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Thursday, May 03, 2007
Two articles this week offer us little hope that our country and culture are headed in the right direction. The first is from the First Things journal and points out Amnesty International's secret decision to promote abortion as a human right throughout the world. That's right, the organization that has done wonderful work around the world protecting the human rights of political prisoners and founded by a convert to Roman Catholicism in 1961 has decided to promote the "decriminalization" of abortion while still claiming that it doesn't take a moral position on abortion. Only, they know that such a statement is bogus to anyone with half a brain, so they have chosen to keep this change under wraps until they can quietly slip it into their mission statement at some later date.
Whereas AI used to take no position one way or the other on a woman’s right to abortion or an unborn child’s right to life—though they were always against forced abortion—they now have broadened their understanding of sexual and reproductive rights to include a “right” to abortion, although they’ll strenuously deny it.
The new policy has three basic goals: (1) provide access to abortion in what they claim will only be “particular circumstances,” (2) ensure that women have access to medical care after botched—whether legal or illegal—abortions, and (3) eliminate all penalties against women seeking abortions and against abortion providers.
In fact, read further on in the FAQ and you see that Amnesty International disagrees with the recent Supreme Court decision to uphold a ban on partial-birth abortion. “AI therefore opposes the provision of the federal law upheld by the Court in Carhart that imposes fines and up to two years in prison for doctors who perform particular types of abortions.” According to the new Amnesty International position on abortion rights, a state can’t even prohibit the gruesome practice of partial-birth abortion.
Amnesty International’s new abortion policy will strain—if not completely sever—the close ties it enjoys with many of the staunchest defenders of human rights: religious believers, in particular, the Roman Catholic Church. Though they hope to preempt such a conclusion—and gave their members just such a set of talking points—they are only kidding themselves:
Some religious believers consider abortion a violation of the right to life. International law is silent on the question of when life begins and Amnesty International takes no position on this question. The organization recognizes and respects the diversity of religious viewpoints on abortion and believes that one of its greatest strengths has been the solidarity forged among people of diverse beliefs who nonetheless share a commitment to ending human suffering. In this spirit, the organization’s leadership believes that its members and supporters can continue to collaborate on specific human rights issues without having to change or challenge their moral standpoint or views on issues such as abortion.
Amnesty International, of course, ultimately does take a position on the question of when life begins: Life does not begin—at least not in a way that merits the advocacy of Amnesty International—until after birth. The organization’s leadership deludes itself if it thinks its new support for an unlimited abortion license doesn’t undermine the solidarity once enjoyed among all those working to end human suffering. And that’s reason for all champions of human rights to be saddened by the “news” coming from Amnesty International today.
The second article comes from the op-ed page of The Boston Globe, discussing the likelihood that polygamy and incest are going to be legalized sometime in the near future; stemming from the 2003 SCOTUS decision to strike down all laws prohibiting sodomy. At the time, as you may remember, there were people, such as former Sen. Rick Santorum, who said that banning such laws would lead to a legal slippery slope of allowing all abhorant sexual behavior and appetites. They were routinely labeled as bigots and their comments dismissed as hyperbolic red herrings. However, as this article shows, those warnings were quite accurate.
When the BBC invited me onto one of its talk shows recently to talk about the day's hot topic -- legalizing adult incest -- I thought of Rick Santorum.

Back in 2003, as the Supreme Court was preparing to rule in Lawrence v. Texas, a case challenging the constitutionality of laws criminalizing homosexual sodomy, then-Senator Santorum caught holy hell for warning that if the law were struck down, there would be no avoiding the slippery slope.
the [Supreme Court] dissenters echoed Santorum's point. "State laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity are . . . called into question by today's decision," Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the minority. Now, Time magazine acknowledges: "It turns out the critics were right."

Time's attention, like the BBC's, has been caught by the legal battles underway to decriminalize incest between consenting adults.
Some years back, I'd written about ... Allen and Patricia Muth, a brother and sister who fell in love as adults, had several children together, and were prosecuted, convicted, and imprisoned as a result. Following the Supreme Court's decision in Lawrence, they appealed their conviction and lost in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
But the next ... Muth to come along, or the one after that, may not lose. In Lawrence, it is worth remembering, the Supreme Court didn't just invalidate all state laws making homosexual sodomy a crime. It also overruled its own decision just 17 years earlier (Bowers v. Hardwick, 1986) upholding such laws. If the court meant what it said in Lawrence -- that states are barred from "making . . . private sexual conduct a crime" -- it will not take that long for laws criminalizing incest to go by the board as well. Impossible? That's what they used to say about normalizing homosexuality and legalizing same-sex marriage.
Your reaction to the prospect of lawful incest may be "Ugh, gross." But personal repugnance is no replacement for moral standards. For more than 3,000 years, a code of conduct stretching back to Sinai has kept incest unconditionally beyond the pale. If sexual morality is jettisoned as a legitimate basis for legislation, personal opinion and cultural fashion are all that will remain. "Should Incest Be Legal?" Time asks. Expect more and more people to answer yes.


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Darius' book montage

The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel The Main Thing
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Overcoming Sin and Temptation
According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible
Disciplines of a Godly Man
Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem
When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Ourselves
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith
Respectable Sins
The Kite Runner
Life Laid Bare: The Survivors in Rwanda Speak
Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak
A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, ... anabaptist/anglican, metho
Show Them No Mercy
The Lord of the Rings
Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass
The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception
Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming
The Chronicles of Narnia
Les Misérables

Darius Teichroew's favorite books »