Seventh-Day Adventists and abortion

Christians of all denominations are gathering on the National Mall today to protest the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, … Continued

Christians of all denominations are gathering on the National Mall today to protest the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide. But one denomination that may be sparsely represented is Seventh-day Adventists whose large worldwide network of 170 hospitals allows elective abortions.

This stance was revealed last week when Maryland state regulators gave Holy Cross Hospital, a Catholic institution, permission to build a hospital in growing northern Montgomery County, shutting out the Seventh-day Adventists, who also wanted to build a hospital in the area. Some abortion rights advocates opposed Holy Cross’s selection because it does not allow abortions.

Adventists resemble many conservative Protestant denominations as they believe in divinely inspired Scripture, six literal days of Creation, justification by faith and baptism by immersion.

Their distinctive rites include worshiping on Saturday, the seventh day of the week as opposed to Sunday, an emphasis on the Second Coming of Christ and an emphasis on following Jewish dietary laws concerning abstinence from pork, shellfish and other foods proscribed as “unclean” in the Old Testament. The denomination is known for its emphasis on health. Alcohol and tobacco are prohibited and many Adventists are vegetarians.

But the denomination may be the only theologically conservative Protestant group that allows elective abortions. Many of their own members didn’t know that their worldwide hospital network performed the procedure, which has been quite the discussion on the Adventists for Life Facebook page. A number of posters were shocked to learn the denomination’s stance.

“I can’t belong to a organization who advocates abortion,” one poster wrote. “I believe in Christ my Saviour, the Sabbath & etc. I believe in Sister White also,” referring to Ellen G. White, one of the revered founders of the denomination.

Another poster said that Adventists opposed abortion until 1970. That is when Hawaii legalized abortion and Castle Memorial Hospital, an Adventist institution in Kailua, Hawaii, the poster said, was pressured by its own doctors, and donors, to start offering abortions. At the time, Adventist leaders in Washington indicated they did not oppose the procedure and thus, more Adventist hospitals began offering the procedure. In 1992, the denomination issued these guidelines on abortion. The official position of the church is that abortion is allowed in “extraordinary circumstances.”

SDA evangelist Kevin Paulson has given the longest defense of the church’s position here where he agrees the church essentially has no restrictions on the practice and might do well to restrict it more. “Many [Adventists] are forming opinions about abortion,” he wrote, “not from the study of Scripture or the Spirit of Prophecy (Ellen G. White’s) writings, but from listening to popular Christian leaders like James Dobson, Tim LaHaye, Franky Schaeffer, and Bill Gothard,” all of whom oppose abortion.

“Sincere though they may be, these men espouse many theological errors and have no understanding of God’s truth for this time,” Paulson wrote. “Seventh- day Adventists should listen to such persons with extreme care and discriminating judgment. …Among the Adventist pioneers, J.N. Andrews and John Harvey Kellogg wrote against abortion, yet the writings of Ellen White maintain the silence of Scripture on the subject… We find it interesting that when Ellen White speaks of the “earliest moments” of our children, she speaks of birth, not conception,” he concluded.

Is the Seventh-day Adventists’ heavy focus on healthful practices inconsistent with its position on abortion? Tell us in the comments section.

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  • socialmedia98

    I find this a very interesting story as I have traveled and visited many other Seventh-day Adventist churches and for the most part, many members are against abortion.However in saying this, one’s personal belief on the abortion subject does not necessarily reflect upon one’s political views or hospital policies.I would be interested in the Washington Post to ask the Seventh-day Adventist leadership why they do not support President Obama’s health care plan? Namely, specific portions that would benefit many like accepting patients with pre-existing injuries.The Seventh-day Adventist Church and their Adventist Health Care system is among the largest in the world. Having a multitude of major hospitals, clinics, sanitariums and teaching universities, one would think that their “health message” would be to help and heal “everyone” and not just those who have health insurance.

  • forgetthis

    Ummm…what’s so unique about this stance again?

  • Tuathe

    MinnieRay may have given the best reason why there should be no interference by Religious or Governments organizations on the stance of abortion. This decision truly is between the patient and the physician and their spiritual or non-spiritual conscious. Many of the religious right would do well to remember “judge not lest ye be judged.” You can be personally against abortion as is your right, but unless you are in the consultation room with the patient and the physician you have no idea why the decision to terminate was made. I am not 7th day Adventist – but, they seem more open to understanding that all decisions should be left to the woman, her physician and her maker with this one simple and clear statement. “That abortion is allowed in “extraordinary circumstances.” Considering that women can and still do die during child birth, the rest of us are not in the position to judge whether to terminate is in keeping with “God’s” plan or not.

  • iamweaver

    The Adventist view is an interesting one – it’s very conservative when it comes to biblical interpretation, but quite liberal on many social issues. My take on 7th-day Adventists comes from daily listening to a local Christian music station of theirs (WGTS, 99.1), particularly their “talking head” segments, which often invite members of the Adventist parent organization.

  • GordonCash

    So, Seventh-Day Adventists, plus many mainstream Protestant churches and most nonbelievers, do not oppose elective abortion. Yet, as we speak, officials of the Roman Catholic Church and evangelical leaders are marching in Washington to demand that the government send people to jail for following the teachings of their own faith instead of the teachings of theirs (the marchers’).This is un-American and un-Constitutional, and any statement to the contrary is a bare-faced lie. If these people want to amend the Constitution to establish their religion as the law of the land, I wish they would at least have the intellectual honesty to say so. (All right, a few of them do, but not many.)

  • bobdog3

    An organized religion that actually allows its members to make a personal choice about their own lives – what a concept! Too bad it will never catch on.

  • tmonahan54

    “I hope I never see the denomination issue a statement condemning individual church members for decisions made at a very vulnerable time in their lives, and for reasons which they alone may understand.” But you are perfectly fine with the denomination issuing a statement condeming individual church members who drink beer or smoke cigarettes, also a personal choice which maybe they alone may understand? I don’t get it.

  • WmarkW

    The Seventh Day Adventist church is American in origin and hence respects the principles of the First Amendment, drawing a distinction between the values it expects of its members as distinct from what the laws of society ought to be.Its position on abortion is similar to the position of other American-origin sects on alcohol, like Latter-day Saints, Jehovah’s Witnesses and southern Fundamentalists.

  • CHAOTICIAN101

    Abortion needs to become a pure medical issue between doctor and mother with clear unambiguous criteria. I personal favor having legal termination of birth through the first week of birth for any reason; but I’m willing to concede much more restriction decisions by the people. The point being to stop already the waste of time and energy on various religious and political dogma and opportunism on this issue. So let us say that conception becomes a legal life at say 40 days before expected delivery date. Then we can allow unlimited abortions by those who choose to up to the second trimester, abortions with consultation and acceptance by father and mother up to 40 days before birth, and abortions after that date only in cases of medical hazard to the mother or child. Trying to pretend there is justification in Christian scripture for when a “soul” is part of a life is ridiculous and one that has changed dramatically over the last 2 millennium as knowledge has increased. I certainly do not believe that anyone believes that Jesus kills 10s of millions of lives with souls each and every year with miscarriages, spontaneous natural abortions, not mention millions more killed by wars, accidents, and other “natural” disasters; so it seems disingenuous at best to claim some high and mighty Christian principal in opposing abortion for any reason; but hey, I’ll throw you a bone!

  • lumberman3256184

    I have a story to tell.When I was a very young man and married I had already two children.My wife had got pregnant with a third.Due to tough economic times I suggested her to get an abortion.She would not do it.I then got a vasechtomy.My point:she was right and I was wrong in fact we even raised a grandaughter.We love all our children.I was a coward and I carried that guilt a long time.Frankly,I feel it was to easy an option and I believe more so that it should not be an option.I hope God forgives me for my cowardice.I have studied bible scripture for over thirty years and it is a moral wrong.The problem is we made it easy to do by not telling the young folks that they need to raise these children.If you give the robber the keys to the bank he will rob it.

