Last week, someone leaked (illegally disseminated by the media) a first draft of a opinion written by Justice Alito of the US Supreme Court. In that
draft, Justice Alito made many of the exact same arguments that have been made ever since Roe v. Wade
was decided: that the so-called "right
to abortion" enacted by Roe v. Wade
is nowhere enumerated nor implied in the US Constitution; that without such enumeration or implication,
the decision amounted to legislation by the US Supreme Court; that such legislation was the sole venue of legislators, not judges; and that the 10th
Amendment required that any such legislation be reserved to the states in the absence of Constitutional mention.
The leaked opinion can be accessed in .pdf form here
, as Dobbs
v. Jackson Women's Health Organization
This is not a decision. it is a first draft. Rarely (I might venture to say "never') is an important document written in one attempt. Typically and
traditionally, a draft is written, it is distributed to others who may wish to provide input and insight, and their comments are worded into
subsequent drafts. The process is repeated until there are no more suggestions, and finally the document is officially released. Until such official
release, the draft is meaningless. Now, this draft is being touted as close enough to what will become the final decision, but that is complete
hearsay and, dare I say, panic.
However, this leak of a first draft has ignited a firestorm of controversy. Abortion has always been a touchy subject, but some of the posts I have
seen since the leak have been literally over the top. Why, there's even one thread where people are calling for all unmarried men to be sterilized by
OK, people feel strongly about this issue. I get that. But what I am seeing is not "people feeling strongly"... it is violent, hateful, irrational
evil coming from human beings! And that is what I want to talk about in this thread: not the abortion issue itself (there are a half-dozen or more of
those going on as I type), but rather one specific point that continually gets raised and now has reached a fever pitch: the religious argument.
Religion has always been a "thing." From approximately the 4th century BC, Judaism in some form or another has existed. It is possible some other
religions have existed even longer; Zoroastrianism springs to mind. It's not some recent development of society. Indeed, history is rife with
examples of man's inhumanity to man in the name of religion. Some religions appear to be mostly peaceful, while others appear to be quite violent.
and I submit that is not the religion itself that causes this difference. Rather it is the input of various religious leaders that creates this
difference. Of course, many of the more violent periods of history due to religion occurred when religion and politics merged into a single entity...
witness the Spanish Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials, and the reign of the infamous Queen "Bloody" Mary of England. In all of those examples, and
many more unspecified examples, religious zealotry turned evangelical (concerned with the behavior of others) and was given political and military
power to assist in its goals.
We at one time had seemed to have learned ow badly this idea could turn; the First Amendment of the US Constitution states plainly
make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof
and since Article 1, Section 1 (the very first line
after the Preamble) also states
All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a
Senate and House of Representatives.
it follows that since no government body other than Congress can make law and Congress can't make religious
law, no religious law can exist in the Federal government. The Federal government cannot force people to follow a religion, nor can the Federal
government forbid people from following a religion.
Seems clear enough. Some have called this "separation of church and state"; I prefer "separation of church from
state." Either way, the
intent is clearly worded.
I'm sure when most people read that, they think of "religion" as meaning Christianity, Islam, Judaism, perhaps Hindu, Buddism, or Sikh. Religion
does include these, but it also extends farther. Most of us remember the infamous events at Jonestown, where Jim Jones erected the People's Temple
and declared himself as some sort of demi-god. We all know how that turned out... all of his followers died at their own hands. Heaven's Gate is
another good example; the followers killed themselves, apparently so their spirits could reach a comet that happened to be visible at the time.
Both of these cults were legal. Remember, Congress cannot enact a law forbidding them, and no one else in the Federal (or state, based on Supreme
Court precedent) government can pass a law. Another such "cult" would be the Branch Davidians... which was attacked by the government due to
illegality! How is that possible?
It's possible because while the religion itself must be legal, the actions of such a religion are not required to be legal. There is a gulf between
law and religion, where an act may be deemed illegal if it violates the rights of another even if it is performed in the name of religion. Murder
falls into this category: we have laws against murder because it involves the removal of the right to life from another. It does not matter that one
of the Ten Commandments states "Thou shalt not kill." The statutes against murder stand on their own merit.
Back to the abortion issue: I have seen many arguments that claim that "pro-life" is a religious concept that is forbidden to the government,
meaning any attempt to criminalize abortion must be unconstitutional. People are actually called "religious fanatics" and "lunatics" over the
suggestion that abortion is the taking of a human life. However, this is not really the case. I will openly admit that I am a Christian, but my belief
that an unborn child is a living person is based in science, not religion. Every child ever conceived is alive - scientific fact. Life never begins;
it continues. Every unborn child is human - again, scientific fact based on the number and arrangement of chromosomes. Every unborn child is a
separate instance of human life - still a scientific fact based on the unique DNA sequences that differentiate the child, from the instant of
conception, from the mother.
However, I also do not deny the need for abortions. The reproductive process is quite complex and is easily given to errors. Sometimes these errors
can be life-threatening to the mother, and should this happen, there should never be a prohibition nor delay of any sort on choosing the mother's
life over that of the unborn. If my objection to abortion were purely religious, I would not hold such an attitude.
I am far from alone in having others make the (false) assumption that my views on abortion are purely religious; it is actually a pretty common thing.
Yet, despite repeated, continuous rebuttals of this fact, the allegations still continue unabated. That is not reason nor is it even an indication of
intelligence... it is an indication of religion.
>> continued >>