BREAKING DOWN CARL SAGAN’S LOGIC ON ABORTION Part 23 “A woman’s right to reproductive freedom is protected, the court ruled, by constitutional guarantees of privacy” (My 1995 correspondence with Sagan)

The last few posts have dealt with material from Adrian Rogers and Francis Schaeffer, But today Bernard Nathanson testimony is given.


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Francis Schaeffer and Adrian Rogers


Carl Sagan pictured below:

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Recently I have been revisiting my correspondence in 1995 with the famous astronomer Carl Sagan who I had the privilege to correspond with in 1994, 1995 and 1996. In 1996 I had a chance to respond to his December 5, 1995letter on January 10, 1996 and I never heard back from him again since his cancer returned and he passed away later in 1996. Below is what Carl Sagan wrote to me in his December 5, 1995 letter:

Thanks for your recent letter about evolution and abortion. The correlation is hardly one to one; there are evolutionists who are anti-abortion and anti-evolutionists who are pro-abortion.You argue that God exists because otherwise we could not understand the world in our consciousness. But if you think God is necessary to understand the world, then why do you not ask the next question of where God came from? And if you say “God was always here,” why not say that the universe was always here? On abortion, my views are contained in the enclosed article (Sagan, Carl and Ann Druyan {1990}, “The Question of Abortion,” Parade Magazine, April 22.)

I was introduced to when reading a book by Francis Schaeffer called HE IS THERE AND HE IS NOT SILENT written in 1968. 

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Francis Schaeffer

I was blessed with the opportunity to correspond with Dr. Sagan, and in his December 5, 1995 letter Dr. Sagan went on to tell me that he was enclosing his article “The Question of Abortion: A Search for Answers”by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan. I am going to respond to several points made in that article. Here is a portion of Sagan’s article (here is a link to the whole article):

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(both Adrian Rogers and Francis Schaeffer mentioned Carl Sagan in their books and that prompted me to write Sagan and expose him to their views.

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Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan pictured above

 “The Question of Abortion: A Search for Answers”

by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan

For the complete text, including illustrations, introductory quote, footnotes, and commentary on the reaction to the originally published article see Billions and Billions.

The issue had been decided years ago. The court had chosen the middle ground. You’d think the fight was over. Instead, there are mass rallies, bombings and intimidation, murders of workers at abortion clinics, arrests, intense lobbying, legislative drama, Congressional hearings, Supreme Court decisions, major political parties almost defining themselves on the issue, and clerics threatening politicians with perdition. Partisans fling accusations of hypocrisy and murder. The intent of the Constitution and the will of God are equally invoked. Doubtful arguments are trotted out as certitudes. The contending factions call on science to bolster their positions. Families are divided, husbands and wives agree not to discuss it, old friends are no longer speaking. Politicians check the latest polls to discover the dictates of their consciences. Amid all the shouting, it is hard for the adversaries to hear one another. Opinions are polarized. Minds are closed.

 

Is it wrong to abort a pregnancy? Always? Sometimes? Never? How do we decide? We wrote this article to understand better what the contending views are and to see if we ourselves could find a position that would satisfy us both. Is there no middle ground? We had to weigh the arguments of both sides for consistency and to pose test cases, some of which are purely hypothetical. If in some of these tests we seem to go too far, we ask the reader to be patient with us–we’re trying to stress the various positions to the breaking point to see their weaknesses and where they fail.

In contemplative moments, nearly everyone recognizes that the issue is not wholly one-sided. Many partisans of differing views, we find, feel some disquiet, some unease when confronting what’s behind the opposing arguments. (This is partly why such confrontations are avoided.) And the issue surely touches on deep questions: What are our responses to one another? Should we permit the state to intrude into the most intimate and personal aspects of our lives? Where are the boundaries of freedom? What does it mean to be human?

Of the many actual points of view, it is widely held–especially in the media, which rarely have the time or the inclination to make fine distinctions–that there are only two: “pro-choice” and “pro-life.” This is what the two principal warring camps like to call themselves, and that’s what we’ll call them here. In the simplest characterization, a pro-choicer would hold that the decision to abort a pregnancy is to be made only by the woman; the state has no right to interfere. And a pro-lifer would hold that, from the moment of conception, the embryo or fetus is alive; that this life imposes on us a moral obligation to preserve it; and that abortion is tantamount to murder. Both names–pro-choice and pro-life–were picked with an eye toward influencing those whose minds are not yet made up: Few people wish to be counted either as being against freedom of choice or as opposed to life. Indeed, freedom and life are two of our most cherished values, and here they seem to be in fundamental conflict.

Let’s consider these two absolutist positions in turn. A newborn baby is surely the same being it was just before birth. There ‘s good evidence that a late-term fetus responds to sound–including music, but especially its mother’s voice. It can suck its thumb or do a somersault. Occasionally, it generates adult brain-wave patterns. Some people claim to remember being born, or even the uterine environment. Perhaps there is thought in the womb. It’s hard to maintain that a transformation to full personhood happens abruptly at the moment of birth. Why, then, should it be murder to kill an infant the day after it was born but not the day before?