  • lumberman3256184

    As for doctors,they make decisions every day about life and death.We all know that some of them are making this a occupation.Some of these abortion clinics are horribly robbing the child of it’s life because they treat it as another day on the job.When you take teenage pregnancy with a grain of salt this is what comes out of it.

  • lumberman3256184

    Now lets talk more on Christian faith.Did our Lord not tell Pont.Pilate that he could not crucify him unless power were given him from above?Abortion has become a way of saying you won’t lay your life down to save a child.Why you ask? Because teenage pregnancy has become so acceptable.Parents and men of God need to stop making it so acceptable.We live because our make allows us to live.

  • JRRR

    Question: Why are so many in this country so willing to send young men and women to the slaughter of war, allow others to languish in poverty, or divert precious dollars away from preventative medicine to damaged babies who could not sustain life on their own AND then castigate with such furor those who would abort a fetus???

  • lumberman3256184

    Our maker allows us to live.We did not get put here by chance or ooz out of the ground.God created us.You love someone and tell them what they are doing is perfectly fine when they do a moral wrong? What kind of Christianity are some of these people preaching?You care about there better good and you make them step up to the plate.

  • lumberman3256184

    Enhancing life is killing innocent children?

  • lumberman3256184

    When it comes to issues in morality everyone wants you to tell them everything is fine.You love people that much that you can watch morals get worse and then ask why our children pick this up.They are getting the idea if you love your friend and your parents every thing they do is good.

  • lumberman3256184

    I think the Ten Commandments need to be taught everywhere.And you know some brought up the issue of war in this discussion.Well guess what these aborted babies are not chasing you with a gun in there hand to kill you.They have every right to live they are not a threat.

  • lumberman3256184

    You don’t do war on your own babies.

  • lumberman3256184

    You don’t do war on your own babies.

  • eezmamata

    LUMBERMAN3256184, do you speak English?Try using the word “their” a little more often, maybe people would pay more attention to you.Then again, probably not.

  • rcvinson64

    Let me get this right: You religious folks want all of us to live according to your interpretation of your holy book? Yet your faiths have so many denominations because you all can’t even agree on what it means. I’ll stick with the laws of the land. They can and are amended. Abortion is wrong? Well the bible says that slavery is fine.

  • stopright

    If a woman insists on having an abortion no matter what roadblocks are put in her way, she will find a way to have an abortion. If that statement is true and it is, the question pro lifers must answer is this: should a woman have a safe or unsafe abortion? Roe vs Wade insures these desperate women have a safe procedure.

  • D-0f-G

    I’ve always found it ironic that Christians can be very self righteous about abortions, but you won’t see many them on the mall protesting the death of innocent women and children in our wars of choice. Yes, “all life is sacred”, they love to tout, but who’s life?Then, we have this idea about “the conception”. It’s this idea that “a life” begins at whatever point one wants to start in the whole reproductive process. This is like saying that when I turn my light switch on, that is the conception of electrical current.Ultimately, none of this is really about abortion, but about that extant falsities that are continually used to keep mankind in the dark! This is the reason that technology is, dangerously, way ahead of our ontological understanding. It’s the human ego, despite knowing that the world is a sphere, still behaves as if it were flat. For the only true miracle of life, is that life exists at all. And that fact alone, infers that it exists independent of conception, and without termination.

  • dmm1

    Inane statements get made (repeatedly) about many subjects, including abortion, even after people point out the obvious illogic. So, with a sigh, I will point out one of them. Again.Stupid statement: Jesus’ command “Judge not, that you be not judged” precludes anyone from judging the morality of any action of anyone else.Explanation: There are moral lines that must not be crossed, and Jesus was not shy about pointing them out. One of the many things Jesus condemned was a JUDGMENTAL ATTITUDE that causes the judger to feel MORALLY SUPERIOR to the judgee. He was not condemning having discernment about what is right and wrong, nor was he claiming that all morality is relative. For example, condemning the act of murder, and also trying, convicting, and sentencing murderers is not only OK but is morally commendable. However, according to Jesus, it is wrong (unequivocally, and regardless of the circumstances) to say to yourself, “I’m better than that murderer, because I’ve never killed anyone. All I ever did was hate people and wish they were dead.”So, as regards abortion: You can’t use “Judge not, etc.” to kill all argument about the morality of abortion (or anything else). That is using the quote in a way that totally distorts the speaker’s intended meaning. The quote would only be applicable if a person were making statements like “abortionists are the worst kind of sinner” or “I would never do anything like that.”

  • dmm1

    Wow. Poster “Stopright” has just put up another of those idiotic arguments. Is there no end to this? Here, I will reword his/her comment. See if you agree with the logic.

  • thebuckguy

    I don’t know about their current policies, but the Salvation Army hospitals used to permit abortion. their hospital in Cleveland (an obstetric specialty hospital) used to do third trimester abortions.The idea that conservative theology is inconsistent with “liberal” positions is rather naive. Military service is discouraged by Jehovah’s Witnesses and mennonites among others are strongly pacifist in their creed. the Quakers, who are usually seen as a liberal denomination, have a very large evangelical wing that shares many positions with evangelical churches. One of the most influential liberal commentators of the mid-20th century was Rheinhold Niebuhr, who was a Protestant evangelical. the article seems to treat adventists as a curiosity that don’t fit a stereotype rather than challenging the readers to have more than one thought in their head at one time.

  • eezmamata

    DMM1, it only works for you if you reword it to fit your religious mania, doesn’t it?Keep your stinking religious fanatic nose out of everybody else’s business.

  • david6

    Religious reactionaries are excellent evidence that no gods exist.Religious bodies cannot be allowed to tell hospitals how to do medicine. It is malpractice. It is shameful. If a religious body doesn’t want to have good medicine practiced, they need to get out of the business. The RCC, in particular, is showing a severe lack of ethics with its behavior.

  • MarieDevine

    “The just shall live by faith.” What is faith if it is not trusting in God when the doctors tell us we will die if we do not have this procedure or abortion?There are many testimonies where a child was born healthy that the doctors said would have big problems. Even in the case of rape, God can create a beautiful situation when we trust Him. James Robinson was a product of rape and he helps multitudes in Africa from his ministry.I attend a Seventh Day Adventist church; they are warm and loving and I can worship on God’s commanded 7th day Sabbath in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8-11) True faith is a rare thing in most denominations and religions. Our circumstances are our opportunity to show the power of God when we trust Him instead of modern medicine. Jesus delivered us from the fear of death and from bondage to doctors etc.

  • eezmamata

    Our circumstances are our opportunity to show the power of God when we trust Him instead of modern medicine. Jesus delivered us from the fear of death and from bondage to doctors etc.Your jesus character was around at a time when doctors though disease was caused by evil spirits and demons. Believing in doctors during the iron age was not likely to produce any better (or worse) results than believing in your primitive gods.But that was 2000 years ago. If you’re still still in the iron age, rest assured, nobody is going to force you to use modern science and medicine against your will. If you’re that stupid, that addicted to your religious delusions, well, that’s your problem.You do realize how stupid that is, don’t you?

  • njardine

    The day a baby can survive its entire life inside the womb is the day abortion should be made illegal.

  • Rongoklunk

    It’s a tragedy that America seems to indoctrinate all its children to believe in one god or another, and they fight every issue assuming gods are real. It’s a crying shame.

