Oh boy. Does Gregory Popcak put it to Garry Wills in this fine repartee. Popcak:
Garry Wills' recent L.A. Times Op-Ed article "Abortion isn't a religious issue," in which he claims that abortion is not a religious issue, might as well have begun with these fanciful words, because the article is as imaginative a bit of fiction as anything the Brothers Grimm could have penned — only significantly less entertaining.Poor Garry Wills seems clueless that he is caving to the primitive Sacred and spirit of our age these days. Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.
In his essay, Wills cherry-picks Thomas Aquinas' theology; employs a simplistically idiosyncratic interpretation of Scripture and massacres history, science and philosophy, all in a fevered attempt to assert that people of faith should kneel at the altar of secularism because, he argues, Christian opposition to abortion is a Johnny-come-lately moral position founded on little more than thin air and pious politics.
Neither faith nor reason supports Wills' claims.
Scripturally, the basis of Christian condemnation of abortion comes not only from the commandment "Thou shalt not kill," as Wills asserts, but from the fact that the Bible considers children a supreme gift and blessing from God. One does not reject a gift from God lightly. Jeremiah 1:5 tells us that God knew us in the womb, and Exodus 21:22-23 imposes a penalty for those who cause the miscarriage of a fetus. Likewise, the scriptural case against abortion is drawn directly from biblical prohibitions against witchcraft. Hags who hawked their wares in the early days of Christianity claimed power over death and life. Contraceptive and abortifacient potions, and poisons to hasten the death of the inconvenient, were what paid the rent for every self-respecting, union card-carrying witch in the Western world. When St. Paul listed his denunciations of witchcraft immediately after his condemnations of specific sexual sins ( Galatians 5:19-21), early Christians understood exactly what he was talking about.
The argument against abortion from historical Christianity is even stronger. In his book, The Rise of Christianity," sociologist Rodney Stark, relying heavily on secular historical data, argues that Christianity grew as rapidly as it did precisely because of its strong pro-life ethic, which stood in direct contrast to the Roman culture of death. Abortion was a common killer of both fetuses and women in secular Roman society. Archaeologists have discovered Roman sewers clogged with the bodies of babies. Christianity condemned such practices from the beginning and was viewed as a sanctuary by pagan women who were drawn to the Christian faith out of a desire to protect themselves and their children from a secular world that treated both as disposable goods instead of as children of God entitled to their own rights and dignity. [HT: Mark Shea]