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NEWS FROM THE CENTER FRIDAY DIGEST October 8 - Playing Card Tricks

Abe Schwab is the director of Ethics Across the Curriculum at Indiana Purdue Fort Wayne, and his work is once more featured in the Journal Gazette. This time the topic is abortion.

He begins what he thinks a wise and wry observation that there is a difference between saying, "I would never feel right doing that," and "No one should ever be allowed to do that." Well, we know where he's going. But note how he colors the question. First, the pro-life person's position is supposedly predicated upon feeling, as if there were nothing intrinsically right or wrong. Second, he makes it about power. And as an illustration, he talks about parent who may not want his son to work on Saturday or Sunday. Uh-huh.

Then he notes how the pro-life position is impure. If we were truly pro-life, we would advocate for every social program, every government plan, every type of welfare. Ludicrous. That is like saying that if I wish to bring an end to poverty, I must support socialism. Then he moves on to familiar tropes, such as the need for safe sex programs, family planning and the like.

But for all his words, Schwab manages to avoid talking about one thing, that is, the child. He says that no one wants more abortions. This in the face of a movement that now urges women to shout out their abortions. But, as an ethicist, he might actually ask the question, what does abortion accomplish? He compares it to the death penalty, apparently without irony. How can we be pro-life and pro-death penalty? Well, the same reason I believe in incarcerating only people who actually commit crimes.

But Schwab is not an honest ethicist. He's playing card tricks. Talk about this, and talk about that, but never get to the heart of the question, the beating heart of that little child inside the womb. Now, the analogy falls apart. If it is indeed a child, which is so obviously is, if science means anything, then it is not simply a matter of feeling, nor is it a desire to control the choices of another. It is simply the defense of someone who cannot defend himself. This child is not like the murderer on death row. He has done nothing to deserve any punishment whatsoever.

So, Schwab claims to wish there were fewer abortions. But he never says why. Why should there be fewer abortions? Is it a feeling he has? A preference? Based on what? Perhaps Schwab could actually look into the ultrasound and see the face of the victim, and then tell us why there should be fewer abortions. Of course, he won't. That would require an ethics of honesty.

The Rev. Dr. Peter Scaer is chairman and professor of Exegetical Theology and director of the M.A. program at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind.

Be Informed

Learn about the future of marriage and, consequently, birth rates in a recent Issues, Etc. podcast with Tim Goeglein of Focus on the Family.

Be Equipped

“If there was ever a time for the saving Word of Christ for marriage, life and family, it is now.” The Rev. Alfonso Espinosa explains.

 

Be Encouraged

“So follow Daniel … Martin Luther … the believers of ages past who have stood firm on Scripture alone, by faith alone, and by God’s grace alone no matter what the cost. Spread the Word. Preach the truth. Defend your faith. Pass it on to your children. God will bless you and keep you firm in the one true faith. With that comfort you can proclaim, ‘Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise. God help me. Amen!’” Rev. Peter Sulzle, St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church, Redwood Falls, Minnesota

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