By Dave Andrusko
The last time we encountered progressive theologian The Rev. Rebecca Todd Peters she was offering a defense of why it’s was perfectly acceptable for North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper to veto a “dangerous” bill. “ What bill was she [and he] bravely opposing?
HB453—Human Life Non-Discrimination Act/No Eugenics— which would prohibit an abortionist from performing abortions if he knows a woman is seeking the abortion because of race, sex or a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. Oh, that dangerous bill!
The Rev. Peters is one of those all-too-familiar “progressive” ministers [in this case Presbyterian] who has persuaded herself that “justice” requires abortion, which requires overturning the patriarchy which includes recalibrating a religious “tradition that remains dominated by male god-language and imagery.” She even wrote a book (how about this for original ) titled “Trust women: A Progressive Argument for Reproductive Justice.”
In other words the Rev, Peters is a cliché’s cliché.
To Peters, a professor of religious studies at Elon University in North Carolina, none of this about what you would think a “progressive” would find right up her alley matters: preventing an abortionist from taking the life of an unborn baby because the abortionist has been told the baby (most likely a girl) is the “wrong” sex, or the “wrong” color skin, or has been prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome
Naw, it’s all about (altogether now) “exploit[ing] the emotional legacy of eugenics in an attempt to stigmatize women who have abortions and bully opponents into falling in line with the bill.”
Worse yet (from her perspective), HB453 fails “to respect the moral agency of women as capable decision-makers.”
Now, in light of the many cases working their way toward the Supreme Court, USA Today called out the Rev. Peters to dust off her tired, repetitive arguments. Only “I’m a Christian minister who’s had two abortions. Here’s how faith informed those decision” fails to deliver on the promise of the article’s headline.
Why she did she and her husband abort two of their four children? “Guided by Christian principles that promote abundant life, seek justice and recognize the human dignity of women, the decision to end a pregnancy can be a morally good decision.”
Okay, why did she and her husband abort two of their four children?
“I did not make my abortion decisions despite my Christian identity and faith, but rather because of it,” she intones. “Christian values that support healthy and secure families also require careful, thoughtful and morally rich consideration about the decision to become a parent or not. The fact that the social, physical and moral well-being of children is primarily the responsibility of parents meant that my husband and I thought carefully and deeply about our decisions to have and not have children.”
Okay, so why did she and her husband abort two of their four children? (Hold on, we’re getting there.) She continues
Recognizing and affirming that parenting is a sacred responsibility means that we need to recognize the moral wisdom my momma shared with me: “You shouldn’t have a baby just because you are pregnant – you should have a baby because you want to be a mother, you want to have a family.”
That is the message that people of faith need to shout from the rooftops. That because parenting is a sacred task, pregnant people must be supported in using their moral agency to know when and whether they are able to embrace that sacred trust of parenting.
Ending a pregnancy when one cannot afford to care for a child (or another child) can be a morally responsible decision.
And I can say, without a doubt, that the two decisions we made to have children were far more morally significant than the decisions to end two pregnancies.
Pardon? Aren’t the two children whose pregnancies they ended dead?
Enough already. The Rev. Peters drives every which way but in a straight line to reach the preferred answer: ANY reason is a good reason for abortion.
Sure, she offers the obligatory nod to poor women, as if already aborting three times the proportion of the population isn’t “good” enough. But it’s all background noise. The real answer, according to the Rev. Peters?
Ending a pregnancy when one is not emotionally or physically ready to parent a child can be a morally responsible decision.
Picking and choosing passages is hardly a Biblical informed mode of analysis. You might, for starters, check out the entirety of the Bible!
For example, if you look more close, as Albert Mohler notes, “The early church was decidedly, vocally, and courageously pro-life and opposed to abortion.”
To quote the indispensible “Abortion and the Early Church,” Michael J. Gorman writes: “Writers of the first three Christian centuries laid the theological and literary foundation for all subsequent early Christian writing on abortion. We will see that three important themes emerged during these centuries: the fetus is the creation of God; abortion is murder; and the judgment of God falls on those guilty of abortion.”
The Rev. Peters can babble on about patriarchies and other drivel forever and a day but none of that converts tearing an unborn child limb from limb into “reproductive justice.”
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