The Danger of Dobbs

In my travels on social media this week, I ran into a post quoting 2 Chronicles 7:13–14. “Whenever I hold back the rain or send locusts to eat up the crops or send an epidemic on my people, if they pray to me and repent and turn away from the evil they have been doing, then I will hear them in heaven, forgive their sins, and make their land prosperous again.”[1] Scrawled onto the picture of the Bible open to that text were the words, “Pay attention children.” While I’m sure the direct connection was a reference to the pandemic (after all, the word epidemic is in the quotation), the quote reminded me of those conservative evangelicals celebrating the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs, et al. v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization et al. last month.[2] The Dobbs decision was the culmination of several decades of political activism by conservative evangelicals, based on their questionable religious belief that life begins at conception.[3] I heard 2 Chronicles 7:14 cited to me many times over the years as biblical justification for outlawing abortion. Abortion has been “the evil [we] have been doing” that we must “turn away from” for God to “make our land prosperous again.” The argument is clear, as far as many conservative evangelicals in this nation are concerned: America is a Christian nation, the murder of fetuses violates God’s law, God will judge us for legalizing this practice, and therefore to be in right standing with God, we should outlaw abortion. This seems straightforward, but it raises at least two questions. One, is this an accurate reading of the text? Two, regardless of that, is the Dobbs decision and the outlawing of abortion the right way to accomplish these ends?


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11907
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Is this article an accurate reading of the court’s decision?

The emotional outburst against the Supreme Court’s decision is akin to battling windmills. The court made a decision based on the Constitution which handed the decision on abortion back to the states.

The formers of the Constitution of the US were concerned about giving the Federal government too much power. They didn’t want another kingdom they had just rejected. As a result, they named specific rights that can be controlled by the Federal government. In order to preserve individual rights, the states were given more control over laws that took into consideration the unique situations of each individual state. They were sensitive to this issue because they did not form a kingdom, where one entity controlled the whole population without giving consideration for the differences. With a country as large and diverse as the US, populations settled in groups, giving different regions their own specific character by the different populations that settled there.

Right or wrong, by the current politics, the states have control over abortion. If we don’t like that , change the Constitution. Instead, emotional chaos now intimidates and threatens the judges who are simply applying the Constitution the way it was written. To say abortion was outlawed, is simply not true. It’s about federalism vs. states rights.

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Well stated. Nothing was outlawed in the decision except supreme court overreach in the case of Roe.

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Good evening,

Thanks as always for reading. I appreciate your close reading of my piece. But you will notice that I never actually describe Dobbs as outlawing abortion. The place where I come the closest is when I ask the question " is the Dobbs decision and the outlawing of abortion the right way to accomplish these ends?" I separated the decision from the outlawing of abortion because, as you rightly point out, the decision and the outlawing that will happen in the states that vote to do so are two separate steps. Moreover, later in the piece I discuss the outlawing of abortion as a legislative act, which would further bolster the assumption that I don’t think it was done in a judicial opinion.

To be fair though, I can see how you came to the conclusion you did, although that was not the intent. I’ll reach out to the editor to make an edit so that my intention is clear.

Dr. Hines

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It is a very interesting prospect (from an outsiders view point) to see non-specified “rights” being pushed back to the states. To have it ajudicated by the states almost invalidates those concepts as rights. Consider these scenarios:

  1. The right to marry whom you choose. This applies equally to straight as it applies to LGBTQ+. If it is in state jurisdiction black/white marriages might be outlawed in some states. Going further, the choice for marriage might be ceded to the parents and then we have arranged marriages. It could go the other way also, so that you are free to marry whomever you like…

  2. An adjunct to the above is travel. If your state brings in a law to prevent the above, currently you can go elsewhere. What if they add that you can’t cross the state border for the purposes of facilitating the above? Suddenly the right to travel is impinged, if not curtailed.

Add in the right to an education, the right to a job. What other rights we (you) have today are not explicit in the Constitution?

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The problem with Dobbs is that it is based on Roman Catholic theology, which holds that God creates an immortal soul at conception. This heresy differs from traditional Seventh-day Adventist theology, which holds that the soul is not immortal, that the soul is not distinct from the living human body as a whole, and that what we call a living soul does not come to be until birth. Genesis 2:7.

