Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Biden's Remarks On "Life" Trigger Bishops' Response

Catholic bishops around the country have reacted strongly to remarks by Democratic vice-presidential nominee Joseph Biden on last Sunday's "Meet the Press" (full transcript). Asked by interviewer Tom Brokaw what he would tell Sen. Obama if he asked Biden when life begins, Biden replied:

I'd say, "Look, I know when it begins for me." It's a personal and private issue. For me, as a Roman Catholic, I'm prepared to accept the teachings of my church. But let me tell you. There are an awful lot of people of great confessional faiths--Protestants, Jews, Muslims and others--who have a different view. They believe in God as strongly as I do. They're intensely as religious as I am religious. They believe in their faith and they believe in human life, and they have differing views...

I'm prepared as a matter of faith to accept that life begins at the moment of conception. But that is my judgment. For me to impose that judgment on everyone else who is equally and maybe even more devout than I am seems to me is inappropriate in a pluralistic society....

MR. BROKAW: But if you, you believe that life begins at conception, and you've also voted for abortion rights...

SEN. BIDEN: No ... I voted against telling everyone else in the country that they have to accept my religiously based view that it's a moment of conception. There is a debate in our church, as Cardinal Egan would acknowledge, that's existed.... [W]hen Thomas Aquinas wrote "Summa Theologia," he said ... it didn't occur until quickening, 40 days after conception....

Catholic News Agency yesterday reported on responses to Biden's remarks by Madison, (WI) Bishop Robert C. Morlino and Archbishop of Denver Charles J. Chaput. Bishop Morlino discarded his prepared Sunday homily in order to make impromptu remarks on Biden. He said that Biden does not understand the difference between "religious faith and natural law." He explained: "Any human being -- regardless of his faith, his religious practice or having no faith -- any human being can reason to the fact that human life from conception unto natural death is sacred."

Denver's Archbishop Charles J. Chaput and auxiliary Bishop James D. Conley issued a statement similarly criticizing Biden, saying that while there may be a debate over when "personhood" begins, there is no doubt that human life begins at conception. They argued that: "Resistance to abortion is a matter of human rights, not religious opinion."


Anonymous said...

I wonder when the likes of Pelosi and Biden will stop making fools of themselves. They don't have to be Catholic. They can leave the Church anytime they like. All the Church asks is that they believe what the Church asks all her faithful to believe. If you have a problem with the Catholic Church, leave and join one of the 500,000 Protestant denominations out there -- or just start your own.

Also, reading Biden discuss medieval embryology and Thomism reminds one of his discussions regarding natural law with Justice Thomas: inane. Biden has always been an idiot and instead of putting his foot in his mouth again, he has somehow defied nature by inserting his entire body

Anonymous said...

Or....they can remain catholic if they like. I don't see where anonymous gets to decide what people call themselves.

Religion is a label we give ourselves. I can "be" muslim, change my mind and then "be" a follower of christ. Or I can change my mind again and now call myself an atheist.

I mean really, who gets to decide what labels should be applied to Joe Biden? Some guy living on a different continent named Joe Ratzinger or Joe Biden?

It's silly and arbitrary and it's too bad anonymous takes such offense because what Biden decides to call himself doesn't jive with anonymous' mental picture of who gets to apply the labels to whom.

-American Atheist

smallholder said...

Biden's approach is just plain wrong. If one believes that abortion is murder, one is obligated to stop it whether or not the murderer agrees.

I say this as someone who does NOT believe that a fetus is "ensouled" at conception. However, I recognize that the logical conclusion of the conceptionists is that people should not have a "choice" to commit murder.

Try this on for size:

"I personally believe that honor killings of raped relatives is murder, but many religious people believe that it is a religious duty to kill those girls for dishonoring their fathers - "But that is my judgment. For me to impose that judgment on everyone else who is equally and maybe even more devout than I am seems to me is inappropriate in a pluralistic society...."

jimbino said...

Bishops are idiots. I am an atheist scientist (is there any other kind?) who recognizes NOTHING as sacred, let alone "human life from conception unto natural death."

Furthermore, a woman's killing of her fetus in utero is self-defense. In our law, any person has the right to kill another who refuse to stop touching him for nine months straight and who, indeed, threatens the person with serious bodily harm.

Christian Atheist said...

You're 100% correct American Atheist!

Why can't I call myself a Christian Atheist if I want to? How about Muslim of the Jewish Faith? A Yankees/Red Sox fan?

If Biden wants to call himself Catholic, despite church teaching condemning abortion, which reaches back to the very first century, what's the big deal?

Whoever said the principal of non-contradiction made sense?

Probably some Platonist/Aristotelian.

Anonymous said...

As a scientist, who is agnostic on the question of god(s), I think reason alone, i.e., without seeking recourse to religious doctrine of any kind, tells us that one ought not to kill innocent human life.

As any embryologist worth their salt will tell you, at the moment of conception a radically distinct and unique human being comes into existence. If you think such persons can be killed at will, because they are not persons under the law, then let me introduce you to Hitler and Stalin.

Jimbino demonstrates his lack of scientific knowledge (and besmirches true scientists as well) by suggesting a scientist must be an atheist.

As any thinking person can tell you, not to mention a disciple of science, one cannot prove a negative.

jimbino said...

As any embryologist worth his salt will tell you, sperm and eggs are unique forms of human life as well, as are foreskins, hair and fingernails.

Furthermore, now that we know about the power of cloning, we realize that every cell in the human body could be used to create another person. Catholics will have to stop circumcising, cutting their hair and clipping their toenails if they want to preserve all human life.

