Innocents

were we led all that way for

Birth or Death? There was a birth, certainly,

We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,

But had thought they were different; this Birth was

Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, 

T.S. Eliot, The Journey of the Magi

Eliot captures the way in which the journey to the Christ-child changes us. We are not told which of the three is talking, but in that birth, he had seen a death – and he could no longer feel no longer “at ease here, in the old dispensation, / With an alien people clutching their gods.” Neither can we, having journeyed to the Christ child be at ease with the many “false gods” worshipped by this society.

We read, with horror, in Matthew 2: 16-18, of how Herod had all new-born sons massacred after the Magi had not reported back to him. It tears at us – as it should. How horrible, we think. Yet, we live in a society marked by a much greater horror. Herod had a selfish motive for his action – he wanted to kill a rival king. What is our excuse for allowing abortion on demand? The law in the UK does not allow for it, but in practice, it is what we have. Here, unlike in the US, it is not a political issue. We simply accept it.

Yes, even to query it is to invite hostility. Do I not care about the woman who has been raped? Yes, I do. But I do not see why killing the second innocent party should make the mother feel better; what about the sense of loss and possible regret? There is more than one side here. But the vast majority of the abortions which take place have nothing to do with the extreme circumstances which the supporters of the abomination call in aid. How strange that in a society saturated with contraception, we should need so many abortions.

Before I married for the first time, I practised the best and most reliable method of contraception – I kept my panties on and my legs closed; it worked splendidly too! To my deep sorrow, it transpired that I have a gynecological problem which prevents me conceiving, which of course, I accept, may make my attitude to abortion particularly hostile. But there are many women like me who would love to adopt. More than 41 million babies perished in abortion this year alone. It is the only form of “healthcare” where one of those involved dies every time.

To justify this horror to ourselves, we subject the language itself to abuse. We do what the slave-owners did to justify their sin – we dehumanise the object of our sin and call the baby a “fetus”. I looked in the card-shop recently and you know what, I couldn’t find a single card saying “congratulations, you are having a fetus”; have you seen one? So, the greeting-card industry, which has a card for every season, has none for the “fetus”. What is the womb is a baby; what will be killed is a baby. But once admit that and the game is up. So let us pretend and insist on it.

But then, it is “my body, my choice”. Here, as a feminist, I take issue with another abuse of language. My body, last time I looked, had one head, two hands, and two feet. Before I knew I could not conceive, I thought I had a choice. I exercised it by keeping my clothes on and avoiding horizontal jogging with eager young men; it can be done you know! But, except in those hard cases of rape, we all have a choice. Those with no religious objections to contraception, who are willing to take the medical risks of the pill, can jog all they like and usually avoid contraception. Why not call it what it is? “I want the right to have sex on the same terms as a man, and to get rid of the consequence”? At least that would be honest; but once admit it and the thing is what it is – sheer selfishness and a desire to have what I want when I want it and for someone else to bear the consequences.

On this, the commemoration of the massacre of the Innocents, let us pray for all those souls killed before birth. Who can know what we have lost – another Shakespeare; the cure for cancer? But we do know what has been lost – a child who never had the chance to say that her choice mattered most.

 

[All of you know that I completely agree with what Jessica writes here, in fact, I asked her to write it, in recognition of the Feast of the Innocents. But for whatever reason, I forgot that the feast day was yesterday, and thought it today. Very stupid of me, and I hope you’ll forgive me. But, and this is important, this is something we should remember and pray about every day. I won’t say our actions redeem King Herod, nothing can, for two (let alone 41 million) wrongs do not make a right. But we, all of us, have no right any longer to look askance at him as we perpetrate horrors at least as bad as he did. He could at least claim he knew no better. What is our excuse? Neo]

 

President Trump Marches for Life

I wrote a fairly long article this morning for On the Pilgrim Road which will come up at 10 this morning central time, I hope you’ll pop over and read it.

I built it around the speech that President Trump gave at the March for Life last Friday, which moved me. I do want to share that speech here, as well.

It’s so nice to have a president who understands the value of every life, isn’t it?

Sunday Funnies, a Busy Week

A busy, and yet a pretty satisfying week.