But many Seventh-day Adventists, including the authors of the GC’s 2019 Statement on abortion and the GC Executive Committee members who voted the Statement, have been heavily influenced by the false doctrine of the immortality of the soul and its corollary heresy, the false doctrine of the preexistence of the soul. Read the Statement and you should be able to detect its heavy reliance on these heresies. The Statement quotes the same verses cited by Origin in support of his belief in the preexistence of the soul. The Statement accords personhood to that which is in the mind of God. What exists about a person if the body hasn’t even been formed yet? That would be the immortal soul. The Statement misrepresents what is a natural process–conception and birth–as a supernatural process, and in so doing echoes the Roman Catholic belief that God acts in a supernatural way at conception. Indeed, the Statement’s misinterpretation of the texts that God knits and forms the fetus in the womb is the authors’ Adventist way, similar to substituting carob for chocolate, of seconding the Roman Catholic belief that God creates the soul at conception.

If you asked the authors and voters of the Statement whether they believe in the false doctrine of the immortality of the soul, they would reflexively say No. But if you engaged them in thirty minutes of conversation, you would easily discern that these well-intentioned persons actually do believe in the heresy, at least in a subconscious way.

The Statement does not allow for the exceptions of rape, incest, or life of the mother. (Even Roman Catholic theology under the principle of Double Effect allows for an exception for the life of the mother). Regarding the ten-year old girl in Ohio who was raped and impregnated, the Statement’s position is that she is not entitled to an abortion.

What is most worrisome about the Statement is that it reveals that the GC is not able to clearly distinguish between the Trinity and the counterfeit trinity. As you read John’s Revelation, you notice a hermeneutical key, which is that every aspect of God’s Kingdom has a counterfeit devised by the counterfeit trinity. We see the Trinity/dragon and beast of the sea and beast of the earth, woman in white/whore of Babylon in red and purple, the Fourth Commandment/Sunday sacredness, etc. What is the counterfeit Sixth Commandment? Regretfully, this is not a question that has been of interest to most Seventh-day Adventists. I suggest that the counterfeit Sixth Commandment are the abortion laws that have been recently put into effect.

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That would be reasonable except that Mitch said that he thinks that if the Republicans can take the house and senate, that they can pass a law outlawing abortion in the entire country. So their goal has been made quite obvious and they won’t stop there. Justice Thomas added a list of things they are going after next, except he was to stupid to realize that even though he left off interracial marriage, that they would be coming for him next. Idiot.

This overturning of Roe will not stop abortion even if they outlaw it for the whole country. There will be many women dying and the coat-hanger world will resurface and there will be a large contingent going to Mexico or other parts of the world where an abortion is still legal. But the simple fact is that many, like that young 10 year old who was raped, will be forced to become a parent, that is, if she survives the very dangerous pregnancy.

The notion that a mandated adherence to an anti-abortion law is going to make God look favorably on this or any country is just plain ridiculous. God only looks at actions based on your heart, not on some enforced behavior by a secular government. And the notion that this is or ever was a Christian Nation would cause the founding fathers to spin in their graves. God blessed this country because we allow everyone to choose what, who and how they believe and worship, or whether to worship at all or didn’t believe.

The text 2 Chronicles 7:14, referred to in this spectrum piece was talking about Israel. This was a theocracy. God favored Israel, and it usually was dependent on whether the king did right or wrong in the sight of God. But it has nothing to do with us. The only theocracy’s I know of today tend to be governed by Sharia Law. Not exactly the best example. Unless you want your wife in a bourka. (not sure of that spelling).

This is not a Christian Nation. Christian Nationalism has raised its ugly head recently, and it seems to be gaining popularity, which is very frightening. But the more this nation implements moral, “Christian” laws, the worse thing are going to be. I am absolutely positive that these steps will not cause God to bless this nation. It will actually cause the opposite. God doesn’t care about coursed behavior, and I am very sure He won’t reward it. The Dobsons, Fallwells, Robertsons and all of the other televangelists have been working hard to infiltrate our government to force, what they feel is their brand of religion. They are the propagators of the idea that God will bless us if we ban abortions, force gays back into the closet. Ironically, they are supporters of the NRA, against anything to protect the environment, big supporters of our war machine, and many are bigots and racists. These are the same people who laid hands on Trump and told him he was the chosen one. Unless your brain dead, you can see where that got us.