As a practical matter, this isn’t very important: Less than 1 percent of all tabulated abortions in the United States are listed in the last three months of pregnancy (and, on closer investigation, most such reports turn out to be due to miscarriage or miscalculation). But third-trimester abortions provide a test of the limits of the pro-choice point of view. Does a woman’s “innate right to control her own body” encompass the right to kill a near-term fetus who is, for all intents and purposes, identical to a newborn child?

We believe that many supporters of reproductive freedom are troubled at least occasionally by this question. But they are reluctant to raise it because it is the beginning of a slippery slope. If it is impermissible to abort a pregnancy in the ninth month, what about the eighth, seventh, sixth … ? Once we acknowledge that the state can interfere at any time in the pregnancy, doesn’t it follow that the state can interfere at all times?

Abortion and the slippery slope argument above

This conjures up the specter of predominantly male, predominantly affluent legislators telling poor women they must bear and raise alone children they cannot afford to bring up; forcing teenagers to bear children they are not emotionally prepared to deal with; saying to women who wish for a career that they must give up their dreams, stay home, and bring up babies; and, worst of all, condemning victims of rape and incest to carry and nurture the offspring of their assailants. Legislative prohibitions on abortion arouse the suspicion that their real intent is to control the independence and sexuality of women…

And yet, by consensus, all of us think it proper that there be prohibitions against, and penalties exacted for, murder. It would be a flimsy defense if the murderer pleads that this is just between him and his victim and none of the government’s business. If killing a fetus is truly killing a human being, is it not the duty of the state to prevent it? Indeed, one of the chief functions of government is to protect the weak from the strong.

If we do not oppose abortion at some stage of pregnancy, is there not a danger of dismissing an entire category of human beings as unworthy of our protection and respect? And isn’t that dismissal the hallmark of sexism, racism, nationalism, and religious fanaticism? Shouldn’t those dedicated to fighting such injustices be scrupulously careful not to embrace another?

Adrian Rogers’ sermon on animal rights refutes Sagan here

There is no right to life in any society on Earth today, nor has there been at any former time… : We raise farm animals for slaughter; destroy forests; pollute rivers and lakes until no fish can live there; kill deer and elk for sport, leopards for the pelts, and whales for fertilizer; entrap dolphins, gasping and writhing, in great tuna nets; club seal pups to death; and render a species extinct every day. All these beasts and vegetables are as alive as we. What is (allegedly) protected is not life, but human life.

Genesis 3 defines being human

And even with that protection, casual murder is an urban commonplace, and we wage “conventional” wars with tolls so terrible that we are, most of us, afraid to consider them very deeply… That protection, that right to life, eludes the 40,000 children under five who die on our planet each day from preventable starvation, dehydration, disease, and neglect.

Those who assert a “right to life” are for (at most) not just any kind of life, but for–particularly and uniquely—human life. So they too, like pro-choicers, must decide what distinguishes a human being from other animals and when, during gestation, the uniquely human qualities–whatever they are–emerge.

The Bible talks about the differences between humans and animals

Despite many claims to the contrary, life does not begin at conception: It is an unbroken chain that stretches back nearly to the origin of the Earth, 4.6 billion years ago. Nor does human life begin at conception: It is an unbroken chain dating back to the origin of our species, hundreds of thousands of years ago. Every human sperm and egg is, beyond the shadow of a doubt, alive. They are not human beings, of course. However, it could be argued that neither is a fertilized egg.

In some animals, an egg develops into a healthy adult without benefit of a sperm cell. But not, so far as we know, among humans. A sperm and an unfertilized egg jointly comprise the full genetic blueprint for a human being. Under certain circumstances, after fertilization, they can develop into a baby. But most fertilized eggs are spontaneously miscarried. Development into a baby is by no means guaranteed. Neither a sperm and egg separately, nor a fertilized egg, is more than a potential baby or a potential adult. So if a sperm and egg are as human as the fertilized egg produced by their union, and if it is murder to destroy a fertilized egg–despite the fact that it’s only potentially a baby–why isn’t it murder to destroy a sperm or an egg?

Hundreds of millions of sperm cells (top speed with tails lashing: five inches per hour) are produced in an average human ejaculation. A healthy young man can produce in a week or two enough spermatozoa to double the human population of the Earth. So is masturbation mass murder? How about nocturnal emissions or just plain sex? When the unfertilized egg is expelled each month, has someone died? Should we mourn all those spontaneous miscarriages? Many lower animals can be grown in a laboratory from a single body cell. Human cells can be cloned… In light of such cloning technology, would we be committing mass murder by destroying any potentially clonable cells? By shedding a drop of blood?