And the high point of the week – The March for Life

Phrasing? One hopes so.

And of course… Audre will note that she is a brunette.

 

 

Rachel weeping

Peter_Paul_Rubens_Massacre_of_the_Innocents

A repeat, but one we can never repeat enough. With part from my friend Chalcedon, and from Jessica, as well as from me. Neo 2019

I’m back, but it was a late night and I’ve nothing prepared, so mostly this will be one more of Jessica’s, but not a happy one. It is also a day after our churches celebrate the Slaughter of the Innocents. Some of those churches, it must be said, with their eyes tight closed to what they propose. But this is one thing most of us agree on, and so a bit from me, and also a bit from my friend Chalcedon at the Watchtower

Indeed, before the advent of Christianity, human life was generally held cheap. The death rate among new-borns was high, and there would have been few families at the time who did not have the experience of losing a baby, and even a mother, in child-birth. But the massacre of little children was something else – it was seen as barbarous, even in barbarous times. Quite what even barbarous times would make of the modern West’s habit of mass abortions, who can tell? To those without an ideological blindness to it, the practice is appalling, and it is no accident that the abortion industry does not want the details of what goes on inside its clinics more widely spread; few, surely, can read the detail without a feeling of nausea? But such is the state of our ‘civilization’ that now only the Catholic Church holds the line firmly here. The same faith which told the world that even the life of a slave was worth the same as that of an Emperor in the eyes of God, tells an unheeding world that the life of every child in the womb is valued in those same eyes. It holds to a high view of the worth of human life in a world where, increasingly, it is seen as having variable value. The unborn, the handicapped (yes, don’t use the word, but do defend aborting such babies whilst they are in the womb – never forget words are all that matter) and the elderly, especially the elderly who are unwell, all of these lives have a different value to those of the ordinary person of working age upon whom health services can spend a small fortune to keep alive and as fit as possible. All lives matter, but some matter far more than others.

Chalcedon is speaking of Britain, in the States, the Catholic church has some allies, parts of the Anglican and the Lutheran churches are allies, as are a fair number of evangelicals, why any Christian is not is well beyond my ken.

And here is Jessica:

Today is the day on which the Church remembers the massacre of the Innocents as recorded in Matthew 2:13-23.

Verse 15 refers to words of Hosea 11:1“When Israel was a child, I loved him,
And out of Egypt I called My son.” 
Just as Israel was preserved from destruction in Egypt, so God’s Son, the hope of Israel, is preserved from destruction; but just as the first-born of Egypt died, so now, do the first born of Israel.

Verses 17 and 18 refer to Jeremiah 31:15

“A voice was heard in Ramah,
Lamentation and bitter weeping,
Rachel weeping for her children,
Refusing to be comforted for her children,
Because they are no more.”

Rachel, the wife of Jacob and thus the mother of Israel, is depicted by the prophet mourning over her descendants who have been slaughtered by the Babylonians. But if we take the whole of Jeremiah 30-33 we can see that either side of these lamentations there is the looking forward to the new Covenant, the new era which the coming of the Messiah will inaugurate.

St. Matthew, steeped as he was in the Jewish Scriptures, sees the parallel for us – that out of this destruction there will come a new life; Jesus is the fulfilment of the words of the prophets. At the end of the chapter there is a reference to Isaiah 11:1, where Jesus, the ‘Stem of Jesse’, the ‘Branch’, and also to Isaiah 6:13 where, after God had cut down the tree of Israel, a little stump was left from which a branch would grow.

Suffering, like the poor, is with us always, and in so far as we alleviate the suffering of the poor, we do it for and to Christ, because he is in every one of us, and we are in his image. Death is something which comes to us all, even if our society conspires to hide the fact. I never knew my mother, who died soon after I was born, and that is a sorrow, but it is one which is in the natural order of things, which is what makes the massacre of the Innocents the more shocking, because it runs against the natural order in two ways: the child dying before the parent, and adults killing rather than caring for children. What can comfort a mother for the loss of her child? And yet in our time, many mothers choose not to have their child, and society, so anxious to shield us from the reality of our own mortality, turns a blind eye and uses smooth words to condone infanticide. We should not, we cannot and must not, judge women who come to that place; we cannot know what drove them there, and everyone is different. But we can lament the slaughter, for that is what it is. If they truly knew what it was they did, then many would not do it.