  • minnerray

    I am a lifelong mainstream (conservative) Seventh-day Adventist (third generation). I believe our denomination’s stance on abortion has been a wise one. Here’s why: Although I personally believe that abortion as it is most commonly practiced in our society is immoral and that God will call into account those who have terminated pregnancies without sufficient cause other than their own convenience, I nevertheless believe that this most personal of all decisions must remain between patient and physician and their consciences, without heavy-handed government interference.It may be wise for hospitals operated by Adventists to make their policies somewhat more restrictive, but I hope I never see the denomination issue a statement condemning individual church members for decisions made at a very vulnerable time in their lives, and for reasons which they alone may understand. Maybe this makes me both “pro-life” and “pro-choice,” I don’t know. I do know that life does not consist of only black and white.

  • Lynric

    Actually, in reference to the preceding comment, Scripture does suggest that life begins prior to taking one’s first breath. John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit and leaped in his mother’s womb when the pregnant Mary entered the home of John’s parents (Luke 1). Adventists teach that humans have no immaterial spirit; hence, abortion is excusable because prenatal life is not yet “Living”. What is not generally known is that the Adventist position on abortion is not primarily based on human freedom arguments. It is based, rather, on its foundational belief that humans are only body-plus-breath, with no immaterial spirit that survives the body at death. And this to Garoth above: Jesus did teach something other than the Adventist position. John 3:3-6 has Him explaining the “new birth” to Nicodemus: “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but spirit gives birth to spirit.” And to the Samaritan woman in John 4:24-25: “God is spirit, and true worshipers must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”

  • GordonCash

    HOMERHANK wrote:Read a history book, HomerHank. The religious arguments were IN FAVOR OF slavery and segregation. The bible clearly endorses slavery, and Frederick Douglass denounced Christianity as the religion of the slaveholder in no uncertain terms. If I had a dollar for every white person I heard when I was young defend segregation because “God separated the races”, I could retire in luxury. (Not that it’s relevant, but I’m white myself.)For a specific example, read the 1967 SCOTUS decision Loving v. Virginia. It’s available on line, it’s only 5 pages long, and you don’t have to be a lawyer to understand it. The original trial judge upheld Virginia’s prohibition of interracial marriage, explicitly making the “God separated the races” argument. SCOTUS ruled that the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the 14th Amendment trumped that argument.This is exactly analogous to the abortion question, since the 14th Amendment explicitly applies those clauses to persons “born or naturalized in the United States”. If this doesn’t say as unambiguously as is possible in the English language that a pregnant woman is a citizen with legal rights and her fetus is not, please tell me what it does say.

  • Jdavidnewman

    There are two lives being discussed: the mother and the child. Who speaks up for the child. Maybe the child would like to live. Why should the mother be the only one to choose? This is a very complex subject. And those who take stands on life should be consistent. Since only God gives life, God should be the one to decide when life should end.

  • auldpheart

    Here we go again,unable to have discourse without using words like ‘stupid’.Is it that some of us desperately need to feel superior?

  • buckaroo5

    So, Seventh-Day Adventists, plus many mainstream Protestant churches and most nonbelievers, do not oppose elective abortion. Yet, as we speak, officials of the Roman Catholic Church and evangelical leaders are marching in Washington to demand that the government send people to jail for following the teachings of their own faith instead of the teachings of theirs (the marchers’).This is un-American and un-Constitutional, and any statement to the contrary is a bare-faced lie. If these people want to amend the Constitution to establish their religion as the law of the land, I wish they would at least have the intellectual honesty to say so. (All right, a few of them do, but not many.)===========================================

  • deepfriar

    It is disappointing that so much anger is directed at individuals’ abortion-related choices and churches’ and individuals’ abortion-related beliefs in the above comment thread instead of at the _civil regulators_ who are getting involved in how much hospital service ought to get provided and what kind.Holy cow, health care is out-of-control expensive and hard to access in these United States, and not one but two big churches of people have this wacky idea that it’s their sacred duty to care for the sick right here in our metro area (in differing, complementary ways) and some bureaucrats get to say, “No, only one of you gets to provide that care — oh, and we’re gonna pick which one”? Adventists, fellow believers outside Adventism, and non-believers: does that make sense to _any_ of y’all?Getting people to embrace or to give up on Scripture (overall or as read by a specific group) as an authority on how everyone should live is a hard problem, not to be solved by shouting one’s own view — usually made harder by that, in fact. Getting the government to change a policy on the number and type of hospitals allowed to operate is an easy problem, and some directed shouting can actually help solve it. Can I get a few people to stop shouting at each other and start shouting at Montgomery County instead?

  • buckaroo5

    Our circumstances are our opportunity to show the power of God when we trust Him instead of modern medicine. Jesus delivered us from the fear of death and from bondage to doctors etc.Your jesus character was around at a time when doctors though disease was caused by evil spirits and demons. Believing in doctors during the iron age was not likely to produce any better (or worse) results than believing in your primitive gods.But that was 2000 years ago. If you’re still still in the iron age, rest assured, nobody is going to force you to use modern science and medicine against your will. If you’re that stupid, that addicted to your religious delusions, well, that’s your problem.You do realize how stupid that is, don’t you?===========================================

  • mac7

    I had once been a member of this church for many years and you will not find a better group of real practicing Christians on this earth and that is my opinion of SDA’s.

  • Utahreb

    So – a march by these “holier than thou” so-called christians against a law of our land? Wouldn’t that be considered a political stance and action? They are now crossing the line between church and state and all of them should lose their tax exempt status. Then they can march and yell and wave signs all they want.

  • jesusistruth

    I was raised by a very strict Seventh Day Adventist father who, in 1971, when it was found I was pregnant as a teenager, implored me to get an abortion or go away and have the baby (so as to keep it secret) or marry the father. I was shocked that my father would consider allowing me to murder my baby. If SDAs are so concerned about keeping the 10 commandments, especially the Sabbath above all, why do they not recognize killing an unborn child as murder? I am not in the church for many reasons. I urge everyone in this church to consider Jesus before Ellen White or James Dobson or ANYONE.

  • hmaulden

    To: JRRR | January 24, 2011 5:41 PM.Well said, JRRR.

  • HomerHank

    Utahreb,Are you SDA? The SDA church has a campaign going right now to end violence against women around the world called “End It Now”. Does that make them “holier than thou”? In several Muslim countries practicing Sharia Law, beating women is allowed by the State. By contesting this, are Adventists guilty of “crossing the line between church and state”? Just because a country permits an act by law does that make it moral because its a law of the land?

  • HomerHank

    Utahreb,Further, slavery and segregation where laws of the land for several years here in the United States. Would marching against these lawful activities have been considered “holier than thou” and “crossing the line between church and state” in your view?Thanks in advance for your response!

  • klinger1

    The question posed by the Post is badly phrased: “Is… heavy focus on healthful practices inconsistent with… [toleration of] abortion?”. There’s a lot of assumptions wrapped in that question, which could be asked of the medical profession as well. Obviously abortion is not good for the health of the fetus. The reason why doctors consider it morally permissible or even morally required to perform abortion at the request of the pregnant woman is because the fetus is not granted the same rights as a child or an adult. This is a morally correct position because a fetus is not self-aware in any specially human way (and an embryo is not aware in any way at all), and so a fetus has no more desire to live than all the brothers and sisters I didn’t have because my parents only had 2 children.It is interesting that many Christians have such strong views on abortion considering that the Bible has almost nothing to say about it. At the same time, Jesus seems to make fairly strong statements about not accumulating wealth and not fighting back when attacked, but these don’t seem to stop devout Christians from getting rich or joining the army.The Adventists’ guidance document doesn’t directly address the moral status of the fetus. Perhaps it should. It says that abortion is bad but in some cases not as bad as the alternative such as giving birth to a child produced by incest. Implicitly this is accepting that a fetus’ right to life is not an absolute.