Anonymous said...

Jimbino: are you a human being, or a mere amalgamation of millions of human lives?

Your argument reductio ad absurdum is woefully absurd.

We already know you cannot be an atheist (as one cannot prove the non-existence of god).

Now we know you are not a scientist either.

jimbino said...

Scientists and philologists understand that "atheism" merely means, as the famous 19th-Century French physicist Laplace, when asked by Napoleon where God fit into his model of the universe, said "I have no use for that hypothesis."

Superstitious and religious folk, viewing the world with fear and ignorance, have need of all sorts of hypotheses involving gods, virgin births, immaculate conceptions and assumptions of Mary.

Chimera said...

I like Biden's reply to Brokaw's objection: " No ... I voted against telling everyone else in the country that they have to accept my religiously based view..."

In other words, "I believe what I believe; you are free to believe what you believe. And neither of us gets to force his own personal beliefs on the other."

It sounds so damned simple and basic. Why won't people let it be?

Kagehi said...

Actually, Jimbino is right, your wrong. The simple reality is that there is nothing so unique about some collection of cells that merely have the "potential" to be a person that one *must* hold it sacred. This is so fundamentally absurd that its quite correct to point out that every cell in the body would qualify, not to mention the glaringly stupid fact that roughly 4 out of every 5 such "unique" people never get born anyway, and many that do only survive because we think they are so valuable that letting them die from genetic defects is too cruel, when that is precisely what would have happened without the same doctors that can't all agree on when the "right" time to call them a person is.

Worse, there is yet another "Biblical" definition, where by the soul can't, according to Hebrew doctrine (which would be Christian too if the relevant passages hadn't been distorted via the use of multi-purpose words, instead of the "specific" ones once used) that says you can't have a soul until you have blood, so therefor, any cluster of cells too small to develop a circulatory system *can't* be a person, at least from the perspective of the whole, "sacred as in ensouled", argument.

In the end, the relevant definition is going to either be, "When the cluster of cells reaches some point we define as a person.", and the only question is whether that point gets defined as, once implanted, once of X size, or once conceived, even if its in a fracking test tube along with 50 others that will never be implanted. I.e., its going to be based on how extreme a view is picked, and the consequence that has on what people can/can't do to control the situation without the state stepping in and saying, "You have to do what we tell you." All the idiot babble in the world over souls isn't going to produce a meaningful result, since no one using that definition has one single uniform and unchallengeable "definition", for when exactly that is.

Anonymous said...

Smallholder, this is not meant to be combative but I want to take issue with parts of your argument. Our laws recognize different degrees of "murder". I'm not a lawyer so I may miss something but there is 1st degree murder, 2nd degree, manslaughter, and I don't know what else. The whole idea of a fetus being murdered treats it as a simple black/white case of intentional murder of an adult. I would argue that the two cases of aborting a fetus and "honor" killing a woman, even if one recognizes them both as "murder", are deserving of different reactions.

Christian Atheist, I suspect you are making fun of me. Without trying to be combative, I would ask that all remember there is more than one pope and more than one kind of catholic. There is Eastern Orthodox, the Coptics and even some people here in the US who claim the bishopric of Rome in exile while not recognizing Joe Ratzinger as the one true pope (but they don't have many followers). I think the belief held by Biden would fit in pretty nicely somewhere in there and can therefore rightly call himself a catholic.

Hello Mr. Hitler and Mr. Stalin. Mr./Ms. Anon, allow me to introduce you to Mike Godwin. From Wikipedia: "Godwin's Law (also known as Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies) is an adage formulated by Mike Godwin in 1990. The law states:

"As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one."

Godwin's Law is often cited in online discussions as a deterrent against the use of arguments in the reductio ad Hitlerum form.

By 2007, The Economist had declared that "a good rule in most discussions is that the first person to call the other a Nazi automatically loses the argument." And in October 2007, the "Last Page" columnist in The Smithsonian stated that when an adversary uses an inappropriate Hitler or Nazi comparison, "you have only to say 'Godwin's Law' and a trapdoor falls open, plunging your rival into a pool of hungry crocodiles."

P.S. It's too bad Hitler's and Stalin's parents didn't have the good sense to abort them. And, one of the firs laws implemented by Hitler was the outlawing of abortion.

-American Atheist

Bob said...

AA, you nicely invoked Godwin to shut down the previous poster and then you invoked Hitler to make your point. You cannot as an individual have off-setting violations and so you are grossly in violation. An since you have by your actions declared Godwin innaplicable here, Hitler's abortion ban was merely a delaying tactic as he aborted later in life all he saw as inferior. So, your inference that Hitler and modern pro-lifers are similar, is ridiculous and very offensive.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bob!

-American Atheist

Anonymous said...

One more comment if I may addressed to smallholder.

I think your counter example should read:

"I personally believe that honor killings of raped relatives is a justified duty [murder], but many religious people believe that it is wrong [a religious duty] to kill those girls for dishonoring their fathers - "But that is my judgment. For me to impose my judgment on everyone else who is equally and maybe even more devout than I am seems to me is inappropriate in a pluralistic society...."

Because religious beliefs can be used to justify anything from "honor" killings to interfering with my wife or daughter's ability to have a safe and legal abortion, we see it has no value whatsoever in directing us in the proper course to these ethical issues.

Maybe in a typically Biden round-about, foot-in-the-mouth way, he was trying to say the same thing.

fav.or.it said...

Godwin's Law!!!

sent from: fav.or.it