If you’ve been following along, you know that I’m in the midst of downloading updates here in dial-up land, which gives me time to peruse the net and blog. THIS is what I found that has me steamed today…
As of 3.30.09, the Episcopal Divinity School of Cambridge has elected Dr. Katherine Ragsdale as its new dean. Hat tip to Via Media for the info:
I went to Ragsdale’s blog site to check the information out for myself, and guess what? That page is no longer active. Imagine that. But this page was…
But just in case this page also disappears, let me pull out a few juicy tidbits…
This was a talk delivered by Rev. Katherine Ragsdale to the Mars Hill Forum, 1.25.96:
“I am, of course, a pro-choice Christian.” I think, to be Christian, has to do more with surrendering our choices and following the will of God. It was the first choice (to eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge) that brought sin into the world. It would seem to me obvious that as humans our choices are often what get us into trouble.
“Are we working to reduce joblessness, to support wages that are sufficient to support families, to see that safe and affordable child care is available to every family that needs it, to provide adequate parental leave, and to assure that everyone has access to adequate health care?…Yet, although we may hold these foundational beliefs in common, it is also true that there are differences of opinion between faith groups, and even within faith groups, about what it means to put these beliefs into practice.” This passage really seemed weird to me, until I realized that Ragsdale spends a lot of time in Washington lobbying (perhaps not the correct word, but seems accurate to me) on social issues. It seems to me that these are issues that are better tackled by society/government than by religious institutions. I do believe that where churches feel they are drawn into this work missionally (such as child care), they can do marvelous things that no government agency can hope to imitate. I want to make sure to mention that doing these things does not get anyone closer to heaven – we are sinners PERIOD. But it is a marvelous gift to others (and perhaps mostly to ourselves) to share the love of God by serving them.
“I suspect we agree on the marvelous goodness of God the Creator. I imagine you agree with me that all life, indeed all of creation, is sacred and that our stewardship of it is a holy trust given us by God in creation……We differ as to whether faithful application of our beliefs requires vegetarianism, or tithing, or pacifism. We differ about whether capitalism is compatible with Christian faith and life. We disagree about whether conscientious objection to military service should be merely an option, or, instead, a requirement, of all Christians…We disagree about whether women should be ordained, or infants Baptized, or whether to use wine or grape juice when we gather at table together.” God is great. All life and all creation is sacred. Just as God gave the Israelites the Torah and the 10 Commandments, we have the Holy Bible as our guidelines. Luckily, it is not left up to us humans and our choices to decide whether a thing is right or wrong, we have God’s Word to guide us. Sola Scriptura.
“…anti-choice Christians…” I think the term is PRO-LIFE Christians! “Why can you not show the same respect for others?” Silly woman, that is just the point. Pro-Life respects the embryo, just as much as the adult.
“I imagine you will respond in one of two ways. That you will tell me that the Bible prohibits abortion and so there is no room for individual conscience. Yet surely you know this is not true. The Bible is silent on the subject. Or, perhaps you will try to tell me that abortion is the taking of a human life and this is proscribed by the Bible. Again, I would point out first that the Bible is, indeed, not so clear that it is always wrong to take a life. But, more to the point, to attribute personhood to a fetus begs the question…The Bible does not make a claim for fetal personhood; indeed, it suggests otherwise.” A few Bible passages for you lady:
You shall not murder (Exodus 20:13).
Tell me, what isn’t clear about this Commandment. Crystal clear, I would say. It is only when mankind tries to “interpret” what God means that we get into trouble. Sola Scriptura.
Did not he who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same one form us both within our mothers? (Job 31:15).
Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother’s breast. From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God (Psalm 22:9-10).
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:13-16).
This is what the LORD says—he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you…(Isaiah 44:2).
Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all you who remain of the house of Israel, you whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried since your birth. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you (Isaiah 46:3-4).
And now the LORD says—he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD and my God has been my strength (Isaiah 49:5).
The word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:4-5).
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy” (Luke 1:41-42, 44).
How this woman can suggest that the Bible doesn’t say anything about unborn children, or fetal personhood as she calls it, is beyond me. I think these Bible passages are pretty clear about God’s involvement in the creation and development of a baby. Perhaps we need to buy Dr. Ragsdale a new Bible or even an audio Bible. She obviously isn’t reading the one she has. Sola Scriptura.
“You who argue against abortion in the name of God must stand up and clearly and unequivocally oppose this violence and the violent rhetoric that spawns it. This violence is enacted in the name of pro-life Christians. This violence is perpetrated in your name. If you do not clearly, constantly, and publicly denounce this violence, you implicitly condone it. Furthermore, the name of God is invoked in support of this terrorism. That, it seems to me, is blasphemy. It is not something I would like to have to answer for at the day of judgment.”
I do oppose the violence that she talks about (killing & injuring abortion providers). It’s just that I oppose the violence against the babies as well. As for answering to God on Judgement Day, I would certainly not want to show up with the blood of all of those aborted babies on my hands.
This is a hard topic. And I will admit that 20 years ago my opinions were different. But difficulty in conceiving, three miscarriages, and almost losing one of my live-born children have changed my ideas on the sanctity of life. So now I believe that once a sperm and an egg have conjoined, there is a unique and valuable life, viable or not. And so Dr Ragsdale, to you I would say:
An embryo is a blessing.
A fetus is a blessing.
An unborn child is a blessing.
A child who is miscarried is a blessing.
A child who is still-born is a blessing.
A child who is born with only moments to live is a blessing.
A child who is born developementally disabled is a blessing.
Even a child who was conceived in sin or may cause the mother’s health to be in jeopardy is a blessing. (This is especially a hard one. I can’t necessarily understand or justify it, but that is where I have to have faith in God’s love and mercy.)
It’s not about choice – it is about faith. Either you trust God and His Word, or you don’t. You can’t re-write it, you can’t say, “but He meant something else,” and you can’t say He was wrong. Sola Scriptura.
Until next time…
UPDATE: I happened to find a lovely post on The Anchoress that fit in here perfectly.