Fifty years of legalised murder

There’s no shades of grey here – abortion is the extermination of innocent lives.  It’s a not merely a fetus or a blob of cells, but a living person with the most amazing potential.  Yes, society should give much more support to couples who feel unable to look after a child, whether through better adoption services or improving the likes of child benefit, but we need to reverse a change in the law that has led to over 8.6 million murders.

As a History graduate, I was saddened to read how the record of the past has been twisted to support what is indefensible.  Kate Lister’s article tries to critique the law, which originally criminalised abortion in 1803, because it focused on actions taken after the “quickening”, the first felt movements of a baby in the womb, usually about 16 weeks.  The problem with this approach is that, prior to ultrasound scans, women – and anyone else who was interested – would have hardly any knowledge of what was happening before those first, wonderful movements.  Using this to lambast what she labels a moral inconsistency is just nonsense and completely unfair, given our greater medical knowledge.

There is only a brief acknowledgement of how social attitudes have changed towards extramarital sex and children born out of wedlock, which makes irrelevant all her descriptions of the dangerous means some women resorted to in an effort to end pregnancies.  After only focusing on the United Kingdom, she also refers misleadingly to “The Lancet”, which “estimates that unsafe abortion is still responsible for approximately 69,000 deaths and millions of injuries each year.”  This is actually a figure that refers to the worldwide situation that obviously includes many countries where the stigma still exists and there is a lack of even basic healthcare, so of little help in understanding what would happen if abortion laws were tightened (and proper care in place for families).

She asserts that “the Bible make no claims that life begins at the point of conception”, which ignores Psalm 139:13 – “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb” and the bold declaration “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (v. 14).  Then there’s Jeremiah 1:5, where God speaks to the prophet – “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.”

Now, some cite Exodus 21:22-25 as proof that a fetus has less value than a person because the punishment for causing a woman to miscarry is only a fine.  Well, actually that translation of the Hebrew is contested and most probably the text is referring to a “child going forth” and there being “no injury” to anyone.  Please do follow that last link to John Piper’s verdict on this matter as he very carefully examines the text.  Of course, this is still clearly highlighted as a crime against another person – hence the need for restitution – so whatever the precise meaning, these verses actually support the protection of innocent children.

Returning to Kate Lister’s concluding statement, “A minority of women will always want an abortion. Therefore, it must be done properly”, again misses the mark.  A tiny percentage of the population enjoys stealing from other human being, or even murdering them.  Should the law just ensure that this proclivity is “done properly”?

So, please stand-up for life and stop the slaughter.

 

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Crucifixion in Saudi Arabia?

I was listening to the BBC Radio 4’s News Quiz last Friday (29th Sept) when one of the comedians happened to ridicule Saudi Arabia’s alleged practice of crucifying individuals. I was quite disturbed by this claim and searched online with about the fourth or fifth “hit” being from the Guardian.

The article clearly seemed to suggest that one member of the gang was slated to face being “crucified for three days”. The article does go on to state that “Human rights groups have condemned crucifixions in the past, including cases in which people are beheaded and then crucified” (emphasis added). Note how the word choice implies there must be other crucifixions where the victim is attached to the cross alive and left to die. Consider that the Amnesty International quote, “…inhuman and degrading punishment” should really not be applied to someone beheaded and then crucified as how can you “punish” a dead body!?

Interestingly, there is no follow-up to this article on the Guardian, explaining what actually happened to the men. Apparently, they were all executed by firing squad.

However, from reading other sources, I was more concerned at the reference to crucifixions. According to the Atlantic and the BBC, this actually involves first killing the “criminal” (usually through beheading) and then displaying the body for up to three days.

So, I think the original Guardian article is misleading and dangerous. I agree that Saudi Arabia does much that is shocking and abhorrent, including their practice of beheading and then (sometimes) displaying the body. However, I think most readers (like the comedian) would take a reference to “crucifixion” to imply the “criminal” is strung-up until their last, agonising breath. As the Guardian boldly states on their website banner that “facts are sacred”, I sincerely hope this will be corrected, especially as though this is from 2013, the article still features quite prominently on search results and clearly has an ongoing influence.

If you followed the BBC Magazine link, you will have noticed an Islamic scholar trying to excuse the Koran’s reference to the matter: “Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment.”

The apologist encourages us to read the context: “Except for those who return [repenting] before you apprehend them. And know that Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” However, I do not find this at all comforting. Basically, the verses say “surrender or die”. Islam means submission and Muslims’ ultimate aim is for everyone to conform to Muhammed’s view of the Deity.

Whereas the Christian Bible repeatedly insists that judgement belongs to the LORD and instruct us to “forgive our enemies”, the Koran incites its readers to take matters into their own hands and destroy those who disagree with their view of God, permitting even the cruellest of punishments. I suppose “exile from the land” does not sound quite as bad but, given that the Caliphate’s borders were continually expanded by conquest until the 16th Century, even this would only provide temporary relief.

What kind of depraved religion is this? I pray that our Lord Jesus Christ will open their eyes to the truth.