Saturday, May 23, 2020

Fighting abortion without dehumanizing the opposition

From the Antiochian Archdiocesan publication The Word, an article entitled "Fighting the Right War: Protecting the Lives of Our Unborn Children" by Chris Humphrey, Ph.D.

It is a commonplace among military historians that the Allied armies of the First and Second World Wars prepared in each case to fight the last war. The steady advance of troops towards the enemy made sense, before the First World War and the Maxim machine gun put an end to that. Trench warfare made sense, before the mechanized blitzkrieg, or "lightning war," of the Second World War made lines of trenches useless.

The same is true when we think of great evils, of moral conflicts in which many, many lives are lost. If you want to depict a really wicked enemy in some piece of fiction, someone whom everyone knows they should hate, you make him a Nazi, a relic of the past. In the Twentieth Century, Nazism and Communism both offered alternative views of human beings and societies, and justified atrocious crimes against humanity on grounds of an over-arching theory (a master race in the first instance, or a "new man" created by dialectical materialism in the second). These were the only serious social-political contenders against the European Christian view of man and society. Nazism killed about 6 million Jews, as well as others, and the Communist system under Stalin killed somewhere between 20 and 40 million people, while the Chinese Communist government killed about 65 million of its own people in the last century, and continues, for example, to run concentration camps, and to murder prisoners of conscience for organ transplants today.

These great evils have been nationalist ideologies. What of today, however? Are there Nazis anymore? Is there a comparable, great moral evil, at least in scale?

To look for popular, dehumanizing, nationalist ideologies today, however, is to try to fight the last war. Over the last fifty years, the contender for the minds and hearts of the developed world has not been a replacement political ideology, but secularism (an attempt to "disinfect" society of religion). Not surprisingly, the rejection of God and of a Christian view of humankind in public expression has opened the door to a "cafeteria" paganism and subjectivism. So Supreme Court Justice Kennedy, in the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision, wrote infamously that, "at the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe and of the mystery of human life." Here is subjectivism in a nutshell.

In casting off the "shackles of religion," secularism leads not merely to ignorant nonsense, but to dehumanization. Where are the victims, comparable to those of Nazism and Communism? It may be a surprise to learn that more individual human beings have been killed in abortion than in any other way, in all of history, and most of that killing has taken place in the last fifty years. (The bulk of that killing has taken place in China and India. Together they are responsible for 24 to 25 million abortions a year.)

Abortion, like genocide and other crimes, has been around a long time. The modern novelty has been technology. Mass killing by the Nazis was made possible by the railroad and road transport, and followed the example of the earlier Armenian genocide. The atom bomb dropped on Japanese cities was a technological marvel. Suction machines were first used to destroy unborn children in utero in Communist Russia in 1922, and spread to the West. Currently in the U.S. there are about a million abortions a year. Entrepreneurial abortionists have been able for decades to perform a series of such suction abortions in rapid succession. Now chemical abortion promises to make the self-induced abortion common, and more difficult to trace...

Complete article here.


  1. Nazism and communism are still around in one form or another. Red China comes to mind.

  2. Excellent article. Dr. Humphrey rightly names the enemy, "secularism". I would gently disagree with this statement:

    "...Note that our "enemy" in the new moral "war" is not a particular religion or ideology..."

    in that secularism is in fact particular (not general) and is a religion - though this is denied by its adherents and evangelists. This is something that men like C.S. Lewis and Charles Taylor and even Justice Kennedy get right - the Cartesian Self *is* a religion and it is the "Destruction of (Christian) Humanity" as Lewis put it.

  3. On dehumanization and fighting abortion and our hosts take, as Dr. Humphrey (and Lewis before him) explain, it is Secularism that is dehumanizing and a Christian stance before this dehumanization (e.g. these pregnancy centers and their ultrasound machines) that attempts a re-humanization.

    That said, I think it needs to be honestly admitted the how/why of what secularism is - a real delustional denial of humanity, and in the case of abortion and radical secularists a real destruction of it. In other words, the "opposition" is in fact de-humanized. Christianity we look for ways to bring this "opposition" back from the brink - to "come to themselves" and not simply destroy them or ignore them, but we must be sober and honest about what and who they are IMO...

  4. Each of these ideologies including secularism has roots in the dialectic autonomous view of human beings and the specific denial of a living, incarnate Lord.

    The battle is thus the same even though some tactics may change.

    The weapon is neither philosophy nor theology but encounter with the Living God.

    Anything less than that is window dressing. Fortunately He is closer than hands and feet--everywhere present, filling all things. The challenge is two fold: recognizing that ourselves and being able to communicate that present reality to those around us.

    One would think that the empty would seek more readily being filled but we are a stiff necked people--or at least I am.