Pope Pelosi: Vicar of Pro-Abortion

By: Robert E. Meyer

Nancy Pelosi’s recent comments on the television interview program Meet The Press, raised self-interested spin to a new level of deceit.

When Pelosi was asked to comment about Barrack Obama’s answer to Pastor Rick Warren’s question concerning when human life begins (Obama said that the answer was “above his pay grade”), Pelosi digressed into an amateur theologian’s faux pas.

Speaker Pelosi said that “as an ardent, practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time. And what I know is, over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition. And Senator–St. Augustine said at three months. We don’t know. The point is, is that it shouldn’t have an impact on the woman’s right to choose.”

Pelosi went on to suggest that the Roman Catholic Church has doctrinally understood life to begin at conception for only the past half-century, implying that her ambiguous position, as well as Obama’s, represents the normative historical position.

Of course, many functionaries in the church rushed for the microphones to verbally reprimand Pelosi for expounding such historical folly on public airwaves.

Now admittedly, I’m no expert of the writing on St. Augustine, or any of the other major church doctors. Yet it’s obvious that Pelosi twisted the intentions of these individuals concerning their views on the sanctity of human life.

If Augustine said that life began at three months, it was because that particular time period was generally a point of the pregnancy known as “the quickening.” It is roughly the time in which movement could first be detected in the mother’s womb.

At that time in history, without the aid of today’s sophisticated medical technology, it was impossible to observe the presence of life before its demonstrable physical manifestations. The point is that Augustine, along with other church doctors, gave protection to human life as soon as they could ascertain its existence.

Pelosi would have us believe that Augustine and others had some nuanced view that a clump of cells couldn’t possible be considered a human life. When contemporary dignitaries cling to ancient definitions, as Pelosi conveniently does, their views are not based on theology, or science, but on a philosophical approach which distinguishes between life as biological humanness, as opposed to life as merely functional personhood. The latter is not a view of man based on the idea that all persons are created in God’s image, but one that equates true humanity with social utility and functional potential.

Secularists often point to Galileo’s persecution by the church as an example of blind dogmatism stubbornly opposing the progress of science. Churchmen of his time had accepted earlier scientific models of the universe, viewing the earth as the center of the universe, and incorporating them into doctrine, despite the fact that there was no biblical necessity for taking such rigid positions. But how would you feel about some politician who proclaimed that the earth was the center of the universe, based on the idea that church doctors held this view throughout centuries of theological history?

Here is the real flaw in Pelosi’s view and Obama nuanced perspective (or articulate evasiveness)—and it has nothing to do with whether Augustine was misused, or the church’s historical position was misrepresented. If we can understand and can accept that some people may legitimately hold the position of uncertainty about when life begins, we should expect them to act as such. If I’m beating you over the head with a small stick, should I continue based on the belief that I don’t know for sure if I’m actually hurting you or not? Should I stop because it might be hurting you? Does the answer change if I’m unable to tell you if I’m being hurt?

If one does not know when human life begins, they must err on the side of caution with something as precious as life hanging in the balance, rather than acting as thought they actually do know, yet claim otherwise.

Even if Pelosi countenances Augustine to hold life begins at three months, and not at conception, how does it justify supporting partial-birth abortion at eight months? One must think with forked mind to embrace such inconsistencies.

At the heart of this controversy and semantic jousting, is the distinction in how each faction understands liberty. In one case, maximum person license is seen as a virtue. In the other case, how we steward our liberty is the key to retaining it. The pro-choice position on abortion is about personal autonomy regardless of when life begins.

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