 

All human sperm and eggs are genetic halves of “potential” human beings. Should heroic efforts be made to save and preserve all of them, everywhere, because of this “potential”? Is failure to do so immoral or criminal? Of course, there’s a difference between taking a life and failing to save it. And there’s a big difference between the probability of survival of a sperm cell and that of a fertilized egg. But the absurdity of a corps of high-minded semen-preservers moves us to wonder whether a fertilized egg’s mere “potential” to become a baby really does make destroying it murder.

Opponents of abortion worry that, once abortion is permissible immediately after conception, no argument will restrict it at any later time in the pregnancy. Then, they fear, one day it will be permissible to murder a fetus that is unambiguously a human being. Both pro-choicers and pro-lifers (at least some of them) are pushed toward absolutist positions by parallel fears of the slippery slope.

 

Another slippery slope is reached by those pro-lifers who are willing to make an exception in the agonizing case of a pregnancy resulting from rape or incest. But why should the right to live depend on the circumstances of conception? If the same child were to result, can the state ordain life for the offspring of a lawful union but death for one conceived by force or coercion? How can this be just? And if exceptions are extended to such a fetus, why should they be withheld from any other fetus? This is part of the reason some pro-lifers adopt what many others consider the outrageous posture of opposing abortions under any and all circumstances–only excepting, perhaps, when the life of the mother is in danger.

By far the most common reason for abortion worldwide is birth control. So shouldn’t opponents of abortion be handing out contraceptives and teaching school children how to use them? That would be an effective way to reduce the number of abortions. Instead, the United States is far behind other nations in the development of safe and effective methods of birth control–and, in many cases, opposition to such research (and to sex education) has come from the same people who oppose abortions.continue on to Part 3

For the complete text, including illustrations, introductory quote, footnotes, and commentary on the reaction to the originally published article see Billions and Billions.

The attempt to find an ethically sound and unambiguous judgment on when, if ever, abortion is permissible has deep historical roots. Often, especially in Christian tradition, such attempts were connected with the question of when the soul enters the body–a matter not readily amenable to scientific investigation and an issue of controversy even among learned theologians. Ensoulment has been asserted to occur in the sperm before conception, at conception, at the time of “quickening” (when the mother is first able to feel the fetus stirring within her), and at birth. Or even later.

Different religions have different teachings. Among hunter-gatherers, there are usually no prohibitions against abortion, and it was common in ancient Greece and Rome. In contrast, the more severe Assyrians impaled women on stakes for attempting abortion. The Jewish Talmud teaches that the fetus is not a person and has no rights. The Old and New Testaments–rich in astonishingly detailed prohibitions on dress, diet, and permissible words–contain not a word specifically prohibiting abortion. The only passage that’s remotely relevant (Exodus 21:22) decrees that if there’s a fight and a woman bystander should accidentally be injured and made to miscarry, the assailant must pay a fine.

Neither St. Augustine nor St. Thomas Aquinas considered early-term abortion to be homicide (the latter on the grounds that the embryo doesn’t look human). This view was embraced by the Church in the Council of Vienne in 1312, and has never been repudiated. The Catholic Church’s first and long-standing collection of canon law (according to the leading historian of the Church’s teaching on abortion, John Connery, S.J.) held that abortion was homicide only after the fetus was already “formed”–roughly, the end of the first trimester.

But when sperm cells were examined in the seventeenth century by the first microscopes, they were thought to show a fully formed human being. An old idea of the homunculus was resuscitated–in which within each sperm cell was a fully formed tiny human, within whose testes were innumerable other homunculi, etc., ad infinitum. In part through this misinterpretation of scientific data, in 1869 abortion at any time for any reason became grounds for excommunication. It is surprising to most Catholics and others to discover that the date was not much earlier.

From colonial times to the nineteenth century, the choice in the United States was the woman’s until “quickening.” An abortion in the first or even second trimester was at worst a misdemeanor. Convictions were rarely sought and almost impossible to obtain, because they depended entirely on the woman’s own testimony of whether she had felt quickening, and because of the jury’s distaste for prosecuting a woman for exercising her right to choose. In 1800 there was not, so far as is known, a single statute in the United States concerning abortion. Advertisements for drugs to induce abortion could be found in virtually every newspaper and even in many church publications–although the language used was suitably euphemistic, if widely understood.

But by 1900, abortion had been banned at any time in pregnancy by every state in the Union, except when necessary to save the woman’s life. What happened to bring about so striking a reversal? Religion had little to do with it.Drastic economic and social conversions were turning this country from an agrarian to an urban-industrial society. America was in the process of changing from having one of the highest birthrates in the world to one of the lowest. Abortion certainly played a role and stimulated forces to suppress it.

 

One of the most significant of these forces was the medical profession. Up to the mid-nineteenth century, medicine was an uncertified, unsupervised business. Anyone could hang up a shingle and call himself (or herself) a doctor. With the rise of a new, university-educated medical elite, anxious to enhance the status and influence of physicians, the American Medical Association was formed. In its first decade, the AMA began lobbying against abortions performed by anyone except licensed physicians. New knowledge of embryology, the physicians said, had shown the fetus to be human even before quickening.