  • tdlee

    re: Utahreb post of January 25, 2011 6:55 AM:It is not a violation of current tax code for 501(c)3 organizations to have political opinions. It is a violation for such organizations to campaign on behalf of (or against) specific candidates.For example, Americans United for Separation of Church and State is a 501(c)3 organization and has a very definite political agenda, though they do not endorse specific candidates.The rule of thumb, as I understand it, is that it’s OK for tax-exempt organizations to support issues, but not candidates. Maybe a tax attorney could clarify.If you want non-profit organizations to lose tax-exempt status for supporting or opposing political issues as well as supporting or opposing candidates, work to get the tax law changed–but to be constitutional, it would affect all non-profit organizations, not just religious non-profits.

  • getjiggly2

    Here’s the truth about this so called “church”. They follow the teachings of a woman, Ellen White, who suffered brain damage after getting hit on the head by a rock.Their pioneers got their start by setting dates for the end of the world way back in the 1800′s. Surprise, we’re still here!Don’t be surprised at all that abortion is fine with them because they really are more of a medical/vegetarian foods corporation these days. Worth over a Billion dollars, they now serve a different god “mammon”!

  • GordonCash

    Regarding STOPRIGHT’s comment above, I just finished reading a novel that Michael Crichton, who had an MD degree from Harvard, published in 1968 under a pseudonym. This was long before he was famous, but also before Roe v. Wade. He estimated that about one million illegal abortions a year were being performed in America at that time. (There was no way to really tell, of course, since most were not reported. According to Dr. Crichton’s depiction, though, a few physicians performed abortions at the time, the rest were done under less safe circumstances, and everyone in the medical community knew exactly what was going on.)I couldn’t help noticing this was about the same number that were performed right after Roe v. Wade made the procedure legal. So, STOPRIGHT seems to have a point that Roe v. Wade didn’t increase the number of abortions dramatically, if at all, it only made them safer.In any case, I reiterate my own point made above. It is un-American and un-Constitutional for the Roman Catholic Church, or any other religious organization, to insist that government write its own teachings into the statute books to the exclusion of any others.

  • jjedif

    Every fetus that has ever been aborted was aborted with the full knowledge of “God”. If abortion really is so evil, it is hard to believe in such a “God”. And since many murderers who have been sentenced to death were severely abused as children, the death penalty, which so many anti-abortion folks SUPPORT, is really just an extremely late-term abortion.And anti-abortion folks like to call their opponents the “culture of death”. But most anti-abortion folks oppose health care for the poor and support the decisions of insurance company death panels to cut off insurance to sick people.

  • cprferry

    “I nevertheless believe that this most personal of all decisions must remain between patient and physician and their consciences, without heavy-handed government interference.Posted by: minnerray”I would like to agree, but the responsibility of raising children does truly depend on all of society. In effect abortion can not be a private choice. I don’t any one would claim that an expecting mother does or can even shut out the public influences in her life, whether it be her husband/boyfriend’s commitment, her family support, the community support, and so on. To somehow silence or mute one influence while others continue to shout on does a great disservice to the formation of the expecting mother’s conscious.As Christians we are not called to lives of comfort we are called to serve others. We are called to take up our cross to comfort others. We are called not to shy from issues and challenges, to separate our public responsibilities from our private concerns.Government is a poor channel to interfere in the matter of abortion. It may be appropriate channel to regulate what are appropriate medical procedures and restrictions upon doctors, not patients.However, any Christian that seeks a life of comfort by looking to government to meet the needs of their neighbor isn’t really truly living the Gospel. Jesus challenges us, not U.S., to serve. It is us that must serve the needs of others. Government-mandated pregnancy choices, social support and so on may complement, but they can never be relied upon or sought to replace our own investment in the souls of other individuals. We need to be out there serving the needs of others and instructing the consciousnesses of others by living and sharing the Gospel.

  • fourcostellos

    Relying on scripture alone, and usually out of context, anyone can support or oppose moral issues in the name of God. However,the oldest surviving extant piece of non-canonical literature, the Didache, written at the time of the apostles, provides clear guidance in the context of teaching Jesus’ principles. It is not so much a letter as a handbook for new Christian converts, consisting of instructions derived directly from the teachings of Jesus. The Didache clearly states “Neither murder a child by abortion, nor will you destroy what is born.” I really don’t care what non-Christian’s opinions are on abortion, but if you call yourself a Christian, whether you are an individual or a church, you need to look at the beliefs of the early community of Jesus and decided if you are consistent with His intentions. The full Didache can be read here

  • wings100

    I am a Seventh-day Adventist and personally feel abortions are exceedingly repugnant and one of the most tragic of all actions and a troubling aspect of the human condition.I must admit this article has given me some pause. It, at the very least, is thought-provoking and has opened my eyes a little about the whole subject. Thank you.By the way, the article is correct in its usage of the name of our church, but the headline is not. It’s the Seventh-day Adventist Church, not the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. :-)

  • cprferry

    kayrosburg1,I have trouble believing what you say about the marchers. A number of organizations and schools that were marching and leading affiliated events were Catholic. Catholic teaching is clear in opposing the death penalty here in US, Europe and other regions where justice is served without the destruction of life. Similarly Catholics are among the most generous and leading private advocates for and operators of social services. They are also opposed to most wars even directly chiding the USA on the Iraq war. The march also included notable Orthodox Jewish and Christian evangelical participation (probably a few Adventists too), whom are notable proponents of the overall pro-life position of providing protection and support for all humans from conception to natural death.Additionally I wonder if you have asked the reverse question to yourself and of others that are pro-choice? How consistent is a death penalty to be exercised on the unborn but not for born?You say you are pro-choice because it’s a deeply personal choice to be determined by the conscious. However, in reality, no choice we make is without public influence or consequences. See my post above on that point.And even if we accept the personal choice motive can not society or civil governments restrict our choices? Surely the reasons why someone subject to capital punishment is the result of the illegal actions of their personal choices? Maybe they held a personal uncontrollable rage to eliminate their victim. Or consider any crime and the thought that went into it. Would that make a mastermind behind a bank thief the most deserving of clemency? Because merely they evaluated their conscious over and over? Clearly such reasoning is false. Nor would it be any less illegal for a gun shop to sell a gun or bullets if they knew the murderer’s personal choice. So why not a doctor who knows his/her patient’s decision to murder their child?So neither is abortion advocacy consistent with a position against capital punishment or the act protected against intervention from the influence of society and the regulations of government.It is in fact murder of what all leading scientists and ethical scholars call human life. Only because civil law has failed to recognize this specific human life as a citizen or person are those that murder, or help to facilitate it, so far protected by the law. That will change. Just as did with the non-land owners, slaves and women that were considered non-citizens.

  • kayrosburg1

    As a practicing life-long Adventist, I have to agree with the first poster here, minnerray, as I am pro-choice and feel that my church should not dictate a personal decision about abortion. This is between God and myself, since I am a woman. I would not force any one to get an abortion and likewise I don’t believe any one should force their own beliefs on me. The most ludicrous irony I see in American society today is that the vast majority of “Pro-Lifers”, such as those who marched in Washington yesterday, also believe in capital punishment. I am Pro-Choice and AGAINST capital punishment – how is it OK to play God by taking another human being’s life (outside the womb) but not OK to end a pregnancy? I just don’t get it!

  • garoth

    The position of many churches, that abortion is murder, is not one necessarily supported by scripture. Although they normally go to a few, such as Psalm 139 and the call of Isaiah in support of their stance, most of scripture teaches that life begins with the first breath – the position taken by most Jews. It is found already in the begining of Genesis, “God breathed into the man, and he became a living being.” Jesus never taught any different, neither is there anything in the New Testament to suggest otherwise. As Luther said, “where the scriptures speak, we speak; where they are silent, we are silent.” While the church should note the preciousness of life, it should be silent as to when it begins, and what, in the scientific sense, constitutes “life.” The Bible does not answer these questions.

