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

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