Their assault on abortion was motivated not by concern for the health of the woman but, they claimed, for the welfare of the fetus. You had to be a physician to know when abortion was morally justified, because the question depended on scientific and medical facts understood only by physicians. At the same time, women were effectively excluded from the medical schools, where such arcane knowledge could be acquired. So, as things worked out, women had almost nothing to say about terminating their own pregnancies. It was also up to the physician to decide if the pregnancy posed a threat to the woman, and it was entirely at his discretion to determine what was and was not a threat. For the rich woman, the threat might be a threat to her emotional tranquillity or even to her lifestyle. The poor woman was often forced to resort to the back alley or the coat hanger.

This was the law until the 1960s, when a coalition of individuals and organizations, the AMA now among them, sought to overturn it and to reinstate the more traditional values that were to be embodied in Roe v. Wade.continue on to Part 4

If you deliberately kill a human being, it’s called murder. If you deliberately kill a chimpanzee–biologically, our closest relative, sharing 99.6 percent of our active genes–whatever else it is, it’s not murder. To date, murder uniquely applies to killing human beings. Therefore, the question of when personhood (or, if we like, ensoulment) arises is key to the abortion debate. When does the fetus become human? When do distinct and characteristic human qualities emerge?

Section 8 Sperm journey to becoming Human 

We recognize that specifying a precise moment will overlook individual differences. Therefore, if we must draw a line, it ought to be drawn conservatively–that is, on the early side. There are people who object to having to set some numerical limit, and we share their disquiet; but if there is to be a law on this matter, and it is to effect some useful compromise between the two absolutist positions, it must specify, at least roughly, a time of transition to personhood.

Every one of us began from a dot. A fertilized egg is roughly the size of the period at the end of this sentence. The momentous meeting of sperm and egg generally occurs in one of the two fallopian tubes. One cell becomes two, two become four, and so on—an exponentiation of base-2 arithmetic. By the tenth day the fertilized egg has become a kind of hollow sphere wandering off to another realm: the womb. It destroys tissue in its path. It sucks blood from capillaries. It bathes itself in maternal blood, from which it extracts oxygen and nutrients. It establishes itself as a kind of parasite on the walls of the uterus.By the third week, around the time of the first missed menstrual period, the forming embryo is about 2 millimeters long and is developing various body parts. Only at this stage does it begin to be dependent on a rudimentary placenta. It looks a little like a segmented worm.By the end of the fourth week, it’s about 5 millimeters (about 1/5 inch) long. It’s recognizable now as a vertebrate, its tube-shaped heart is beginning to beat, something like the gill arches of a fish or an amphibian become conspicuous, and there is a pronounced tail. It looks rather like a newt or a tadpole. This is the end of the first month after conception.By the fifth week, the gross divisions of the brain can be distinguished. What will later develop into eyes are apparent, and little buds appear—on their way to becoming arms and legs.By the sixth week, the embryo is 13 millimeteres (about ½ inch) long. The eyes are still on the side of the head, as in most animals, and the reptilian face has connected slits where the mouth and nose eventually will be.By the end of the seventh week, the tail is almost gone, and sexual characteristics can be discerned (although both sexes look female). The face is mammalian but somewhat piglike.By the end of the eighth week, the face resembles that of a primate but is still not quite human. Most of the human body parts are present in their essentials. Some lower brain anatomy is well-developed. The fetus shows some reflex response to delicate stimulation.By the tenth week, the face has an unmistakably human cast. It is beginning to be possible to distinguish males from females. Nails and major bone structures are not apparent until the third month.By the fourth month, you can tell the face of one fetus from that of another. Quickening is most commonly felt in the fifth month. The bronchioles of the lungs do not begin developing until approximately the sixth month, the alveoli still later.

So, if only a person can be murdered, when does the fetus attain personhood? When its face becomes distinctly human, near the end of the first trimester? When the fetus becomes responsive to stimuli–again, at the end of the first trimester? When it becomes active enough to be felt as quickening, typically in the middle of the second trimester? When the lungs have reached a stage of development sufficient that the fetus might, just conceivably, be able to breathe on its own in the outside air?

The trouble with these particular developmental milestones is not just that they’re arbitrary. More troubling is the fact that none of them involves uniquely humancharacteristics–apart from the superficial matter of facial appearance. All animals respond to stimuli and move of their own volition. Large numbers are able to breathe. But that doesn’t stop us from slaughtering them by the billions. Reflexes and motion are not what make us human.