We have moved from a society which accepted (because it had no choice) that infant mortality would be high, through one which sought to end that situation, to one where we routinely abort millions of children in the name of a spurious ‘right to choose’. I say spurious because no one asks the child in the womb, who gets no choice at all. So, on this feast of the massacre of the Holy innocents, let us pray for all those afflicted by this modern curse of abortion – including the women concerned.

And this, more than any other factor, is why those who would like us to call them pro-choice are not, they are part of a very ancient cult: the cult of death. They think it proper to slaughter babies, even before they are born, which to my mind at least makes them even worse than Herod, himself. Humans have a tendency to murder each other for very little reason, it took Christianity almost 2000 years to mostly end this practice, if not the desire, now we seem to be slipping back. And yes, voluntary euthanasia is simply more of the same horrible sauce.

But there are encouraging signs, abortion in the US is lower than at any time since 1971, two years before Roe v. Wade. That is something to give thanks for, for it is indeed a good start. But outlawing the practice is not really enough, the problem is that there are people that think such barbarity is acceptable. We are, can be, must be better than this.

Presumably, I’m back, and so tomorrow should be a new post, Thanks for reading these whichI’ve carefully chosen for this week.

The Gloves Come Off

David Marcus wrote in The Federalist that the battle over abortion in the United States is becoming total war. He’s correct. from his article.

Since the day that Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, abortion has been a hot button political topic in the United States. But while it is an emotional issue that has always had inflamed rhetoric surrounding it, over the past 46 years, the abortion question has existed in a kind of stalemate or détente. Very little, including the polling numbers on how many people are pro-choice or pro-life, has changed.

On the right, given the composition of the Supreme Court during that time, and the unlikelihood of Roe being overturned, it has been mostly a fight around the edges of the issue. Pro-lifers have sought to cap abortions at early periods in pregnancy, or advocated for parental notification, but there was no clear path to actually making all abortions illegal.

On the left, secure as they also once were in Roe, the attitude for most of that time had been that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare. Abortion was not something to be celebrated, but rather a sad and dire thing only to be used in extreme and necessary circumstances.

Today, none of this is true anymore. Pro-lifers for the first time feel that it is possible that the Supreme Court could overturn Roeand allow states to ban abortion, and for abortion advocates, it has been become something to celebrate, to shout, and to be considered an unfettered good.

As a result of these changes, we have seen bills from both sides in state legislatures that would have been unthinkable even a decade ago. In New York and Virginia, state lawmakers passed bills that would allow for abortion up to birth, and arguably, make allowances for finishing the job if a botched abortion produces a live baby.

Meanwhile, in Georgia, a new law would effectively ban abortion after as little as six weeks and, in Alabama, legislation was passed this week that would basically ban abortion entirely. The détente which has held for 50 years is gone and the fight over abortion has become a total war. What has always been a testy battle in American politics is poised to become very ugly, very fast.

Indeed, the gloves are off. It is now a bare-knuckle brawl. And that is as it should be, the gentlemanly sparring we have been doing for nigh unto 50 years was never going to solve anything. In the meantime, we have murdered some 60 million babies in the United States. An order of magnitude more than Hitler killed. Why? For our convenience.

By the way, I notice too, that the debate is getting harsher in Britain as well, for all the same reasons. It is ironic, that they kill a goodly part of the next generation pretty much indiscriminately, while at the same time importing a new working (or not working) class from abroad.

The Alabama bill is designed to challenge Roe v Wade in the courts. As such, I suspect it will be overturned at the district level and that confirmed at the circuit court and the SCOTUS will decline to get involved, and so will lose. But I’ve been wrong before, and Roe is universally considered bad law so we will see.

But it is also a sign that the Federal government needs to abdicate the field, the states are moving both ways at once, so what the court fight will really be about is some imagined right of privacy against the 10th Amendment.

