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Evangelicals are far from being American Taliban; they are respectful of life: Letter to the Editor

Posted 11/21/18

Bob Topper’s tirade on evangelicals’ position on abortion on last week’s Viewpoints page (“Are evangelicals the American Taliban?”) calls for a response from one of …

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Evangelicals are far from being American Taliban; they are respectful of life: Letter to the Editor

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Bob Topper’s tirade on evangelicals’ position on abortion on last week’s Viewpoints page (“Are evangelicals the American Taliban?”) calls for a response from one of those so accused. So, let me try to answer some of his complaints. The headline of the article proves the axiom that the weakness of an argument is determined by how quickly and how rashly the debater resorts to calling names.

If indeed I am a Taliban, I would not resort to pen and paper as a response, but to bullets and bombs. I am much more competent with the former and prefer to avoid the latter. Perhaps we can throw a little reason and logic into our disagreements.

First up was concern for the Helms Amendment that keeps U.S. dollars from promoting and performing abortions outside our nation. Mr. Topper cited 47,000 deaths caused by unsafe abortions as a result of this legislation. What he did not tell you is that if the abortions had been safe (for the mother), there still would have been 47,000 deaths (the babies). In the hope of fairness, I will gladly take responsibility for the 47,000 deaths outside our country if Mr. Topper will take responsibility for the 53 million deaths by abortion within our country since the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision.

Indeed, evangelicals often refer to life that begins at conception and has inherent value at that point. Can I prove that scientifically? Well, at conception the baby has its own DNA mix, which makes her an individual apart from her father and mother. Mr. Topper is right in suggesting there is no scientific proof of a “soul” at conception. But then there is no scientific proof of a “soul” at any age. So what could we do with the kids who are already born?

Mr. Topper says evangelicals hope to see Roe overturned for religious reason? That is true. We do not believe in killing the most innocent and vulnerable of our society — the unborn baby. But the reason Roe is wrong is science. In 1973, we all thought the fetus was just a blob of cells. With the introduction of ultrasound, we now know better. The baby feels pain at 20 weeks, moves on its own at eight weeks and has a heartbeat at six weeks. These are all symptoms that say an adult is alive, so why not a baby in the womb? The New York Times recently ran an article about surgeries on babies in utero. They were called patients, not blobs.

Mr. Topper moves beyond abortion to the Christian influence on government. Supposedly, evangelicals also want to “set aside the Constitution in favor of biblical teaching.” Can Mr. Topper give the names and quotes of which evangelicals have said anything close to that? I know of no evangelical who has proposed to establish a theocracy in the United States. In a theocracy, someone has to represent “theo,” and we recognize no one is up to the job.

Evangelicals, we are told, endorse the “rejection of science in favor of ancient scripture.” That’s hard to believe when you realize that it was Christians who developed what we now call modern science. Copernicus, Galileo, Pascal, Newton, Keppler, Boyle, Pasteur, Fabre, Faraday and Fleming made their amazing discoveries because they believed in a God who rationally and reasonably created a world that was observable and orderly.

I’m sorry I don’t know enough about Baruch Spinoza to comment on Mr. Topper’s use of him as a champion of the American way. I am glad Spinoza knew enough of the Bible to quote Jesus’ second most important commandment, to “love thy neighbor.” I wonder if we could stretch that command to include the neighbors who reside in the womb.

Jerry T. Cowan

Middletown