Discussion in 'The Commons' started by Carolinian, Jun 24, 2022.
I would in fact make this law
Here is a good summary of reactions from both ACNA and the Episcopal Church on the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Sets the table pretty well on who stands where:
"Anglicans and Episcopalians at odds over Roe v. Wade Scotus decision"
Some choice quotes:
"The Episcopal Church's senior leader went on to say that, "As Episcopalians, we pray for those who may be harmed by this decision, especially for women and other people who need these reproductive services."
The Episcopal Public Policy Network immediately waded in, sending an e-mail action alert urging Episcopalians to advocate for Congressional action "to provide a right to abortion care in federal statute."
A number of episcopal clergy and lay leaders stepped up to the plate and offered up a Service of Lament and Healing liturgy as a way for the church-at-large to respond to an anticipated overturn of Roe v. Wade as a pastoral response "to those who will be affected by the overturn of this historic precedent."
By contrast, Anglican Church in North America Archbishop Foley Beach took a decisive stand that recognized the evil of abortion while advocating helping mothers to retain the child.
"While this decision doesn't end abortion in the U.S., it will lead to fewer children being killed through abortion. We thank God for this limited victory, and the Anglican Church in North America recommits itself to serving mothers so they can embrace motherhood and welcome their children. We also continue to point the way to God's healing and forgiveness for all who suffer physically and emotionally from their abortion experiences," he said.
The inherent value of human life is revealed in the Scriptures, and this biblical commitment is reflected in the Anglican Church in North America's Constitution and Canons which calls all members and clergy "to promote and respect the sanctity of every human life from conception to natural death" (Title II.) wrote Anglicans for Life, a ministry seeking to help mothers retain a child.
Georgette Forney, a leader in the pro-life movement and president of Anglicans For Life, said: "Anglicans for Life recognizes this decision requires the development of additional pre-and-post-pregnancy support and resources for women and families facing an unexpected pregnancy. Unplanned pregnancies should be met with planned resources and support, which is what Anglicans For Life has focused on in the past and will continue to emphasize, to a greater degree, in the future."
I agree, this illustrates the contrast nicely.
I take your point, and its clear where roughly each group stands, but it seems a bit unfair to take a quote from "a senior leader" and an affiliated body that is not the church proper, and pass it off as if it was the official line of the church.
Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong because I haven't actually looked into it, but I imagine TEC's official response is strategic ambiguity/silence, rather than a formal position of opposition to the ruling - leaving it up to conservative parishes to rejoice and progressive parishes to do their "services of lament and healing".
Here is the official statement from the Presiding Bishop:
Statement on Supreme Court Dobbs decision by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
June 24, 2022
Office of Public Affairs
Today the Supreme Court released its decision in the case of Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The court has overturned the constitutional right to abortion that was recognized in the seminal 1973 case Roe v. Wade.
While I, like many, anticipated this decision, I am deeply grieved by it. I have been ordained more than 40 years, and I have served as a pastor in poor communities; I have witnessed firsthand the negative impact this decision will have.
We as a church have tried carefully to be responsive both to the moral value of women having the right to determine their healthcare choices as well as the moral value of all life. Today’s decision institutionalizes inequality because women with access to resources will be able to exercise their moral judgment in ways that women without the same resources will not.
This is a pivotal day for our nation, and I acknowledge the pain, fear, and hurt that so many feel right now. As a church, we stand with those who will feel the effects of this decision—and in the weeks, months, and years to come.
The Episcopal Church maintains that access to equitable health care, including reproductive health care and reproductive procedures, is “an integral part of a woman’s struggle to assert her dignity and worth as a human being” (2018-D032). The church holds that “reproductive health procedures should be treated as all other medical procedures, and not singled out or omitted by or because of gender” (2018-D032). The Episcopal Church sustains its “unequivocal opposition to any legislation on the part of the national or state governments which would abridge or deny the right of individuals to reach informed decisions [about the termination of pregnancy] and to act upon them” (2018-D032). As stated in the 1994 Act of Convention, the church also opposes any “executive or judicial action to abridge the right of a woman to reach an informed decision…or that would limit the access of a woman to safe means of acting on her decision” (1994-A054).