  • crossingubadly

    Interesting topic: Christians in this country need to be wise about our endeavors. Our freedom, prosperity, and money has for the most part opened up a trap door. A door which leads to discussion about righteousness, but God is more interested in our ability to live right so our prayers can manifest healing for a world desperately searching for a cure for a terminal disease.Standing up for morality is noble, and I do believe God places agents for moral consciousness in strategic places in this country and around the world, and while I know abortion is not part of God’s desire, I also realize that we need to make sure that our willingness to jump into the debate pool for righteousness doesn’t supersede the specific purpose God created us to live out. God is not only asking us to uphold righteousness, but to be righteous in all aspects of our life, denying our will while seeking His, and most importantly pray so His will can be accomplished here on earth. God has given someone here the power to heal a sick child through a simple heartfelt prayer from a pure heart. We cannot let the lost and/or the argument seekers distract us from His will.

  • 4thgenerationSDA

    I was raised Seventh-day Adventist. 4th generation Adventist. As an African American, the White Adventists told me I was under the Curse of Ham. The church taught me that Catholics were evil. My minister told me that if I got pregnant it was tough luck.Too bad, I had to keep it. I went to Oakwood College (Segregated Black Adventist college) and my girlfriends who got pregnant were kicked out of school and their boyfriends were able to continue their education without skipping a beat. I got pregnant by an Adventist. I had an abortion.

  • cprferry

    Klinger1,Thanks for answering the question. It is intellectual dishonesty that you employ as witnessed by your selective quotations. Surely the example of a fetus moving away from the instruments of abortion or continuing to survive without support for some period of time outside of the womb shows that the fetus is aware that it is alive and serves to protect its needs as a human being. I ask how does your 13-year old know he is a human? Is it not because he realizes he has needs and capabilities shared by those that call themselves humans? How then is not a fetus learning from and responding to the mother not similar to that between you and your son? The fetus has a conscious, is self aware and every bit its own individual person deserving of the proper protection and support to complete its development just as you and your 13-yo deserve the proper support and protection to continue your own development.As you state the distinction you make for what life to protect is one made arbitrarily and for political, or at least social libertarian, reasons. On those political reasons you make a solid point, and not one often made by an abortion advocate. Yes, society is best served by having good parents. However, if government can allow abortion and society can encourage abortion based on the poor qualifications of their parents then it is certainly within the ability for the government to disallow and society to encourage the sexual behaviors that do not claim a life. As you say to set policy to aim on the side of caution in the protection of life. For surely the people are ill fit to be parents are also ill fit to be in intimate relationships with adults. Or have you not heard the stories of teens seeking abortions upon threats by their manipulative and exploitative boyfriends? Or have you not seen the domestic abuse, infidelity and STD rates of the relevant demographics? I admit I wouldn’t like to see such heavy-handed actions by government, but I don’t think it’s beyond the role for society to encourage the proper behaviors whether it be in counseling our family and friends or in the economic choices we make in sustaining industries that encourage poor behaviors.

  • cprferry

    Klinger1,On biblical texts, again let me make clear that civil law is separate from biblical law. However, civil law is based on the understood truths, values and traditions of the population which may be of religious origin. For religion long sought to live accordingly to the Natural Law and its revelations are considered valuable and true to even a secular institution like civil authority.The book of Luke reveals both John the Baptist and Jesus’ stages of fetal development. Elizabeth was slightly more than 3 months until the end of her pregnancy while Mary was near the beginning of hers. Thus John the Baptist was 6 months and Jesus 1 month or newly conceived. So a barely partial-birth fetus was conscious of the special status of a first trimester fetus. The Bible also speaks of God’s knowledge and love for us even within the womb.I’m also familiar with the passage you cite from Exodus. It is commonly interpreted that not a fetus is less than a person, but that causing immediate death to a fetus is sufficient evidence for the more severe penalty than one that may contribute to a later miscarriage.There are number of things in the Bible that may be hard to interpret, and you certainly aren’t going to find anything like “[Insert name] of [address] and [social security number], I mean this, now follow me.” The teachings are meant for all eternity but presented within the context of one tribe’s failed mission to be a nation of priests. That Israel was already pious enough to provide the protection and support for the living children in the womb, and God did not have to send explicit instructions not to is not somehow reason to claim ignorance of the topic. Because the teachings are not always as clear as we want it to be, or, really, that we seek it not to be for our own comfort, that’s why we must trust in the Church and the teachings of the Church Fathers, which were sent on the mission to instruct the world of the fullness of the Natural Law, and Tradition. And in the earliest codes of Christian beliefs, the Didache, explicitly forbids abortion.

  • dcmeteor

    Whatever your faith, who has the right to control what other people may, or may not, do?

  • jakesfriend1

    Here is the basis of my argument. If I were to follow 100% all the teachings of the 7th Day Adventist church or 100% of the Catholic faith, Muslim or Jewish matters not if indeed I am not abiding by that which I know is right and true. All wonderful teachings in their own right, but following the rules rarely depicts the quality and the caliber of person, their heart and the ventures of their daily living. Bottom line….no church will save anyone in the end. God judges according to the person and not necessarily the precept. If I follow the rules and my heart is cold and hard as stone, what have I accomplished when my motives are elsewhere from what God desires?

  • realitychecker1

    klinger1 writes:”The way I look at it is this: killing a person is a terrible thing, and we should err on the side of protecting humans who may not meet my definition of person. I believe that includes infants and late-term pregnancies. I think it’s reasonable to disagree about exactly where to draw the line, but it’s not reasonable to say that killing a 1st trimester fetus is morally equivalent to breaking into my house and killing my 13 year old son.”This was also the position of the LORD, according to Hosea 9:1-16: The LORD is threatening the Israelites with terrible punishments for their iniquities: “no birth, no pregnancy, no conception!” And then He adds an even more severe punishment: “Even if they bring up children, I will bereave them till none is left.” The formula is then repeated with a quite explicit reference to abortion: HE will “Give them a miscarrying womb”—-i.e., induce an abortion—-; and then, most terrible of all, “Even though they bring forth, I will slay their beloved children.” It is clear from this that the LORD intended the slaying of a born child as a more severe punishment than abortion (or forced sterilization); and therefore, that He did not view an abortion of an unborn fetus as the equivalent of the killing of a born child (which would indeed have been considered “murder” by the Israelites, who, unusually among ancient peoples, did not practice infanticide.) klinger1 then goes on to say”Regarding the Biblical references, these are all terse statements that are very open to interpretation… To my knowledge there is precisely one passage in the Torah [Exodus 21:22-23, presumably] which specifically addresses accidentally harming a fetus and Jews have traditionally interpreted this as meaning that killing a fetus is subject to a lesser punishment than killing a person.”Actually there are two, the second one being Numbers 5:11-31, the so-called “Jealousy Ordeal”. It’s not particularly terse, but is open to (mis)interpretation in the usual euphemistic English translation (which presents the expulsion of the fetus as a bad stomachache). But if one goes back to the original Hebrew, it’s clear that this passage is prescribing a “trial by abortion” (akin to a Medieval “trial by combat”) for a wife whose husband suspects she has become pregnant because of adultery: she is brought before a priest, who forces her to take a potential abortifacient of some kind (“the water of bitterness that brings the curse”), informing her that if she aborts the fetus (“if… the LORD makes your thigh fall away”), then she is guilty of adultery, and shall be cursed as “an execration among her people.” There is no concern whatever for the fate of the fetus itself, which was clearly not regarded as a “person” with rights (as there was not in the Exodus passage–though Augustine and Jerome misinterpreted it to refer to late-term abortion).