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Those who formed the nation were, as far as we can tell, some form of Christians. The situation is not helped by statements (which the SDA church adheres to, as well) “The Bible says it, I believe it”. It just depends on what parts of the Bible are emphasized. There are some Bible verses, taken out of context (which is done on a regular basis), that fuzzies up the issues we’re getting incensed about:
Jeremiah 1:5 implies God knows us as individuals while we’re still in the womb, as does Ps. 139:15, Luke 1:15, and Jer. 1:10.

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No, SIr ! We here were NOT influenced by the “false doctrine of RCC!” -

We took the Bible and all the messages there on the Holy Spirit in persons long before theit birth - and we took the scientific fact ( ! ) that with the “impregnatio” of the egg one ceratain unique individual is created in a combination of the mothers and the fathers heritage that never never will occur once again - -

And it is / was quite awesome to read from SDA pens that this in an early stage just is a pile of cells - - - - and also that the early embryonal stage is like an amphibium - - (Haeckels Biogenetic Principle, my Dear, out of Darvinism, is outdated since quite some decades, or even a century ! )

And Embryology seems to be a discipline not all too eagerly to be studied in LL or elsewhere in SDA Schools of Medicine)

No, I have written two certificates for abortion. The one I remeber in detail was that I humbly and with all my restrictions as a human being decided and certified : Prefering one surviving mothe rather than having a dead mother and a dead unborn child - and two orphans - - it was / is just like a triage - - -

What , Gen. 2 : 7 - well , we also have heard of this argument of Biblicism,of Literalism - - A “Living Soul” ? - A being that has already experienced its own little world in mothers womb, hearing her voice, sharing her mood , doing its first learning -

And the one woman, twentytwo at age, after a heart arrest, braindead , breathing on the machine - - aftre six examinations ,each after six hours, I also signed the “turn off” - -was her “soul” according to Gen. 2 : 6, blown into her by the machine ? _ and us, with the order to turn off, were we playing Gods in the very moment - for an already braindead ?

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I’m not arguing the pros and cons of abortion - just laying out the function of the Supreme Court.

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This is simply not true. Most of the founding fathers were Deists. They believed there was a God, but they did not ascribe to any religion. Virtually every one of that time believed in a God simply because there was no other explanation for how the world came to being. This was a pre-Darwin period. It has been sited that George Washington and Jefferson had designated church pews that they owned. But in reality, neither one of them sat in those pews more than once or twice. It was simply a formality of the aristocracy of our country at that time. Franklin’s father was a preacher, but Franklin disavowed his father’s faith and was devoutly a Deist. The only real Christian among them was Adams, and he was the first to put forth the complete separation of the church and the state. So make what you want of it, the fact is that these men were simply not Christians in any definitive sense that you’re trying to portray. They were also keenly aware of those who fled persecution from religions in Europe and came to this country to escape. To call this a Christian nation is to ignore well documented history.

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Let’s assume for argument sake that the Evangelical argument is correct. My question then becomes, okay, the abortion concern has been resolved. What about the James concern. James 2:10 reads: “Whoever breaks one commandment is guilty of breaking them all.” What is the stance of the Evangelical on the immigrant concern particularly immigrants of color (should they be caged when they attempt to enter the United States?) or the Evangelical position on oppressed people of color (Is the United States a land for White Christians only?) when juxtaposed to Luke 10:30-37.

… and your point is… They didn’t establish the country on Christian principles? So the Bible is a moot point?

They certainly relied on a Creator to have established some nonnegotiable rights which happen to be the right to life, as well as liberty and the right to find happiness in this nation.

I did say, “some form of Christians” as apposed to Muslims, Shintos, or Buddhists. Actually it’s good they weren’t “ardent” anything. Then we would have a theocracy, you’re right about that. So, if abortion were to become a Constitutional right, some enterprising lawyer might sue the US for denying all these aborted kids the “the right to life”.

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Yes…let’s see if they can try and collect!

We are a nation of Christians, but we are not a Christian nation. A Christian nation would be a theocracy, which we definitely not. The first amendment commences with the words, " Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment or religion…". That’s quite plain, and precludes our nation from religious entanglements. I don’t believe, however,that it mandates the banishment of all religious symbolism in the public sphere. It’s a far reach of separationists to insist that government should be a complete religious free zone. In God we Trust may be offensive to some, but I will gladly take any coins and greenbacks inscribed with it, off their hands.

