Monday, June 11, 2012

Overruling God

new baby Political Sphere on the way--we're excited!
Back in 2003 I was at the state capitol in Austin to testify on DOMA legislation (which passed and was then essentially nullified by the US Supreme Court’s erroneous Lawrence v. TX decision a month later). That testimony was on a day when 700+ proponents of the legislation showed up in person. Only a relative handful testified, but the opposition gathered local forces and dragged everyone they could muster to come and testify against it. This meant that testimony took a long time. It took a long time for the state committee to get to us at all after other issues on the agenda. And then they postponed some of the testimony for several hours; I was among those. I eventually testified just before 2:00 AM.

While waiting in the hallway, I had a conversation with a couple of people waiting there even longer, to testify on an abortion issue. They wouldn’t be heard until our issue was fully covered—so probably somewhere around 4:00 AM. I’ve forgotten the name of the young woman I talked with; she was an attractive 30-ish woman lawyer. I came across her at the capitol once or twice more in the following years. I remember being very grateful that she was there, dedicated to work on that particular issue.
To do unpaid lobbying, like I was doing, takes energy and time, and I couldn’t give so much that my children’ schooling suffered (two were there with me that day—quite a field trip). So I felt like I needed to depend on someone like this dedicated young woman, who took it in stride that she was put off till almost morning to provide needed information on an important incremental issue in the pro-life debate.
And since then I still haven’t specialized in this issue. I have my stand; it is what I consider very pro-life (allowed but not encouraged in cases of rape and incest, where the woman was deprived of the choice whether to engage in the causal behavior; and in cases where the mother’s life is in jeopardy—which often puts the baby’s life in jeopardy as well).
Sometime maybe I’ll go into more detail about why I allow for exceptions; I think my viewpoint is entirely morally supportable. But that’s for another day. What has my interest today is a statement by the president that keeps echoing, I believe because it reveals something philosophical in his thinking that we should be wary of.
This is from some time ago (spring 2008, during the previous presidential campaign). He was talking about sex education, and using his daughters as examples: "I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby."
Let me rephrase that a little more fully: “I think God got it wrong; the natural consequence for having sex as an unmarried teenager is too severe; pregnancy should not be the result. And since God is wrong, I’m going to correct the error by intervention, making it easy for God’s mistake to be corrected with a simple surgical procedure so that the natural consequence doesn’t punish any young people against my will. And I will use my governmental position to make sure the taxpayer foots the bill for this God-caused error. So let it be written; so let it be done.” (To make it actually sound like Obama, add a liberal supply of umms and uhs to the above version, and take out the Yul Brynner quote.)
It is the assumption that God got it wrong and that Obama therefore has the right to impose the correction that I find very troubling. If he is willing to overrule God on something so basic and well-known as the fact that pregnancy can result from sex, what would be the limits of his assumed authority?

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