When asked if God was on the Union’s side during the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln remarked: “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”
In a recent article posted on ThinkProgress.org, Alex Zielinski attempted to bring God over to her side on the controversial issue of abortion.
The premise of Zielinski’s article, essentially, is a belief that its high time religion in the United States started accommodating abortion “rights.” She argues that there is a major disconnect between faith and “reproductive rights,” which poses a difficult dilemma for religious women across the United States.
Zielinski starts out her article with a story about a young woman named Ellen. Ellen grew up Catholic and pro-life, but finding herself facing a crisis pregnancy, she ultimately chose to get an abortion. However, her decision to abort is still a point of conflict for her, predominantly because of her Catholic faith.
As Ellen continues to battle with the aftermath of the decision she has made, she says; “I really wanted someone to talk to about what I had gone through who understands my religion. I felt so alone.”
Zielinski frames Ellen’s story in such a way that implies that religion in the United States, more particularly the Catholic Church, is using itself “as a tool to restrict reproductive health.” As a practicing Catholic, I find Zielinski’s disregard for the Church’s teachings very distasteful. The Catholic Church has always stood against abortion, and teaches that life starts at conception. Science supports this teaching.
Farther along in the article, Zielinski quotes several pro-abortion, religious persons: Rev. Debra W. Haffner, president of the Religious Institute, says, “The Religious Right tries to say it owns these issues, but the majority of religious Americans support sexual health.”
John O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice, says, “Among ordinary Catholics, reproductive rights and abortion are very accepted. It’s just the politics that warp social beliefs.”
Rev. Harry Knox, president of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, believes it’s up to the clergy to lead the way for incorporation of reproductive rights and religion.
What is Zielinski’s theme? She argues that the “Religious Right” should adopt a pro-abortion position because she says that a majority of religious Americans support legalized abortion. Now, I’m all for democracy as a system of government, but majority rule cannot dictate morality.
Alexis de Tocqueville, a French philosopher and political thinker of the 19th century, first contrived the phrase, “the tyranny of a majority,” in his book, Democracy in America. In it, he wrote: “The greatest dangers of the American Republics proceed from the omnipotence of the majority.”
It may or may not be true that the majority of religious Americans identify as pro-choice. Personally, I find it hard to believe that a majority of genuinely practicing Catholics or other Christian denominations would do so. However, that is beside the point. The point is this: Morality is not, contrary to what our relativist society believes, subjective.
Even if not a single person or institution on this planet was against abortion, it would still be wrong. As human persons, we cannot create morality. We only have the power to pursue what has already been laid before us. Science teaches us that life begins at conception. Natural law teaches us that killing another person is wrong. Abortion is the killing of the most innocent human beings in our society. Nothing society or public opinion says to the contrary can change that.
Don’t ask yourself if God is on your side. Ask yourself if you are on God’s side.