  • cprferry

    realitychecker1,That’s a rather interesting interpretation of the passage from Numbers. The interpretation you suggest requires one to read deeply into the text and make things up along the way. You seem to be equating the test with the old witch trial of drowning a suspected witch. Whether the suspect lives she is a witch, and if they die a martyr.However, the text makes no claim to any permanence or the certain destruction of the fetus that abortion requires. In fact, it claims the woman (and the fetus if intended in the text) will be immune from its effects.Unfortunately for your interpretation there is no reference to a fetus. Only two modern biblical translations (2005 NIV and CEV) makes reference to the womb and in a way that doesn’t necessarily imply an existing fetus either. The earlier NIV translations and all the other translations from the NASB to NAB to KJV to NKJV claim merely a curse against the body. It’s possible that the new NIV translators’ mistake was in assuming the Hebrews, which considered a woman’s infertility a great curse, implied such, but again that does not imply an existing fetus or its destruction. The CEV in fact implies infertility in future pregnancies, not mentioning the existence or curse of an existing pregnancy.Coincidentally this passage is better used to support the Catholic and orthodox Christian position on limiting the number of sexual partners. And indeed modern science has shown that those with many sexual partners and inappropriate sexual behaviors risk infertility.Coming back to your interpretation though. The test, as it is described, is more similar to a truth serum or perhaps a serum that would reveals recent sexual activity. It does not claim to destroy an existing pregnancy.

  • cprferry

    Realitychecker1,Certainly he who gives life can take life. Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Christians of all stripes and any neo-Platonist would agree that God has the right to take life including by miscarriage. Atheists would to if they recognized a God. The question is whether human kind can claim such authority. How you proposing that we have the authority of God to create and destroy life?

  • realitychecker1

    cprferry says my interpretation “requires one to… make things up… However, the text makes no claim to… the certain destruction of the fetus that abortion requires… Only two modern biblical translations (2005 NIV and CEV) makes reference to the womb… earlier translations… claim merely a curse against the body..”. These various English translations all soften the real import of the passage, which becomes clear when we use Strong’s Hebrew Bible Dictionary to envisage alternative translations of the original Hebrew. The passage prescribes the law for a situation in which a husband suspects his wife has become pregnant though adultery; but is evidently unable to confirms his suspicions through witnesses or confessions:03409: yarek yaw-rake’ from an unused root meaning to be soft; the thigh (from its fleshy softness); by euphem. the generative parts;05307: naphal naw-fal’ a primitive root; to fall, in a great variety of applications (intransitive or causative, literal or figurative): …cease, die, …(let) fail, (cause to, let, make, ready to) fall (away…)…be… lost, …perish, …rot, slay, smite out…For ancient peoples, the embryo and early-stage fetus were considered to be a part of the mother, until some later stage when it became “animated” and began to assume an identity of its own. Thus yarok could be translated not only as the “generative part” (or womb), but also as its contents, the embryo, or early-stage fetus, all considered as a part of the mother’s anatomy; and the passage “make thy thigh [yarek ] to rot [naphal ]” could be translated as “make the embryo [or early-stage fetus] cease,” or “be lost,” or “perish,” or “be smitten out.”

  • cprferry

    realitychecker1,Even if we assume such a translation to mean the woman’s womb the newer NIV rashly imposes upon the suggestion of an existing fetus that doesn’t follow from the original text. A better interpretation would be that of infertility, not a miscarriage of an existing pregnancy. Recall that while miscarriages were and are terrible experiences they were relatively common before the modern period. It would not have been considered as great of a curse as infertility. And, in the view of the Hebrews that life and children were a gift and due the proper protections and support in the womb, they would have considered a curse, a punishment from God, to be His refusal to give the gift of children not the religious authorities’ imposition upon the woman to cause a miscarriage.And, again, the remainder of the verse claims that a faithful woman would be immune from the serum. So it is not analogous the permanence and certain death of an abortion.

  • therev1

    People who see God’s work everywhere should not be surprised at today’s weather. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

  • GordonCash

    BUCKAROO5 wrote:”And GordonCash what have you done in your life that makes you so wise. Perhaps start with hate for Catholics who attend Mass regularly and their beliefs — do you wish them to go back where they came from — would that make you happy?”Buckaroo5, I support the free exercise of religion, as guaranteed by our Constitution. If people want to join the Catholic Church and attend mass regularly, that is not my business. It becomes my business when they ask the government to send people to jail for the crime of not obeying the teachings of their particular church, and this applies to the members of ANY church, not just Catholic. That is what I said in my posts, so please read them again.BTW, I do not feel any need to justify myself for defending the rights and liberties our Constitution guarantees me and my fellow Americans. Also, since most American Catholics are American citizens, I don’t quite get your reference to “going back where they came from”. You certainly didn’t get that idea from anything I posted.

  • klinger1

    CPRFERRY wrote “On the consciousness of a fetus: As soon as the 6th week brain waves have been detected. By the 10th the fetus has a functional nervous system breathes and can grasp objects. Week 17 signs of dreaming (REM sleep) show. Weeks 20-24 the fetus practices breathing, moves and kicks frequently and can experience pain.”All of these are brain functions which a fetus shares with rats, cats, and cows, all of which are killed on a regular basis. These are a far cry from even a young child who is aware that she is alive and does not want to be harmed.The hard case is newborns, who don’t seem to have much of a concept of the world. The way I look at it is this: killing a person is a terrible thing, and we should err on the side of protecting humans who may not meet my definition of person. I believe that includes infants and late-term pregnancies. I think it’s reasonable to disagree about exactly where to draw the line, but it’s not reasonable to say that killing a 1st trimester fetus is morally equivalent to breaking into my house and killing my 13 year old son.We shouldn’t lightly kill anyone or anything, even a cow. In the case of abortion, society has a strong interest in allowing abortion even for people who irresponsibly get pregnant or rely too much on abortion: its just those irresponsible people who are worst suited to be parents.Regarding the Biblical references, these are all terse statements that are very open to interpretation. Jesus was in the womb in his 8th month as well as his first, and the passage doesn’t specify which because it was not meant to be instructions on when a fetus becomes a person. Child sacrifice is denounced in the Jewish Bible but that’s not the same as abortion. To my knowledge there is precisely one passage in the Torah which specifically addresses accidentally harming a fetus and Jews have traditionally interpreted this as meaning that killing a fetus is subject to a lesser punishment than killing a person.The Bible shouldn’t be the basis of US law; all I’m saying here is that even for conservative Christians the Bible doesn’t give much guidance on this issue.

  • morphex

    Christians of all denominations, as well undenominated Christians, will be getting abortions in the United States on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Are their beleifs and rights — that’s right: rights — of any less authority than those of us who wish to take away their rights and impose their own beliefs on all of us — a majority, by the way — who disagree and reject their authority?

  • klinger1

    CPRFERRY wrote “Only because civil law has failed to recognize this specific human life as a citizen or person are those that murder, or help to facilitate it, so far protected by the law. That will change. Just as did with the non-land owners, slaves and women that were considered non-citizens.”This is a common non-sequitur. Just because in the past women and slaves were unjustly assigned fewer rights, it does not follow that in the future a fetus should enjoy more rights. By the way I doubt women or slaves were not considered persons; they were incorrectly believed to be less rational, less able to make decisions, etc. There are specific reasons why denying rights to women or condemning Africans to slavery is wrong. None of these reasons apply to an embryo or a fetus.

