Saturday, July 25, 2009

Religion Just Keeps Getting More and More Ecumenical

Interesting statistics garnered via wikipedia: In the United Kingdom, approximately 70% of the population identifies as Christian; however, only about 35% of the population believes that a personal God exists. But this may not be as great an accomplishment as that of the Church of Sweden which manages to discuss its general credo on its English website without once mentioning God (even though the web-designer does quote a bishop who mentions the Holy Spirit briefly.)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Notes on the Death of Dr. Tiller

Because there has been so much buzz on the death of Dr. Tiller, I thought that I would throw my own two cents into the hat. Not that I have a lot that is new to say, but it is worth reminding whomever your readers are of it, even if your only reader is yourself.

I should begin by noting that I do not find myself feeling particularly sorry of George Tiller, though I am sorry that his family now has to go through the distress of losing him. If the woman's health was at grave risk, then a few of the abortions he performed may have been justifiable, but, all in all, what he did was atrocious and, in a fully civilized and moral society, would have brought down upon him the full weight and discipline of the law.

But therein lies the problem: No society is fully civilized and all find ways to let their small acts of utilitarian immorality find justification through one premise or another. It serves an apparatus of power, but no matter how corrupt the apparatus is, it still holds up the body. Acts like those of the lone gunman who murdered George Tiller are not reprehensible because they are committed against this or that individual, but rather because they are committed against the social apparatus as a whole. An assault on anyone is an assault on everyone.

I have heard some--not pro-lifers but rather libertarians and "progressives" playing DARE--argue that an unjust law is no law at all (and, by implication, that individual citizens should engage in vigilantism where the government fails to do so.) This is completely wrong. A law is a law, unjust or not and, if they play the History card (what about slavery?) then I say just because I would have supported Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and Anti-Secessionist policies does not necessarily mean that I should have been obliged to condone the Nat Turner Rebellion or to stand beside John Brown at Harper's Ferry. Even the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s had the law on their side when it came to brass tax (see Brown v. Board of Education.)

In short, I see no reason why I should not be sorry for Dr. Tiller's passing (if, indeed, he did provide unnecessary late-term abortions) while, at the same time, hoping that Scott Roeder, his murderer, spends the rest of his life in prison or, perhaps, joins the dwindling few on death row.