Section 9 Sagan’s conclusion based on arbitrary choice of the presence of thought by unborn baby

Other animals have advantages over us–in speed, strength, endurance, climbing or burrowing skills, camouflage, sight or smell or hearing, mastery of the air or water. Our one great advantage, the secret of our success, is thought–characteristically human thought. We are able to think things through, imagine events yet to occur, figure things out. That’s how we invented agriculture and civilization. Thought is our blessing and our curse, and it makes us who we are.

Thinking occurs, of course, in the brain–principally in the top layers of the convoluted “gray matter” called the cerebral cortex. The roughly 100 billion neurons in the brain constitute the material basis of thought. The neurons are connected to each other, and their linkups play a major role in what we experience as thinking. But large-scale linking up of neurons doesn’t begin until the 24th to 27th week of pregnancy–the sixth month.

By placing harmless electrodes on a subject’s head, scientists can measure the electrical activity produced by the network of neurons inside the skull. Different kinds of mental activity show different kinds of brain waves. But brain waves with regular patterns typical of adult human brains do not appear in the fetus until about the 30th week of pregnancy–near the beginning of the third trimester. Fetuses younger than this–however alive and active they may be–lack the necessary brain architecture. They cannot yet think.

Acquiescing in the killing of any living creature, especially one that might later become a baby, is troublesome and painful. But we’ve rejected the extremes of “always” and “never,” and this puts us–like it or not–on the slippery slope. If we are forced to choose a developmental criterion, then this is where we draw the line: when the beginning of characteristically human thinking becomes barely possible.

It is, in fact, a very conservative definition: Regular brain waves are rarely found in fetuses. More research would help… If we wanted to make the criterion still more stringent, to allow for occasional precocious fetal brain development, we might draw the line at six months. This, it so happens, is where the Supreme Court drew it in 1973–although for completely different reasons.

Its decision in the case of Roe v. Wade changed American law on abortion. It permits abortion at the request of the woman without restriction in the first trimester and, with some restrictions intended to protect her health, in the second trimester. It allows states to forbid abortion in the third trimester, except when there’s a serious threat to the life or health of the woman. In the 1989 Webster decision, the Supreme Court declined explicitly to overturn Roe v. Wade but in effect invited the 50 state legislatures to decide for themselves.

What was the reasoning in Roe v. Wade? There was no legal weight given to what happens to the children once they are born, or to the family. Instead, a woman’s right to reproductive freedom is protected, the court ruled, by constitutional guarantees of privacy. But that right is not unqualified. The woman’s guarantee of privacy and the fetus’s right to life must be weighed–and when the court did the weighing’ priority was given to privacy in the first trimester and to life in the third. The transition was decided not from any of the considerations we have been dealing with so far…–not when “ensoulment” occurs, not when the fetus takes on sufficient human characteristics to be protected by laws against murder. Instead, the criterion adopted was whether the fetus could live outside the mother. This is called “viability” and depends in part on the ability to breathe. The lungs are simply not developed, and the fetus cannot breathe–no matter how advanced an artificial lung it might be placed in—until about the 24th week, near the start of the sixth month. This is why Roe v. Wade permits the states to prohibit abortions in the last trimester. It’s a very pragmatic criterion.

If the fetus at a certain stage of gestation would be viable outside the womb, the argument goes, then the right of the fetus to life overrides the right of the woman to privacy. But just what does “viable” mean? Even a full-term newborn is not viable without a great deal of care and love. There was a time before incubators, only a few decades ago, when babies in their seventh month were unlikely to be viable. Would aborting in the seventh month have been permissible then? After the invention of incubators, did aborting pregnancies in the seventh month suddenly become immoral? What happens if, in the future, a new technology develops so that an artificial womb can sustain a fetus even before the sixth month by delivering oxygen and nutrients through the blood–as the mother does through the placenta and into the fetal blood system? We grant that this technology is unlikely to be developed soon or become available to many. But if it were available, does it then become immoral to abort earlier than the sixth month, when previously it was moral? A morality that depends on, and changes with, technology is a fragile morality; for some, it is also an unacceptable morality.

And why, exactly, should breathing (or kidney function, or the ability to resist disease) justify legal protection? If a fetus can be shown to think and feel but not be able to breathe, would it be all right to kill it? Do we value breathing more than thinking and feeling? Viability arguments cannot, it seems to us, coherently determine when abortions are permissible. Some other criterion is needed. Again, we offer for consideration the earliest onset of human thinking as that criterion.

Since, on average, fetal thinking occurs even later than fetal lung development, we find Roe v. Wade to be a good and prudent decision addressing a complex and difficult issue. With prohibitions on abortion in the last trimester–except in cases of grave medical necessity–it strikes a fair balance between the conflicting claims of freedom and life.What do you think? What have others said about Carl Sagan’s thoughts on 

End of Sagan Excerpt 

Carl Sagan stated, “A woman’s right to reproductive freedom is protected, the court ruled, by constitutional guarantees of privacy” 

Francis Schaeffer and Adrian Rogers discuss the Roe v Wade Decision below.

