Tuesday, August 3, 2004

Slavery and Abortion: Two Sides of the Same Coin

We're starting to see the comparison of abortion to slavery become more common. It makes sense. Slavery is another moral issue that only Christians cared about at first, divided families and friends, was legal until enough people put their feet down, and destroyed people in the name of "ownership." Recently I have seen it specifically mentioned in two places.

Patrick Madrid at Envoy magazine's blog, Envoy Encore briefly discusses Biblical principles against abortion and opens the article with this reminder.
NOT SINCE THE CIVIL WAR crisis over slavery has a controversial moral issue so divided Americans and roiled society as has abortion. The deliberate killing of an unborn child through an abortion, though currently enjoying the "legitimacy" of legality in this country (just as slavery was once also legal), is, nonetheless, a grave evil that must be opposed.

The Mighty Barrister dissects a recent interview of John Kerry by Peter Jennings with his usual style and pointedly makes us aware of the parallels.
There was a period of time in the life of this country when another group of human beings were not considered persons. See, for example, Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 U.S., 1856, where the Supreme Court announced that slaves were not "men" as defined in the Declaration of Independence, and were not "people" as declared in the Constitution, stating, "When the Constitution was adopted, they (blacks) were not regarded in any of the States as members of the community which constituted the State, and were not numbered among its 'people or citizens.' Consequently, the special rights and immunities guarantied to citizens do not apply to them."

You can't ignore the obvious parallels between the way the unborn are treated today, and the way Americans of African lineage were treated 150 years ago. And you can't ignore the fact that John Kerry uses practically the same language to describe the unborn as white racists used to describe blacks -- they're not "people."

This may be the startling idea that is needed to shock sense back into pro-abortion people. The same sorts of arguments were used to support slavery as to support abortion. If nothing else, these comparisons should give renewed energy to pro-life supporters. Slavery was big business and entrenched in Western civilization at one time. It was only by tenacity and sticking to what they knew was true in the face of any other arguments that Christians got the ball rolling for stopping slavery. We can do the same.

An excellent resource for finding out about the role of Christians in ending slavery (and other positive impacts of Christianity on our society) is Christianity on Trial: Arguments Against Anti-Religious Bigotry by Vincent Carroll and David Shiflett.

UPDATE: I can't believe I missed this as I am a dedicated Catholic Analysis fan but Oswald Sobrino wrote a fabulous article about this just yesterday. He points out all the parallels between the struggles faced by Abraham Lincoln and George Bush. Thanks to Jeff Miller for pointing this out.

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