The Spin on the Bullet

Saturday, 07-13-2024

 

I had been more than half-expecting at least one attempt on Mr. Trump’s life, but I would have greatly preferred to be wrong.  My first reaction to the shooting has been sorrow.  My second has been prayer.

Former Attorney General William Barr intelligently remarked, “The Democrats have to stop their grossly irresponsible talk about Trump being an existential threat to democracy.  He is not.”

If you are expecting political discussion to become more civil, though, it isn’t going to happen any time soon.  As soon as the shock of the assassination attempt wears off, Mr. Trump’s detractors will start working to turn it against him.

Attempts to search Google about the shooting turn up an astonishing number of old screeds blaming various acts of violence on various persons who allegedly liked Trump.  Of course this list of hits – no pun intended – is just the working of a slanted algorithm, but you can expect the human narrative doctors to work along the same slanted lines.

For as soon as it becomes safe to say so, the haters of Mr. Trump will begin insinuating that that it is because he is an existential threat to democracy that the shooting occurred.  You see, because of his “incendiary rhetoric,” he has only himself to blame.

Some will express hopes that he will "learn something" from the event.  You can also expect a rise in the number of those who smugly ask whether perhaps his attitude toward gun control will also become more favorable.

Update, Sunday 14 July:

How naïve I was to have thought the haters wouldn’t pile on until after the shock of the assassination attempt had worn off.  They have already begun.

CBS anchor Margaret Brennan blamed Trump for his statement after the shooting:  “I did notice there was no call for lowering the temperature.”

She spoke with commentator Samantha Vinograd, who doubled down, saying that the biggest threat of violence was from Trump's supporters.

CNN, The Washington Post, the Indy Star, and others initially tried to spin the event as something other than an assassination attempt:  He fell at the rally, he was removed from the rally after loud noises, the loud noises startled him.

Politico and Newsweek tried to change the subject:   “Photo of bloodied Trump fist bumping immediately spotlighted by his allies,” “MAGA responds with outrage after Donald Trump injured at Pennsylvania rally.”

Jacqueline Marsaw, field director for U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Mississippi, posted on Facebook, “I don't condone violence but please get you some shooting lessons so you don't miss next time ooops [sic] that wasn't me talking.”  She posted later, “That's what your hate speech got you!!”

Rep. Thompson fired her, but bear in mind that this is the guy who introduced a resolution to deny Mr. Trump any Secret Service Protection at all.

 

Homelessness and Phony Compassion

Monday, 07-08-2024

 

By now everyone has heard that the Supreme Court upheld a town’s power to ban “camping” in public places like parks and sidewalks.  Dissenting, Justice Sotomayor wrote “Sleep is a biological necessity, not a crime.”  Well, elimination is a biological necessity too.  If there is no toilet nearby, would Justice Sotomayor say I have a constitutional right to defecate on the street?

In America there are several main reasons for long-term homelessness.  One is deinstitutionalization of people who need residential mental care.  Another is drug addiction.  And some people, believe it or not, simply prefer living on the street.  Of course shelters should be provided, but even when they are, quite a few people refuse to live in them, mainly because they have rules.  The street doesn’t.

I would gladly support dealing with these problems.  What decent person wouldn’t?  But turning public places into sewers doesn’t help anyone.  It isn’t a response, but an excuse for no response.  The only thing it is good for is giving a hypocritical display of compassion.

Progressivism is a class ideology, and wealthy contempt for ordinary people has no limits.  Progressives don’t want strangers sleeping and defecating in their own yards or driveways.  The reason they don’t mind letting them do such things in parks and on sidewalks is that these places are used by the little people, people who can’t afford to vacation in nice clean resorts and who have to walk where they want to go.

 

 

The Moon Is Made of Cheese

Monday, 07-01-2024

 

Whenever a moral issue is raised, the reflex of many people is to spout, “Who is to say what is right or wrong?”

This is the wrong question.  The right question isn’t “Who is to say?” but “How can we find out?”

