The utilitarian unity of burning at the stake and abortion
Chelsea Clinton whips up a crowd with the somewhat strange complaint that her great grandmother didn’t have access to abortionists. Allrighty, then. And hat tip to SF reader Seanny Rotten for the link to this story.
One of those things that popped into my mind in the past week is how abortion is advocated on grounds that were used to justify burning people at the stake. Both are extolled as necessary, utilitarian practices for the good of the individual and the society.
A Roman Catholic network posted a rather audacious commentary on burning at the stake (it’s since been taken down but was saved by folks at another site.) While giving the required “of course we shouldn’t burn heretics now and freedom of religion is good” caveats, the author defends the motives of those who lit the pyres:
Does it seem logical that heretics were burned alive, with their mental faculties intact, to give them one last chance to repent before being sent into the “eternal fire”? Could it be that burning an individual at the stake was seen as a merciful death, as a means of giving that person one last chance to save his or her soul before final damnation??? I have read that “burning at the stake was believed by some medieval authorities and scholars to liberate the sinner from his or her formerly damned state and offer some hope of salvation to the now ‘cleansed’ soul”.
It was actually for the individual’s own good.
Compare this pro-abortion argument from a UK site:
In one study, unwanted children were found less likely to have had a secure family life. As adults they were more likely to engage in criminal behavior, be on welfare, and receive psychiatric services. Another found that children who were unintended by their mothers had lower self-esteem than their intended peers 23 years later.
It’s for the individual’s own good.
The Church thought it was sparing heretics eternal torment by burning them at the stake. Abortionists tell us they are sparing people from miserable earthly lives. Both ways, “It’s for their own good.” And of course the community is spared from falsehood and demonic power when heretics are burned, and from all kinds of social problems and expenses when “unwanted” children are aborted.
Abortionists will object to this comparison. After all, they are part of modern justice, science and reason, tolerance, sunshine and lollipops. They would never do stupid things like those old school Christians. To which Jesus says,
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’” (Matthew 23:29-30 ESV)
There’s that Santayana chestnut about those who forget the past being doomed to repeat it. But some know the past and repeat its evils just the same.
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