single mom by choice, kids harmed by divorce and/or parental alienation, kids in gay households, etc).

Finally, it is OK to put your mother and your father together in your heart and your mind. Your mom and your dad are each half of who you are. Speaking for myself, I fully acknowledge the legitimacy of that family triad, YOU, your mother and your father. Even if you don’t know what your dad looks like, that’s OK. He’s there in you, along with your mom. That is real because it is YOU. You don’t have to tell anybody that you’ve done this. But if you do tell somebody and they don’t agree, just remind that that this is your choice. Everybody else gets a choice, right? So do you. I think that part of the healing process includes letting ourselves acknowledge this, because it is truth.

holy family

“Why did you have me, Mummy?”

The sort of situation that appears below demonstrates how the pro-choice worldview means that a particular position within the family is more important than the person who occupies that position. I first noticed this dynamic while watching the movie October Baby a few years ago. But let me explain using the post that appears below as an example.

I am not sure that the daughter’s question was properly addressed. The daughter may have been asking, “Why did you have ME?” Not, “Why did you HAVE me?”

“Pro-choice” in the story below means that there is a child who occupies the first position in the family, due mother’s “choice” to have such a position available. The position matters more than the particular child who occupies it. Here’s why I can say this: the third child was aborted because the third position in the family was unwanted. If the first child had occupied that third position, she would have been aborted without remorse or regret.

That she is alive now is a total dice roll, and I can’t help but wonder if she intuits this.

The Jar Belles

“Why did you have me, Mummy?” Well, there’s the million dollar question. I have just tried to explain the pro-choice demonstration I’m going on to my seven year old daughter. I’ve attempted, in the past, to answer her questions about procreation as simply and truthfully as possible, but I know I’ve fallen short. There are things she doesn’t understand. Her question is a good one though. If I am going to stand outside the Polish embassy and yell at the top of my voice that women have a fundamental right to choose whether to carry a child to term, then why did I, still at uni, much too young, and not the most maternal person, have her?

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Why we can’t use math to understand the child of divorce

I suspect that a lot of people don’t relate to the kids of divorce because they have a wrong formula in their heads. I suspect that the following formula is what most people have in the backs of their minds when they think of the live of a child of divorce:

1/2 + 1/2 = 1

The parenting was cut into two halves. Since two halves make one whole, then what’s the big deal? One-half of a parent plus one-half of a parent should equal one parent. One-half of a family plus one-half of a family should equal one family. It’s just simple arithmetic. This would also explain the “just get over it” rhetoric. People operate under a faulty equation, then assume things about the child of divorce that are untrue.

I was about twelve or so when I consciously understood that my two half-time dads did not equal one dad. I had my dad and my step-dad. If we use math to understand the dynamic, it seems like being with each of them for half-time would be the same as having one whole dad. But it was not. I am not 100% sure how I came to this realization. It may be due to the fact that I was an eye witness to what a full-time dad looked like. My step-dad was a full-time dad to my half-sister. I could see quite clearly that what she had and what I had were two different things.

apple-split-not-public-domain-give-attributionAn apple that is cut into two pieces is no longer an apple. It is two halves of an apple. The apple lost its wholeness, and it is hard to quantify that loss because the math still adds up. But there is a qualitative difference between an apple and two halves of an apple, and simple arithmetic does not capture this difference. This qualitative difference is lost in the discussion.

It does not work to use a simple math equation to quantify the reality for a child of divorce. For the child of divorce, 1/2 + 1/2 < 1.

Image credit: Frank C. Müller