The former question takes for granted that there is no way to find out.  This ignores centuries upon centuries of moral inquiry.

It is like saying, “Who is to say whether the moon is made of rock or of cheese?,” ignoring centuries upon centuries of astronomical inquiry.

“But people disagree.”  Sure.  Some people disagree about the moon, too.  Ethics is harder only because if we get an answer we don’t like, we may have to change our lives.  That’s much harder than just changing our minds – and that is hard enough.

 

Who Knows Whether That’s a Baby?

Monday, 06-24-2024

 

Pro-abortion people often say the unborn baby can’t be protected just because we don’t know he is a baby.   Who is to say?

But in the first place, we do know that he is a baby.  He is an immature member of the same species as ourselves, possessing all the potentiality for further development that a born baby has.

In the second place, the premises you would need to say he may not be a baby lead to unacceptable conclusions.  For example, you might say we don’t know whether anyone is human – but then we can’t protect anyone’s life.  Or you might say that he is human, but not yet a person, because he can’t yet reason, act according to purposes, or speak with us – but born babies can’t do those things either.  Besides, that criterion puts personhood itself on a sliding scale.  For by its lights, if Fred reasons better than you do, acts more prudently than you do, or is more articulate than you are, then even if you are a person, you are less a person than he is -- and so his rights trump yours.  Do you really want to go there?

In the third place, even if we really didn’t know whether the unborn baby were a baby, ignorance wouldn’t justify killing him.  Suppose I really don’t know whether anyone is in the house next door.  Then does my ignorance justify me in firing through the window with a gun?  After all, there may not be anybody there to hit!

You see that not even genuine ignorance would be a reason to abort.  In fact, it would be a reason not to.

 

 

Coming Soon: My New Commentary on Thomas Aquinas's Treatise on the One God

Monday, 06-17-2024

 

Publisher: Cambridge University Press.  Expected publication date: October 2024

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion, Ethics, Religion, Philosophy

Pre-order from Cambridge | Pre-order from Amazon

Publisher’s Book Description

Thomas Aquinas's classic Treatise on the One God is one of the greatest works ever written in the history of philosophy and theology.  During the first half of the twentieth century, philosophy of religion was widely viewed as dead, not even a domain of serious questions but only of 'pseudo-questions.'  Surprisingly, not only did the supposed corpse rise from the dead, but religion once again became one of the most active fields of philosophical investigation.  The time could not be more fitting for a reinvestigation of Treatise on the One God, which opens the massive Summa theologiae.  In this unparalleled exploration of the Treatise's penetrating arguments J. Budziszewski explores and illuminates the text with a luminous line-by-line commentary.  Supplemented with thematic discussions, this book discusses not only the Treatise itself, but also its immediate relevance to contemporary thought and issues of the modern world.  This work fittingly closes the author's series of commentaries on the Summa theologiae.

Reviews

If there existed commentaries on all of Aquinas's works that were as intelligent, as clear, as satisfying, and as user-friendly as this one, they would totally “corner the market” and spark a massive Thomistic revival.  Budziszewski has succeeded in carving out a distinctive niche that is neither “popular” in the sense of patronizing nor “scholarly” in the sense of onerous. Like Aquinas himself, he has the rare ability to unite profundity with clarity.  --  Peter Kreeft - Professor of Philosophy, Boston College

This book goes right to the top of my list of reliable, thoughtful, and user-friendly introductions to Aquinas.  --  Michael Pakaluk - Professor of Ethics and Social Philosophy, The Catholic University of America Ordinarius, Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas

J. Budziszewski has won a permanent place among Thomist expositors.  Now, his commentary on what Aquinas teaches about the One God has become available. As its name indicates, theology first of all instructs about God. The author possesses a talent for making thirteenth-century texts sound as if they were written yesterday. Scholars will benefit from Budziszewski’s presentation of the material, as well as students - especially beginners, for whom Aquinas in fact wrote his Summa.  --  Romanus Cessario - O. P., Adam Cardinal Maida Professor of Theology, Ave Maria University

