Thanksgiving is a wonderful tradition where we are able to give thanks (to God) for all that we have been blessed with, especially family and friends. The following day, Black Friday, is an over-excessive nationwide shopping spree in the US, paying homage to the gods of materialism and ourselves, stuffing our lives full of typically unnecessary merchandise with money that we have yet to earn. What an amazing and tragic cultural event to ‘witness’! From the swamps of Asia to ultimate consumers paradise in the US, is a cultural adjustment only a few of us get to experience and something I would not wish on anyone. Considering the high intellectual plateau, the deep moral concern and amazing technological advancement we self-proclaim in the west, I sure was fooled after witnessing the last week in the US. I am convinced more than ever that there is one thing that connects mankind across nations, languages and cultures. [Read more...]
A number of weeks ago, I stumbled across the tragic story of a Belgium transexual, Nathan Verhelst. She was born a female and given the name Nancy. Of Nancy’s birth, her mother said, “When I saw ‘Nancy’ for the first time, my dream was shattered. She was so ugly. I had a phantom birth.” She supposedly wanted a son. Another article speaks of the mother’s further rejection of Nancy as a child. These traumatic experiences eventually lead to unsuccessful sex change operations, bringing about “unbearable psychological suffering” that gave justification under Belgium law for Nancy, now Nathan, to euthanize herself. If it is not tragic enough that one soul had to endure this life of torment, this series of tragic events was all legally permissible by the government and law under which she lived. How can this be? [Read more...]
For most of my life, I have been unabashedly and unflinchingly pro-choice. For many years, I saw abortion as little more than another form of birth control. Today, I am pro-life. What changed my mind? It wasn’t my conversion to Christianity. My position changed when I started to think carefully about the nature of fetal humans. Once I established the humanity of the unborn (from nothing more than the science), I realized their lives warranted the same protection we offer others in our society. I am, after all, a homicide detective. I investigate killings to determine whether or not they were properly justified. Over the years, I’ve listened to many murder suspects attempt to defend their actions. Here in California, there are only two forms of justified homicide (self-defense and the protection of innocents). Any other form of killing is a murder.
So I was particularly interested to read a recent blog (posted on a parenting site) from a pro-choice advocate who cleverly attempted to use photographs of cats to illustrate “10 Reasons to Have An Abortion”. In some ways, the post is so outlandish I suspect it must be a mockery, but it does represent common justifications offered for abortion (although, for some reason, the author can only muster 9 defenses). Here is her list, each illustrated with a photograph of a cat or kitten: [Read more...]
Everybody knows there are certain words that we just shouldn’t use. They are filled with hateful connotations and histories that simply cause far too much offense at their mere utterance. One of these, of course, is the “L-word.” What’s that you say? What is the “L-word?” Why, “lifestyle,” of course. According to same-sex marriage advocate and blogger Kimberly Knight, when someone says they are opposed to the “homosexual lifestyle,” they are committing a highly offensive act. In fact, they are really saying far more than that they simply disagree with the practice of engaging in same-sex intercourse or sexual activity. Apparently all of us who thought this is what we were saying were mistaken. Ms. Knight has looked into our minds and generously told us what we really mean:
With the West massively committed to redefining sex, marriage and the family, it might be fruitful to see if any of these innovations have already been tried and what has been history’s verdict regarding them.
Brian Fitzpatrick suggests that the most “definitive work on the rise and fall of civilizations, was published in 1934 by Oxford anthropologist J.D. Unwin.” In Sex and Culture, Unwin studied 86 human civilizations ranging from tiny South Sea island principalities to mighty Rome. He found that a society’s destiny is linked inseparably to the limits it imposes on sexual expression and that those sexual constraints correlate directly to its theological sophistication and religious commitment. [Read more...]
“Want a Capri Sun?”
Those were the first words he said to her afterwards. Rachel White, age fifteen, had been anticipating this moment for at least a year. She’d sneaked out on a snowy school night, shoes in hand. Then, wearing nothing but her wet socks, Ginuwine playing in the background, it was finally happening! Oh my god, she told herself, this is sex! Just move your hips to Ginuwine. When it was over, he locked eyes with her, opened his mouth … and offered her a kiddie drink in a disposable bag. [Read more...]
I was raised in a Mennonite community that did not observe Halloween. From its roots to its current form, we saw nothing compelling or good about it. We gave treats to oddly arrayed children on our doorstep, but we never dressed up, never went out, and did our best not to support the holiday financially or emotionally. I didn’t really care; my mom didn’t let us kids eat much candy anyway.
As a young adult, I learned more about the holiday from people who had done more than dabble in the occult. Whatever you might think of the legitimacy of their attempts to connect with the dark side, they were pretty serious about what they hoped to accomplish. Halloween was their Christmas and Easter rolled into one. They approached it with a sense of mission and purpose.
I later moved out of that community and for the first time came in contact with a lot of sincere Christians who viewed Halloween as just another holiday. They experienced it as an exercise of imagination, a sort of exorcism of the spirits of fear from which we Christians have been freed. God had not redeemed us so that we would cringe in the face of evil, so they boldly subverted Halloween with a freedom foreign to my upbringing.
These different church communities have given me plenty to ponder over the years. The more I have balanced these two approaches to Halloween, the more I have grown to appreciate the importance of conscientious, purposeful engagement with our culture. In order to do this well, there are several aspects of this discussion that are worth considering. [Read more...]
Does the personhood of foetuses give them right to life? Does that right to life override women’s rights to control what happens in and to their bodies?
In A Defense of Abortion, Judith Jarvis Thomson argued that even if we grant that foetuses are persons and thus have a right to life, it does not follow that they have the right to use the pregnant women’s bodies. Thomson’s case from the famous unconscious violinist analogy unfolds as follows:
Imagine you wake up in the morning kidnapped by the Society of Music Lovers, and are plugged into a famous unconscious violinist who has a fatal kidney ailment. “To unplug you would be to kill him. But never mind, it’s only for nine months. By then he will have recovered from his ailment, and can safely be unplugged from you” (Thomson 1971, 49). [Read more...]
I’ve grown up in a culture where abortion is commonplace. Furthermore, I risk being branded as intolerant, immoral, or worse for questioning this practice. Be that as it may, I’ve never clearly understood the logic of abortion. Why, in Canada, is it morally acceptable to terminate a normal pregnancy but morally unacceptable to euthanize a healthy happy two-year old girl? The answer escapes me, and I suspect it escapes you too. [Read more...]
Women’s rights clearly include their right to health and to make fully informed decisions regarding their bodies. Does a woman’s right to decide what she will and will not do with her body extend to cover actions affecting the fetus who may reside in her body? Does a woman’s right to control her own reproduction include a right to induced abortion?
Granting the notion that our bodies are our own property, does it follow that a pregnant women can choose to kill her fetuses because the fetus is also her own property? Or, if we grant that a fetus is a separate individual with future of value like ours, does it follow that women can choose to kill fetuses on the ground that they are trespassers? [Read more...]