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February 5, 2013

Your Opinion: Reader upset with ‘Christian fundamentalists’’ views

It bothers me that the Tifton Gazette has become a mouthpiece for Christian fundamentalists to display their total ignorance of the Bible on nearly every topic under the sun. Many of these fundamentalists keep rattling off Old Testament views on abortion, which, taken out of context, can be very detrimental, not only to the topic of being pro-life or pro-choice, yet also to the sacred scriptures themselves. Sadly, Christian fundamentalist have, like many others, failed to realize that the issue of abortion can't be gleaned entirely from the Bible to form a pro or con stance. The circumstances that surround abortion are often those to which the Bible, being interpreted rigidly, can't be used. Christian conservatives fail to realize that abortion, as viewed within the lens of spirituality, often falls to individual cases. It does not help that Christian fundamentalist enjoy cherry-picking the verses and beliefs from the Bible they wish to follow while disregarding the rest. If you wish to follow the 613 commandments (mitzvahs) of the Torah, then be my guest. However, I have noticed many Christians, at least in the South, can't even follow the so-called Ten Commandments, so good luck on following the rest. I am often perplexed on how rigidly and inhumanely Christians interpret the Old Testament, or as Jews like it call it, the Bible, because their views often boil down to an "us versus them" attitude. The issue of abortion cannot be treated in such a way that allows anyone to make sweeping generalizations either for or against it. At least from a Judaic and Christian theological perspective, there is ample evidence to support allowing it and not allowing it. In Judaism, the issue of abortion is not a set in stone matter. This tells me that Christians should not be holding fast to this issue to the point of dehumanizing each other. So when is abortion permissible in Judaism? We

find in the Talmud Bavli, Yevamot 69b- "An embryo is considered mere water until forty days post-conception." Which means that for 40 days post-conception the embryo is not considered a person, which makes it permissible to use the so-called Morning-After Pill. Another instance in which abortion is permissible, according to Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, Igros Moshe, Choshen Mishpat II, 69, Threat to the mother’s life is the only justification for abortion. Simply said, any condition which threatens the life of the mother regarding pregnancy makes allowances for abortion. We also find, in the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer Yehudah Waldenberg, Tzitz Eliezer 9:51, Ch. 3, Sometimes abortion may be performed even in less than life-threatening situations. So very real physical and non-physical issues regarding pregnancy have to be taken into account. According to Daniel Eisenberg, MD, Abortion in Jewish law ... Judaism recognizes psychiatric factors as possible indications for abortion. The overwhelming majority opinion from the spiritual leaders of Judaism and the medical authorities is that abortion is a very case-by-case matter. Christians in general need to stop disrespecting the Hebrew scriptures to suit their own political agendas. Abortions have been going on since man first learned the necessary pharmacological components to induce it. Do the prohibitions and allowances for abortion make it morally right? I can't say because only God can judge anyone. So for my Christian fundamentalist friends, it is not your place to judge anyone. In the words of Rabbi Hillel the Elder, "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow man. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn." So approach this issue with holiness, respect and love for your fellow man no matter where they stand.

Roy English

Rebecca

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