By Connor Mantey
Being from Thunder Bay, it seems incredible how often denizens of Toronto’s periphery have attributed to me and my home town (somewhat accurately) a sort of provincial boorishness that they always fail to see in themselves. How ironic must it be then that our current federal Minister for the Status of Women hails from here, while the diehard social conservatives—like the Niagra Kid Sam Oosterhoff—that Patrick Brown is struggling to keep from sinking the Progressive Conservative’s 2018 bid over sex education, seem to be coming from the real Ontario.
Speaking of kids, one of our own Argus staff members had an encounter with an anti-choice activist who started her career at 12. Why do teenagers seem to make the best theocrats? I suppose I could insinuate some crass accusation of fundamentalists exploiting the impressionability and binary thinking of developing minds, but if there’s one thing I can’t tolerate more than sequestered religious communities, it’s condescension towards youth. So instead, I suggest that the advantage propagating one’s reading of the bible among teenagers, is that since all clever students will do anything to get out of reading their course materials, you can convince them of anything.
So I imagine, when Pastor Dave tells Billy that God forbids abortion, he might think that the bible explicitly and repeatedly condemns that wicked medical practice that has plagued humanity for at least as long as the Pentateuch has been around. But curiously, no condemnation can be found. “Why should there be one?” the good pastor humours Billy, “is ‘thou shall not kill’ not one of the commandments?”
But what sly Davey doesn’t tell Bill is that retzach the word used in the original Hebrew does not mean kill in an absolute sense, but rather to murder or kill unlawfully. After all, if God forbade killing in general, why would Moses command the Levites to massacre the heretical Israelites right after presenting the commandments?
“Ah, but you see it is unlawful to shed the blood of the innocent, and what could be more innocent than the unborn child?” Try as you might to impose your reactionary values on premodern society, Davey-boy, but I’m afraid that according to Exodus 21:22, the punishment for causing a miscarriage is a fine, and murder is a capital crime if I recall correctly.
And what’s more is that according to Numbers 5, Moses actually prescribes a sort of herb induced abortion to test for unfaithfulness. That’s right, the Bible encourages abortions, but only if it’s coerced onto the mother. Otherwise, it’d be immoral.
So in conclusion, for a group of people that revere the Bible as the divinely inspired words of God, they seem to extrapolate so contrarily to plain meaning of the text to infer an injunction that’s not actually there that it almost borders on blasphemy. If I were them, I would just admit that my biblical authority comes from verses like 1 Timothy 2:12, Colossians 3:18, and 1 Corinthians 11:2-10.