I believe it was Jefferson,.not Adams who first coined the phrase “separation of church and state.”

I happen to be prolife, for other than religious reason. I was born of an unwed mother who was raped by her older sister’s boyfriend. She gave me up for adoption shortly after birth. I have wondered if I would have been born had abortion been such an easy option in 1951.

I thought Roe was a bad decision from the start. However overturning it 49 years later, will not end abortion. IMO it’s made matters worse. States are going off in opposite extremes now. It has only deepened the political divide that is tearing our nation apart at the seams.

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Ephesians 1 points out that God knew us before the world was created…so what does Jeremiah 1 really prove? Nothing. We can play this ridiculous proof text game all day and get nowhere. There are three places where the bible points out that when a human breathes, they are then alive. There are texts in Exodus 21 that show that the value of an unborn fetus is only worth a settlement to the father. But if it had been born and then was killed, the person who did the killing would also be put to death. But what does that prove? Remember, we are talking about people who still thought the earth was flat. But…like I have said in other threads on this site, I hate proof texts. They only prove that you can argue a point by throwing out scripture, which usually, convinces no one. And you can usually find texts to prove your side of the point if you know enough scripture. But it only causes resentment. No one benefits. The real issue is, what happens to a young woman who, often, is only a child herself, with no way of supporting a baby, possibly even being impregnated by a family member or even a rapist? How can we help that person? The conservatives who are so gung-ho to get rid of abortion are also the very ones who want to take away all of the social safety nets that helps these women through the crisis. That is why I say, “they are not pro-life; they are just pro-fetus”. If they were truly pro-life, they would be against the death penalty, they would not be supporting the NRA. And like today, these same conservatives who are so big on military spending, they voted against our young soldiers that come back from their wars with horrible illnesses that these same conservatives refuse to pay for their treatment. The hypocrisy is so deep you could swim in it.

I personally know at least one family member who was violently raped, made to carry the child to term, while missing out on nearly a year of college, and then left the church, never to return and died wanting nothing to do with the church or God. I found out after her death that the child, as an adult tried to contact her through the records channels, and she insisted that the records remained sealed. How can that outcome possibly be what God would have wanted?

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Yes ridiculous, however this issue isn’t just a word exercise. I think we’re being a little too disrespectful - flippant - superficial describing human life. In fact, there are people doing double time in prison for killing pregnant women. We just don’t know how to think about exactly when a group of living cells can be called a life.

Language isn’t the only medium by which existence of a human being can be determined. Language is probably the least precise (reliable) by which to decide if abortion is just a convenience, or a death sentence. Pregnancy is not just a physical phenomenon to be accepted or rejected.

I’m not making a statment here - just thinking out loud.

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I agree - but I wonder.

Ok, but that’s hardly a scientific determination.

You are mistaken…the founders of this country were not mostly Christians. See this quote from the LA Times, as an example of the error.

"The Christian right is trying to rewrite the history of the United States as part of its campaign to force its view of religion on others who ask merely to be left alone. According to this Orwellian revision, the Founding Fathers were devout Christians who envisioned a Christian nation.

Not true. The early presidents and patriots were generally deists or Unitarians, believing in some form of impersonal Providence but rejecting the divinity of Jesus and the relevance of the Bible." 1995

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Please do not argue with “the young woman - -family member - rapist” . Those special fates deserve our attention, but do not give us a general approval.

You yourself come with “proof texts” (out of Ex 21 - -) - - In the sixties , now quite sixty years ago we studied the anthropology of the Bible, also paying attention to Psalm 139 : 13 - 15 (The whole Psalm, not just the proof text !) and SDAs favourite, I Cor 6 : 19 - - -

    • and we, some then and now ( ! ) called “leftist liberals” in SDA terms and on SDA coffee tables - - came to a conclusion the GC at last recently has published, this after us learning about the “breath” of Gen 2, the “lump of cells”, the embryo in a state of amphibies (what please once again is a definition out of the Darvinist Haeckels “Biogenetic Principle” of late nineteenth centutry - ) - - all the arguments from SDAs - - -

Oh yes, the RCC agument ! (“That s all Catholic !!!”) So Hippokrates already was a Catholic ? And also Cicero ??? (Just with their statements on the matter ???