  • cprferry

    Klinger1,I’m not sure if you are misinformed on these points or being purposely intellectual dishonest, but please allow me to correct some of your remarks.On the consciousness of a fetus: As soon as the 6th week brain waves have been detected. By the 10th the fetus has a functional nervous system breathes and can grasp objects. Week 17 signs of dreaming (REM sleep) show. Weeks 20-24 the fetus practices breathing, moves and kicks frequently and can experience pain. These are all acts that in human beings are recognized as signs of consciousness. Yet even if fetus displays all these signs by week 20 they have still not yet met the legal qualification of a partial birth abortion which while illegal in almost every European country is legal in many U.S. states. There have been a number of cases where fetuses sought to move within the womb away from instruments abortionists have used to take their lives. Some fetuses have even survived for days after outside the womb upon their births being expedited for the purpose of an abortion. By every account and within the opinion of the leading scientists, textbooks, and ethical scholars on the subject a fetus is a live human being that simply has not yet exited the womb or simply can’t without extensive care.As for references in the Bible: The Old Testament speaks clearly of the protection due to children in the womb by both the parents and the community at large. One of the many crimes against Reason and Natural Law that the tribes the Israelites were sent to eliminate committed included the destruction of their own youth in sacrifice to fallen angels. The Gospels also make a clear accounting for the consciousness of John the Baptist as a fetus in Elizabeth’s womb for Jesus as a fetus in Mary’s womb. The first Christian code of beliefs, the Didache, makes clear reference to abortion as an illegal act.

  • cprferry

    “There are specific reasons why denying rights to women or condemning Africans to slavery is wrong. None of these reasons apply to an embryo or a fetus.Actually the interpretations civil authority applied to slaves and women to deny them their rights are similar to those you implied in your own earlier postings: that the fetus is not free and lacks a sufficient consciousness. A great number could fit that interpretation too. Think of born children, disabled, insane, chronically sick, and so on. However, I think few abortion advocates would seek to make such populations available for elective elimination or otherwise encourage it.

  • realitychecker1

    “Is the Seventh-day Adventists’ heavy focus on healthful practices inconsistent with its position on abortion? Tell us in the comments section.”To the contrary, the Adventists’ position on abortion is consistent with both their emphasis on “healthful practices” (of which sensible fertility control is an integral part), and their biblical literalism. Nowhere does the bible condemn abortion; to the contrary, it recognizes abortion as an integral and sometimes indispensable part of family life (subject to proper regulation–e.g., a wife must secure he husband’s permission {Exodus 21:22-23]), and indeed prescribes forced abortion as a necessary and proper remedy for (suspected) pregnancy resulting from adultery [Numbers 5:11-31].The so-called “conservative” Christian condemnation of abortion is a hoax and a fraud, for which there is not a shred of biblical support, and to the contrary, is actually contra-biblical: c.f. Num 5:11-31, the so-called “jealousy ordeal,” (studiously ignored in the so-called “pro-life” literature), and Ex 21:22-23, once cited (though misinterpreted) by such ancient authorities as Augustine and Jerome, but nowadays also studiously ignored by the so-called “pro-life” polemicists (including Pope Benedict), who have abandoned any pretense of basing their dogma on scripture or theological reasoning, if favor of sheer authoritarianism (“The Boss is Always Right”).

  • realitychecker1

    I’m baffled by cprferry’s opaque comment that “Even if we assume such a translation to mean the woman’s womb the newer NIV rashly imposes upon the suggestion of an existing fetus that doesn’t follow from the original text. A better interpretation would be that of infertility, not a miscarriage of an existing pregnancy.” The NIV’s translation or mistranslation is irrelevant. It’s clear from the dictionary definitions that the main thrust of the passage refers to a “trial by abortion,” in which the woman is declared guilty of adultery if the yarek [soft part, euphemistically translated as "thigh" {KJV] more accurately rendered as the “unformed fetus”] “falls away” {KJV] or is expelled, or “dies” or perishes” or is “slain” or “smitten out” (alternative renditions from Strong’s definitions). To imagine that this is not a reference to the termination of an existing pregnancy is to engage in politically correct wishful thinking, or perhaps the “intellectual dishonesty” that cprferry accused another poster of. If Strong’s definitions aren’t clear enough, I’d suggest that cprferry consult some of the scholarly commentaries on the Book of Numbers, which are line-by-line exegesis of them, by university-based scholars in ancient Hebrew, and familiar with the interpretive literature. That’s how I first had my suspicions about this passage confirmed, by going to the biggest Bible bookstore in town (a large metropolitan area, actually). It was a staunchly “pro-life” establishment, of course, and my main purpose was to examine it’s huge collection of “pro-life” tracts to see what scriptural passages the pro-lifers could cite (answer: none at all, usually, or in any event none than had anything to do with abortion). Then, as an afterthought, I wandered around the bookstore until I came to the section that had the line-by-commentaries on Numbers, of which there were three: and, sure enough, two of the three quite explicitly said the “Jealousy Ordeal” passage dealt with abortion, and related it to other interpretive literature (the third was “politically correct”).I agree that there is also a reference to infertility (“she shall be free, and shall conceive seed” [Num 5:28]); if the husband didn’t divorce her immediately (which would have been the usual reaction), and she later did conceive and bear him a child, perhaps this line was incorporated to give the priests enough “wiggle room” to declare a mistrial of the original “trial by abortion,” and restore her to the status of a “good” wife.

  • kensingland

    All I know is it’s great to live in a country where people are free to debate a topic like this. The one point that the author did leave out is that the Catholic hospital wants to build on public land. That is the main sticking point for many, many people in the community. A private institution should not use public land if it restricts services. There was no public debate about this property’s use, which is not how it should be.

  • cprferry

    realitychecker1,”Yarek” is hardly representative of the reproductive parts. In other uses such as in Exodus it refers to the buttocks or thigh to describe a manner of modest dress. The text is reconciled under either of those uses.Again, the text does not say the woman would free of the test, but would be immune from the effects of the test. The test’s effects are not permanent as in an abortion is and therefore can not be assumed to be an abortion.

  • cprferry

    Kensingland,There is no state statute that a hospital must provide abortions. The state routinely grants uses of public land that is in some way is limited or restricted to certain services. By your logic Montgomery College’s Germantown campus shouldn’t exist because it’s ADL classes are limited to the Rockville campus or the new privately-operated Birchmere music venue shouldn’t exist because it specializes in rock music or applies an age limit to certain hours or you because they won’t let you play paint ball or ice skate in the facility. Every day the county provides land for facilities that specialize or restrict their offers. That’s nothing new. Holy Cross’ refusal to offer certain procedures that don’t regard as ethical or sound health care options is well within their rights.

  • cprferry

    “Are their beleifs and rights — that’s right: rights — of any less authority”In short, yes, civil authority has less ability to install rights than the authority of Natural Law. Civil rights will eventually be reconciled to Natural Law, if not by rejection and application of social customs by individuals open to reason then by the civil authority collapsing in on its contradictory claims of support.

  • uppermonty

    Comparing vital health care services to rock music. Yea, those two are equally important. Geez.

  • applesandoranges

    This is not a topic SDAs are comfortable debating! This has been an ugly secret for years. As a child, I grew up in a SDA church thinking abortion was a woman’s choice. After my grandma gave me a booklet, at 18yrs. old, on exactly how a baby is killed inside the woman/girl’s body I decided that no matter what: rape, incest, poverty…whatever the case may be…murder is murder! Thou shalt not kill comes to mind and I’m against abortion personally. That is why I am not a SDA anymore & that is why I support pro-life leadership in the church & government. I am so thankful to be a parent and will speak my mind anytime I’m asked. But I also love my family & friends who are still SDA and/or pro-abortion! Hospitals should place strict guidelines on any procedure they do, especially abortion!