A friend recently asked me whether he should read Aquinas’s Summa on his own.  Given how hard reading Aquinas can be on first dipping into it, I advised him against it.  But dumbed-down versions of the Summa are no use either, since they remove the rich layers of sources and the real power of Aquinas’s responses.  Thankfully, Professor Budziszewski's book has resolved the dilemma, and I will be giving this book to my friend.  This profound and readable study makes crystal clear why Aquinas’s thought is so relevant and necessary today, for seekers and educated believers as well as for professional philosophers and theologians.  --  Matthew Levering - James N. Jr. and Mary D. Perry Chair of Theology, Mundelein Seminary

Budziszewski's Commentary on Thomas Aquinas’s Treatise on the One God provides an in-depth, detailed, accessible, and comprehensive commentary on the Summa theologiae's early questions about the Transcendent.  I’ve been teaching about Thomas’s views of God for decades, and this commentary is - by far - the best single resource I’ve found on the topic.  Students approaching a Thomistic understanding of God for the first time, as well as experienced instructors, will find invaluable aids to deeper understanding.  Budziszewski provides an antidote to the allegation that Thomas is dry and dusty by his witty and winning exposition.  In the dialogue of faith and reason, Thomas is a pivotal player.  In understanding Thomas, J. Budziszewski is one of our very best guides.  This commentary can be read with great profit by sharp undergraduates, graduate students, as well as by professors of philosophy, religious studies, and intellectual history.  --  Christopher Kaczor - Professor and Chair, Department of Philosophy, Loyola Marymount University, and author of Thomas Aquinas on the Cardinal Virtues and Thomas Aquinas on Faith, Hope, and Love

This is a remarkable commentary, not only because it is accessible to the non-expert and illuminating to the seasoned scholar, but also because it presents with great clarity the doctrine of the one God in a way that demonstrates the strength of the classical view while revealing the poverty of so many contemporary attempts by both theists and non-theists to domesticate the doctrine so that it can be understood within the limiting categories of modern thought.  What we also see in this commentary is the true greatness of the mind of St. Thomas Aquinas: his unmatched ability to navigate with philosophical rigor and deep piety the truths of reason and faith, nature and grace, creature and creator, and composition and simplicity.  --  Francis J. Beckwith - Professor of Philosophy, Baylor University

 

 

Thomas Aquinas on Immigration

Monday, 06-10-2024

 

In view of the furor about legal and illegal immigration, it’s interesting to see what Thomas Aquinas has to say about how the law of the Old Testament treated such matters.

Below, then, I have condensed and paraphrased his much longer remarks in Summa theologiae, I-II, Q. 105, Art. 3, and condensed and adapted my own much longer discussion in Commentary on Thomas Aquinas’s Treatise on Divine Law.

Does any of this apply to our own controversies?  See what you think.

 

The query:

Did the Old Testament Law appropriately frame the regulations about persons who were not members of the nation?

 

St. Thomas writes:

Relations with resident aliens, St. Thomas observes, may be either peaceful and hostile.  In his view Old Testament law appropriately regulated both kinds of relations.  Let us take them in turn.  The distinction between peaceful and hostile relations with foreigners may seem obvious, but in our own political debate nothing is easier than to find persons who think either that all such relations must be amicable or that all such relations must be hostile.  In fact, though peaceful relations are preferable, they are not always possible.

As to the first category of relations, the Jews were presented with three occasions for peaceful dealings with outsiders:

1.  When such outsiders passed through their land temporarily, as sojourners or migrants.

2.  When they came into their land to live in it, as resident aliens.

3.   When they wished to be taken completely into their community and rituals, as proselytes or converts.

The Law made compassionate provision for the first two cases by commanding “Do not discourage or afflict an outsider” and “Do not make trouble for a foreigner.”

The third case required that a certain procedure be followed.  No one was accepted into citizenship immediately.  We read something similar in Aristotle’s Politics, Book 3, where the philosopher remarks that some nations regarded persons as citizens only after their families had been present in the land for several generations.