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Pt 1 of 2 Listen to this Important Message by Francis Schaeffer

Published on Sep 30, 2013

This message “A Christian Manifesto” was given in 1982 by the late Christian Philosopher Francis Schaeffer when he was age 70 at D. James Kennedy’s Corral Ridge Presbyterian Church.
Listen to this important message where Dr. Schaeffer says it is the duty of Christians to disobey the government when it comes in conflict with God’s laws. So many have misinterpreted Romans 13 to mean unconditional obedience to the state. When the state promotes an evil agenda and anti-Christian statues we must obey God rather than men. Acts
I use to watch James Kennedy preach from his TV pulpit with great delight in the 1980’s. Both of these men are gone to be with the Lord now. We need new Christian leaders to rise up in their stead.
To view Part 2 See Francis Schaeffer Lecture- Christian Manifesto Pt 2 of 2 video
The religious and political freedom’s we enjoy as Americans was based on the Bible and the legacy of the Reformation according to Francis Schaeffer. These freedoms will continue to diminish as we cast off the authority of Holy Scripture.
In public schools there is no other view of reality but that final reality is shaped by chance.
Likewise, public television gives us many things that we like culturally but so much of it is mere propaganda shaped by a humanistic world and life view.

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I was able to watch Francis Schaeffer deliver a speech on a book he wrote called “A Christian Manifesto” and I heard him in several interviews on it in 1981 and 1982. I listened with great interest since I also read that book over and over again. Below is a portion of one of Schaeffer’s talks  on a crucial subject that is very important today too.
 
 
 
A Christian Manifesto
by Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer
This address was delivered by the late Dr. Schaeffer in 1982 at the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It is based on one of his books, which bears the same title.

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TYRANNY as anti-God agenda pushed through courts in USA
 
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It is about us on every side, and especially the government and the courts have become the vehicle to force this anti-God view on the total population. It’s exactly where we are.
The abortion ruling is a very clear one. The abortion ruling, of course, is also a natural result of this other world view because with this other world view, human life — your individual life — has no intrinsic value. You are a wart upon the face of an absolutely impersonal universe. Your aspirations have no fulfillment in the “what-isness” of what is. Your aspirations damn you. Many of the young people who come to us understand this very well because their aspirations as Humanists have no fulfillment, if indeed the final reality is only material or energy shaped by pure chance.
The universe cannot fulfill anything that you say when you say, “It is beautiful”; “I love”; “It is right”; “It is wrong.” These words are meaningless words against the backdrop of this other world view. So what we find is that the abortion case should not have been a surprise because it boiled up out of, quite naturally, (I would use the word again) mathematically, this other world view. In this case, human life has no distinct value whatsoever, and we find this Supreme Court in one ruling overthrew the abortion laws of all 50 states, and they made this form of killing human life (because that’s what it is) the law. The law declared that this form of killing human life was to be accepted, and for many people, because they had no set ethic, when the Supreme Court said that it was legal, in the intervening years, it has become ethical.
The courts of this country have forced this view and its results on the total population. What we find is that as the courts have done this, without any longer that which the founding fathers comprehended of law (A man like Blackstone, with his Commentaries, understood, and the other lawgivers in this country in the beginning): That there is a law of God which gives foundation. It becomes quite natural then, that they would also cut themselves loose from a strict constructionism concerning the Constitution.
Everything is relative. So as you cut yourself loose from the Law of God, in any concept whatsoever, you also soon are cutting yourself loose from a strict constructionism and each ruling is to be seen as an arbitrary choice by a group of people as to what they may honestly think is for the sociological good of the community, of the country, for the given moment.
Now, along with that is the fact that the courts are increasingly making law and thus we find that the legislatures’ powers are increasingly diminished in relationship to the power of the courts. Now the pro-abortion people have been very wise about this in the last, say, 10 years, and Christians very silly. I wonder sometimes where we’ve been because the pro-abortion people have used the courts for their end rather than the legislatures — because the courts are not subject to the people’s thinking, nor their will, either by election nor by a re-election. Consequently, the courts have been the vehicle used to bring this whole view and to force it on our total population. It has not been largely the legislatures. It has been rather, the courts.
The result is a relativistic value system. A lack of a final meaning to life — that’s first. Why does human life have any value at all, if that is all that reality is? Not only are you going to die individually, but the whole human race is going to die, someday. It may not take the falling of the atom bombs, but someday the world will grow too hot, too cold. That’s what we are told on this other final reality, and someday all you people not only will be individually dead, but the whole conscious life on this world will be dead, and nobody will see the birds fly. And there’s no meaning to life.
As you know, I don’t speak academically, shut off in some scholastic cubicle, as it were. I have lots of young people and older ones come to us from the ends of the earth. And as they come to us, they have gone to the end of this logically and they are not living in a romantic setting. They realize what the situation is. They can’t find any meaning to life. It’s the meaning to the black poetry. It’s the meaning of the black plays. It’s the meaning of all this. It’s the meaning of the words “punk rock.” And I must say, that on the basis of what they are being taught in school, that the final reality is only this material thing, they are not wrong. They’re right! On this other basis there is no meaning to life and not only is there no meaning to life, but there is no value system that is fixed, and we find that the law is based then only on a relativistic basis and that law becomes purely arbitrary.
And this is brought to bear, specifically, and perhaps most clearly, in the public schools (I’ll come to that now) in this country. In the courts of this country, they are saying that it’s absolutely illegal, from the lowest grades up through university, for the public schools of this country to teach any other world view except this world view of final material or energy. Now this is done, no matter what the parents may wish. This is done regardless of what those who pay the taxes for their schools may wish. I’m giving you an illustration, as well as making a point. The way the courts force their view, and this false view of reality on the total population, no matter what the total population wants.
We find that in the January 18 — just recently — Time magazine, there was an article that said there was a poll that pointed out that about 76% of the people in this country thought it would be a good idea to have both creation and evolution taught in the public schools. I don’t know if the poll was accurate, but assuming that the poll was accurate, what does it mean? It means that your public schools are told by the courts that they cannot teach this, even though 76% of the people in the United States want it taught. I’ll give you a word. It’s TYRANNY. There is no other word that fits at such a point.
And at the same time we find the medical profession has radically changed. Dr. Koop, in our seminars for Whatever Happened to the Human Race, often said that (speaking for himself), “When I graduated from medical school, the idea was ‘how can I save this life?’ But for a great number of the medical students now, it’s not, ‘How can I save this life?’, but ‘Should I save this life?'”
Believe me, it’s everywhere. It isn’t just abortion. It’s infanticide. It’s allowing the babies to starve to death after they are born. If they do not come up to some doctor’s concept of a quality of life worth living. I’ll just say in passing — and never forget it – it takes about 15 days, often, for these babies to starve to death. And I’d say something else that we haven’t stressed enough. In abortion itself, there is no abortion method that is not painful to the child — just as painful that month before birth as the baby you see a month after birth in one of these cribs down here that I passed — just as painful.

