Tuesday, October 28, 2008

First Principles

The election nears. Early voting has been going on for a couple of weeks. I've been interested in politics for over a decade. And I'll admit it, my priorities have changed significantly since the last election.

The first principle of government is that it should protect our rights, particularly to life, liberty and property. I have believed this for over 15 years. I was certain that, in these United States, at least, the right to life was guaranteed and faced no political opposition. So, markets free of taxes, subsidies, guarantees, and regulations were what I was concerned about.

But between that day and this one, one of the Evangelical members of the online political/social disputation community (mentioned in the Obligatory Journey Post) complained about how Catholics worship the Blessed Virgin.

When I see so patently mistaken a position, I feel obligated to refute it. I was generally aware of the bases for the belief that Catholics worship Mary. So I explained that when we say Mary is "full of grace," we are careful to not say she is a source of grace, and that all grace, including hers, comes from God. I described prayer to Mary as a prayer request, and not worship. Then I went to explain her title, "Mother of God."

Let's look at the meaning of the word, "mother."

When a child is conceived of a given woman's oocyte (the technical term for what is often called an "egg cell"), then she is that child's mother. This describes Mary's relationship to Jesus; the Bible says that the Holy Spirit "caused her to conceive," not that it caused conception within her.

When a given woman carries a child through pregnancy and gives birth to that child, then she is that child's mother. In fact, in some jurisdictions, this takes precedence over the genetic relationship. And again, this describes Mary's relationship to Jesus.

When a given woman rears a child to adulthood, we often regard her as a surrogate mother or mother figure, regardless of whether the child is naturally hers or not. Again, this describes Mary's relationship to Jesus.

So, we should be able to agree that genetically, biologically, physiologically, and socially, Mary was Jesus' mother. Now, was there any part of the Incarnation for which Jesus was not God?

I knew that would shut him up. You cannot deny Christ's full and complete Godhood without denying salvation through Him.

It was probably the most important post I ever made there, because immediately after posing that question for my evangelical friend, another came to me: "Was there any part of the Incarnation for which Jesus was not human?"

You cannot deny Jesus' complete and full humanity without denying salvation through Him. And I could no longer regard abortion as merely a tragedy, but as a grave evil -- the intentional slaying of a human person.

If Jesus became human when He became a zygote, then so too did we. So too did all the zygotes put in freezers by IVF doctors. So too do all the zygotes to be cloned and sold like pork bellies for obscene profits and butchered in embryonic stem cell research so that we can grow tumors in lab rats and mice. So too are all the blastulae dumped out onto tampons and sanitary pads by the birth control pills that make it impossible for them to implant in the uterine endometrium. So too are all the embryoes poisoned and ejected by pharmaceutical abortafaecients, and those vacuumed out by curettage. So too are the foetuses ripped apart by D&E, and those that were stabbed in the head so that their brains could be vacuumed out, and the one shot to death in utero less than a month before it was due by its own mother.

I still say that the only reason that we should have government is that we may help each other secure our rights to life, liberty, and property. But of these, life alone cannot be restored once it is taken. This is why a government which does not act to secure the rights of us all -- born or unborn, in good health or terminally ill -- is not and can not be a legitimate government.