  • SassyStephB

    I am fourth generation adventist and I am pro-choice. This doesn’t mean that I my self will run out and get an abortion however it is not my place to tell others what to do with their lives and their bodies. People make decisions based on what they feel is correct for their lives and their situations.As far as adventist hospitals… I think they should provide the same services that other hospitals do. including abortions. it’s smart for business. I really hate when people try to force their beliefs onto other people. it’s not effective in getting them to change their minds. if you want to reach people with the adventist message then provide them with the services they feel that they need for their bodies and their earthly lives and then provide them with things for their spirit. that is all.

  • CAC2

    Organized religion is evil, and needs to stay out of government and people’s personal lives.End of story!

  • vanottey

    I am a Seventh-day Adventist. Our beliefs agree with the bible more closely than any denomination but on the issue of abortion the leadership is dead wrong!!! The idea of elective abortions can not be supported by the bible or the writings of Ellen White. It’s interesting that evangelist Paulson didn’t mention that the early pioneers of the SDA church were AGAINST ABORTION; James White, JN Andrews and Kellogg. I’ve done the research. I will not leave the Seventh-day Adventist church because of misguided leaders. God will shake them out of the church in His time. It’s no surprise that the Devil has his foot in the door of God’s remnant church. The church leaders in Jesus day were instrumental in crucifying our Lord.

  • dayowell

    As a long time Seventh-day Adventist, and a student of SDA history, I found Kevin Paulson’s “defense” of the church’s “position” and his use of Ellen White and Biblical “silence” to buttress his assertions not only disingenuous but false and self-serving.That Paulson doesn’t really believe what he says is demonstrated by his (begging the question)invocation,”the writings of Ellen White maintain the silence of Scripture on the subject.”He then ignores that assertion and proceeds to criticize pro-life Adventists for forming opinions about abortion by not studying the Bible and Ellen White’s writings!In doing so (not maintaining Scriptural silence)Paulson creates a catch 22 situation for all SDA’s, not just pro-lifers.If,in fact, the Bible and EGW are silent on abortion,then where does Paulson suggest Adventists go for moral guidance on the question??Planned Parenthood? The Washington Post? Kevin Paulson (that seems to be the inference)??And why not popular Christian leaders? And where did every founding father in the SDA movement,get their opinions from,when referring to abortion in the same terms as today’s popular preachers? Where does Mr. Paulson get his opinions from if the Bible and Ellen White are silent?And why isn’t he maintaining the same Biblical Silence that he demands of SDA’s who believe that elective abortions are morally repugnant? Paulson’s opinions do not represent either historic Adventism, the writings of Ellen G. White,the Bible, or the majority of contemporary Adventists.They are his clandestine attempt to subvert all of the aforementioned.—–PS. Thanks for writing the article. I thought it was well done.—–Douglas A. Yowell

  • tazzy1

    I am Seventh-day Adventist and I believe life begins in the “mind” of God; therefore, abortion is sin. Adventist traditionalist, rely too heavily on Ellen White as their moral compass. Her silence on the issue does not indicate her position on the issue. The Bible has always been the standard for Protestants, including Seventh-day Adventist. In Jeremiah 1:5 the LORD says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…” Thus, my life and every other life begin, not in the womb, as many theologically inclined folks believe, but rather in the mind of God. The womb is simply an incubator, or else when did the life of Elton Johns’ adopted baby begin, certainly not with him or his partner as your publication has so fervently published their union and acquisition of this child. If the mother had changed her mind and chosen to abort prior to turning that baby over to Elton, I believe pro-life would have a new poster boy. Be very careful my Adventist family, fools rush in where angels fear to tread…just my interesting perspective!

  • tazzy1

    …We could have entitled this article, Vegetarian Murderers…I agree with a prior comment, those who subscribe to these damnable heresies, where abortion is approved by the Adventist church, will be SHAKEN out of the church…the purity of the gospel is being tainted by these new-age philosophers such as Paulsen and the desire for filthy lucre…I am amazed at the Seventh-day Adventist apostasy…There is a quote however, by Ellen White where she says that whole conferences or churches will be lost…I used to think that was far-fetched but now, I get it…

  • doctagadget

    I’ve been in Adventist school from Kindergarten now to my last year in medschool at Loma Linda. I’ve helped baptize hundreds of folks overseas and participated in the medical care of hundreds overseas and here in the U.S. I am actually quite conservative in my views and am a firm believer in following what the Bible clearly says in its context. I have absolutely no problem with abortion in extreme circumstances…for example:1) A women is pregnant and develops Hyperemesis gravidarum, which is basically a condition occurring in pregnancy where the mother vomits to edge of death unless her fluids are replenished quickly enough..even then it may not save her. In this case the mother chose an abortion over probable death. I agree with her2) A woman is jogging at night and is raped by a man, resulting in her getting pregnant. She could keep the baby for 9 months, deliver it, keep the baby and raise it with the high chance of simultaneously hating the baby because of how it came about. Or she could have the baby, give it up for adoption which hopefully would stop the hate part, but then fall into depression for giving up her child. Or she could not go through the full bonding process of carrying a child for 9 months and just get an abortion, which still could lead to depression..who knows. She chose an abortion. I support her. Both of these women had unique cases and in both, if I was the woman, I would have chosen the same thing. I praise the Adventist church for not being completely intolerant of abortions because it allows us docs to give care to those who really need it. Most people hold certain views until it directly involves them. For example many Republican Adventists would love to scrap Medicare until their Grandma get’s kidney failure and will die unless Medicare pays for a transplant. In the same way, when you are the mother making the decision things may be quite different. Here’s another scenario to spark discussion. A woman carries a baby to 9 months, and procedes to have a normal vaginal delivery. However in the process the doctors aren’t able to get the umbilical cord from around the babies neck in time and while the baby lives it received permanent brain damage and is now mentally retarded for life, unable to eat for itself. Surely God had a hope and future for this child? (Jer 29:11). What happened? Was this His plan?I say all this to stress that we live in an evil world. God does not stop all the bad things from happening to people. When these bad things do occur, of course we must still trust in God and rely on Him for strength during the trial, however we shouldn’t stretch Bible texts to deny these people relief from the various diseases and situations this evil world throws at us.The Pharisees were the strictest adherents to the Law of Moses, but they lost sight of the Spirit of the Word. Let’s make sure we aren’t doing the same.

  • AdversusHaereses

    I’M GLAD THE EXTREMIST, FRINGE ADVENTIST MINISTER KEVIN PAULSON does not speak for me as an SDA on this issue.I’m ashamed to have such a person represent the SDA position on this issue. IT’S A SHAME!!Adventists are WRONG on the issue of abortion. For Paulson to come and say that the Scriptures or EGW say nothing about it is equivalent to a tacit permission is an abominable theological position.The Bible says NOTHING against SLAVERY, in fact, it seems to support it at times. Are we to use the same deep-south-1860′s approach to advocate a Bible-thumping position that Slavery is justified just because the BIBLE maybe on our side?? I don’t think so.And yet to see Paulson come and use the same tactics is embarassing.Our evangelical friends who are right on this issue of abortion should NEVER listen to extremist adventists such as Paulson or cynical bureaucrats from Silver Spring on theological matters of the SDA church.GOD hates abortion, especially the abortion on demand that happens at Washington Adventist and Shady Grave.

  • VansieMorgan

    It is my understanding that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is not promoting abortion, but it does allow its members the freedom of choice in this matter when faced with unussual circumstances. For example: A woman may become pregnant because of rape – either by man or animal. What should one do under such horrible circumstances? I think it is situations like these that cause Seventh-day Adventist church leaders to step back from government involvement and let the matter rest between patient, physician and God. In view of this, if there was a march to Washington D.C. promoting abortion I do not think Seventh-day Adventist leaders would be numbered in that march either.

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