May 13, 2013
David G. Savage:
Church-state, literally? Supreme Court weighing public school graduation in a church
May 10, 2013
Rabbi Berel Wein: Be all that you should be
May 8, 2013
Peter Ford: Why China is welcoming both Israel's Netanyahu and Palestinians' Abbas
Obama administration quietly backs out of appeal over new contraceptive mandate
At Kerry-Putin meeting, US-Russia relations thaw --- a tad
The Kosher Gourmet by Leela Cyd Ross :
Almost too pretty to eat, this colorful salad with Sicilian inspiration will tickle the taste buds and delight your visual sensibility
May 6, 2013
May 3, 2013
Kids, kittens the Same?
With employee perks at struggling Internet pioneer Yahoo! it's hard to tell
Artificial kidney offers hope to patients tethered to a dialysis machine
April 29, 2013
Poland's new Jewish museum celebrates life, doesn't revisit Holocaust
Terrorism in America: Is US missing a chance to learn from failed plots?
Boston Bomber's 'Svengali' Revealed
Tiny satellites + cellphones = cheaper 'eyes in the sky' for NASA
April 26, 2013
Clifford D. May:
Defense in the Age of Jihadist Terrorism
Sharon Palmer, R.D.:
How to feel your best -- with plenty of energy, a healthy weight and optimal mental and physical function -- without driving yourself batty
April 24, 2013
Jewish World Review
August 27, 2008
/ 26 Menachem-Av 5768
Pope Pelosi At the Gate
When Democrats decided they wouldn't let the GOP be "G-d's Only Party," they weren't kidding. Thanks to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, none other than St. Augustine has been summoned to Denver.
He was resurrected as Pelosi was trying to respond to the question that refuses to die: When does human life begin? This time, it was Tom Brokaw asking on Sunday's "Meet the Press." Citing Barack Obama's recent pass on a similar question "At what point does a baby get human rights?" Brokaw asked Pelosi what she would say to Obama were he to ask her advice.
Pelosi didn't finesse her answer, as Obama did when he said the question was above his pay grade, but she may wish she had.
"I would say that as an ardent, practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time," Pelosi began. "And what I know is, over the centuries, the doctrines of the church have not been able to make that definition. ... St. Augustine said at three months. We don't know. The point is, is that it shouldn't have an impact on a woman's right to choose. ... I don't think anybody can tell you when life begins, human life begins."
Few paragraphs have contained more falsehoods. The reaction was swift from Denver's archbishop, the Rev. Charles J. Chaput, among others, who condemned Pelosi's comments during Mass that same evening. Blogging on Monday, Chaput quoted Jesuit John Connery, author of "Abortion: The Development of the Roman Catholic Perspective," who concluded that "The Christian tradition from the earliest days reveals a firm anti-abortion attitude."
It is true that laws and penalties concerning abortion have evolved through the ages. "Right to life" is a relatively new concept. It is also true that Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas eight centuries later subscribed to a "delayed hominization" theory, meaning that abortion couldn't be homicide because the fetus doesn't receive a soul until a certain point in its development.
Augustine even thought that "hominization" occurred earlier for males than for females. Is it possible that the same authority whom Pelosi invokes to justify her belief in choice also ranked the female fetus below the male on G-d's "Ensoulments To Do" list?
We may forgive Augustine, of course, because people didn't know much about nascent life in the early 400s. The ovum wasn't discovered until 1827. Fetal imaging, now routine for expectant parents, was unimaginable.
If Augustine had known then what we know now, would he stand by Pelosi as she asserts that when life begins should have no bearing on a woman's right to choose?
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled as much in Roe v. Wade, obviously, but Justice Harry A. Blackmun dodged the question of when life begins using the same rationale as Pelosi that because scientists, theologians and others couldn't agree on when life begins, then a woman's privacy trumped the unborn's right to due process.
One may choose to believe that out of convenience or conscience, but the logic of the court was both self-contradictory and incorrect, according to Robert P. George, a professor of jurisprudence at Princeton and a member of the President's Council on Bioethics. By its ruling, says George, the court implicitly determined when life begins (against the fetus), while ignoring science that long before had determined the facts of human embryogenesis.
In his new book, "Embryo," George and co-author Christopher Tollefsen, associate professor of philosophy at the University of South Carolina, left religion behind and set out to establish the embryo's personhood by reviewing all the major scientific works on human embryogenesis and early intrauterine development.
Included was American medicine's most prominent human embryology text, "The Developing Human," whose authors are not imprecise on the matter of life: "Human development begins at fertilization when a male gamete or sperm (spermatozoon) unites with a female gamete or oocyte (ovum) to produce a single cell a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual."
In other words, human life begins at conception. That is not a religious posture, but a scientific fact that the lowest paid laborer on the planet can assert without qualm. What we do with that understanding is another matter, but no one in the 21st century should pretend not to know when human life begins.
On this matter at least, the church and science are in agreement.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
JWR contributor Kathleen Parker can be reached by clicking here.
Kathleen Parker Archives
© 2008, WPWG
Richard Z. Chesnoff
Frank J. Gaffney
Victor Davis Hanson
A. Barton Hinkle
Judge A. Napolitano
Cokie & Steve Roberts
Debra J. Saunders
J. D. Crowe
Ask Doctor K