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Why I Am Pro-Life, Part 1

In one of the most poignant verses in the Bible, Isaiah describes the day we now live in.

 “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20

Some people like to say they’re for “a right to choose,” but then don’t complete the sentence. Choose what? What do you choose? They can’t say, “I’m for the choice to kill a baby in the mother’s womb,” because it doesn’t sound so good.

The decision to take an innocent life in the mother’s womb really is a choice between life and death. God’s Word says clearly in Deuteronomy 30:19

Therefore choose life, that both you and your children may live.

Understand that you are free to choose. You are not free not to choose. And you are not free to choose the consequences of your choice. God has told us we are to choose life.

I’m going to give you three reasons I’m pro-life. But first, let’s look at our present situation:

On the day you are reading this, in America 3,000-4,000 lives will be snuffed out. They’ve not had the benefit of a trial; they’ll have no counsel to represent them. They’ll be executed in a cruel and inhumane way. Though they’ve committed no crime, one will die about every 21 seconds.

Who are the co-conspirators of this atrocity? Who is putting the unborn to death?

  • Supreme Court justices. Six of them, high priests of humanism, wrapped in their robes, sided with Justice Harry Blackmun to do this.  
  • Governmental social planners. Some receive your tax dollars and mine. Planned Parenthood does for parenthood what Orkin does for bugs.
  • Willing physicians.
  • The willing mother or father of the child.
  • Abortion clinics, getting wealthy on the death of the unborn.
  • Many others who are silent and unconcerned. Or too timid to speak out.
  • Politicians who put self-interest and re-election above the lives of innocent children.      

January 22, 1973, was a day which will live in infamy, one of the darkest in American history, like 9/11 or Pearl Harbor. In America it is now legal to kill a baby. That probably just went right past you. It is now legal to kill a baby.

The only requirements are:

1. The baby still lives inside the mother, at least a portion of the baby. (Part of the baby can now be outside the mother.)

2. The mother wants the baby killed.

3. A doctor is willing to do the killing.

The Court ruled in 1973: “A state is forbidden to proscribe (forbid) abortion any time prior to the birth if in the opinion of one licensed physician an abortion is necessary to preserve the life or the health of the mother.” 

Few would argue about “life of the mother.”  But note that key word “health of the mother.” The court elaborated, “All factors, physical, emotional, psychological, familial and the woman’s age, relevant to the wellbeing of the patient” could legally justify the taking of an innocent human life.

Roe ruled abortion is permitted if the woman says it would (1) distress her (2) produce psychological harm (3) tax mental and physical health by child care, or (4) bring distress associated with an unwanted child. That is, “If I don’t want this child, then that’s my mental health condition that okays the child being put to death.” Or, “We can’t take of the baby; kill it.” Or, “We didn’t get married. We are pregnant. Kill the baby.”

