Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Prayerful sin

Did you know that prayer can be sinful? It's true. The great moral teachers say that some things are intrinsically evil, i.e., they are always sinful, under all circumstances. But no human act is always and without exception virtuous. Even something like prayer which is ordinarily good can, under certain circumstances, be sinful. Here's an illustration:

Scenario #1:

Suppose you're walking all alone on a quiet, empty beach. Suddenly you hear a cry for help, and, looking out to the water, briefly see a child's head, with arms flailing about uselessly. Then the child goes under again. That child is drowning! Though an adequate swimmer, you're not sure you can swim well enough to reach and save the child, so instead you kneel on the sand and pray for God to save him. Such prayer is a sin, a sin of omission. It is a sinful prayer, or, if you prefer, a prayerful sin.

Scenario #2:

Now suppose that the beach is not empty, but crowded with thousands of people. And, out in the water, not one but hundreds of children are drowning. Some of the people on the beach seem not to notice the children. Others notice, but are deliberately ignoring them. Still others are watching with interest, some even laying bets as to which child will last the longest. Finally, you find a large group of people who are kneeling together on the beach, praying for the children. Two individuals are in the water, actually attempting to rescue some of them, but many will surely perish for lack of assistance.

Scenario #3:

Finally, suppose that the children are deliberately being drowned by an armed detachment of government agents. Any attempt to rescue the children or even to interfere is immediately quashed. Moreover, everyone on the beach is being compelled to assist in the drowning operation. Some people are praying for the children, for a miraculous rescue, even as they willingly comply. Some are also fasting. Some are mailing red envelopes in protest.

From a moral standpoint, the biggest difference between scenario 3 and scenarios 1 & 2 is that the sin has become one of commission, not omission. To actively cooperate in evil is of greater moral magnitude than to passively omit doing good.

Please consider how your taxes pay for the slaughter of the innocents, and what your willing cooperation in that slaughter really means.

Related: A citizens' movement to refuse abortion taxes

Friday, April 24, 2009

Moral freedom

Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision!
For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.
  - Joel 3:14 [RSV]
... therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live.
  - Deut. 30:19b [RSV]
Continuing from previous posts... The importance of conscience is intimately connected with the notion of moral freedom. Moral freedom simply means an unhindered ability to exercise one's conscience, to make moral choices.

As was observed with fasting, this is a uniquely human attribute. As amoral beings, animals can only behave as their appetites, instincts and conditioned behavior dictate. They lack the ability to deliberately choose right vs. wrong, whereas we humans are constantly making moral choices, choosing whether to go this way or that, right or left, good or evil.

Reason teaches us that freedom is not absolute. In any sane society, one's freedom to do this or that is contingent upon whether another person's basic human rights would be infringed upon. One person can not be "free" to deliberately harm another. Such would not be true freedom, but a crime.

Sound religion goes further, teaching us that true freedom consists in seeking and choosing that which is good. Moral slavery involves being bound by one's appetites, instincts, and conditioned behavior, just as an animal. If you are constantly doing whatever you have an itch to do, you are not really free, but a slave to your own desires, no better than a dumb animal. To become fully human involves deliberately rising above merely animal appetites, and exercising volition in willing and doing good.

God is "pro-choice" in the truest sense of the term. He has endowed us humans with a moral nature. He gives us the faculty of volition, of free will, and he sets before us two paths, allowing us to choose which we will follow. He pleads with us to choose life, which leads to true freedom, as opposed to death and enslavement. But God will not force us to take the right path; we must each freely choose life over death, good over evil.

If you are constantly doing whatever you have an itch to do, you are not really free, but a slave to your own desires.
In this light, the politics of "choice" is seen to be a misnomer and a lie. The "right" to commit abortion is not a movement towards freedom, but a crime - the crime of murder. Moreover, it is an act of enslavement. Thus, advocates for abortion are true to their agenda when they seek to coerce doctors and nurses to violate their consciences in committing abortion. The so-called "pro-choice" ideology was never about moral freedom, but about trying to justify murder, and about contradicting the voice of conscience.

It is not legitimate for government to force health care workers to violate their consciences. And it is not right for these workers to abdicate their moral freedom in this matter. If a human authority seeks to strangle the voice of conscience, that human authority must be ignored or disobeyed.

Likewise - to issue my drum beat theme - it is not legitimate for government to force taxpayers against their consciences to pay for abortions, embryonic stem cell research, or other forms of murder. And taxpayers must not abdicate their consciences. We must not cooperate with the tax-funded slaughter of the innocents.

Related: A citizens' movement to refuse abortion taxes

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Conscience clause

Much has been made, and for good reason, about Obama's announced plan to rescind the "conscience clause" for health care workers. The conscience clause was put in place to allow doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other medical personnel to opt out of performing or assisting at abortions or other procedures to which they have moral objections. Rescinding this option is tantamount to fascist coercion and a repudiation of religious freedom for health care professionals.

This past Thursday, April 9, was the Administration's deadline for expressing opposition to the proposed rescission. I weighed in, and hope you did, too. I haven't yet heard whether the thousands of protests will be heeded or not. I think the sites to keep an eye on in this regard are freedom2care.org and lifenews.com.

There's another deadline approaching, which millions are racing to meet. By April 15, wage-earning Americans must sign their names to their 1040s and turn over a large percentage of their wages to the government, or risk the wrath of the IRS.

The signing of your name at the bottom is especially galling, isn't it? It means you are OK with everything, and that you are doing this of your own free will. You are willing that the government should use your tax dollars to fund abortions, Planned Parenthood, foreign population control programs, and the like. You are willing to underwrite the slaughter.

Where is the concience clause for taxpayers? Where is it written that we must hang our moral sensibilities up on a hook while we fill out and sign our tax returns? Why do we not protest against this fascist control of our very consciences?

Related: A citizens' movement to refuse abortion taxes

Monday, April 6, 2009

Pro-life strike

As the last few posts have hinted, Jerry eventually repented of his cooperation in the crime of abortion. This multi-year Lenten revival, this movement of prayer has gradually evolved into what I call the "Pro-life strike", a deliberate decision to withdraw my material support of the abortion dragon.

If others can see this truth as clearly, and join the effort, so much the better. And if we can thus nudge our culture and our government to stop the slaughter of the innocents, that would be the greatest blessing.

But whether or not the culture or the government respond is beyond my control. At the Last Judgment, I will have to answer for myself. So I must no longer join in the murderous orgy. I can no longer in good conscience pray for life, and then, as a docile citizen, pay for death. It is not my intent to be at odds with the civil authorities, but if they force me to choose between human law and God's Law, then I fear God, not man.