The reason for such a rule, St. Thomas says, is that if newly arrived foreigners were immediately allowed to take a hand in the people's affairs, many dangers might result.  Some of these newcomers, not yet confirmed in love for the people's good, might try to harm them.  In view of this danger, the law distinguished between outsiders from nations that had some affinity with the Jews, and outsiders from nations that had been hostile to them.

In the category of those having affinity with them were the Egyptians, among whom they had been born and raised, and the Idumaeans or Edomites, who were descended from Jacob’s brother Esau.  These were to be allowed into the fellowship of the people after the third generation.

In the category of those who had been hostile to them were the Ammonites and Moabites, who were never to be allowed into their fellowship, and the Amalekites, who had no blood relationship with the community and had been so hostile that they were to be regarded as perpetual enemies.  This is why the book of Exodus warns that the Lord will always be at war with Amalek, generation after generation.

 

Comments:

St. Thomas’s third category of foreigners is aliens who desire to become completely assimilated into the Israelite nation and converted to its worship of the true God.  Probably, some aliens closed only part of this gap, taking up belief in the true God and the practice of Jewish worship, but not becoming circumcised and assimilated.  Only those who went all the way are meant here.

The status of the others, sometimes called “God-fearers,” was a topic not only in rabbinical writing, but also, many centuries later, in the New Testament.  At a certain point in the book of Acts, which recounts the history of the early Church, St. Paul, invited to address the synagogue in Antioch, explicitly addresses his words about Christ not only to “men of Israel,” whom he calls “brothers” and “sons of the family of Abraham,” but also to “those among you that fear God.”  (Acts 13:16,26).

The Old Testament law welcomed those who seek full assimilation into the nation, but it was also cautious.  St. Thomas argues later that such persons were admitted into worship, but, as we see here, they were not immediately admitted into full citizenship – that is, into participation in the affairs of the community.  St. Thomas accepts the definition of full citizenship worked out in Aristotle’s Politics:  “When anyone has the power to share in deliberative and judicial powers, we say that he is a citizen of that political community, and that a political community consists of enough such citizens for a self-sufficient life, absolutely speaking” (Aristotle, Politics, 1.3).  Certainly the civil law of ancient Israel was also a religious law, and certainly it demanded adherence to the true God.  However, the distinction between the assembly of deliberation and the assembly of worship refutes the common view that the nation entirely fused civil with religious functions.

In the same place in the Politics, Aristotle points out that the idea of delaying full citizenship to the members of a family until it had lived in a country for several generations is commonly held:  “People also define citizen in a practical way as one descended from citizen parents on both sides, not only from one citizen parent (i.e., a father or mother).  And others require descent from citizens for more generations (e.g., two, three, or more).”  Though Aristotle has no objection to this restriction on citizenship, he points out that descent from citizens on both sides cannot be the definition of citizenship, because it would produce a difficulty concerning the first people of the community.  As St. Thomas remarks in his Commentary on the work, it would produce an endless regress, for “it would follow that the original people were not citizens, and so none of the others descended from them were.  And this is odd.”

The fear was that allowing outsiders who desire assimilation to share in deliberative and judicial powers right away would invite subversion, because they might not yet identify with the community and so might not regard its good as their own.  Making them wait for a few generations is a precept of prudence.

The Israelites regarded the Edomites as kin because of shared ancestry, and recognized a certain affinity with the Egyptians because the Israelites had dwelt for so long in Egypt.  Thus, Egyptian and Edomite families who desired assimilation into the Israelite community were accepted -- but only guardedly, after a probation of several generations.

How about Ammonites and Moabites?  No.  We return to the reasons for extreme distrust of the Ammonite and Moabite peoples below.

 

In reply to one of the Objections, St. Thomas writes:

The law did not exclude those of any nation from worshipping God or caring for the health of their souls.  This is why the book of Exodus declared that if any aliens were willing to cross over into Hebrew land and keep the Passover of the Lord, then so long as their males were first circumcised, they were to be permitted to celebrate the rite in the proper way and be accepted alongside those native to the land.