Most people are aware of Roe v. Wade, but few of Doe v. Bolton, companion piece to Roe v. Wade, legalizing any abortionist to kill a baby through all nine months of pregnancy.  It is even legal to kill a baby while the mother is in labor and the baby is partially delivered, partially out of the birth canal.

In America, if you crush a bald eagle’s egg you can be fined $5,000 and spend a year in jail, but you can make a handsome living killing babies in the mother’s womb.  Pharaoh and Herod must now take second place to America.

          Woe unto them that call good evil that put light for dark.

In America, a teenage girl can receive amoral sex education in school and be given contraceptives with government money, and if she comes up pregnant, she can be taken to a Planned Parenthood clinic without her parents’ knowledge or consent, where she can have the baby killed. Yet many of these same schools would not dare give an aspirin without parental consent. That is barbaric. It is also crazy.

I.

I am pro-life because it is just that: a matter of LIFE.

What is being put to death in the mother’s womb is a human life. When the ovum and the sperm are united, it becomes human life. There’s no question about that.

Here are some of the pro-abortion arguments you hear and my answers to them:

IT’S NOT A HUMAN

Someone wrote “Dear Abby” saying they were a pro-choice because “to believe the ovum and sperm united are human life would like believing a vehicle was in existence after a nut and bolt were joined together at the beginning of an auto assembly line.” So if you have an egg and sperm come together, that’s no more life, they say, than a nut and bolt in a car factory is a car.

What convoluted logic! There is a great difference. A nut and bolt are only a nut and bolt. They will not one day become a Cadillac! But when the egg and sperm come together, that is a human life, and no carburetor, fender, steering wheel or engine is added. Everything is already there! All that little life needs is nutrition and water to grow. You don’t add anything. It’s a human being already.

Dr. Bernard N. Nathanson, obstetrician/gynecologist, was director of the largest abortion clinic in the western world. But his eyes were opened. He suddenly changed his tune after his clinic had performed 60,000 abortions. Resigning, he said: “I’m deeply troubled by my own increasing certainty that I had in fact presided over 60,000 deaths.” Think of it. He stated there is a “vector of life.” From the moment of conception, there’s “a self-directed force of life that, if not interrupted, will lead to the birth of a human baby.” The child conceived is a human being from the moment of conception.

All the components of life being there, some will say, “That’s only some blob, not human life.” Is it animal? Vegetable? Mineral? It is human life.

IT’S MY BODY

Abortion advocates talk about having “a right to my own body.” The child is not a part of the mother’s body. He or she is a new life, altogether different, with their own unique DNA, circulatory system, often even a different blood type than the mother, and certainly their own unique fingerprints. The nucleus of a human cell has 46 chromosomes, 23 from the father and 23 from the mother. So the child is not merely “part of the mother’s body.” It is as much a part of the father as the mother. It is life, and it is life from God.

IT’S JUST A “FETUS”—NOT A PERSON

People often use the word “fetus.” In Latin, “fetus” means “baby, child”; to say “fetus” is to say “child” in Latin. No matter how small, it is a child. It’s all simply a continuum. You and I were once a child all the way through in gradual development. Just because he is little and young has nothing to do with the reality that he or she is a human being. When conceived, a baby is as small as a grain of sand. But a new human being has begun, no less a person than the child or adult walking around.

Speaking of development within the womb, the Psalmist said,

Thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139:13-16.

This passage, inspired by the Holy Spirit, reveals that when a mother is pregnant, God Himself is forming a child within her. “Wonderfully and fearfully made” literally means awesomely made. It also tells us that little baby is the object of God’s love and concern. The Bible does not distinguish between prenatal and postnatal life but speaks of babies in the womb as people and persons.

Jeremiah was ordained in his mother’s womb.

Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Jeremiah 1:5.

You don’t ordain a blob of tissue. God said, “Before I formed you, I knew you, Jeremiah. You are my prophet.”

John the Baptist was in his mother Elisabeth’s womb when his cousin Mary came to visit with Jesus in her womb.

And it came to pass that when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb, and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost. Luke 1:41.

The word Luke used for babe is brephos. Thayer’s Lexicon says, “The word brephos is an unborn child, embryo, fetus, a newborn child, an infant, a babe.” Whether in the womb or out of the womb, the Bible uses the same word.

And they brought unto [Jesus] also infants [brephos], that He would touch them. Luke 18:15

Brephos, infant, is the same word used for John the Baptist in his mother’s womb.

Why am I pro-life?  The Bible says it is a crime against God to kill innocent life.

These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood. Proverbs 6:16-17.

The taking of life in the womb is an abomination to Almighty God. What could be more clear? He hates abortion.

Doctors and nurses who had worked with abortionist Dr. Nathanson told him of nightmares, depression and personality changes they and other clinic personnel were experiencing because of the taking of innocent life. I am pro-life because it is a matter of life.

In Part Two, I will tell you the two other reasons I am pro-life.

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