Nor will the current bills be the last, there are more pending in the states. For much of the US, the time when infanticide for the mother’s convenience is legal is coming to an end. Very late, but very late is better than never.

Unplanned

The Federalist (and others) tell us that the film Unplanned is far outperforming expectations, and that is very good. If you happened to miss it, which would not be hard since there is a media blackout, including most TV networks refusing advertising, Twitter sabotaging its account, and what looks like a malicious R rating, it is the story of a director of a Planned Parenthood clinic whose interaction with a prayer vigil group, and witnessing the attempts by an unborn child to avoid being aborted, eventually brought her to become a stalwart pro-life witness.

It’s a story we have told before, here. In fact, my former co-blogger was personally involved in one of those stories. She told her story here, and here is a bit of it.

A few weeks ago a friend of mine had a knock on the door of the vicarage where he lives. It was a young woman. She was pregnant and did not want to be. She could not get an immediate appointment with a doctor or a medical social worker, or even the counsellor she was seeing at the abortion clinic; she’d heard that you didn’t need an appointment to see a vicar – so there she was. She’d never been to church and admitted she didn’t know what ‘it was all about’, but she needed an ear. My friend listened to her for about an hour. He did not try to influence her against her will, but to discern that will. She was clearly confused and in some desperation.  After the hour, she left, thanking him.

We heard nothing more until Friday evening, when she telephoned to say she was going to have an abortion the next day; she asked if he would come to see her on Sunday. He asked if he could bring a friend – me, as he felt a woman might help in the situation; she said that would be fine.

I posted about her on my own site and asked people to join me in prayer for her. Most of those commenting did so, although there was one poster who thought we ought to be telling her what a dreadful sinner she was, although, since she knew not the Lord, it is hard to know what she would have made of that. We went, wanting to be there to extend compassion to her, and to do whatever the Lord wanted.

When we went into her small flat, it was clear that she was depressed – it was like a huge cloud over her. She told us that she had been counselled about all the medical things, and the side-effects, but she had never felt so empty and so ‘wrong’. She cried, and it was hard to know what to do, so I held her hands. I asked if she’s mind if we said a prayer, and through her tears she said she didn’t really mind, though couldn’t see it would help. The three of us held hands and I asked God to have mercy on the three sinners in the room, and to grant His grace to the dead child. The room filled with light. We all felt the same thing. She gasped. We sat in silence, holding hands for as long as was needed.

As he light faded, I asked her how she felt. She said: “As though God has spoken to me saying that I should go and sin no more,” I asked if she knew where those words came from, and she laughed and said “I’ve just told you, God told me.” I said I knew, I had heard them too, but did she know they had been said before? She asked what I was talking about, so I told her about the woman taken in adultery. She got very serious: “But I thought you Christians would condemn such a slut – and one like me, but you haven’t, and God loves me.” We all cried.

Back when Jessica first told me this story, I sat here crying as well. From things she told me in confidence, I am very sure that that young woman would not have lived a week, she would, I will always believe, have committed suicide. Instead, she is now married to the vicar in the story, happily, I hope. I haven’t heard in quite a while.

Christians were known from the very beginning for their quite obdurate insistence on raising their children, not following the common Roman practice of leaving the unwanted ones to die of exposure. It is one of the reasons Christianity spread so far and so fast.

And now we see politicians who openly advocate the old Roman practice once again, but we also see these little groups of Christians who pray and are kind to all around Planned Infanticide Planned Parenthood. It has caused the baby killers in Britain such fear that they have attempted to use the law to remove the prayer groups.

But like those attempting to stifle the film, well, God has His ways, and He will prevail.

And The Spectator reminds us that there is nothing Feminist about this either. Susan B. Anthony a legendary and genuine fighter for women’s rights’ wrote this:

She must feel herself accountable to God alone for every act, fearing and obeying no man, save where his will is in line with her own highest idea of divine law.… When the mother of Christ shall be made the true model of womanhood and motherhood, when the office of maternity shall be held sacred and the mother shall consecrate herself, as did Mary, to the one idea of bringing forth the Christ-child, then, and not till then, will this earth see a new order of men and women, prone to good rather than evil.

Here’s the trailer, but see the film.

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