The Least, First

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Archive for October 22nd, 2007

Complacently pleased with themselves (readings for Sunday, Oct 28)

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PhariseePerhaps you’ve heard the old saw that says Jesus “comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable,” while we in the church tend to “comfort the comfortable and afflict the afflicted.” He’s at it again in this Sunday’s readings.

Pharisees—one of whom plays a role in Jesus’ story— are not the generic bad guys they’ve been made out to be. While some of them tangle with Jesus, others come to his aid. There’s no reason to doubt that many were sincere God-followers.

But Jesus has a quarrel with their world-view. Remember, Judea is militarily occupied by the Roman army. The Hebrew Scriptures often taught that such calamity was a result of God’s judgment. Pharisees assumed, then, that what was needed was more careful obedience to the religious code of their ancestors. Then God would be pleased, bless their nation, whip the Romans, and demonstrate his power over nations. Their plan was to get more and more people to live legally, and to distance themselves from those who didn’t, until they were powerful once more. Who could oppose such an idea? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

October 22, 2007 at 5:20 pm

Abortion laws may not reduce abortion rates

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If the pro-life community succeeded in re-instating Roe v. Wade, would it get what it’s after? I’ve wondered about this for some time: Is outlawing abortion effective?

It may not be; in fact, it may be true that those who work to address the reasons abortions occur have contributed more to abortion’s decline than those who have cheered for a return to Roe. Would it not be ironic if we discovered Democrats have done more to reduce abortion rates than Republicans have?

clipped from
ROME, Oct. 11 — A comprehensive global study of abortion has concluded that abortion rates are similar in countries where it is legal and those where it is not, suggesting that outlawing the procedure does little to deter women seeking it.
The data also suggested that the best way to reduce abortion rates was not to make abortion illegal but to make contraception more widely available, said Sharon Camp, chief executive of the Guttmacher Institute.
In Eastern Europe, where contraceptive choices have broadened since the fall of Communism, the study found that abortion rates have decreased by 50 percent, although they are still relatively high compared with those in Western Europe. “In the past we didn’t have this kind of data to draw on,” Ms. Camp said. “Contraception is often the missing element” where abortion rates are high, she said.

  blog it

Perhaps there’s a principle at work here we do well to heed: force doesn’t work very well. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

October 22, 2007 at 2:35 pm