St. Anselm of Canterbury, (1033-1109)
St. Anselm of Canterbury, (1033-1109)
“The Hebrew Bible [Torah] makes only one reference to abortion, and this is by implication. Exodus 21:22-23 states: “And if two men strive together and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart, and yet no harm follow, he shall be surely fined, accordingly as the woman’s husband shall lay upon him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if any harm follows, thou shalt give life for life.”
There is a significant parting of the ways in the interpretation of this passage between Judaism and Catholicism which will, in turn, mark the much more lenient rulings on abortion of the former and the much more severe views of the latter. According to the ancient Rabbis, the text is to be read simply as written. The Bible talks of a woman who is hurt by a man in a fight and loses her child. Monetary restitution is paid for her miscarriage. But if the woman dies, then one must take a life for a life. The passage does not say that a fetus is alive but that the mother is."
— Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. The article is an excellent piece of biblical scholarship and an extraordinary exercise in intellectual honesty from a man who tends to lean politically Conservative. I disagree with Rabbi Boteach on several issues, but this was an excellent read.
Turley reports on a strange case from Fairfax County, Virginia, where a church was recently reprimanded by the authorities for—get this—changing the message on their electric sign more than twice in one day:
The Church of the Good Shepherd has been informed that it may have to remove its sign after violating country [sic] rules that prohibit electronic signs from being changed more than twice a day unless they are giving weather reports. An inspector informed the church that it had posted three different messages in one day and thus stood in violation of the law.
This strikes me as one of those “quality of life” laws that was passed at one point to eliminate a nuisance which has long since passed into obscurity, yet remains on the books to the detriment of individuals to whom I imagine the crafters of the law did not intend it to apply. Turley’s thoughts mirror my own:
… I am not sure what surprises me more: that the county has a law regulating how many messages can appear on electronic signs or that it has someone who actually monitors the messages on electronic signs. Given the host of underfunded school and county programs, I think we have isolated a position that can be freed up for more productive use.
From Joe My God:
It’s apparently an actual song and not only did they teach it to a four year-old, they proudly brought him up to the pulpit to perform it, generating whoops and a standing ovation from the congregation.
A Sullivan reader writes:
The church is in Greensburg, Indiana, where Billy Lucas was bullied to death for being perceived to be gay in September 2010. It was Lucas’s suicide that led to the creation of the It Gets Better project.
I can only hope that the kid isn’t scarred for life. I can’t imagine what other vitriol has been pumped into the child’s head under the guise of religious morality.
An oldie but a goodie.
— Albert Einstein, Letter to Eric Gutkind, January, 1954.
As a fundamentalist pastor I never really bought into the notion of an angry God, and as I progressed in my studies from lay minister, to seminarian, to pastor, to doctoral candidate, I concluded that Yeshua was not and could not have been the Messiah, which rendered my faith’s claims to objective truth, divinely revealed, moot.
I eventually concluded that all claims of divine knowledge were specious, but I did discover that once you set aside the mythology and redaction that went into remaking Yeshua as a Greco-Roman demi-god, and just dealt with his teachings about life and interpersonal conduct, you find a man today’s right wing religious nutters would nail to a post only after much water-boarding and worse.
I think [Andrew Sullivan’s] approach to the man (whose real aims and philosophy were buried, forgotten and replaced in a generation) is spot on. But I’ve always found that even those who collapse and twitch on the floor in ecstasy at the name of Jesus could not quote three things he taught."
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