Concerning temporal matters pertaining to the fellowship of the people, however, matters stood differently.  For, as explained above, not everyone was accepted into the community at once.

The Egyptians, as well as the Idumaeans or Edomites, were accepted in the third generation.  But in utter rejection of their past wrongs, the Moabites, Ammonites, and Amalekites were excluded forever.  For just as one man is punished for his sins, so that others, seeing what happens to him, may desist from sin for dread of its happening to them – in just the same way, a few peoples or cities are punished for their sins so that others will hold back from similar offenses.

 

Comments:

The first Objector had complained that the perpetual exclusion of certain categories of foreigners from the assembly contradicts the principle that all who fear God and act righteously are acceptable to Him.  However, St. Thomas points out that there is a difference between exclusion from public deliberation and exclusion from participation in worship.  Certainly many foreigners were excluded from the former, some for three generations, others in perpetuity, as we saw above.  Quoting Exodus 12:48, however, St. Thomas argues that no foreigners at all were excluded from the latter.  After the Old Law gives instructions for the feast of the Passover, which commemorates how the angel of the Lord “passed over” the Hebrews, sparing them but striking down the firstborn of the Egyptians, the following command is given:

And when a stranger shall sojourn with you and would keep the passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, then he may come near and keep it; he shall be as a native of the land.  But no uncircumcised person shall eat of it.  There shall be one law for the native and for the stranger who sojourns among you.  (Exodus 12:48-49).

In Latin, the wording contains a little pun, for those willing to pass over into the land (transire) and live in it were to be permitted to celebrate the rite which commemorated how the angel of death passed over the people of Israel. 

As St. Thomas reads these passages, no one who was willing to dwell in the community and be circumcised could be excluded from the celebration of the Passover.  Public affairs were a different matter, because they needed to be protected from subversion.  From these, Egyptians and Edomites were excluded for three generations, and Moabites, Ammonites, and Amalekites forever.

The perpetual exclusion of the Moabites, Ammonites, and Amalekites from full citizenship may seem harsh.  Can’t there ever be forgiveness?  But in the first place, as St. Thomas points out, the Law distinguished between those who could worship God and those who could take a hand in the temporal decisions of the people.  In the second place, the Moabites, Ammonites, and Amalekite nations were in fact in perpetual enemies of the people of Israel, and the peoples of that age had long memories.  And in the third place, it was of overpowering importance that the surrounding nations be taught a lesson which could not be forgotten about the consequences of oppressing the Jews.  For this was the Chosen Nation, the covenant community, the people through whom a light was one day to break out, not only among the Hebrew people, but among all peoples.  As God declares through the prophet Isaiah,  “I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness” (Isaiah 42:6).

Therefore, although God also punishes Israel for its sins, sometimes even using other nations to do so, nevertheless He blesses the nations that bless Israel, and punishes the nations that curse Israel: 

●  Isaac speaking to Jacob, and through him to his future descendants:  “Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be everyone who blesses you!” (Genesis 27:29).

●  Balaam, speaking in apostrophe to Israel, despite his commission to say the opposite: “Blessed be everyone who blesses you, and cursed be everyone who curses you” (Numbers 24:9b).

●  The prophet Zechariah, also addressing Israel apostrophically:  “He who touches you touches the apple of [God’s] eye” (Zechariah 2:8).

●  God, through Zechariah, speaking of the day of deliverance:  “And on that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.” (Zechariah 12:9).

And yet the coming Messiah, the “Servant of the Lord,” is represented centuries later, in the prophet Isaiah, as speaking as follows:

And now the Lord says, who formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, and that Israel might be gathered to him, for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord, and my God has become my strength -- he says: "It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth" (Isaiah 49:5-6).

So the hostile nations were perpetually excluded from Israel’s councils for the sake of Israel’s  preservation, and those who persist in oppression will be destroyed.  Yet Israel was preserved for the salvation for all nations -- even those who in the time of the Old Law were still excluded.

