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Here are some news stories and articles which might be of interest to you. I've posted the opening section, and if you want to read more, you can click on "Read the whole article" to go to the original item. You'll find a variety of things here -- current news, political analysis, opinion pieces, articles about religion -- things I've happened to read and want to share with you. It's your Reading Room, so take your time. Browse. You're certain to find something you'll want to read.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"Personally Opposed, But..." Five Pro-Abortion Dodges

by Todd M. Aglialoro

In that passage from Orthodoxy so familiar that it is almost now cliché, G. K. Chesterton wrote that there are a thousand angles at which a man may fall but only one at which he stands. By this he argued for the unique, enduring character of orthodox Church doctrine, of the one, true, upstanding strand of Right Teaching. Though the same tired heresies may reappear to contest it -- mutated, renamed, warmed-over -- the old, wild truth remains standing, "reeling but erect."

This well-worn lesson takes on a new freshness, I think, when applied to the culture war. The wild truths that inform Christian ethics -- our insistence on a moral universe, on a real human nature with its own teleology, on the transcendent significance of human acts and human relationships -- also reel but remain erect in the face of perennial challenges. We are not gods. Moral truth is something we discover, not invent. From the Garden of Eden to the Supreme Court of the United States, we have fought the same battle under different banners.

In what is probably the modern culture battle par excellence, the fight against abortion, we see displayed with perfect clarity the principle of a single upright truth (that directly killing an unborn child is an evil and a crime) being contested by a rotation of errors; taking turns or working in tandem, passing in and out of fashion, each seizing upon the vocabulary, events, and moods of the cultural moment until the next comes along to supplant it.

In some cases cultural developments render one of them obsolete. In the years shortly after Roe v. Wade, abortion debates inevitably featured three words the pro-abortion side considered a trump card: "blob of tissue." This factually empty but sound-bite-perfect catchphrase made a great impact with its implication that the fetus was roughly equivalent to a ball of snot. Which put abortion about on par with picking your nose: bad form, a messy affair that ought to be kept private, but nothing to get overly excited about.

Of course, advances in the study of human embryology, most notably the window to the womb afforded by the sonogram, all but pulled the teeth from the "blob of tissue" canard. The 1980 film The Silent Scream, an ultrasound depiction of an abortion at eleven weeks, provided a chilling, graphic look at abortion's inner workings. And today, expectant mothers keep pictures of their "blobs of tissue" on the refrigerator. They make copies and stuff them into Christmas cards.

So that particular line was no longer viable. But it wouldn't be the last. More would follow, and we who are engaged in the culture have surely heard most of them. However, even for those who have heard them all, I think it can be valuable to gather them up and define them; to identify their originators, exemplars, and champions; to understand their appeal; and to consider how to counter them. Let us now look, then, at five (a nice number, though by no means exhaustive) of history's most insidious pro-abortion arguments...  Read the whole article.

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Fr. Phillips is the founding pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church, the first Anglican Use parish, established on August 15, 1983. Not that there is any confusion, but he is on the left, shown in his younger, less gray-headed days.