Sunday, November 02, 2008

libera nos

Didn't get any reply from this letter I sent a couple of weeks ago, so I may as well show it to you folks:

Dear Father Greeley,

There is no reason for you to remember me- we probably were never actually introduced to each other- but I am pretty sure I assisted you at Mass once, when I was an altar boy at St. Odelia's c.1982. The other morning I was browsing on the net before going to work and I came across an article by an Andrew Greeley about the US Presidential Election. I thought to myself 'surely that can't be the same Andrew Greeley', but I followed a few links and was surprised to find that it was.

I have been formed by my Catholic background. I strive to live a self-consistent philosophy of respect for life. I am against the death penalty, a vegetarian, in favour of the judicious use of force to bring down murderous tyrants, and opposed to the slaughter of innocent unborn children.

I know this last goes on ceaselessly around the world. I left the US many years ago, and know that what happens there is but a tiny fraction of what happens in the world, that it ought not to bother me as much as what goes on in India and China. But I have become too emotionally involved in events in my native land, this last year or so. I am drinking too much. I cannot concentrate at work. I feel nervous, panicky, sick to my stomach, because of my fear that a man will be elected President of the US who will appoint five or six 'pro-choice' judges to the Supreme Court. This would mean, almost certainly, that I could not hope to see an end to Roe vs Wade in my lifetime. The killing would go on, and on, and on, ceaselessly, in every city of your nation 'under God'. The man who would do this is the man you describe as 'your guy'.

I cannot see how waging an illegal war- granting this to be the case- or burning books- granting this to be the case- can possibly compare the gravity and horror of the moral evil that 'your guy' seeks to entrench in the United States.

I know the folly of trying to change anyone's mind, when they are set on a course. So I won't try. But I am heartsick, I am close to despair, I am close to being physically ill, at the prospect of 'your guy' being President. I felt compelled to let you know. God bless.

From Surah 81, The Overthrowing:

In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
When the sun is overthrown, and when the stars fall, and when the hills are moved, and when the camels big with young are abandoned, and when the wild beasts are herded together, and when the seas rise, and when souls are reunited, and when the girl-child that was buried alive is asked for what sin she was slain, and when the pages are laid open, and when the sky is torn away, and when hell is lighted, and when the garden is brought nigh, then every soul will know what it hath made ready.


Marco said...

I kind of think you are seeing this in perspective of political linear thinking with pro-choice on one end of the line and pro-life on the other end. If we consider ourselves to be part of a volume in idea space in which we want the rate of abortions to fall considerably, Barak Obama, through his support of universal access to contraception and health care is in that same volume of idea space. Admittedly, without any desire to make abortions either symbolically more illegal than they are, or closer to the definition of murder. Thus, perhaps, he could be given the chance, and then if abortion rates fall significantly through his term, we could consider it to be a reasonable policy choice for the time. The moral imperative aspects of abortion prohibition can be tackled as a long term objective perhaps based on technology etc., while for the short term seeing that proven policies to reduce unwanted pregnancies do hold sway in the meantime.

Dr. Clam said...

Within the context of the United States, Windrip favours policies (such as the repeal of parental notification laws) which have been shown- by doing the experiment, of changing laws in one state, and not another- to increase the abortion rate. The activist judges he favours would certainly stifle any incremental moves on the state level, likewise.

The idea that, through access to unviersal health care and contraception, he could lead to a decrease in the abortion rate, is wishful thinking IMHO.

Is he likely to be able to introduce a national health scheme anything like as comprehensive as most European nations have?
Well, look at how far Hilary got last time the Democrats had control of the executive and legislative branches. Think about how expensive such things are and the budgetary abyss they are staring into.

Is such a scheme a cure-all, independent of other cultural factors? No. Look at the (high) abortion rate among Moroccans in the Netherlands, and (digging through the musty old files) in the Warsaw Pact countries.

Dave said...

The idea that, through access to universal health care and contraception, he could lead to a decrease in the abortion rate, is wishful thinking IMHO.

Equally so, I would assert, is the idea that prohibition will stem the demand for abortion and prevent many (or even, I would think) the majority of those wanting one from attempting to procure one. There will be a few women who would be deterred, but a great many more who would endanger and criminalise themselves in order to end a pregnancy they do not want for some reason. 'twas ever thus.

You can tweak at laws or prohibit abortion outright. It won't *ever* stop people wanting them.

Nevertheless, universal health care, ready availability of effective contraception and improved education will do a great deal of good either way, so I'm for 'em, even if it takes a generation to get to that point.

Dr. Clam said...

Just to clarify, Dave: I'm not saying those things wouldn't reduce the abortion rate, other things being equal; I'm saying its wishful thinking that he would be able to bring about those things.

Marco said...

I am not so sure that he could bring about any federal changes that would in themselves affect the abortion rate long term. I will have plenty more to say about this when I get to axiom 8 in my principia. I can assert at this stage that the US abortion rate has reduced gradually in the recent decade due to a combination of affluence and reduced fertility State by state, policy seems to make a considerable difference, but I assert for every policy that reduces abortion rates, there is a proportional democratic backlash from those inconvenienced (and the unborn, like the young, have no vote)that neutralises any long term effect from those same policies.

Dave said...

Oops, sorry. Right you are. I hope he gives it a good shot, though. He should be able to build the foundation, at least.

Dave said...

Marco - I shall be interested to see that analysis.

Marco said...

This blog has gone all black for me. Is this some kind of symbolism for the result of the US election> :)

Dave said...

For me too. I assumed it was something to do with sometimes being logged out of blogger because I am using a Gmail account, but I have no idea if you are having the same problem.