 

Continuing his reply, St. Thomas writes:

Even so, it was possible for an exception to be made to this rule, for a man could be admitted into the brotherhood of the people because of an act of virtue.  We learn this from the book of Judith, which relates how Achior, the commander of the Ammonites – and not only he, but also his family for all generations – were joined to the people of Israel.  We see much the same thing from the story of Ruth, a Moabite whom Boaz whom Boaz praises for her reputation as a woman of virtue – although it might be argued that the exclusion from citizenship did not apply to women, because the women of Israel were not citizens in an unqualified sense.

 

Comments:

We see earlier in the Summa that according to St. Thomas, no exceptions can be made to precepts which embody the very idea of the direction of affairs to the common good, or more particularly toward justice and virtue -- for example the precepts of the Decalogue.  However, exceptions can be certainly be made to the subordinate precepts which merely specify the ways in which affairs are directed toward these great aims.  The requirement is that such exceptions must not be to the detriment of the just intention of the lawmaker, who is God.  Certainly the prohibition of admitting the members of hostile nations to full citizenship serves the common good.  However, there is no harm to the common good if an exception is made for someone of outstanding virtue who is friendly rather than hostile.

The first exception St. Thomas mentions is Achior, the chief man of the Ammonites, who advises Holofernes, the general of the Assyrian forces, not to make war against the Hebrews because they are protected by their God.  Holofernes is so infuriated by this advice that he commands that Achior be handed over to the enemy.  The Israelites discover him outside the gates of one of their cities, tied up and abandoned.  After untying him and learning what has transpired, they commend and console him.  Later, accompanied by her maidservant, Judith enters the Assyrian encampment, pretending to be a deserter and informant.  After several days, leading Holofernes to believe that he can ravish her, she is admitted to his tent, where he lies in a drunken stupor, and she kills him in his sleep.  As proof of the deed, she takes her maidservant and returns with his head to her people, telling them that now they will be able to rout the Assyrian forces.  “And when Achior saw all that the God of Israel had done, he believed firmly in God, and was circumcised, and joined the house of Israel, remaining so to this day.”  The Vulgate adds that Achior joined “with all the succession of his kindred” (Judith 14:10).

The second exception St. Thomas mentions is Ruth, a Moabite woman, the widow of a Hebrew man who had been living in Moab.  When her Hebrew mother-in-law, Naomi, prepares to return to Judah, her homeland, where she has heard that there is more food, she urges her two daughters-in-law to return to their mother’s houses and remarry, and prays that the Lord will deal kindly with them, “as you have dealt with the dead and with me” (Ruth 1:8-9).  However, Ruth insists on going with her, saying “Entreat me not to leave you or to return from following you; for where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God; where you die I will die, and there will I be buried.  May the Lord do so to me and more also if even death parts me from you" (1:16-17)  Back in Judah, Ruth uses the privilege of the poor to glean from the fields of Boaz, who is one of Naomi’s kinsmen.  Boaz, impressed with her beauty and virtue (3:11), shows kindness to her.  Eventually she asks him to exercise the duty of the next of kin to marry the widow so that the dead man’s line will not die out.  After everything is arranged with a still closer kinsman, who would normally have exercised the duty, Boaz announces to the elders and people of the village his intention to marry Ruth, and they declare,

We are witnesses.  May the Lord make the woman, who is coming into your house, like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel.  May you prosper in Ephrathah and be renowned in Bethlehem; and may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the children that the Lord will give you by this young woman (4:11-12).

The story of Ruth is particularly important to Christians because she is one of the remote ancestresses of Jesus (Matthew 1:5).  The startling fact that Christ’s lineage includes an assimilated Moabite foreshadows the opening of the people of God to the gentiles.  Thus, St. Peter declares that all followers of Christ, Jews and gentiles alike, regardless of earthly race and nation, are members of the one chosen people:  “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.  Once you were no people but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy but now you have received mercy” (1 Peter 2:9-10).  They are “aliens and exiles,” Peter says, not from God’s people but because they belong to God’s people, a nation on pilgrimage through the present life on the way to their true commonwealth in heaven (2:11).

