Sunday, February 26, 2006


Day before my defense blogging

Tommorrow is the big day: I hope I will soon be Dr. DAS Alberich, the 10th.

Anyway -- I know I've been lax about blogging the weekly portion.

This past week's was a biggie, though: Mashpatim. It's one thing to have all sorts of moral principles or to talk about living by God's law. But this portion, with all it's details shows that living by any law involves a forest of statutes and case law. Anybody who thinks that somehow a few magical bits of legislation that prohibit certain sex acts some people find "icky" will keep us all away from evil is deluded. And any morality that somehow can only tell you what is good and what is evil without managing to get into details about which choices are better in the real world, where sometimes there are no truly good choices of action (or any morality which throws its hands into the air and says -- "well, there are no truly good choices ... this happens, this is why we say everyone is tainted by sin and cannot repent or manage to do the right thing on their own accord") is woefully insufficient.

In order to live a life on the good path, you sometimes need to make choices -- between two seemingly good paths (a la Frost) or two seemingly bad ones. And the choice makes all the difference.

Meanwhile, speaking of those who claim we need morality enforced by legislation including the banning of abortion -- how do they square their so-called "Old Testament" morality with, what must be from their perspective, the Bible's (in Mashpatim) rather cavalier treatment of the life of a fetus:

"If men quarrel, and hurt a pregnant woman, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no further harm follows; he shall be surely punished, according to what the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine" (Exodus 21:22).

Some translations even leave out the word "further" which may or may not be implied by the Hebrew text.

Does this sound like how the Bible would treat a fetus if it were a human life? No ... if the fetus were considered part of the covenant (religious social contract), the actions of the men fighting would be manslaughter (open and shut case). Since the actions are not manslaughter -- a person must not have been slaughtered. This is not to say that Judaism says abortion is always ok (although in many cases Judaism allows abortion ... in some cases, it requires it!), but it does say something about how the Bible views the fetus.

So if the fetus is not part of the religious social contract, why should it be part of the secular one (as far as those who would want to base our laws on "Judeo-Christian" religious laws)? And if it's not such a part, by what rights does the government have to tell you that you cannot have a generally safe medical procedure done on your body. Right to privacy? Sounds like a matter of who "owns" your body ... if you own your body, you can do what you need to to maintain it ... last I checked nobody else owns your body ... we have a little thing called the 13th amendment after all (although some would like to chip away at that one, e.g. by eliminating the law of the soild, etc. -- frightening stuff if you ask me).

Just wanted to drop you a quick word of encouragement.

Good luck, future Dr. DAS!
Rock on!
Best regards from NY! » »
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