The court’s decision eliminates federal protections for abortion and leaves the regulation of abortion to the states. The impact will be particularly acute for those who are impoverished or lack consistent access to health care services. As Episcopalians, we pray for those who may be harmed by this decision, especially for women and other people who need these reproductive services. We pray for the poor and vulnerable who may not have other options for access. We urge you to make your voice heard in the way you feel called but always to do so peacefully and with respect and love of neighbor.
Alright, well I wouldn't call that strategic ambiguity. Seems pretty clear there.
Although I can appreciate the clear care for those who will suffer from this decision, and I think that should be the primary thrust of any statement made, overall I don't think Curry's statement towed the line of still coming out appropriately Catholic.
I don't believe that's what he was trying to do.
This is deeply saddening for me as a pro-life Episcopalian. Statements like this from our chief cleric exclude many. And make it clear to those who disagree with the political sentiments of the TEC's leadership, they are not welcome, regardless of what the signs say. From Curry's words, he sees only one right view on abortion (his own) and only one way to be Episcopalian with no room for dissent. Very disheartening and alienating.
I think it was a good and fair statement. Modern Roman Catholic ideology ought not dictate what the authentic Anglican response should be. He said:
This is the appropriate stance to take. Notice the two moral values are paralleled. He then went on to emphasize the former rather than the latter in what followed because it is the former that is primarily being threatened, though secondarily the latter is as well, if women in some states are forced to acquire abortions in unsafe conditions. The former moral value does not occur at the expense of the latter. It isn't a zero-sum game. There is nothing in what Bishop Curry said that implies that abortions should be maximized or treated as the option of first resort in lieu of contraception. The Episcopalian position coheres with the fundamental biblical principle that the preservation of life should be maximized, which implies a policy goal of abortion being safe, legal, and rare.
It is unlikely that Congress has the ability to legislate either a federal right to abortion or a nationwide ban, so the only way there was going to be anything approaching a uniform set of rules was through the common law at the federal level. Whether people agreed with the 1973 decision or not, Roe had already been treated as binding precedent in subsequent cases and should have been left in place. It was not necessary to strike down Roe in order to uphold Mississippi's post-15 week ban, for the simple reason that the Mississippi law was actually consistent with Roe (if you read the full majority opinion).
What I see in Curry's statement, actually what's glaringly missing from his statement, is any distinction between early and late term abortions. He's simply stating support for carte blanche privileges for women to abort their babies at any point, even at 'full term.' It's disgusting and abhorrent, and goes far beyond the state of the law under Roe and Casey.
BTW, no woman is ever "forced to acquire abortions in unsafe conditions." No one is forcing any woman to obtain an abortion, ever. Remember their slogan? "My body, my choice." Virtually every abortion is an elective procedure, done at the desire and choice of the woman, and Curry's statement reflects this fact in its message about a woman "acting on her decision". Speaking of forcing abortions of any sort is absurd.
Look at this: "The Episcopal Church maintains that access to equitable health care, including reproductive health care and reproductive procedures, is “an integral part of a woman’s struggle to assert her dignity and worth as a human being” (2018-D032)." This strikes me as erroneous thinking. Biblical Christianity recognizes that a woman's worth is found in her relationship with Christ and in her status as a creation of God. A woman's dignity and worth do not depend on her life situation. A woman's dignity and worth are not lessened by a restriction against aborting her unborn child any more than they would be lessened by a restriction against shooting her husband.
It’s not clear to me why he would need to state this. Although they are rare, there are situations when a late-term abortion is medically necessary. That decision should be between a woman and her doctor.
It seems to me that a great many people have been brainwashed into thinking that women have a right to abort their children any time whatsoever they please (no matter how late in gestation). They think of the fetus as they would a tumor or a chattel. It would be beneficial for the spiritual leaders to remind the folks under their care that this has never, ever been the correct position either in law or in the church. The fetus is, at the very least, a 'person' by the time of viability, and I think a bishop's statement should remind people of that vital distinction and its spiritual ramifications.
