Posts Tagged ‘abortion’

The logic of accusing Hobby Lobby of hypocrisy

July 2, 2014

In the wake of Monday’s Hobby Lobby ruling, a few Facebook friends yesterday linked approvingly to this progressive Christian response in the Huffington Post. One of them commented on the article, saying, “If you believe in something, it’s important to be consistent!”

The gist of the HuffPost article is the following: Because of their Christian convictions, the owners of Hobby Lobby refused to subsidize four of twenty “contraceptive” drugs mandated by the Affordable Care Act because they believe that these four induce abortions. At the same time, however, Hobby Lobby purchases many of its products from China. China’s one-child-per-family policy has compelled or forced Chinese women to have hundreds of millions of abortions over the past several decades.

If Hobby Lobby were so concerned about abortion, why do they buy products from China?

Therefore, the author says, Hobby Lobby is being hypocritical, and a few of my Facebook friends agree: “If you believe in something, it’s important to be consistent.”

But let’s think about the logic of this argument: Are there any Christians among us who don’t think that China’s policy, which enforces or compels abortions, is wrong? Since U.S. companies outsource most of their manufacturing to China, however, all of us knowingly purchase products from China often (to put it mildly). The laptop on which I’m typing this, for example, was assembled there.

Am I wrong, therefore, to believe that China’s policy is immoral, since I’m being exactly as inconsistent, on an individual level, as Hobby Lobby is on a corporate level?

Please note: I’m not passing judgment on whether purchasing goods from China has any bearing on its abortion policies; I’m just following the logic.

Regardless, as is always the case in debates like this, Hobby Lobby’s alleged hypocrisy can’t prove that its convictions are wrong.

A Christian reflection (from Ireland) about abortion

January 23, 2013

My friend Kevin Hargaden, who’s training to be an Irish Presbyterian pastor by attending a Catholic seminary (only in Ireland!), is writing a fine series of five blog posts related to abortion and Christian faith. His country will possibly (likely?) soon join most of the West in permitting legal abortion. Knowing next to nothing about Irish politics and not wanting to bother with a Google search, I gather that his opinion is in the minority—or isn’t the cool one, regardless.

I heartily recommend these posts: part 1, part 2, and part 3, so far. Today he writes about the slander that prohibiting abortion in Ireland is motivated by Church-based misogyny. Of this, he says a few things that relate to our discussions over the past couple of weeks concerning the place of women in church. The following is one long excerpt—but check out his blog, too. It rules! (He’ll be disappointed by how little blog traffic my endorsement elicits!)

Here’s the thing that people might not know and if they did know it, they’d be a whole lot slower to suggest that Christianity is inherently anti-woman. Let us imagine for a moment that Jesus isn’t actually the second person of the Trinity, which is surely not a hard thing to imagine. In that world, a purely non-theistic explanation for why Christianity emerged as top-dawg among all the strange apocalyptic Judaisms of the 2nd Temple era would have to rest in a large part on how it honoured women. Read the rest of this entry »

Abortion and “winking” at promiscuity

February 26, 2011

For my sermon series on the Ten Commandments, which resumes tomorrow with Number Seven, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” I’ve been reading a provocative book called The Truth About God: The Ten Commandments in Christian Life, by fellow United Methodists Hauerwas and Willimon. They make the following point, which is obviously true but not said often enough—especially to those of us who endorse our Book of Discipline‘s opposition to abortion as a means of birth control:

There is no way to separate our ethics of abortion from the way we live our lives sexually. We cannot give a wink about promiscuity and at the same time vigorously prohibit abortion. If abortion is wrong, and ought to be prohibited among Christians, that presupposes a community whereby we are given the resources not to commit the violence that abortion names.1

Our culture tells us that sex has no consequences; that we should have as much sex with whomever we want, whenever we want; and that if we don’t, something is wrong with us, and we’ll probably die. (Is that really much of an exaggeration?) Too often we Christians endorse this message through our own attitudes and actions. Unintended pregnancy is the most conspicuous reminder that we are lying to ourselves.

If we prohibit abortion as birth control (as I would argue that we should), let’s be clear that we are, in part, asking women to be sacrificial lambs in a sexually confused culture for which we are partially responsible.

1. Stanley Hauerwas and William Willimon, The Truth About God: The Ten Commandments in Christian Life (Nashville: Abingdon, 1999), 96.