 

One more thought:

As we see, St. Thomas acknowledges in passing that someone might protest his use of Ruth as an example of a Moabite admitted to citizenship, because, since women were ordinarily excluded from participation in deliberative and judicial powers, she would never have been a citizen in the full sense.  Indeed, he thinks there is a distinction among different senses of citizenship, which he explains a little later.  However, we should take note that some women of Israel did exert significant influence in its counsels.  Before the Hebrew people were ruled by kings in the ordinary sense, the woman Deborah, one in the line of heads who were called judges, led her nation to a great victory over the Canaanite oppressors, ushering in a time of peace (Judges 4-5).  After the people were ruled by kings in the ordinary sense, queens consort and queen mothers could also wield significant influence, as we see in the following anecdote from the reign of King Solomon.  To understand the incident we must bear in mind that Adonijah, Solomon’s half-brother, considers himself the legitimate heir of their father King David, and has already tried once to usurp power:

So Solomon sat upon the throne of David his father; and his kingdom was firmly established.  Then Adonijah the son of Haggith came to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon.  And she said, "Do you come peaceably?"  He said, "Peaceably."  Then he said, "I have something to say to you."  She said, "Say on."  He said, "You know that the kingdom was mine, and that all Israel fully expected me to reign; however the kingdom has turned about and become my brother’s, for it was his from the Lord.  And now I have one request to make of you; do not refuse me."  She said to him, "Say on."  And he said, "Pray ask King Solomon -- he will not refuse you -- to give me Abishag the Shunammite as my wife."  Bathsheba said, "Very well; I will speak for you to the king."  So Bathsheba went to King Solomon, to speak to him on behalf of Adonijah.  And the king rose to meet her, and bowed down to her; then he sat on his throne, and had a seat brought for the king's mother; and she sat on his right.  Then she said, "I have one small request to make of you; do not refuse me."  And the king said to her, "Make your request, my mother; for I will not refuse you."  She said, "Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah your brother as his wife" (1 Kings 2:12-21).

Plainly, before hearing his mother Bathsheba’s request, Solomon expects that he will be able to comply with it.  As matters turn out, he cannot, for Abishag had been King David’s last concubine, and marrying her would have been a way for Adonijah to declare himself king.  Since this is Adonijah’s second attempt at the throne, Solomon has him put to death.  However, nothing in the story suggests that the counsels of Bathsheba herself do not continue to be held in honor afterward.

 

 

What Killing Has Done to the Living

Monday, 06-03-2024

 

Abortion is not just one issue among others, like capital gains taxes, tariffs, or reducing automobile emissions.  It’s like a snag in a woven sweater.  Because a snag is just the protruding loop of a strand which runs all the way through the weave, if you keep pulling on it the whole sweater comes unraveled, and you’re left holding a tangle of loose yarn.

To justify abortion –

You have to stop believing that the greatest protection should go to the weakest and most vulnerable.

You have to stop believing that we have any responsibility for our neighbors.

You have to stop believing that a child is just as human as an adult.

You have to stop believing in a natural bond between mothers and their children.

You have to stop believing that their parents should take care of them.

You have to stop believing that no one may do evil so that good will result.

You have to stop believing that murder is wrong, or else twist the meaning of murder into pretzels.

You have to stop believing that the lives of people we don’t care about matter nevertheless.

You have to stop believing that a burdened conscience doesn’t mean anything, either before or after an act.

You have to stop believing that you are answerable to the author of conscience whether you listen to it or not.

You have to stop believing that keeping it pure and unstained is beyond any price you could name.

And you have to feign ignorance of what you are doing.

This is only the beginning.  No wonder we believe so many other crazy things too.  If you can believe in abortion, you can believe anything.

We all know that abortion has killed millions, but think what it has done to the living.  Think what it has done to the mothers.  To the fathers.  To the rest of us.