To be clear, I am morally opposed to abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or a threat to the life or health of the mother. That view does not necessitate acceptance of the proposition that personhood begins at conception. I believe the Scriptures actually teach ‘birth-personhood’. This is consistent with our Constitutional system, in which citizenship explicitly begins at birth. The point I am trying to make at this juncture is that Bishop Curry’s statement is consistent with moral opposition to abortion except in cases of the ‘three exceptions’. This used to be the default “pro-life” position not that long ago. The argument for legality is that there are legitimate reasons why a woman might need to seek such a procedure at any point in the pregnancy. Not all problems occur in the first trimester. To require an intrusive oversight process prior to receiving care is a violation of privacy, in the most basic, fundamental way. It is inconsistent with a presumption in favor of personal liberty to ban something outright simply because it can be or might be used in a morally objectionable way according to the views of a particular group, and there is no room in our constitutional system to impose a particular religious moral view on the citizenry. That’s as it should be. (The very same logic applies to other issues such as private gun ownership: if it has a legitimate purpose, it should not be banned outright just because it can be misused.) Put it all together, and there is no reason why Bishop Curry’s statement ought to be controversial at all. Women (and men) do have a right to bodily autonomy; our bodies are not the property of the State, and the legitimacy of the State depends for its existence on the consent of the citizens whom it governs and who preexist the State in the moral order.
I also should clarify that when I wrote that "a great many people have been brainwashed..." I wasn't intending to include you, by any means! I, too, support an exception to preserve the life and immediate health of the mother.
I can understand why you would wish to support and defend Bp. Curry.
Thank you! I appreciate that.
Yes, I understand that. That's my problem with it.
Yes, I recognise he said that. But the rest of the statement demonstrates to me he is not actually trying with any particular care at all. It's an empty statement not born out by the words that follow. It is a perfectly valid Anglican response to your courts decision to openly rejoice. I also believe its perfectly Anglican to grieve. Any official statement from the highest Episcopalian should aim to make both types of Anglicans feel at home in the Church, because his role when making public statements is not to speak on his view, but on the view of the Church. The office is greater than the person. If the view of the Church is conflicted or mixed, the statement should reflect that. His statement is not conflicted or mixed. It's very clear what his position is, and when presented from the top Bishop it implies its also the position of the Church.
The Church wants @Lowly Layman and @Annie Grace to be in communion together. To share their perspectives on Christ, to grow their mutual understanding, and to balance the Church and keep it broad. And ultimately, in consequence, to focus on what matters most in the eyes of God and never forget what matters most in the eyes of God. Curry being swept up in the political passions of the day, and taking a side based on his personal views, rather than speaking from the office, ensures your Church will not exist 1000 years from now, or perhaps 200 years from now.
It's not his personal opinion. These positions have already been determined by our General Convention. He simply stated what our official view is, in the light of current events. I happen to think it is the correct view. Publicly stating it is what he is supposed to do. Therefore, I am defending it and him. It's extremely doubtful this will be the thing that leads to our ultimate demise. The goal of my comments regarding Bishop Curry's statement was in fact to reassure @Lowly Layman that what the Presiding Bishop said does not, in fact, exclude his position, nor was it intended to. Legality and morality are not the same thing. I believe all Episcopalians who are concerned about the issue would like to see the number of abortions reduced to a minimum. Restrictive and punitive right wing policies won't get us there, but a properly funded health care system, complete with contraception coverage, along with paid parental leave and child care for those who can't afford it, can. All it takes is the will to do it.
Which is the way that Jesus Christ and his Apostles would probably have tackled the problem. Not by taking over the state and passing and forcing through laws of prohibition imposed upon everyone, but by encouraging the wisdom of individuals in the ways of The Kingdom of God.
It seems that you're saying that Jesus and the Apostles would not advocate making any laws against murder
Laws against murder already existed. Jesus and the Apostles didn't tell anyone to ignore them. Jesus however didn't encourage people to blindly enforce the death penalty either. Rom.13:1-5. Paul didn't suggest that his churches should take over the judiciary and start passing laws against killing Christians neither did Jesus suggest that as a method of bringing in The Kingdom of God.